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!!!

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!






Rehearsal Dinner

We got to Dallas on Friday with enough time for a quick swim at my aunt’s house before heading to the hotel and getting ready for the rehearsal dinner.

The rehearsal dinner was held at my aunt’s country club.  It started with a little cocktail hour which we used to take plenty of pictures!

My cousins:  Hayden (the groom) and Sheldon (the Captain).

A blurry picture of Ellen and my dad.

A girls picture.  That’s my niece, Jo.  She’s a handful, but OH-so adorable!!

Like father, like son pictures.

My big sister wrangling the little ones.

My 88 year old grandfather playing with Clark.We moved into the dining area for dinner.  It was delicious!  

My aunt assigned the seating so that we were split up and were able to meet some new people at our tables.  It was a great idea.

The cousins, my brother and one of the groomsmen.

My aunt Kathleen, Erin (the bride)’s parents, aka the Rowdy Dowdys, and her brother.

My parents.

Sheldon and his girlfriend, Kate.  We got to know her pretty well since she stayed at the lake house after the wedding too.  We all approve! 🙂

After dinner, there were speeches.  Of all varieties.  Some were funny.Some were heart-felt.

This was a game by two of Erin’s friends.  Hayden and Erin sat back-to-back in chairs and traded one of their shoes.  They were asked some questions like

Who’s a better driver?


Who said I love you first?

They raised a shoe to answer.  It was so cute and funny to see which answers they agreed on and which ones they didn’t.

Dessert was sooo good.  I had too many brownies!

The whole night went so well and we all couldn’t wait to see these two get hitched the next night.

Back to the Grind

No posts last week because we were on VACAY!  My cousin’s wedding was in Texas (where my mom is from) and we stayed the week after at our family’s lake house outside of Dallas for a few days, then road-tripped it to San Antonio for a night.  I’ll be back with posts about all that later this week and next, but here are a few pictures of our departure.

This was literally how our guest bedroom looked around 10pm the night before we left.  (BTW, our flight was at 7:59am!!)  I get really rammy** about packing.  I try to pack light, but am always paranoid we won’t have enough.  Ellen (my little sister) was flying down with us, so she stayed with us that night and helped me get organized.

**Rammy is a term my family uses that I think is short for rambunctious.

Next morning, we loaded up the car with our luggage, the stroller, and the baby.

Ellen wanted us to leave by 6am, so it meant we saw the sunrise on our way to BWI.  We probably should have left even earlier because we almost missed our flight.  That’s not unusual for Bob and me.  We always cut it close.

The early wake up meant coffee was a MUST for Ellen and me.We made our flight and Clark was pretty good for the ride!  He only fussed when he was tired.  I don’t think we were those people with the baby.  

We only had a few minutes to catch our connecting flight so we literally were running through the airport Home Alone style.

Well…Ellen wasn’t.  She broke her toe the week before our trip so she couldn’t run.  We told her we’d hold the plane for her if she didn’t make it in time.  She was sporting a stylish pair of boots for the trip!  When in Rome, right?

Fun Fact: Because of her toe situation, she literally only packed left shoes!We were so excited to land in Dallas.  Just had to pick up the rental car and head to my aunt’s house to meet up with the rest of the family.

Clark wanted to make a stylish first impression when he met the cousins.Can’t wait to share more of our trip with you!  We had a blast!!