Tuesday, April 25, 2017

dallas arboretum

Usually I would dump all the photos from a trip into one mammoth post. But I just don't have it in me. If this is ever going to be recorded it will have to be in several more manageable sized posts.

My sister moved to the Dallas area last summer and I hadn't been down there to see her yet. My mom was kind enough to agree to drive down with me so I wouldn't have make the drive alone, which turned out to be an even bigger blessing than I originally realized. We left around 5 AM and the kids all cooperated and went back to sleep. We stopped just two hours in for some gas and the restrooms. Mom took the kids in with her while I got the gas and when she got back into the van she said that Declan was like a zombie. Sure enough, he was white as a ghost and weirdly lethargic. She gave him a banana muffin that she made but he was just holding it. Eventually he took one bite of it and a sip of chocolate milk and just a few minutes later he barfed all over himself. In the back row. And I was driving. Nothing about this situation was ideal. My poor mom had to maneuver herself to the back and help him as much as she could. I stopped at the next rest stop and took Declan in (in the pouring rain. I forgot to mentioned it poured on us for the whole first half of our trip.) to get him cleaned up and into clean clothes. My mom was left with the unpleasant task of trying to clean his car seat as much as she could without taking it out of the car. 
 We stopped at Ikea in Kansas City which was probably a mistake for a variety of reasons. The number one reason was that it forced us to take an alternate route down to Oklahoma which involved quite a long stretch on a two lane, hilly, curvy road. Sure enough Tatum started complaining of a headache and a stomach ache. And I was behind the wheel, again. Eventually her complaints got loud enough that I pulled to the side of this shoulderless, two lane road in the middle of nowhere so we could try to move her car seat to the middle row. My mom was in the back trying to get the car seat up to me. I'm sure you had to be there so you'll just have to trust me when I say this was absolutely hysterical. I gave Tatum our last grocery sack, cracked her window and insisted that she try to sleep. I kept turning around to check on her and she was so pale and just staring out the window. Miraculously she managed to fall asleep without barfing first. Crisis averted.

Things continued to be eventful. I guess you can officially call my mom and I country bumpkins because trying to maneuver the toll roads was a bit of a struggle for us. I didn't give them a ticket when I was supposed to so they overcharged us. And I missed the exit to get off which just happened to be the last exit for 28 miles. In my defense it was very windy and it's new territory so driving takes a bit more concentration than usual. And my mom, bless her heart :), was pretty much useless when it came to navigation. So I was trying to follow the navigation on my phone and drive at the same time. And my phone's battery was draining faster than I could keep it charged so I didn't have it actually navigating, I just had the map pulled up. When I realized I missed the exit I panicked. Mom yelled at me (from the very backseat) to pull over until we figured out what to do. Then she sat there assessing the situation for a moment and said "Okay this is what we are going to do. I'll tell you when there aren't any cars coming and you'll just back up along the shoulder. I'll tell you when you need to stop." Yes folks that is what we did. I still can't believe it. I didn't just barely miss the exit either. We had already gone under the overpass and passed the on ramp. I obviously wasn't thinking clearly because I never even looked to see what kind of alternate route there might be, I was just thinking this had been the longest, most miserable road trip and there was no way we were going to add 60 unnecessary miles to it!

Whew. Anyway, the rest of the drive was smooth sailing and we all made it one piece. We let the kids play with their cousins for a bit but since it was 9 pm we tried to get them to call it a night before it got too late.

Thursday was a beautiful day and Mara took us to the Dallas Arboretum. It reminded me of a cross between the Singapore Botanical gardens and the Gardens by the Bay.

 I took these pictures while Mara retraced our steps looking for Emry's binky. Yep, I only brought one binky with me and we lost it about five minutes into our first outing. I clipped it to her for heaven's sake! Somehow she pulled it off and threw it on the ground without anyone noticing. And we never did find it. :(

 Making plans to scare a squirrel.

 These two held hands for the majority of that first day.

 Don't mind the total photo bomb by some random kid's behind. It was cute of Lucy so I had to keep it.
 Okay, I forgive her for losing the binky. :)

 Declan loved the splash pads/streams. He could have stayed there all day.

Taking turns looking through the giant kaleidoscope.

 Mom was really into the water guns and targets. I'm not sure if you can tell very well but she is striking quite a pose.

 These flowers you could build were pretty neat. Of course Tatum and Jade were involved so it had to be a race. They are just slightly competitive. :)

 Climbing the rope walls in the tree house.
 Bunch of monkeys.

 Jade's expression in this one is perfect.

 There was a tornado simulator we forced all the kids into. Declan was too big of a chicken at first but after watching the girls he decided it didn't look too bad.

So he joined them the next time....

 ..and didn't like it.  Wuss. :)

The adults had to try it next. I'm sure we looked like complete losers locking ourselves into that thing with 6 little kids, including a baby in a stroller, watching us. We even tried to get Jade and Tatum to take pictures for us. Jade got a couple including this real gem.
 And all of Tatum's looked more ore less like this. Oops.

Enjoy. :)

More hand holding cousins.
We ended with the big splash pad which didn't disappoint. Everyone got soaked.

Mara tried to get some jumping pictures. Kind of challenging with a 5 and 6 year old haha.

In true ornery Declan fashion, he wanted nothing to do with the splash pad while all the girls were having fun. But as soon as everyone started drying off and there started to be talk of leaving, suddenly he was completely into it. Stinker.
And did I say 5 and 6 year old? Apparently I should have said 15 and 16 year old. Watching them dry in the sun and talk about who knows what gave me a little glimpse into the future. I can totally see them doing this in 10 years and its just weird.

A sweet moment between Declan and Ella. 
We stopped on our way home to get some tacos for the adults for lunch. Poor mom was left in the car with all the kids and it took longer than expected. Emry was fit to be tied without a binky, Jade and Tatum were doing their best to keep her happy and entertained. After I was back in the car I heard Jade say to Tatum "Can you make her look at you? I don't want to look at her anymore." hahahahahaha. It gave me a good laugh. We made an emergency stop for new binkies and headed home for a quiet, easy going rest of the day.

More to come!


  1. That road trip story needs to be made into a movie!!! It's too chaotic to be true! You definitely had me on the edge of my seat waiting to hear what comical/scary/gross thing was going to happen next. What if your mom hasn't been there?! On a different note- the Dallas arboretum looks amazing! Remind me to go there if I ever find myself in Dallas.

  2. I can't wait to see the rest. Such a fun trip!