Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Whew!! We're back!!

Well, we meant to post while we were in the States... but, obviously, that never happened. We were so busy we didn't even have time to see everyone we wanted to see or to do everything we wanted to do. It was a great trip, but I guess we have to stay longer next time.

So, what did we do in the good old USA? I can't think of a way to keep this short, so get comfortable...

The boys were fantastic the entire trip, on the plane, at people's homes, in restaurants, while shopping, at the hotel, and in the airports. They even did mostly okay with the time changes. We are so very lucky to have such great kiddos.

In Dallas:

We took the boys to the Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch where they had a great time playing with the little pumpkins and an even better time in the bounce house. We let them eat a soft pretzel and shaved ice, they loved both.

We also took the boys trick-or-treating. Connor was a perfect Frankenstein and Alex just had to be Dracula. The boys knocked on all the doors, Connor walked into a few homes, and they both ate too much candy.
The boys rode the Merry-go-Round at Stonebriar Mall and played in the kids area at both Stonebriar and Willow Bend. They never wanted to leave.
Since we happened to be in town for first Monday, I HAD to go to Canton even though I couldn't buy much. For those of you unfamiliar with First Monday, it's the largest outdoor trade day (flea market/craft fair) in the World....at least that's what they claim. Anyhow, my brother Travis and his family joined us for the day. We stopped for some yummy BBQ on the way there (the boys liked it) and then ate our way through the market. We all had roasted corn, funnel cake, fresh squeezed lemonade, corny dogs, and kettle corn. Yummy!! I did end up buying a little Texas magnet for our fridge to remind me of my family there.
Since we didn't have a ton of "extra" time in Dallas, we had a party at UnCork!, a great little wine bar in Frisco, so that we could see as many friends as possible. Many of the usual suspects attended as well as an old high school friend (and her husband) that I hadn't seen in 9 years, and a good friend that now lives in El Paso but happened to be passing through town that very day. It was a good time, but the day flew by so quickly and I didn't get to visit with everyone as much as I had hoped.

Another good friend had planned on making the boys their first birthday cake, but then we went and moved to Spain! So she made the boys monkey cupcakes while we were home and we had a nice "mini" celebration just a couple months late...
My SIL, Molly, had a BBQ at their place for the family. All the cousins got to play and all the grown-ups got to chat and catch up a little bit. The food and the company were excellent.

Our final weekend in town, I walked the Breast Cancer 3-Day with my brother Trevor and 4,000 other men and women. We walked 60 miles in just three days and the time went by so quickly. The weather was perfect during the day, but quite cold in camp at night. This year's route took us from Southfork Ranch in Plano (where the series "Dallas" was filmed) to SMU in Dallas and the crowds and cheering stations were simply amazing. Jaime brought the boys to see us during our lunch stop on Day 2, and then they came to closing ceremonies as well. Trevor's family, our brother Travis and his family, and several of my friends also attended closing ceremonies it was so nice to have everyone there. We plan to walk again in a few more years.

We only had time for one more quick dinner before we had to leave for Wisconsin so several of our friends met us at one of our favorite Mexican restaurant's in Dallas, Mena's. We said good-bye to everyone that night and then started packing for Wisconsin.

In Wisconsin (via Chicago):

First, I won't mention how terrible American Airlines luggage policy is for domestic flights. Not to totally blame AA as I am sure most other airlines have the same unreasonable policies, and forget traveling with lap children!

"In America there are two classes of travel - first class, and with children." ~Robert Benchley

We barely made it to the DFW airport in time for our flight, so we got bumped to the next one since I still had to return the rental car. A few hours later, we arrived safely in Chicago and, after a crazy time figuring out how to get our rental car and then load it with all our belongings including the boys without leaving anything unattended, we drove up to Germantown, WI.

We checked in to the hotel and began our week long stay. We spent most of the time with my Grandpa "Papa" just hanging out, running errands, and visiting with family and friends. Papa enjoyed spending time with us and the boys... well, mostly the boys if truth be told. The boys enjoyed their time there as well and loved playing with Papa's cane and walker.

"A grandfather is someone with silver in his hair and gold in his heart." ~Author Unknown

Alex & Connor got their first "real" haircut by a "professional" at a Children's Salon in Menomonee Falls. With all the distractions plus Mom and dad feeding them pumpkin custard, they did great. Hopefully they won't remember that because it's back to Mom cutting their hair now...but she does it better anyhow, right?
On Saturday the 15th of November, my cousin had a get together at her house so we could see as many relatives as possible from my Mom's side of the family. It was a potluck and we had a wonderful turnout. Several aunts and uncles as well as cousins and second cousins were there. They fed the boys so much junk that they had diarrhea for two days afterward and on Monday they had to leave Chili's naked except for their diapers which is also the night it snowed.

We discovered that Alex sprouted his first molar and was breaking another one as well.

There were several Wisconsin things I wanted to do while we were there, but, between the boys schedule and my grandpa's schedule and my need to buy everything from Target, we didn't do any of them. We did get to take the boys to see Santa Claus before we left and they didn't even cry. I think they preferred Santa's chair without him in it though...
After just over a week, we said our sad goodbyes and headed back down to Chicago. We spent a day in Chicago exploring as much as we could with the boys and the cold weather. We went to Navy Pier and the free family night at the Children's Museum, walked up and down Michigan Avenue/The Magnificent Mile, saw the silver bean in Millennium Park, and admired the city from the 94th story of the John Hancock Observatory which included a view of the Sears Tower, the museum complex, the lakefront, Navy Pier, and the rest of Chicago. Of course Chicago is a really great town and you would need a least a week to begin to scratch the surface. I'm sure we'll be back.

Our flight back to Tenerife was mostly uneventful. The Madrid airport has a wonderful kid's "room" with a play area, a kitchen with high chairs, and a room with cribs for nap time, that made our 4 hour layover more pleasant than it could have been. Jaime's parents and brother met us at the airport with two cars to carry all our belongings back home. My MIL surprised us with many "upgrades" to our apartment and it was nice to be back in familiar territory with our own kitchen and our own beds.

"No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow." ~Lin Yutang

Now we are back to our "normal" life and we are all trying to re-adjust to our new time zone again. Hopefully it won't take more than a week.


Jane Owoh said...

Sounds like you guys had a great, but busy trip. Hopefully we can make it to see you next time your here. You sure packed a lot into your vacation.

Hope things return to "normal" soon!!

Amy said...

Whew, you're making me tired just reading this! I'm glad that y'all had such a great trip!! It was nice to see you. :)

GBLmommy said...

You sure packed in alot on your trip! It looks like a blast!!!! Those booster seats look so familar...:)