I promised my good friend Erin I would post every Sunday until the end of the year, so what better way to start than with our trip to see her and her cute family! I was really nervous to fly alone with the kids and be away from TJ for a whole week, but I worried needlessly. The kids were awesome and we had such a fabulous time. I'd do it again in a heartbeat!
We flew out early in the morning, but the kids having their own seats and their own kindles really helped them stay still and calm on the flight. I also brought a stash of suckers, fruit snacks, granola bars, the whole deal. We were prepared! The only issue was the lack of internet on our flight - the kindle isn't really set up very well for use without wifi. So the kids got bored after a little while, but they still did alright in the end.
Once we landed, I had to ask for help with the carseats and four bags I had brought along, but people were more than willing and I was so grateful. People of Dallas, you have my respect and love! We got upgraded to the SUV for free (score) so once we were all buckled in and ready to go, we were off to San Antonio. I didn't realize it was so far to drive, but it was totally fine because the kids slept most of the way there! They were exhausted from our flight, and I don't blame them. I was too.
This McDonald's had such a fun play area castle thing, so we had to stop and grab some food along the way. I'm so glad McDonald's exists, especially on trips! It's such a reliable place to take a pit stop, go potty, and get some food I know the kids will eat and like. Call me a white-trash mom all you want!
Once we got to San Antonio, we saw MiLinh and Tyler! It was sooo much fun to catch up with them. I've known MiLinh for over eight years, and she's been such a special person in my life. I don't think we've ever gone more than a few days without texting or chatting! She's so special to everyone she meets, really. She's sweet and considerate and kind, she loves my boys and they love her, and Tyler is just as sweet. They make a really cute couple and I'm so glad we're such good friends! Totally worth the drive. :) Plus they took us out to get the most sensational fish tacos on the planet. Man, Texas sure knows how to do Mexican food. Come on, Utah.
Then it was off to Temple to see Erin and Jonny. I've known these guys for what feels like forever! Way back in our Belmont days. Erin served with me in the Relief Society presidency and was one of my very best friends in the world, and Jonny served as the Elder's Quorum president while I was Relief Society president. All of us were friends back in the Belmont ward, right along with TJ, and it's just so funny that we are all still friends with little kids now. Friends forever! (Just like the Saved by the Bell song!)
We ate a delicious dinner of shredded pork tacos as soon as I arrived. I ate like a king the whole time I was there, since Jonny and Erin are fabulous cooks, and it was just heavenly to not have to cook for myself or the kids for a whole week. I was so spoiled by these guys! I know they went above and beyond to make us all comfortable, and with their fun personalities and delicious food, I can definitely say it was one of the best trips I've ever taken. I still can't believe all the work they must have gone to, especially when they're so busy.
We stayed up late in the night chatting (which we did every night I was there - so much to catch up on and so many years to make up for!) and then got up the next day ready to head to Chuck-E-Cheese! The kids had never been and had a blast, needless to say. Pizza and games? Yes, please!
Calvin climbed all the way up here and didn't want to get back down, so he cried until Erin went up there and convinced him to go down the slide. Haha! Erin taught school for years and years before she had kids, and she's an absolutely fabulous teacher which means she's just magical with kids. So sweet to my little guys and knew just how to talk to them or convince them to cooperate, something that is definitely not easy with my stubborn boys. Love her for that.
That night, after another delicious meal and once the kids were in bed, Erin came downstairs in her Harry Potter robes and announced we'd be having a trivia contest. This took place mostly between me and Jonny, since Erin's not nearly as nerdy as we are. I must say, I thought I knew absolutely everything about my favorite books of all time, but Jonny was a really tough competitor. He's also a doctor and super smart, so that makes me feel slightly better about losing. The questions were really, really hard and really specific, which made it both challenging and super fun. After 200 questions over two nights, I only lost by three. I'd say that's a pretty close call. Jonny, you have my respect. But also, I hate you. :)
On Sunday, Erin planned a fun birthday party for Calvin after church that involved games and presents and cupcakes, the whole nine yards. It was so thoughtful and so fun! The kids had a blast and Calvin felt so special. Again, these guys knew how to make us feel absolutely loved and spoiled. Couldn't have asked for more! We love you guys!
Cupcakes and Legos! What little boy could ask for more??
These four formed such a cute bond over the few days I was there. They just played together the whole time, no fighting, no hitting, just sweetly played with toys while Erin and I talked. Heaven! It probably has more to do with her sweet-tempered boys than with my own little guys, but still. I'm so grateful they had so much fun. From the moment they woke up to the moment they went to sleep, they played. Cuties.
We all piled into Erin's car the next day to head to Magnolia Market in Waco, as made famous by Chip and Joanna Gaines! We also drove by their house and fangirled a little bit. I just love them so much. Can Fixer-Upper come do my house please?? We had a great time checking out the products in the market and eating delicious bakery goods.
Nom nom nom nom! A giant chocolate chip cookie and a ham, bacon, chive, and cheddar biscuit. Oh, and I got two cupcakes... just absolutely delicious. I told myself I was going to share with the kids, but I ended up eating them all. Oops...
After that, we grabbed some food for the kids (McDonald's of course) and then headed to In 'N Out for us grown-ups, obviously. Then to the train park next to the train station for the kids to play their hearts out.
Can you tell it was hot outside? Texas is HOT HOT HOT. Humid-hot, so like hot times infinity. I was perpetually sweating any time we were outside, but I'm naturally a kind of sweaty person anyway. Gross! Sorry, Teeje.
Poor Calvin got stung by a wasp while we were at the park! He recovered pretty quickly, but this was his hardest day yet. I think all the excitement and lack of his usual sleep was getting to him. But we put them to bed early, grabbed some dinner at BJ's, and chatted the night away again while watching Cinderella (the live-action one). All our nights in just chatting reminded me so much of Belmont, when I would just ask Erin to come over at all times of the day or night. It was so fun to have that again! We talked about everything and anything, and I just can't articulate enough with words how wonderful it was to have my dear friend back. And then, just as I was getting used to it, it was over.
We had one last pit stop at Sips to get a soda and cookie before heading back to the airport. I don't do well with goodbyes, so I'm glad Erin had to rush off to get Ethan from preschool so I didn't have enough time to get emotional. Baahhhhh I miss my friend! Come back, Erin!
Hooray for play areas at Dallas Love Field! The trip back was easy peasy. I bought wifi for the kids this time, so it was smooth sailing all the way back to Salt Lake.
Calvin insisted on wearing his Batman glasses at the airport and while handing his ticket in to the agent. The agent looked at the ticket, then looked at Calvin in his Batman gear, and said, "I'm sorry, sir, this ticket says Calvin, not Batman." Calvin got a really concerned look on his face, then pulled up his glasses and said insistently, "Oh! No! I'm Calvin!" His serious little expression and the earnestness with which he said it made everyone in line and nearby laugh. So cute. I wish I caught it on video, it would've gone viral. :)
Since coming back, I've been so bummed that Erin and her sweet family don't live nearer. It was just the best time! I'm so glad I got to see my dear friend, though. We had so much fun and I honestly didn't want to leave. It probably has something to do with the way they spoiled me and my kids the entire time. :) Erin, we're definitely coming back soon! You're going to regret being so good to us when we show up at your door every other month. Thank you, thank you, thank you for hosting us and making us feel so at-home. We love you guys and can't wait to see you again soon!