Sunday, August 25, 2019

Vacation Week: Mall of America

We got back from Texas late Monday, but had the rest of the week off as well.  We jam-packed it full of fun.  We started with a trip to the Mall of America on Tuesday.  We stopped by our standard pizza spot for the kids and Jimmy got a sandwich from his favorite place, Melt Shop.
 We used another birthday reward at Cinnabon and shared some Cinnabon Stix.
 For some reason, I decided to walk through Nickelodeon Universe.  Parker doesn't care for the rides and Esme hasn't tried any yet, so it just isn't a place me go.  I am so happy we did, because we stumbled upon a Paw patrol meet and greet.  Esme was so enthralled.  They were on a 30 minute rotation and we had just missed Skye and Chase.
 Luckily, it was a brief wait to meet Rubble and Marshall.  She was pretty nervous at first, but warmed up quickly.
 She grabbed their paws and posed so nicely for a photo.
 We came back about 25 minutes later so she could do it all over again with Skye and Chase.
 Skye was really admiring Esme's shoes and gave lots of hugs.
 I am pretty sure this was the best day of her life because she hasn't stopped talking about it and asks to see the pictures all the time.

Birthday Trip to DFW: Part 3

Our final day in Texas was also our birthday! I turned 34 and Jimmy turned 39 (you know what that means next year!)  We started with a quick trip back to Fort Worth to visit the second location of my employer.  We work closely with them, so it feels like you know people you haven't met.  It was nice to actually see them in person and get a quick tour of the facility.
Then, it was of to Dallas for a day of exploring.  We started at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.  It is located north of downtown on the campus of Southern Methodist University.
The museum has permanent exhibits that take you through his early days in politics, run for presidency, and two terms in office.  The events of September 11, 2001 significantly shaped his presidency and there is a memorial on site to those lost that includes beams from one of the World Trade Center towers and a list of all the victims.
They had a detailed timeline of what things were like for him in the days following the attack.
His other achievements in education, the economy, and global relations were not overlooked.
There were some much less serious displays including part of his baseball collection and some of Laura's formal wear.
There was also a full size replica of the oval office.
The temporary exhibits showcased many of the presidential retreat locations and Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, TX, where they currently call home.
Our lunch stop was recommended by our new pastor at church, who grew up in TX.  Avila's restaurant had cozy tex-max fare in an even cozier setting.
Next stop was the Sixth Floor Museum in downtown Dallas.  It is housed in the former book depository where Lee Harvey Oswald is suspected of fatally shooting President John F. Kennedy.  The entire main exhibit is on the sixth floor.  There was a complimentary audio tour that lasted about 90 minutes and took you from his rise to presidency through the events of his assassination and events following.
They have a closed off section and have replicated how it was found after the shooting.
We walked around Dealey Plaza before stopping at the memorial a few blocks away.
They have the approximate places where he was shot marked on the road.  Jimmy took a few quick seconds to reflect.
The nearby memorial opened in 1970 and represents an empty tomb.
We headed towards our next Apple Store visit, but made a quick stop to redeem our Starbucks birthday rewards.
Finally, it was off to the airport.  We grabbed dinner at Whataburger (the best shroom and swiss ever!) before returning our rental car.  We quickly facetimed with Esme again and let her know we'd see her in the morning.
We may not have had cake and ice cream for our birthday, but did snag a birthday cake candy bar before taking off.
Texas, you could have been a little cooler, but we had a great time!