Saturday, August 07, 2010

Galveston Birthday Trip

"Should we stay or should we go?"
Well, that was the question of the day last month. We planned to go to Galveston for a few days to celebrate Gianna's 2nd birthday and, as luck would have it, Hurricane Alex decided to hit Southern Texas right at the same time. Even though the storm presented no severe threat to the island, we knew our big plans for "beaching it" would, no doubt, be compromised.

In an effort to prepare Gianna for our mini-excursion, we talked about going on a big boat with our car (the ferry), building sandcastles on the beach, putting our toes in the sand, standing in the oceans (the Gulf).

My dad was thoughtful enough had called ahead to see if the ferry was running (it was) so on our way we went. We got closer to Galveston and realized that even though the ferry was running, the highway was closed due to high water. Fantastic. We had to turn around and go the long way adding another hour to the two hour trip. Thankfully we had already had our 15 hour Kansas City trip a few weeks prior which made this 3 hour mini-trip pale in comparison.
The Hotel
We knew we wanted to visit Moody Gardens, so we actually ended up staying at the hotel there...thinking it would be smart to right where all the action was.  Smart? Yes. Cheap? No. Worth it? Jury's still out.
The was our view.  Rain. Gray. Gloom.
Thankfully our little viewer was entertained by the rain.  Ahhh. Always a silver lining.

And we tried out our new toddler travel bed...since the Pack-n-Play was an absolute joke our last trip as Gianna REFUSED to go near it.  I vowed to begin Pack-N-Play boot camp when we returned from K.C. but decided that using precious nap time to "train" her to sleep in it was a ridiculous waste of time and energy.  I was going to try hard to avoid sleeping on the floor this go around.  And Gianna sleeping in our bed doesn't work for ANY of us.  So, I had to do a little investigating of some possibilities.

I found The Shrunks Toddler Travel bed which is basically like a little blow up raft with a blow up mattress that fits inside it.  It comes with a foot pump which takes less than five minutes to inflate.  Gianna LOVES it and thinks it is  much more fun as a trampoline than as a bed, but she did really well after she got used to it.
Moody Gardens
 All the exhibits we couldn't wait to experience with her -- were filled with the wonder and awe but were over in 15 minutes each. I guess we had high expectations for our new two year old. 
Rainforest Pyramind.  Zip.
And have I mentioned how much I appreciate that little monkey leash harness?
We bought a two day package that included almost everything.  Unfortunately, the weather prohibited us from enjoying many of them.  They told us we had to choose our IMAX movie at that time.  We saw one called Across the Sea (or something like that) and figured 45 minutes of ocean views would be perfect for
our little two year old.
 And we thought the 3D experience would be awesome.
Well, guess what?  To our surprise, the very first movie our child sees is NOT about the ocean. Apparently the movie we thought was Across the Sea is really titled The Sea Across Time is about the journey of a Russian boy trying who stows away on a ship 'across the sea' to make a new live in America.  Dear heavens....FORTY FIVE minutes of an immigration story.  We felt like stellar parents.  Apart from watching Gianna try to grab at all the 3D images, we were bored out of our minds and felt a little duped. Gathering from the expressions of the other movie goers, we were not alone.

We had initally seen the advertisements for Happy Feet in 4D, but thought a two hour movie might be too much for Gianna to handle.  Yet another misunderstanding.  Happy Feet in 4D is only 12 minutes long. TWELVE MINUTES! And we sat through FORTY FIVE minutes of torture a very mature story for a toddler.
So on we went to see Happy Feet.  I didn't really understand the concept of 4D until then.  I just thought it was another visual dimmension - which makes little sense when I think about it.  Nope. We got blasts of cold air, had our chairs shaken and moved, bubbles floating about and even a spray of water in our faces.  Precious.  Gianna was giddy with excitement.  So fun to watch.
And there was this Frog Mascott deal that Gianna was obsessed with (I'm telling you, the girl is going to stroke out when we eventually go to Disney.) She kept telling him she was two and wanted to touch him and hug him.  He was a decent enough sport, but then he walked off with her stroller for kicks and giggles, I suppose. 
Gianna was confused...
...and we thought his sense of humor needed some work.
The Rainforest Cafe
I'm so happy we decided to go here for Gianna's birthday dinner.
  I know some little ones are freaked out by the animatronics, fiery plates, storm simulations and loud noises, but I was optimistic that her reactions would be positive.  Gianna didn't disappoint.
Her excitement began outside with the tree frog...
and her delight continued with the gorilla...
...and pretty much stopped inside with the snake!
Her enthusiasm returned once we passed the snake, though.
She would wave and yell at all the animals across the room saying, "Hi Ele-pant!" (or whatever animal it was) "I two!!!" (sticking up her two index fingers just in case they might understand that better.)
Instead of cake, they brought her an ice-cream sundae and had the restaurant sing to her while they had her flap her "wings" like a butterfly.  She was somewhere between stunned and tickled.
Okay, maybe just stunned.
"I two." she told them.
She was lovin' the candle as much as the ice cream.

Even though it wasn't exactly as we planned it (is it ever?) it was a perfect celebration for our birthday girl.


  1. Maria! YOU never disappoint! I've laughed to tears! (you prob ably didn't mean for me to) the movie (whoops!) then the frog stealing the stroller did me in! I'm so glad she enjoyed her special trip!

  2. Looks like y'all had a wonderful and fun trip! I think I might get one of those beds for Camden. On our last hotel trip, to Chattanooga, Camden learned to climb out of the Pack N Play and there was no sleeping! It was terrible! Ever since we've been back home, he prefers to nap in his toddler bed instead of the pack n play. Isn't 2 fun?! Ha!


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