Texas Trip 2012: The Final Days

AHHH.  I took an unplanned hiatus from blogging last week.  Sometimes it’s just hard to find the time with a little rug rat on the move.  I know our Texas vacation was taken over a month ago now, but I want to finish the recap so that I don’t forget anything!  So without further ado…

For the last few days of our Texas vacation, we decided to split up from the group and see another part of the Lone Star State.  After saying our goodbyes to the rest of the family (and the player piano), Bob, Clark and I hopped in the car and made ourselves comfortable for the 5+ hour drive to San Antonio.

On our way, we called to reserve our hotel room and discussed what we wanted to see.

Once we checked in to our hotel, we headed to the River Walk.  It was nice, but…definitely not conducive to pushing a little one in a stroller.  There were a lot of steps (we couldn’t find the handicap access!?) and the walkway was pretty narrow so we basically had to walk single file.  At least we got a couple nice pictures.We had dinner at a restaurant right on the River Walk and then headed back to our hotel…

…which had a rooftop pool…

…so we took our baby swimming…

…at like 10:30pm…

Hey! It’s vacation, right?!  Bedtime is for suckers!

The next morning we got up for breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant and headed over to see the Alamo.  Bob loves to read all the placards at places like that.  I like to take pictures of Bob reading placards.  hahaWe asked a stranger to take a family photo for us.  Yes, we are wearing coordinating outfits that my mom got us!  I love it!Okay, so, the Alamo was pretty cool and you can’t go to San Antonio without checking it out, but now we are on to our favorite part of our Texas trip.

Bob read about the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch in our AAA Texas TourBook.  It is 400 acres of land with over 40 exoctic and endangered species living naturally.  As soon as we pulled up, we saw the giraffes.

So we bought our tickets for the Drive-Thru and headed inside.  We decided to first check out the petting area to see if Clark had any interest.  There were lots of baby goats…

An emu…

A couple llamas…And sheep…Clark was pretty apathetic about the petting zoo experience, but he was a good sport for the pictures.  Then we headed back to the car to do the Drive-Thru and Clark passed out in his car seat.

There were soooo many cool animals!

We are cheapos so we didn’t buy the pamphlet that tells you all their names, but we got tons of pictures.  (Attention National Geographic, I know that you will be contacting me after seeing these awesome photos I took, but I am not interested in coming to work for you.  Thanks anyway!)  

Yes, some animals were more interesting than others, but it was so cool how all of them would get pretty close to the car.

This one cracks me up.

So by FAR the coolest part was the zebras!!  When we got our tickets, they gave us a bag of pellets to toss out the car window for the animals.  Also, you could drive the loop as many times as you wanted.  So, we spotted the zebras towards the end of the loop off in the distance.  Then, we saw that the car behind us got them to come right up to their car so we circled around again for our own close up experience.  Check it:

Yeah…that was my car window!!  I was too afraid to touch them because all the signs said that they might bite, but Bob “pet” the one on his side.  Ohmygosh!!  It was so awesome being so close to them.  I mean…ZEBRAS!!!  This place was SO worth the trip.  We highly recommend it to anyone in the area of San Antonio!

After the Safari (that’s what we started calling it), we had planned to head to Austin and spend the night there.  We didn’t have a hotel reservation and by the time we got there, we still hadn’t found a good deal for the night so we decided to just drive through the city.  (Didn’t get any pictures)

Then we figured we would just head toward Dallas (our flight was out of Fort Worth), maybe stop somewhere in between for the night if we got tired.  Since Clark always does so well in the car, we don’t mind driving when we’re all together.  We made it all the way!

After an unfortunate hotel room booking (think cockroaches in the bathtub…eek!), we called around and found another place to stay for the night.  Friday morning we got up and checked out the JFK Memorial.

And we walked around a bit, window-shopped, etc.

Clark was happy in his stroller.We spent the night at my aunt’s house after going to dinner with her and my cousin.  Then headed back to Baltimore the next morning.

We were sad the vacation was over, but excited to get back to home sweet home.That was our summer vacation!






Post-Wedding Fun #2 (Club Lake)

On Sunday after the wedding, we headed to our family’s lake house just north of Dallas.  The lake is such a special place for all of us.  It has been in our family since my grandfather was a kid.  It’s a great place to just relax and spend quality time with each other.

574646_10152026628575321_1602412437_nPlus there’s swimming!

And we have a jet ski.

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The lake is private and has lots of rules like you have to go counter-clockwise on it, no wake on the outside of the buoys, etc.  One rule is that your engine can’t be over a certain horse power.  The boys all hate that rule because it means the jet ski isn’t strong enough to pull them on water skis.  We do have a tube that we use, though.  Just not always on the water. 🙂

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Because of how many people were staying at the lake, our family of 3, my sister and her family, and my cousin and his girlfriend stayed in these little bungalows on the other side of the lake near the new clubhouse.  They were kind of like stand-alone hotel rooms.  On Monday morning Bob, Clark and I were up early and decided to walk around a little, check out the clubhouse and get a few family pictures.  It was so beautiful.  Calm and Quiet.  DSC01306

Clark “rode” in our Kelty Kids backpack.  Best hand-me-down ever!DSC01302

Since no one was around, we had to use the self timer for our family pics.  This was the best one we got.DSC01319

I also managed to get a picture of our lake house and dock.  See it there in the middle behind the trees?DSC01309
My dad and brother in law, Chris, were both leaving on Tuesday morning so on Monday night we went to dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant, Molina’s.  Of course there were family pictures beforehand!228510_10152026627680321_1907138904_n

Oh yea, and…Clark hurt his finger that day (totally my fault).  Ellen is a nurse at the Naval Hospital and works with wounded warriors.  I think she may have over-done the bandaging.386847_10152026626890321_45611317_n

The food was awesome (as usual) but we were a little disappointed that Molina’s got their liquor license back.  They used to give 2 free margaritas with every meal but this time we had to pay for them :-(.  

I love this picture of my niece!

DSC01341She is a riot!  One of her favorite things is to get pulled around in a laundry basket.  I mean, she would literally do it for hours.  Clark joined her for a few rides.DSC01320

He thought it was pretty fun too!

We were so lucky to have had such nice weather while we were there.  The temperature was so pleasant and it wasn’t as humid as it would normally be in the middle of August.

It was great to spend some time with my cousin, Sheldon and his girlfriend, Kate.
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They left Tuesday night to head back to Dallas and Wednesday morning, Bob, Clark and I were heading to San Antonio for the night.

But before we left, we HAD to take a picture with my mom, the kids, and grandkids in front of the player piano.  When we were kids, my mom took us to Texas every summer for a week to see this side of our family (her parents and our aunt, uncle and cousins).  We always spent a few days/nights here at the lake and one of our favorite things to do here was load the player piano with “76 Trombones” and watch it play as we sang along.

DSC01360We really don’t use the piano much anymore and it’s a little out of tune so my aunt decided to give it to some friends of my grandfather’s who live at the lake year-round.  It’s so sad to see it go, but at least this way, we can still visit :-).DSC01363
I don’t know the next time we’ll get to go to the lake again, but I can’t wait.  It’s so fun and relaxing!

Next week, I’ll finish up our Texas Trip Recap with our awesome day in San Antonio.  Think…Safari! (for real!)

I can’t believe summer is over!  It seems like it flew by.  But fall is just so beautiful and come on, who doesn’t love football season?!?!  GO HOKIES!!!  GO STEELERS!!!

A Peak Inside

I saw an episode of Pregnant in Heels a while back where Rosie Pope quizzes some of her clients about what should go in their diaper bag.  I think their answer was “diapers and wipes”…the end.  Obviously that was the wrong answer.  Rosie went on to list about a thousand different things that they would need to carry.  It reminded me of this cute video by Luvs.

I think Rosie exaggerated a bit.  When we first had Clark we definitely stuffed our bag to the brim, but since we’ve gotten to know his needs, we pack only the essentials.  So here’s what I keep in my “holster”. Dipe bag numbered-1
1. Diaper Bag – uh…duh.  I love my diap bag.  It’s a Vera Bradley.  I didn’t really register for a diaper bag because I have a few big purses that I thought I might just use.  But my sister got this one for me when Vera Bradley had a mega sale at her mall.  It seems to have just the right number of compartments inside and out.  And it’s cute.

2. My “stuff” – My diaper bag also serves as my purse.  I don’t see the point of carrying two bags all the time or unloading things from the diaper bag into a purse when I run errands without Clark, so things like my lotion and lipgloss** get a little compartment of their own.

**Yes, I always have lipgloss with me even though I pretty much never wear it.  Better safe than sorry though, right?

3. Wallet – Again, diaper bag = purse.

4. Hooter-Hider – Clark is a breast-fed baby.  Which means I can bring my nursing cover instead of a few bottles when we leave the house.  To be honest, I rarely have to use it.  I plan our outings around his feedings or can usually find a private place to nurse him if I need to.

5. Burp Cloths – Clark spits up.  Like…all the time.  It’s kind of gross.  So we always have something in the diaper bag to wipe it up with.  Sometimes that means a kitchen towel if all the burp cloths are dirty.  (Not Pictured: We also always pack an extra outfit for him.  Just in case)

6. Diaps and Wipes – We use disposables.  Sorry Planet Earth.  It’s just what has been best for us with this baby.  Maybe we will switch to cloth diapers when he gets older or with a future kid, but for now Pampers gets our business.

7. Clark’s “stuff” – I don’t need these things all the time, but it’s nice to have them with me if/when I ever do.  I guess the Purell is for me and the tissues are shared, but the baby lotion, baby sunscreen and nail files are for him.

8. My shades – Self explanatory.  (Not Pictured: Clark has his own pair of sunglasses that I also carry all the time.  You never know when he’ll need to look fly for one of his baby girlfriends.)

9. Wet Wipes – Yes, those say “Hooters”.  My son is a boob man (refer to #4).  But for reals, we keep all the wet wipes we get from restaurants and put them in the diap bag for whatever we might need them for.  Wiping down a public table that Clark wants to chew on, cleaning ourselves after a blow-out diaper, etc.

10. PACI!! – Clark uses a pacifier.  Specifically the MAM brand pacifier.  He has used one since he was in the hospital and he never had nipple confusion or anything.  It really comes in handy to, get this…pacify him!  Who knew?  So yea…we always have one clipped to him on a pacifier leash and usually an extra in the diaper bag.

Now, I took that photo back in June and I would say the only things that I now add are:

Blanket – because the temperature is getting cooler.


Food – Clark is on solids now so I always carry some Puffs and if we will be out during a meal, I throw in some food for him.

So…that’s the grand tour of my diaper bag.  Glamorous, huh?  I actually think I may have carried more junk when I used a purse.  Now, I keep things much more organized.  Well…in the diaper bag, at least.

Of course, every baby is different but you really don’t need a million and one things.  Hope this helps some of the new mommas/mommas to be.  What do you keep in your diaper bag?

The End of an Era

When I was in college, I got the nickname, “Mom”.  This was for a few reasons.

One was because I did Bob’s fraternity brothers’ laundry.  I mean…they paid me.  It wasn’t for free or anything.  I even had a whole system set up.  It was my little laundry business for beer money.

Another reason was because I guess I acted kind of “parental” to some of our friends.  You know…caring, giving advice, sharing wisdom, etc.

But I think the main reason people called me Mom is because I drove a mini van.

A Dodge Caravan to be exact.

“Mini-me” if you will. (Caravan – KARAvan, get it?)

Some may mock, but it was awesome!  Virginia Tech was 6 hours from my parents’ house, but having a mini van meant I had the storage of an SUV but with great gas mileage.  Not to mention having a mini van was ideal for piling tons of people into it to go to a party or DD have someone else DD on the weekends.

Well…let’s just say the girl has seen better days.  The last few years I have had to repair the air conditioning in the warm months and the heat in the cold months.  Before Clark was born, my dad sold us his old car so I have primarily been using that one anyway.

So we decided to sell the van.  We knew we wouldn’t get a lot for it, but we took it to CarMax on Monday and said “Farewell”.  I may or may not have shed a few tears.  😦

So long Old Friend.  It’s been fun!

Obligatory sorority squat

Clark thought this meant it freed up a parking space for his new ride that he found in the waiting area.

Road Warrior

“Fill ‘er up, Daddy”

It really was a great car filled with so many memories.  I’m gonna miss it.  

In other news…we made a home improvement purchase last night that I am SO excited about!!  Too bad I won’t be able to show it off for another couple months.

Post-Wedding Fun #1! (Guest Blogger)

As I mentioned yesterday, the babies fell asleep at the ceremony and were down for the count.  Since I had to miss most of the reception, my sister Ellen volunteered to guest blog about it:

While the youngins were being tucked into bed in the hotel room, downstairs at the wedding reception, the music was bumpin’……….

El didn’t let her broken toe slow her down on the dance floor.   She even was able to drag our dad out there for a few minutes before he let go and scurried back to wall-flower status.

Sam showed off his signature move, the “finger pointing.”

Our mom and aunt, the “Barlow girls,” looked hott and were breakin’ it down.

Some sweet friends of the groom actually assisted our 88 year old grandpa and offered him a “walker dance.”  He even cracked a smile for the picture.

And the new Mr. & Mrs. Hodges couldn’t have looked happier.

Thanks for all the pictures and captions Ellen!

Wedding Day!!

Saturday morning we hung by the pool again while some of us (cough, cough…Bob) recovered from the night before.  (In his defense, we discovered that the Advil he took that morning, was actually a sleep aid pill.  Whoops!!  Let’s just say he got a really good nap that day!!)

We had a late lunch at a Mexican restaurant with the kiddos.  Luckily they had a small outdoor space perfect for Jo to run around.  Clark can’t wait till he can join her!

The food was okay, but the company was better!

After lunch we hit up a cute baby/kids boutique and got some frozen yogurt.  Then we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding.

We sort of overestimated how much time we had to get ready and found ourselves running around the hotel room rushing to make ourselves look presentable.

I’d say we pulled it off though.

Except Sally forgot her headband!!


There were no pictures permitted during the ceremony, but Ellen snagged this one of the beautiful bride beforehand.

By the end of the ceremony, the babies were sleeping, but we got a great Dreibelbis family photo.The reception was at our hotel, but since the babies were sleeping, Sally and I called it a night to keep an eye on the little ones.

Since we are so lame, Ellen volunteered to guest blog about the reception!!  That’ll get posted tomorrow so stayed tuned!