Category: Vacations

Day 2 – Sea World

The last time I posted we just chilled out the rest of the night in the hotel. The boys played their DS’s, Alaethia had a fab time playing with her babies and pulling things out of everyone’s bags. We didn’t feel like going anywhere for dinner so we ordered in, though I can’t remember exactly what at the moment.

I forgot to mention on the previous entry that the day before while we were still at the Alamo Yadira got Matthew’s overnight Strep test results and he was positive for Strep. And he’d shared a drink with Alaethia. I was on pins and needles the rest of the trip, and was praying that if she got sick please, God, please make it before June 30th. The kids were denied their Chip insurance after that :(.

I was Myspacing Mario through my Centro but in a moment of desperation I went outside and tried stealing Wi-Fi from somewhere. Jorge followed me and watched me from our hotel room while he smoked a cigarette (I felt a little uneasy being alone…and apparently Jorge felt like that about me too LOL). We were right across from Burger King and if I stood at the corner of the 2nd story (where our rooms were) I could totally get signal! I could actually get it all the way in front of our door, but once I got in it disappeared. Bummer.

The next morning I woke up in such a good, rested mood! It was probably the arctic temperatures in the room but for the first time in a long time Alaethia slept through the whole night. She didn’t wake up for a bottle once. And I didn’t wake up to pee once, either!

We had breakfast at Cracker Barrel that morning. I wasn’t too excited about it; I would have much rather had breakfast at Denny’s, Ihop or even Burger King. I wanted pancakes like crazy and all they have there are fried pancakes—ew. I got some blueberry ones that looked deceivingly like they were nice and fluffy and non-fried in the menu, but nope, they were fried, too.
We made our way to Sea World after breakfast and managed to take a few wrong turns here and there but we eventually made it.

I texted Mario most of the day, letting him know where we were going next and whatnot.

We made plans to watch all the shows that day and do the rides the next day. Eenan was already in a foul mood and we’d just gotten there, but we tried not to let it get to us. He eventually got over it and we went to “Believe” one of the Shamu shows. It was really nice and I got some awesome shots of the whales.

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Alaethia, who only wanted to be with Jorge most of our trip, was really enjoying the show. She didn’t fuss once. Well, until we got splashed with the ice-cold water! We were sitting in the “splash zone” and even though we were pretty high up we still got completely soaked! We were damp the rest of the time we were there.

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The next show we watched was “Viva!” I love the opening show, which is about a funny plumber type guy who’s trying to contain a water leak. He’s the same exact guy that was doing the show back when we last visited Sea World in 2003.

Alaethia watched with admiration while the acrobats dove off of high platforms, danced around in the flying ring, and shot themselves off of the swings. She fussed once for snacks and once she got them she was all eyes and ears again.

I’m not sure what else we did after that. I think we left the park to go eat lunch. Yes, that’s what we did. And we made the mistake of exiting through one of the gift shops and Jaylen fell in love with a white sea lion pup plush and started pitching a fit. I promised him that when we got back, if he behaved, he’d get it.

Jose, Elda, Jorge and the boys went to eat at Rudy’s Bar-B-Q and Tommy, Yadira, their kids, Mary, my kids and I went to Subway. The boys were still complaining that their underwear were wet so Mary went to Family Dollar next door to buy them some tightie whities after she finished eating and got Jaylen a pair of shorts since, for some reason, he didn’t have extras. We all got into the car after that and took off again to the park.

Jaylen didn’t forget about his sea lion. First stop was buying it and then he was happy.

Eenan was complaining yet again when we got back about how he wanted to go to Shamu’s Happy Harbor to get wet. They didn’t have a change of clothes and it was still a few hours till we went home so it was a no-go. He said he’d be satisfied if they just went to play in the little jungle-gym type thing that they have. So there we go.

We went to The Haunted Lighthouse 4-D show after that. It was so fun. Not only was it 3-D, but the 4-D part came when they’d splash us with water or blow a stream of air at our legs to make it seem like rats were running by our legs. Mary was sitting with Alaethia and at one point Alaethia started screaming because the water they were spraying at us was really cold, so Mary walked out with her.

The kids had some cotton candy and drinks while we walked to the Sea Lions Tonight Show, which is a show featuring seals (named Seymore and Clyde) that parody all the shows at Sea World. It was too funny; probably my favorite show out of all of them. It was hilarious.

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What was also hilarious was when Yazmin (who will kill me for telling the internetz this if she ever reads it) was telling me about a boy who was following her around at the Haunted Lighthouse show. She said she was so annoyed that if he went up to her to talk to her she’d tell him, “*cough*cough* I have Staph.” I just stare at her and say, “Um, Yazmin, Staph is a skin infection. I think you mean Strep.” The people behind us couldn’t stop laughing. I couldn’t stop laughing LOL.

We went to the other Shamu show after that. It was cool. They even had dance contests on the screen before the actual show. All the shows were done after this one so we walked around and looked at the crocodiles and gators and then made our way to the cars.

We went straight to the hotel after we left Sea World. I chatted with Mario for a bit. We ordered Chinese takeout, which was actually really good and very well served. I bathed all the kids and got into bed. It was 11:30 by the time I went to bed, but I had another night of awesome sleep!

Last Minute Vacation

On my way to San Antonio with Mary and my kiddos (and the rest of the clan) – minus my hubby :(. I am so sad about this, you have no idea. I had no intention of coming at all – one: we have no money and the extra money we do have is all being used to pay off our debt, and two: Mario hadn’t gotten his vacation request in on time (and even if he did, I found out later, he wouldn’t have gotten it for this week anyway because another guy who has seniority over him wanted this week first).

So we both decided we’d be staying home with Alaethia; the boys would go with Mary. Well, he’d be working and I’d be at home on my own little vacation, because just being at home and not working is vacation enough for me. But Mary offered to take us – the five of us – to Sea World and Fiesta, all expenses paid at the last minute. We hoped upon hope that Mario would be able to get the days off, but he couldn’t. So again, I decided I’d be staying behind too, as nervous as I was about the boys leaving with Mary. They are quite a handful.

The time comes yesterday when I’m packing the boys’ stuff, and it finally hit me: they were leaving for 4 days…longest I’d ever been away from them. The only other time was when Eenan stayed with Mary for 2 days while I gave birth to Jaylen and the next time was 1 ½ days when I left them both with Mary while I was in the hospital giving birth to Alaethia. I tried not showing my apprehensiveness in front of them because they were upset enough as it was that I wasn’t going. Jaylen even tried backing out of going a few times, but we convinced him otherwise.

Mario kept telling me over the days, “I still think you should go. You should at least get to do something this summer,” but I kept telling him, “No way. I’m not going if you’re not going.” I mean, the last time I went on vacation without him was back in 2001 when I went to California with Mary and the family and since I was still fairly new as a family member I felt really uncomfortable. I felt like Mario’s uncles were picking on me constantly, but unbeknownst to me that’s just how they play around. I now get along with them wonderfully, thank goodness. But, at the time, I felt awful and promised myself I’d never go anywhere without him again.

We got together for Father’s Day yesterday. Mario enjoyed getting familiar with his new camera, a 10mp Samsung, and loved his new Stainless Steel cross and chain. Elda made pozole for everyone and we sat around and chatted. Mario decides to take a nap on the couch. 8 o’clock rolls around and I’m suddenly surrounded by everyone and they’re trying to convince me to go on the trip. I start bawling, I’m not sure why…I felt confused, upset because Mario wouldn’t be going, because I could imagine him lonely and bored, and if I did go I hadn’t finished with laundry, washed dishes, ironed, or made him meals while I was away. I relayed my concern and Elda offered to bring hot wings for a meal and Yadira offered some taquitos LOL. Mario wakes up while I’m crying and tells me, “GO BABE. I’ll be fine. Really.”

So everyone starts shooing me out and Noelia goes to the house with me to start packing. Mary’s in the kitchen at her house making Mario meals for the next 4 days. The whole time I’m packing I’m thinking, “What am I doing?” Every time I think about leaving Mario alone my lip starts trembling and I start bawling all over again. Mom feels a little sad too because I’m leaving and starts to make me feel guilty for not finishing the CD she wanted me to compile for her. I’m doing laundry in a hurry and trying to get all of the clean laundry that’s already done folded and hung. Mario went out to the car and washed, vacuumed and cleaned out my mess for me, so we’d have a nice, clean car to go in.

I hugged Mario in the kitchen for a long time and got his blessing one more time to go ahead and go. I was so close to changing my mind so many times. It was hard leaving him this morning. But it’s only three days. Three and a half, actually.

At least we have our cell phones and Myspace to keep in contact with, though!

9:20am
We had a bathroom break at a rest stop back in Brooks County somewhere and just finished having breakfast at McDonald’s in Falfurrias. My batteries are charging, the kids are being occupied by Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Aly’s got her blankie and sippy and is ready to nap. I’m about to finish this entry and start on my new book, And Then He Stole My Boy Entrancers by Louise Rennison. Let’s see how many chapters I can read in 2 ½ hours (and while Aly’s in moods). I’m going to be alright, and so’s Mario. I’m really going to try and enjoy myself.

6:10pm
We’re at the hotel right now. I think I only got to chapter 2 or 3 on the road. We got to San Antonio and went straight to the Alamo. It was nice taking the kids around and introducing them to a little bit of history. They actually enjoyed it. We took lots of pictures outside, and even a few inside that I took without knowing they didn’t allow. Oops!

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We got back to the car and followed behind Jose’s rental, which was behind Tommy’s car, to go eat at Las Palapas restaurant. I remember eating at one of those the last time we were in San Antonio, which was in 2003. Let me tell you, it SUCKS being last in the caravan. You have to swerve and switch lanes at the last minute. We almost died at least 3 times trying to get into another lane. 2 of those 3 times were due to yellow taxi vans swerving into our lane or not letting us pass. I was quite glad to finally get to the restaurant that started our long journey in the first place.

Alaethia was mostly well behaved. She started off with coloring “circles” on her menu with crayons and when she got bored of that she entertained herself with my tea. I held it while she drank and then she started splashing me with the straw. Once I took that away she was playing with her Gerber star puffs and when she threatened to throw her container all over the floor, the food came and all she wanted to eat was “Matoes” (tomatoes). Gosh, I hope these weren’t some of tainted tomatoes…

The boys were so full of energy that they hardly ate. Eenan made a mess of his enchiladas but Jaylen brought his chicken strips with him. Our next stop was checking into the hotel. Jaylen ate his chicken strips since it was a little quieter. I just about had a coronary when I called to the front desk and they told me they don’t have high-speed internet, but they do have dial-up and we’re supposed to bring our own “equipment”. Grr. I’d spoken to Mario just before that and he’d asked for me to upload pictures to Flickr so he could see. Poo. And we’d made plans to Myspace each other and now we can’t! I’m so sad.

After everyone had had a bathroom break Jorge stayed with the boys while Mary, Aly and I went to H-E-B with Tommy, Yadira, Yazmin and Angela.

Jorge succeeded in scaring the crap out of me, as always, though this time it wasn’t his plan. He was half-asleep when we left and we’re a few miles away from the hotel when he calls in a panic and asks if Jaylen’s with us. I laugh and tell him, “Uh, no. He stayed with you and Eenan,” because he’s always doing that to me–trying to trick me and make me worry. He says, “No really, he’s with you, right?” I said, “NO JORGE! He’s not with us! I left him with you!” I can hear him shuffling around and then he gives a big sigh of relief. He says, “Cabron, he was in the bathroom.” He muffles the phone and he tells Jaylen, “Why didn’t you tell me where you were going.” Jaylen just shrugged LOL.

We got a few things we needed from H-E-B (including two more rechargeable batteries, because I’ll just die if a really awesome photo op comes about and I miss it!). And now we’re here, resting. And I’m cold. And the kids (especially Alaethia) are running amuck. I’ll just read and maybe take a nap.

Mini Vacation 2006

So we’d planned on leaving for our Mini Vacation at South Padre Island on Friday after Eenan got out of school. After dropping him off in the morning, I started looking up numbers and info online and got prices for Schlitterbahn. When Mario woke up, I asked him about the hotels. I started calling around and our worst nightmare happened: All the cheapy hotels were sold out! And even then the cheapy ones were expensive. All the ones that were available were $150 and up–that’s expensive for us seeing as how we stay at Motel 6’s every time we’ve gone on vacation. Shoot, even Motel 6 in Florida was way less expensive than the one at The Island.

We gave up and I silently curse my bad luck while I cleaned the bathroom. After we’d both calmed down, Mario told me to call The Surf Motel since it was one of the least expensive ones that was available.

We got a double-bed room with a kitchenette for $89. Pretty good deal. They only had Saturday night available so we decided to leave on Saturday morning instead of that afternoon. It would give us more time to clean up the house and pack our junk. So I did laundry, cleaned up, and we packed (Mario actually helped me this time!).

When we picked Eenan up after school his teacher walks him to the car and she says, “Oh, he’s so excited about his trip! He’s been talking about it all day!” Mario and I look at eachother, worried. He’s definetly going to throw a fit, or cry when we tell him we’re not leaving till the next day. So we break it to him. His eyes get watery but we tell him, “We’re starting our fun weekend today–we’re going to Mr. Gatti’s!” He quickly wipes his eyes and cracks a smile and starts asking us about our plans.

We ate, and ate, and ate at Carb Heaven Mr. Gatti’s. It was SO good–never get tired of that place (even though the pizza has so much grease it causes both Mario and I to get an upset stomach ). I ate so much pizza, brownies, chocolate pizza and these buttery, icing-covered sticks I probably gained 5 lbs. that afternoon.

After we played games with the kids for about an hour, we got tired and ended up winning tickets for them from this spinning game so we could get their prizes and leave. Mario and Eenan went to the truck and Jaylen and I went to this shop, Melissa Guerra, that I’ve wanted to visit since I started seeing their commercials on TV. I saw an old friend from elementary/middle school who works there. That place is so nice–I love all the little knick-knacks and jewelry! Since I needed a potato brush, I bought one of those in the shape of a potato and a little pig-shaped molcajete.

We went to Wal-Mart that night so we could get snacks, drinks and sandwich stuff for the trip. I took the opportunity to find a new bathing suit, since my chest was busting out of my old one. As I expected, not one darn bathing suit top fit me. Medium was too small from the chest but perfect for my torso, and XL was fine on my chest but the rest was enormous on my body. They didn’t even have cover-ups, so I gave up. I figured we could stop the next morning on the way to the beach.

I stayed up pretty late that night hunting for the kids’ sand toys outside, finishing up with packing, washing dishes and checking things off my obsessive-compulsive induced list. I hate forgetting things so I make lists. Lots of lists.

And then the fun began.

I’d set the alarm for 7a.m. since Mario needed to take a shower and I always need extra time to get myself and both the boys ready. We got up 30 minutes after the alarm went off. I get ready and start checking things off the second list I made and when the kids are ready (and grumpy) and Mario’s out of the shower we start putting everything in the truck. Mom and Mary are here to see us off. I don’t remember exactly what I was doing, but I looked into Mario’s rats’ cage and notice that Tailwhip’s just laying there. I think, “Oh, no,” and sure enough, he was dead . I give Mario the bad news and he gets a Ziploc to get him ready for his burial. I’d just fed the rats the night before, and he was fine, so I didn’t understand why he died. And it was so weird that it happened just a few days after Spike died.

I go outside to give the cats food and water and I find EMOcat (John named him so because he was a screamy little emo kitty) just laying there as well. I thought he looked a little lethargic the night before while I was getting the kids’ sand toys together, but I thought it was because he’d been asleep. So there I go, with another Ziploc bag and a Wal-Mart bag to cover him up. John ended up burying them for us since we had to leave. So, so sad :(.

We leave and pick up ice at Aziz for the cooler. We decide to get some breakfast at Burger King and I ask Mario if he can stop at Target since I needed a bathing suit. He ends up saying something sarcastic like, “Sure, we’re late anyway,” and that just sets me off. The stress from rushing, the animals dying, being behind schedule, and the headache I was going to get from crying my eyes out because my big boobs weren’t going to fit into anything just got to me. I yell, “We’re already late, it’s not my fault! You think I want to look for a frickin’ bathing suit that ‘s not going to fit me anyway?!” He realizes just how crappy I feel about everything so he calmly tells me to finish eating and to take my time. And then I go into Target.

I tried on several adorable bathing suits that just didn’t work for me. I need to know where they sell bathing suits with underwires, because I don’t know how other women who have big boobs do it. I didn’t feel “secure” in those bathing suits at all. I imagined myself coming down the slide at Schlitterbahn and my top flipping over my head because those things are so loose. *shudder*

I decided to buy this tankini top and a bottom that had a cute skirt over it–yep, I don’t like showing skin AT ALL. I wasn’t thrilled with it, but at least I found something.

We still had to stop at the dealership in Harlingen to pick up our license plates, we freaked out when it started raining around Los Fresnos, and then, when we finally got to the Island, we had to find Schlitterbahn.

Entrance to Schlitterbahn

The park opened at 10, and we got there at 11:30. There was a huge line when we got there, but it must have been from some school because they let them in right away. We rented our locker, got the kids ready and then I got ready. As I walked into the girl’s bathroom I noticed all the skinny little teens and tweens were in these itty-bitty bikinis and flat chests and I instantly felt like I was 500 lbs. I thought, “Oh, hell no. I’m not wearing my bathing suit top”. I left my regular bra on and my t-shirt (which thankfully matched my bathing suit bottom) and I felt alright. Only for a few seconds before I realized that when I took a shower, I failed to notice my cactus-legs and didn’t shave…lovely.

Schlitterbahn wasn’t super exciting or anything, but there’s water everywhere so the kids had a great time. The water was freezing, though, but the weather was nice and cool since it was overcast. We checked out the big Sand Castle with the kids and they mostly “swam” in the kiddie pools and slid down the slides surrounding the Sand Castle. We got a little brave and even went on the water slides. They were so fun! Jaylen loved them. It took a while to convince him to go with me. There was an Arabic man with his adorable little boy in front of us and he noticed I was having trouble with Jaylen. He talked to him and told him he and his little boy were going on, and when they got down they’d tell him how it was. When we saw them, he told Jaylen it was fun and his little boy didn’t cry, so Jaylen was excited. Eenan ended up liking it so much he kept going on all the slides all by himself (with Mario waiting at the bottom for him, of course). All-in-all, it was a blast.

We left at around 2, since check-in at the hotel was at 3. We can’t find the darn place. After driving from one end of the Island to the other, we decide to ask someone at Circle K for directions. When I ask this big, burly cashier where Gulf Blvd. is, he chuckles and says, “You’re on it.” He hands me a map with a look on his face like, ‘Damn tourists’ and points me towards Amberjack St. We finally find the place and are kind of taken aback by the little shack. We think, “Oh great, it’s gonna suck”.

The main office of the Surf Motel

While I’m checking in and give the attendant my $101.69, a lady asks what rate they had for the next day and he says, “$49”. He says since everyone goes back home on Sundays the rates are much cheaper. Price-inflating bastards.

We go around the back to the rooms and are surprised to see it was a pretty sweet place. There’s a deck with a bunch of tables and the kitchenette is fully stocked–everything from napkins and utensils, to pots and pans. Had we known I would have bought actual food to cook!

We unpack, have lunch (sandwiches, Pepsis and sour cream and onion Pringles) and decide to take it easy for a few hours–we’re exhausted from chasing the kids and the kids are exhausted from running away from us. Mario falls alseep and I read for a bit before taking a shower and then bathing the kids.

When Mario’s slept for about 2 hours I wake him up and we go to the shops. The kids are running rampant around the stores and don’t let us have 5 minutes of peace. After we threaten to sell them (and immediately feel like horrible parents, as we should) they start behaving a little better. We had fun looking around at all the shells, hermit crabs and funny shirts and hats.

Jaylen's pretty hair

Posing at the Jaws store

My lunch!

Mario and I didn’t find the flip-flops we wanted in our size after scanning at least 7 shops, so we got a few souveniers for everyone back home and picked up some KFC. I hadn’t had KFC in forever, so it was delicious. Jaylen, Mario and I ate out on the deck and Eenan stayed inside because he wanted to watch Cartoon Network. The weather was awesome that night–it felt so good. We talked out there for a while, jamming to the music of the pack of teenagers that had the room next to ours.

I read before bed (I never finished that darn book–Little Altars Everywhere by Rebecca Wells) and fell asleep beside Jaylen, who was playing with my hair, as always. Mario stayed up watching a DVD and slept in Eenan’s bed. I don’t think I’ve ever had a more relaxing sleep. I didn’t even wake up to pee!

We woke up the next morning and got everything packed. We planned on going to the beach, then going back to the hotel to wash up and then go home, but we had to check out by 12 noon and it was already 9a.m. We put everything in the truck, I double-checked my “Don’t Forget!” list twice and turned in our keys.

Our first stop was McDonald’s since we hadn’t had breakfast. Worst. Service. EVER. It was packed so I thought I’d give them a break for getting my order wrong (gave me a McGriddles instead of a bacon, egg & cheese biscuit). When they took about 15 minutes just to give me my ‘you-only-have-to-microwave-the-damn-thing-biscuit’, they had officially pissed me off. And, oh my gosh, they have the cutest little gay boy working there! I instantly fell in love with his big, blue eyes. That’s the only reason I didn’t gouge out my cashier’s eyes for taking so darn long–I was too busy staring at the guy .

The kids had a blast at the beach, as always. It was nice and cool, too. The sand wasn’t even scalding our feet. We took our beach chairs, cooler, mat, and sand toys. The kids made sand castles, which got drowned by water several times, but they kept adding sand and pushing shells in.

Eenan and his castle-complete with fork!

Jaylen and his castle

Mario fed the seagulls Pringles that fell into our bag, I took a picture of seagulls “doing it”, I helped the kids with their castles, then Mario did; the kids played in the freezing water, I looked for smooth, flat shells for my scrapbook; and right before we left, we saw a blue jellyfish. I’d never seen one in my life:

A blue jellyfish

My boys splashing in the water

It started getting hot, so we tip-toed as fast as we could to the car since the sand was scalding by then. And of course, as my luck would have it, I only sunburned/tanned on one arm. WTF?

It was a total pain getting the sand off of ourselves without actually showering down (we didn’t go to Andy Bowie park this time, but to a separate, free beach access), but with the help of half a case of bottled waters, damp towels from the day before at Schlitterbahn and the kids standing on the cooler we had minimal sand in the truck. Jaylen almost peed on the seat–he was an inch away! I ended up having to strip down in the truck and just prayed to God that nobody decided to pass by–which thankfully, nobody did. I hope

It was a nice trip. I wish it could have been longer but maybe next time. And next time, we’ll reserve our hotel much sooner!

We stopped by Wal-Mart, where Jaylen threw a fit because we didn’t get him some M&Ms and then to another shop where we got some necklaces and shirts. I liked that store much more than all the other ones.

I made sandwiches for us on the road since it was lunch time and we enjoyed the quiet while the kids slept.

We got home and took showers and later we went to Jorge and Maggie’s. We saw their new 2005 Accord, which they got in place of their Explorer. I still can’t believe Jorge actually let his Explorer go!

They ordered pizzas and we talked about work, finding work, crappy parents, genealology and other stuff. It always amazes me that we can find all these different things to talk about.

Today we took it easy, well, the morning anyway. We had breakfast, gave our first car payment, went to Target and returned my bathing suit top and I got a bra and an entertainment center for the kids. We need to put the cedar chest Mom gave me in storage and since the kids had their TV, game consoles/games, VCR & DVD player on top of it, we needed to get something to put all that stuff on. We went to eat at the New Wave Buffet and, oh my gosh, I stuffed myself to the brim. Even Mario was freaked out by how much I ate. I really have to stop doing that, stuffing myself. I can FEEL that I’m gaining weight. I feel…jiggly :(.

We picked Eenan up then put the entertainment center together and then went to Wal-Mart. And now, they’re showing Philidelphia? where Tom Hanks plays a guy with AIDS and I’ve never seen this movie before so, bye!

[edit: 12:56a.m.] After watching Walk the Line I realized I totally forgot to mention that April 30th, Sunday, was Mario and my “altogether anniversary”, which is how long we’ve been together in total. We’ve been together 9 years! I can’t even believe how long it’s been! [/edit]

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