So I just realized I totally published a draft of this post instead of saving it as a draft. Out of practice much??
Anyway, Summer 2015 unfortunately came and went in the blink of an eye.
We didn’t travel much because we’re saving money. Add to that: school shopping for the girls. Then our dryer crapped out (it lived a long life), and then Jorge’s car battery died. But such is life. I’m just truly glad we were able to bounce back from all that instantly!
We did have a trip to the zoo. Julien said he’d never been there so it was a must. The zoo isn’t as…lively as I remember it, but the kids still had fun. And there was a Dinosaur exhibit so Julien loved that :).
We had the Food Truck Park Block Party in June. The kids weren’t home that weekend so it was a welcome distraction. I was getting over the only cold I managed to get this year so I slept a good 3 hours before going in to work that Saturday.
I told myself I would take pics with my co-workers, but we didn’t get a chance AT ALL. It was madness, but a huge success. We were so busy I didn’t even get to snap a photo of the event, so I stole some from the internets.
It was so packed and crazy!!
My goal was to do something fun with the kids at least once a week, and trips to Ben and Jerry’s are always a treat (literally!) and one of my favorite things to do with the kiddos. They love it :).
And although we never got to visit the water park in Pharr, we visited the Splash Park nearby.
The girls did a lot of cooking. I mean tons. Emily could probably make French Toast all on her own, sans the actual cooking on her own part. She’s pretty good at flipping them, though!
Even Jaylen, Justin and Jorgie would get in on the action. Eenan helps stir once in a while, heh.
Fourth of July was a huge hit :). Jorge and I had gone over one weekend while the kiddos were with the other parents to help Javi with the yard so, you know, the place wouldn’t catch fire from the fireworks. We saw some pretty amazing things while we were out there, 2 of them being:
Dina, Briana and the kids were here for the 4th and Javi was hosting us at his house. We visited Gramma (4th of July is her birthday!) and hung out with her a while before going to Javi’s.
The whole family was there and it was the best!
It was a great time :).
We had a family trip to the beach on July 18th. It was something we’d planned in advance, but we like to procrastinate so the actual PLANNING part didn’t happen till that morning, so of course, everyone was running late.
We stopped for breakfast:
And we had 2 stops at Walmart because we couldn’t find flip-flops in the boys’ sizes. Once we arrived at the beach, got settled, popped up the tent and got allllll the kids slathered in sunblock, everyone had a great time.
After several hours at the beach, we all decided to get going. I love the beach, I just loathe the getting cleaned up part. There are always so many people at the bathrooms. We decided last-minute we’d rent a room and stay overnight. The kids, of course, weren’t happy because they left all their electronics at home, but they got over it and were happy to rest before dinner at Senor Donkey. The kids had their own suite attached to our master bedroom, so it was awesome and we were all comfortable.
We had to stop by the one market on the island to get some contacts solution for me and then we chilled out before we went to bed. I usually can’t sleep at hotels, but I slept like a rock!
We had a great time! Hopefully we can really plan ahead next year and make a week out of it!
So it’s the end of Augustmid-September January and I’m finally sitting down to write about our little vacation in July. The delay is mostly due to wanting to add photos, of course, but it’s so time-consuming having to go back through the 500+ (or possibly more) photos I took during that week and even more of a pain to upload. But here goes. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the lack of time. Maybe I’ll even upload this entry before August is over! Ahaha. No.
We got all the kids ready to go on July 14th. Gave them breakfast, stuffed the bags in the back of the truck and got all 7 kids in the truck. We made at least 3 trips back into the house because we forgot this or that, Jorge stopped by Taco Palenque for tacos for us and then we took off for Austin!
That was the best photo I could get, believe it or not, hehe.
It was a quiet ride for the most part, as the kids slowly nodded off one by one. Jorge and I took turns picking songs to listen and sing to and then we get to the Falfurrias, TX check point. We wake all the kids up and like always, make jokes about them not being smart asses and saying something that’ll ’cause them to think we’re smuggling children ’cause there’s so many (what with all the smuggling going on these days).
We pass, “US citizens?” “Yes, sir,” and they wave us through.
Jorge jokes, “Alright, we made it!”
Jorge: *breaks into Mexican anthem* “Mexicanos, al grito de Guerra…”
Always a laugh-fest with him and the kids ^_^.
We stopped to eat at McDonald’s in San Marcos at noon. People are usually pretty impressed with how efficient our orders are and how well-behaved our kids are ^_^. We let them have some time in the play area (well, the little ones, anyway) and then we were back on the road.
We made a few stops along the way, checked in at the hotel and finally made it to Dina’s around 5pm. Everyone passed around hugs and welcomes and we settled in. The first place we would be visiting would be the Micki Krebsbach Pool, so we got all the kiddos ready in their swim suits, packed coolers, and we were off.
Eenan is going to kill me if he ever sees this photo on the interwebs, heh. All 4 of the big boys are in this photo ^_^.
The kids had so much fun and reluctantly changed into their dry clothes asking when we’d be back.
We got back to Dina’s and ordered Domino’s. The kids were getting tired so we went back to the hotel. It was a tight squeeze with all our kiddos, since the room was lacking the sofabed it was supposed to have, but we made it work :). After showers were had and everyone put to bed, I pretty much crashed out.
I was the first to wake up the next morning and took Emily with me to get some breakfast. Nobody else was awake, or wanted to go. So I had my coffee and oatmeal and she happily ate her cereal.
Jorge eventually woke up, as did the boys and Alaethia and they all kind of lazied around playing on electronics. That’s what I love about our vacations: we’re not really in a hurry and everything’s calm :).
Jorge took some of the boys to get breakfast. I’d brought some pastries and yogurt and Alaethia, Eenan and Justin were ok with that. We got ready and started our day by getting a few groceries and things we’d need for our second pool day. We get back to Dina’s and start getting the kids ready. We couldn’t find Julien’s trunks anywhere, so we put him in some shorts that LOOKED like trunks and hoped for the best. We packed the bags and coolers once again and took off.
We get to Micki Krebsbach Pool…and it’s closed!! Jorge makes an audible growl and is kind of quiet on the way to the next place Briana knows about in Round Rock called Rock-n-River Family Aquatic Center. We arrive, we pay and
settle into the nearest, empty picnic area. But not before they stop us…because Julien’s trunks aren’t trunks. Ugh. Jorge’s patience was sliced very thin by now, but he kept his patience. And I’m glad, too, because the manager lent us trunks. Briana said they’ll usually kick people out!
The kids have barely stepped into the water when they blow the whistle.
Darn thunder and lightning are threatening to make their way over and everyone’s told to get out of the water. We have to wait 15 minutes before getting back in. If they blow the whistle again, it’s another 15, and so on.
So, we took photos to pass the time :).
The kids were becoming antsy so we gave them snacks. We waited a pretty long time, maybe an hour, and they continued to blow the whistle. They finally tell us they’re closing for the day and there’s an uproar from all the families that had arrived around the time we had and didn’t even get to get into the water. They gave us vouchers, but it was pretty crappy because we wouldn’t be around to use them because they’d be closed Wednesday and we were leaving Thursday. Ugh. So we gave them to Briana to use with the kids.
We get to Dina’s and she had just arrived from work. A drama show starts after a phone call from Jorge’s boys’ mother, who riled up Julien and he was inconsolable afterwards. Kept saying his mom had left him and he missed her. Heartbreaking. The boys confirmed that she’d not been home most of the week so he hadn’t seen her. It was sad, and Jorge was annoyed, so we gathered all the kids and went to the hotel.
We scanned the entire local phone book looking for take-out and couldn’t agree on anything with the kids so we just ordered pizza, from Pizza Hut this time. The kids were all thrilled, so that was great :). Can’t go wrong with pizza. Well, maybe for Eenan, but he was okay with it :).
We ate and joked around. Justin’s a clown!
(Hope he doesn’t flip because I posted that, haha!)
We got everyone showered and I was the last one. By the time I got out of the shower all the boys were fired up and hyper…and I find out Jorge let them have Capri Suns at almost midnight *sigh*. They were laughing their butts off, including Jorge! I finally had to switch to Strict Mom Mode and shush them all up!
The next morning only Jorgie and I were awake, so we sneaked off to get coffee for ourselves and Jorge. We watched TV while slowly each little head popped out of the covers. Some of the kids wanted breakfast from the diner, the rest wanted cereal in the room. So everyone ate, got ready and then we headed over to Dina’s, where we took an opportunity to get a group photo 🙂
Briana does a great job looking for stuff for us to do! This day, we’d visit Zilker Botanical Gardens. We usually take a hike with the kids at Walnut Creek, but this was different and AWESOME!
Throughout our hike, Julien would ask, “We see the dinosaur now?” and we’d say, “No, Pa, I don’t think we’ll find any…” and then we see this:
Jorge, Julien, Emily and I got separated from the group because the little ones needed to pee. We met up later at the butterfly area/children’s area. It was beautiful there!!
It was hot and the little ones were becoming antsy, but it was on to the next part of the trip: the Elizabet Ney Museum.
The kids thought they were visiting a castle, but they got a bit of a history lesson, heh. I was proud of how well-behaved they were :).
We went back to Dina’s apartment and ate, then packed our bags to go to the Micki Krebsbach Pool. Besides Jorgie dropping his phone in the pool and an initial stall because his in-grown toenails had become INCREDIBLY infected (and he never told us!), it was a great, great time. All us adults even went down the slide. Briana and I had to encourage each other, ’cause we’re both terrified of deep pools, but we eventually got on, TWICE!
Jorge and Javi went, too. Jorge was a bit terrified, only because he was afraid he and Javi would clear the turn and fly off due to their weight, haha, but they were fine!
I had a photo of Jorge doing the obstacle course (he kept “pish-poshing” when the kids would fall and said he could totally do it, but couldn’t LOL), but he’d kill me if I posted it :D. He did admit that it was harder than it looks, hah.
We finished the day at the pool and headed back to Dina’s. Everyone was exhausted after our long day. We gathered all our things after dinner (details are hazy now, but I think we ordered Chinese) and Jorgie spent the night there so we’d return to say our goodbyes in the morning.
We woke up, had breakfast, then checked out of the hotel. We picked up Jorgie and said our see-you-laters.
I wanted to visit East Austin Succulents so we Wazed the directions and after a slight wrong turn we found it. But only after passing by this bridge:
All the guys stayed in the car while Alethia, Emily and I browsed through the nursery.
I was in heaven :). The girls each picked a succulent and I picked two:
I drove around with them everywhere we went and prayed they’d make it home. They did. (But now that it’s been 6 months since I bought them, the one on the top right has since died, waaah! No wonder they sold it to me for $1 =\.)
We were going to drive home, spend the night and then leave to South Padre Island in the morning. But instead, we decided to drive to North Padre Island straightaway. We got a great rate on the hotel and were relieved to rest. Jorge went to Walmart to get sand toys (since we’d left all of the beach stuff at home), towels and I stayed with the kids and did some laundry. Jorge got back and since the kids wanted to walk over to the beach, we did.
We got back and washed everyone down and I finished laundry while Jorge ordered in Domino’s. And then, sleep!
Woke up the next day and we fed everyone. We made sure to gather all our things, pack our coolers and checked out and headed to the beach. It was a really nice day :).
And of course, he remembered:
A storm was rolling in and we left right on time. We got everyone washed and changed in the bathrooms nearby and then we tried finding a park on Waze. No luck, after circling the island forever. The kids snacked on stuff and then passed out:
And that was the end of our vacation. And it only took me 6 months to write about it, heh!
We had an eventful end-of-July and it seems like August is just whizzing by! I feel like this summer went by way too fast :(. But we’re trying to make the best of our time together (Jorge and I alone, and our weeks with the kids :)).
We’ve been doing lots of baking when the kids are here. Emily kept asking me to find a brownies recipe so I checked out Pinterest and found several. Some called for tons of ingredients to keep them from crumbling or the Oreos from sinking but I wanted to keep it simple. I tried these 2 simple ingredients and was glad these worked out for me:
1 box Duncan Hines chewy fudge brownies (make sure it’s the 13×9 family size box).
24 Oreos of your choice (I used Birthday Cake Oreos!)
Prepare the brownie batter as stated on the box. Set aside and preheat your oven. Spray Pam on a 13×9 pan (I used a glass one).
Spread half the batter in the pan, set aside the rest. Begin carefully making an Oreo layer until you fill the pan.
Carefully pour the remaining batter over your Oreo layer. You may need to spread some with a spoon to completely cover the Oreos. Bake your brownies according to the 13×9 time on the box (I’m typing this weeks later so I forget what the time is!).
Once they’re out, let them cool just a bit.
Once cool-ish, cut your brownies into squares.
I was thrilled that the butter knife just slid through! Use a spatula to serve your brownies and enjoy :).
When the kiddos are at their other parents’ homes Jorge and I will do something around the house (like paint the doors and trim in the kitchen, or clean), or watch movies. We STILL haven’t re-started with the jogging, but we’re still doing the low-carb thing (when we’re not baking with the kids, heh), so we’re maintaining, thank goodness.
Sally and I hadn’t gotten together, or talked really, in almost 2 months, so we caught up last week (having lunch at Feldman’s and then I went over after work one day) and we’ve been texting back and forth. I need to remember to make time for my friends. I get so busy with everyday life that I neglect them sometimes :(.
We were fortunate enough to celebrate Eenan’s 14th birthday at South Padre Island last weekend. It was hectic, getting things ready literally that morning, and the commute was insanely long! Well, not really, we actually made it to Port Isabel in 45 minutes…but we were in line from Port Isabel to the bridge for about an hour. It was like Spring Break, not even joking.
We got to the hotel, checked in, then unloaded all our luggage and the kids and Mom. A lot of crap gets packed for 3 adults and 6 kids!! The room was booked for Jorge for us, so when we got to the hotel and realized it wasn’t exactly like the photo they showed us, we were a little disappointed. But we couldn’t complain. We got hooked up.
We got everyone settled and went to pick up dinner. The streets were INSANE. People everywhere, traffic. It was seriously like some kind of holiday. We ended up at Daddy’s, which was packed, went straight to the bar and ordered our seafood platters. My love and I chit-chatted while we waited, then headed back to the hotel to eat with the family. The kids loved the food. Mmm…I’m craving some now!!
Jorgie didn’t have trunks, so we went to the nearest store and bought him some and picked up a few things at the only supermaket on the island. We put the kids to sleep around 10pm (Emily crashed out at 8pm!), then my love and I sat in the balcony and just talked about everything. About us, our kids, our plans for the future, everything. We don’t always have time to sit and just TALK, so it was nice :).
We went to bed and at around 3am Emily woke me up. “Mama,” she whispers and tugs at my arm sleeve.
“What happened, Baby?” I croak. I open one eye and see two huge eyes staring back.
“I can’t sleep anymore!!” she whispers back. I snuggle her and we both fall asleep again.
We get up and wash up for breakfast the next morning. After we all ate, we went back to the room and the kids watched TV for a good hour or so while Jorge napped (or tried to, heh).
We showered, got our stuff together, checked out and headed to the beach. We parked, sunscreened everyone up and then it was play time. The kids had a blast :).
The birthday boy!
The shells we found:
We couldn’t find a place to have lunch, so after we washed up (took me FOREVER because the older lady that was in front of my literally washed every fold and crevice she had. Twice -_-), we headed to Burger King.
We ate, drove home, and picked up an Oreo ice cream cake from Dairy Queen (Eenan’s request).
We picked Eenan’s gift up (The Last of Us) and then they all got ready to leave for the week :(. I love those kiddos! We had such a great weekend. Too bad it couldn’t have lasted longer!!
Ok. Just wanted to get this posted before more time passed. I’ve got an UNO game to join!