Summer may be over but I still don’t see any autumn.

So, it has been a while (an embarrassingly long while) since I updated this thing and I’m afraid it’s gotten to the point where there’s just so much stuff to post that I don’t even know where to begin. It might seem a little helter-skelter around here for a bit because I’m going to post things that aren’t necessarily in chronological order, but bear with me. I haven’t been posting because things have just been that busy around here. I’ll start with something fun.

Our little family just returned home from an adorable vacation spent in Galveston. We rented a lovely yellow house a block away from the beach and had a blast at the tail end of the season.

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Elliott is used to Galveston because her dad lived there for a while and his parents and siblings still do, so her visits with them always included time on the seawall. Grayson, however, had never even seen a beach in his fifteen months of existence, but boy did he make up for lost time.

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My dad used to take me and my sister Liz, who was maybe 5 or so at the time, for weekend visits in California (where I was born) when I was Grayson’s age and he loves to tell the story of me sprinting as fast as my chubby legs could carry me toward the water of Monterey Bay. I was waiting for Grayson to try kamikaze-ing into the brownish waters of the Gulf of Mexico, but he was not a fan of salt water in his nose, so that wasn’t too much of an issue after the first wave he underestimated.

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Ellie was way more interested in building sandcastles (or, rather, what she referred to as sandcastles), mainly so she could destroy them. She got the most ridiculous tan ever after our four days of unrelenting sunshine. My mom has been joking non-stop that Ellie’s darker than me now, but she’s blind without her glasses, so what does she know?

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Overall, Galveston is a far cry from the white sand beaches of Florida and the water definitely isn’t blue or green like you’d get in Hawaii or the Caribbean, but the house we rented was comfortable and really cute, the whole vacation was really affordable, and BEST OF ALL, it’s an hour and fifteen minutes away, which minimized our risk of roadside temper tantrums.

There are lots of things to do in Galveston, depending on your budget and what you and your troop enjoy doing. My tiny tyrants require constant engagement, for the most part, so the beach itself was a major hit. The other families kids shoving sand into buckets, the passersby with dogs on leashes, the seemingly endless parade of pigeons or whatever those birds were, and the sand and waves made for quite a few lovely and relaxing afternoons.

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We took the ferry to Bolivar Island right at sunset and that was fantastic. The ride itself is slightly less than 3 miles and, at about 15 minutes each way, is long enough to enjoy without being too long, but on weekends, the return line can get preeettty long. I highly recommend checking the Houston TranStar traffic camera website (http://traffic.houstontranstar.org/cctv/transtar/by_roadway.html?mnu=ferry&rd=Galveston_Ferry) first. We saw dolphins, seagulls, a light house, and a partially-sunken World War I ship, and best of all- it’s totally free!

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My mom went with me on the ferry to make sure no tiny humans went overboard.

We ate a LOT of seafood, which for a homesick New Orleanian was a treat. There’s an impressive amount of Gulf seafood around town (who’dve expected that in a town on the Gulf of Mexico?), ranging from $6 poboys to gourmet cuisine. We had really great Italian at a place called Mario’s on the Seawall. I literally ate shrimp every single day. That alone almost qualifies the place as heaven.

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L-to-R: shrimp scampi, shrimp Alfredo, and shrimp parmesan at Mario’s on the Seawall.

We skipped the “Pleasure Pier” because Ellie’s dad has taken her there before and it’s a rip off. Apparently, it’s $10 just to walk onto the boardwalk, before you play any games or ride any rides. There are a very limited number of rides, they’re pretty expensive, the games are your typical carny fare, and there aren’t really any toddler-friendly rides, aside from a big ferris wheel. I’d rather take Ellie to the carnival that parks in the Sharpstown Mall parking lot for all that hassle, to be honest. And anyway, my first priority at any carnival isn’t the rides or the games. I go there for the candy apples. But that’s a post for another time.

All in all, we had a really great time. Then again, I’d have a great time just about anywhere with John. With our rugrats in tow and my mom there to lend a helping hand, it’s a recipe for well-spent family time.

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