After about 2 weeks at home from a big road trip, we are hitting the road again for an even larger road trip. Our family has not taken a family vacation together since the children were born. Yes, we have travelled to Louisiana and Florida to visit family and even travelled to Canada to tag along with Stuart on a business trip. But we have never travelled somewhere just for fun, just because we wanted to. We are all very excited!
We are heading to Houston to see NASA, North Padre Island for some time on the beach, then on our way back to DFW we are stopping in San Antonio to visit Sea World. It's a jam packed 6 day trip and we can't wait!
Stuart only has to work half a day on Fridays but if he used vacation time for this morning he would have to spend an entire day of vacation time, even though he would only miss about 4 hours of scheduled work time (silly policy stuff). He only gets 2 weeks vacation so we have to budget these days wisely. So instead of taking the day off, he found a way to work his half day WHILE we are on the road. It's the coolest thing!
He called our cell phone provider and had them turn on the Phone As Modem (PAM) capability. With this, he is able to use his phone as a mobile hot spot and log onto the network at work through his laptop while we drive down the road. It's just like he's sitting at his desk in the office! I'll also be able to use it to upload pictures to the blog and write posts, although I don't expect to have much time to do that unless the two kiddos are asleep.
He did have a conference call scheduled from 9:00 - 10:00 this morning which would be difficult to manage with two loud kids in the car. So before we left, I mapped out all of the McDonald's on our route that had a playground for the kids. We stopped in Ennis in time for Stuart to grab a bite for breakfast and then take his conference call in the van while the kids ate breakfast and played on the playground. Yes, it technically added about an hour to our travel time but otherwise, we wouldn't have been able to leave the house until 10:00 when the call was over. And the kids really liked my plan since they haven't met a playground they didn't like.
We're taking it easy on this vacation and not trying to go non-stop to each destination, because with two little ones, we know we need to plan on multiple stops anyway. And sometimes, just sometimes, Mommy has to request a stop just for her...
Ah, the Russell Stover outlet store :) If you are traveling south of Dallas in the area of Corsicana, you really should stop by. They are located at 1997 Pecan Delight Avenue (don't you love the street name!).
They have an overwhelming selection of Russell Stover favorites, plus cookies, brittle, caramel apples; an ice cream parlor with Blue Bell hand-dipped ice cream, sundaes, floats and shakes; specialty coffee, Java chillers, sodas and tea; plus gift baskets and boxes for all occasions.
The employees here are wonderful. The lady we spoke with gave Nicholas a real candy makers hat. Cute!
Nicholas had fun picking out some sweet treats! He really had fun with this powdered candy contraption where he could make his own giant pixie stix kind of candy. He made another one for Rachel just because he was having so much fun with it.
A giant wall of Jelly Belly jelly beans. Decisions, decisions! How's a kid to choose?!
Mommy picked out something to satisfy a sweet craving that wasn't 100% sugar...covered sunflower seeds. It sounded unusual and they are. They taste pretty good though and surely there's something healthy about eating so many seeds.
Time to get back on the road. Wow, did we really pick out that much stuff?
After several more stops, we finally made it to Houston! We moved to Houston right after we got married and lived here for 2 years. There is so much to do here but I really hated the traffic. I even got in a wreck that totalled my car a week before we were leaving for the DFW area. It's a fun place to visit but I would never want to live here again.
Stopping for a bite to eat at Whataburger before checking in at the hotel. I love it how toddlers (and sometimes 6 year olds too) can ravage a meal one day and then you order it again next time because you just know that they love it but this time they eat two bites and are done.
Everyone was getting a little silly after being cooped up in the van all day. Can't wait to get our stuff unloaded and head off to NASA!