San Antonio – Week 1, Part II

Our temporary home while the RV was in the shop

Since our RV was in the shop, we spent the second half of the week in a rental house, near downtown. 

The famous San Antonio RiverWalk

Monday: After relaxing in the morning, we decided to take advantage of our proximity to downtown and headed to the RiverWalk. I’ve heard wonderful stories about the RiverWalk, and it did not disappoint – it was beautiful and really lovely place to walk around (although I could imagine it’s not so nice when it’s busy). 

Happy to get some good Mexican food. Not the greatest I’ve ever had, but still satisfying

Mini-man fell asleep, so we decided to stop and have some food. It was enjoyable to eat and drink by the river front. The food was good but the service was terrible – we ordered just appetizers, which hadn’t come when I saw another table receive their entree’s, which were ordered after ours. We didn’t get anything until we complained. Super annoying

Mini-man made himself at home in the rental house. Nice layout, but too big for us

Tuesday: What. A. Rough. Day. Little-dude hit the peak of teething, so I was up most of the night nursing him. I was exhausted. When I finally got him to sleep, mini-man woke up and started making tons of noise. Resigned to no sleep, Damon and I traded kids – I played with mini-man and he carried little-dude. 

Little-dude loves playing with the other baby

But of course, when mini-man got tired, we switched back – mini-man went down for a nap with Damon and little-dude woke up wanting to play. Don’t know how I ended up with the awake child all day. By the end of the day, I was tired and very cranky. Fortunately, Damon and I stopped and talked, which always helps. We eventually got both kids to bed and I managed to catch up on sleep.

This playground was just a short walk from our rental and was great for mini-man

Wednesday: This time, everyone got great sleep, which means energy. We took advantage and headed out to play. We found this amazing playground the mini-man loved. Lots of things to touch, splash, climb, and play on. And it was empty! It also gave Damon and me some ideas for a future project. 

Huge slide!

Interesting story: while mini-man was playing on the splash pad, some people come by with their dogs and were high on something. They start letting their dogs go into the water (which isn’t allowed), intentionally scaring them, and let them drink the water. I’m an animal person and hate seeing animals harmed, so I mentioned that the dogs could get sick from drinking the water. Two of the group were nice about it, but the third (obviously the dumbest of the group), took offense and started arguing that I was accusing him of mistreating his dog. 

The playground was so amazing, Damon couldn’t resist playing on it himself

Luckily, the other two pulled him away before anything could happen, but I really couldn’t believe what was happening and got very upset. I was trying to help and get attacked. I truly feel sorry for the dogs. 
Fortunately, we didn’t let that little episode ruin our day. We spent the rest of the morning, enjoying the playground. 

Lovin’ my new clothes

After a lunch break, we head to the mall for a much needed shopping trip for me. My body’s changed since having two kids and many of my clothes are either maternity or nursing tops. I was ready for some new clothes that fit better but still allowed me to nurse. I feel so much better with my new clothes!

One week down, four to go and so many more things that we want to do.

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San Antonio – Week 1, Part I

Welcome to San Antonio

We’ve been in San Antonio for a full week and a lot has happened. 

Mini-man didnt care that the water was cold, he went straight in

Thursday: This is the first stop in a long time that’s had an opened pool. So once we set up, we had to visit, much to mini-man’s delight.

Watching big brother, who’s almost ready for a bicycle, is fun!

Friday: A much needed shopping day. After weeks of small towns with small grocery stores, it was wonderful to get back into a Costco and Sam’s Club to stock up on some basic supplies.

Saturday: We met up with my Uncle Sherif and Aunt Coral for lunch at In-and-Out Burger and enjoyed catching up. 

Then we took our kids to SeaWorld. With this visit, I’ve officially visited all the SeaWorld parks. Although it’s the smallest, that worked for us since we had two small kids. We enjoyed seeing the lights but wished  there were more animal exhibits. See more in our Visiting SeaWorld San Antonio blog post.

We love our trailer, but she needed some help

Sunday: As you may recall, we’ve had some issues with our RV for a while (electrical, water, just a couple of small things) and FINALLY got it into a repair place. The day was rough as both kids had horrible nights and we were all tired and cranky. Luckily, Damon and I regrouped and managed to get our things together and move into a rental house. 

Fun fact: my dad and Uncle Sherif, one of his best childhood friends, were born on the same day πŸ˜„

After a quick drop off, we headed to my Uncle and Aunt’s house for dinner. It was fun to see them for a few hours and have a delicious meal, prepared by my Uncle. 

Not quite done!

All that in just half a week! See what we did during the second half, in our San Antonio, Week 1, part II blog post. 

Texas Stop #1 – Avinger

I came into this stop less than enthusiastic. Another campground, on  a lake, with nothing to do nearby. 

Damon entertained the boys so I could rest

Added to the fact that I’ve had a lingering migraine for several days plus being forced inside many evenings due to more bugs, and I was starting to get antsy. 

Really fun playground

When we could get outside, we got to take the kids to the awesome playground that’s at the campground – which was covered in ants (mini-man is now covered in blisters from their bites). 

I love my boys

Then add in some other little things that were bugging me (no pun intended) and it resulted  in me being in a pretty bad mood.

I was walking to the restrooms when I saw the sunsetting. I ran to get my camera to take these shots. Damon followed and we got to experience this beauty together

A turning point for me was witnessing this gorgeous sunset on the water. It made me realize I was going through the motions the past few stops and was missing out on some amazing sites. One of the points of going on this adventure was to get out.

Nothing like a cozy fire at sunset

My second turning point came in our final night. It was perfect outside and we set up a cozy spot by the fire and view of the lake. This was why we did this – to be together, enjoying the great outdoors. 

Feeding little-dude while enjoying the great outdoors

This final night led me to one of my epiphanies (I get them once in a while – kinda like a clarity of vision). I wasn’t happy with myself. I didn’t feel like myself. With two kids, it’s very easy to push yourself to the bottom of your to-do list and I felt neglected. I felt like life was happening to me and I wanted control back.

Fun can be had outside

After talking with Damon, we outlined some goals to help reroute me to a better place. As I realized that final night, I can be a mom and enjoy myself. I’ve just got to learn to let the small things go. Who cares if everything isn’t perfect? It’s more important to be with each other.

Love being together (at least Damon and I do – I think mini-man could do without little-dude 😝)

Fingers crossed we’re on the road to happier times. Onward! 

Little To Do in Little Rock

Our campsite near Little Rock

One would think that staying at a campground near the capitol city of Arkansas would give you lots of things to do. Ya, not so much with Little Rock. Unless your a huge fan of the Clinton’s (not really a must see when you have toddlers), then there isn’t a lot to do. 

Lots of playing

We spent much of our five days playing with the kids in the trailer. We took the kids a could of times to the playground, but, unfortunately, it was either really cold out or completely over run with kids. 

Trying yo enjoy the campground

The worst part for me was the day before we left the campground decided to fix all their roads. Tar has a very strong smell and is a trigger for my migraines. Despite our best efforts to get out of the campground before it got too bad, I did get a migraine and it’s lasted for days (I still have it 3 days later, along with fatigue and nausea). Would it really have been so hard for the camp host to say ‘Hey were retarring the roads’, so we could make alternate plans????? Or even better, close off each section and not have campers there while they retar. 

Beautiful place to stay

Either way, we weren’t told. After more than a dozen campsites, we’ve only encountered a handful of nice hosts (or even met them) and only ONE was at a government site. All the others never appear. 

The place where the city got it’s name

On a positive note, we did escape to a pretty riverfront area in Little Rock, called Julius Breckling River Front Park, home to THE little rock that inspired the cities name. 

Having some fun at the playgrounds

We walked around a bit and played with the kids on their playgrounds. I have to say, they went overboard with the ‘little rock’ theming (so many little rocks).

Onward!

So as you can see, not an eventful stop. And, to be honest, I’m not looking forward to the next two stops as they are in smaller towns than Little Rock. Can’t wait to get to San Antonio!!!

Mosquitos in Mississippi

Hernando Point, Mississippi 

After a long drive, we happily arrived at our campsite in Mississippi. Unfortunately, Damon put in the wrong address and we ended up on the opposite side of the lake from where our campsite was (at least we were in the same vicinity). 

Beautiful sunset

Although I wasn’t thrilled at another 45 minutes in the car, I was happy to see that our actual campsite had better cell service than the other site. Plus, we got to see this amazing view.

Enjoying the campsite while Damon setup the RV

Our first night was lovely – beautiful scenery, nice weather – all signs suggesting a promising visit.

Refuge at a local hotel

However, 24 hours later, we found ourselves hightailing it to a nearby hotel.  

Just a small sample of thr thousands of mosquitos that were in the trailer. (I only snapped one pic as I ran out the door)

Being that were in Mississippi, it gets a little humid. So, Damon opened a window to let in some of the breeze. As the sun started to set, we noticed some mosquitos. Unfortunately, Damon had forgotten to close the window. When he went into the back room to shut it, he was met by a swarm of mosquitos. 

Not one to stick around, especially with kids, we fled to the car. Outside, it was even worse. The mosquitos covered the campsite and we’re even in our car! We had to drive with the windows down to try and get them out.

Little-dude loved the mirror in thr hotel room

As we drove, we formulated a plan to get a hotel room for the night and setup but zappers in the RV in hopes they would eradicate these annoying bugs.

Mosquitos covered the ceiling in the bedroom. It was eerie to hear the buzzing

When Damon returned the next day, the zappers had gotten a lot of the bugs, but not all of them. We grabbed some things and decided to stay another night at the hotel.
So lesson learned, while in the south on a lake – DON’T. OPEN. YOUR. WINDOWS!

After two days, and lots of cleaning, it was finally safe for us to go back. Just in time, too. 

Saying goodbye to our furbabies

My parents graciously agreed to take care of our cats while we continue our adventure and even drove up to get them. We spent the day catching up and getting the cats ready for their trip.

Family fun time

We had planned to visit Memphis, but after several days of driving, stress, and activities, we welcomed a day of relaxing with the boys.

Time to hit the road

Now onto Arkansas! 

A Fond Farewell to our Felines

Us with the cats when we got engaged

It is with a heavy heart that Damon and I have decided to re-home our beloved cats, Kizzy and Cloud.

Cloud exhausted after a day on the road

Since welcoming them into our family 9 years ago, they’ve traveled with us to California, twice, several homes, and a cross country road trip. Through it all, they’ve been troopers.

Kizzy longing to be outside

Unfortunately, our latest adventure seems to be too much for them – they’re unhappy. At first, we hoped that they’d adjust. Instead, things are getting worse.

So. Much. Laundry.

After arriving at each new stop, we’d go somewhere and come back to the strong scent of cat urine. We spent days, doing load after load of laundry; we couldnt leave any piece of fabric on the floor or else it would be peed on. 

Attempting to walk Cloud outside on a harness and leash

Despite the stress, we were trying to make it work. We spent more time with them, set up a leash system so they could go outside, even gave them a specific blanket to pee on – nothing worked.

Lots of love

Damon and I now feel it would be best for them if they had a new home, where they can go outside when they like and have a permanent homestead. 

Little-dude adored the cats, but the feeling wasnt mutual

This is not an easy decision for us. We’ve been through a lot together. But we love them too much to force them to live somewhere they aren’t happy.
Fortunately, my parents have agreed to take them in. There, the cats can run around in the warm sunshine, and, as an added bonus, be reunited with their sister and mother.

Farewell babies. We hope you’ll be happier back in Orlando

While we’re sad to see them go, we’re pleased they’re going somewhere where they’ll be happy.

At their new home, reunited with their sister.

Wet Times in Kentucky

Hard to get into but well worth it

Damon’s driving skills were out to the test with our stop at Kenlake State Park. He had to go backwards, down a hill, on a narrowly paved road, and try to turn. Very daunting to say the least. 

A visitor! My first time seeing a ground hog in person

Fortunately, our neighbor was happy to come over and give a hand. After a few attempts, he offered to park it for us and Damon accepted. While he probably could’ve done it after a few tries, we we’re losing light and wanted to get set up. 

And let me tell you, it was worth the effort – check out that view! 

Good food and a peaceful meal😍😍😍

It’d been a while since we don’t gone grocery shopping, so we set up quick and left. After a wonderful dinner at Cracker Barrel, a place I hadn’t eaten at in 12 years, we got our grocery shopping done.

Lots of time inside means playing with all the toys and getting a little creative

We spent the next few days inside, staying dry from some crazy storms that hit. This is after we spent several days inside at our previous stop because it was  cold. Unfortunately, while this gave us some time to get some projects done, we all got a little cabin fever. And to make matters worse, the storms made it hard for the kids to sleep, which, in turn, gave us very little sleep.

So on Thursday, we got a break in the rain  and we headed out on a small adventure. Our neighbors told us about a nearby prairie, home to Elk and Bison! For just $5, you can drive around a loop,  through a field, and observe these animals. 

We saw a bison and an elk!

Although it was cold and overcast, we still got to see an elk and a bison, as well as seeing some beautiful scenery. It was a wonderful trip, and we never had to leave the car! (Parents of young kids know what I mean 😝).

I am really looking forward to getting to the warmth of San Antonio. But for now, Mississippi will have to do. Onward!

My Old Kentucky Home

Our beautiful campsite

The next stop in our journey was in Bardsville, Kentucky – home of Stephen Foster. Our campsite was named after one of his songs – My Old Kentucky Home. A cute state park that’s been around since the 1700’s! 

Too cold for this girl!

No big adventure this time – it was too cold! We tried a couple times to take mini-man to a playground but he preferred to stay inside, where it was warm (just like his mama 😍).

Some family fun in the trailer

So for three days, we pulled out every toy in the car and trailer and just made a huge mess (something Damon didn’t like).

New games!!!

We even splurged and got some new toys for ourselves.

Time to go

It was nice to spend some time just enjoying each other and the trailer. Now onto Kenlake, Kentucky.

Pretty Pittsburgh – Part III

Phew! As you saw in Pretty Pittsburgh – Part I and Part II, we did a lot in two days, including visiting Carnegie Mellon and lots of shopping. Too much, it turns out, as we ended up exhausting ourselves and the kids. So we agreed to slow it down for a few days.

Part of being overwhelmed was the fact that the trailer was a mess – again. Tired of all the stuff everywhere, we started sorting each room, fixing, organizing, and purging as much as we could. After a few hours, we felt miles better. 

Partly to reward ourselves, partly because we’ve wanted one for a while, we decided to get a drone. We’ve researched them for a while and found one at Costco that had amazing reviews and folds up for easy storage! Damon was so excited, he started charging the battery in the car πŸ˜‚

However, the kids we’re going stir crazy in the car, and we were looking at a long drive home thanks to traffic. Instead of sitting in traffic, we pulled over and visited Three Points Park, where the three rivers of Pittsburgh meet. It’s also home to the Pittsburgh Steelers (it’s refreshing to be back in a town that takes pride in it’s football team. It reminds me of San Diego, before the Chargers left.)

We’ve learned that anytime we decide to stop and rethink our next step, it’s always better. And this visit proved it. The park is beautiful and we had fun spending some time with the kids there 😍 (which is way better than sitting in the car with two stressed kids in traffic 😱).

The next day was spent with completing more projects and playing with the drone. As you can see, it takes some pretty cool video. 

So many things accomplished, and yet, there’s more! Check out our final part in Pretty Pittsburgh – Part IV.

Serenity in Syracuse

Love this guy!

An important lesson we’ve learned along the way – no projects on short stays. Anytime we try, we end up overwhelmed and stressed.

Gorgeous stay at Tree Farm Campground in Vermont

This helped make our stay in Syracuse wonderful. After a fun week in Vermont, we got a lot accomplished, so we were able to just relax and enjoy Treasure Isle RV Resort, in upper state New York. 

Welcome to Syracuse

The site is family run and they are very friendly. The father-in-law escorted us to our site and helped Damon back into the site. 

Water front view

The site itself was in the water and very serene. We enjoyed relaxing outside and looking at the water. One HUGE downside was all the bugs! I’m means, lots of bugs. Spiders, flies, and some red bugs I don’t know of, we’re all over our trailer. If anyone has any tips on how to keep bugs out of the trailer, I’m all ears! 

We spent our only day at the site enjoying the newly built playground with the kids. By far this is the nicest playground we’ve encountered. Mini-man loved climbing and playing on it. Little-dude is a little young for the playground, so he hung out with me. 

Perfect evening for a fire

We finished our stay grilling hamburgers and enjoying the sunset. It was a great place to relax. 

Now onto Niagara Falls! I’m really excited to visit the famous falls 🀣