Widgets Magazine

Jul 31, 2015

Houston

Today was a good day.

We got on the road before 10:00 and headed for the Houston Space Center. My sweetie and I have been super-excited about this stop. I don't think quite so much for the kids. The first thing we did was get in line for a tram ride. It took us to see the rockets and how they are designed. It was hot, but worth it. The rockets are huge!

Then we watched a movie that talked about all the space missions and showed actual footage from them. After the movie was over, we were allowed into an exhibit hall that showed moon rocks, the space shuttle, and the command module. We hurried through the other exhibits even though my sweetie said he would have loved to spend the entire day there because some of us had tickets for the Astros game tonight.

We stopped at a pizza buffet on our way back to the hotel to change and then Princess, Teach, their guys, and my sweetie and I climbed back in the van and headed for downtown Houston. We had to walk about 6 blocks to the ballpark, and that was a little sketchy. 

The game was 0 - 0 until the bottom of the 9th when Houston scored a homerun with two men on to win the game 3 - 0. I just love baseball. These seats were not nearly as comfortable as the ones in the Ranger's stadium, although it was nice to not have the kids complaining every five minutes.

I have lots of pictures for you today. I'm trying to get better at remembering.














Jul 30, 2015

Waco

Sampling Freshly Made Dr. Pepper
In the Dr. Pepper Museum
We got up this morning, had breakfast, and checked out of our Ft. Worth hotel. The kids were tired, but they managed to stay in pretty good spirits. It was mostly a travel day with some fun mixed in between.
My sweetie found an awesome park in Waco near the river where we stopped for lunch. The kids watched squirrels chase up the tree and they played on the big rocks while I made sandwiches. Baby Doll and Scout played in the splashpad and got soaked! I only wish we could have stayed longer.

But we had an appointment for 1:00 at the Dr. Pepper Museum for a one-hour tour. Drama Queen loves Dr. Pepper, so she was ecstatic!

I loved the old bottles and the history. Curly loved the horse that was covered with bottle caps and had hair made out of aluminum cans. My sweetie could have stayed all day in the comfy chairs and watched the 80s Dr. Pepper commercials. I even let all the kids try the freshly mixed Dr. Pepper we received at the soda fountain. Unfortunately, some of them liked it a little too much...

We left Waco and drove to College Station where we had lunch at Rosa's, a Mexican eatery. My kids had never seen a tortilla machine before or even the fancy d├ęcor they had covering the walls. It was a great experience!

We left College Station and drove through more small towns before we finally arrived in Humble, TX, a suburb of Houston. My sweetie and I relaxed while the kids went swimming. We can definitely tell that the air is heavier here than it was in Ft. Worth.

Lots of big plans for tomorrow. Now if I could just remember to take pictures...











Jul 29, 2015

Last Day in Fort Worth

We spent our last full day in Ft. Worth today. We were all tired, but I had already purchased tickets online a couple of weeks ago for the LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Grapevine. Our arrival time was 9:15, so we couldn't sleep in much.

We didn't tell the kids about this one until this morning and most of them were pretty excited. The online reviews were mixed, so I was a bit nervous, but I didn't have to be. The kids thought it was great, especially the 4D movies. There were only 3 rides and some of us could only go on two of them, we weren't really expecting an amusement park, so we weren't too disappointed.

I was amazed with some of the structures! They had an entire layout of Dallas/Ft. Worth with important buildings like the airport, the stadiums, and the stockyards. They even had a tiny working mechanical bull! That was my favorite part.

Baby Doll loved the splash pad and they were happy to cool off before we left. It took us about 4 hours before we decided the lines were too long. When we first got there we didn't have to wait in lines at all. If I were to go again, I would definitely plan on the first appointment of the day.

We ate lunch in the van on the way back to the hotel. We had planned to drive over to the Dallas Temple, but I was so tired! I crashed on the bed for about 3 hours until the kids decided we needed to feed them supper.

We had soup in our room and then we loaded about half the kids into the van and we drove in to Dallas to see their sights before we take off for Houston tomorrow.

The buildings at night were spectacular! So tall! We have tall buildings in Salt Lake, but nothing that compares to these. We also rode across a beautiful bridge. Then we drove past the temple and I snapped a couple of pictures for you. Sorry for the bad cell pics. My sweetie has some with his good camera, but I thought he should get some sleep since he has to drive again tomorrow.












Jul 28, 2015

More Fort Worth

We started our morning in the Stockyards. Prima Donna decided to stay at the hotel and sleep and it was probably a good thing. Those brick paths would have been so difficult for her to maneuver. The shops were cute and way too pricey for me. The kids bought a little taffy and some root beer barrels in the candy shop and my sweetie bought some honey sticks and beef jerky.

It didn't take much to convince him to buy a hat in the variety store that sold so many Texas-themed treats for Teach to send home to her brothers and sisters when she was a missionary. The prices were way more than she paid. The highlight of the Stockyards was the cattle drive. The kids were excited to see real Texas Longhorns and they weren't disappointed. That was one of very few activities that didn't cost anything.

We left the Stockyards about noon and headed for one of Teach's favorite spots to eat, Braum's. The salad was good and the kids enjoyed burgers and fries, but mostly we all loved the ice cream! A double dip was only $1.99. After Stockyard prices, that seemed like a real bargain. My sweetie suggested we stop there again while we are in Texas.

After Braum's, we headed back to the hotel. Drama Queen offered to look after Prima Donna while we took the younger kids to the Scouting Museum. Teach and Craig, Princess and Daylen had a special treat. They were offered the opportunity to watch the batting practice for the Rangers and the Yankees, and not just from the stands. There passes put them right down on the field with the teams! It was the most excited I have ever seen Craig.

But for the rest of us, we loved the Scouting Museum. It was Monday, so it was free which was a bonus. It was interactive with a shooting range, Pinewood Derby track, and kayaks in fake water. We got to see patches from all over the world and all the merit badges over the years.

The kids each received a patch when we left, even the girls! We only had a few extra minutes to run back to the hotel for Prima Donna and Drama Queen. Then it was on the road again to the Rangers game. The seats were way high up in the highest concourse, but we were able to convince a security guard to let us sit much lower so Prima Donna wouldn't have to climb the stairs.

The Rangers lost 6 - 2 and we left after the 7th-inning stretch. My sweetie wanted it to be easier to get Prima Donna back safely to the van. We stopped at a pancake house for a late supper. The food was disappointing, but the atmosphere was fun.

Tomorrow we are off on more adventures. We only have one more day in Ft. Worth and then we will be moving on to Houston. We really do want to see as much of Texas as we possibly can while we are here. We can sleep when we get back to Utah...

Jul 27, 2015

Fort Worth

Oklahoma City Memorial
It was oh so late when we finally arrived at our Fort Worth hotel last night. We got out of Denver by 7:30 AM, but we didn't get to Hays, Kansas for lunch until 2, which meant 3:00 because of the time change. My sweetie said the winds cost us an hour.
 
Teach and Craig were ahead of us, but we caught them in Oklahoma City and while we made a quick tour of the memorial, they ran to Sonic and grabbed dinner for all of us and then it was back on the road.
 
I called the hotel about midnight and let them know we would definitely be late arrivals, and we finally rolled in about 1:30 AM. It had been a long day on the road. Much too long to write a blog post last night. We all just fell into bed.
 
Making waffles with Sport
We got up this morning to free breakfast in the lobby and I had to show you a picture of my Texas-shaped waffle! Sport and I had fun making them. We ate in shifts and then some of the kids swam for an hour before we all got ready and took off to go to church.
 
Teach went to an early ward in White Settlement, but she wanted the family to attend in Lantana. In Utah, our building is only about 2 minutes away. I think it was an eye-opener for the kids to have to travel for almost an hour just to find a meetinghouse. We got settled a few minutes before the opening song.
 
Heading to church selfie!
I was surprised how much this Texas ward was like our ward at home. It was large and there were many children. The bishop welcomed Teach and her family right from the pulpit which was a little embarrassing, but wonderful for Teach.
 
We attended all 3 meetings and then spent an extra half hour in the parking lot waiting for everyone who wanted to talk to Teach. It was obvious that she was well-loved in this area! So many people thanked me for sharing my amazing daughter with them. We drove around Lantana for another half hour admiring the area and seeing where she lived.
 
We arrived at the Fredrickson's just before 6:00 for dinner. This wonderful family offered to feed all 14 of us a traditional Texas BBQ! The brisket and ribs were amazing! We had peach cobbler and Texas sheet cake with homemade ice cream for dessert. I loved visiting with the family and learning more about Texas.
 
Waiting for Teach, Starburst and Bugles...
At 7:30 we thanked our generous hosts and headed out for another hour's drive to visit with the Marks. Teach lived with them for 6 months during her mission and they seemed to know her the best. After sharing many stories and some warm cookies, we got talking about family history and it turns out that Brother Marks and I are second cousins! He promised to email me some information and after we left I called my dad and he was so excited to hear that I had found family right here in Texas.
 
Back at the hotel we sent the kids to their rooms and I read a bit to my sweetie before he dozed off on me. It was a good day. So far, Texas hasn't been nearly as hot as I had feared and we are loving the wide open spaces. We have early plans for tomorrow, but I will try to share when we get back. It will be late. We are seeing the Texas Rangers play the Yankees tomorrow night. You know me, I love a good baseball game!




Jul 24, 2015

Denver

Teach and Drama Queen left before 7 this morning. They were in Denver eating Craig's chocolate chip cookies by 4:00.
 
We weren't.
 
The Dog Walker had his final parade downtown today, the Days of 47 parade. He was pretty excited to be on TV. As soon as their band was finished, we piled in the van and headed to South City Campus.
 
We had only driven a few miles but it was enough for Prima Donna to become really uncomfortable. While we waited for Dog Walker, we did some major rearranging. Then we hit the road and didn't stop until we got to the Little America in the middle of Wyoming. We enjoyed lunch and an ice cream cone and then we were rolling again.
 
A couple of gas stops and Wendy's crispy chicken sandwiches later and we checked into our Denver hotel about 9:00 pm.
 
We settled quickly and my sweetie got right to bed. He has lots of driving to do tomorrow. It's 12 hours to Fort Worth and that doesn't include any ice cream breaks.

Thank goodness for air conditioning and a good book. And a secret stash of Craig's cookies.

Jul 23, 2015

Update on Prima Donna

We had to be at the hospital at 5:30 AM for Prima Donna's surgery. We were both tired and more than a bit silly. Sometimes you can choose to either laugh or cry... we chose laugh.

She was a trooper! The IV went in without any problems. We had a couple of hours to wait before the doctor and the anesthesiologist came in to talk with us. Then we parted ways. It was almost 7:30.

I slept in the waiting room until almost 10:00. Then I met with the doc. He gave a glowing report of the surgery including the fact that there were about 8 pieces of hardware put in there. Then I waited a bit longer before they let me see her.

She was tired but in good spirits, complaining that her leg was asleep. I reminded her that was a good thing! The only complication was that she wasn't breathing deeply enough and her numbers kept dipping low. But after a while they discharged her and by noon we were driving home.

She had a doctor's appointment today and he was pleased with the way things were looking and she was cleared to leave for Texas tomorrow. So many things to pack and get ready! I'll try to send you a short update from Denver tomorrow night.

Jul 22, 2015

The Celebration Continues

I had my Activity Days girls over today so we could celebrate Pioneer Day a bit more. They all pulled skirts and bonnets on over their clothes and we shook cream into butter and made button bracelets. We showed them how to pull dough flat into scones and then we fried them. We used the fresh made butter with a little cinnamon and sugar and they were amazing!

Crafty led them in a few more games and we read a couple of pioneer stories. I have such cute girls in my group, including Scout and of course we always add Baby Doll as an honorary member. Girls don't technically join our group until they are 8 years old and they age-out at 12.

On a different note, Drama Queen and I took Prima Donna to see the specialist today. He was 100% convinced that surgery was the only way to go given the possibility of instability in her ankle since she is so young. So we have to report at the hospital at 5:30 AM tomorrow. They are putting in a plate and a couple of screws. She can't have weight on it for several weeks while it heals although she has been cleared to head for Texas this weekend.

We got her one of those knee-scooters and she can get around much better on it. We are supposed to take our Girl Scout troop to Tuacahn tomorrow to see Beauty and the Beast. Drama Queen immediately offered to stay home with Prima Donna. Even though she loves the girls in the troop, she said she would much rather just take care of one of them than all the rest!

I was able to change their tickets so they can see the show in August when we return from Texas and we definitely won't leave until she is resting comfortably at home. I can't believe how stressful it is to leave my child under these circumstances, but I know Drama Queen is actually a much better nurse for Prima Donna than I am. I appreciate her so much!

If it's not too much trouble, would you mind praying for Prima Donna? She is nervous and not quite sure about tomorrow. Her mama would appreciate one too...



Jul 21, 2015

Days of 47 Float Preview


We continued our Pioneer Day celebration tonight by going to the Days of 47 Float Preview at the Expo-center in Sandy. It's one of my favorite Family Home Evening activities because it's fun and free. Besides, we haven't been to the Days of 47 parade downtown in two decades, so this is the kids' only opportunity to see the floats up close.

Although my crazy sweetie is saying that we might just break with tradition and brave the heat this year. I'm sure you will be the first to know...

That's Fajita, right in the middle.

Anyway, back to the preview. They hold this show for 2 days and it is kind of a gift to the community. There are face painters and clowns and a very few vendors allowed in and almost everything is free. In 'n Out Burger was one of those vendors and they just had a bean bag toss and they gave away free stuff. Teach got all 4 of the bags through the hole and she won a coupon for an entire free meal! I only made 3 so I just got a hamburger, but it was still fun.

We planned our trip right during the time when Fajita and Dog Walker were playing with the SLCC marching band. It's their favorite parade because it is inside in the air conditioning. They rocked out the stage for a while and they also marched up and down the aisles serenading the crowd.

It's always easy to spot the Dog Walker. He is right in the middle and by far the tallest musician. Fajita plays the flute and she is on the edge. Only a couple more parades for this year. Bountiful Handcart Days on Thursday and Days of 47 on Friday. I don't know about Fajita, but I think the Dog Walker is ready to hang up his trumpet.

Jul 20, 2015

Pioneer Day - Early

Waiting for the concert to begin.
We have started celebrating Pioneer Day a bit differently each year for the last couple of years. Typically we dress up in period dress, play pioneer games, and do dutch oven. Only this year we are going on vacation, and those things are hard to do on the road, so we decided to celebrate a little early.

Last night Princess got four tickets to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra on Temple Square perform at the Conference Center. It was totally last minute, but she didn't want them to be wasted since they are so difficult to get.
No pics allowed of the show, so I snapped this one early.

Drama Queen offered to look after Prima Donna, so Princess, Crafty, my sweetie, and I all decided to go. We totally enjoyed the show! There were tons of people there, but our parking was in the Triad Center and we did the quick march and got out before traffic even hit. It was perfect.

Making (shaking) butter
Then tonight we had our dutch oven dinner and s'mores with the kids. Bossy and her family joined us as did Beauty and The Beast. We didn't do any games this time, but Teach was giving a colorguard lesson to one of the neighbor girls and it was fun to see all the kids learning to toss the flags and the rifles.

I have my Activity Days girls coming on Tuesday and we are going to do games and make butter, so we made our own butter tonight so I would know what I was doing. It was actually super easy and tasted so good! I'm not sure it makes sense money-wise, but it was sure fun to know that we could do it.

Happy (early) Pioneer Day!



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