So it has taken me over a month to sit down and write this post. It shouldn’t have taken me this long but sadly due to my MS after I returned from Orlando my MS decided to make itself noticed and I have just started feeling able to sit down and write a post. I’m lucky with my MS as I don’t have as many issues as other MS suffers do but when it does show it’s ugly head it takes me a while to get back to being human.
Anyway, I am back from Orlando and had a wonderful time. We came, we saw, we cast spells and had a wonderful time. I went with my nephew Josh and we flew out to Orlando on February 6 and landed in Orlando around 4:30. We live in Oklahoma so we flew out of Tulsa. That is not an easy airport to fly out of for those curious. We flew American which flew us to Dallas then to Orlando. The interesting thing about the flight was that we were told there would be a 51 minute layover in Dallas. Turns out..not true at all. We landed a few minutes early actually. We grabbed our bags and went looking for our gate. The gate of course was in a completely different section of the airport and required us to take the Skylink, which is a speed train that shoots you to the terminal you need to go to (I was reminded of the train from The Hunger Games). We found our gate and our plane was boarding! Where the heck was the layover? I wasn’t terribly sad but gee I wouldn’t have minded 10 minutes. So off to Orlando we go..it was a 2 hr flight and I had time to watch a movie from the many selections American offers. I was actually glad I was able to watch their movie and not use my devices..save the battery right?
We touched down in Orlando to a lovely sunny day. After deboarding the plane and realizing we were actually here we started looking for the Universal Travel desk where we had to pick up our Travel Pack that was full of all our tickets for the park. At one point I remember wishing I had wheels on my shoes because we walked forever to get to the Travel Desk. Once we finally located the desk it was empty (thankfully) and we meet a very helpful Universal employee named Cheryl (great name) who gave us so much information about the park I couldn’t wait to get started. We waited for our shuttle that would take us to our hotel and shortly we were off to start our Unviersal adventure.
I had family from Texas that was also visiting Universal at the same time so once we arrived at the hotel and planned on meeting up with them. They were already in the park riding rides so we were going to meet up with them later. Josh and I were ready for a bit of a rest and we wanted to checkout the features of our room. We were staying at Universal’s Aventura Resort; this is an on-site hotel. The hotel was very clean, has a huge selection of bars and restraurants. The rooms come with iPads that control the entire room..from the lights to the air to the tv. It was really cool to play with the lights and use the iPad to control the TV. We didn’t watch much TV but did turn it on a few times to play with it. Not to mention you can use the iPad to get online and surf the web as needed even order food to your room if desired. I was very impressed with the hotel.
It was getting close to dinner time so Josh and I left the hotel and headed to City Walk. We were told we could take the Water Taxi’s to City Walk. We had to talk to a nearby hotel to board the taxi but it was worth it. They became our favorite way to get back and forth from City Walk to our hotel. The hotel supplies a bus about every 15 minutes but we really enjoyed the taxi. The sun was setting the weather was perfect. A person couldn’t ask for a better setting to take a water taxi ride in.
Our park tickets didn’t start until the 7th so we could only get into City Walk which is where we decided to go for dinner. There was so much to chose from we settled on eating at Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co. It is actually one of our favorite places to eat when we are traveling so we knew the food would be good and who doesn’t love Bubba Gump? My Aunt and cousin found us for dinner and joined us. We had a great waiter, food and an enjoyable time. After dinner we were all ready to head back to the hotel and get ready for our first full day at the park.
If you haven’t read the story of Guy the Beagle you are missing out on a sweet story of how a rescue dog went from shelter, to Hollywood to Buckingham Palace.
Guy the Beagle was lost in the woods of Kentucky until he was found and placed in a local shelter which was a kill shelter. The shelter was in Montgomery County in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky. The shelter reached out to another shelter A Dog’s Dream Rescue in the hopes Guy could be adopted out to a forever home.
Lucky for Guy his picture was found on Petfinder by Meghan Markle who contacted the rescue to inquire about the sweet beagle she had found online. A Dog’s Dream Rescue emailed Meghan an adoption application and returned to the rescue within 10 minutes. The rescue had never had such a quick response before. Meghan knew this was the dog for her and that he would fit in with her lifestyle perfectly. Once Meghan and Guy met each other there was no doubt the two were meant to be together.
It wasn’t until a bit later that things really started to turn around for Guy. Meghan started dating someone called Harry who happened to live in London. As things turned out this someone was no other than Prince Harry of England and he had proposed to Meghan and now they would be moving to England and going to live a whole new lifestyle.
Meghan has come together with authors Camille March, Michael Brummell and illustrator EG Keller and put together a wonderful story of His Royal Dogness, Guy The Beagle . The story takes the reader on a ride of Guy being rescued from Kentucky to living with Meghan in Hollywood and then moving to London and learning to be Royal. This cute story is one we all can relate to as a fish out of water story and understanding not fitting in. But it just takes one person to make us feel like we belong. For Guy who wasn’t sure if he would fit in with The Queen’s corgi’s was made to feel right at home by Queen Elizabeth herself. I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to share it with my niece. This is a story that will never get old.
Day 4 of our trip has us leaving Padre Island and heading to visit my relatives in San Antonio. The last stop before leaving was at Sea Turtle Inc.. We were all quite excited to learn more about one of our favorite animals, sea turtles.
We arrived in time to make the first talk on sea turtles this is called “Turtle Talks” and what we has humans can do to keep them safe in the ocean. It is truly amazing to learn that a simple thing as a straw can do so much damage to turtles and other sea animals. One of the things we quickly learned being on the island was that straws close to the ocean were paper straws and other restaurants didn’t even give straws as they are not friendly to the ocean. During “Turtle Talks” it was explained how the turtles in care at Sea Turtle Inc had come into their care, why they had to be cared for and if they were able to be released back into the ocean. The goal is to rescue the turtle and return them back to the ocean sadly that is not always possible. There are several big tanks that house those turtles that are not able to return to the ocean due to injuries that will not allow them to survive on their own
After the presentation we headed over to where the sea rescued sea turtles are housed. Many of these turtles are happy to be at Sea Turtle Inc they get wonderful care from the care takers at Sea Turtle Inc.
There is more to see inside the facility on how to care for turtles and other sea life. In a separate out building there were more turtles ; some local turtles, loggerhead turtles and many others all that have been rescued and in rehab to hopefully get better and be returned to the ocean. It is a very educational place to stop and learn for both kids and adults.
After leaving Sea Turtle Inc. we were ready to say good-bye to the island we had quickly fallen in love with and travel onto San Antonio. The drive to San Antonio seemed much faster than the drive to South Padre and thankfully Laura slept from the time we passed a little town called Peggy into San Antonio. I love San Antonio not just because my Aunt and Uncle live there I have come to love all the city has to offer. We didn’t have a lot of plans while in San Antonio but as this was Laura’s first time there I wanted to show her some of the highlights of the city. Once we made it to my Aunt and Uncle’s we were happy to be out of the car and ready to just sit and do nothing, which is not easy to do when you have a 9 year old who has been sleeping for the past 4 hours. Thankfully there are pugs at my aunt and uncle’s to keep her busy. We were all ready to see our beds that night and sleep.
Over the next few days we visited downtown San Antonio, we took a tour through The Alamo and a ride down The Riverwalk. San Antonio is full of so much history it always gives me chills when I visit to think of all the brave men that fought in this city so many years ago. The Riverwalk is equally amazing as many of the apartments on The Riverwalk were once large homes, churches even banks that over time have been converted into living quarters. San Antonio takes great pride in preserving what they have around them.
We didn’t get to make all the stops we had on our list mostly due to time and being a bit worn out and ready to take things easy. I managed to get in a local theater show with my aunt. One of her neighbor’s has a daughter that is in the local theater company and was in the production of Mamma Mia. My aunt bought me a ticket for my birthday to go with her and her friends. We went to dinner before the show at Down On Grayson located in The Pearl District. The food was wonderful and enjoyed by our entire group. After dinner we made our way to the play and enjoyed ourselves immensely.
The rest of our weekend was spent primarily around the house baking cookies, my aunt made Laura a dress for her to wear for the upcoming school year and she helped Josh make a warm and cozy flannel blanket, he can’t wait for the weather to get colder so he can use it. My dad and a friend of his joined us over the weekend. My uncle was giving Dad discarded wood from a deck he had just replaced. I get part of the wood to make a screen porch at my house..Yay! The end of our visit came much too quickly, good-byes were said and we were back on the road again with wonderful memories of South Padre Island and San Antonio. We are already thinking of when we can go back again and explore more places in both places.
After we ate lunch and shopped for touristy things we made our way back to our condo and got ready for our day at the beach. I want to say how sorry I am that we were not able to stay longer at Niki’s Place. This was a wonderful location and the condo was truly a great place to stay. We were only able to catch the two days open at a great deal and we took them. I am already trying to find time to make my way back their for a girl’s retreat 🙂
Niki’s Place had everything you could think of for the beach, a cart to carry all of your stuff down to the beach, pails and shovels for those sand castle designers there were even beach towels for anyone who did not bring one with them. I was quite impressed with what I discovered. We chose not to take advantage of all the goodies available. We had brought our own towels so we were going to tackle the beach as if this was our lake at home, towels on the ground and sand in your face.
Laura and I hit the water first she was so excited to dive in nothing short of a shark was going to hold her back. Josh stayed on the shore keeping an eye on our things while the great sea adventurer dove to find sea shells. When we returned to shore it was with news that the lady beside us had offered us an umbrella and chair set as her friends had called it a day and they were already paid for and someone should use them she said. So we found ourselves moving to lounge chairs and under a lovely umbrella for the rest of the day. What a way to spend your day it was truly wonderful. It was Josh’s turn to take Laura out and they went further into the water than I did (he’s much taller than I am waves would have knocked me down). I moved our stuff to the umbrella and set up for the day..ahh
One of the amazing things about the ocean is how deceptive it can be. Standing on the shore looking at the water it looks so deep then you notice there are people walking about several hundred feet in front of you. As Josh and Laura learned the further they walked there was a sand bar that you could stand on and still be far enough away from the shore yet not so deep in the water. Laura did learn that the further out you go the strong the waves get and how easy it is to be swept away. Luckily Josh was with her the entire time to keep her safe. She had a great time and loved every minute of it.
We stayed at the beach until the sun started going down and the beach staff began collecting the chairs and umbrellas. We were sad to see the day end, wanted to have another day and for time to stand still but we had one wonderful day and know that at some point we will return to this lovely place.
We headed back to our condo with smiles on our faces and sand all over us. I swear we took back half the beach in just our shoes, blankets and what clothing it could attach itself to. LOL! Thank goodness Laura had a second pair of shoes with her because the pink shoes she took to the beach was done. I tossed those things in a paper bag and waited until I could find a power hose to clean them off (I found them at her house a few days ago still on the back porch with sand still on them, I brushed my hand over the sand just to remember our time at SPI). We showered and got cleaned up for dinner. We ate at a pizza place we had passed on your way to The Original Dolphin Watch, the reviews were good so we went to check it out. Russo’s New York Pizzeria was the name of the place and it was great. Laura and I had their Stromboli with 3 toppings of our choice. Josh had their Bianca pizza which Laura ended up having a few slices of despite the fresh arugula on top. The restaurant had a lovely atmosphere, very laid back it had the feel of an Italian restaurant. I know when we go back it will be one of our places to revisit. I’m sorry for not taking any pictures of our food. I’m still new to posting pics and I always forget to pull out my phone and snap photos. I’ll get better I promise. If you visit their website the photos online do not lie the food looks that yummy.
Before we headed into Russo’s Josh stopped into Island Style surf shop. He saw they had OluKai shoes and wanted to check them out. If you haven’t tried these shoes I highly recommend them. They are worth every penny you pay for them and they last years. He has been wanting a new pair and hadn’t found what he has been looking for in shops here at home. He hit the jackpot at Island Style they had exactly what he was looking for and at a price he was happy with. He bought new shoes and we ate a great dinner. It was a great way to end our last night on the island.
Wednesday was our last day in Padre. The plan for the day was a 10 o’clock reservation with The Original Dolphin Watch boat Tour. We had decided the night before to wake up early and make our way to the beach and watch the sunrise.
Josh woke me up right around 6 am, I woke up Laura. We all pretty much went in whatever clothes we could find. We did not want to waste time and miss the sunrise. We made our way to the beach and found a great spot to sit and watch the sun come up above the ocean. As always with the ocean the tide was out which had changed the look of the beach. What was underwater the evening before was now several feet back and people were doing their morning walks and runs in the soft wet sand. I loved sitting on the embankment watching people walking their dogs, walking in groups talking to each other and just enjoying the beautiful morning as the sun slowing began to rise above the water. It was amazing sitting their watching the sun come up over the water. It was something magical that we don’t see where I’m from.
Don’t get me wrong we have our own lovely sunrises in Oklahoma, but seeing the sun rise above the water is completely different. The sand was so soft and felt wonderful between our toes. Laura enjoyed chasing the waves and searching for sea shells. I had a great time writing in the sand and watching the waves erase the writing. As the sun rose higher the water began to rise and reach closer to where we were sitting. We knew then it was time to say good-bye for now and return in the afternoon.
There is a part of you that secretly hopes The Flying Dutchman shoots out of the water. Watching the sun rise up over the water is truly magical and calming. I could have stayed on that beach all day and been completely happy.
We had to sadly leave the beach and get ready for our Dolphin Tour. We made our way back to our condo, showered and found the location of The Original Dolphin Watch. I chose this tour over the others because the price was great and there was an educational piece about 20 minutes into the tour. I liked that and knew Laura would enjoy it plus it was on a big boat and not on a small one. Since this was her first trip to the ocean I felt this would make her feel safe. The Dolphin Watch was located on the west side of the island where other boat tours were. Once we were on the water nets were lowered to drag along the bottom of the ocean so marine life could be picked up and brought on board for the visitors to see. We were able to see a star fish and a blue crab. The catch wasn’t as big as they usually catch but it was enough to impress the children on board and to educate them on the lives of ocean life. Once the sea life was returned to the ocean we headed off to find dolphins. It was a nice and breezy ride the boat had an upper and lower deck. We chose to sit on the lower deck in the shade so we wouldn’t get wind burnt or sun burnt. I notorious for getting sun burnt everywhere I go so we decided to play it safe. The captain took us out where the Rio Grande dumps into the Gulf of Mexico. The water is warmer here and a great feeding place for dolphins and pelicans. We were able to see several dolphins feeding in this area. After several minutes watching them feed and play around the captain directed us back to the dock. It was a wonderful way to finish our morning.
After our boat ride we went looking for lunch. We decided on a restaurant we had read about on Trip Advisor Cap N Roy’s it was a combination of Mexican and seafood. We had a great lunch, plenty of seafood in a great restaurant full of memorabilia of the owner and island residents fishing excursions. When we finished lunch we headed to a souvenir shop and picked up a few things to take back home then headed to our condo to get ready for the beach.
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States. Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of the month of May for our country to remember those who have given their lives for our country. In some areas of the country, this day is known as Decoration Day, using the old term for the day you as a family went to the cemetery where your loved one was buried and decorate their grave. In cemeteries all over American flags can be seen flying proudly beside the fallen soldier that served their country. Not everyone died in service many lived until an old age but gave their lives to the military service with pride. We as a family celebrate Memorial Day by having family gatherings or reunions. Some celebrate by visiting the gravesite where their loved one was laid to rest and doing something on that day to honor that person. Memorial Day for me reminds me of my relatives that served in World War I and II, Korea, Vietnam and the Middle East Conflicts. I think of those I have in the service now and know one day I will be doing the same for them and how proud I will be of them. I am reminded of as a child the care my grandmothers and mother went to for Memorial Day and how those of us today see decorating graves as a bother. To honor all of their memories I will continue to hold up the traditions they have set before me. I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Memorial Day Weekend.
So I have been unemployed for 4 months now. Since I started working in my 20’s I have never been without a job. This is a completely new path for me. I have been looking at so many telecommute jobs and hope there is one out there with my name on it. Until then I have made a plan to focus everything I have on my blogging. I am even taking a bit of my retirement money out so I can invest money into a few trips and courses over the next year. This is a huge step for me and I am really excited to be on the journey. I am beyond scared but have to believe this is the right path for me to take.
Being unemployed is way different than being on vacation for a long time. When you have time off from work you know you are going back. Being unemployed you have no idea when/if you will be working again. I have tried to set myself a routine each day and have honestly failed terribly. I think it will get better now that the weather has thankfully gotten warmer. The heat wakes me up and I’m ready to get moving. I actually like having a full day to myself. I can go run errands any time of the day I want to. I need to learn the senior schedule so I’m not running into them in the grocery. I have more time to devote to my favorite past time..lounging in my pool. I am really excited about this. I am hoping to figure out how to blog from the pool without dropping my phone in the water. 🙂
Regardless of weather, I return back to the office scene, find a job working from home or just blog full time. I have never felt better since leaving in January. I will say that work stress is the worst stress to have. It’s no wonder the majority of the working class are run down. Stress can kill.