Friday, August 22, 2014

Tegan Visits Texas Pt. 2

The other week I wrote about my best friend coming from New Mexico with her kiddos to visit us for a week. You can read that HERE.

Already we had gone to Ft. Sam Houston to explore the Quadrangle, we went swimming, and had spent an afternoon at the Alamo and Riverwalk.

Saturday rolled around and Ryan joined us all as we checked out Morgan's Wonderland. Now that is a fun place! I think the kids and I will be going back repeatedly. It is a family friendly amusement park-type place that is fully accessible regardless of age or ability and is open to the public at large. We loved it. What was cool is that Will and Tegan's oldest daughter were both free since they are considered "special needs"... and they also provide military discount.
We weren't sure exactly what to expect so the kids were dressed to encounter water, but it was not necessary. The only water we dealt with was the water table area, which was of course a big hit with the kiddos.
A very intriguing offering by the park are GPS Adventure Bands. These allow members of a group to scan and be able to locate other members of their group in the park. It also links up certain activities and photos which are instantly sent to your e-mail. What I liked is that it gave a sense of security in case anybody got separated (which did not happen).
The kids, Ryan and Tegan went on the carousel. I don't do carousels if I can help it. I can go on roller coasters all day... but carousels and teacup type rides make me feel queasy.
We went on the car track.
Rode the train around the grounds and we were able to see the "Walk and Roll Trail" with the fun themed stops.
After the train, we spent a lot of time in the Sensory Village. In here they created car pictures, played pretend on the horses, "shopped" in the little market, and had their shadows interact with some cool projections. Will also checked out the green screens in the weather area.
To end our time the kids were allowed to run and climb and chase and play all throughout the shaded Butterfly Playground. Honestly, I would have paid our $20 and spent all our time there.
There was more to see, but we didn't check it all out. Apparently there is real fishing on the dock, another playground, a big sand box, music garden, amphitheater, and swings.

When we got home I think we were all pretty much done.

Sunday Tegan joined us for church and then we pretty much took a rest day. Ryan and I went out to the store to try to solve my cell phone issue. In the end we just got a replacement SIM card to put in Ryan's old iPhone3 until the new iPhones are released in September... then I'll upgrade.

Monday brought another adventure. Tegan and I took the kids to the Natural Bridge Caverns. It is just outside the city and next to it is a wildlife park, which I think I'll have to check out sometime.

Once we arrived and had our potty breaks we ate our picnic lunch under some trees. When we went back in to purchase our tickets we realized maybe we should have bought our tickets before lunch because we were now looking at an hour wait before our tour. It worked out though because there were other things to see. Like the ropes course and ziplines (which we did not do since our kiddos are still too little).
Something we did do was the panning. I bought a couple bags of "dirt" that we divvied up between the 5 kids to sift through the troughs of running water. They found "treasures" and were happy. It kept them busy and filled up our open hour.
Then we met up with our guide and group of people and went down into the caverns. We stayed at the back of the group. It was very steep inside. The kids did great holding the railings and doing exactly as they were told.
The caverns were interesting. They were not as massive and expansive as Carlsbad Caverns, but still fascinating. We hiked down to 180 feet below the surface in 70 degrees with 99% humidity.
After hiking down, we had to hike UP and it was pretty steep, somewhat slick, switchbacks. Our kiddos were champs and with encouragement were able to make it up to the top. Tegan was also amazing... she had her youngest strapped on and she was napping for the entire tour. When we reached the surface you would think the kids were spent, but they weren't. They ran on our 1/4 mile walk back to the park.
Treated with ice cream, we then went back home to rest and recover.

Tuesday rolls around and it is our final full day together. After a casual morning I take everyone to the base. I showed Tegan where BMT is located and where her husband lived for a time in his life (all enlisted Air Force get their training at Lackland.)

From there we took the kids to a park to play for awhile while we just chilled. I was reading a magazine and trying to relax. Our time together was coming to an end... I was already feeling a bit down about that.
After a quick bathroom break we wandered over to the graduation field and got some pics of the kids next to the planes.
That afternoon Will had therapy so we quickly made it back to the house and I had to run out again. Tegan spent the time preparing for her departure the next morning.

Tegan's youngest was going to turn 3 the next day so we celebrated her birthday the evening before with cupcakes and singing!
Of course that night we stayed up way too late talking. Man, I miss that girl living close by.

Wednesday morning dawned and it was time to say goodbye. Alanna had a doctor appointment in the morning so we didn't have a long time to really dwell about separating. Maybe that was for the best, because I'm sure we both could have just sat there and cried. We each loaded up our kiddos, said farewell, and went our different ways.
Tegan did call to let me know she made it to her destinations safely... and now she's at home again in New Mexico.

Life can be hard. Having a best friend helps get us through.

1 comment:

  1. That was such an amazing trip! I am so glad that I was ale to come down. Reading your post just made me miss you even though . . .until next time, for sure! Balloon Fiesta isn't far away! :D