Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Real Parent: Any parent who is not imaginary.
Your Own Child: Any child who is not someone else's child.
Adopted Child: A natural child, with a real parent, who is all my own.
I can't take credit for this funny yet real little set of terms, I found it on another adoption board I'm on... and I thought I would share it with others!
Monday, July 30, 2007
But I have found the time lately to enjoy a few good books!
Childhood by Bill Cosby
In it he balances his experiences growing up to how is own children and those around them grew up. It kept me laughing, and I had a hard time putting it down. It also gave me a very inside look into the mind of a boy!
Love and Marriage by Bill Cosby
This book chronicles his own life and his personal marriage. There are really funny parts, but there are also many serious chapters. I enjoyed this one a great deal and finished in one day (two sittings, really).
A Mom Just Like You by Vickie Farris & Jayme Farris Metzgar
Vickie is the wife of Michael Farris, the founder of HSLDA, and homeschooling mother of 10. It is an honest look at a real family. She shares her own insecureties and short comings, all the while reminding the reader that all can be done when you keep God as your focus. There are practical schooling questions answered, teaching methods explored, and even time management and housekeeping touched on. She even shares their struggles with nurmerous miscarriages and how it affected her and her marriage. If you are a homeschooler (or considering homeschooling) this is an honest look at what happens in a large family set up.
When it comes to homeschooling books, I'm at a point right now where I would rather read other Mom's accounts versus more theory. I'm comfortable with what I have chosen for each child... but I like to know how other moms' deal with this lifestyle. While Vickie Farris isn't Catholic, she holds many similar feelings toward life, marriage and schooling that I do, and this has turned out to be a great read.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
This is going to be such an exciting year... I mean, they are all exciting, but all three of the boys will be schooling and that is pretty darn cool in my book. Bobcat is reading well for his age, Bubba has taken up the challenge of reading and is excelling as well... and Snookie, well, Snookie is in for a whole new world!
For each question I will give two answers... the one that usually stays in my head (but does escape sometimes), and the one that I have used (or have heard others use in the same situation). These are not made up questions, but actual questions we have been asked!
1. Did you try to have your own kids first?
--Based on what we saw in movies and on TV, we decided that whole thing looked way to messy and complicated, so we decided to take the easy route!
--Due to infertility, adoption was best choice for us in growing our family.
This seems like a nice enough question, and most adopted families would not take offense... but this question implies that adopted children are not our OWN... and there are families out there that are very sensitive to this issue. Not only that, but if asked in the presence of the children, this can cause questions in their minds (depending on their ages).
On to a similar question.
2. So are you planning on having any kids of your own?
--Wait, did my kids suddenly disappear while we were standing here (looks around feet and buggy to see where said children might have gone to)?
--These are my children, and if the Lord choose to bless us with more than we will happily accept.
Again, this question (especially posed in front of the children) supposes that the adopted child[ren] are some how not mine. And while the question seems nice enough, it is a stumbling block that the parents are going to have to explain to their children when the questioner leaves.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Bob will be blogging more about foster care. They have fostered and adopted. I thought I would write about why we chose adoption rather than foster care back when we were making that decision.
At the time, we didn't have any children of our own. We were just starting out, and we expected children to change our lifestyle completely. MamaLlama was planning to quit her job and stay home full time. We needed a permanent placement, because she wouldn't be able to go back and forth depending on whether a foster placement worked out in our favor. And of course the emotional toll of a placement that "went bad" and did not result in adoption would have been very difficult for us at the time. We wanted "no strings attached".
But, we have discussed being foster parents one day. With or without the goal of permanent placement. Our boys' foster mom was a wonderful person. She did not intend to adopt the boys, she just wanted to give them a good home until a permanent situation could be arranged. Or maybe she did consider keeping them when the birth parents were finally terminated, but she was a single lady and she wanted the boys to have a mommy and and daddy. She gave us a wonderful gift, and perhaps we can do that for someone else one day. Obviously we'd like to adopt more to keep eventually (or, you know, become pregnant, God willing). Maybe we'll foster/adopt some time, and then maybe just foster after that. Who knows, we'll see where life takes us.
We encourage all our readers to remain open to these things as well. This is not a guilt trip, I hate it when people try to guilt you into doing something charitable. That's definitely not the right motivation to foster or adopt anyway, if you don't really desire the children, you are not be doing them any favors by bringing them under your roof. I'm just saying, if it's crossed your mind before, stay open to those "holy temptations". Don't be discouraged if you have heard scary stories, or even looked into it and been set back or put off. The benefits and rewards definitely outweigh the challenges.
Monday, July 23, 2007
In a few days we will be able to walk on it (they have a little boot I put around the base to help with traction). But for the next 4 weeks we will be hanging out in the house just chillin.
Some of you may remember the cast art from Bobcat's broken arm last year:
As far as how Peg-Leg is doing, he is a little sore, but all in all he is in good spirits as usual when it comes to this sort of thing.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
So far so good. Training wheels off!
Daddio and Bobcat on the go!
Bobcat now has a broken leg!
I kid you not. Bobcat and I headed off to the clinic for X-Rays, and a splint till we can get an appointment with an ortho. for a cast! Yep... 6 weeks of inside activities... thank goodness I just finished up my order for all our homeschooling materials. I think we will be starting a little earlier than planned.
And some of you remember last summer and the same Bobcat with a broken arm for a very small fall in the backyard. It would appear that his bones are not made of steel.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
In a nutshell, our talk went really well. Bobcat truly didn't seem upset or fazed at all. I don’t know what we were expecting, but we were prepared for some serious emotion. That’s what everyone tells you to expect with adoption, right? Major issues. Well, maybe later, but not yet, and that’s okay with us for now!
Bobcat recalled a few more random memories and told about things he did with his foster sister. Evidently they were allowed to have gum all the time. (Hint, hint!) But he didn't express any sadness. He said he was happy to be in our family. He didn’t ask to visit anyone from his past. (We didn't exactly offer that as an option, and we were prepared to explain why that could not happen yet, but he didn't even hint at it). He was just generally cheerful and seemed to understand what we told him. In fact, he mostly seemed happy to be staying up late, in our bed with us, after his little brothers had to go to bed early.
There was one moment of tension. Bobcat had a pensive look on his face for a while, when I was explaining about how it’s okay to miss people that you loved, and to be sad about that. I thought he might cry, and I’m sure MamaLlama was about to crack. But he said, “Well… I’m mostly sad that I’m not in heaven. I haven’t met Jesus yet, I’ve just seen pictures and stuff. So I want to go to heaven to see him.”
(HUGE sigh of relief… At this point, we realized that we were going to be fine!)
At another point, he asked if his first mommy and daddy were sad to lose their boys. We said they probably were, and probably thought about him a lot. He said they should pray to God and maybe they will be able to have some more babies… Mama and I made eye contact :-O
And we decided not to explain to him yet why that is not something they need right now! We just said that we hoped they prayed for him, and his brothers, and even for Mama and me, and that maybe one day when he grows up he can talk to them if he wants to.
He thought about that for a moment and asked if they were far away. We said yes, very far away. He said, “If I see them when I grow up, I think I’ll need a map. I don’t know where they are, and we need maps to go far away places like vacations and camping and business trips.”
So, in summary, it went very well! I guess it will take longer for our boys to get more thoughtful about all this. Maybe Bobcat will have questions in the next few days, now that we’ve brought it up. We'll follow up in a week, see if we've sparked anything. And we'll “eavesdrop” while the boys play, and see if Bobcat mentions anything to the other boys. But it looks like we’re in the clear for now.
As I said, it’s tempting to not bring it up at all. Why stir up painful memories? It would be easier to wait for the kids to have a problem first. But we've done research, and our own gut feelings agree it's best for us to bring it up proactively, rather than wait for questions. So we've decided to do this little exercise twice a year, before our "anniversaries" of them coming home to us in August, and our final adoption in February.
We're thankful to God, for protecting their innocence for the time being. We will be there when they need us, and I’m sure the emotions will rise as they grow older. But for now, we’re so relieved to see them content and enjoying their childhood!
We were a more than a little nervous about this. I suggested it a few weeks ago, because Bobcat had mentioned some things about his foster mom in casual conversations with us and with his brothers. He remembered riding in her red van, and some of the things they did together. We wondered if that signaled any kind of trouble or sadness, or if it was just random odds and ends. We felt that we should take it seriously, for a number of reasons.
Believe it or not, Bobcat will be seven in November. And I distinctly remember that age. I was very upset about my parents’ divorce and I missed my dad every day. I knew that if he was having emotions, he needed to deal with them. MamaLlama was somewhat afraid that his thoughts of foster mom might indicate rejection of us, especially her. (I’ve always had an easier time with the boys. Foster mom was single, so having a Daddy was cool and fun. They’ve admired and looked up to me since the very beginning. It took them longer to accept a new mommy.) But we agreed it would be best to deal with this head on, because Bobcat is old enough to understand where he came from, and he needs to feel comfortable talking to us about anything.
It’s been almost three years. His memories may have changed. Bubba and Snookie sometimes forget that they didn’t come from MamaLlama’s tummy, when we talk about other families we know who are having babies. Tempting as it is to pretend nothing is different about us, it’s kind of hard to ignore. Perhaps it’s a real blessing that they look so different from us. On one hand, there may be times that other adopted children like being able to stay “undercover” and not have to talk about it all the time. Most of my friends didn’t even know my parents were divorced as a kid, and it was nice to not have to explain myself all the time. On the other hand, it may not be healthy to ignore reality, and the boys will, for better or worse, have to grow up with the obvious fact that they look different from their parents, and they will probably have to field a lot of questions. Maybe it’s better that way.
We decided to talk to Bobcat alone, without the other boys. This was decided because the other boys were much younger than Bobcat when all this happened to them. Bobcat has very strong memories of foster mom, and may have some vague recollection of his birth parents. But Bubba was just 12 months old when they went into foster care, and around 2 years old the last time they visited birth parents. And Snookie of course a year younger than that. Chances are Bobcat’s experience was much different and more vivid and confusing than the boys’. We would test the waters with Bobcat. If we opened up a can of worms and needed professional counseling or assistance, we would limit the impact to just Bobcat.
The other reasons for bringing it up now are that we wanted him to learn the vocabulary for his adoption story. We defined the words birth parents, foster home, adoption, forever family, etc.
We also wanted to make sure Bobcat knew the appropriate version of events. We've read some things about adoptees who romanticize their past, and dream that their birth parents must have been rich and famous and exotic. We don't want to disparage the birth parents and get into the nitty gritty details with him yet, but we do want him to know that he was sent to foster care for a reason. We didn’t take or “kidnap” them from a happy home. As much as a child can understand, he needs to know that something was wrong in the beginning, and we’re all here now because he needed a new home.
So we took a few days to think and pray and prepare ourselves. Last night we said a prayer and dove in.
This post is getting long, so I’ll leave a cliffhanger here and finish up later… Oooh, the suspense! If you want the rest, I need to see some desperate comments begging for satisfaction!
|You Are a Centaur|
In general, you are a very cautious and reserved person. However, you are also warm hearted, and you enjoy helping others in practical ways.
You are a great teacher, and you are really good at helping people get their lives in order.
You are very intuitive, and you go with your gut. You make good decisions easily.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
In a great article from Raymond Arroyo (yep, EWTN), he hits several nails and drives them home! Check it out:
The Language of Tradition
My all time favorite car, the first one I would buy if I had all the money in the world to spend on anything I wanted...
What other cars are on my list...
Carmine Red, camel rag top and matching leather (manual transmission, of course).
If it must be a family car... a 4 door Maserati would be nice... gun metal gray.So there you have it people... this Llama likes cars... and each and every one of these beauties would have a manual transmission, there's nothin' like driving a stick.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Things have a tendency to be suddenly destroyed around here.
We dined at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, and headed over to a cineplex to catch an evening flick... Ocean's 13. The movie rocked! I can't remember the last time I laughed that hard... it has definitely been a while. Oh, and before the movie we grabbed a frozen espresso dessert at the Haagen Daz stand... holy smokes, it was freakin' awesome!
Nice things about going out to dinner with your husband, only. I don't have to remind him to keep his lips closed when he chews, only he is eating off my plate (instead of he + 3), getting a table doesn't take nearly as long for 2 instead of 5, there's no crying when you look down and all the food is gone from your plate (this would be Bubba, the poor kid never thinks he's full), and last but not least.... we can stay out late and not suffer the consequences of 3 kids past their normal bedtime! Yippee for DATES!
Sunday, July 15, 2007
We found something fun and free to do this evening. There was a classic car show in Flower Mound. In fact, there are several happening around the area almost every weekend, check this link for details.
Some of them may be less family friendly (i.e., those that meet at Hooters...) but this one was great.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
|You Are a Cappuccino|
You're fun, outgoing, and you love to try anything new.
However, you tend to have strong opinions on what you like.
You are a total girly girly at heart - and prefer your coffee with good conversation.
You're the type that seems complex to outsiders, but in reality, you are easy to please
Surprisingly accurate :-). While I do love a really great cappuccino (which I used to love to make when I worked in a coffee bar), I've grown quite fond of the frozen coffee experience.
Anyway, I'm back to my normal self now that I have identified and owned up to what was bothering me... and Daddio and I had a great talk yesterday about it... again he usually figures out what is wrong with me way sooner, his Llama sonor must be a little off with all of his travel this year!
Yesterday's post reminded me of a few things that maybe aren't talked about too often... how to talk with a friend who is suffering with infertility, and questions people ask adopted families. I am going to work on a post that hopefully sheds some light on some of the pit falls that a fertile woman might fall into when talking with an infertile woman... and not realize. And also there are so many inappropriate questions that I, among many other adoptive parents, have fielded by well meaning friends and strangers... watch for these, they will be both entertaining (I hope) and educational.
Friday, July 13, 2007
If you read the side bar or title atop you will see that our children came to our family through the vessel of adoption. They were adopted through Child Protective Services (well, through a private agency that places children that are in the foster care program... but that is neither here nor there). And while they were still very young when we brought them home, they do have a past and at the moment Bobcat does have recollections of life before us (thankfully they seem to only pertain to his foster home which was a loving environment).
That last paragraph will play a role in later aspects of this post... but I'm jumping somewhere else with this now... I warned you that this could be complicated. Flash forward to the last few months.
Unpredictable emotional moments started rearing there head around Father's day (while it had nothing to do with Father's day... that's just when it decided to come out). And since then I'm never quite sure what might set me off... and to be honest it usually doesn't make sense, while I know that, that doesn't change the fact that it still happens. Take for instance, I lost my marbles talking with Daddio about Bubba's schooling and how I thought he was doing... water works big time, and it really took Daddio by surprise because I hadn't mentioned being worried before... because when I'm in my right mind I'm not at all worried about him, just when the freaky brain shows up... that's when the self doubt seems to show up. There have been other times, too, but again to silly and made no sense... and I don't want to embarrass myself anymore than I already have.
Keep moving forward to this past weekend. Daddio brought up the boys' foster mom, and what I thought about them possibly seeing her. Come the first week of August it will be our 3 year anniversary with the boys, and 3 years since they saw her.
- She had them for nearly 2 years and was very attached to them as were they with her. They called her mom and everything. She had considered keeping them when the parental rights were terminated, but later decided they needed to be in household that had a father and that was something she couldn't provide for them. Anyway, while she (FM) wanted to have some sort of on going relationship with the boys, we with the help of our social worker and agency ultimately decided that while it would be nice for her it would not help the boys in the bonding process. FM has honored our request, and in return we send her a Christmas card with a letter from Daddio and I where we share about the boys and send pictures. We truly appreciate what she did for them, and feel like we owe her something.
Just Daddio bringing her up, started my emotional wheels a' turnin'! Before I knew it, the tears had shown up and I was having a hard time talking about this very serious issue... let alone making case for what would be best for the boys. Ultimately we decided (again) that we are still having some issues with appropriate boundaries with the way boys attach to others, and we feel that reintroducing her to them will only complicate the situation. And at the same time, the relationship between Bobcat, Bubba, and I is still very fragile (in the sense that I am not more important than any other woman they know, yet). So FM is a threat to me... that is really the only way I can think of phrasing it, even if it sounds somewhat harsh... that is simply how it is. This isn't the case with Snookie, he was not even two when we got them and attached and bonded to me right away...
Over the last several months several friends (some close, some not) have become pregnant... and while I am very happy for them, there are times when I my brain is very happy for someone else, and my heart is in mourning.
What's that phrase... What's the best way to get God laughing, MAKE A PLAN! I guess that is my problem. I'm a planner through and through. I find comfort in creating a plan and following it... I am usually scared, unsure of myself, and awkward when I don't have a plan... and usually am crushed when things don't go as planned, because I find failure in that. So what does that have to do with adoption and/or pregnancy... well Daddio and I knew that we wanted a big family, and just a few months before our wedding I was told about my condition (PCOS and then later also endometriosis). This was a crushing blow, but they said I was still young and could probably achieve pregnancy pretty soon. Three + years later we filed for adoption classes... that was enough waiting for us. But I had failed... three + years of trying, a few doctors, a laporoscopy, meds to correct some of the issues... I failed. So we came up with a new plan, adoption. We looked into the different ways, and finally decided on the route we would go... and 8 months later we had three brothers.
So here we are nearly 3 years from the anniversary of the boys coming home (and nearly 7 years of wanting to achieve pregnancy), and I still struggle with being infertile. I would say that the majority of the time, to my peers, I appear normal and happy. And I am, really. I love my husband... and I love my children, and we have a great life. Shoot during the day I'm fine... we're busy and I don't have time to think about hardly anything. It's when I'm tired, when I'm not the sole parent in the house, when my thoughts take over... that is when trouble lurks.
What's the trouble... the trouble is the baby shower invitation, it is the dear friends who are glowing, it is all the lovely ladies at church with all the little ducklings following behind with one on board. It is in my moments of weakness when the graces of peace and patience are well beyond my grasp. It is in the moments of sheer painful effort to show happiness for others, and in the moments of complete isolation.
The cause of my troubles... infertility... having all the wrong hormones in the wrong amounts and at the wrong times. And holding onto something that was a little girl's fantasy.
Daddio... there you have it... you knew something was up, and you knew it wasn't about what ever I said it was... I just figured it out myself.
Once the peppers were grilled to perfection they were moved up to the warming rack!
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
"Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" by Rod Stewart
Monday, July 9, 2007
Bobcat: I wish I was already big like you.
Daddio: Why, so that you would already know how to read the big words?
D: Well, you're doing a good job for a first grader. And besides, I don't want you to be big yet. I love having little boys.
B: Well, I'll still be your friend.
Isn't that sweet? I actually look forward to being "friends" with the grown up Bobcat. But I will miss him.
My family definitely fits into the group of young Catholics seeking a more reverent and solemn Mass experience. If it was good enough for the Saints, than by golly it's good enough for the Llamas...
To read more info on what the Pope had to say, and what others are saying:
Catholic News Service
Fr. Z (he really lays it out)
Creative Minority Report (some funny stuff here)
I can almost smell the incense and see the vestments now!
Friday, July 6, 2007
Lets see, getting our laundry back in order from vacation, getting back to schooling (continue the Llama testing on Bubba), adjusting the new (used) desks for the boys, moving my bedroom around (again), and going up to work on Wednesday... and getting organized for tonight. Granted all I'm doing is bringing food (for the homeschool potluck), but I had to put together the meal schedule for what the other families are to bring, do my own shopping (just picking out what I was going to cook turned into an all day exercise of thinking), and just mentally getting into the right frame of mind. Unfortunately, today has not gone as planned... this morning was First Friday Mass (we, the homeschool group, attend Mass on first and third Friday together) and I over slept! So no go on the Mass for us. The reason, I think it is all linked to allergies. I keep needing to take allergy meds, and they make me fiercely tired... and add to that tons of aches and pains! I'm GETTING OLD!
To continue in the tradition of this week, and phoning it in...
*Check out Blessed Among Men, and her great post on Poverty of Spirit. She articulates perfectly how I feel about this matter!
*Send some prayers the way of 4andCounting. For continued joy of their blessing that is coming, but the struggles that surround their lives with friends/family/jobs.
*Continued prayers for a friend and her husband, as he undergoes neurosurgery tomorrow.
*For the love of mothering, spend some time with Coffee And Diapers!
*Do you need help preparing the family for Mass? Check out Castle of the Immaculate for some great tips.
Now go and check them out!
|Your 1950s Name is:|
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
I like this picture. I am kicking my feet. My head is underwater because that's how I want to do it.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Here are some lines from the offertory hymn at mass at our parish last Sunday:
"This is my song, O God of all the nations,
A song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
Here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
(so far so good...)
But other hearts in other lands are beating
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine."
(give me a break)
"My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine;
But other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
(At this exact moment, both MamaLlama and I put away our hymnals and mouthed to each other "hippy song...")
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
O hear my song, thou God of all the nations;
A song of peace for their land and for mine."
Can you guess when it was written? Copyright 1964, of course. I wonder if the author was smoking something.
Okay y'all, it's Independence Day. We should be focusing on how America kicks butt, right? Look, I know God is not an American (unless you're Mormon, I think), and our allegiance is first to God and the Church, and he loves everyone equally, blah blah blah. But is it necessary to diminsh America's unique greatness so as to not offend everyone else? It's not like there's some limited amount of greatness and we're hogging more than our fair share. I realize America is not perfect, but we definitely have something to be proud of. Not only the most powerful nation in the world, but the most free, and the most benevolent to those in need. And any other country could be just as great by following our example and not being a bunch of liberals and commies with spiraling birth rates.
Here's a rule of thumb. Any song written in the last 50 years that contains the word "peace" is going to piss people off. Fortunately, they redeemed themselves by singing America The Beautiful for the recesssional.
|You Are Paper|
Crafty and creative, you are able to adapt freely to almost any situation.
People tend to underestimate you, unless they've truly seen what you are capable of.
Deep down, you're always scheming and thinking up new plans. Your mind is constantly active.
You are quite capable of anything you dream of. You can always figure out a way to get what you want.
You can wrap a rock person up in your sheet of trickery.
A scissor person can sneak up and cut you to pieces.
When you fight: No one can anticipate your next move
If someone makes you mad: You'll attack them mercilessly when they're unprepared
As far as Port Aransas, this was a place we went the year we were in the process of adopting. We were waiting, and knew this was going to be the last time for just the two of us to take a trip. Daddio did some research online (Port Aransas) and found this place. Neither of us had been before, nor did we know anyone who had been there... so we were taking a chance. Maybe Daddio can remember his thought process when he planned it that first year. Anyway, we found a hotel that looked nice in pictures, and booked it. When we arrived, we were pleased!!! Everything about the island was great, and while we were out in the waves boogie boarding we said that this is a place we should definitely come back to with the kids.
The following year we felt like the kids were ready to take a summer vacation. Because we knew WE liked Port A, we decided to do a little more research on lodging. We wanted something that had a kitchen, washer/dryer, and 2-3 bedrooms so that the kids would have their own beds and a door to shut so that naptime would be effective. Daddio found a condo that said it was near the beach and seemed to have the features we wanted. So we booked it. At this time the boys were 2, 3, and 4... and they really didn't like it as much as we hoped. It turned out that they spent all their time on the beach and when we tried to get them in the water they would scream and cry. While it was frustrating (to say the least) we did our best... when you got down on their perspective you realized just how overwhelming the water looked! But we knew that in the future things would get better.
The condo from the previous year was okay, but it wasn't walking distance to the beach (if it says a block... that is too far to carry your gear :-). And we felt like we wanted a little more privacy. In 2005 during the drive to another section of beach we saw several neighborhoods of rental homes and boardwalks over the dunes to the beach, and decided we would try to get one of those. Again we went online to see what we could find. We found Coastline Adventures, and browsed thru their homes to find one that we thought would work for us. We found this green house. Property was well maintained, the neighborhood was really nice, and there is a pool.
This was kind of a spur of the moment trip. We considered trying a new location this year (Dauphin Island, Al), plus we were kind of waiting to see what was going to happen with Daddio's job location, but ultimately decided the week before the trip that we needed to take a trip and Port A is where we wanted to go! We got online and checked VRBO, and Coastline Adventures to see what was available. It turned out that when Daddio called Coastline, that they were running a deal for the following week that if you booked 3 nights, you got the 4th night free. BOOKED IT! This is the little cottage that met our needs! Since we knew the neighborhood (same as the previous year), and the pictures online looked good, we felt good about renting it. It turned out to be the nicest place so far. (last years was nice, but this place really went above and beyond with the amenities)
Sidenote: It is best to call the rental company managing the property before booking online. Sometimes the calendar of availablity is wrong, and not all the deals are listed!
When planning out our time in Port A, we were realistic about what we could afford and what was going to fit into the boys schedule of napping and eating. The Port A website was a great tool for us in navigating our choices.
The first year (just the two of us) we went on a dolphin cruise. They take you out into the bay in search of the dolphins, and a tour of the light houses that are out there. It was pretty darn cool. So the first year we took the kids, we did this again. They really had fun, and so did we! But we haven't done it since... we have been lucky enough to see the dolphins out in the gulf when we were at the beach, or when we road the fairy boat. I would definitely say, though, it is worth it to do it once.
On our way to the island we stopped and toured the USS Lexington, and Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi. Both are pretty cool. I would caution that on the Lex, there is a tremendous amount of climbing stairs and would be very difficult for small children to manage.
So far those are the only things we've done that cost ticket money! And we've only done them once! I'm sure in a few years we might re-visit those things for the kids to have a new experience with them.
Once we arrive on the island we had to the local grocery store to pick up our food for the week. Buy cooking our own food, this really cuts down on the overall cost of the trip. We plan on cooking all our own meals except for one dinner out. You can't go to the coast and not eat fresh seafood! And by doing it this way you can splurge a little and get something really fancy if you want... also plan to eat out at lunch (especially during the week) and you will find that the resturants aren't busy and you get the lunchtime prices (which those of you with multiple kids knows how quickly that can add up)! Oh, and I usually make sandwiches for our drive down so that our only stops are for potty breaks and fill up the tank!
If you plan on going to the beach... plan on spending most of your time on the beach (it's free :-). We get up every morning, have breakfast... and then walk to the beach! We would stay till lunch time (bring sunscreen with you for reapplication). Go home, eat lunch, nap time (trust me it is exhausting playing in the water for even the grown ups), and then we hit the pool for the time between nap and dinner. After dinner... BACK TO THE BEACH, until it is too dark to play.
**By choosing a place with a washer/dryer, you don't need to bring tons of clothes... just a few sets and wash them! So that saves you lots of space when packing.
**For us, by keeping the cost of food down, and not paying for a lot of activities we could afford to pay a little more to rent a house.
Monday, July 2, 2007
As usual something goes a little haywire on our trips, and this trip was no different... except that it happened before we could even get on the road! Daddio always checks the tires before we head out, and fills them up to a higher pressure for long trips. This requires our little air compressor (I should mention that this thing is, oh, 10-12 years old)... anyway after working on only one tire, Daddio realized that the compressor had drained the car battery... COMPLETELY. After waking all our neighbors for a brief survey at 7 am to see if they had jumper cables we could barrow, we finally had to have OnStar send someone out to jump the battery!
I had to take a picture of this, for insurance purposes... I mean seriously, they sent a Geo Metro (2 door hatch) to jump the Yukon XL... when that little thing burst into flames, I wanted to make sure they understood the situation.
Thankfully that only took 20 minutes (for them to arrive), and we were able to get underway... or so we thought. As you can see in the picture it wasn't raining... when we got to the gas station to finish the tire job, there came a down poor... oh and the air thingy there was all jacked up... so we went in search of another gas station. We ended up sitting under the awning and using our air compressor (with the car running this time) for about a half an hour, due to the rain and the air machine just out in the weather. Then we were off, with no further delays... except the crummy traffic we were trying to avoid by leaving at 7:00 instead of 8:30.
After getting our keys from the realtor, unloading the car, we were off to the grocery store for a weeks worth of supplies... then home again home again! Then off to the BEACH!
This was by far our best trip down, the house was great, the water and beach amazing, and the wildlife... we saw things up close that you usally only see in the zoo or on TV. We photographed wild sea turtles down on the jetty, we had to experiences with a stingray right in the water where we were playing, and this years shells were really neat. Thanks to the new camera we were able to catch every scene and bring it home with us to relive over and over again!
Here's a smattering of what we saw and did!