Monday, September 17, 2012

Our little summer vacation

(I happened to have the camera on Nick & Leo when Shamu made his first jump...I think this shot is absolutely priceless!  I sure love my boys!)

So we were tied to Houston for the summer as Nick was completing an internship with ExxonMobil...Nick living with my parents during the week and commuting home for the weekends and Leo and I staying a few days here and a few days there pretty much all summer.  It wasn't as bad as we thought, however it was a lot of driving for us...especially me & Leo.  All in all he did great- dvd players in the car are such a life-saver!  However after 14 long weeks of commuting and missing great vacations on both sides of the family, we were happy to be done and return home to College Station.  School didn't start for another 2 weeks and so we decided to take a quick trip to San Antonio for a little vacation...we weren't at all bitter about the fact that we missed the Woodbury family cruise to Alaska or spending time at SI Bar with Grandpa Elmo's new horse...we just needed a vacation! :)

(Luckily Leo napped on the way to San Antonio!  You would have thought that it was vacation enough just letting him have his nuk and "puppy" (blanket) in the car...he thought that was pretty great.)

 So we drove over on a Tuesday and settled in to the Hyatt Wild Oak Ranch.  Our first stop was at Krispy Kreme- there are donut shops a plenty in Houston but no Krispy Kremes!  It felt like a vacation already :)

(Donut lovers!  Leo wouldn't wear the hat...but Nick didn't have a choice!)

Leo has really gotten in to donuts lately too because we reward him (and us!) with a Shipley's donut after our long runs on Saturday.  He has discovered sprinkles and now prefers a whole sprinkle donut to the much easier and not as messy donut holes.  Sigh.  At least it is cute, right?

(Our room at the Hyatt resort-  the life-saver kitchenette, Leo's makeshift bedroom, and Leo jumping on the bed)

We were pleased with our room at Wild Oak Ranch- it had a little kitchen area and a little living room area where we rearranged the furniture to make a "bedroom" for Leo, complete with rocking chair.  We ventured out to explore the resort a little bit, ate at their restaurant, and played for a few at the "beach" by the lazy river the first night before putting Leo to bed and making a plan for SeaWorld the next day.

(The beautiful resort- lazy river, watching and learning from the girls in the pink bathing suits, digging in the sand with Dad, dumping water, and the "yes I just ate sand and I'm not sure if I like it" face)

We were among the first people to the park on Wednesday and had an awesome parking spot.  We had packed lots of sunscreen and snacks and were ready to make a day of it.

(There was no line for tickets and the bag-checker told me our bag was "expertly packed"...woohoo!)

First we explored the Sesame Street "Bay of Play" a tiny bit and watched a 4D Elmo film...Leo wouldn't wear the glasses but loved it anyway.

(Watching the seals, mommy & baby seal napping, Leo trying to be a big kid, and too cute watching seals!)

Then we visited the seals, otters, and sea lions before their show.  There was a baby taking a nap on its mom that was so cute and Leo loved pointing out which ones were mommies, daddies, and babies...this is a new thing he loves to do.  Pretty much everything is either a mommy, daddy, or baby around here.

It was fun to see Leo interact and copy the older kids too.  He is still my baby but he seems so grown up and it seems like he has such a desire to act like a big kid...slow down already Leo!

(I know it doesn't look like it here, but I promise Leo really loved the penguins...real, stuffed, or costume!)

We watched other shows and visited other animals, like the penguins that Leo apparently loves, before grabbing lunch.  We let Leo play in the small water park for kids and then dashed over to see Shamu...of course Leo fell asleep on the way there so we let him take a catnap in the stroller instead.  I've said it before and I'll say it again- every time we try to go nap free we wish we hadn't.  Period.

(Sesame Street, a wheel, AND playing in water? What could be better?  Perhaps just the merry go round with Dad and Mom a few (dozen) times!)

We had a fun day but it was clearly time to go so we headed back to the resort after grabbing a Happy Meal.  Leo was zonked and I didn't feel so great either- I thought it was just a long day in the sun and such, but later I realized that I had caught Leo's hand/foot/mouth and most likely had a fever that day :(  I crashed pretty early after taking a bath.

(The lazy river/beach combo was great for the whole family and the weather couldn't have been better!)

The next day we spent the morning at the resort and let Leo play at the lazy river after we got in our 4 mile run...even if it is vacation you do not skip exercise! :)  The resort had a regular pool with slides and games and such and also a lazy river that had a beach part.  Leo loved trying to fill up the hole in the sand with water...something he saw older kids doing.  After a quick nap we headed back to SeaWorld to hit up a few faves- merry go round anyone?- and make sure we saw Shamu this time.

(Anxiously awaiting Shamu, seeing him jump with Dad, classic SeaWorld shot)

Leo couldn't get enough of "Grover's round up" merry go round and rode it time and time again...always saying "horse...up, down...yeehaw...up, down" over and over again.

(One last ride on Grover's round up and seeing the dolphins before it was time to go home)

Shamu was well worth the wait and I got the ice cream I had been wishing for :)  Nick got to see the dolphins up close too so we were all happy campers.  We let Leo pick out a souvenir before saying adieu...he only had eyes for this particular stuffed penguin which he calls "peng".  Original, no?

(Peng!  Leo liked him to ride in the stroller with him after we bought him...good thing the gift shop was the last thing on our list, right?  Peng rode in the car seat on the way home and slept in bed that night- Leo was thrilled with him and loved to kiss his beak.  He has always been very loving!)

We grabbed dinner and headed back to the resort.  The next morning it was already time to pack up and we wished we could have stayed many more days.  We took advantage of the lazy river one more time- being there early was great as we had the "beach" to ourselves!

(One last ride around the lazy river!)

Then it was back to the car for the long drive home.  One more stop at Krispy Kreme and a few hours later and our fun was over.  We had so much fun going on our first real family know, not visiting family or going with other family or whatnot...and have vowed to do it more often.  It was so much fun and just what we needed to be ready to start Nick's last semester of college- ever!