Friday, June 10, 2011

Sandcastles, Sea Shells and Pirates

To celebrate the last day of first grade for Alex, the last day of pre-K for Ryan, and the last day of preschool payments for ANY CHILD, we took off for five days in South Padre on May 28.

We had invited my mom to join us, but the thought of the seven hour car drive from Austin on top of her 3 hour drive from Houston led her to book a flight to Harlingen and meet us at the condo.

We loved our condo! We stayed at Suntide II, and it was the closest to the sand I've ever been - we could be at the beach in a two minute walk door to tent (so to speak).

The only damper on the vacation was the fact that the tides were very strong when we were there. The riptides were especially fierce, and there was a drowning during out visit. As a result, I wouldn't let the kids venture out very far into the water. Definitely not beyond the first wave break. I figured if it was strong enough to cause me to worry that  it was going to pull my larger body out to sea, then it was definitely not  munchkin-friendly.

But they didn't seem to mind, and spent almost all their time building sandcastles and collecting sea shells. Sometimes the sandcastles even included the seashells.

The other highlight of the trip was our sunset cruise aboard The Black Dragon, a pirate ship.

Not only was the sunset breathtakingly beautiful, and we got to spot a lot of dolphins, but it was three of the most entertaining hours we've ever spent as a family. They encourage you to arrive 45 minutes before hand - this wasn't nearly enough. Those 45 minutes were spent with a pirate comedy show of sorts. Both Alex and Ryan, at different times, were picked out of the audience to help participate (score two points for me dressing them in their new LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean shirts!). Then there were cannons to fire, and sadly, a whole pier of pirate games we didn't have time to explore.

The cruise itself was two hours, and when one of the pirates squirted my mom with a water pistol as we were boarding, we knew we were in for some serious fun!

The boys got to fight the pirates, learn to talk like pirates, dress up like pirates, swab the decks like pirates, they had sword fights with pirates, they went on a treasure hunt for gold doubloons, they painted our faces like pirates, they got pirate tattoos, we all had a water gun fight, they received pirate certificates, won pirate booty, and I'm probably leaving something out. I can't say enough good things about the pirate cruise, and heartily encourage everyone heading to Padre to go aboard the Black Dragon.

It was a fantastic way to kickstart our summer, and we all had a great time.

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