Wednesday, September 14, 2011

to Texas and back

This is TEXAS sized blog post that took me a month
to put together! A lot happens in two weeks.

Especially when you spend the night...

in three different family's homes and three different hotel rooms.

The day we got home Hannah asked me,
"Mama, where are we gonna sleep tonight? We go back to hotel?"

I wish we were still on vacation, too!

This all started many many many months ago when we learned that the Taiwan R.O.C.ks adoptive family reunion was going to be held in Grapevine, Texas, this year, it was a no brainer. We had to go! Kevin's sister lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and we hadn't been to their house to visit in nearly four years.

On the way down we stopped in the Ozarks of Missouri to visit Kevin's aunt and her family. Hannah was in heaven. The little girls showed Hannah their cow, ducks, over a hundred chickens, and three mama cats raising kittens inside the house. Hannah was in kitten heaven watching and playing with the 10-12 kittens running around the living room. She had so much fun she requested to sleep with the little girls and not with Mama and Daddy. We were gifted with a whole box of home canned goods. I especially love the home canned peaches on my oatmeal in the morning, and Kevin likes the tomatoes and pickled ocra. With multiple roosters crowing, it was time to get back on the road towards the Lone Star state.

During my two visits to Texas, a few things stick out to me about this state. These people are sure proud to be Texans, they love their flag and display it proudly, and I've never seen so many signs for Dr. Pepper!

at the Alamo at night

We spent a few days just hanging out with Kevin's sister, husband, and our niece. We decided to travel to San Antonio for two days to visit Sea World, the Alamo, and the River Walk. Walking along the River Walk was relaxing, and I enjoyed looking at the architecture along the river. We took a little tour, and it was a definite must to understand the history of San Antonio and why the River Walk is so special to this city. We watched the Alamo IMAX movie and then toured the grounds. At Sea World Hannah's favorite activities were hand feeding little fish to dolphins, watching live shows with dolphins, whales, and birds, and splashing around at the water park. Kevin's sister is eight months pregnant, and it blows me away that she was able to walk the whole day and do all of this with us. Friday morning we left San Antonio, drove nearly five hours back to Dallas-Fort Worth, packed up our things for the weekend, and left for the Great Wolf Lodge.

Sea World

Having an event like this at Great Wolf Lodge was nice because it was a huge place with lots to do, but small enough that we would see people from our group where ever we went. We could always find someone in the water park to play with and someone in the dining hall to eat with. I knew the faces of a lot of people in our group that I hadn't met yet, and it was kinda surreal to see people wandering around in the lobby, notice each other, and hug a friend for the first time!

We enjoyed pizza at a pizza parlor just down the road from the resort. The parents mamas were doing a whole bunch of talking and not so much eating! The after their dinners the kiddos around us just started jumping on the booth seats and were just so cute. Hard to tell them not to jump when we were too busy gabbing they were making friends and really being so good otherwise! Amazing to think that we had over 25 Taiwan adoptive families including TWO families all the way west from Hawaii and a family of TEN all the way east from Germany, all in one little room, enjoying one another's company.

That night back at the hotel, Lora and Allie hosted a party in their room. Lora thought ahead and brought little tiny containers of play doh for the kids. Great idea, as that's something that kids of all ages can play with. I brought along a package of "lady stickers," some Gatorade, and a bottle of wine "mommy juice" for the mommies. Unscheduled play time was definitely one of my favorite activities with the kids. So fun to let kids unwind, be kids, make friends, have a glass of wine mommy juice, and just BE. Oh yes, and take photos of all of the silliness!







It was getting pretty late, way past these kiddos' bedtimes. When I told Hannah that we need to go back to our room and get jammies on I heard a little voice say, "I want to sleep with Allie!" Aw.... This was so sleep. Allie and Miss Lora looked like they wanted a slumber party, too. I wanted Hannah to get a good night's sleep so she could be rested for a big day tomorrow, but Lora assured me that if she slept in their room and didn't settle down soon, Hannah would be returned to her parents next door. Hannah got to have her first slumber party, I went back to our room by myself to unwind, while Daddy hung out meeting up with most of the other daddies in the lounge.

Saturday morning we enjoyed an amazing buffet breakfast at the lodge. Pancakes, waffles, eggs, toast, sausage, cereal, fruits, yogurt, granola, crepes, and lots more. Everything yummy for breakfast was all there. With full bellies we got on our swimsuits and headed for the water park with our buddies. After a couple of wave and splash filled hours, we cleaned up back in our room and gathered with a few people for a clothing swap in a banquet hall. We brought old clothes to hand-me-down to friends, and hoped to find some hand-me-downs for us, too. Our great finds include a cowgirl outfit, Hello Kitty crocks, and a few little boy outfits for Hannah's little brother. {No referral yet! Hopefully soon!}

During the clothing swap the kids were so funny. They played chase around the tables and laughed and laughed while hiding under the table cloths. Hannah told me she was hungry, so I asked Kevin to take three of the girls for a look around the hotel and get them a snack. After making sure it was okay with their mommies, Kevin took Gracyn, Allie, and Hannah for a walk. When they returned, they were each carrying HUGE ice cream cones and Kevin had a really pleased look on his face. Apparently, Gracyn likes mint chip ice cream. No, she REALLY likes mint chip ice cream! :)

That night we enjoyed a Mexican dinner buffet in the banquet hall, released red balloons attached with wishes by or for our children, and watched a slide slow filled with photos of referral photos, precious moments families were created, and families together back at home. It was very exciting to learn that next year's Taiwan R.O.C.ks event will be in Chicago, just a few hours away from us. I'm very excited about this, knowing that lots of our Midwestern Taiwan adoptive family friends are likely to go!

On Sunday Kevin's sister's family joined us for an entire day at the lodge's water park. We were exhausted after a full day of play. Hannah LOVED splashing her silly uncle over and over and over again. They both couldn't get enough splashing.

We visited the Boba Tea House and Fort Worth Botanical Japanese Garden again this trip. The noodles and boba are delish, and the Japanese garden is a lovely spot for photos. I think Hannah could feed the huge koi and turtles in the pond all day. While we were there, we watched a man propose to his girlfriend on a bridge in the garden. Her relatives were there to take photos of the moment he proposed. It was very beautiful, and she said yes!



One the way home from Texas we stopped to visit our friends Andrea and Libby. The girls swam and splashed in their pool and played with the little kitchen and stickers. We took photos of the girls at a local park, and some of the ones I took of Libby are some of my most favorite ever.



Ahhh. Great to be away and visit with so many people, but nice to be back home in our own beds, too. There's no place like home!


  1. Wow, what an awesome trip you had!! I'm so glad we could finally meet and we love the cute dresses that we got from Hannah. Lexie always gets compliments when she wears them.

  2. loved hearing all about your wonderful texas trip and remembering meeting yall :) It is so neat that Noah now not only pics out the kids but mommy's and daddy's too! :) He remembers! Each year will get more and more I am sure. Thanks for sharing and for your sweet words on my blog!
    God bless,


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