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Monday, August 24, 2009

Can you vacation with 4 under 3?

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Jerry and I are planning a vacation to San Antonio next month and thought we'd get away and do a trial run this weekend so we packed up the family and headed to Galveston.

We woke at our normal time 6:30, Jerry went for donuts and we got the kids up at 7:00. About 2 hours later we were all dressed and loaded ready for a short va-ca at Moody Gardens. We pulled up to the Moody Gardens hotel at 10:15 ($229), checked in and changed 2 adults and 4 kids into swimsuits. Made sure we had sunscreen, towels, babyfood, potty seat, diapers and pull-up cameras, etc. We put Cody in the umbrella stroller and loaded it down with bags. In the lobby Jerry inquired as to the best way to get to the Moody Gardens lagoon. While he "chatted" with the concierge, I wrestled the kids... finally, "Everyone backs against the wall and don't move until I tell you to move!!" A few moments later (felt like an eternity) we loaded a shuttle bus to the water park.

The water park (free for hotel guests): we walked the kids to the far side of the lagoon to find empty seats, removed shoes, sprayed everyone down with sunscreen, removed t-shirts and cover-ups, put on floaties and headed to water. Upon entering the water, the lifeguard came over and told up no floaties were allowed only life jackets which could be rented at the gift shop. Not about to tell the kids to get out of the water, I told the lifeguard they would wear the floaties until my husband got back with jackets. They swam like pros with their floaties. Addison decided to remove hers and I kept her head above water while the lifeguard watched this all. When Jerry returned, we took off the floaties and put on the jackets. My perfect little swimmers instantly turned into corks yelling "help me"... they couldn't get upright so they rolled onto their backs and floated helplessly. Finally, I grabbed them all by the convenient handles on the back and drug them all to shore while casting evil glances at the lifeguard. So much for the lagoon.

We then walked them over to the water guns and fountains and let them play there for a while. The ground was not too hot for walking for anyone except Addison. Jerry had Cody and I carried Addison while telling the other two to walk, don't run, and don't dilly daddle. After about an hour at the water park, we once again loaded the bus back to the hotel.

The hotel: We once again changed 2 adults and 4 kids into dry clothes and re-fixed the girls hair. We went to the hotel restaurant for lunch ($31-kids eat free). The lunch was nice, not too hectic. We pulled out our walking rings ( 6 rings on a rope ) each person takes a ring with Dad in front and Mom in back so we could keep everyone together and on the same pace. We loaded the bus again and went to the aquarium.

The Aquarium ($32, kids under 3 free): The aquarium was a blast... the kids loved it. I really don't have any horror stories to tell. We saw seals, sharks, fish, penguins, etc. Jadon however was getting really fussy toward the end so he got carried a lot. We got some Dippin' Dots ice cream on the way out ($10)... personally, not a fan of that little treat. They are so cold it's like putting your tongue on a frozen flagpole. They freeze to the inside of your mouth. We loaded to bus back to the hotel.

The hotel Part II: We turned on the tv, put the triplets in one queen bed and us in the other. Cody was in the pack and play. Jadon crashed immediately, Cody not a fan of the routine change protested so I held him until he fell asleep about the time Jadon woke. The girls never napped. We once again fixed hair and headed to Galveston beach.

The Beach: About 5 minutes into the car ride the girls fell asleep. We let them sleep about 15 minutes but woke them given it was after 5:00 and too late to sleep. We hit the beach and it was a huge hit. We probably could have made a day of the beach. Given everyone was sandy and yucky we wanted to eat somewhere casual and outside... at 7:00, no luck.... all the restaurants were packed. We decided to wait it out at Joe's Crab Shack. We ended up having a really great dinner ($49).

The hotel Part III: The kids were being good and Jerry being a daredevil said why don't we go swimming. Not wanting to be a party pooper, I said lovingly, "Whatever you want to do dear." We changed 2 adults and 4 kids back into swimsuits and headed to the pool. The kids LOVED swimming after dark and we loved the swim up bar. This really was one of the highlights. We headed back to the room about 9:45 bathed all the kids, put them all in PJs then into their beds. The triplets weren't much trouble, but Cody knew this wasn't the routine and protested until 10:45. No one slept well.

The next morning: About 6:45 I guess, we woke to Addison yelling at Kaylee to get her feet off of her. Knowing Cody would need to eat soon we threw on clothes and baseball caps and went downstairs to eat. Not good..... Jadon did not recognize the food and refused to eat. Very unhappy he fought back tears and refused all foods, even chocolate milk one of his favorites. We scarfed down our meal ($26) and headed back upstairs to 4 tired, cranky, moody, no fun kids. What to do??? Go home??? We loaded the car with a wait and see attitude.

Killin' Time: We decided to try the rainforest pyramid and 4D show on Dinosaurs. We asked about the rainforest and we were told it was plants and birds, not too good for the kids so we decided to skip that one. But, the kids love dinosaurs and it's only a 15 minute movie. Ok, bought all the tickets ($9.95 per person, no freebee for kids) and made the long walk to the theater. Of course, I carried at least one child. We got to the movie 3 minutes before showtime PERFECT. Sat in the front row with our 4D glasses with great anticipation. The movie started, our seats rumbled (actually rumbles), lightning flashed on the screen, then wind started blowing on us, and a dinosaur roared and sneezed and we all got a spray of water on us. Very exciting... FOR ADULTS.... we had 4 screaming little ones to quickly get out of a pitch dark theater.... so much for the movie. Of course, after we were out of the movie Kaylee cried because she wanted to see it. I think if we could have gotten past the very exciting opening, the rest of the movie would have been ok, but no chance we were gonna calm them down there. At this point we just walked around and let them play on some playground equipment.

Next move?: We decided to load up and head over to the strand for lunch then head home. Before we got to the strand we had 2 sleepers and decided to head home. I dreaded the fact that I was still going to have to entertain 4 kids the rest of the day at home. Two more fell asleep as we drove then Jerry mentioned Kemah. OK... they can get a nap in the car then we can kill more time at Kemah (hence less time at home).

Kemah: We got to Kemah, put the triplets on the potty seat before setting off. They all pottied except Addison and walked down to the Cadillac Bar. Believe it or not, we had a great lunch ($53). Of course upon entering the restaurant Addison decided she had to potty.... Remember, we have dealt with getting 3 toddlers on a potty all weekend, just thought I'd mention it here. We walked around, fed the fish, and road on the train ($19)... at this point it was 3:30 and we were all tired and HOT!!! We carried all the tired, hot kids to the car... the longest walk EVER. Got everyone a drink of water and headed home.

Home: Once you get home the work isn't over. We unloaded the car, I made dinner for the kids, we entertained a while, gave everyone baths, and put them all down to sleep. ALL BUT ONE that is. My well trained baby is having to be retrained to sleep. As I mentioned in my sleep training post a while back, just one night can throw a wrench in sleep training. Cody fought sleep for an hour last night, hopefully tonight will be better. Jerry and I finally got baths and crashed.

A lot of work? YES
Worth the work? YES
Expensive? YES, but only gonna get worse after 3 years old.
Scared to death for San Antonio trip? YES
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