Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Yoo 716 - Guadalupe Mountains National Park (and the EVENING BAT FLIGHT AT CARLSBAD)

Towards the end of September we stuffed our car full of gear for a dog, a baby, and 3 adults to survive 10 days on the road. It was especially challenging because we were planning on camping most nights. And we still needed room for the dog, baby, and 3 adults in the car while driving.

I had to get creative with the packing list and Greg had to play tetris with the trunk but we made it work. Though if you ever ask Dylan how comfortable she was, remember she only had to pay 75 cents for the trip. It was going to be free but we were scrounging up coins to pay cash for a campsite one night and she had to help supplement.

Despite this, getting out of Texas was the actual hard part. Over seven hours of driving and we were still in Texas! Peanut stretched the drive into nine hours because she only has so much tolerance for her car seat. The second you take her out she's cute as can be. But we survived terrible highway 285 and a wrong turn in Orla, TX (we didn't turn, that was the problem) and made it to our first way point: Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

I think I would like this park. It's hard to tell seeing as how we did absolutely zero hiking because Roscoe isn't allowed on trails. I really really wanted to hike up to Guadalupe Peak (the tallest point in Texas) as it's one of the few remaining items on my Texas bucket list, but it wasn't to be. No convenient dog boarding options!

But it was still a fun place for Skylar's first night camping. We luckily snagged one of the last tent sites on a busy weekend! The tent pads were too small for our super tent so we had to rig a "two-thirds" pitch and hope for a calm night.

Dinner was terrible because we forgot the salt and cheese. I know we bought the cheese because I remember seeing it on the counter. Dylan swears she packed the cheese. We never found the cheese on the trip and still haven't found it anywhere in the house so the case of the missing cheese remains unsolved. But dinner needed the cheese. All the while we were smelling the hot dogs roasting at a neighbor's campsite and looking at each other like, "Why did we try to get fancy with our food??" At least we had peanut butter M&Ms and Starbursts to reward ourselves for eating all the veggies.

Then we drove up to Carlsbad Caverns for the sunset and evening bat flight program. The problem was, I went into the evening bat flight with high expectations. Greg had visited as a boy scout and all through our relationship I've heard about THE EVENING BAT FLIGHT AT CARLSBAD(!!!).

Dating: "Want to go see the bats at Natural Bridge Caverns?" "It's not Carlsbad."

First anniversary (bats at South Congress bridge in Austin): "This is so cool!" "Carlsbad has way more bats."

Everyday life: "These tacos are delicious!" "I guess, but they're not the evening bat flight at Carlsbad."

If only I was exaggerating. Also probably relevant, Dylan and I had just watched Batman Begins (...and Dark Knight and Dark Knight Rises...) to further pump ourselves up for the all-consuming tornado of bats that was going to erupt from the depths of the earth in THE EVENING BAT FLIGHT AT CARLSBAD. Also also, Dylan is terrified of bats so at a very minimum I was hoping to enjoy her reaction.

And that's where I'm coming from when I say I was disappointed.

Greg hung out in the parking lot on Roscoe duty while Dylan and I (and Skylar!) walked to the cave entrance. They're really serious about silence during the program and Skylar quietly watched the ranger presentation while we waited for the (all-consuming tornado of) bats. And then it was time. First, a trickle. "Oooooooh! Bats!" And then...a trickle. Minutes later? Still trickling. Any second now...nope. Skylar was the first to voice her frustration and at the evil-eye cue of a park ranger, I got up and walked around with her off by the bathrooms. I still had a perfect view of the trail of bats disappearing off into the sunset.

It was pretty. And went on for close to half an hour. But it didn't quite live up to the hype. And Dylan didn't even get squeamish. We walked back to the car and I had one word for Greg.


In his defense, he was 12 at the time and maybe there were more bats. I don't know. It's my fault for setting expectations off the mind of a 12-year-old boy. I hope I didn't mar his childhood memory too bad with my post EVENING BAT FLIGHT AT CARLSBAD teasing. All the way back to camp.

And then we slept. Peanut all thru the night! I had the genius idea of using the bin that we store all of our sleeping/tent gear in as her crib. I cut a cheap foam camping pad to size, covered it in a pillow, and voila! No need for the bulky pack 'n play. Though that only worked on this trip because it was already a bit of a squeeze. She slept better than I did though. My sleeping pad had a slow leak that I thought I had fixed. Around midnight I discovered that I hadn't.

All funny memories. Even if Roscoe was giving me the stank eye by morning. "Yeah, tomorrow night you guys can just leave me in the car with the air conditioner on. And the whole backseat to myself, thanks."

He still doesn't love camping in Texas.

Have a great day :-)

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Yoo 715 - Skylar And Houston

This is possibly my most favorite family photo to date. Skylar!

We did a day trip to Houston last Saturday to celebrate the upcoming arrival of a new baby girl cousin! Skylar will be more excited about this in two years when they can actually play together. But in between spending time with family, we explored some parts of Houston that I hadn't been to yet, including Hermann Park and Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park. I really wanted to visit The Houston Museum of Natural Science but we didn't have time. It was in the original plan, when we thought the National Parks photo exhibit was going to be there, but we missed that by a couple of days so it fell down the priority list. I also wanted to stop at Ikea but that would have been dangerous. We don't need more stuff! The weather wasn't too suffocating and Roscoe didn't poop anywhere he shouldn't have so it was a pretty successful day. Though we did have to cut our visit to the dog park short because he insisted on humping every dog. This does happen on occasion but it's unusual. I think it still goes back to having to share the backseat. Also, Skylar was not impressed with her carseat but for the most part she was a trooper.

Have a great day :-)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Yoo 714 - Skylar, 5 Months

I'm discovering more of Skylar's personality daily and falling more in love with mothering this soul. She is fun times a thousand. I love the poopy moments, I love the crying moments, and I especially love the laughs and squeals. Just this past week, she started sitting unsupported and thinks she's pretty big. She's still a little wobbly but getting better everyday. Some of my favorites right now include when she sits next to the window with her puppy, her frustrated grunts when we put her down on her belly, the grins I get from her crib first thing in the morning, and, of course, her hair. I constantly tell her that she can take her time growing up, but she isn't listening.

Have a great day :-)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Yoo 713 - Labor Day In Austin

Austin is so fun to visit. I fell in love with Zilker Park the first time Greg took me there and it's even better now with a dog and a baby. We explored the graffiti at Hope Outdoor Gallery, let Roscoe run and swim at Zilker, watched the bats, ate awesome biscuits and gravy in honor of my random pregnancy craving for it at this time last year, spent a couple hours at the best dog park on the planet (a whole island just for dogs!), and climbed up Mount Bonnell.

This all came at the cost of one night in a Motel 6 though. I used to think I was invincible and could sleep almost anywhere, but I did not sleep well on that mattress in that room next to the noisy interstate. In fact, we all woke up with aches, so it wasn't just me. Not to mention Skylar could tell she was out of her element. My perfect 12-hour sleeper woke up twice to comfort nurse. But they let dogs stay for free so pups won out. And he loved it, spending the night on the bed sprawled out between the ice-cold air conditioner and Dylan. So I guess it was worth it for him. Though he still isn't thrilled about having to share the backseat with Skylar AND Dylan right now. I try to explain to him that we all have to sacrifice a little and he's like, "Whatever, I want bacon."


Have a great day :-)