Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July Family Vacation: Days 11 to 14, Hattiesburg, MS to Home

Still blogging about our fabulous vacation that ended far too long ago! Our second Saturday of vacation we packed up from Chelsea, AL and headed to Hattiesburg, MS to visit the Casey's. I met Matt my freshman year of college. My fellow history major is now a real life tenure-track history professor at the University of Southern Mississippi. Stephanie and Nicholas were both studio art majors at UT. Funny Nicholas and I both knew Matt and Stephanie in college, but we didn't meet each other until after we both graduated!
  It was a about a four hour drive, so we arrived mid-afternoon. Lil' D was asleep when we arrived, but quickly woke up to meet new friends and see Lil' Miss Casey's awesome room!
We enjoyed snacks and a little time in the pool.
We read books and ate yummy food.
We played with trains and brushed Matt's hair.
On Sunday, we went to barrel racing at the Civic Center. It was like Disneyland for Lil' D. There were racing horses, and tractors that plowed the dirt after every five riders.
We enjoyed some time at the park before heading home for lunch and naps. 
After naps, we all headed to the University of Southern Mississippi to walk around campus and see Matt's office while Stephanie made an awesome dinner for us!
Cute little kids enjoying snacks in Professor Casey's office.
Then we walked around campus. The 2 year olds enjoyed running around and expending energy. Of course, it started raining, but was a light drizzle so we keep walking.
There were lots of fun toys at the Casey house. Lil' D loved riding on this car. Here, Lil' D announced, "We are riding together!"
On Monday, Matt had to go to work, so we headed to the park by the zoo.
Smelling gardenias
Unfortunately, it was Monday, so the zoo was closed! We spent some time playing at the park before heading to the Depot for lunch. Delicious! Across the street from the Depot was the train station! Another favorite place for Lil' D.
Cute little kids did not want to take a nap, so they watched a movie together. Then we went for a walk and played outside to burn off energy. Then the cute little kids painted rocks while Stephanie made another delicious dinner. After kid bedtime, the adults enjoyed some game time!
It was fabulous hanging with old college friends, but vacations have to end at some point. We left Hattiesburg bright and early Tuesday morning for a very long day of driving. We opted not to drive through New Orleans when we realized it would add an extra hour to our drive. Fortunately for Nicholas, our random "Dana needs a coffee NOW!" found us at a Cafe Du Monde somewhere in LA. So everyone was able to enjoy beignets before leaving Louisiana.
After being an amazing car rider for two weeks, Lil' D was all finished with being in the car. We made many stops which turned our day into a 13 hour car adventure. We stopped at the Texas welcome center and found a nice boardwalk over swamp land that gave everyone a chance to stretch their legs.
We hit rush hour traffic in Houston (due to poor pit stop planning) as well as heavy storms. We stopped for dinner in Bastrop at our favorite burger joint in hopes that Lil' D would be asleep by the time we got home.
The storm we left in Houston caught up to us in Bastrop! Lil' D did in fact fall asleep before we got home, and awoke in his crib the next morning.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

July Family Vacation: Days 9 to 11, Alabama

After spending three glorious days at the beach, we enjoyed spending a few more days in Alabama...with less rain so we could enjoy our outdoor activities! On Thursday we visited Aunt Sharon at UAB. Lil' D got to meet a few of her co-workers. She put him to work measuring distances. Then we had a lovely lunch at a cafe run by the culinary school.
Afterwards, we went to Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve to get in a little Alabama hiking.
And no trip to Alabama is complete without plenty of golf cart driving/riding.
Lil' D's favorite part of the trip, however, was finally getting to drive the tractor!
Nicholas even learned how to drive the tractor. Aunt Sharon showed him how to mow. 
While Mommy and Lil' D drove the golf cart around.
On Friday, Nicholas had some alone time to draw and think. Lil' D and I helped Aunt Judy run some errands. Here Lil' D is loading up the recycling in the back of the car.
Then we stopped at the playground by the recycling drop off.
There was a little creek, so the shoes came off to walk through the water. Unfortunately, the rocks/concrete were too slippery, and they fell down. So our errand running/adventures ended there.
Aunt Sharon was able to leave work early on Friday, so there was plenty of time for adventures at the Dome Home.
Driving around the family land
Exploring the new trails on the Back 40. Lil' D did not end up with a nap on Friday, so he fell asleep on the way to dinner!
Enjoying Alabama BBQ.
Saturday morning we left Alabama for Hattiesburg, MS. Lil' D enjoyed one last golf cart adventure with the Alabama Aunts. Then we said our goodbyes.