Friday, June 13, 2014

{Day Four} San Antonio

Here we are on the last day of our vacation. We actually left San Antonio and spent a day in Gruene, TX. I had a MOPS friend suggest this little town located right outside of New Braunfels and it was a great place to visit! 
Gruene was filled with tons of shops, especially stores with home decor and clothing boutiques. There are also some good restaraunts and, from what I've heard, nice bed and breakfasts. I would love to go back and stay in a B&B with Ryan one day.
We ate lunch at the Gristmill. I had read a blog post about Gruene and this place was highly recommended. We dined on the patio over looking the Guadalupe river and the food was amazing.

I love little "historic" downtown areas. I use the term historic to mean rustic looking stores that contain cute clothing and jewelry more than anything actually related to history.
Eva liked this awesome toy store! I'm pretty sure they sold every Melissa and Doug product. Of course I wanted to buy her everything, but then I remembered the truth that she already has more toys than any child really needs. So instead I took her picture with the cute duck when she asked me to.
When we were done shopping we got to go sit on this beautiful swing as her "reward." To be honest, it was a bit of a rough day with miss grumpy-pants because she was on day 4 of vacation overload. We tried to make the best of it though and she was able to have a bit more self control as the day went on. I think she was really sad when we packed up and left the vacation home that morning and she needed some time to adjust to the fact that we would be going home that night.
We walked down to the Guadalupe River. If I stayed here with just Ryan, I would definitely want to float the river with him. 
Toesies! Before making a long car ride home we refreshed our tired toes in the river.
When we were a few hours out from home, we started talking about how we weren't quite ready to go home yet. We had talked the day before about staying one more night somewhere but decided to stick to our vacation budget. So what's the next best thing? A night at Nana and Papa's! We didn't even tell Eva, we just pulled up after dinner and surprised her! This was a smart choice. We got one more night/day to relax and play with sweet Mallory before going back to reality. We might end all future vacations this way :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

{Day 3} San Antonio

After a non-desired blogging break, my blog is finally working again! I'm not sure what was going on but I'm glad that it got fixed. On to day 3 of our vacation....Sea World! Going to Sea World was our main motivation for planning our vacation. We love watching Sea Rescue on Saturday mornings and despite all the Blackfish junk (yes, I've seen it, but I have my own opinion), I feel that Sea World does a lot of GOOD things for animals. I wanted to go while Eva was still 2 years old so that she could get in free so this summer was the perfect time.

Our morning started off with us hurrying out the door to try to get to Sea World 30 minutes early so we could pick up our tickets and be in the park by 10AM. Of course it took us longer than expected so we didn't get there early and it was one of those comical scenes when you are rushing to get someplace only to stand in line for 30 minutes. No worries, Eva made friends with two girls behind us and decided to hold their hands the whole time we were in line. She was only slightly sad when she realized we weren't going to be hanging out with the random family the entire day.
Our first stop was over to the Sesame Street Bay of Play to see the show with Elmo! We got her all excited to see him, only to find out right at show time that they were having technical difficulties and had to delay the show. Thankfully the characters still came out to take photos and we were able to catch the show later in the day. 
This girl was THRILLED to meet Elmo. It's funny bc she doesn't really watch Sesame Street anymore but she likes all the Sesame Street books we have and she watches our Elmo's Potty Time dvd often. This is in front of a green screen because you can actually get a really awesome photo of your child where they look like they are "on Sesame Street." We never, ever get these photos places but.....we did spring for this one. I will have to scan and post it one day because it is seriously the cutest photo. She was so, so happy to meet Elmo so we figured that would be a good souvenir for her to keep in her room to remember our trip. Great marketing job, Sea World, you won us over!
She also met Bert and Ernie. A month ago she wouldn't have cared at all, but we've been listening to Bert and Ernie's greatest hits on the iPod so she is a big fan now. 
Most of the rides are for kids over 36" tall and Eva was right under it at 35". I figured a little Ferris wheel was safe enough so we just helped her look taller (those pigtails helped).
Riding the carousel together! I love that she loves riding carousels, even if we did wait a while for this one to get up and going. It may have been because some silly lady walked over to the ride without her shoes because the ride was right next to the swim area and then everybody had to wait while silly lady's wonderful husband ran back to grab her shoes. I may have been the silly lady....oops. 
Such a fun water play area! I liked that they had this because Eva wasn't big enough for the regular Sea World rides that you can get wet on and it definitely got warm in the afternoon. They even have little changing rooms so you don't have to wear your swimsuit the whole day and you aren't stuck changing in a restroom stall. 
One of the highlights of Sea World is getting to see all the animals up close. Don't be scared, but we saw the SHARKS! 
 Duh-dun. Duh-dun, duh-dun. {Jaws theme}
The sea lion show was so funny, lots of slap stick comedy and puns. Who doesn't enjoy a good animal pun? 
The Azul dolphin show was wonderful too. It was like a  cirque du soleil show combined with the neat animal tricks.
And of course the winner for the day was Shamu! We went to both the educational show as well as their big One Ocean show so we could see all the whales twice. If that's the point of Sea World, you might as well see every minute of Shamu you can! Eva really liked it but made sure to tell us days in advance that she DID NOT want Shamu to splash her so we sat further back.
Warn out from a long day. We stayed the whole day from 10AM-5PM. When we first started planning our trip I couldn't have imagined staying the whole day but it went great. Also one day at Sea World was really plenty for us to see and do everything. I guess if you do the Aquatica water park or ride the bigger rides you might want to do 2 days at Sea World, but we were good with one. Eva was so tired she was passed out in her cars eat before we left the parking lot. 
Such a sweet family memory! Glad we took her at this age when she can be so excited. Seeing her joy gives us so much joy. Happy day!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

{Day 2} San Antonio

Tuesday was our first full day in San Antonio and we spend most of the morning visiting the San Antonio Children's Museum. This is a great place to take preschooler aged kids and it's located right in the heart of downtown so it's easy to park once and then walk to other places. 
Eva was soooo excited to see 2 snakes right when we walked in. Ryan is deathly afraid of snakes so naturally she has become obsessed with snakes.
One of the science rooms had an exhibit where you could build with blocks and then simulate how they would fall in an earthquake. Eva will tell you that "pushing the button" was her FAVORITE part of our whole vacation. I guess she really liked making the blocks fall over.
The museum has a special area for kids under 3. We happened to be there right during their toddler time. This area was fun to play in but definitely not for the whole time. I'm glad she was big enough to do other activities. 
You're never too old to play dress up. Construction worker Ryan :) 
Ryan and I took turns driving a construction truck. We were hoping our enthusiasm would encourage Eva to do it...it didn't.
On the lowest level of the museum they had a pretend HEB mini market. Kids could shop all the shelves, push their basket, check out at the cashier...and then be politely asked to restock their items. 
Trying to make the boat sail through the water course. 
The front of the museum had a huge science ball area. This was right as the crane poured all the balls out.
After the museum we headed to the Guenther House for lunch. This is one of our favorite restaurants ever. We've eaten there a few times before and the food never disappoints. We even ordered Eva a regular full size meal so we could munch off of three entrees and take home leftovers. Best pancakes ever! 
The front of the house. Their family also manufactures the Pioneer Brand foods out of Denton. 
Then we walked around and decided to crash a senior citizens historical tour. The tour guide knew so much, it was really interesting. She told the group that they would be heading to Fredricksburg the next day - wish we could have gone with them there, too! 
In front of one of the old homes that is now a museum. We had originally thought of going to Sea World on this day but decided to switch days because there was a possibility of thunder storms. Good thing, because as we were walking around a huge storm rolled in. We were able to go home and nap during the storm, but it would have ruined our Sea World day. Glad we thought to check the weather!
Tuesday night we walked over to see the Alamo. We didn't go in because it was after hours and didn't think Eva would care to see everything but we wanted to show her the front. We made sure to say, "Eva, remember the Alamo." Know she will be set for life as a Texan.
Spontaneous photo shoot! She jumped right up and kept asking me to take her picture. I got at least 10 really beautiful shots of her. 
We also dined and walked around the Riverwalk. Classic San Antonio.

Monday, June 2, 2014

{Day 1} San Antonio

We are back from vacation, unpacked, and I finally have a moment to start blogging about our trip! We did 3 nights in San Antonio but before I get into all that let's start with our "car prize" bag. In preparation for the 6 hour drive I packed a fun bag of things to keep Eva entertained. She does not usually travel well in the car so I knew it could be a stressful day. Before our trip I made a trip to Dollar Tree to pick up a few new things - stickers, coloring books, glow sticks, etc. I kept it under $10 and the rest of the "prizes" were things we already had that I thought would pack and travel well, like her Crayola magic doodle pad and Fisher Price sing along puppy. I am glad I was so prepared but to be honest, she made it THE WHOLE WAY THERE with only surprising her with the new stuffed snake, a new Elmo book, and watching one movie. What??? My child did well in the car all day? Yep. I was pretty impressed. We also listened to tons of music which filled most of our time, and she was so happy to be singing along with us for hours. I saved the rest of the toys for while we were there, a few for the way back, and even had a couple extra left that I stashed away for a rainy day.
And this was our snack stash....seriously, I felt a little silly. Was I packing for a nuclear disaster? It looked like a lot all laid out. But it really wasn't. My tiny little girl can eat BIG. She didn't need many toys to keep her occupied but 5 minutes in to the trip she asked for a snack and was hungry alllllll the ride down, even with stopping to eat a good lunch. The rest of the snacks were super helpful for our vacation outings and we didn't have to spend any extra money there buying little snacks, only meals. Even Sea World let you take in individual packaged snacks so taking this stash of food was very worth it. A little bit of planning and packing saved us lots of money.
Of course even with all that food we stopped for kolaches at the Czech stop! This was a much needed potty break and a tradition we couldn't pass up. Speaking of potty break - Eva did AMAZING and had zero accidents the entire vacation. I was so proud of her!!!! We only stopped once for a break and once for a meal both coming and going. I was thinking it could turn into a 10 hour drive with us having to stop all the time but she did so great. 
Oh yeah, and we stopped at Buc-cee's. This was mostly so Ryan could show me all that Buc-cee's had to offer, although we only bought a disposable razor since I had forgotten mine. Still, it was a fun place to stretch our legs while we waited for it to be check-in time. 
Eva also made it the entire drive without falling asleep....until that last 15 minutes. Of course. We let her sleep while we unloaded the car.
Our first outing was to the Incredible Pizza Company! I found this place recommended on a blog as a fun family spot. We really liked it. I've since read some reviews of other locations that seemed less great, but our food was good (for a pizza buffet) and the games were clean and fun (unlike Main Event). 
One of our favorite games was mini-bowling. Tiny little bowling balls for tiny people. 
Playing games with her Daddy! I liked how kid friendly these games were. We avoided all the shooting ones and had so much fun showing her the silly ones. 
High scorer for the wack-a-shark game? That would be me. 
500 ticket jackpot winner? That would be Eva! Needless to say, she had way too many tickets to spend on the world's cheapest  greatest prizes at the end of the night! Fun family night number one? Check! More vacation stories coming soon...