Yep, I'm finally getting around to writing about Piper's birthday trip to Dallas this past April. I'm excited to finally be getting to it since my time is so limited now. Why can't there be an extra hour each day where I could just sit down uninterrupted and write? I used to write on slow days at work, that never occurs now that I've changed jobs. And the writing on the weekends during nap time? Well guess who stopped napping again? Yep, my little angel has decided that naps are once again not for her. Of all the traits I wish she hadn't inherited, not sleeping is at the top of the list. At least she's easier to get to bed at night now, right? Well that can be a crap-shoot, too. I'm hoping when she starts school in September that her body clock will reset itself and those naps on the weekend, or any day for that matter, will once again blissfully return. I shouldn't be surprised though, she was never a napper and I think we simply got into a lucky streak for about a month or so. Oh well, still wouldn't trade her in for anything!
Anyways, let me get back to the telling of this adventure. First off, there is a very specific reason I chose not to throw her a big birthday party this year and take her on an adventure instead. Through my work, I met a wonderful woman who lives in England whom I began speaking with via the Internet and emails when we started working with her community. We became Facebook friends along the way, and we spoke of having kids and how awesome they are amongst a myriad of other things while getting to know one another. I'm not 100% sure how we ventured into the topic of birthdays, but one day she told me a story about how they did birthdays in her family. Every year she would ask her daughter if she wanted presents or a memory. If her daughter chose a memory, then an adventure awaited her. I found this an endearing way to celebrate a birthday, so I adopted it this year.
Being an only child, Piper has way too much stuff as it is. So this year, I decided to take her on an adventure to make memories instead of having friends and relatives over for a party where she would just collect more "stuff." Since Piper was just turning 2, I decided not to go too overboard and keep it close to home, so Dallas was my first thought. It's a drive-able distance, especially important for the young potty trained child. There are lots of options for outings, and plus I love the place. It's just a great, quick getaway location. As an added bonus, one of Piper's half siblings lives in the area and they were going to get to meet for the first time! I know that may sound strange to some, but Piper knows she has a number of half siblings. Us mommies who used the same sperm donor are all members of a very private social network where we keep in touch and watch our little half siblings grow. So far, Piper is the oldest to join the group, but only by a couple of weeks. Parker, her half brother she met in Dallas, is the one who is two weeks younger and they are so much alike it's ridiculous! They could definitely pass for twins. Right now there are 11 children in the group including Piper. Due to privacy, I won't say more about the group, but it's amazing how we have all come together to share our lives and our children's lives. It's even more amazing that all the children have the same eyes, no matter what the mommies look like! We are an unconventional bunch, but I couldn't ask for a better extended family for Piper. So yes, I was really excited for Piper to finally meet one of her half siblings in person and for me to meet one of the mommies from the group, too!
The trip consisted of a three night hotel stay, an outing to the Dallas World Aquarium one day, and an outing to The Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens the following day, where we met up with Parker and his mommy. We also went out to eat for her birthday, but she definitely had more fun everywhere else but the fancy dinner...she just couldn't find anything she liked to eat, imagine that! By the way, I should mention that I did not venture this alone. My parents came along, too. Piper is a handful, so I definitely wanted to have them there to not only share in the fun, but also to help me keep up with my little ball of energy! Like the ocean, you cannot turn your back on Piper!
Since a picture says a thousand words, I'm going to share with you all the best pics from the trip that capture our adventure in all its glorified fun and silliness. Besides pics form the outings, there will be pics (and videos) from the hotel stay, too. I swear this girl loves a hotel room...they definitely bring out her silly side. From recycling herself (you'll see) to watching the traffic go by to making us sing happy birthday 100 times to calling the Hogs...the hotel stay was just as much fun as all other parts of the trip. So, without further adieu, I present to you Piper's 2nd birthday adventure!!!
First stop, the hotel: (taken throughout the entire trip)
Yes, that's the recycle bin!
She's a environmentally conscious!
And she likes to watch cars as they go by! These next set of pics are of her on the balcony off our room. We were supposed to have a downtown view, but they screwed it up. It worked out because Piper was fascinated with all the traffic. She even watched it out the windows inside the room. What can I say, she lives with woods backing up to her house, so traffic is really quite novel at this point.
Love that sly little look!
Watching the cars go by while eating apples.
She truly was fascinated!
This next round of pics and videos are from Piper's birthday surprise. We didn't have a fancy cake or anything, just a simple chocolate fudge sundae brownie from room service. The hotel was even nice enough to provide candles and matches, thank goodness. Funny thing is that Piper insisted we sing Happy Birthday to her what felt like 1000 times so she could re-blow out her candles. Funnier is the fact she wouldn't eat her brownie or the ice cream. She didn't have much of an appetite the entire trip, but not eating her sweets definitely came as a surprise.
First the initial video and first candle blow out!
The rest of the hotel pics are just silly ones. Some are semi-nudie pics taken while Piper ran around naked after taking a bath. the others are quite random. There are also two videos that you must watch!
I'll go ahead and throw a couple pics I took while out for her birthday dinner. She was tired and not in the best of moods, so I only got a few pics and none of her darling dress in full view, boo!
About the only she would eat at dinner was french fries, which she id obsessed with!
Okay, enough of the hotel pics...moving right along! Next stop, Dallas World Aquarium. Unfortunately I do not have a lot of pics from the aquarium. It was a bit crowded for picture taking, but we did manage to get a few.
Notice the penguin in the pic..."Dallas" is her new fav lovey!
Love the effects the glass has on the sharks!
Looking forlorn but actually having a blast!
Playing with Dallas, waiting for us to leave.
Saved this for last because I love the two-headed shark!
I feel I should elaborate on the penguin at this point, as he has become quite the special lovey to Piper. While walking through the aquarium you have to walk through the gift shop to get to another section (genius marketing!) Of course I told Piper she could pick something out. Well, she didn't look around much at all but instead took one look at "Dallas," snatched him up, and took him right to the cash register! He hasn't left her side since. Wherever she goes, Dallas is right there holding her hand or being cuddled. And yes, he does sleep in the bed with us, too.
Like I said, I didn't snap many pics at the aquarium. But hold on to your hats because I did take a ton of pics at the children's garden where Piper got to meet Parker. They are in some pics together, but they weren't easy to keep in the same spot. Parker ran one way and Piper would run the other. They were so much alike, both with more energy than you can imagine, but both with agendas heading in opposite directions. Cannot wait to get another opportunity to hang out with both Parker and his mom. Now on to the pics!
Parker and Piper finally meet!
Are they not the cutest kids ever?!?! And practically identical! (notice Dallas came along for the ride)
First stop in the gardens...learning about food and how it is grown...
Love this pics of them!
May not be able to read yet, but spinning stuff is always fun!
Up next, the real fun part of the vegetable area, the small playground with the big slide! I should mention that this was Piper's first time on a big slide, and she loved it, of course. And she also took turns with Parker, not bad for a child who isn't used to sharing anything!
Get ready for some more cuteness...two peas in a pod style!
This is my fav of the set!
It was impossible to get them both to sit down and be still at the same time to get a pic of them together posing inside the pod, but hey, you take what you can when toddlers are around...they definitely control the shots...pun intended!
The next area of the gardens we headed to was the toddler play area. Here there was a smaller slide, sand pit, riding toys, things to climb on, a small maze, and a great water play area with turtle eggs you could crawl inside right next to it. Yep, here come some more adorable pics!
She loved the giant mushrooms!
Piper was mad the garden patrol wouldn't let her sit on the ant. I was to when other kids were sitting all over it later.
Very cool sculpture with my mom in the background.
Piper liked playing in the sand...she so needs to go to the beach soon!
I was shocked she actually rode on the ladybug instead of pushing it around, running at 100 miles per hour!
Now for the mini slide...she had as much fun on this one as she did the big green slide!
Taking turns with Parker again.
Love that expression!
I think she just spotted a turtle egg!
That's right, time for water ponds and turtle eggs!
Cutest turtle ever!
And most chilled!
Yes, there was a giant turtle inside one of the eggs.
Parker makes a cute turtle, too!
Wonder what she's thinking here..
Always fun to get put your bare feet in running water!
Wanting Parker to come back and play!
Too cute for words!
Me helping water spray everywhere!
Piper and I decided to go an a stroll through the lily pads!
Me being me!
Believe me, I liked the lily pads as much as Piper did!
Okay, that's about all for the toddler garden. Next we ventured down to the giant tree where you could walk, run, jump, and climb on a net high above the ground. I'm pretty impressed with how brave Piper was. She wasn't in the least bit phased by how high off the ground she was and that there was just the ropes supporting her.
Having a blast stomping around!
Checking out how high in the air she is!
At least I got a couple of pics of her looking at the camera!
Next we took the elevator down the inside of the giant tree and went under the waterfall. It was a nice resting spot for a second.
Parker and his awesome mom!
Had to drag Piper away from the waterfall!
And now on to my favorite pics...Piper and me in the tornado simulator! Take a good look and see if you can find anything but pure joy and silliness! Yes, Dallas joined in the fun.
Love this shot! We weren't having any fun at all, were we?
Laughing at Nana and Papa laughing at us.
At the end of the day we stopped to eat at a little cafe on the premises. It didn't take long before Piper passed out in her stroller with Dallas in her lap. By this time Parker had done the same and he and his mommy had left. It was a shame we didn't get to spend more time together, but it was definitely worth the little bit of time we did have. This last picture of Piper pretty much sums up the end of our trip. We left for home the following morning, exhausted from all the adventurous fun we had and our heads full of memories to think and dream about. I cannot wait to see where next year takes us. I do know that when she turns 4 we're heading to Disney World! I've already started saving for that trip. But next year is still undecided. Any suggestions?
Thanks to all my fans for sticking around between posts,patiently waiting until the next one comes out. I do know the next post, which is already in the works, is a product review with a giveaway, woohoo! Definitely something to keep an eye out for. For now, enjoy your weekends and maybe drop us a quick vote before you go!