Our trip was less than a week and the time went by so fast, but we are going back for another visit in July after summer classes wrap up. Here is what we managed to squeeze in while there (warning - it was a lot!):
THURSDAY: In the morning we made a Costco run, since we only have Sam's Club in Amarillo, to stock up on a few essentials that we needed. Not exciting, but still important. Then that evening we had a family dinner in downtown Dallas before attending the pinning ceremony for Liz, who was graduating from nursing school! We were planning to only bring Charlie since it was late at night, but after Davey had a freak out at bedtime the night before, we cancelled the babysitter and brought all the kids with us. With the help of tablets, they did amazing well and sat quietly during the entire 2.5 hour ceremony!
Hooray for Liz (sorry for stealing this from your Facebook)
Liz receiving her pin from her parents. While they were up on stage Sophie kept shouting "grandma!" and waving. Notice that her post-graduate placement is at Northwest Hospital in Amarillo. She will be joining us out here in a few months!
Family photo afterward. Amy was there with Ally and Jack, but left before it ended since the ceremony was long and it was a school night.
Dave carrying out our two tired kiddos
FRIDAY: Elizabeth had her actual graduation on Friday morning, but we didn't think the kids would handle another long event, so instead we met some friends at the Dallas Zoo. It's a great zoo (about 10x more exciting than the one in Amarillo) but we had to share it with a ton of kids on end-of-year field trips and the place was packed! So many kids everywhere, but we didn't lose anyone, saw lots of animals, and even found a shaded picnic table for lunch.
Our friends have a membership and were able to get tickets to ride the carousel, not once, but twice!
One of Sophie's favorite animals to see has always been the crocodile. Here is a recreation of a photo we took of her at the zoo on our last visit.
One of the most exciting creatures of the day was this little green caterpillar she found during our lunch break.
Gazing at the elephants
Attempt at a family picture by the lions
Sophie with her friend Grayson
Grandma Howe gave Sophie a few dollars to feed the giraffes, which is actually a really fun experience. Unfortunately the giraffes had already been very well fed by the millions of school kids, so we fed the birds instead, which was also fun!
Prenteding to be dinosaurs hatching out of an egg
Exhausted on the way home
After the zoo we had just a short time to clean up before heading out for more fun. We took all the kids to the Palmer's house to play while the dads supervised, and the wives went out to dinner! First we drove to the airport to pick up Tiffany, who was flying in to see Todd for the weekend, and then we ate some delicious food at Pappadeaux's. It's a cajun/seafood place and I ordered salmon, but also tried some fried catfish and fried alligator that was actually very tasty. After dinner we went back to the Palmer's where the dads had given all the kids baths and put them to bed. We stayed up way too late playing games, but love these nights with friends.
SATURDAY: Dave took the big kids to a splash pad to play with their cousins while I hung back with Charlie. Later that afternoon Charlie was blessed (separate post) and then after the blessing we had farewell celebration for Todd, who will be moving to Utah soon. First we went to dinner, and then we came back to the Howe's to eat all of Todd's favorite desserts - snickerdoodles, peach cobbler, key lime pie, and Bluebell ice cream - yum! We were supposed to play Whirlyball after dessert, but the place accidentally double booked the court, so we got bumped and were compensated with unlimited games of free laser tag.
Dave and I at dinner - we ordered the 1 pound fajita platter to share!
Group shot with our friends
SUNDAY: Happy Mother's Day! It was nice to be able to spend this holiday with family. I would have loved to have slept in, but Charlie had other ideas so we started the day nice and early. We attended church, where I ate more chocolate in one sitting than a person probably should. They gave out candy bars after Sacrament meeting, followed by eclairs and cookies during Relief Society, and then the speaker passed around another huge tub of chocolates for us to enjoy.
After church we went over to Greg's house for a Mother's Day feast. We had picked up some amazing, 2-inch thick steaks at Costco for dinner, and it was one of the best meals I've eaten in a long time. After dinner we opened presents. We brought a huge, red rock from Palo Duro Canyon for Dave's mom to put in her garden, and Dave gave me an entire day to do what ever I want while he takes the kids somewhere (or multiple somewheres...) I can't wait to redeem it!
Sophie's paper she wrote about me. The picture is of me and her watching a movie of ourselves :)
Love these kids who call me mommy!
On the way home from church we gave Davey a piece of cookie to try and keep him awake. He managed to get it all over himself and then still fell asleep. Right before nodding off, though, he looked at his hands and declared "I chocolate," which we all had a good laugh at.
MONDAY: Time to go home. The kids did amazing again on the way back, and we found a new lunch spot - Braum's in Vernon, TX. We've tried a different place every time we make the drive, and this was definitely a winner. The food was good, reasonably priced, and it was the perfect distance from Dallas.