I'd been wanting to take a trip up to Dallas for a few years now. The past year we've had a few attempts that never panned out. This time things fell into place, and we made our first trip up there in about 6 years!
The main purpose of our trip up to DFW was to go to a family reunion gathering at my uncle's home in Weatherford. All three of my mom's siblings and many of their children and grandchildren would be there, since most of them live in the area. They had never met our youngest two children! We decided to drive up the night before and stay in Grapevine for some Christmas activities there.
We didn't get reservations before we left, but were pretty confident that we'd be able to stay at Homewood, our current hotel of choice because of the suite option and the free breakfasts! This one also had an indoor pool which was fun for the little ones.
The girls were in a bit of a daze when we arrived!
We rested for a few minutes and then walked over to Grapevine Mills Mall which was a total zoo. The Saturday before Christmas is not a good time to go to any mall! We wandered around for a few minutes and then I went with the baby and Steven Joseph back to the hotel to get the car while the others went to find a certain birthday gift for him (remote controlled helicopter, which they've all loved!).
We decided to head over to the Gaylord Texan hotel. It's definitely an impressive Christmas atmosphere over there!
It was very crowded too, but we were able to squeeze into a pizza place overlooking the Mexican cafe. The lighting displays and decorations were just beautiful!
Someone was ready for bed!
An elf in the hallway had a macaw for Thomas to meet!
The youngest two started melting down, so I took them to the car, while Steven escorted the oldest three to the door of the ICE exhibit, which they explored on their own and loved! We did a little late night drive through downtown Grapevine, and I ran into one of the stores with the older kids to choose some gifts. That would be a fun place to visit again when we have more time. It was decorated really cute for Christmas, and crowds of people walked down the streets to all the stores which were open late at night.
The next morning Steven took the boys to the indoor pool at the hotel while I slept in and we all took turns at the breakfast buffet and got ready for church. We attended a parish in the Ordinariate in Arlington called St. Mary the Virgin. Our bishop-elect was saying the mass and we saw two families who we are friends with and didn't know they attended there!
As we drove off to Weatherford for the family reunion, there was a huge procession of motorcycles that went on for maybe 15 minutes on the other side of the highway! They had that side totally shut down for the motorcycles, which we later found out was some kind of toy drive. I'm sure all the people backed up in Fort Worth thought there was an accident or something. I can't believe they shut the highway down for that. Interesting!
We finally made it to my uncle's house and had a lovely time catching up with and meeting all the extended family.
These three boys had a blast together!
And these three girls had a lot of fun too!
The little ones loved the swings.
We even brought cupcakes so that we could sing to Steven on his actual birthday!
And we had a nice farewell from the front porch as we drove away!
Mary Clare set up her tripod for this wonderful family photo!
We arrived back to the hotel and Steven packed up for an overnight business trip to Oklahoma. I took the three youngest to the pool.
And the next morning we awoke and walked over to the mall again. This time we were going to meet one of my dearest friends from childhood and her three kids! Steven Joseph was having a hard time waiting to go into Legoland and decided to scale this sign! I had already ordered him to climb down, which he was doing in this photo.
After considering a lot of options, we ended up at Legoland, which wouldn't have been our first choice as moms flying solo with all these young kids. But due to the fact that I didn't have a car to use and the boys were set on Legoland, we ended up there after all. The kids had a great time and we did get to visit as we herded children!
These next two photos are fuzzy but document a very interesting laser ride. It got shut down because we had moved screaming Katie next to me. They do not allow any movement in the middle of rides and even required the babies to have their own seats! It wasn't the best way to start our visit there, but we moved on...
The Ninjago area was a hit, although part of it was closed. I think the boys most enjoyed the area where they made their own Lego cars and raced them on different tracks. I didn't get many photos due to chasing children all morning.
The morning whizzed by, and I was sad we didn't have more time to visit with our friends. But the hotel was calling and demanding we get our luggage out of the room. So we said our goodbyes and snapped a few more photos.
Mary Clare and little Katherine
The whole crew
The whole crew with the good camera but not good posing
Me, Melissa, and our two Katherines!!!
We rushed back to the hotel, just as Steven arrived, so we loaded up and got back on the road around 3:30. The kids slept for a lot of the drive, and we made it home around 9, after stopping for a long dinner. We had a really fun trip, seeing both family and friends, and we hope to go again soon!