Saturday, August 10, 2013

Family Vacation to Austin

This year for the first time ever, our family vacation did not entail visiting family. We decided to go to Austin, or more specifically, Bastrop which is 15 miles outside of the capital. We were nervous to travel with Della as she likes her routine and her bed and her couch and her potty and, well, you get the picture. The drive went well and we were hoping this was a good Della omen.
 

 We stayed at Lost Pines Resort and it was by far the nicest hotel we have ever visited. This was Archer's first hotel experience and clearly all future hotels will be a major let down.




The first thing sis did was lay on the bed showing that our offering was acceptable to her. Again, we hoped it was another good omen. 
After asking some local kids working at the resort for BBQ recommendations we ended up at "Fitties." It was literally a shack on the side of the freeway. The only place to eat your meal was outside on some benches. It was so hot that I rolled up my pants because my ankles were sweating. The owner charmed my kids by giving them free chips (it doesn't take much). He then freaked them out with his warning to not pet the "bi-polar" cat. As soon as we sat down the scary beast climbed out from a tangle of stinging nettle, hissed at us, and then retreated back into it's lair.

The food was amazing. Probably the best BBQ I've had since we moved to Texas. We ordered sausage and brisket (we told Archer it was steak) and they were smoked to perfection. The potato salad was sweet and the cole slaw tangy (and I don't even like cole slaw). For dessert we had peach cobbler and it's hands down the best I've ever had. Ever.


 Then we went to bed. Della slept for 3 non-consecutive hours. Longest night of my life. By the time the sun came up I was close to tears and ready to drive her home myself. Chad talked me down and we developed a strategy.
 
Since little sis is the (super adorable) dictator of our family, we have to plan everything around her. A lot of people have asked us "Were you able to relax on your vacation?" Chad and I always shrug our shoulders and say "Sort of." We will never have a vacation where we can relax on a beach while the kids build sand castles or do their own thing. It just isn't possible with Della since she would be wandering around, eating other people's food, getting lost, drowning, etc. Relaxing for us means taking care of Della somewhere other than our house. We felt that an all-encompassing resort would be our best option. There were lots of activities to choose from and when Della decided she was over said activity (translation: she's screaming and kicking), our room was just a few steps away.


The highlight of our stay was the lazy river, water slide, and pools. We would go down to the pool area, find some lounge chairs under a giant oak tree, and set up shop. Archer was old enough to wander around to the different pools by himself. Chad and I spent our time together alternating between Della's chosen activities which was an 8 hour cycle of 20 minutes in the water and 20 minutes watching the iPad while eating junk food. Chad and I were able to actually spend time together. It was nice to be reminded that we are people outside of Della's care takers.



Archer is 9 1/2 which puts him in this strange limbo of "not quite old enough" and "too old for."

Pony ride = too old for.
  
Giant 40-foot clmbing wall = not quite old enough.
 


Zip-line = freaking out and refusing to go down the first time. Then finally mustering up the courage to let go the second time. Then screaming YOLO the third time.

video

 The hotel offers s'mores every night because who wouldn't want to sit in front of a giant fire when it's 8PM and 95 degrees outside?

 



Della seems to be posing for someone else's picture...

The second night went better and we got a little more sleep. The next day as we were checking out Della got to take a ride on a luggage trolly. By far the best part of her vacation.