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Monday, May 19, 2014

Vacation Roadtrip 2014 Days 4 &5

Day 4 of our vacation was rather uneventful and I didn't take a single picture. We had Egg & I for breakfast and went to Walmart and bought Zaccheaus new swim shorts, since he packed his old ones from last summer. Then we went to visit Josh's mom at her apartment and made plans for taking her out with us the next day. 

Waiting for Breakfast

We had breakfast at Kelley's Country Cooking, a local chain restaurant. The portions were gigantic and no one could eat all their food. We left with 3 boxes of left overs. After breakfast we headed over to the Museum District of Houston and checked out the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences. 

Mock up a refinery made out of neon lights

There was a whole area dedicated to the local mega industry of oil refining. The kids really enjoyed this because it helped them further understand what happens at Josh's work. 

Learning about the oil industry
 Next we checked out the fossils on display at the museum. This was by far the biggest display of dinosaur bones and fossils I had ever seen. They had several different dinosaurs, mammoths, giant turtles and other creatures. There was even a skeleton of a giant sloth, that I am not entirely sure was real.

They're having fun, really they are
The kids liked seeing the real skeletons of creatures from all the different movies they've seen. I kept hearing that one's from Ice Age, that's the T-Rex from Land Before time. Joshua carefully documented the whole area with pictures on his DS.

Tree samplings of petrified wood
The gallery of petrified wood slices was so cool. The slices of trees would make the most beautiful artwork to hang up at home. Too bad it would cost a fortune to get some. Several of the samples were from Washington State!

Seeing how much each metal weighs
In the basement of the museum was a science lab with a big interactive periodic table (I wish LeapFrog or some other company would make something like that) and lots of interactive exhibits for kids to learn about matter, the solar system, the weather and elements.

In the weather lab
 After the basement we went up to the second floor, where they had exhibits on sea shells/ sea life and a huge exhibit on rocks and gems. The older two have always been interested in Geology so this exhibit was really neat for them. Unfortunately this exhibit was so dark I didn't get a single good picture.

Elli wanted her picture taken by the Zebra, but she refused to pose. LOL
Across the hall from the rock and gem exhibit was the African Animal exhibit. We didn't spend a whole lot of time here as it was just stuffed African animals. The kids have all been to zoos with live versions that were more entertaining than the stuffed version. ;-)
Checking out the Egyptian artifacts
On the third floor there was an Egyptian exhibit full of many different artifacts from different time periods. There was several mummy's on display and when we came up on one Elli would say "Great another dead guy". She was a little creeped out by them.

 Also on the third floor was a exhibit of the Americas that included displays on the Inca, Mayan, Native American and Inuit cultures. After seeing all the mummy's Elli thought the Eskimo mannequin was another "dead guy" and got really freaked out for a second because that one was standing up.

If you ever come to Houston the HMNS is a must see. We learned later in the week that Thursdays from 2-5 was free, but we didn't mind since our tickets were part of our City Pass that Josh bought through his work. You can walk through it fast in about 3 hours or slow down and spend all day there. Either way it is fun. I had my pedometer on and we walked 5 miles that day!

More post coming soon!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Vacation Roadtrip 2014 Days 1,2 & 3

 I finally feel recovered enough from our drive that I can share about it. Man that was a long drive!

The route we took
 We left at 4am on Friday and began our trek to Josh's dad's house near Houston. As soon as we were into Eastern Washington Elli began asking if we were in Texas yet. She was not happy when we explained she had a day and a half to go.

Eastern Washington
We seemed to be traveling ahead of some storm system. Just as we were leaving each region we would get a weather warning on our phones for that area. We experienced nearly every type of weather possible. Rain, hail, lightning, thunder, sunshine, SNOW, fog and high winds were some we drove through.

I love wind turbines! These are in Eastern Oregon. Pay no attention to the crack in my windshield.  
Josh and I took turns driving and basically changed seats at each fill up. Although I think he did more night driving than I did. I don't do well at night. 

 When we crossed through the mountains (around 10pm PST) of Wyoming I was trying to sleep and for some reason I woke up really nauseous, so we ditched the plans of trying to make it to Denver and got a room for the night in Rawlins, WY. I am so thankful we did that. We got one room and all squeezed in. Everyone slept well, we got a large free breakfast and we were back on the road by 11am PST.

Elli playing the game she got in her Chick-Fil-A meal
 Anyone who really knows me knows I do not eat fast food, but on a road trip it's hard to stop and eat at a good restaurant. There are 2 fast food places I will make an exception for. At home it's Taco Time and I only get the salad. On this trip, it's been Chick-Fil-A! On day 1 we stopped for lunch there just outside Boise. Day 2 found us eating a late lunch there in Denver. Josh really loves their food and I find it doesn't make me sick like some other fast food places, so we'll be eating there a lot on this trip.
Josh crashed as soon as we got to his dad's
We pushed through on the second day/ night and got into Houston around 9am EST on the third day. Needless to say we were pretty tired and took our turns taking naps throughout the day.

The Tasty Kake Fairy Visited Josh while he slept!
While Josh was napping, Elli and I ran to the store and found some of Josh's favorite treats that we can't get in Washington. He used to get these all the time when he lived in Pennsylvania as a kid and I used to buy them for him online, but when I tried last time they didn't sell them online anymore. He was so excited to hear they had them in Texas. I think we may be taking a few boxes home with us when we leave. 

Kids in the pool
Josh's dad's house has a pool out back, so once we were rested a bit we let the kids play until it was time for dinner. The kids are loving it here! I'm having fun, but can't wait to get back to my home. I feel so out of place down here. I'm pretty sure the locals can sense that I am not from here. LOL

I'll share the rest of our adventures soon...Stay tuned....