Thursday, June 25, 2015

Happy birthday Karyn!

Karyn decided for her birthday this year we would all meet for lunch in the Stockyards and have some barbeque. She chose Riscky's, so we all met up on Wednesday to spend the afternoon acting like tourists along with Karyn's friend who had flown in from Massachusetts (I think). When people from up north come into town, it's only fitting to feed them ribs and parade cattle down the street in front of them.
 After lunch, we walked around in the shops at Stockyards Station. It's not so bad in the heat of the day since you're under the shade and somewhat enclosed. I had told Kate that there was a candy shop a few doors down, so that was our first stop and she managed to talk Bill into buying her 1.24 pounds of candy. She just grabbed a basket and started filling it like she was trick or treating. I don't think he really minded all that much. I even grabbed some saltwater taffy for myself because it's just so good.
 We wandered in and out of stores, looking around and telling Kate no since she wants and thinks she needs everything she sees. We went ahead and stayed for the 4 pm cattle drive before heading back to the house and calling it a day.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Swim Lessons

This week has been exhausting. Kate started swim lessons on Monday and we have been going non-stop ever since. Somehow we've managed to stretch a 45 minute swim lesson into being gone from the house pretty much all day, whether it's because we sat around at lunch for 3 hours with other moms and kids after swim is over talking or we've been with family doing stuff or I've been in Burleson finishing up house stuff for some friends of mine that are heading back to the states after living in Germany for several years. It's been a crazy week!

Kate has been doing really awesome with swim this year. She's in the advanced class, since this is her third year. She's made a lot of progress and now Cheryl is working on things like new techniques, proper breathing, and learning to dive.
Kate's in class with her friends Cassidy and Kaylee again, and this year we've made a new friend named Kendall. She and her mom have been having lunch with us too. Well, she's a new friend to us - she already knew everyone else. We have one more week - 4 more days - of craziness and then we will spend a weekend out of town. Maybe in July things will slow down.

Happy Father's Day!

We spent Father's Day at Pop's house. Not only did we have reason to celebrate with him because it was Father's Day, but we also found out this past week that his cancer is gone! Gone gone gone!! For now, we are praising God for answered prayers and thankful for the blessings we have. Should the cancer come back in the future, we will tackle it all over again and trust in the Lord. So it was a big day of family time for sure.
It rained pretty hard for a while at Pop's, so unfortunately we couldn't spend as much time playing outside as the kids were hoping for. While we ate BBQ and sat around the table laughing, the rain and wind picked up quite a bit. After lunch, once the wind died down, we headed out to the pack porch and playing Uno for a little while as the rain fell.
 Eventually it stopped raining so we could head out front and pull out the scooters, balls, and frisbees and spend some time playing and releasing some pent up energy. Here's to the second half of the year being a little less stressful than the first half for Pop!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pool fun

While shopping at Target today, Kate and I decided that we needed a pool again for this summer. The one we had previously didn't survive being stored, so we bought a new one today (and on sale too!). Naturally I had to set it up as soon as we got home, and this time around I put it under the patio cover on the back porch. With the umbrella open on my bistro table as well, it is completely in the shade, which works well for not getting burnt.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Concan/San Antonio Vacation Day 7

Our final day of vacation arrived this morning and I must say, I think we were all ready for this vacation to wind down. Seven days without much of a break from each other can lead to easily being annoyed by each other, not to mention that we are all pretty tired from a jam-packed week. We haven't had much down time this week, but Nick and I are pretty much hard-core vacationers. We don't tend to go places to lay around and not do anything. Kate has managed to keep up with us pretty well, although at the end of each day she has been so tired and ready for bed. She's a trooper though.
After we got the car packed this morning, we left the Howard Johnson Inn & Suites and headed for the San Antonio Zoo. I have been to this zoo once before, but it was about 16 years ago so I didn't remember much and I'm also guessing it has changed a bit since I was here before. It was Nick's first time though, as well as Kate's, obviously. She grabbed her zoo map as soon as we entered so she could figure out our plan of action.
This wasn't my favorite zoo by any stretch. It is kind of old school and I thought it was laid out a little strange. There also seem to be a lot more bird exhibits than any other type of animal, and birds are usually the one thing that we choose to skip when at the zoo because they stink. Birds are just pretty darn nasty, actually. Kate walked around the bird areas with her nose held and complained the whole time.
They only had one sad little elephant out today, and I'm not sure if that's all they have or what. There are no giraffes, although they are getting them this year. The lone tiger was up and moving around, bu the only lion was asleep, although they sleep about 20 hours a day so that isn't surprising. They did have quite a few smaller animals that our local zoo doesn't have, like random little rodent sized things and tons of small monkeys that we don't have at the Fort Worth Zoo. Kate didn't care for the monkeys either though because they also smelled really bad.  They also have several bears, and our only bears from Fort Worth got shipped off to somewhere else.
The hippo exhibit was awesome though - way better than our hippo pool at the Fort Worth Zoo. Our hippos are just hanging out in a little pool just past the elephants, and usually all you can see is a snout sticking out of the water. San Antonio has them displayed basically in a giant aquarium - so you view them from under the water. They have a ton of brightly colored fish hanging out with them, so it was really quite cool and you could get a good feel for just how massive their bodies are. I've always loved hippos - I think they are so cute!
We ate lunch at the zoo and managed to walk the whole thing in just about three hours. By then we were quite hot and ready to hit the road to head home. Kate watched movies all the way home and didn't start complaining about being in the car until we were almost home. She did great! I was quite happy to be home though and ready to sleep in my own bed for a change.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Concan/San Antonio Vacation Day 6

This morning we headed back to Sea World for another day of rides and shows. Originally I didn't realize that our tickets were for two days instead of just one day - I didn't buy them. Nick and I sat through a time share spiel in order to get the free tickets because it saved us a ton of money so we would be able to take Kate to Sea World. Once we realized we had two day tickets, we figured why not go twice? Once again, Kate grabbed her map first thing and began to plan the day. It was nice to already have a good feel for where everything is located in the park since we were just there yesterday.
 We didn't feel the need to catch all the shows again today so Kate spent a lot more time riding rides than anything. She played on the big ropes course in the kids area, as well as the splash park again for about an hour. She rode the Shamu coaster and carousel several times, and also this horrible spinning fish thing that I made Nick ride with her. I could barely stand to watch it.
 We spotted a cute penguin out today that we missed yesterday, so we grabbed a photo with him. Nick couldn't resist getting a picture with the Count, but Kate didn't want any photos with any of the Sesame Street characters, although she had plenty of opportunity because the park wasn't all that crowded today. She was never much of a Sesame Street fan though.
 I really wish that Sea World had more animal exhibits. The dolphin area and large aquarium are both closed for renovations, so we were really limited in the amount of animals there were to see. They also need a larger selection of rides. The kids area is great, and then to two large roller coasters are good thrill rides. There are a couple of water rides that I skip because I don't want to walk around in wet clothes...but other than that, there's not much else to do besides see all the shows. There are lots of carnival style games that you have to pay for and you might win a silly stuffed dolphin the size of a compact car, but who needs that? I'd rather see more aquariums and animals than games.
We left Sea World after viewing Azul one more time at 3:00. Since it was Kate's favorite show yesterday, she wanted to see it again. It was pretty much the same show, however the beluga whales did a few jumps that I didn't recall them doing yesterday.

When we got to our hotel Kate wanted to go swimming so we all hopped in the pool for about an hour to cool off and play. We showered and then headed to dinner at a local Mexican food place called La Fogata. It seemed like a really popular spot - we waited for a table for 48 minutes. I thought the food was good but not the most spectacular I've ever had. The atmosphere was really great though, so we enjoyed our evening.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Concan/San Antonio Vacation Day 5

We arrived at Sea World right at opening and as soon as we entered the park, Kate grabbed a map so she could begin planning our day. She used her map all day long and wanted to carry it every time we started walking somewhere, even though I was using the Sea World app to get us where we needed to be. It was pretty cute to have her navigate.
The first show of the day began at 10:45 so we headed straight to the sea lion stadium to get some seats. I don't know that Kate quite understood the concept of the animal shows until we saw the first one, and then she was on board with seeing more. 
After the sea lion show, Kate wanted to ride some of the rides in the Sesame Street themed kids area, so we hopped on the Shamu kiddie coaster and then the carousel. They have a really awesome kids area complete with a splash pad too, so we made plans to go back to that area when it got a little hotter.
 The Killer Whales Up Close show was next, so we headed to Shamu Stadium and Kate got her first glimpse of the huge killer whales. I think she was pretty impressed with them. Every time I see them I can't help but wish a tiny bit that I had become a marine animal trainer or something. Honestly, I really just want to be able to play with them. 
 After the killer whales we didn't have much time to make it over to see the beluga whale and Pacific dolphin show, so we made our way around to another stadium for that. To be honest, it's quite difficult to fit every single show into a single day and still have time for rides and other things. Luckily for us, we have 2 day tickets.
 We had lunch at Rosita's Pizza buffet and checked out the alligator pit before Kate decided she was ready for the splash park. I changed her into the swimsuit I packed for the day and off she went. While she was playing in the water, Nick wandered off to ride the big kid coasters, the Steel Eel and the Great White. I am not a fan of the super big or super fast roller coasters, and Kate didn't meet the height requirements for either of them. He quite enjoyed them though.
 Kate played in the water for about an hour before it was time to dry off and change back into her clothes so we could make our way back to the beluga stadium for the Azul show. It's an awesome show with the beluga whales and dolphins as well as some divers and acrobatics. This turned out to be Kate's favorite show of the day.
 For the last show of the day, we saw One Ocean, which is another killer whale show in Shamu Stadium. Rather than learn about the killer whales like we did in the earlier show, this is more just the whales showing off their jumping and audience splashing skills. We didn't sit in any of the splash zones though, so we stayed dry and watched. When the show was over, it was time to make our way out of the park for closing time.
 We were all really hungry by the time we got out of Sea World, so we spotted a Cracker Barrel on the way back to our hotel and had dinner. It's not truly a vacation until you have had Cracker Barrel. After dinner we had to make a stop by Target to pick up some more bottled water and a few other supplies. That pretty much filled the day and we were more than ready for showers and bedtime by then.