Texas State Aquarium

While on vacation we went to the Texas State Aquarium. We rented two double strollers. That was one of the smartest things we’ve ever done.

We also checked out a sensory kit for Noah. By the end of the first exhibit he was completely overwhelmed. The headphones instantly calmed him down and made the rest of the visit quite pleasant for him.

All the kids really liked the dolphins. Though when we asked them what their favorite parts were Zeke said walking next to me, Mayci said riding on the escalator, and Anthony said riding in the elevator.

So, basically, we spent over $250 for the kids to like normal, everyday things the most. At least Noah liked the fish. He kept waving to them and saying “Hi, fish!”

Swimming in the Gulf on the First Day of Winter

Four years ago we went swimming in the Gulf of Mexico on the first day of winter. Adrian wanted to repeat that this year with his little siblings.

And so we did. I didn’t think the kids would actually get in the water (it was 52* on Solstice this year) so I didn’t pack bathing suits for them, just shorts.

I was wrong. They went in the water and played for thirty minutes. They all ended up soaking wet and covered in sand. They had the best time ever.

Afterwards we went back to our AirBnB so everyone could get a shower. I can’t imagine they were very comfortable for that thirty minute drive.

Texas sand is kind of a fine powder and it sticks to absolutely everything. We definitely need to vacuum out our rental beast because otherwise it will be forever sandy.

There were a few other people on the beach, mostly riding up and down the beach in gulf carts. Swimming in the Gulf in December isn’t the most common activity.

One guy gave the kids a little boogie board that was slightly broken but my kids didn’t care. That led to a lot more falling in the water and getting even wetter and sandier.

There was one old guy living on the beach in an Airstream attached to a pickup truck. He was very nice and enjoyed watching the kids playing and having fun.

When we tried to leave we discovered we were a little bit stuck in the sand (you park on the beach). So the guy in the Airstream towed us out ending our adventure with a little extra adventure.

A Weekend With My, Like, BFF

A few weeks ago I went on a quick weekend trip to Utah. I flew first class which meant plenty of elbow room and a real glass for my soda. And dinner on the way there. It was quite a comfortable ride and a very nice treat.

We went up to Park City where it is absolutely beautiful. The view from the deck of our AirBnB was amazing.

One day we drove up in the Uintas to almost 10,000 feet to Provo Falls. Gorgeous. It’s hard to breathe at that high of an elevation when you are used to much closer to sea level.

The Falls were worth the trouble breathing. Also, I was totally ready to video if my best friend fell in so we could watch it and laugh about it later. Because we’re that kind of friends.

We talk on the phone pretty much every day, but the last time I saw Kimberlee in person the twins weren’t even six months old. It was a short, but fun weekend!

I Went on a Cruise, Part 2

Sunday morning we woke up to towel animals all over the Beach Pool area. Mommie and I had such a fun time checking them all out.

We had a lovely little Relief Society discussion in the games side of the library. It was a very nice discussion using the Conference talk we would’ve been discussing had we been at church.

Then we went and watched a young man from Alaska carve a 300 pound block of ice into a swan. Absolutely amazing.

Even though it was overcast and the water was a bit choppy, our view at lunch was still just as stunning as always.

I made sure to get one last root beer float in Sunday afternoon. There’s nothing like vanilla ice cream and root beer.

After dinner Sunday night the waiters and waitresses sang us a good-bye song and then we all danced the Macarena and Funky Chicken together. The first two nights dinner was iffy for me. They had a bit of trouble getting the whole gluten free thing figured out in the dining room for some reason. Other people were very unimpressed by the food and by the third night a lot of people were just eating at the buffet instead. They missed out, though, because the third and fourth night dinner was incredible. My waiter started calling me “My Heather” and the food was delicious (including Mommie’s ox tongue and frog legs… appetizers can be a bit adventurous aboard the Carnival Breeze).

We woke up nearly back to Galveston. Mommie and I went out on the very cold and windy deck and watched the sun come up. I even got to video chat with my little ones before they headed to school.

We had to be out of our staterooms by 8:30am. By then some people were already debarking since we docked a little bit early. By 10 our group was called and we were headed down to have our sign & sail cards scanned one last time, go through passport control and customs, and then out into the world once again.

Of course it was still a four-hour ride home and pretty much all the ladies in our group stopped to pee and get some food at Buc-ee’s in Katy. We all looked a little overwhelmed at all the colors and choices and having to pay for what we picked up again. The whole long weekend was a truly magical experience. One I wouldn’t mind repeating some time!

I Went on a Cruise, Part 1

A friend got this great idea to celebrate her 40th birthday on a 4 day/3 night cruise from Galveston to Cozumel. She invited any ladies who wanted to come to join her. She thought maybe a few women would come. It ended up forty women went! My mom and I were two of them.

Mommie and I got on an airplane and flew to Houston last Wednesday night. We successfully used Uber to get us to our hotel and then again in the morning to get us back to the airport. From there we were taken on a bus to Galveston. After going through the check-in process, we were on the Carnival Breeze about 11:30am!

We had lunch (gluten free options were clearly marked on the buffet and pretty much everywhere else on the ship could handle gluten free, too) and wandered around the ship until we could head to our stateroom (at 1:30pm).

We checked out the World’s Smallest Library. It used to be a bar and then they put in self-service wine dispensers, but even those are out of service now.

The Library Bar isn’t a well-used room which made it a great place to go sit and read. It was quiet and comfortable.

At 3:30pm Thursday it was time to push off and start our trip south to Mexico. The pool water was so incredibly cold (it was in the 30s in Galveston that day after all), but some people still insisted on swimming.

Friday morning dawned clear and bright and quite a bit warmer. Shorts and t-shirts were comfortable. There was a constant breeze out on the decks, but it wasn’t cold anymore.

We did a little onboard shopping. Mommie got a pair of turtle earrings and I got a duck lanyard. I couldn’t resist.

It occurred to me with the soft serve ice cream machine and a can of root beer I could have unlimited root beer floats. I had a few over the course of our cruise.

Friday we got the first towel animal in our stateroom. This one was a dog. The next day we got an elephant and on the final full day of our cruise we got a frog.

Pretty much no matter where we went on the boat the view was amazing. I thought it would be weird to only see water, but it turned out to be very nice, as was the constant rocking of the ship.

Saturday morning we woke up just a few miles out from the port at Cozumel Mexico. It was in the high 70s and humid. By noon it was over 90 and just lovely.

After scanning our sign & sail cards so they knew who was off the ship, we were headed down to the pier where we spent the morning and early afternoon shopping and looking around.

We watched some turtles swimming around for a while. Their home was right in the middle of the shops in a shaded area with a small manmade pool.

We ran into a couple guys dressed up as Aztec Warriors and had fun taking pictures with them. They were hilarious.

We had hoped to be able to see the Mayan ruins but they were closed so we had to satisfy ourselves with the tiny model fountain version.

They have a fish thingy for putting empty plastic bottles in. I’m pretty sure if those were everywhere people would be much more likely to recycle. It was fun putting things in there!

I was nervous about eating in port so we went back to the ship around 1:30pm. More than half of the choices on the buffet were gluten free! I had the best lunch and even a piece of red velvet cake that didn’t taste at all gluten free. It was so good.

We decided to put on our bathing suits and go in the hot tub. We had to laugh, though, because our water shoes matched. We bought them a year and a half apart and picked the same ones!

After soaking in the hot tub for a while (a much warmer experience than the following afternoon when the sun was behind clouds and we were much closer to Texas), we laid on the deck and watched another cruise ship pull away.

That evening we did my favorite thing of the whole cruise. We were rocking pretty good so we went out on deck five and watched the waves. Even in the dark we could see the white caps. We laid in deck chairs reading for a couple hours just listening to the waves crashing. It was so nice and relaxing.


My brother’s family came to visit for a few days and while they were here we went to a San Antonio Missions minor league baseball game.

The Missions won something like 10-2. There were a couple really great plays and a whole lot of watching batters and pitchers set themselves up to bat and pitch.

Fritz and Adrian have decided they have now see more than enough baseball games to last them a lifetime. That would be one. They’ve only ever seen one baseball game.

Adrian’s Birthday Celebration

On Wednesday, June 19th Adrian turned 11. Jamie had to work almost all day, but he spent the day having fun with his brother, grandparents, and me so that was okay.

His favorite presents were his talking Buzz and Woody. With Toy Story 4 coming out just after his birthday, he’s been really into those movies lately.

We went to see The Secret Life of Pets 2 at Alamo Drafthouse. It was a really cute movie. Everyone enjoyed it from ages 11 up to 74!

We went to a trampoline park where the boys got to jump for a couple hours and played several games of laser tag.

We went to Golden Corral for dinner where Adrian could pick whatever he wanted for dinner. His choice? Rice and cheese, his favorite food.

The boys went swimming in the pool at the hotel.

They played some D&D after Jamie got finished working and got back to the hotel.

When we got home, Cameron gave Adrian his present. Adrian was thrilled to have a talking Forky to add to his Buzz and Woody. He had been slightly disappointed on his birthday to not get Forky since that’s the one he wanted most of all.


The week of Adrian’s birthday, Jamie had to work in Laredo. He always takes off work for our kids’ birthdays so with Adrian’s birthday on Wednesday that presented a bit of a problem. So the little boys and I decided to go with him and to take my parents along, too.

We went way down by the border in the old town part of Laredo to see San Augustin Cathedral, established in 1755. It’s quite a beautiful bit of architecture and overlooks a lovely park.

It was super hot (105+) and humid (60+%) so we headed into the Republic of the Rio Grande Museum. Bonus, it was Tuesday which is their free admission day, though we would’ve paid whatever they asked just to be in the air conditioning for a while. It’s a small museum with displays of old things found around the area.

Our hotel was just a few blocks from the Rio Grande. We caught some Mexican cows coming down for a drink. No walls there and no fences either allowing for an unobstructed, gorgeous view of nature.

We drove down to where a couple of the bridges (border crossings) are. There’s a little park right along the Rio Grande and an outlet mall at that point. We were so close we could practically touch Mexico.

We really enjoyed spending a week in Laredo. It’s a nice little city. I still like McAllen better, but I’d got back to Laredo anytime!