Thursday, November 14, 2013

a belated honeymoon & much needed vacation {update}

Hi y'all! With me being away from blogging for so long there are so many things to update you all on. One of them being our vacation this year!

When Joey and I got married we didn't go on a honeymoon because #1) We got married way too quickly and didn't have time to plan/save up for a honeymoon which meant #2) We were too poor to go anywhere, #3) We got married on December 23rd so we didn't go anywhere because we had to be back for Christmas. We've been saying for years we should go somewhere, but lack of vacation time for me, and money for us meant we just kept putting it off, and putting it off. Last year we made a decision that we were going to do it. Since we had been together, Joey and I had never been anywhere together that didn't involved going to see family, work, or traveling with children. We were going to start saving little by little, and even if we couldn't go anywhere super fancy, we were going to go somewhere by ourselves for our vacation/belated honeymoon. 

After discussing various options, talking to lots of people, and some last minute changes, we decided to drive down to San Antonio for a night and spend the evening on the River Walk, wake up the next day and drive down to Port Aransas and spend a few nights there, then drive back up to Austin for one night before driving back home. It was a great plan because we got to see lots of Texas, the stops broke up our driving times a little, and we were getting to go to the beach (what I really wanted). A sweet lady from church offered long ago to watch our two older kids while we went on our trip. The kids love her so I knew they would be perfectly fine. Luke stayed with Joey's mom so it all worked out great. 

{ Day 1 }

The picture I took as we left.  

Our first night we stayed in San Antonio at a hotel near the River Walk. We checked in, changed clothes, then went out for a fun night out on the town. We ate at the Republic of Texas restaurant. It was pretty delicious and wasn't too expensive. It's a bar & grill so if you go there with kids just know that there is alcohol stuff everywhere. And with that, there will be drunk/drinking people everywhere. It didn't bother us to much since we were alone, but there were several rowdy tables around us that I probably wouldn't have appreciated so much if I had my parrot of a 2 year old with me. If you know what I mean.... ;) And at night it turns into a night club, so be aware of that. We didn't stay out that long, haha, but we definitely had some amazing steaks there. 


San Antonio, like much of Texas, where if you can put a star or cowboy on it, you do it. 



It was blazing hot walking around so we didn't do much but go directly to the restaurant. But along the way we saw lots of cool architecture and old buildings, which we both love. I'd love to go back to San Antonio sometime when it isn't so unbearably hot. 




I have to say... I was a little disappointed with the River Walk. I guess I thought it would be... bigger? better? I don't know. Having lived in Oklahoma City for years, and having worked in Bricktown, I loved being in Bricktown and walking along the Bricktown canal. The River Walk is basically the same thing, only there are more restaurants, boutiques and people. It was SOOO crowded when we were there. But still, I'd like to go back and see more... just not on a Saturday night. 

{ Day 2 }

Sunday morning we woke up, and headed out of San Antonio with the beach on our minds! However, before we left, we got to drive by the AlamoDome and the Alamo itself. I went to the Alamo as a little girl, but I definitely don't remember it being right in the middle of the city. Then again, being from Oklahoma, I'm not too brushed up on my Texas history so what do I know? lol. All in all, I say San Antonio was a pretty good stop and one day we'll go back with kids and take them to Sea World, the Alamo and all that other educational/fun stuff. 

We drove and drove and drove and eventually drove through Corpus Christi until... we made it to the ocean!! We were SOOOO excited! We spotted a Joe's Crab Shack out on a pier and decided that would be the perfect place for lunch. Joey had never had crab or lobster nor had he ever been to the ocean, so we sat outside on the deck to eat and really took in the sights, smells, and sounds of the coast. It was awesome!

Side note: Joey decided crab is amazing, but next time he'll just take it in crab cakes. It was too much work to get it out of its shell. ;) lol

Our view from lunch at Joe's.


We also found an old pirate ship! We almost ran away to be pirates but decided I would not make a good wench, so we decided to keep on with our vacation. 

From there we drove along the coast from Corpus Christi to Padre. It was a really awesome drive because we got to see lots of amazing houses on the beach, and got to take in lots of sights even though the drive wasn't too long. Very fun!

Then we arrived at our final destination, Port Aransas. We got to the hotel about 30 minutes too early so we went to a beach shop to buy souvenirs to take home to the kids, and some body boards for us to use. We checked in to the hotel and immediately hit the beach! It was lots of fun. Joey had no idea it would be so salty. haha!

We played in the water until we were tired and hungry, and then we went back to the hotel to clean up for dinner. 

 { Day 3 }

Monday morning we woke up and I checked the weather. It said it would be windy on Tuesday and Wednesday so I told Joey if he wanted to go parasailing we'd need to go that day. It's a good thing too, because once we arrived at the parasailing place, people were coming in like crazy trying to go and the business was already booked for the day. 


Just being out on the boat was totally awesome! Although, we definitely should have applied sunscreen since we were out on the boat from about 11:30am - 1pm... but more on that later. 

So for those of you who don't know how parasailing works, let me explain. They put you in a life vest and harness while you're on the boat. When it's your turn you go to the back of the boat and they hook your harness to the parachute via that big bar that we're hanging from. Then, you just sit down on the boat with your legs out in front of you and they start letting out the wench and up you go. 


And I do mean UP you go... way, way, way up. 


But it's really not scary at all. You are sitting like you would sit in a swing. It's so smooth we wore our sunglasses the whole time and one girl even took her phone with her. It's really smooth, and easy. You're really high up, but you don't really feel that. It's very freeing and it's awesome to see everything from so high up. You really don't get that view any other way. 

Then, they wench you back in and when you get to the boat you just stand straight up. You hold on to the bar while they unhook you and you go sit down and the guy will come by and remove your harness and vest. Easy peasy. Seriously, if you ever get a chance to go parasailing, go do it! Totally worth the money!

After parasailing we got a snow cone, browsed some shops and then headed to the beach. We spent a few hours in the water and me laying out on the beach, all with out sunscreen. We finally were hot, tired, and getting hungry so we decided we would head back to the hotel to cool off, shower, and get ready for dinner that night. 

And that's when we realized we'd made a HUGE mistake by not putting on sunscreen. 

HUGE. MISTAKE.
"The flesh... it BURNS!!!"

I've been a fair-skinned red head my entire life. Yes, I can tan in a tanning bed and in the sun, but I have to do so slowly. Why I thought I had tanned enough to spend an entire day out on/in/by the water and not have to wear sunscreen I have no idea. Total brain fart on my part. And I paid for it. Oh... I paid for it dearly. We were miserable. Joey was burnt too, it wasn't just me, but we were like radioactive at this point. 

But, we still showered and dressed for dinner because we had a double date with one of my best online friends, Alicia and her husband Chad. Alicia and I have known each other for years and have talked online and texted, but had never met in person or even talked on the phone. Her and Chad live about 30 minutes from Port A, so they drove down to meet us for dinner. I really didn't know what to expect, but you know how you meet people sometimes and it just clicks. We all just clicked. Seriously, the waitress came back 3 or 4 times just trying to get our order because we were so engulfed in conversation we couldn't stop to look at the menus. It was a wonderful time and I'm so glad we got the chance to meet the lovely couple. :) 


{ Day 4 }

Since we both looked like this...


... we decided that Tuesday should be a day for indoor activities. So we drove back up to Corpus Christi to go to the USS Lexington and the Texas State Aquarium. This time we didn't drive up the coast, we took a ferry and drove up on the east side of Corpus. Still cool!

Our first ferry ride. It lasted about 1 minute. VERY short ferry ride. But it was still cool!

I loved the Texas State Aquarium! There was a time when I was a little girl that I wanted to be a marine biologist, so this type of thing is right up my alley. I loved so much of it, but I would say these are my top three: 

The sea turtle pools. 

The blacklit jelly fish tanks.
( Now I want one in my room. )

And the dolphin show. Dolphins are one of my favorite animals, and after the show we went down and this guy was "dribbling" a basketball. He was swimming upside down and would throw the basketball down (his up) and as the ball would start floating back up to the surface, he would catch it and throw it down (his up) again. So fun to watch!

Waiting for the dolphin show... Joey had never seen a dolphin before. 

After the Texas State Aquarium, we grabbed a bite to eat a delicious little joint on the pier, then went to the USS Lexington to tour it. The Lexington does self-guided tours. I thought it would be lame to not have a tour guide, but it really wasn't. Everything is mapped out perfectly and you can go at your own pace. Very cool. 


 Obviously, you can tell from my pictures that I'm pretty burnt. But let me tell you, every second in the sun, was painful. It felt like my skin would start boiling if I stayed in the sun too long. So while on the flight deck of the USS Lexington, I would literally run from plane shadow to plane shadow trying to stay out of the sun as much as possible. So painful!! I was very excited about the indoor part of the tour. ;) 




But even with all the scurrying and pain, it was still a fun day. We only got to do two of the self-guided tours on the USS Lexington because we had a reservation for a dolphin/sunset cruise that night! So we left Corpus and drove back down to Port Aransas. 


We waited for a while, then we boarded the New Kingfisher and off we went! It was a "guided" tour of sorts as our cruise had a lady over the loud speaker who told us a bit about different things we saw along the way. We stayed in the shipping channel because that's where so many dolphins are, but it was awesome. It took a while to figure out how to spot them, but once you knew what to look for, it was pretty easy to spot them and know where they were coming up next. 


Dolphins in the wild! Too cool!!


The cruise ended at this lighthouse at sunset. It was pretty awesome. Then we turned around and went back. 

{ Day 5 }

We decided that since our body boards were broken, and we were too sunburned to swim in the ocean or pool, we might as well start the trek back home by way of Austin. We stopped outside of Austin at the Salt Lick which is an amazing BBQ place. 




Mmmm... I'm getting hungry just looking at that! It was absolutely delicious!

We left the Salt Lick and drove through Austin. Joey wanted to drive by the stadium but it was too crowded and we couldn't get to it. So we drove on through Austin, on up to Round Rock. We went to a movie and dinner that night and it was nice to have a "date" on our vacation. And I was so thankful for a place with air conditioning and darkness. The sunburn was still pretty painful. 

{ Day 6 }

My nose is peeling and I'm still sunburned, but we are heading home!

On Thursday we decided to head on home. As much fun as the vacation was, we were ready to see our boys, sleep in our own bed, and eat home-cooked food. We left Round Rock and headed towards home. There was a lady from church in the hospital who had had a stroke, so we debated on stopping on the way home to see her, or just going on home. We finally decided that we would go on home and get the boys and if Joey wanted to go back to the hospital he could. Little did we know we would soon be at the same hospital...

About 2 hours from home we were driving along, listening to music, looking at the scenery and other motorists, just a regular road trip. We were on a divided highway with two lanes going one direction and two lanes going the opposite direction with a big median between. We were in the left hand lane passing a semi that was in the right lane. We were both looking at the old corvette on the trailer of the semi when we came over the top of a small hill. I looked up and right in front of us going very slow was a oil tanker truck. Joey had the cruise set on 75mph (the speed limit for the highway) and although he hit his brakes, there wasn't enough time.  I screamed Joey's name and we hit. The air bags deployed, Joey was screaming, he guided the car to the median and we came to a stop, I was in pain everywhere. My hands, my abdomen, everything hurt. The powder from the air bags smelled terrible and made it difficult to breathe. The OnStar lady come on in our car and said there was an accident and asked if anyone was hurt. When we said yes, she called emergency services. Joey was already out of the car trying to check on me, people were there immediately, then the first responders, then the ambulance. The put me on a stretcher to take me out of the car. I could feel my legs and move my head, but they weren't taking any chances. We were loaded into the ambulance and they took us to the same hospital that our friend from church was at. They did xrays and an MRI and nothing was broken or anything, so we got to come home. 

We were both in a lot of pain, but very lucky to be alive. Joey had hurt wrists. I had a hurt left wrist, right hand, left shoulder, both legs, burns across my chest, a bruised sternum, and cuts and burns on my legs. I had to have help doing anything. Sitting up, laying down, going to the bathroom, getting dressed, everything was painful. You don't realize how much you do until you can't do it. 




Joey's parents came down to be with us and help take care of us. After several days, the other two boys came home too. Recovery was kind of slow, but we made it. When I had a pity party about all of the pain I was in, I was reminded by a friend that each pain was a reminder that I was alive and my boys still had their momma. So true. 

I started back to work immediately since it was one of the busiest times of the year for me, and actually, working provided some therapy for my hand, so I think that helped. I didn't miss a day of work, but I did log some very interesting hours that first week since I worked when I could, and slept when I couldn't. 

I still have pain in my right hand and left shoulder and I probably always will. But considering what could have happened... I'll take the pain. 


Our car was totaled. The impact actually peeled the car back from its frame. 

The tow truck guy said if the tanker we hit had been going any slower, or if we had been going any faster, they would have been pulling us out from under the tanker. 


When the insurance guy called, he asked if we were okay. He said normally when he sees cars like this, it's not a good outcome. 



 He also said that the airbags in this car are only available in Chevrolets and those are what saved our lives. As you can see, the entire front of the car is smashed, but the cab was fine. 


We had a bag of apples in the car with us. This is what they looked like. Smashed, split in two, chunks missing... and these were apples! Could have been us... 


The physical recovery was hard. The mental and emotional recovery was even harder. I was so mad at Joey at first, even though it wasn't really his fault. I was mad at him for wrecking our car, for hurting me, and mostly, for ruining our vacation. It took some time and a lot of talking about it before I was able to get over that part. We had to talk a lot about and relive the fun parts of the vacation. I had to tell myself every day to forgive him until one day I didn't have to anymore. It wasn't his fault. It could have happened to either one of us. The vacation still happened and at least the wreck happened at the end of the vacation instead of the beginning. 

All in all... it was still a great vacation. The ending could have been better, but it also was a valuable lesson that I could have only learned by living through it. So I choose to focus on the positive aspects of everything. The fun of the vacation, the life-lessons of the car wreck, and the fact that we survived with minimal injuries. I'll take it. 

And that folks wraps up the entire update of our vacation... the good, the bad, and the incredibly painful. ;) 

Joey and I are already talking about where our next vacation will be... I think we will fly somewhere.... ;) 

Delightfully, 

Regina


3 comments:

  1. looks like so much fun! i think if i went on a real vacation i might just take a nap. for real. and you are so pretty even when you are a lobster!

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  2. OMG! what a scary way to end such a fabulous trip! So thankful it wasn't any worse and hopefully the memories of the fun will outweigh the unfortunate accident in the years ahead. Blessings!

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  3. Oh GOODNESS! You poor things! Praise Jesus you are ok! I'm so sorry to hear about this terrible end to your belated Honeymoon :(

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