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A Lemon for Your Thoughts

I just love lemons...the color, the smell, the bright and fresh...and tart. Add a little sugar, and they're absolutely delightful. Delightful, unless, of course, the lemons are figurative, and we're not talking about anything remotely sweet. Then...lemons can...make a gal crotchety.

But I prefer things to be sweet. So, I'll drive (or rather ride shotgun) 16 hours to find the sweet sweet sugar to mix with those dang lemons. And if I'm feeling particularly adventurous, I'll find some vodka, too...

And this is where our story begins...with a big ol' pile of pilotless lemons on Christmas Day.

We planned our annual trip to Corpus Christi months before, and as the day drew closer and closer, our anticipation of warmer weather, rolling Gulf of Mexico waves, and a trip to SeaWorld grew and grew! The girls winter break from school would be the perfect time to get away from incredibly arctic Nebraska temperatures!

But good things don't always come easy, or at the very least, they don't always go according to plan. The Friday before our trip, Jake received a phone call from the property management company informing him that the condo we had rented was no longer available. I'm not quite sure what the situation was, but that was our first lemon. And what was our first glass of lemonade? They had a comparable unit available - and it happened to cost a little we saved a few bucks but still had the same gorgeous view. I'll take a glass of that please!

We broke the news to the girls, who seem to be creatures of habit...they would need time to adjust to the idea of staying in a different condo. And then we discussed what time we would need to wake up on Christmas morning to open presents and get ready to leave for the airport! 5:30 am. Not at all the time I would like to wake up EVER, but it would give us enough time to do what we needed to do, and get where we needed to go.

So Christmas Eve rolled around, and we spent the day finishing up our packing and cleaning, and after the church program in Walthill, the girls opened one gift before going to bed...the magnetic travel games I strategically bought for them to bring along on our travels. They would be able to use the games at the airport, on the plane, and during quiet times while at the condo or at their grandparents' condo in Texas.

Then off to sleep they went, and shortly after, so did we...with the Christmas tree still lit and our bedroom pocket doors open to let the warm air in...(which meant the Christmas tree light filtered into the room as well...and that made for a bright night of sleeping).

Anyway, the alarm went off, and I thought it couldn't be right. It was still "night time" I hit snooze, and then I heard the girls stirring, and then I heard them down by the tree...quietly exploring the goodies that had been left for them overnight. Alright, alright. We're up.

The girls opened their presents, played for a bit with them before they had to get ready to leave for the airport. Jake and I downed a cup of coffee or two, loaded up the pickup with our luggage, and then we said goodbye to our frigid home, and watched the sun rise on our drive down to Omaha.

While on the way to the airport, we received Lemon #2. Our flight from Houston to Corpus had been delayed about half an hour. Not a very large lemon, but big enough to leave the slightest bit of sour taste in our mouths. The lemonade? Our flight was still in existence.

We arrived to the airport much too early. That's probably better than arriving much too late, right?? We checked our bags in while observing the "happiest" of older couples who (knowingly...they had to have known what they were doing) put themselves in the significantly shorter full service line when they should have been in the extremely long regular check-in line...and when it looked like it was their turn to go to the counter, they discovered they were going to be reprimanded and told they had to go to the back of the extremely long regular check-in line because they were in the full service line, and they weren't going to be assisted unless they did go in the extremely long line. "No!" was the protest shouted from the grumpy man who thought he could cheat the system, but "Rae" the "only Rae at the airport" did not give two lemons what he wanted, and so they went to the back of the line, and the Robinsons proceeded to the TSA Pre-Check line upstairs.


Okay, so now it was time for Lemon #3.

Jake and I both have TSA Pre-check, which I highly recommend you take the time to get as well. The ease of going through security is fabulous...unless of course, your daughter is randomly chosen for a "search". And that is what happened to sweet Kamryn...sigh. "Hey...let's randomly choose the kid with extreme anxiety to do a random search. That will make her feel super comfortable." :) She did better than we had thought she would. She remained calm and answered the gals questions, but as I approached to assist her with pulling out the iPad and Nintendo Switch, she asked me, "What did I do wrong?". Poor kid. "Nothing. You did nothing wrong. It's completely random, and you just happened to be the next person in line when it was time for the next search." 3rd glass of lemonade? She "passed"? (We'll take what we can get!)

Then it was time for breakfast, coffee and a smoothie while we waited for the time to pass and our plane to arrive. The girls pulled out their travel games, and started playing. Score! While they seemed to have thought the gifts were kind of lame-o when they opened them, they did come in handy for awhile.

While we waited, we received the notification that our flight from Omaha to Houston was now delayed by about half an hour. It was expected, so we easily took a bite of Lemon #4. Again - thankful the flight wasn't cancelled (Glass #4 of Lemonade).

And then, we waited...and the delayed boarding time had come and gone...kind of hard to board a plane that isn't at the gate yet. So we waited longer and listened to folks talk about how "yesterday's flights" had been cancelled and this was their second attempt to get wherever they were trying to go....and then a plane arrived! Woohoo!

Spirits were up...hopeful that everything was going to pan out. And then one of the airport employees got on the loud speaker and informed our gate that they couldn't find any pilots for our flight, but they were looking! And then....after people saw our luggage being unloaded from the plane, the looks of disappointment set in...people started making phone calls...making alternative plans...cancelling plans...

They made the announcement that our flight had officially been cancelled. Lemon #5. We searched quickly for other flights, but none would be days before anything would possibly be available. That wasn't going to work with our plans at all.

So Jake looked at me and asked, "Are we going to drive down?" And I said, "Yes." Kindrey was devastated she didn't get to fly in a plane..."I just wanted to fly somewhere." The girls just looked defeated, but Jake and I were ready for the 16 hour drive from Omaha to Padre Island. It would be okay...we'd tweak the schedule...cancel our rental would be fine. It would just take a little longer to get there.

We waited for our luggage and then loaded up the pickup again for our long road trip. The lemonade was that we had a vehicle at the airport to accommodate our travel needs, we had our luggage, and we had decent weather for driving. It was going to be fine. Glass of Lemonade #5.

By the time we left Omaha, it was already 1:30...we were starving. We neglected to take any exits within Omaha, so we thought we'd drive a little further and stop somewhere else for a late lunch.

We made it to Nebraska City and found Casey's was the only place we grabbed lots of Pringles and Casey's pizza and some other snacks and continued on our way. The lack of businesses open on Christmas Day could have been considered Lemon #6, but it made me really happy that businesses were closed that day, so I couldn't get too upset about it. Thank you Casey's for being open for those folks traveling that was seriously the only business open throughout that drive. Even Wal-Mart was closed, which was really disappointing because I wanted to buy some crochet hooks and yarn...a lot can be crocheted in 16 hours!

So there's a whole lot of nothing between Omaha and Fort Worth. I'm not sure there are really any exciting things to relay about that part of the trek. It was long, and boring, and Kindrey couldn't wait to get out of Kansas. However, we did drive through the Flint Hills which were kind of pretty in an extremely desolate way. And the sunset that night was BEEautiful. The clouds were really dark, but there was a gap between them and the horizon and the result was a RED RED sky in the gap. I tried to take a picture, but I couldn't quite capture it from the truck.

And then before I could finally say, "We're not in Kansas anymore," we found another gas station along the toll road and a McDonald's that was took much longer than it needed to, but I think there were only a few people working and there were a ton of people stopping there. So we got our McDonald's, and found our way out of the tolls and into Oklahoma.

One really cool thing about traveling through Oklahoma around Christmas time was the Ardmore Festival of Lights - visible from the interstate. It was super neat, and if we weren't in such a hurry to get to Fort Worth, we would have stopped there and checked it out up close, but it definitely added a little light to our interesting day. :)

And then as we got closer to our destination for the evening (which happened to be Burleson, Texas - just south of Forth Worth), we found some fun signage (Robinson Street, and Lindsey Street...on the same sign). They were both spelled "correctly," so it was like a "sign" that we were on the right track.

We arrived at Hampton Inn & Suites around 11:00 that night. By the time we were all situated and showered, etc it was midnight. What a LONG day!

The next morning, we packed up the kiddos and found a Starbucks just down the road....we needed the caffeine for sure! And then we went just a little further down the road to wash our pick-up and stop at Wal-Mart to get a few crochet supplies. :) That made me so happy!!

I had hooks and yarn. We had coffee. We had snacks. We had a full tank of gas and a clean pick-up. We had two sweet little girls in the backseat. We had each other. And we were on our way to Corpus Christi. All was right with the world.

We drove past Waco....waved to the silos. Kept driving towards Austin and decided enough was enough...the traffic was horrible. We got off somewhere along the way and took a road less traveled...stopping somewhere for snacks and a break - I think we found some spicy dried was good. We drove until we reached Skidmore and grabbed lunch at Whataburger. Jake had a story about Skidmore....I believe it had something to do with Skid Mart...he and his family made the drive from Corpus to Nebraska many times over the years and Jake and his brother thought Skid Mart was hilarious (think Skid Mark). Boys.

We started to see the oil refineries and knew we were close! And there it was! The water!!! We drove through downtown Corpus Christi and then round and round some more because the road construction threw us off course. But soon enough we were driving over the bridge onto the island...

It's funny how familiar the little island is to us. It was like coming home...and that was such a comfort after the uncertainty we had experienced the day before.

We found our condo.

We parked next to some vehicles with Canadian license plates. That would have been a LONG drive! But we had a sneaking suspicion we knew what that meant. Where there are Canadian license plates there are most certainly....CANADIANS!

I'm not sure if I mentioned the Canadians at the condo from our last Texas vacation, but there were Canadians there. A couple of couples with their young adult children and friends. The parents were quiet and respectable. The adult children weren't disrespectful necessarily - they were just acting their age...hanging out at the pool with music and drinks. They were just a little loud. But it wasn't terrible. It was just..."memorable". And speaking of of the kids had this of those laughs you'd recognize anywhere. So those were the Canadians.

So we got out of the pick-up and unloaded the truck. As we walked further into the property, we heard it. That laugh. Kamryn said, "Oh my gosh. They're here again. I'd recognize that laugh anywhere!" It was perfect.

While the girls got settled and ready to go to the pool, Jake and I ran to the grocery store. We needed to be prepared to feed starving children (and hangry Lindseys) at any moment. :)

After we put away the groceries, we took the girls to the pool donned with Canadians.

After a quick swim, the girls got ready and we headed to Skuttlebutt's for dinner with Jake's parents. There was live music, good drinks, delicious food and great company. :) It was at this visit to Skuttlebutt's that Kindrey discovered she LOVED wedge salads.

It was beginning to feel more like vacation.

I'm not really sure what we did on night one after dinner. We might have visited Jake's parents' condo for a night cap. It sounds like a likely story. But what I do know is that the Canadians were out in the common area late that evening and were really loud. The girls had a hard time sleeping that night. Lemon #7? Lemonade? We were in Corpus Christi!

When we went to bed that first night, we left the sliding door in our bedroom open a crack so we could hear the waves of the Gulf of Mexico rolling into shore and left the blinds to the windows open so we could see the sunrising in the morning.

I'm not sure what time I started waking up that first morning on the beach, but it was EARLY...and I had the privilege of seeing the various shades of the sunrise as I dozed in and out of sleep, and it was perfect. And then the first cup of coffee on the main floor deck made my day!

A little later in the morning, Jake and I went into Flour Bluff to get the infamous breakfast tacos and dropped a couple of tacos off at Jake's parents', and then we headed back to our condo to feed our tired babies.

There was certainly swimming and a visit to the beach and a walk along the sea wall after breakfast. Jake must have gone somewhere with his dad during this time...because he wasn't with us...but I feel like he brought us Padre Island Burger Company for lunch. Yum!

And then...Jake went fishing with his dad and my uncle (who is friends with Jake's parents and also winters in Corpus Christi). It had been quite cold in Texas the week before we headed there, so there were fishing restrictions when we arrived because apparently the fish move into the shallower water to keep warm and allowing fishing in those areas would be harmful to the fish population (I suppose - I'm not 100% sure on this, but that's my best guess). It would be like cheating! But the fishing restriction had been lifted that second day and so they took my uncle's boat out and tried their luck...Jake will have to tell the story about my uncle's boat and the stick and the dock.

That night, we had dinner with Jake's parents' at Doc's Seafood & Steaks. Jake's mom and I ordered drinks that came in cute pineapple buckets. And I don't mean when you get a bucket of ice and there are 6 beers in it. I mean you get your cocktail served in a cute bucket instead of a glass. We decided we would look for drinks that were served in buckets from that point forward. I forgot about that...I'll be sure to check the next time I'm at a restaurant, "Is this available in a bucket?" :)

We also had to order the seafood queso because that was one of the things that the girls remembered and talked about really liking from the last time we were there and just had to get it while we were there this trip. It tasted like cheese. Not THAT memorable!

After dinner, we headed back to the condo and the girls went swimming again. One of Jake's friends growing up was in town visiting his family, so he, along with his wife and their youngest son, stopped over and visited. We sat outside...covered up in our blankets (so thankful I insisted on packing a lightweight throw blanket...I used it every time I was outside at the condo!). So...I also wore the hat I started and finished on the drive down to Corpus. I believe I was told by Jake's friend's wife that I should open a shop. "I did open a shop a few years ago actually!" ;) It was a sweet compliment.

We eventually moved the group indoors and listened to the two guys reminisce. :) They can do that for a LONG time. But eventually they stopped talking and our guests left, and we headed to bed.

The next morning, Jake and I got more breakfast tacos, and had a quiet morning. Jake left to run errands with his dad and my uncle before their fishing excursion with Jake's friend and fishing guide, Alex. And the girls and I got ourselves ready to go shopping at Port Aransas (aka - Port A) with Jake's mom.

We were picked up around 10:30 for the short twenty minute drive to Port A. We hit up some of the usual shops to pick up candy and personalized shirts. :) Then we headed back to the Island to shop at Kamryn's favorite store - Ocean Treasures.

We found a couple of trinkets, but it turns out the Robinson ladies aren't the BEST shoppers. I think I heard Kindrey say at one point, "I like it, but what am I going to do with it? It's just going to sit in my room." Everything must have a purpose. Oh dear...she is my daughter.

So we headed back to Jake's parents condo and had a light lunch before going back to our condo. The girls were looking forward to swimming again! They're OUR ocean treasures! ;)

Meanwhile, the guys were fishing and picking up pickups and doing whatever else guys do when left to their own devices. But eventually, they came back with cleaned fish and a plan to cook said fish at The Boathouse - which was just down the road from us.

We met up with the "adults"...all of the retirees who are friends of Jake's folks. It's pretty awesome - they go down to Corpus for a couple of months in the winter and get to hang out with their friends who either stay in the same complex or neighboring goals.

But we all visited and ordered our sides (which is always a big bring in your fish, they cook it for you any way you would like, and you get so many sides with it, and we did get so many sides....and so much fish....and then my uncle wanted some garlic bread (which we did not need at all, but by golly it was going to be eaten)! It was crazy how much food we had....but it was all SO good.

After dinner, we went over to Jake's folks and hung out for a bit...the girls might have even had some Rocky Road - courtesy of Grandpa. But after the dessert and most likely a game or two of Fast Track had occurred, we headed back to our place.

I am kind of thinking this was the evening that we went to bed and noticed a vehicle on the beach...facing our condo with its headlights was absolutely obnoxious...because I wanted the blinds open so I could see the sunrise...At some point they eventually left, but they were there so much of the night! Lemon #8...Lemonade? I could see the beach...

And was the next morning the morning the neighbor's dog started whining and we could hear our neighbor snoring? Lemon #9. Lemonade? We were going to spend the day in the city! Who cares what woke us up!

There was no fishing on the schedule for Jake this day, but there were breakfast tacos...we think. And possibly some swimming....before heading into the big city of Corpus Christi. We wanted to see the U.S.S. Lexington and eat at the Executive Surf Club.

And so we did.

We had lunch first...of course the restaurant we wanted to go to do was being remodeled so it was at a temporary location...which really did confuse us...we wandered around the square for a bit before we figured out where to go to get in.

So, I had heard of this Executive Surf Club for years...but had never been. I always envisioned something more...executive-y. It is not. At all. You literally order your food at the counter and you get a number for your table, and they bring your food out to you. It isn't executive at all. But it was good! My nachos were legit!

And then off to the U.S.S. Lexington. We love this place...the first time we went the girls didn't want to go, but they ended up being fascinated by it. It was one of the things they requested to do on this trip. :)

It wasn't as busy as it had been the first time we went, so we could stop and smell the really was a lot better that way. The "Captain's Quarters" was pretty memorable to me...and getting to just check it out was really neat!

After our tour, we headed back to the island....for swimming, of course.

The plan for the evening was to order pizza and eat with Jake's parents. But plans are for fools, right?!

Well, what happened was, Jake's friend who had visited us the other night had left his blanket at our condo. Call back? most certainly was. His family was back in town for the holidays and insisted we (probably just Jake) stop by and visit and conveniently return the left blanket.

And so the friend stopped by, and we had a discussion about where to order our pizza (and also calzone because the calzones are the best at Padre Pizzaria ). We ordered our pizzas, and then we all headed over to the Foust residence where we were welcomed by all the things - dogs and kids and and the biggest stretch of Christmas presents you ever did see. Y'all, we walked into their house during their Christmas. Hey-o.

But they were so kind and welcoming. The whole scene kind of reminded me of Home Alone. It was fabulous...and I am serious. Just the sweetest. And guess what...there was another Canadian there...Jake's friend's sister married one. What in the world is up with the Canucks?? It's all good. It's all good.

So about an hour after we were supposed to originally pick up the pizza (maybe it wasn't quite that long), we left and grabbed the pizza and headed over to Jake's folks'.

More cocktails and Fast Track. It was good to just get to hang out with them on our last evening on the island. We'd be heading north the next day.

We packed our things the next morning...said our goodbye's to the beach and Jake's parents and headed towards San Antonio!

Always a part of the original plan, we had planned to stay in San Antonio for a night or two (supposed to fly out of San Antonio to head back to Omaha). We were going to show the girls the River Walk and Sea World!

With the Southwest deboggle, we had to cancel our original room and rebook for another night...luckily it all worked out that we could still make it work. We were on our way, and decided to go to Sea World first thing. Why not? So we stopped somewhere along the way at a rest stop to change our shoes and some of our clothes...and we plugged Sea World into our map and off we went!

We arrived at Sea World right before it officially opened for the day. Bought our tickets...and got in line to enter the park. Did you know that when the park opens for the day, they play the National Anthem? I did not...and while my family was in the crowd and I was in the security line to scan my purse, we all stopped...found a flag and pledged our allegiance. It was kind of a cool experience.

Then we were off!

Note: The crossbody "back packs" are not allowed on the coasters, so you have to put them in lockers. You can pay to have a locker all day and just transfer your locker as you move about the park. It wasn't too bad...but just wanted to mention that you'll want to plan ahead rather than get up to the line and have someone tell you, "You can't bring that with you." And then you have to get out of line to put your bag in a locker.

The girls thought they were hot stuff having been on "roller coasters" at Disney World...we kept saying "it's not quite the same"...and we were right. After the first roller coaster at Sea World, they were terrified and excited.

We just followed the path and went from roller coaster to roller coaster and then...we made a fatal mistake. Kindrey said, "We're going on the next ride we see..." The next ride happened to be Rio Loco...the ONLY water attraction open at the time (because it wasn't exactly summertime).

I was NOT excited about going on a water ride. I believe Jake said, "You're not going to get that wet."

Jake lied.

I got completely drenched. There wasn't a dry spot left on me. Thank goodness for waterproof mascara! And Kindrey also got really wet - Kamryn and Jake were spared.

It was SO so cold for the rest of the day. Nothing warm about it.

Our next stop was lunch...we found a building we could sit inside and ordered some food and tried to warm up...but then we had to go outside again. It was just miserable.

We headed to the orca show was cold there, too. Kindrey and I were NOT going to sit in the splash zone. Jake and Kam thought they would sit in the front row. And it was at that point Kamryn became part of the show.

During one part of the show, she stood up with one of the trainers and made some motions with her arms and the orca did what she asked it to do. Pretty cool experience for her!

Kamryn and Jake got a little wet in the splash now Kamryn was freezing, too.

We're going to call the freezing children Lemon # 10. After the show, our next stop was the gift shop for overpriced Sea World sweatshirts. Lemonade - the girls were warm, at least.

So we went along and found some hot chocolate and more rides.

And then it started to get dark, and all of the Christmas lights were was so neat! So many lights everywhere....and there was a band of elves...creating a traffic jam of spectators in the middle of the park.

We caught the sea lion and otter show....and also captured a double rainbow at sunset...because...why wouldn't it be raining while we were there! The sea lions are so cute.

And then we saw the beluga whales and dolphins...pretty impressive show! Jake really wanted to watch the belugas. They didn't do much, but were still neat to see! The dolphins were definitely the stars!

And after Jake and Kindrey snuck in two more rides (invest in the Quick's pricey, but you don't have to wait nearly as long for the rides and you can get more rides in during the day because of it!)

But it was time to call it a day at the park and head to our hotel, the Hyatt Regency San Antonio Riverwalk to get ready for our River Walk adventure.

Our hotel was pretty neat...our room reminded me of Malibu 90's Modern. Is that a thing? I'm not sure, but it was neat and updated. (It was from this hotel room that I got the inspiration to get under-bed motion lighting. The lights are unplugged and on our dresser...I hadn't found the appropriate placement to prevent the lights from constantly turning on throughout the evening (adjust the blanket, and lights on!)).

We got situated and Kindrey decided to organize all of our belongings. Her organization technique can be a little frustrating. "If it fits, it sits." And it doesn't always make sense. But it makes her happy, so whatever.

We got all dressed up and headed downstairs to the River Walk (it was just outside of our hotel, so we didn't have to go far!). The River Walk was still all lit up for the holidays. It was really quite magical, and also crowded! We walked up and down and over and around the river. Letting the girls soak it in.

Our dinner reservations were quite late, but worth it. We arrived at Landry's Steakhouse a little early, but they prepared a table for us by the window so we could see the River Walk. And during our meal, we were gifted calla lilies. It was fun to give the girls that experience.

Then we headed back to the hotel and went to bed.

The next day, we planned to check out the Alamo and River Walk during the day and go where ever the day took us!

But first, we had to check out the rooftop pool at the hotel! It was New Year's Eve, and they were getting it prepped for a party that night. It was really beautiful up there, but we weren't planning to swim OR stay in San Antonio that night, so we enjoyed the view for a bit and then packed up our things and brought them down to the concierge before we headed over to the Alamo.

We checked it out...we realized, it would have made sense to have had the girls read up on the history of what went down there during the 20 hours we had already been in the truck, but that was certainly an afterthought that couldn't be changed! So we practiced our speed reading skills at the various exhibits because there were so many people there.

We left the Alamo and wandered around the block...just scoping out the area...and came across a person posing as a potted bush. Yah. You read that right. A person had disguised himself as a bush on the sidewalk....and would pop out and scare people! Luckily, the bush scared the group in front of us, so we weren't victims, but we kind of hung around to watch other folks get spooked. It was pretty entertaining!

Then we walked around the River Walk for awhile, and then decided we should just get back on the road so we could be settled into a hotel early - we didn't want to be driving around in the evening on New Year's Eve.

So we called the valet to get our vehicle and asked the concierge to grab our luggage. And it was at that moment our large suitcase handle snapped off as the concierge wheeled the luggage cart through the doorway. The handle hadn't been pushed in when it was loaded onto the cart and so Lemon #11 occurred. Lemonade? The suitcase was kind of barely made the weight requirements for needed something a little smaller anyway.

But that did put a bit of a foul taste in Jake's mouth...especially when the hotel's resolution to the problem was to contact their "engineering" department to see if they had a way to repair it. This was not repairable. They would have had to get an entirely new handle mechanism - take the suitcase apart to install it. Not practical. So we said...nah. And saucily waited for our pickup to arrive.

We loaded up, and headed out!

We didn't have a specific plan for our day of travel. We'd just drive until we didn't want to anymore, I guess! But then we remembered it was New Year's Eve, and it might not be quite as simple as that. So I got on my great Googler machine and found a fabulous hotel with a pool in Oklahoma City - The Skirvin Hilton Oklahoma City.

The hotel was a bit like The Shining, but still really cool and classy. The wood work, wall paper, chandeliers, was just gorgeous! And the piano bar was so fabulous. If we had been there under different circumstances and had been a little more well-rested, we would have really had quite the night!

So...we checked in to our room, and realized that our "swim" bag was missing. And then I remembered briefly wondering before we left our hotel room in San Antonio, "What is this? Is this a drawer?" and then I got sidetracked. "This" was a really camouflaged storage area under the hanging rack. And "this" would be the convenient place Kindrey decided to store the "swim" bag. The "swim" bag that was missing because it was still in the hotel back in San Antonio. Lemon # 890 (I can't remember anymore). Lemonade?? Keep reading.

What the heck were we going to do? Our vehicle had been valeted, and it was already pretty late in the evening. Then I remembered, my swimsuit was in our luggage, and I figured Kindrey had packed something that would double as swimwear because she's super prepared (remember she packed one of every color shirt?!).

So we made do with what we had. My ruffle topped suit with some athletic shorts worked for Kam, and a rash guard and spandex shorts worked for Kindrey. Lemonade!

The pool...was about as creepy as any Shining pool would be. It was tucked in the was dark. And there was sort of jazzy music...coming from somewhere. But the girls didn't care. It was a pool.

So the girls swam while Jake and I tried to figure out a dinner solution. By the time the girls would be finished swimming, and showered, it would be too late to go to an actual we opted for Uber Eats or Doordash. I don't recall which, but we ordered BBQ.

We left the girls in our room after their swim to go downstairs for a cocktail while we waited for our food. The people-watching was fantastic...people all glammed up for the New Year, and people celebrating weddings and who knows what else. The outfits were too much. And so was our wait. It took an hour longer for the food to arrive. The poor girls Face-timed us wondering what was taking so long. They caught a glimpse of the party! ;)

And then our food finally arrived and we brought it upstairs to the girls...I enjoyed cornbread and mac n cheese....and then I fell asleep. I didn't even make it to midnight! But I heard the hotel guests celebrating loudly in the hall later on.

And then...we were all woken up by the sound of someone's dog whining. It was pretty early. And the dog was relentless. That dog's owner was NOT going to wake up to let him or her out. We couldn't figure out exactly where the sound was coming from...but we could hear it through the vent, and we were so annoyed. Eventually, someone (actual hotel security or someone who had enough and was posing as hotel security) banged on a door down the Shining hall and yelled "Hotel Security." And then...nothing happened. No more voices were heard, and the dog kept whining. So finally we just got out of bed and got ready to get back on the road.

Guess where we headed to!?


Orlando, Oklahoma that is! Home of the Smokey Pokey restaurant where we stopped for breakfast. It was...fine. :)

And then back on the road we went for hours upon hours...stopping for lunch at Chili's...somewhere...and then finally making it to York, Nebraska for a quick trip to Runza for some dinner, and then it was back on the road - the homestretch!

We made ONE more stop in West Point to grab some groceries because there wouldn't be anything to eat at home (and apparently that's all we seem to care about - eating) and THEN we made it home.

Until next time, Corpus!


In ABSOLUTELY NO particular from the trip!


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