Family Vacation Post One...

Ok, so I was going to do a big post about our vacation but how can I put 9 days into one post.  Believe me, there are so many pictures and much to tell about that it would be one incredibly long post, so I'm going to break it up into a few.

When we really got into the planning of the trip, my aunt sent me some links and told me that she wanted to make sure we got to do everything we wanted to when we were there.  We love zoos and things like that, so the zoo and aquarium were musts.  Shawn and Ben really wanted to go to the Space Center and after looking online, I saw that the Natural Science Museum had a huge dinosaur display that we had to see.  We all love dinosaur bones.  We also knew we wanted to go to the beach.  The kids had to see the ocean!  When I kept looking, it seemed like a City PASS was going to be the best bet.  It included tickets to 5 different places and all of the places we wanted to go were there plus one to the Children's Museum.  The deal was unbelievable and I recommend looking to see if there is a City PASS for a city you may be visiting with your family.

We left on a Thursday night.  I was determined to use up the rest of the food in the fridge so I set on making pasta and sauce.  By making, I don't mean my normal box of spaghetti, and jars of tomato sauce that I add veggies and spices to, but I mean make the pasta by hand and the sauce from the tomatoes themselves.  Yup... stupid idea for a day that I had so much to do.  Well, I did it, but we had family over to pick up our van so they could use it to get to the airport and there wasn't quite enough food to feed them so I had to add to it.  The original plan was to do eggplant parmesan as well, but the eggplant froze in my refrigerator and was not at all desirable when I found it.  Basically I added spaghetti to my homemade pasta, and had Shawn pick up a jar of spaghetti sauce to add to my sauce on the way home from picking up our rental car.

I packed, in a rush, what I considered to be light packing for a 9 day vacation for a family of 5.  Shawn, on the other hand, believed that I over packed...  Maybe I did, I don't know.

Thankfully, Shawn's mom and dad were here to help get the house in order before we left on our wonderful trip.  We packed up the car and then left on our trip.

I was so excited that I wanted to stay up and enjoy the time with my husband while the kids slept, but I had to sleep so that I could take over driving if necessary, since we were driving all night.

I think the kids were a lot more comfortable than I was though.

Shawn ended up driving the whole way and we only had to stop a couple of times for gas and once to feed Rylie.  We made the trip in 11 1/2 hours but would have been a lot earlier if it weren't for Houston morning rush hour traffic.

We went straight to my cousin Amy's house where my cousin Jill, her three kids (Alexandra, Evan, and Braden) and Amy's three kids (Tanner, Jake, and Gabbi) were just waking up. Shawn took a shower and went to bed but the kids and I enjoyed breakfast with the rest of the group and then went swimming.  We stayed that night at Amy's house.  The kids had a blast and it was so nice to catch up with my gorgeous cousins and all of their beautiful babies while staying there.

The next day was Saturday and we pretty much just hung out and then my Aunt Marci and Uncle John came over for lunch.  Shawn took the kids swimming and I got to catch up a little more with everyone before we left for Aunt Marci and Uncle John's house where we stayed the rest of the time we were in Houston.

Shawn had been all over Whataburger, so that's what we had for dinner.  Uncle John's dad came over Saturday night too.  I haven't seen him probably since Aunt Marci and Uncle John's wedding and I was a little kid at the time.  He's the cutest man.  I kept telling Shawn to watch out or I might leave him for John's Dad.  Sunday we went to see a little bit of the city.  We had forgotten our swimming suits at Amy's house and because she lived a little ways away, we just bought new ones.  I was in desperate need of a new one for myself anyway.  It rained off and on all day, but that didn't stop us from seeing the beautiful city and going to the aquarium.  Shawn upgraded our tickets at the aquarium to give us unlimited access to all the rides there as well.  That meant that Ben and Sydney finally were going to get to ride their Ferris Wheel, and I was going to have to suck it up and do it too.

First, we enjoyed the aquarium itself though.

Some of these fish reminded me of when I was a little kid and we had a salt water tank in the house.  We had one of these and he was my favorite.

The displays were all so beautiful.

They got to pet stingrays.  It was a really neat experience for the kiddos.

After we were done inside, we went on a little tram ride and went through a tunnel and saw tons of sharks.  They were actually really beautiful.

After the tram ride the kids got a chance to win some prizes.

Shawn and the kids got into a machine that had strong winds and showed them what it feels like to be in a hurricane.

Then, it was time for the Ferris Wheel.  Everyone was so happy...

The skyline was gorgeous!

And through it all, I felt like this:

The people below us looked like ants.  We were up way to high for me.

We left shortly after the Ferris Wheel ride, because it was raining and we were hungry.  We ate dinner at a really yummy Cajun restaurant.

Alright, that's all I have time for right now.  We have a meeting at Ben's school in 10 minutes and I'm cutting it way to close.


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