4th of July 2013.

I've totally been slacking on the bloggy end. I guess because our days kinda run together with swimdates, playdates, more swimming, sleeping, and just having fun! At any rate, here's an actual, real live post. With pictures. As is our terrible habit, we brought our "real" camera and left it in the car all weekend. Thankfully, trusty i-phone came through and my brother took some "real" pictures with his "real" camera. Great time and it was wonderful to escape, even for just a couple of days.


We left for the RR mid-morning so we could beat the traffic and perhaps get there in time for the kids to take a nap (hahahahaha, oh I kid myself). Packing is getting easier and easier these days. No more bottles, formula, very few diapers, no special utensils or food or pack 'n plays --- just 4 pairs of clothes per day for the princess (she has to change at least that many times, oh my - not because she's dirty but because she likes clothes), a couple of sippy cups, and some pull ups. I used to have an Excel spreadsheet 50 items long but that's out the window. What a relief! And thank you, sweet baby Jesus, for portable DVD players. The kids watched Nemo (tolerable for background noise) and then episodes of Mickey (not so tolerable) all the way there. No fuss, no muss. I was a little worried about Q given she hasn't traveled so far since she potty trained, but she was a champ. No accidents the entire time we were there --- and let's just say she's more regular than I am on vacation (TMI???). 

When we got there, Ma was wonderful enough to let us drop off the babies so Matt and I could go have a quiet lunch and a couple of hours to ourselves. I can't remember the last time that a) we had afternoon free time just the 2 of us and b) we didn't have to pay a sitter. What a revelation! Anyway, we went to a really cute wine bar in downtown and had a great lunch with a couple of adult beverages. So nice. And the temperature in Austin was tolerable for once, low 90s, so it was pleasant to just walk around.

The kids immediately got busy with the water table, swing set, sandbox, playroom and all the other goodies Ma had for them. Including about 6 oatmeal cookies. What happens at Grandma's....well, let's just say they are lucky to have a great Ma. And a mean mommy who doesn't often let them have cookies :)

Later on, their cousins Ady and Riley joined them for the fun. Too cute to see them all running around together since they don't get to see each other very often. We ended up going out to eat with Ma, Uncle Zebbie, Aunt Emmy, Uncle Christian, and Aunt Stacey with all the kiddos and they had a total blast. We finally had to depart at about 8pm since we had been going since 5:30am and headed to our hotel. Now that the kids are used to "big beds", it makes it difficult for us to stay anywhere so we opted for a little suite and said a prayer. By the time they figured out who was sleeping with whom, it was well after 10pm. I got Quinn and proceeded to have potentially the worst night sleep ever (no offense little girl). For a child who isn't super cuddly when she is awake, asleep is a different story. We slept on approximately 1/8th of the pullout sofa and she settled somewhere in between my neck and shoulder blade :) The place we stayed had free breakfast so that was a new, fun experience for the kids. Ryan especially liked his "Texas Waffles" while Q settled for her standard yogurt and cereal.

Thursday (4th of July)
We headed out early (relative) to go to Ma's house. She lives in downtown RR along the parade route so it's the perfect viewing spot. Finally, after many twists and turns, we ended up parking 1/2 mile away from her house and hoofing it. Or actually me carrying Ryan and Quinn sprinting. We made it in time for the parade thank goodness. And Ma had such the set up ---- Mimosas and Bloody Mary's, plus all sorts of breakfast goodies. Not to mention her precious house was straight out of Americana with all the wonderful flags and landscaping. Great job, Ma!

Ryan stayed glued to the parade the entire 2 1/2 hours. And yes, I said 2 1/2 hours. I am convinced they let anyone who had a cool car or a little posse they could get together into the parade. At any rate, it should be of no surprise that he was enraptured by all of the "fast cars" as he calls them. He didn't care much for the candy throwing though. Q was into that for a bit and got over it. She mostly bounced from parade to house, to snack table, parade, house, rinse, repeat.

After all the excitement, we could see the babies were fading fast. Time for a quick lunch and hotel. After little sleep and hot temperatures, Matt and I were exhausted and just prayed the kids would take a nap. Didn't happen but we did lay in a dark, cold hotel room for a couple of hours to rejuvenate ourselves. Then it was off to Uncle Blaine and Aunt Tina's house for a little hamburger cookout. And of course this happened on the way there...

Out like little lights for a good 20 minutes.

Once we got to Uncle B's, the cousins had some time to hang with K-Bug who is just delicious. I love this little miracle so much. Although she's not so little anymore. That child is growing by leaps and bounds. Blaine cooked some yummy hamburgers and hot dogs for the kids. Quinn, per her usual vacation eating style, had filled up on junk all day, so she didn't eat much but Ryan had almost 2 full hot dogs. That's this kids new favorite food. Whatever, I'll take it because at least it's food and not chips or cheese.

We had a little excitement on the back patio waiting for the burgers. I was in the middle of telling a story and suddenly felt intense pain on the back of my left leg. It took me what seemed a sweet forever to figure out that I was being stung. And then I started hollering and jumping up and down, trying not to cry. To my credit, since the kids were outside with us and I didn't want to scare them, I tried to stay fairly calm. No cursing which is sort of unbelievable. Anyway, I limped inside and the boys figured out I had been stung by a yellow jacket. Fun stuff. Those things HURT. And they swell up  pretty quickly. And stay bruised for days. I don't remember the last time I was stung by a bee but goodness, it has to have been YEARS and YEARS.

Blaine took some fun pictures for us as as the kids ran around and then it was back to the hotel again so we could attempt some sleep. Which didn't  happen until sometime after 11:00pm. This time I got Ryan who was pretty delightful after the night before. At least he mostly stays on his side of the bed. But damn, he has quite the roundhouse kick and apparently he likes to flip upside down in bed at odd times of the night.

We took our time the next morning getting ready and then finally headed back to Houston. Even though their typical nap isn't until 1:30 or 2:00pm, they were out as soon as we got on the interstate at 11am. And pretty much slept door to door. Lovely.

The rest of the weekend was spent recovering and catching up on sleep, swimming, detox-ing with some yummy meals, a birthday party, and just relaxing. So wonderful to have Matt home with us for 6 whole days. He's just so good with them and way more patient than I am. Since he went back to work, I think I've said "I want Daddy home" more than the kids :)

Hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing 4th!

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