Of course, they did great. Well, Jack started the familiar chorus of, "How much longer?" about 30 minutes into the trip! He wasn't interested in any books, coloring pages, audiobooks, or any other activities I had planned for him, so the poor kid just stared out the window and half-cried the second half of the trip!
We arrived in the early evening and took a stroll around her apartment complex. They dipped their feet in the pool (more on that later!) and played in the workout room for a few minutes. We had a snack and Jenny read them books for at least half an hour before they reluctantly went to bed.
Jenny had to work the next morning for a few hours, so I took the kids to HEB to gather some groceries for our stay. I guess it's unusual to have a big family in a college town because we got a lot of stares. ;-) After dropping off the groceries, we went to a nearby park- one of my favorite parks of all time. It's so awesome for big kids and little kids! They had a blast while it was still cool in the early morning.
We walked along the river banks afterward and the kids dipped their toes in the water. Then they got in, laughing and shivering and not quite believing how clear the water really was!
After lunch and a quick rest time, we drove out to the outlet mall for some shopping. Beth almost got her ears pierced but decided that she wanted to do it without her brothers around. I think she's a little nervous! Instead, the boys got some shoes and the girls got some clothes!
We promised that they could play in the pool that afternoon so when we got home, everyone suited up. I planned to stay back with Caeli, make dinner, and then meet them there, but the unthinkable happened: the pool was closed. The kids were devastated!!! It was so upsetting! We promised to find a place to swim the next day, they watched some tv, and went to bed.
On Tuesday, everyone was up around 7 am (that's late for them!) and we got ready to go exploring at a local touristy spot. We took a train through a petting zoo of sorts, descended into an underground cave, took an elevator up to 150 feet above the ground so we could observe the (extinct) fault line, and went into a "zero gravity house" that gave me a headache!
|Descending into the cave|
|Looking into Edward's aquifer, at the purest water you've seen in your entire life.|
We brought a picnic and went home. Everyone was exhausted and Luke and Caeli had naps.
That afternoon we all got into our swimsuits and went down to the river for some swimming. The kids didn't realize how cold it would be, but they gathered their courage and jumped in! Luke led the way- I was so impressed!
They watched a movie after dinner, and went to bed. The next day we left right after breakfast to come home and meet Ryan for his birthday!
Ryan had told me that he'd made plans for us that night, so his parents came in to watch the kids so we could go out. First we went to a new Mexican restaurant, then he surprised me with tickets to an Incubus concert that he'd won from work. We were early though (well, we didn't like the opening act!) so we went to grab a drink first, then stayed for part of the concert before heading home. It was fun, but we hadn't heard any of their new album, and honestly it was too loud. Oh, our aging, aching ears! Ha ha.
Thursday was a normal day, and Friday we all packed up to go to Ryan's parent's house. They're moving, so we had one last gathering there with Ryan's brother and nephew. We had a great time, celebrating lasts and remembering firsts.
We came home Saturday night so we could go to mass at our parish on Sunday, for my birthday. I really wanted to go to our parish on my birthday, so I was happy that everyone agreed to that! We had brunch with friends afterward, and when we came home I baked my birthday cake- a tres leches. Yum!
I had a quick nap and went out for a quick shopping trip because, well, I like to shop on my birthday. It's dumb but I just kind of like to start my new year with something new. It was largely unsuccessful- I just bought a black t-shirt!
I came home to a pitcher of margaritas and a bunch of happy adults, ready to party and grill some burgers!
I saved all the cards I had gotten in the mail that week (from my grandmothers, parents, and our realtor, haha) and opened them after cake. It's the way we did it growing up and it's comforting to me to continue those traditions! We said goodbye after 9 and put the kids to bed. And Ryan and I crashed at 10:00!
At this point, you'd think our crazy birthday week was over, but Ryan had one last surprise for me! He told me that I had plans on Monday night, picked out an outfit for me, and told me to be ready at 6:30 pm. I had a hunch I was being picked up and I was right! Three girlfriends rang the bell and jokingly told me to grab my suitcase cause we were going to the airport! They brought me a giant balloon, birthday tiara, and clip-on earrings and whisked me away!
I had no idea where we were going, so when we showed up at a restaurant to a table set with 14 or so seats, I was pretty flabbergasted! And nervous- I was pretty sure I didn't even know 14 people who would come to celebrate my birthday!
One by one, ladies walked in. I was amazed because I hadn't prepared myself for any of this, so each person was a surprise to me! Especially my dear friend who drove over an hour with her baby to come!
I was truly touched and honored. I received several sweet, thoughtful gifts and as each one of them told me happy birthday, I was near tears. It was so moving and special to me.
While I was surprised, I'm also not surprised at all. I know that Ryan is amazing, and for him to call and email and text all of these people (or their husbands!), make a reservation, and kick me out of the house for a night of fun is sooo him. He spoils me so much, and I know! And to round everything out, he stayed home an extra 45 minutes this morning to let me sleep in a bit and brought me my morning latte before heading to work. He's so thoughtful, and pretty perfect.
And he definitely won birthday week this year. :)