Thursday, September 25, 2014

Summer Travelin' - Houston & San Antonio

I'm getting so far detached from summer that if I don't soon document it, I'll let it slide.  Recently I looked through some pictures on our camera and computer and thought, "Too bad I never blogged about that".  Most of those pictures are over a year old now.  So here's a whirlwind report of our summer travels. (Sadly, our camera is lost, with most of our pictures of TX, but I did take a couple of camera phone pictures).

In mid July we flew to Houston to visit my two brothers and their families.  Earlier in the Spring Matt and I decided that we'd add an extra leg to our summer travels so we could vacation somewhere other than Utah - which isn't bad at all, but we want to see other places too:) .

And we had the perfect excuse.  My brother's youngest daughter was going to be baptized, my parents would be visiting too, so that meant everyone would be there, except my sister's family.  It was the closest thing to a family reunion on my side of the family that we'd get for this year.

It was awesome!  My brothers live 30 or so minutes from each other so we stayed at one's house and played at the other.

The baptism was lovely and our children LOVED being with cousins.  They swam, played, and enjoyed being together.

When we lived in CT we never went to a Red Sox game, something we somewhat regret, but we had the chance to see them play during our TX visit.  The first half of the game was spent going from one seating area to another as my brother would call us and say, "come down to section x, seats 1,2,3. The view is MUCH better."  Then we'd get there and he wasn't there.  Soon he'd call and say, "we found another place, and it's MUCH better."  We decided to stay put since my mother's knees were tired of the work out:).  It was a lot of fun, and so good to be with my family!

Afterwards there was a big fireworks show.  Our children stayed up until midnight - CST, 1 a.m. Eastern, and all this after getting up at 4 a.m. EST to drive to BWI for our flight.  Needless  to say, we were beat.

After a fun weekend together we left early Monday morning and drove to San Antonio.  It's close about 3 1/2 -4 hours from Houston.  My brother had business in SA so he drove us there, and made sure to introduce us to more TX flare, including a stop at Buc-ee's (pronounced Bucky's).  It's a gas station/convenience store, but it is more of a destination than anything.  Probably 50 fueling up stations (not exaggerating), and a HUGE convenience store, which really is a mini mall.  The bathrooms were awesome too.  Good grief it was a spectacle.  When we got to SA my brother said goodbye for the day and dropped us off at Sea World.  Going to Sea World on a Monday was the best decision!  The crowds were very minimal.  We saw every show we could squeeze in, went on The Ride to Atlantis at least 3x's, got soaked, and took in all the other rides we could muster.  It was SO HOT!  But we applied sun screen at least four times and kept refilling our water.  I think that's what saved us from heat stroke.

Later that night my brother came back, picked us up and took us out to eat for some real Texas BBQ.  It was a place called Rudy's Country Store.  Which is kind of weird to have a restaurant in the midst of a store, but it was way cool.  The food was good and we were tired after a fun day.

Tuesday morning Jeremy dropped us off at the Alamo.  We LOVED it!  Wes had just finished reading a book about Davey Crockett so he kept chattering on about Davey Crockett this, and Davey Crockett that.  It was awesome.  We watched a movie about it in the hospital wing (stone rooms) and toured through the beautiful gardens.  It's much smaller than I envisioned, and right smack dab in the middle of town.

After that we walked to the San Antonio River Walk.  One of our Stake Presidency members had suggested we take a boat tour on the river, and I'm so glad we did!  It was awesome!  The tour guide was a dry-humored, older gentleman who added the perfect touch.  The river walk is the #1 tourist attraction in San Antonio.  It's lined with shops and restaurants.  You have to walk down several steps to get to it and there are trees and flowers everywhere.  It was just so tropically beautiful!  More detail about the River Walk ... it's one story below the main streets in SA.  It was designed to help control flooding of the area, blending natural and man-made elements.

After the tour we went to The Republic of Texas restaurant, another recommendation from a friend.  And then walked back to the Alamo to meet my brother.  He taxied us off to the airport where we caught our flight to Salt Lake City.

What a perfect detour!  We absolutely loved it.  And even though it was a relatively quick stay (even quicker for Matt, who couldn't fly in until Sunday), it was filled with family, great food and plenty of fun!  I told Matt that I'll have a hard time going back to a regular trip to Utah again, now that we've done this detour.  I think it's going to have to become somewhat of a regular part of the trip, somewhere new every time, of course. :)