Texas Tigers
<a href="http://www.texastigersblog.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i44/kfiegel/blogbutton.jpg" alt="Texas Tigers" width="200" height="200" /></a>

Search This Blog

Blog Archive

Popular Posts

Copright Texas Tigers Blog. Powered by Blogger.

Friday, June 29, 2012

My Sea World and Aquatica tips

If you know me or have been reading here for a while, you probably know by now that we love Sea World. If you didn't, you do now. I will be sad if we move away from here and aren't able to go regularly like we do now. I've had a few blog/twitter friends ask me for some Sea World advice as they were planning trips so I figured I'd tell some of my tips I've learned over the years we've been going. These are what work for best for us when we visit. 
- Go on a weekday - Monday-Thursday if you can. It's much less crowded than a Friday-Sunday making it much more enjoyable! Lines are shorter and less crowded means it's easier to spot and chase after your kids in the play areas. Both good things to make for an enjoyable visit. 

- I always get there 30 minutes to an hour after gates open, it's still early enjoy to enjoy the morning but enjoy time has passed that the lines have died down considerable to get through the gates. Another option that we do often is go in the afternoon, many people who showed up at opening are heading home and there aren't any lines to get into the park. 

- Aquatica opens early so we have been hitting the water park first since many of the shows don't have their first show until an hour or more after the park opens. So far since we've been on weekdays, Aquatica hasn't reach it's capacity by the time we are leaving, but it's a possibility and you'd have to wait to get in until enough people leave so on a crowded day you risk having a wait to get in if you wait until later in the afternoon. If you are in the park already, you can also text 90210 to see if they've reached capacity, before you head over there so you don't walk around there only to find out it's full.  

- With the opening of Aquatica, there is a new pool for the little ones to play in called Slippitty Dippity with 6 slides for the little guys to go down. My kids love this pool. It was slightly nerve wracking for me to keep my eyes on both of them the first time I went even with my husband with me. It was much better after we had been a few times. This last visit I got smart and brought Micah's new puddle jumper (so happy I decided to get it for him.) Aquatica does have life vests for anyone who wants one but a regular life vest does exactly what it's supposed to do and turns Micah onto his back, which he fights and spins around. With the puddle jumper he's got a little more control. Also the small sizes of life vests go quick, especially around the kid pool areas so this way I don't have to search for one. 
- The rides for the bigger slides are going to be shorter in the early hours and also the later evening hours. So we try to hit the water slides first thing, then play in the other pools. Abby is tall enough to go down all the tube rides, but the only one we've convinced her to go down so far is Stingray Falls. Micah might be tall enough for this one by the end of the summer! 
Can you spot Abby and Beau?
- At Sea World you can feed the stingrays, the sea lions and dolphins. The dolphins are by far the most popular to feed so there tends to be a line there and they do occasionally run out of fish until the next feeding time. I've never had a problem getting fish to feed the stingrays or the sea lions though. I do admit I can tell why the dolphins are a favorite as I do enjoy when we feed them. So pick one or feed them all they are all pretty fun! 
Micah did think the stingrays were a little scary when they were getting hungry and came up thinking his fingers were fish. They didn't hurt him at all but it scared him thinking they wanted to "bite" him. I'll admit it does look a little scary in this picture! 
If you feed the sea lions I'm sure you'll see this guy! He's a rescue from off the coast of Oregon. He and several others were eating all the fish and the fishermen weren't too happy about it. So Sea World rescued them and now he's very vocal about wanting all the fish in the sea lion pool. 
My favorite part of the sea lion pool is seeing the nursing babes when they have babies. So sweet to see the animal babies. And to watch them grow up! Over the years I've seen the dolphins, belugas, orcas and sea lions all have itty bitty babes. 
Need to cool down and you aren't near Aquatica? You can always get a good splash from Atlantis. 
Abby's getting brave. Before she would have never wanted to get splashed. Now she loved getting splashed and wants to go down Atlantis next time Beau joins us!
Or if you don't want to go to Aquatica, kids of all sizes can cool off in the Sesame Street Bay of Play. There are lots of nice chairs all around the splash park to take a break in while your kids cool off. (Or you can join them playing and getting wet - which would be my suggestion!) There are also picnic tables if anyone is in need of a snack and a smaller spray park area for the little ones so they aren't run over by the big kids. 

There are lots of rides for the littles in the Bay of Play. The carousel is a big hit for my kids. Abby also really likes the Shamu roller coaster. The lines for these were very short in the early-afternoon while we were there. By this point lots of the crowds are cooling off in the water or in the shade at the shows so there was no wait time at all to get on the carousel. 
- If you are going with small children, definitely bring some snacks! My kids play so hard they work up a huge appetite! You are allowed to bring a small (6 pack sized) cooler with juice boxes (no straws though), reasonable quantities of bottled water and single serving snacks which I usually bring some fruit to go with our popcorn bucket refill. This is nice for those times you know it's too close to meal time to ruin their meal, you aren't near where you want to eat or the lines are really long and they are starving! 

- Plan out what you must see and decide when you want to see those first and look at the map for what's close to what so you aren't walking back and forth across the park all day! Then add in everything else so come the end of the day you aren't disappointed you didn't see something you really wanted to see.

- Don't forget the sunscreen!

- Try and see the night shows - Shamu Rocks and Sea Lions Tonight are at the very top of my favorite shows list! If you have littles, take a break in the afternoon, rest, have dinner and come back for the night shows if you can.

- Most of all have fun!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Son Surf VBS

This week has been VBS (round one) for my Abby and Micah. The theme - the beach. The Church went all out on the decorations and all three wings they used were fully decorated with large wall murals on all the walls to complete the theme. It looked so cute everywhere! This VBS was for the Church's 2-outgoing kinder kids. 
While Abby and Micah were in VBS, Lexie and I helped take care of the VBS teacher's babies. Lots of fun playing with cute babies all morning. I brought in my double stroller and we used a couple other strollers and were able take them on walks around the building to see all the decorations and take a break from the room.
It did wear all of us out though. By the afternoon of day 2 my kids were melting down all afternoon because they were so tired! I got them to bed early and they were mostly refreshed for today. They looked cute in their VBS shirts today. 
After VBS, we dined in the wing that was decorated as if we were under the sea - murals on the wall, paper on the floor for a sand effect and blue cellophane over the ceiling that gave it all a blue cast to the wing. They had a potluck luncheon for all the teachers with brisket from a local bbq place. Very yummy. I was grateful to not have to fix my {slightly overtired} kids lunch when we got home. 
I'm thankful for all the teachers who volunteers to teach my kids this week as they had a lot of fun (as they always do in Bible class at our Church.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Abby: first tooth fairy visit

About 4 weeks ago, the last week of kinder, Abby informed me of her very first wiggly tooth. 
She wiggled it and wiggled it and wiggled it some more and finally she was twisting it with her tongue and it fell out this afternoon. She was so excited and was showing everyone her mouth with the missing tooth! 
Oh course the tooth fairy can't bring any ordinary dollar.... nope not in this house. She brings sparkly fairy dollars. (Thanks pinterest!)
I got to play tooth fairy for the fist time after she feel asleep! 


Monday, June 25, 2012

Lake Conroe - days 3-5

So on day 2 of the vacation the boat broke down and so there was no more boating to be had. We did manage to throughly enjoy the rest of our vacation. *Warning - very picture heavy!*

After a morning of swimming, I stayed with a napping Lexie while the kids went to see about checking out some board games and movies and they came back with another surprise.... night crawlers. Boy were they excited! They got ready to go fishing and Pops got his fishing pole. 
Of course my worm loving kids each fished out a night crawler and were very excited to show them to me when I came outside. 
We went out on the pier and Pops showed them to how fish. I wasn't sure if we would catch anything as the guy the night before wasn't having good luck and there was a rain storm coming in so who knew how much time we would have before it started raining on us. 
 My sweet, worm loving, girl..... 
 The first couple of worms ended up just being fish food as the fish were able to nibble them off but not get caught. Then we had some success! 

 Abby and Micah were more than willing, even fighting over who would be giving Pops the next night crawler. Whenever they could, they tried their hardest to get more worms out to hold while they fished... saying they were just getting the next one ready. Ha! 
They were able to catch another fish before the rain drops started coming down! 
That evening after bath time they got introduced to the game of Candyland. We don't have this board game. At first it seemed like it was going to be a short game with a pass almost al the way to the end for Gigi but then just about everyone kept getting sent back towards the beginning. Ha! 
We spent tons of time doing this each day. At the beginning of the week Micah didn't really want to be anywhere but the stairs. By the end of the week he was swimming around all on his own because he wanted to! (Since then we haven't been to the pool, but in the bath tub he's sticking his whole face in the water!)
On Wednesday, we had another set of bad weather set to come through and we decided to head to the boat show. The kids would have loved to climb into each and every boat there. Aside from a few meltdowns over who got certain fishing lures and such it was a fun time. Lots of pretty boats to want in the future. It would be hard choosing one. (Provided you had the funds for some of the luxury ones!)
The kids looked so cute in their matching outfits I couldn't resist trying to get a group shot.... much easier said than done though. They still looked super cute together even if they wouldn't all look at the camera! (And yes Micah refused to put his shoes on the right feet)

Thursday, we spent the morning swimming (again) an headed home after lunch. It was a wonderful little getaway. Thanks Gigi & Pops! Can't wait until Destin next month!


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Vacation - day 1 & 2

So I ended up taking a unplanned vacation from blogging and then we went on a real vacation where I again did no blogging. But I'm back and ready to play catch up! Aren't you excited? ;) 

We spent Father's day morning with Beau and then left him to rest/work while we took off to see my parents (Gigi and Pops) and brother. It wasn't too far a drive but plenty long enough, especially for the little guy who kept dropping things and couldn't reach them to pick them up again. He also surprised me and didn't fall asleep until the last hour of the trip.. way past when I expected, or wanted him, to sleep. Oh well. 

Abby and Micah were excited to see Gigi and Pops but even more excited to see Uncle Jeremy. I used joke that I'm chopped liver when we are around Gigi but last Sunday, Gigi was joking about sending Jeremy back to his apartment so he wasn't hogging all the kids attention. Lexie, wasn't too sure and was happy to smile at everyone... as long as she was in my arms. 

One of the first things the kids wanted to do was see the boat. This boat brings back many, many memories. We had an identical boat to this one when we lived in Lake Charles while I was growing up. This boat belongs to friends of my parents and we used to go boating together in identical boats, so they were able to borrow it for vacation. 
After a tour of the boat it was back to get swimsuits on and head out on the boat. It wasn't as choppy and busy on the lake as I remembered it when we vacationed here (Lake Conroe) when I was younger. We drove around a little bit then Pops stopped the boat and Abby couldn't figure out why we had stopped in the middle of the lake. We joked that we were going to throw Uncle Jeremy off the boat... and we did. We go the tube all set up and showed Abby and Micah how you could ride on the tube behind the boat. They were intrigued but unsure. Uncle Jeremy was able to convince them to go out with him one at a time and we of course went slowly. After a very short time Abby was all smiles and giggles and holding her thumb up, shouting at Pops to go faster! Micah got to have a turn as well and also enjoyed it. 

The next day we took the boat out again in the morning and headed to the small island in the lake to play in the water. Micah calls this "our own island" and is still very excited about it when he talks about going on the boat and to the island. 
Lexie even briefly, let Pops hold her. Then she wanted mommy back because she was tired and fighting sleep. She liked the boat... as long as it was going fast. The wind and sound of the motor put her in a sleepy trance. When we were stopped, switching out riders on the tube, she was not a huge fan of the boat. 
 While we were out we saw a big paddle boat on the lake as well. Very pretty. 
 Unfortunately after one tube ride for Abby and Gigi, the boat motor decided it didn't want to get in gear anymore and that was the end of boating for the vacation. Luckily we managed to get pretty close to the boat launch before the motor completely wouldn't go in gear. Being out on a boat, especially one exactly like our old boat, makes me really miss it. Fingers crossed maybe Pops will get a new boat one of these days and we'll be able to go back out on the boat in Lake Charles. I think my kids loved it as much as I did when I was a little girl. I'll need a bigger gas budget if he does so that we can make the drive to Lake Charles more often for boating weekends. I only got to go out on the tube one (Lexie only wanted me and the boat died before I got a second chance.) 

That evening we went to a bbq dinner, mini-golfing (no photos of that though because I didn't bring my camera or my phone... whoops) and went out on the pier to see the sunset and the kids were interested in the guy who was fishing out off the pier. I did bring my camera for that and got a couple adorable (of course mommy opinion here) pictures of Miss Lexie girl. 
 She gives the cutest cheesy grin these days. This isn't even as big as it gets either. I just love it! 


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Story time and summer reading

We can't spend all summer outside. It's just too hot and too much sun, especially for little Lexie. That doesn't stop us from finding other fun things to do. One of our regular routines, to take some time out of the sun this summer is story time. Micah and I try to hit story time during the school year but he isn't always in the mood to sit still (busy little guy!) but with Abby by his side he pays much better attention. We have two libraries that are pretty close to us, we've been to the same one so far but we may try the story time at the other one next time to see which we like better. Last time we went to the other one, they have a substitute and she didn't hold Micah's attention.  
 After a couple stories and songs, the librarian has a craft for them to do that relates to the books they read. This week it was cards for father's day after reading a couple books about Dad. Last week it was dinosaur puppets and dinosaur books (right up Micah's alley - he was already wearing a dinosaur shirt.) 
 Abby took her card very seriously and did a great job at writing in her card.
 After story time and our craft, it was their favorite part... picking out books to read. The library offers a summer reading program that we are well on our way to finishing already two weeks into the summer. In addition to the library, HEB, Barnes and Noble and Half-price books offer their own summer reading programs - all of which have rewards (a shirt, book, giftcard) for completing. I have the form for HEB started and need to swing by the other two to pick up their forms or at least print out B&Ns.  
Does your library do a summer reading program? 

An added benefit of checking out new books? A few minutes of peace and quiet at home while they read them or sitting with them and reading to them. 


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Aquatica - round 2

I was beginning to think we'd never get here but finally last week we got our first chance to go to Sea World as a family. This is important because I can't ride or take Abby on all those new fun water slides if I don't have someone to watch Micah and Alexis. So last Thursday, we got our chance. 

This isn't our first Sea World trip but we hadn't gotten our passes yet until that morning so we swung by HEB to pick up the fun cards for Beau, Abby and Micah (oh how nice it was when he was still 2!) You save $10 per card by buying them at HEB and they are hard plastic so much more durable to last the whole season of use. Of course you have to activate them by going online or calling.... which was much more difficult than it needed to be. The webpage was redirecting us to Bush Gardens instead of Sea World, and the phone call center couldn't understand Beau (I was driving.) Thankfully the ticket resolution center at the front gate was very helpful to activate them for us. 

We arrived at the gate an hour after opening which was perfect timing so the crowd to get in was minimal and after getting our cards activated, we were good to go and headed straight for Aquatica. 

My eyes were set on riding Stingray Falls. So I got Beau, Micah and Lexie set up and ready to play then Abby and I took off to wait in line. We had to wait a little bit and I think that made Abby even more nervous about the ride. The guards at the top would splash the tubes down and splash water over at everyone waiting which would have felt better if there hadn't been a breeze so Abby got cold. At the top it was hard to tell if she was more cold (she was wet already) or nervous. 
 We got in and off we went. Abby's face was very apprehensive and nervous around the first curve but it didn't take too long for that to be replaced by a smile. At the bottom we went under the rays and she was all smiles. Beau, Micah and Lexie were waiting for us. Abby got out and immediately wanted Beau to go with her to ride it again. 
While we waited for them to go through the line again, Micah got to play in the little kid pool and had a great time. Lexie played in the shade in the stroller after she woke up from her nap. 
 Then we hit Slippity Dipitty. This is one of my favorite new features that Sea World added in the Lost Lagoon to Aquatica transformation. Abby loved it from the first time she saw it. Micah was apprehensive about it and wouldn't play while Abby and I were in line waiting but once Micah saw Abby on the slides (and Daddy gave him a helpful first push) He didn't want to stop! I wish I could have gotten a picture of him going down the slide but my arms were full of Lexie and I was afraid to bring the camera in the water. 
We finally got the kids out of the water. We didn't even do a third of the things that Aquatica offers since they were having so much fun in the Slippity Dippity pool. There is always next time (love living so close by!)

We ended our day at Sea World with the Azul show because the kids don't think it's a trip to SW without at least one show. We had 3 very tired but very happy little ones by the time we left - signs of a successful day at Sea World... and we weren't even there all day. We had so much fun we went back again today.... I'm sure you'll see those pictures soon (if you haven't already on instagram) 
Look at those squishy cheeks!