Monday, June 12, 2017

Baseball and Bulls

Luke's 5th Birthday Trip 2017
Dallas, Texas 


It is June 2017 and my BABY is turning FIVE! We asked him if he wanted a party with his friends or a trip to Dallas to see the Rangers and he said "RANGERS". Despite traveling all over the southern United States with GiGi and Poppy on baseball trips, Luke had never been to Globe Life Ballpark (formerly known as The Ballpark in Arlington) to see the Texas Rangers so we decided 5 years is long enough. We loaded up the week before his birthday and headed north! 

We had planned to leave in the early morning hours to get to Dallas early and spend time with Auntie Allie but I had an interview so we had to wait to leave. Our 1st stop was at Buc-ee's in Madisonville for lunch! The kids love stopping at Buc-ee's and with no schedule or time table holding us down we really got to enjoy this gaudy monstrosity. 

We grabbed a quick and rather large bite to eat and then headed north again! We made it to Arlington before 3PM and checked into our hotel in Grand Prairie before heading to the stadium! We stayed at the Comfort Suites in Grand Prairie and it was a FANTASTIC stay and we would stay there again in a heartbeat. Plus with our Choice Hotels points it was only $79/ night! Being Astro's fans, none of us had Rangers shirts so a pit-stop at Walmart was absolutely necessary! 

We got our shirts and headed north to Arlington to get to the stadium. It was still a little early to park and get into the stadium so we stopped at Jerry World (AT&T Stadium) next door to let the kids see our BRICK! This was a brick that Dan and Jackie (Chris's parents) bought us back when the stadium was being built. They got one for all of their kids and our kids LOVED it! Although Luke just couldn't understand why HIS name wasn't on it! Ha, Luke you weren't even a thought at that time! We located ours, D'Ann's and John/ Leeanna bricks and then made a stop in the Dallas Cowboys store before heading back to get parked and settled for the baseball game.

Hello from Jerry World! 

"Hey Look- That's YOUR name" Natalie said!
They both thought this was really neat! 

"Just take the picture... It's too HOT"
Haha, Sorry kiddos! 

My kids are so SILLY!

We found our parking spot, got all of our bags and made our way to the stadium ticket office to get our tickets. We had purchased a Family Pack of 4 tickets, 4 jumbo hot dogs, 4 cokes, 2 kids playplace wristbands and 1 program for $79 ($98.50 with the "service" fee, which seemed STEEP for a "fee"). In hindsight I think it was well worth the $100 and would do it again if given the opportunity! 

He was so very excited to be here! 

And I have to admit... SO WAS MOMMY! 

Happy Birthday Luke! 

We made our way into the stadium at 5:10PM and went straight to the KidZone. This was large and indoors with Air Conditioning which meant even Chris and I could enjoy this play time! The kids played for over 1.5 hours before Luke said "Hey, I see people in their seats, we are LATE". Chris and I laughed and we headed to our seats!

One of only 2 of our family pictures of the trip! 

These kids LOVED this KidZone play area!
Well worth the $5/ kid entrance fee in my opinion! 

They loved the BASEBALL slide! 

We made our way to our "cheap seats" in the upper decks but in the shade! It was also DOLLAR DOG night at the ballpark and all hotdogs were $1. We assumed Chris would eat a second (or 3rd) hotdog but we had no idea the kids would eat so much! Natalie ended up eating 4, yes FOUR, hot dogs and Luke ate 3. I'll tell you... that was the best $10 I have ever spent!

He loved this stadium but they both kept asking "Are they going to close the roof? It's hot"
Haha- I hate that my kids think baseball needs to be played indoors... No, no, NO!  

Happy Birthday Lukey... Mommy LOVES you! 

That's MY BOY... complete respect during the National Anthem!
We are raising him RIGHT! 

HE even made his OWN sign- Go Rangers.
I know Mrs. Sharpen would be SO PROUD! 

The game was great and we all enjoyed it! We even got to see Auntie Allie and her friend "Ethel" in the middle of the game. We decided to head down to lower seats around the 7th inning and spent the rest of the game in these seats behind home plate. The Rangers ended up losing but it was a great game. We made our way back to the car and within minutes the kids were both asleep.

Auntie Allie (nickname "Ethel") and her friend Nicole also know as "Ethel" with the kids!
Natalie Davis- never met a stranger! I think her and Nicole became best buds! 

We had so much fun at this game! 

Girl selfie before we left! 

A view from our BETTER seats behind home plate!
This was as Odor tied it up in the 8th! 

The kids even ran into the Rangers mascot as we were leaving! 

"Bye Bye Rangers. See you later" 


We slept in at the comfortable hotel and then made our way to Auntie Allie's apartment in north Dallas to swim in her pool. We enjoyed an hour or so in her pool before getting ready to eat lunch with Aunt D'Ann in Highland Park area.

Chris's face in this one is PRICELESS! 

We met Aunt D'Ann at On the Border, an old Oklahoma favorite of Chris and mine. The salsa lived up to our memories and everyone enjoyed their lunch! Maybe even a little too much for the boys as they left full and with minor tummy aches! We loved getting to see BOTH Auntie Allie AND Aunt D while on our trip! 

We then headed west to surprise the kids with a trip to the Ft. Worth Stockyards. None of the four of us had ever been so we were excited to try it all out. We got to the stockyards, found our parking place and then started exploring all of the sights in this historic place.

Part 2 of his 5 YO Trip! 

Me and my boy... I LOVE you Lukey! 

We checked out the historic coliseum where they hold rodeos, went through the petting zoo, got candy in Stockyards Station and even witnessed the daily cattle drive. It was a great afternoon of fun and the kids just loved it! Plus if you're on a budget it was PERFECT! The Stockyards are FREE and the parking was only $5. The petting zoo was $2/ person and $3 for food for the animals. We left spending only $40 for parking, petting zoo/ food and even 2 horse souvenirs for the kids! I loved the cheap and FUN entertainment! 

When we got into the coliseum the kids said "We want to go to a rodeo."
Well kids, YOU'RE IN LUCK!
We just happen to live in Houston with the worlds biggest and BEST rodeo!
I guess we know what we will be doing this coming March! 

This was a really neat petting zoo with very hungry animals! 

And a very large antelope!
My kids saw deer in Colorado on their trip with GiGi and Poppy so they kept arguing this was a deer but the owner explained it was an antelope! 

My big boy riding his horse! 

Time for the daily cattle drive! 

BEVO- It's what's for DINNER!
Plus it's just another reminder- Saxet SUCKS! 

Family selfie and family pic #2 of the trip! 

It was 5PM and we knew the DFW traffic would be BAD so we found an In N Out burger in downtown Ft. Worth for dinner. I LOVE In N Out and it is now a MUST DO on my Dallas trips! Chris is not as thrilled or impressed as I am but he humors me! The animal style hamburger and fries were AWESOME (No pics... I forgot). The kids loved the cheeseburgers and the free hats and stickers!

I have made them fans too! 

We then headed east to meet Auntie Allie at Cake Bar in Trinity Groves outside of downtown Dallas for a birthday treat for Luke before heading home. This is a unique place Auntie Allie loves that serves larges slices of cake and was PERFECT for a birthday weekend. Luke got a HUGE slice of chocolate cake and was in HEAVEN!

"Oooooo I have a HUGE piece", he said! 

The face and smile tell it all! 

Never a dull moment when you combine Chris, Natalie and Auntie Allie! 

Final selfie of the trip... we are headed home! 

We all enjoyed the richness of the cake and shared some more time with Auntie Allie before heading home. Oddly enough, MAJOR college football news happened that day and I was able to listen to the news of Bob Stoops retirement the entire drive home which helped me stay awake to get home! 

It was an amazing trip of baseball and bulls to celebrate by BABY turning FIVE! He loved every minute of it and we did too! Happy Birthday Lukey... I LOVE YOU! 

God is good... ALL the time! 

Birthday Bash by the Beach

The Historic Pleasure Pier- Galveston, TX 
Memorial Day Weekend 2017

Our KICKOFF to Summer 2017!

It was Memorial Day weekend 2017 and Chris and I were nearing the end of the school year. My district was done with students and only had 2 more professional days and Chris's district had 3 more days with kids and 1 professional day. My parents had given Chris an amazing EXPERIENCE for his 39th birthday... A trip to the Historic Pleasure Pier in Galveston. The Pleasure Pier had ticket options but this pack came with 2 unlimited ride passes (normally $26.99/ per person) and a $50 Landry's gift card for $85. It was WELL WORTH THE PRICE and I would highly recommend this package to anyone! 

We enjoyed a kid free Saturday as our kiddos left with my parents on their annual baseball trip the day before. We enjoyed dinner out and the movies as well as some much needed rest and relaxation before the FUN weekend in Galveston. 

When we woke up on Sunday morning to load the car Chris noticed my front passenger's window was broken. We took nearly an hour to clean up all of the glass from the car and even the drive way. I was a little shaken up from the whole ordeal and we thought about cancelling the trip but it was non-refundable and it was too late to cancel the hotel so we put my damaged car in the garage and headed south.

There was glass EVERYWHERE... Of course, we didn't think to take a picture until after we vacuumed most of it up! 

Once we got home we tried to tape it up but it was just a disaster! 

We enjoyed breakfast on the go and made our way to the Pleasure Pier. It was a holiday weekend but surprisingly was not as crowded as we expected. We parked our car at the hotel, which was directly across the street from the Pleasure Pier. We got our tickets and wristbands and headed straight to the roller coaster thinking there would be a line but we got right in. In fact, the lines were very minimal, especially for a holiday weekend, and we rarely had to wait anymore than 15 minutes to ride any of the rides.

After an eventful morning... WE HAVE ARRIVED! 

Let the FUN begin! 

Beach Selfie! 

The seagulls were out in FULL force... Well not OUT but more like LAZY! 

A view of the Southwest side of Galveston Island/ Seawall! 

The Northeast side of the island looking out towards Galveston Bay and Harbor!
(The tall building is EAST BEACH and the entrance to the harbor... We always know our cruise is over when we see it!) 

The Texas Star swing ride... this became our favorite ride!
The Iron Shark roller coaster was in the background- If you like coasters, this one was AWESOME! Seriously on the top of my all-time list! 

The RCCL Liberty OS and Carnival Breeze loading up for another week at sea! 

Two gorgeous beauties... Oh how I cannot wait to be on them
Breeze- July 2017
Liberty Of the Seas- "tentative" June 2018

We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying all of the rides with little to no lines. We even got to see both the RCCL Liberty of the Seas as well as the Carnival Breeze set sail from the Galveston Harbor. This was a discussion point for the rest of the afternoon as we are true cruise ADDICTS! We would set sail on the Carnival Breeze in 7 weeks so we started planning and thinking about it! We were even tempted to go and see if any cabins were available... I mean we were kid free for the rest of the week! It was hot and muggy with little overcast so we went back to check in to the hotel around 5PM.

The Carnival Breeze is setting sail... 7 weeks (now 5 at time of writing) and that will be US!
Cruise #11 WITH THE KIDS is 1 month away! 

If you squint and look closely you can see the Liberty of the Seas leaving the bay too! 
We were staying at the Four Points by Sheraton on Galveston Seawall and it was just across the seawall from the Pleasure Pier. The location was ABSOLUTELY perfect and worth the price. It was very well maintained and perfect for a weekend at the beach or Pleasure Pier. We paid $207/ night which is a lot but it is ON the beach and perfect location. Also, it WAS a holiday weekend. I would recommend this hotel to anyone who is planning a trip to the Pleasure Pier and look for lower rates during the week. 

A view of our hotel (the red building) from the Ferris Wheel... Such a great find! 

A view of the Pleasure Pier from our room! 

We checked in and got settled then walked back to the pier to eat at Bubba Gump Shrimp. This was a fantastic meal as we were able to sit on the porch in the shade and enjoy the cool ocean breeze while eating some amazing Cajun seafood!

The Bubba Gump patio... PERFECT dining even on a hot Texas evening! 

We walked around the pier a little bit before going back to the room to let the food settle in the AC. After nearly and hour of settling we got back out and rode some the rides at night which was perfect as the cool breeze was nice and crisp and the sights were gorgeous. We ended the evening with a WAY TOO BIG funnel cake and then went back to the hotel to crash at nearly 11PM.

The Pleasure Pier at night as seen from our hotel! 

Nighttime Selfie! 

Holy cow... This was just TOO MUCH! 

We woke up with plans to enjoy the beach before the brutal hot sun came out. We got in our beach clothes and made it down to the hotel lobby and saw the waves and wind which were out of control so we decided to go get brunch first and then try the beach later in the day in hopes the waves and wind would die down.

It was FIERCE out there! 

We ate brunch at Sunflower Bakery, a new find my sister told us about, and it was, as always delicious. We made our way back to the hotel and then went to the beach. The waves were still high and the wind was vicious but we braved the weather and enjoyed some time on the beach, nearly all to ourselves.

My Gulf Shrimp Omelet... It was perfection! 

Time for the beach... Not our ideal situation but we made it work! 

Even in the rain, wind and fog, I LOVED our beach day and enjoyed the ocean and beach all to ourselves! I love you Chris Davis and cannot wait for this summer to start! 

We made our way back to our room to shower and pack up before our late check-out time came. We loaded up and then enjoyed driving along the seawall on our way out of town. We made it back to our house by 4PM and got ready for our last week before the OFFICIAL start of summer. These last few days are so easy yet SO HARD because they are full of teacher meetings and professional development that is somewhat redundant and unfulfilling. 

It was a GREAT weekend of feeling like a kid again and enjoying the Pleasure Pier and Galveston Island. We loved the Pleasure Pier and the beach, despite the crazy weather! 

Thank you Mom and Dad for an incredible birthday weekend EXPERIENCE for Chris's birthday! We cannot wait to take the kids in the near future! 

God is Good... All the Time!