We left out of Seattle because it was about $500 cheaper but it was dicey deciding whether to risk trying to get over the mountain passes on the west side of the state. At the last minute we decided to leave the night before and stay at Ryan's aunt's house. We woke up at 3:00am, loaded our crew into the car and made it onto our 5:50am flight. I had been pretty nervous about the whole thing and felt so relieved to be done with that. Levi was so good the whole time, even letting his dad take some pretty decent naps inflight.
We stayed with my mom the first few days. We'd decided to buy the Dallas City Pass and think that was a good call. We knew we'd want to do lots of sightseeing stuff and it really saved us money. The weather was 75 degrees and completely sunny. After 3 straight weeks of gray, drizzly Spokane weather, we felt like we'd time traveled to June. It was awesome.
We drove from the airport to downtown Dallas, ate lunch and hit our first spot: The 6th Floor Museum, which is about the assassination of JFK. It's so well done. The littler kids were slightly bored by the end, but our oldest really learned a lot. Levi slept in his stroller so we felt pretty lucky.
We walked from there to the Reunion Tower. (I feel like there are these types of places in every big city.) I probably wouldn't have done it if it wasn't included on the City Pass, but it was a beautiful night and we got to see the city as the sun was starting to set. Dinner was fabulous burgers where we met up with some of the Romney side of the family.
The next day was Sunday and we enjoyed Grandma Dorrie's super comfortable accommodations. We went to church, tried to see the under construction, closed-on-Sunday Dallas temple (Ryan found my family's die-hard sightseeing efforts here pretty hilarious), and checked out Klyde Warren park built over a freeway in downtown Dallas.
Monday we spent the day at the Ft Worth zoo, one of the most highly rated zoos in the country. Meridith, Zaundra, and Grandma Nut met us there, too and it was so fun to do the zoo with cousins. The highlight was definitely the baby gorilla, though all of the exhibits and animals were incredible. We ended up getting kicked out at 4pm (early winter closing) and headed down to the Ft Worth stockyards where uncle Bart (who works as a policeman in the area) was a fun tour guide. We left that night for San Antonio, pulling in a little after midnight.
My brother Matt lives there and is the best host. We had yummy food and his fabulous huge backyard to play football, do cookouts and explore. One of my favorite parts was getting to go on a few runs with him...he made me go fast! We checked out the Riverwalk and the Alamo (again) and visited beautiful Hemisfair Park. The highlight of the day for me was probably lunch at Rudy's. I dream of that place. Matt is a big strategy-game player, so they ended both nights with some Dominion.
On San Antonio day2, we visited the Natural Bridge Caverns, which we LOVED. We also got a groupon for the San Marcos spring glass bottom boats and had a pretty fun tour guide and loved enjoying the sunny day on the river.
We headed back to Dallas the next day, stopping downtown to do the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. It wasn't quite as cool as some science museums we've been to, but the kids still enjoyed it. Ryan's brothers Greg and Grant live 5 minutes from each other and so we divided the family between the two locations. We were so excited that Brooke drove down from Oklahoma to spend the weekend with us!
We went on a nature walk with a million kids and spent the day at a fun nature preserve. Ryan went on some bike rides with the guys and the teenagers scored some Mavericks tickets from uncle Greg. On Saturday morning, we checked out the George Bush Presidential library and it's 9/11 section was really really good. Ryan had organized a kickball game that we played despite trespassing signs and the worse weather we'd seen so far. Also, In-N-Out. Twice.
We were so sad to go home the next day. It had been a pretty perfect vacation. The flight went well, the stop at IKEA to replace Faith's broken bed and strap it too our heavy car went well, and the ride home frantically doing the homework everyone had sworn previously they'd finished went well. (Insert eyeroll emoji here). We arrived to a newly renovated kitchen, which was the best thing about coming home.
I love vacations because I love seeing new things, being with long lost family, taking a break, but most of all, I LOVE lots of uninterrupted time with our family all together. It's a precious commodity around here and worth any amount of money and effort and planning to make it happen.