Friday, August 29, 2014

Hello, High School!

So this week brought back structure, routine and the beginning of Miss Taylor's high school career. She was a bit nervous about finding all of her classes at what is a pretty large school but she hasn't gotten lost at all this week. We picked up one of her friends on the way so they could walk in together. From what I hear, most of her crew did the same with someone who lived close by. :)

She was a little on edge that morning and asked if she could take a first day pic at school and send it to me. So here she and Emily are close to the end of the day...and they look 20, y'all. How did this happen???

She has several classes that she truly loves in addition to those pesky core classes. All in all, this has been a really good first week. She's gotten up on time, had a healthy breakfast every morning, got her work done, worked with her animals daily, and had family dinners each night. Since I'm in the middle of McLane Stadium opening weekend projects and Tonto was diagnosed with pneumonia yesterday, I'm just gonna call those basics WINNING because it's been about survival the past few years. :)

She also went to youth group Wednesday night and apparently took some cute pics. Love this girl soooo much and her new love of fashion, shopping and accessories has given me a new window into her likes and dislikes. Love it. Even if it's about to break me. :)

Happy Labor Day weekend, y'all!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Lovin' on Livestock

The end of summer brought a new member of the livestock family. Meet Sprocket, friends. He joined us a few weeks ago and, honestly, came about much sooner than we had anticipated. But it's apparently been a banner year for show goat sales and it became pretty apparent that we needed to get one soon if we were going to get one at all. :)

Our breeder got out of the business this year so we ended up at a place in Rogers that we'd never heard of before; however, the people were so sweet and they take really good care of their animals (and place a lot of importance on genetics and switching on their stud regularly) so I'm sure we'll be back again next year.

Taylor decided to name her next goat Sprocket a long time ago. Like, in the middle of last show season, but it became very clear to me that she had gotten the one that was MEANT TO BE when we learned that his dad's name is Rocket. And he's a pretty good looking goat too. :)

Of course, lots of time has been spent with sweet Dottie throughout the summer months and she's actually going to her second show this weekend. And this time we won't be at a national points show so hopefully that will mean a little less stress for everyone involved. :)

Gotta love the livestock life, right?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kayaking on the Brazos

The day after we came back from the beach, we dropped Tiny off at daycare and had some more mature fun. Taylor had really been wanting to try paddle boarding and kayaking so we headed to the Baylor Marina where she and Hallie tried their hand at the ol' board.

In fact, Taylor was pretty darn good at it and even managed to stand up for most of the time. Though she will tell you that it was difficult and, while she was happy to check this one off her bucket list, it's probably not something she will try on a weekly basis.

Isn't she cute?

After a while, the girls decided to try something a bit more stable like kayaking.

And, yes, Tonto and I made our way down to McLane Stadium to get a look at the new home of the Bears from the middle of the Brazos River. 

It was a really fun afternoon and it was also a pretty good upper body workout. We will definitely go kayaking again but I'm not sure the girls will try paddle boarding again any time soon. :)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Wrapping It Up

Our very last day of vacation found the girls sleeping in while Tonto and I literally chugged cup after cup of coffee in the hotel lobby because a tiny person - who won't be named - did not sleep well AT ALL the night before. But it's better that it happened the last night than in the middle of the week, I guess. :)

We headed out to Kemah, which wasn't packed at all, and the girls got their ride wristbands. I rode one ride - the wooden roller coaster that was closed when we were there last year - and it was ROUGH. Also, my child may have screamed the entire way. And made some very sad sounding pleas for someone to let her off said ride. 

Clearly they recovered quickly, though, because they were up for silly pics immediately after.

We walked down the boardwalk and the girls fed the fish. Or, rather, tried to feed the fish. Those ducks were vicious, friends.

Tonto carried Tiny around like this so that she wouldn't get a sunburn. Baby girls make some people less tough. Or so I've heard. Just saying'. :)

Pretty sure this is the only pic he and I took together all week. My photos, in general, kinda lack this year BUT I had a really good reason. And much less time on my hands than usual.

The girls rode a few more rides...

...and then we headed to eat at The Aquarium. None of us had eaten here before but the atmosphere was amazing. The food was ok but the aquariums made up for it.

The girls spent a lot of time like this...kinda typical, I guess.

This dessert looks amazing. I know. I had high hopes. And it was just kinda ok. Which was disappointing. But, in my defense, I didn't choose it. Personally I would have gone for the creme brûlée. :)

Once back outside, we took a few more pics...

...and I'm kind in love with this one, honestly...

...before the girls did a bit more souvenir shopping.

They had plans to ride a few more rides before heading home but things got much busier while we were eating and they were tired so we set out for Waco. And Tiny proceeded to SCREAM until we got to Bryan and stopped because, well, SOMETHING had to give. Thankfully, Tonto got her to sleep and she remained that way until we got to the house.

And that wrapped up Tiny's first vacay. One that was super sweet, filled with fun memories, saw its share of good fun, was a great balance between beachin' and activity, and brought us yet another week closer to Taylor starting high school.

But that's a different story for a different day.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sweet Summer Saturday

We usually try to avoid tourist-y attractions on weekends when we're on vacation but this year it kind of couldn't be avoided the way things worked out. That being said, we truly didn't experience much of a crowd at all in Galveston (probably due to the massive seaweed explosion) so it really wasn't an issue this time. :)

After a very lazy morning, we headed to Rainforest Cafe for lunch. Always a must-do and always super fun.

Tiny loooooved all of the animals and water. In fact, our server was shocked that she was so good and didn't cry. Apparently that doesn't happen often. Clearly she's a prodigy. Ha!

Unfortunately, Tonto did not enjoy the mattress at the hotel the night before and was having some relatively major back issues. Which explains why he and Tiny, who was taking a nap, hung out at the picnic table while the girls and I played mini golf.

Taylor cracks me up when we play because she is super serious or super not. And it changes from hole to hole - you just never know what you're gonna get.

I'm not sure why I find this pic so funny but it makes me laugh every single time.

And here's the one when she actually looked. 

Hallie, on the other hand, was intent on kicking our behinds on this particular day. And, well, she most certainly did. 

After our 18 holes, we went up the road and tried our hand at go carts. Taylor gets nervous about driving period so she was really cautious. And her greatest fear is being spun around, stuck or causing a wreck. So the look on her face when Hallie spun her around and both of them got stuck - because Taylor was taking the turn too cautiously - was priceless.

I, on the other hand, grew up on a go cart track (southern Louisiana has its perks, y'all) and I totally lapped everyone. At least once. Pretty sure Tonto has never been more proud. Seriously.

After wrapping up some souvenir shopping at Wings (also a must), we headed over to Seabrook for the night. Our plan was to hit Kemah the next day (we tried to go ahead and do it that night but, hello, major crowd) so we had dinner at Mario's Flying Pizza. Y'all. It's sooooo good. We happened upon it last year and were intent on trying it again.

After dinner, we headed over to Pelican Path (different pelican statues are spread throughout Seabrook and it's a super fun element) and I remembered how much I love this shirt. :)

The pelicans are really bright and shiney, which is right up Tiny's alley.

The girls also found them to be great places to pose.

At the end of the path, there was a nice fountain. Not only did Tiny love it but - you guessed it - it totally put her to sleep. Again. Clearly we need to give up the radio in her room and invest in an ocean sound machine instead.

Once back at the hotel, we just lounged and were lazy. Tonto, Tiny and I watched Fast and Furious while the girls went to the pool for a while. The baby did NOT sleep well that night and it was rough for everyone. But Kemah was up before we headed home... :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Vacay Transitions

Our vacation Friday led to a bit of transition as we changed locations. My parents headed home and we were going to spend the night in Galveston but we headed to Lake Jackson first to visit the Texas Parks & Wildlife fish hatchery. It was small - but free - and was really cool.

There was a touch tank...

...and aquariums of all sizes...

...and we had a great tour guide who gave us a behind the scenes look at the hatchery business. :)

It was really interesting even if you can't tell by Tiny. She slept through the entire visit.

The girls begrudgingly took a cute pic out front before we headed over to Galveston for lunch.

We absolutely love Salsas and sometimes you just need a bit of a break from seafood even if you are at the coast. And this Mexican food is AMAZING!

The girls chose to stay at the same hotel we did last year because it has an amazing pool. There's also a poolside snack counter and bar, which doesn't hurt at all. It has a grotto and lights throughout, which look fantastic at night.

We all had dinner at McAlister's after spending several hours in the pool - Tiny took three naps poolside - and were planning to head over to Moody Gardens for some fun at Palm Beach along with Friday night fireworks. Unfortunately, the baby was ready for bed so Tonto took her back to the hotel while the rest of us had a girls evening.

We spent most of our time in the (interactive) lazy river and just enjoyed some down time. The sunset was beautiful and, though we didn't make it long enough for fireworks, we had a blast.

And, of course, because it was a girls night we ended the night with some frozen yogurt. It. Was. Grand. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Life's a Beach

After a brief respite, let's continue to relive vacation. Cool? Seriously, I'm sure no one cares but I do like looking back on it from time to time so please humor me. :)

Our Thursday in the beach house was pretty lazy. There was a lot of lounging around...

...and watching television...

...and just being generally lazy.

There was also some napping going on. :)

The girls and I headed down to the beach while Tonto napped and my parents did some sightseeing. It was a beautiful day.

And Taylor finally got Tiny to stay awake long enough to actually dip her toes in the water.

But that didn't last long. She passed out while the girls and I were standing in the waves and ended up napping with Tonto.

We enjoyed some girl time before these two left me to take a shower and get ready for a nice dinner at On The River that night.

So I spent a long time here...

...just gazing and relaxing and wishing I didn't ever have to leave.

And, yes, dinner was amazing but I can't share any of those pics because Tiny's sweet face is in all of them, y'all. She was in rare form after her long nap and really enjoyed herself. 

We enjoyed a sweet last night in the house as my parents were leaving the next day and we were heading to a new destination. But our time at The Great Escape was seriously amazing. In fact, we're planning to visit again pretty soon. What can I say? We're beach folk. :)