Wednesday, January 30, 2013

the longest vacation series: Dublin

welcome to the last post of the
You made it! I am so glad my friend. But I am more glad, because I came out of this trip alive!!
All I remember is traveling, family, presents, full trunk. And not necessarily in that order. I said it once
and I'll say it again, I love this time of year and I'm thankful this only happens once a year. 

3rd City: Dublin. NO, not Ireland.
Christmas Eve was spent looking for a blasted action figure with no luck in the metroplex.
We hit up about 4 stores in hopes of finding THE POWER RANGERS SAMURAI:
 DELUXE MEGAZORD. What a name.
The trip took three times longer because obviously everyone has to be out and about doing the same as me.
More importantly, I was late for a family tradition we've kept about 6 or 7 years---TAMALE MAKIN'! 
I was so late, I got home just in time to finish the tamales de rajas.  

I got a chance to catch up with cousins. But I was missing a brother and a sister

Natalie, Dawna, me and Emily
That evening, we made sure to stuff our tummies with tamales and salsa. Pecan pie. 
Chat it up. Wrap presents, last minute of course. Do I really know of no other way to celebrate? 
Nope. That's as good as it gets for me. Which is fine because it means I don't have to find a babysitter. 
We did teach my 2 year old a very important lesson that day...
MUSTACHE! 
Take a minute to watch the Learning-How-to-Make-a-Mustache VIDEO
Hilarious, right? Yeah, he's awesome.
And then we all went to sleep because we all had to await Santa's arrival!! 
He brought a ton of gifts of course...but no cold weather.  
Andrew received a bow & arrow set and his first bike. Pictures to come later :) 
Oh and I guess Moomie thought it funny to address some gifts to him as Andy. 
Not sure how I feel about that, but I'm guessing NO. 
Jonah received a pirate ship, coloring books, boots and alien pajamas. 
Both boys received gum--which they aren't allowed to have until they learn not to swallow it. 
I received a 'fake' wedding ring from myself, but made sure to pretend that the husband gifted it. 
'Cause I'm a nut. Let it be known on record, that I received nothing from the husband. Appalled? Me too. 
Ladies, please feel sorry for me and give him a hard time. 

Andrew made Tia Dawna a special gift. He designed it of course, but I had to sew it. 
A cape! He thought she needed one! 
It was just a felt rectangle with elastic but he was 
so proud of it, he wrapped it himself and wrote the name tag too! 
The husband received a new wallet, because his Aluma Wallet totally FAILED
And a new body pillow--which he loves. 
James Ross (brother) opened up his gifts so fast, I couldn't keep up knowing what the heck he got! 
Freckles, Caren's dog sat patiently and was harassed by paper being thrown her way.
Pajamas, games, coloring books, blankets, gift cards and money--it was a very fulfilling Christmas.

I  made my grandmother a special something. 
I digitized my grandfather from his younger years and put him in a vintage blue frame. 
They were married over 50 years and I'm glad she displayed him proudly in her living room. 
I think she still has the hots for him because her grin got really big as she reminisced about his offset smile.
The husband always compliments me on my smile. I don't know why, I'm not a fan.
But he calls it crooked smile like it's something pretty or somethin'. I guess I inherited it from my Grandpa. 
...hmm..just thought of that....
Anyway, Jonah also received a fishing pole. Obviously, he was in smitten. He loves those things!
...and then it was hidden from view...haha!
And right after opening gifts, this little dude got sick. Throwing up sick. Fever sick. Oh great. 
He didn't get to enjoy his Christmas very much. Usually he runs around like a mad monster at Moomies...

We cleaned up, ate tamales again, and played with Freckles. 
She's such a serious, but sweet dog. Who would have thought Caren would ever adopt a dog?
And that's it! The last of the Christmas vacation pictures. Whew!!! That was such a load of my chest. 
Feels good to continue onto better more current things!

Monday, January 28, 2013

the longest vacation series: Grapevine

disclaimer: thanks for sticking around even though I have been missing for some weeks. turns out I don't seem to have time on my hands and have been feeling quite defeated by life lately--but that's for another post another day--this series has been on the back of my mind every. day. and I know it's a good month after Christmas, but I will post anyway because 1. it's my blog. and 2. because this is how I record our life. so we can't have things out of order :) 
and now, 
welcome to:

Part II.
Second city: Grapevine, TX, Great Wolf Lodge
I really wish I could have snapped a picture of the outside of the lodge. It was so grand! Giant wolves guarding the entrance. At least I got the main lobby though!
Stuffed wolves, a gigantic chimney, and the tallest Christmas tree ever inside a lobby! 

The lobby was covered in snow and decorated Christmas trees. The wolf paw and wolves were everywhere.
Oh it was magical!

Foot long snowflakes and real gingerbread houses, could Christmas get any more real?
We met Wiley and there was quite an abundance of squirrels and forest creatures guarding the trashcans. 
A super plus was that they actually had recycling bins in the hotel room! That made me love it even more.
Of course part of the thrill of staying at the lodge, is MagiQuest.
A total experience in my opinion. Buuutttttt you have to buy your wand to get the game activated (priced accordingly to hotel rates :) ). You run up and down their 8 floors looking for their infrared objects to light them up (great leg workout). You are given quests, or journeys, to complete and you step up in magical powers to become the greatest Magi at Great Wolf!!! 
...but if you're too little, like some munchkins below, you can always just tell them to make your wand light up objects instead of playing the game.
...but if you're a geeky-fied adult, like the ones below, you TOTALLY want the game activated.
We do know it is supposed to be for kids, people. 
But seriously, the quests are just too tempting for a grown-up too!!! 
Sidenote: and we were not the ONLY parents going around with our children's wands!!
It was so fun just walking around, wand in hand, pointing at different treasure chests and accumulating useless gold. 
It was hard catching my monsters running amok in their pajamas and keeping them in focus. 
Hotel lighting is so crappy sometimes... 
After our quest excitement, and much to our tiredness, we walked to our rooms in hopes of rest.
But just as I was uber clumsy at 5 years of age, splitting my forehead numerous times, ruining certain vacations, so does the 4 year old kid. 
He managed to run into the edge of the door, splitting his forehead open and blood bathing me, my precious camera, and his daddy. I didn't know what the hell to do! All I know was that his head was split open. I was worried about the blood on my camera, but obviously the kid has to COME FIRST, right?! 
And then I ran for ice, because surely a bag of ice would stop the bleeding. I was freaking out, Andrew was freaking out because he saw all the blood--not because it hurt him. The only two calm people were the Witty's--daddy and his sister, Tia Joanna. We did what we could and then ran off to grab some bandages at a nearby store. And then we tried to patch him up. HOLY CRACKERS was that an episode! 
The kid was still freaking out about the blood so we gave him his Christmas present which was Lego's and that was a smart thing to do. He quickly forgot he had an open wound. And managed to get him bandaged up. For a time, he refused to take off his ninja headband and purposely hit his head on other people. 
He is my son. Definitely. And I am shaking my head in pride. 
And so the show must go on. We went down to the lobby to listen to Storytime, where a lodge employee reads a book to all the kids sitting in the lobby. And then it magically starts snowing foam snow. And then Rudolph comes out to takes pictures with the kids. How ridiculously magical is that?
The next day, we had plans to go swimming at their indoor water park. We hoped Andrew's bandage kept the water out and that the cut would be ok. 
Andrew didn't mind the water one bit. He loved it. Jonah was cranky and refused to get splashed. He did go down the slide a couple of times though. 
We all had a blast with the pools, rides, and the bucket that would hurt-splash your head ever so often. 
It was finally time to head back to the room to eat! Swimming makes you hungry!
The bandage finished headstrong! But of course we had to change it and apply more medication. You can see the faint red markings it left poor Andrew so we 'aired' it out. :) 
Little boys were playing with tablets, taco soup was cooking & presents were gathered on the small table; our Christmas was about to begin! 
I love my dad-in-law! Sweetest, non-emotional, and considerate person you ever met. Oh, and kids think he's Santa every now and then. I especially love the photo above because he usually does not laugh out loud. 
Not really sure what made him do it, but I'm just happy I captured it. 
We all had pool hair, and pajamas, and were photographically not ready---but ehh, who cares!?
we wanna open presents!
Presents were opened. Paper and boxes were thrown everywhere--I felt like this was one of the best Christmases we have had. And then the mustaches came out!!!
 Phew!!! By 10 o'clock I had gone to my room and finally crashed. We were all so exhausted. 
Next morning, it was time to pack up and take some family photos in the lobby.
Cheesy, fake grins all around!
The whole gang in front of the chimney!
See you later, Great Wolf and now we head to city #3! 
it will be the final post on the series Longest Vacation, don't worry...
Merry Christmas!
PS. Wow, that was a load of pictures! And a load of my chest! I am happy I got that done and out of the way! I can't wait to return to my regular routine on here again... ...echenme porras or somethin'