Sunday, August 26, 2012

Texas Summer Vacay!

Mike and I have frequently talked about how we'd like to take his nephew and niece, Landyn (8) and CJ (5 then, now 6 at the time of this writing), for a week or so over their summer vacation. Since we're in San Antonio, there are SO many things to do with them! Earlier this summer, Mike mentioned that he had a "free" 5-day weekend for the 4th of July if he stayed in town. I suggested that this would be a perfect time to have the kids come visit and he agreed! We quickly made arrangements with his sister to meet them halfway and bring the kids home with us.
We met Courtney and the kids in Beaumont, TX so no one had to make the full 8-hour trip!
We brought the kids home on the 4th of July and boy did we hit the ground running. Only Mike and Veronica Holtz would drive halfway across Texas in the morning and host a 4th of July party that evening for 20 guests complete with sprinkler-playing, s'mores with homemade marshmallows, and fireworks! There were some other kids at the party so we broke two sprinklers and the cat and chickens were thoroughly terrorized.
I got the four of us matching Old Navy flag shirts and made them all wear them to the party. I'm so my mother's daughter! :) (Hey, at least I don't know how to sew everyone flag shorts...)
There's a whole series of shots like this as we were egged on by the kids and onlookers.
In the days that followed we took the kids... the San Antonio Children's Museum at least 5 or 6 different playgrounds (a few more than once!)

...on a drive-through Wildlife Safari! a petting zoo at the Wildlife Safari

...spelunking. (Note: children are sometimes scared in caves....also sometimes claustrophobic aunts, too.) Sea World

...on a Riverboat tour the Alamo

...on bike rides the Witte Museum (they're on-air meteorologists with floating heads!)
Swimming was a VERY popular activity while the kids were here. Mike and I belong to a gym with a crazy splash pool and ginormous water slide. We really don't use this amenity much (there was that one time we went down the slide in our tri gear, goggles and all), but we were so grateful to have it for them. We may or may not have gone overboard with pool gear at Target. :)
Snozzles and Googles! (Snorkels and Goggles)
Landyn must have gone on the slide about a billion times
Another popular activity was ice cream eating. Aunt Veronica was quite the enabler...

The kids ended up staying with us for two and a half weeks. We put them in day camp at Lackland AFB while we were at work. They got to do things like go skating and swimming. We checked out a bunch of books at the library and we would read a couple books every night before bed. We even got Landyn to read a couple to us. :)

The second weekend the kids were here, we decided to take them to the beach in Corpus Christi. CJ had long wanted to go to the beach and it was on my summer bucket list, so why not? We stocked up on beach toys at Target (everything was on clearance!), loaded up the 4Runner, rented a canopy when we got there and had a blast!

On our way out of town, we stopped at Rudy's for some BBQ.

And then we stopped for some ice cream on the drive home. :)

Mike's Mom and Step-Dad, Mr. Bo, came to pick them up when it was time for the kids to go home. Mr. Bo has had some health issues recently so we were very happy they made the trip out to see our home and enjoy San Antonio.
Mike, Mr. Bo and Landyn hanging out at the Pearl Brewery during the  Farmer's Market.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A trip home - June 2012 (I'm back!)

Excuse me while I dust the cobwebs off my blog.

There. All better.

So I didn't fall off the face of the Earth or win a million dollars or move to a remote location with no internet access. I have simply been neglecting my blog. I would say I've been SO busy and I just haven't had time to post, but I've watched WAY too much of the Olympics and taken far too many naps to use that as an excuse.

So a LOT has been going on this summer. I have been busy, just not too busy to write.Try, if you can, to remember way back to June. You know, before we had weeks of triple-digit temperatures and Summer was still something we were excited about! A couple weeks after Mike and I went to San Francisco, I went home to Wichita for a long weekend.

Back in April, all the Fiesta excitement me left me with a hankerin' for the Wichita River Festival and food on a stick. With an American Airlines 15% off coupon I booked my ticket and I started alerting the natives. You know, Dad, Grandma, LeighAnn.....

I arrived on a Friday around lunch time and since it seems like most trips to Wichita require I see every last one of my extended family members, Dad first took me to my Aunt Marlene's office, where I also got to see my cousins Kim and Susan as well as my Aunt Margaret. (Aunt Marlene is sort of a gravitational force for family members, really.) Susan and Kim were headed to RiverFest for lunch at the food court. Since that was really my main reason for being in Wichita (and Father's Day and to see my family!) Dad and I tagged along.
Armed with tickets, I headed out to make my selection. I ended up with a Gyro. Yum!
We managed to find a shady table, although we still managed to catch Dad with his eyes closed!

That evening we ate at my most favorite restaurant in the whole world: Il Vicino. We met my cousins April and Mitch there. They run a sprinkler system company and they had a HILARIOUS story about a very complicated job they did for Kirstie Alley at her new home in Wichita!

I made a commitment to myself to do some form of exercise every day for 90 days, starting June 1st. So I had to get some running in while I was there. Of course, I forgot my toiletry bag and I had no hair ties or barrettes and I just can't run with my hair down. Dad recommended office supplies and hey, it worked! (Taking them was not so fun, though.) A trip to Target's "sample aisle" followed after the first run.

I enjoyed spending time with Dad's cats: Cookie, Benny and Smokey (not pictured, cuz he's a jerk).
I got to go to Bobbie Sue's first birthday party. She's my cousin thrice removed (I looked it up, she's my 1st cousin's granddaughter).
There was a lot of pink.
On Saturday night, my friend LeighAnn and her boyfriend Mike were nice enough to pick me up and take me to the Fireworks downtown! The wind delayed the show a bit, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. Mike suggested ice cream after the show, so he definitely has my approval. Sadly I didn't get a picture with Mike and LeighAnn. :( All we have are the memories!

On Sunday, I got to check out my cousin Kim's farm.
She has miniature horses....

And goats....

And ducks (including this baby one!)...
And a donkey....

And horses....
And a dog and a cat and I'm sure some other animals I'm forgetting! She literally has a farm! It was so fun to see all the animals!

On the day I left, Monday, I was able to sneak in an appointment with my cousin Mindy to get a hair cut. She's probably the most talented stylist who has ever touched my hair. I just can't pay the going rate for a flight to Wichita each time I get my hair cut! My hair was SO thick and she took so much out. I felt much better when she was done!
She cut all that hair off my head! (With our feet to show scale.)

Thanks Mindy! :)
It was a great trip and I can't wait to get back to see everyone!