Monday, March 17, 2014

We're goin' to the big D and I mean Dallas

Wow!! What a great Trip...

Dallas, Texas
  About 8:00 pm Anna called wanting to know if we had everything ready for our trip to Dallas. With me being so excited about the upcoming trip that was kind of a silly question, I had everything packed and ready to go. I mean after all I had checked the bags 6 times within a span of 3 hours. Making sure I have clothes, kindles charging and ready to go in the bag, Kids toys, snacks, and the camera charged and packed. And had already worked it into the plan to check the bags one more time before Anna got home. This may seem like a lot of checking for some people. But you try packing with a 2 year old running around pulling random stuff out and putting even more random things in there. For instance I dug a plastic penguin out of the suitcase twice. 

  Anna was supposed to be getting off work around 9:00 pm, I knew I still had about a hour and half before we would be actually leaving. Knowing this I still had plenty of time to get the bags checked one last time and get them by the door and ready to go. Then she drop's the bomb on me, "I'm getting the last of the snacks now and about to head home." It hit me like a gigantic wave of awesomeness. After planning and waiting for 3 weeks it is finally here, time to go! After we got everything loaded and headed to fill up the truck I'm going through the mental check list trying to remember if we had everything. We fill the truck up and hit the interstate headed south. 

 It was a pretty uneventful trip down to Dallas, we sang to songs on the radio. Ryder played the "big truck" game the entire way, where he gets super exited and yell's BIG TRUCK at every semi he sees. Rebel sat in the back and played on her kindle for a little bit, then wanted to join in on the conversation asking if we were there yet, or are we in Texas yet? Even though we had already told her yes we are in Texas, she asked again, we tell her yes again and then she pipe's up with "Texas sure is a big country!" After we finally make it into the outskirt's of Dallas. Now the entire way down there I'm thinking it's going to be smooth sailing through Dallas, no need to worry about traffic since it will be so late when we get in. Then an ominous sign reared it's ugly head....
Not actual sign...
Though that would have
been hilarious.

    The road cones standing sentinel, warning all to stay back from this sign. So that it's message could be delivered to the weary eyed travelers. 

"Various lane closures ahead"

   I'm thinking ok this sucks but we still shouldn't hit too much traffic. Oh boy was I in for a surprise!  We got to I-635 and could see brake lights for miles. Traffic was backed up, we could see the traffic cones weaving from one side of the road to the other. Like a red, white, and gold snake slithering toward downtown. As we came down off the bridge we lost sight of it, and came to a crawl, brake lights shinning brightly in our eyes.

We occupied the majority of this slow crawl pointing out large buildings, cranes, and the trans on the DART Rail. Ryder had to throw in his finds as well, randomly yelling "BIG TRUCK!!" After dodging road cones, going from one side of the interstate to the other three times because of "various lane closure's", and playing Frogger with the rest of the traffic on I-635 we pulled into The Grand Hotel Dallas.

We're Here
Grand Hotel Dallas
 We got parked, luggage unloaded, and into the lobby. I was happy to see that it was nice and clean, and I noticed a little work out room off to the side. It had a weight bench, treadmill, and some other equipment. But we weren't there to get buff and honestly at that time all I wanted to do was get checked in get the kids fed and asleep, because at this point I am one tired daddy.
  All in all our two night stay at The Grand was great, They have a small pool with a sauna set off to the side of the pool a little, the halls and rooms were all clean and well kept. The staff of the hotel was great. Even calling shortly after we got settled to make sure everything was ok with the room we got. I'm sure if it wasn't they would have made sure it was. Security was also on the ball, constantly making rounds in the parking lot and patrolling the hallways The only real problem I had with the hotel was that room service was not on site. It was a offsite catering service, so pretty much calling any pizza hut or other place in town to deliver would be about the same, and probably a little cheaper to boot.

Artist Rendering..
Not actual event.

  Checking in was awesome the room we had reserved on, was not available anymore because the hotel was really busy. So they put us in a suite! And though the hallways looked like something out of Steven Kings The Shining, we were so glad to be there.  The hallways were a little on the dark side for my taste. But the room was great. Our room was on the second floor, had windows that opened, a micro-fridge, and microwave. And for some reason the trashcans and ice bucket had the stamp from the MGM Grand yes the one in Las Vegas, they even had the address on them. I forgot to get a picture sorry.

 There was also a In-n-Out Burger right next to the hotel, which is what we ate for dinner our first night. That's some good stuff right there, Anna had never had it before, after her first bite her eyes lit up and I could tell she was lovin' it. The Galleria was also pretty close. As well as some other restaurants, a gas station, and a little strip mall that had some stores in it all within walking distance.

Saturday morning we decided on breakfast at Denny's and heading to the museum Getting from the hotel to the Museum wasn't too bad straight down hwy-75 (Denny's is on the way to the museum) and a couple other turns we hadn't planned on. Yeah I got us a little turned around... But I was not lost I knew exactly where we were in a relative manner... And we did find it, right where I knew it was.

 The parking down there was great! Not really up near the Museum it was a cluster-f... Well you get the idea, But across the street and under the bridge there was a lot which was practically empty. Even though it cost $7.00 to park it wasn't too far of a walk.

Saturday night we went to the mall in Lewisville, Texas. Walked around in there for a little bit while we waited to have dinner with Grandpa Tim and Grandma Tina.

Insert rant here: Down on the bottom level tucked into a corner is a toy store. The clerk in said store Doesn't seem to know what the words "No it make's too much noise." mean's, he kept trying to show me these cheap knock-off's of big name toys. One after another, each noisier than the last one. I mean seriously though if I tell you no don't shove another frigging toy in my kids hand that is noisier!
   Thank you for your time patience and understanding rant is now over.

Dinner was at El Fenix in Lewisville. The food wasn't all that great in my opinion, I had the Chili Relano, it wasn't too bad but it is most certainly far from the best I have ever had. I was wanting to get one of their beer-rita's a margarita with a beer upturned in it, I was really tempted but I had to drive so no drinking. We got back to the hotel that night and about a hour of being in the room and the kids were out. It had been a long day for everyone all the way around. But what a great one!

Artist Rendition:
We have found no evidence supporting the claim,
of Ihop stuffing people in sardine cans while they wait
to be seated.

Sunday morning brought us the plan of eating at Ihop, so I get on my tablet and plan out the route. Ihop right up the road, about two miles north of the hotel. We get there and they are packed, I'm talking sardines in a can packed! We made a quick decision then we were going back to Denny's. Had a great breakfast there again. Even scored a free order of pancake's because he didn't write down Belgium Waffle instead of pancakes. which I was glad to dispose of for them.

The Aquarium was also not too far from where we had parked when we went to the Museum really just turn around and you can see either of them. It was easier to find on the second go around. After we left the aquarium on Sunday we went and checked out the Galleria Mall, Me and Anna had been before, but the kids hadn't. It seemed to me that it was bigger and had a whole lot more stores... Anna had the same opinion, It still had the indoor ice skating rink and I had read they had a great play area for the kids... Which was not the case, it was a little area tucked into a small area of the mall. but it wasn't just that it was packed with kids, and the parents all sitting off to the side. Three quarter's of them paying more attention to their Ipads and Phones. More worried about what is going on in the little seven inch screen in front of their face than about anything else.

 Perfect example is when we were walking on the third floor I was pushing the stroller, and out of no-where a little boy run's up and start's playing with the stroller and trying to get in. Maybe three years old at the most. Looking around we found his dad leaned up on the rail staring at his smartphone, and his mom was talking on the phone next to him... It never cease's to amaze me how parents can be totally oblivious to their children like that.  we stood there talking to the little boy just to see how long it took for them to realize he was missing. Eventually mom noticed him with us it was well over three minutes, and you may say that's not a long time. But a lot can happen in 3 minutes. Being a parent has taught me that.
"Nananana Batman!"

We had fun dragging the kids around the mall, got some great comments on our Batman shirts we we're all wearing. We even made a impression on the people in the mall's Starbucks. I was also finally able to get Anna try a Caramel Machiato. Years of her busting my balls about drinking them. We are walking down the mall when Anna look's at me and says. " We have been together 13 years and you have let me go without this?!!"

The trip to The Aquarium Sunday and the walking around the mall made for some really quiet kids on the way home. There's a tip for you if you are thinking about taking a trip, wear the kids out and the ride is a lot smoother. We pulled off in Denton and stopped at the Chili's for dinner, Decent place though our server forgot to write down the kids orders. But I do have to admit the manager was on his game, he came over immediately after our waiter left. He apologized and comped the kids meals, he even filled our Soda's up a couple times for us.

 We pulled up to the house about 7:30 pm just in time for the kids to get a bath and get ready for bed. It was a amazing trip and we had a blast! Feel free to keep reading about our adventure's while at the museum and the aquarium.

  Our trip to the Perot Museum:
       Science is the poetry of reality

  Our Trip to the Aquarium:
       One fish two fish red fish SHARK!