Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Happy Birthday Aunt MerMer!

This weekend we had a birthday party for Aunt MerMer who turns 32 today!  She and several of her friends attended a wedding near Cleburne on Friday night so they all decided to spend the night with my parents and then celebrate with a cookout and swimming on Saturday.  One of her friends, Justin, also celebrates his birthday this week so we included him on the cake!
One of Meredith's best friends, Katherine, and her super cute and super sweet daughter, Charlotte, flew in from Kansas to help us celebrate.  Katherine and Meredith were roommates in Prague and it was great to get to see her.
Parker, Eden, and Lily loved having new friends to swim with who would throw the football to them or toss them around in the water.
The littlest ones enjoyed swimming and had fun playing tea party together too!
It was fun getting to meet some of Meredith's nursing friends that we've heard her talk about but have never met. 
 After all of MerMer's friends headed back to Dallas, we let her open her presents.  I think the kids enjoyed the bows more than the presents! 
We had a fun day celebrating Meredith and hope that she has a wonderful birthday today!  We love you, Aunt MerMer!

Monday, July 22, 2013

TRE & Dallas World Aquarium

Last Thursday, we went on the next part of our staycation.  The kids have been asking to ride on a train so we decided to take the Trinity Railway Express (TRE) over to Dallas and go to the Dallas World Aquarium.  I made the mistake of telling them a week before the trip about our plans and had to listen to Lily ask at least 257 times a day, "Are we going on the train today?"!  Finally, the day of the trip arrived and they were so excited!  We left in plenty of time to make the train and then almost missed it due to not being able to find the train station.  Luckily, we found it and boarded with a few minutes to spare.
The ride to Dallas was so much fun!  The kids loved looking out the windows and I felt like we played musical chairs throughout the hour long ride.  Every time I looked up, they were in a different seat! 

Once we arrived in Dallas, we had to get on a DART train for one stop and then walk for about three blocks to the aquarium.  The kids were so excited about seeing the animals that they didn't even complain once about the walk!
I had heard from friends who have been to the DWA that it is just as much a rainforest as it is an aquarium.  The animals that we got to see were great- penguins, sloths, flamingos, otters, and lots of sharks!  There were definitely things there that you can't see at the zoo.
The kids favorite were the penguins... they asked to see them twice.  My favorite was the sloth.  I used to teach my first graders about sloths so it was amazing to actually see one in real life.
One of the highlights of the day was getting to feed a bird.  Each of the kids got to let a bird eat a blueberry out of their hand.
After a couple of hours, the kids started getting tired and in order to make both the DART train and TRE on time, we left a little sooner than I had hoped.  (The one downside to the DWA is that it is quite pricey.  For the amount of money we spent on admissions and food for lunch, I would have liked to have stayed a little bit longer.)  The walk back to the DART station was not as successful as the walk to the DWA.  By this time, they were tired and hot and Eden refused to walk.  Luckily, a piggy back ride from mommy was just what she needed to make it to the train stop!  Another highlight of the trip was getting to feed the pigeons while waiting for our DART train. 
Eden and Parker were so proud when we let them sit by themselves on the DART. 
The kids were very tired but did pretty good on the train ride home, especially after I pulled out Spot It, one of their favorite games right now.  It kept them occupied for most of the trip back.
It didn't take long for Lily to crash once we made it back to the car!
Overall, we couldn't have asked for a better day!  The kids did great and were finally able to take the train ride they've been asking for!  I love making memories with my kids and we definitely made some fun ones on this trip!  We have one more day planned for the kids next week and I can't wait to tell them about the last part of our summer staycation!

Friday, July 19, 2013


Last Tuesday, I woke up and decided that I wanted to take the kids to do something fun after Cory got off of work.  It was extremely spur of the moment but Cory agreed that since we weren't going on a family vacation with the kids this summer, we should take them on a few staycations.  As I brainstormed about where we could go that was local (within an hour drive) and would appeal to all three of our kids, the one place that popped into my head was LEGOLAND at the Grapevine Mills Mall.  I had heard good things about LEGOLAND from several friends so we loaded up the car and headed out for a fun family evening. 
We got to the mall right around dinnertime and decided to eat at the food court before we went inside.  The first thing the kids spotted was the "merry round" and they immediately begged to ride it.  Because it was our staycation, Cory said "Of course!".  They were thrilled!
While we waited to go inside, the girls played with a Lego board and Eden was so proud that she found all the letters in her name.    
We realized as soon as we walked in that we had picked a great night to come.  There were no crowds and no lines for the rides.  The first thing Parker wanted to do was drive the Lego cars.  I tried my hardest to get Eden to ride with him, but she refused, even though there were only a few other kids in line.  Unfortunately, Lily wasn't tall enough to ride so we all sat and watched Parker enjoy the ride.

Next, Parker wanted to ride the Kingdom Quest ride.  Again, Eden refused.  Since I didn't want to spend the entire evening watching Parker from the sidelines, I did what any good parent would do.  I picked her up screaming and crying and drug her on the ride with us.  And guess what?!?! She ended up loving it!!! 
While Cory and Parker rode the next ride, I played in the toddler area with the girls. 
Parker and Eden were also excited to play on the Fire Academy playscape.  Again, Lily was not tall enough and was so disappointed.  She cried and cried so I tried to get her mind off of it by helping her build a car and racing it on the tracks.  Parker joined us not too long after we started racing.
After we had done everything once, the kids started asking to do it all over again.  The employees told us that on busy days, you are not allowed to go on the rides more than once.  The night we were there, there were no crowds so we were able to ride everything as many times as we wanted.  I think Parker and Cory rode the Kingdom Quest ride at least ten times. 

The one ride that I really wanted Eden to try was the Merlin's Apprentice ride.  I knew that if she would try it, she would love it.  After asking her about every 5 minutes, she finally said yes!  Before she could change her mind, we buckled her in and got her to give us her signature thumbs up!  Thankfully, Lily was finally tall enough to ride as long as she was with a parent, which thrilled her to pieces.  She is such a risk taker and loves to try new things so I knew she would love it! 
And I'm happy to report that Eden loved it too! We ended up riding it over and over again until they finally kicked us out at closing time. 
We had such a fun evening with the kids and could not have picked a better night to go!  Now that Lily is potty trained, going on outings is getting so much easier.  We've already got a few more outings planned for this summer and I don't know who is more excited- me or the kids!