Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Family Vacation 2014: Day 6

Day 6:  After a busy day 5, I opted for the low key relaxed morning approach for Day 6.  Brent had more meetings so after Breakfast at the hotel, the kids and I opted for a swim in the roof-top pool.  At the start, we had it all to ourselves, complete with beautiful blue sky and planes taking off nearby.

For the first 30-45 minutes I water walked with E on my back.  The entire pool is 3ft 6in so he was otherwise limited to the stairs where his siblings were playing.  We enjoyed walking and dancing in the water, but he was quickly too cold so we came out and warmed up on the lounge chairs and watched his siblings play.  Eventually, we headed back down for showers, and a quick change before bidding the Hyatt farewell.
We had lunch outside at the park.  Which was lovely other than the oppressive heat. 
We tried the "Lab" food truck and it was pretty tasty.  M&E fed most of our fries to the nearby pigeons.
Next up: Dallas Museum of Art.  It is free and lots of fun!  Above M is in the creative space working with random materials they provide to make your own artistic creation.
Here M & B are in the main hall drawing sculptures.  They are using items from the kid bags that are easily checked out for free at the main entrance.  Each family may only have one bag, but there were enough supplies to go around.
B also made a creation and donated it to the museum.  It is near his shoulder here and entitled "weird shuttle".  He was quite pleased :)
Time was growing short, but we ventured up to the second floor.  B is interested in sculpture right now so we made sure to see a few different sculpture areas.  E, of course, was a fan of the horse sculpture.
Sculpture terrace--- where we ponder why this sculpture looks like a pokemon ball (obviously).
Time was up for our meter and we needed to head north, but first we stopped back at the food trucks for snow cones and ice cream.
It was a lovely day and hard to bid vacation adieu, but time to return to the real world of work and summer fun in the OKC metro.  Thanks to everyone who shared in our adventure.  We think next year's vacation will be Washington, DC--- which will add whole new dimensions to our travel experience!

Where we went:

Swimming at the hotel
Dallas Museum of Art
Klyde Warren Park

Where we ate:
Breakfast at Hyatt lobby coffee shop
"The Lab" food truck
Cool*Haus - architecturally inspired ice cream food truck
Crazy Fish - a sushi and snow cone themed food truck--- we just had snow cones :)

Where we stayed:

DFW Grand Hyattpaid for by Intel as part of the meetings Brent was attending. Lovely hotel all around. 

Prior posts in this series:
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Family Vacation 2014: Day 5

Day 5 - This was the day Brent was busy all day so I was on my own. The plan had been to meet the Jones in the morning, but they were pulled away to other things so it was just us.  Several friends had recommended the Dallas Arboretum, particularly the Children's Garden, so we made it our first stop, knowing it would be hot later. We brought 5 bottles of water and lots of snacks as we hadn't eaten a "real" breakfast. 

Technically, all three are here if you squint and find E in the back. We wandered through the regular Arboretum first, a little lost, but enjoying the view.

B spent more time on his navigation skills in a truly beautiful setting. 

Then we found the children's garden and started at the top with the edible garden.  We recognized lots of plants growing in our own garden.
The littles headed for the celery slide, while
B made vegetable art.
The love of play food continued through this display about where different fruits and vegetables are grown.
We learned about super foods (see again with the nutrition education while I'm feeding them nearly straight carbs this particular morning).

Then we wandered in to a very cool maze.  I was briefly separated from B, but some kind folks helped reunite us and a valuable lesson about sticking together was learned by all :)

I admit, I sort of felt like I was rushing them through a huge collection of amazing things, but already I was beginning to worry about the heat, hydration, and their poor (slathered in sunscreen) skin. This huge, cool Kaleidoscope was at the entrance to a math garden!! We all loved it. 

Then, they worked together to construct this cool topiary garden.

The boys played together with these fun structures.
Lady M made tanigrams.

It was getting hotter - we headed to the water power area in search of some cooling off.

They all loved it, but it wasn't much cooler.  We flitted through solar and wind power on our way to the "Texas Wetlands"

Beautiful, and hot.
We cycled through the "water cycle" and found a little reliefe.
Then headed back up the hill in search of lunch. 

We had planned on ending with the "first adventures" area after lunch, but ultimately decided to begin the hike back to the main gates. 

We devoured (pricey) lunch at the cafe and bid farewell to a children's garden we could have spent days playing in.
We took a different path back to the front gate.  M and I loved the trial gardens while the boys rested in the shade.

The boys loved the potted plants trial gardens,which were full of color and fun.l
It quickly turned into a game of chase.  Do you see both boys here?
I loved this huge tree that touched the ground.
This is 3 bottles of water, 3 bottles of gatorade, one juice box, and three hours in to our visit.  Too hot and ready to go.

We did attempt a picture of all three... fail again, but decided on popsicles on our way out.  This, obviously, resulted in E changing clothes, but we felt a bit better.  I totally loved the gardens and would spend hours and days there if we lived closer.  SO wonderful!  It was time to go though so we all loaded up for our next adventure: 

At Brian's suggestion we headed to the Children's Aquarium at State Fair Park. It was small, cooler and great for short attention spans-- and Brian's treat (thanks Brian!).  Brian, I should note, is an incredible friend of ours for many years.  He has a long running habit of popping up to rescue at perfect times (usually when Brent is missing for some reason).  Our kids are typically hesitant about friends they don't see a lot, but this did not apply to Brian, or really any of the Vos.  E was hugging Brian within minutes of seeing him :)
We looked at all the fish and I ended up feeding quite a few sting rays after the kids chickend out.  I really don't want to do it again as you can feel their little teeth on your hand and it is just not fun for me.
After a bit more time with fishy friends inside and out we headed back to change into swimsuits and enjoyed a few hours at the Cimmaron Aquatic Center near the Vo casa.  It was awesome.  E went down slides for almost the entire time.  The kids played really well together and stuck with Brian and I like pros.  Samantha and M had quickly taken up their old friendship and had a great time.

Next up, back to dry clothes and playing before dinner.  Ok, keep in mind E is 2.  At this point, my vivofit said we'd been nearly 14,000 steps.  He was exhausted, but still rolling with it.  Dinner, however, didn't go that well.  He was at that tired stage where he must be moving constantly or fall asleep.  Brian and Linh were as helpful as could be and he did love their calamari, but I was pretty sad that he wasn't staying at the table or acting like his usual lovely self.  M & Samantha were deep in cahoots over colors, food, puzzles on their menus, which was cute.  E & the Vo's nearly 2 year old Emily did manage to use this time to fall for each other a bit.  By the time we left they were waving, pointing, and reaching for each other.  E even perhaps tried to kiss her (which we stopped as she might still be contagious from a recent illness... and is 2).   They were completely adorable and I'm told she missed him terribly while we were swimming.

I so loved getting this time with the Vos.  They are awesome and we hope to visit again next month!  After the crazy dinner, we headed back to the hotel for more crazy trying to get overly tired E to sleep.  He resisted and babbled for maybe 2 hours.  B, of course, fell promptly asleep, but M and I could not and Brent tried to help when he arrived, but without much success.  Sigh.  Glad this was our last hotel night as much as I loved this particular hotel.

Where We Went:
Dallas Arboretum
Dallas Children's Aquarium at Fair Park
Cimarron Aquatic Center (Irving)

Where we Ate:
Breakfast was seriously just snacks we had with us -- granola bars, goldfish, cracker sandwiches, etc...not my proudest moment in parenting.
Dallas Arboretum - Children's Adventure Garden Cafe - best Gatorade ever :)
Papasitos Cantina

Where we Stayed:

DFW Grand Hyatt - paid for by Intel as part of the meetings Brent was attending. Lovely hotel all around. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Family Vacation 2014: Day 4

So, after Day 3, we went home for three days and then went back on the road for another three day vacation. This time to Dallas!  Brent was attending some meetings for about 1/2 our time, which was sad, but did make our hotel stay free. 

Brent's sister Jamie and her boys joined us for the first stop of our adventure - Perot Museum of Nature and Science.   The museum is fairly new, pricey, and crowded.  That said, they had some cool exhibits, lots of hands on options and very current technology to try out. 

Brent had a great time with the microscopy and basically lots of opportunities to teach all the kids just a little science.
The first couple rooms we were in were biology related.  They learned about basics like cells, but also about their bodies.
John and M in front of slices of human bodies.
Here they are looking at the veins in their hands.
Dr. Richards explaining the "family tree" of species on earth --- with magnifying glasses as there are so many included.
B spent a long time working on this helicopter/auto-pilot simulation.  The idea was to balance the loads to get the helicopter to lift off, but it also demonstrated some of what the auto pilot does and some tricky physics of helicopters --- This was in the robots/technology section next door to the bodies/biology area.

Brent & E both helped with the helicopter project.
Meanwhile, Brent & M began programming a robot to drive through a maze.
They got more help :)
They tested it out and found there was a problem or two, but still quite fun. The next section was a brief foray in to space, but it was dark so no good photos.  Then we briefly went to the regular dino exhibit before it was time for our timed tickets to the special "World's Largest Dinosaurs exhibit," which was definitely not worth the extra $30 we paid to visit it.  It was two small and one large room that had a few neat things in them, but not really that many, at least not for our crew who mostly dug in the sand...which we can do for free.
Requisite blurry picture with dino model that is too large for the frame.

The glowing lungs in the background talk were part of the explanation of how blood and oxygen made it up the very long necks of these huge dinos.

Digging for "bones" in the sand table.
E asking a question about dino skulls.
Dr. Richards exploring and explaining.
And... then off to the children's area where we spent a solid hour.  E spent most of the time sorting play food.  The bigger boys climbed quite a bit.  M flitted around to various areas, but mostly in the farm/veg area with E.  There were, of course, a few snakes, which is what Brent & Matthew are discussing here.
The adults rested, talked, and plotted the next adventures.  The Jones crew headed home, and we took in one more exhibit about the science of sports.
This wall was pretty cool and lit up wherever we touched it.  Inside, there was another race thing (like in the Power Play exhibit at the OK Science Museum).  Then a lot of exhibits about sports medicine and nutrition.  We, of course, had horrible nutrition during this trip, but learned a lot about it??? (Does that count?)
There was a fun sports simulator where Brent threw a football and you could run the video of him doing it next to the video of a professional quarterback.  
The kids mostly loved seeing Daddy on TV :)
B's favorite part of the museum were these dancing water molecules in the lobby. They were cute, but might give you an idea of why I feel like this was kind of overpriced for the content. The price for us was only a few dollars shy of a yearly membership at the OK Science Museum....

Outside - there were some cool jumping frog statues, which we were instructed not to climb on or jump off of, which was ridiculous so we let the kids do both :)

E loved them and tried climbing and jumping all different ways.

The bigger kids know a photo op when they see one and posed happily.

M also wanted to demo her tree pose. I didn't quite capture this, but love the shadows and dance here.

I attempted, fairly unsuccessfully, to capture some pictures of all three of them all weekend.  Here are three early attempts :)

Brent's meetings were at the DFW Grand Hyatt -- the bonus was being able to watch the planes take off before bedtime :)

Where we went:
Perot Museum of Nature and Science

Where we ate:
El Fenix
Snacks from the airport shop and our stash for dinner as we were a bit stuck, and the kids were tired crazy... the kids loved it.

Where we stayed:
Grand Hyatt DFW - paid for by Intel as part of the meetings Brent was attending. Lovely hotel all around. 


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