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. 

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