Tuesday, July 27, 2010

One Fish, Two Fish...

Tuesday night Ed took us to eat at Oasis, a restaurant right on the lake. One of the reasons he wanted us to go to this particular spot was so Eli would get a chance to feed the ducks and the fish after we ate. They have a small channel where tons of HUGE UGLY carp gather to catch all the food that tourists, who willing spend money buying the fishing food conveniently located nearby, drop to them. The ducks are there as well, but the fish beat them out in number.

We were seated right on the back patio and it was so refreshing to be on the water and to experience the breeze coming off the lake. It made me wish for a house on the water. Imagine coming home from a stressful day at work and then going to sit on your back porch in your swing and looking out at a beautiful area of water. Your kids are down in the yard playing, your hubby is rubbing your feet (SOOOO not happening, considering my hubby HATES feet!, and you're drinking a glass of freshly made sweet tea. Yeah, I can already feel the stress melting away just imagining it! I'll put it on my bucket list :)

Anyway, back to reality, Eli loved being so close to the water. We had gotten to the restaurant early enough that it wasn't crowded at all, so Eli was able to walk around as much he wanted to while we waited for our food. The boy loves being outside and had so much fun looking for all the ducks that were in the water.

The only problem with being outside is Eli quickly loses interest in food. We ordered chicken strips and french fries for him, but he chose to eat just some of the french fries. He made it appear we were torturing him as we were trying to get him to eat just one bite of a chicken strip, so all the guests started staring at our table. Great. E came to the rescue and he and Eli went to explore while Josh and I finished our meals.

After we ate and tried unsuccessfully one more time to get Eli to eat just a little more, we left to go feed the ducks and fish. We didn't have any coins for the food machines, but there was coincidentally a little store right on the dock that sold bread. Ed bought a loaf of bread and we all had lots of fun feeding the fish and the ducks. Josh and I felt bad for the ducks, so we tried our hardest to toss the bread to them. Eli didn't care about who was getting the food, he just loved dropping it in the water. You'll notice there wasn't a gate or fence, just concrete, a drop off, and then deep water. I worried the entire time we were there that he was going to fall in. Thankfully, he didn't and we just had a wonderful time feeding all the fish and ducks. Thanks, Ed, for another great meal and experience!

On the way home, Eli was starting to get a little cranky because he was tired so I gave him my camera and we started looking at pictures. I turned to get something and my little photo genius snapped this one of his cup of lemonade. I actually really love this picture. We may have a budding photographer on our hands :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Eli's First Trip to a Water Park

Wednesday Josh and I took Eli to NRH20 Family Water Park. Ed lived very close to the water park so it seemed like the perfect thing to do with Eli that morning. On the way to the water park, we told him where we were going and as soon as he spotted the huge water slides, he kept saying "Siide! Siide!" He was very ready to go have fun in the water!

The water park was great! It was very family friendly, clean, and well laid out.

Eli didn't waste any time! I barely had time to put sunscreen on him (for a second time) before he started splashing around in the water.

This was the older kids portion of the water park. Doesn't it look AWESOME? I really wanted Eli to go in this part, but it was just a little bit too big for him. Plus, water was just pouring down EVERYWHERE and Eli still can't stand to have water in his face, so I knew he wouldn't enjoy it. Next year though, we're there!

We headed over to the baby/toddler area where Eli found lots to do.

He loved playing with this alligator. He was so intrigued by the water coming out of his nose.

This area was very nice for Eli. The water came to about where his knees are so he was able to walk around without any trouble. He loved turning the wheels, sliding down the slides, jumping off the sides of the platforms, and walking around in the water.

We left the kiddie area to go explore the rest of the park. We made our way to the wave pool and it made me miss the ocean. Eli loved feeling the waves crash against him.

After the wave pool, it was time to head back to our lounge chairs for a snack. Water and sunshine can wear a little one out fast! After some fruit snacks, juice, and a few crackers, Eli was ready for more water!

We went to the kiddie slides and had lots of fun there. Since Eli is under 48 inches, I was able to slide with him down the big slide. He wasn't sure about it at first, but after the second trip down he kept saying, "More siide!" When you watch the videos below, you'll see how much he doesn't like water in his face. He lifted his head every time when we got to the bottom of the slide so the water wouldn't splash in his face...so funny!

We ate a small lunch and then headed back to the kiddie area for a little more play time before going back to Ed's house. We stayed at the water park for 2 1/2 hours and that was plenty for our little man. He had the time of his life and we LOVED watching him splash, play, and have lots of fun. We can't wait to go back! We loaded up our car and didn't even make it 1/4 mile down the road before Eli was out! We made it to the house and Mommy decided to join Eli in his nap. Water parks can be exhausting for adults as well :)

Chef Point Cafe

After Eli woke up from his nap, Ed said he was going to take us to a very special place for dinner. We got in the car and started driving. Imagine my surprise when we pulled up to a Conoco gas station and Ed announced that we were at the restaurant. You would never know it from the outside looking in, but Chef Point Cafe is a five star restaurant located inside the gas station. It was even featured on the Food Network's show, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.

Everything on the menu looked and sounded so yummy. I knew that Eli wouldn't eat all of his food, so I ordered the lobster bisque because I knew I'd end up helping Eli finish his meal.

Josh ordered the blackened chicken stuffed with pepper jack cheese and crab meat served over pasta.

Ed ordered the blackened pork chop stuffed with pepper jack cheese and crab meat and served over pasta.

Fine dining in a gas station :)

Eli seemed to enjoy his pizza. He didn't eat all of it, but loved the part he did eat. Pizza is now our go to food for him. He LOVES it! (He gets it honestly from his Mama...pizza is my all time favorite food.)

I packed Eli a bag full of toys, books, Play-Doh (Thanks for that tip, Audra!), but Eli just wanted the camera so he could look at pictures and then take some pictures. Here's one last photo of our neighbors at the restaurant courtesy of Mr. Eli Wilson. He might make a career of this one day!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Adventures in Wonderland

Our first full day with "E" we decided to go to Cracker Barrel for some breakfast before starting our busy day. We found out that the little peg game is a WONDERFUL way to entertain an almost 2 year old. In fact, we were going to buy one before we left because of how well it kept his attention, but we forgot.

After eating, Josh and Eli decided to let their food rest a minute while they rocked in the rocking chairs and looked for "hairpwanes" (airplanes) and since we were so close to the airport there was always a "hairpwane" in the sky.

Before we'd left E's house, I'd looked on the internet to see if there were any special events happening in his area that would be interesting for Eli. One thing caught my attention. The Gaylord Texan was having a Summerfest event called the Wonderland Adventure. A group of artists had created scenes from Alice in Wonderland using various media-sand, metal, balloons, etc. We'd been to the Gaylord Texan this past winter when we went there for ICE, so I knew that it would probably be great. Plus, it was completely FREE :)

They had a gigantic chess set there that you could play with, but no one in our group knew how to play. We're checkers people.

Eli loved watching the 'twain" but didn't understand why he couldn't go touch it. He kept saying "Get in" and putting his legs over the side of the gate to climb in. In his defense, he saw an older adult posing for a picture right next to the train, so Eli wanted to go in as well. That's why you should always follow the directions because you never know when little eyes are watching what you're doing!

The only way to get Eli away from the train was to show him this huge fountain of "wa-wa". We stopped for a family picture. I love the second one. Look at Eli's face, he was in the middle of saying "Cheese!" real loud when E took the picture.

There was lots of water in the Gaylord Texan, so Eli and Daddy enjoyed looking at all the streams and waterfalls. Once again, Eli kept wanting to get in so we had to keep a watchful eye on him because he would be the child to jump in.

Towards the middle of the exhibit, Eli was so over looking at statues of things he didn't know anything about, so we had to make it worth his while to stay with us. We found some fish to look at in a little pond and that worked for about five minutes.

Then we found some steps at another place and going up and down the steps entertained him for about three minutes. We attempted to get a card picture of both of us at the same time, but Eli wasn't having it, so it's just me :)

The longhorn intrigued him for about two minutes. He and Daddy named all the parts of the cow and practiced mooing like the cow. Eli wanted to get in and pet the cow. I guess we need a petting zoo so my child can finally touch something.

We found this incredibly cool looking tree and sat under it for a few minutes to rest and then discovered that it wasn't real at all. It was a replica that cost $250,000. WOW!

Our final stop and probably Eli's favorite of all was getting to see the big water fountain. We stayed there for the longest time watching the water go up and down. Eli loved it. It was very relaxing for us as well. Josh said that if he'd had a recliner he could have gone right to sleep. We finished looking at the rest of the Wonderland exhibit and then made our way back to E's house. We'd had a great time in Wonderland! On a serious note, if you are in the area of the Gaylord Texan, they always have wonderful activities and exhibits there, a lot of them free, so check it out. I always love going to this hotel when we're in town visiting. I'm hoping we get to go to ICE again this year!

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