Hi friends and Happy Friday! I’m so looking forward to today and the weekend! James gets to do the first reading at Mass today and I love that! He’s been rehearsing and it’s so special to hear him recite verses from the Bible. He actually inspires me to go deeper in my own faith.
Fridays are “off” days for me when there’s no one at home besides me and Jordan and I cherish that time with her. As a mom, it’s so true that the days are long, but the years are short. I know Fall will be here before we know it and she’ll be in PreK3 so I try to soak in as much quality time with her as I can.
SPRING BREAK RECAP
BUT FIRST, BUC-EE’S
I’m so thankful we got to have a little trip away last week for Spring break. We thought about going back to Colorado like we did last year, but ultimately decided not to since Jordan wouldn’t have been able to ski yet and a road trip was easier and more cost effective.
We’re in Houston, so it’s an easy 3-hour road trip to go to San Antonio or Austin. We looked at the options and chose San Antonio because one of my friend’s husband had work there (Russo’s Pizzeria #yesplease) if any of you are familiar with it! It ended up being a wonderful Mom + Kids weekend with 7 of the cutest kiddos around.
I’m going to tell you all about where we stayed (JW Marriott Hill Country Resort & Spa) and also compare it to Hyatt Lost Pines Resort & Spa in Bastrop, Texas (near Austin) because if you’re in the Houston area, those are both good options for family vacations – but each has its own appeal.
But first, you have to stop at Buc-ee’s! Buc-ee’s is located throughout Houston with 1 new stop in South Alabama! They have been awarded the “Cleanest Restrooms in America” – that’s a real award! The company started in a small town in Texas and has grown into a road trip destination for just about anyone who is from or has ever traveled through our state.
They literally have everything! Not just your standard drinks and snacks and cheesy souvenirs (there is plenty of that;), but home decor and adorable kids clothes! Look at some of their set up for Spring!
If you ever forget something you need for your trip, you can definitely find it there.
Buc-ee’s is massive and so very clean and well organized inside. The kids love to stop there for the treats and toys, and I like to look at the decor and goodies too. I’m especially fond of their fudge and the caramel popcorn. But, their Beaver Nuggets are what most people crave!
JW MARRIOTT SAN ANTONIO
Just two and a half hours from our house is the beautiful resort oasis in the middle of Texas.
The JW Marriott Hill Country Resort & Spa looked amazing online with great reviews and cool water slides for the older kids and a sandy beach for the youngsters.
We arrived in the afternoon and went straight to the pool. They have several and a lazy river. Even though there were tons of people there for Spring Break, (I even ran into some of YOU! which I loved!!), it never felt crowded or like there wasn’t somewhere to sit. That goes to show how big it is – there’s 1002 rooms!
Though our Spring Break is early, the temps the first day got up to 80 degrees and it was really nice in the sun! The pool is also heated, so it’s comfortable in the water.
Jordan LOVES to dig and play in the sand, but can’t swim yet, so I knew I had to take her somewhere that she could play in the sand. You don’t need to bring sand toys, the resort has plenty and everyone just shares and grabs what’s not being used.
My palm print swimsuit arrived just before we left on our trip and I felt really comfortable in it. It’s got a plunging neckline, but modest rear and the ruffle trim is a cute detail.
I always wear a hat in the sun to shield my face and I’m crazy for this one! It’s got a wider brim and is nice and flexible for a great shape. It packs easily and you can get it wet and it still look great. Also, you can adjust the size so it fits your head perfectly.
Jordan wore her Target two-piece rashguard and I liked how it offered sun protection for her delicate skin.
Being on a trip like this I got sit back and just BE with my kids and that was the best of all. Jordan and I must have played for hours in this hot tub while she served me imaginary tacos and ice cream. It was also fun to watch her make friends with older girls and capture their attention because they just adored her! She’s so social and outgoing and fun to be around.
James just turned nine and had the best time getting a little more freedom to run around with his friends without the adults helicoptering. I’m a cautious parent, but I’m also conscious that I’m raising a person to become a young man and responsible adult, so allowing bits of independence is required within reason. I’m proud of how he handled himself and how well he cooperates and includes everyone. Plus, he’s so patient and loving with Jordan.
One of the hottest (literally!) spots to hang out was the hot tub. It wasn’t too hot for Jordan, but felt nice and soothing as the temperature cooled down outside and the wind picked up- especially in the evening and on Day #2.
Y’all loved my crochet cover-up and it held up great! It’s easy to throw in the bag and then throw on. Only downside was the Jordan loved pulling the side tassel ties and trying to run away with them!
This is my sweet friend Mariana in her goodr sunglasses that Ali-Shaun got us hooked on. Mariana’s son has been in class with James since preschool and we’ve loved watching them grow up together!
As I mentioned earlier, one of the big draws to the JW Marriott was the big water slide for the older kids. The funny thing is though, that James was the only one that ended up going down the biggest one! Maybe he’s like me (I love roller coasters!)
We spent every moment that we could that afternoon at the pool and after traveling and playing hard, we treated ourselves to a nice dinner at the Tex Mex restaurant in the hotel, Cibolo Moon.
They have indoor and outdoor seating, but with our fresh-from-the-pool group of kiddos we decided outside was the place to be. Plus patio weather doesn’t last long in Texas so we had to enjoy it while we could!
Cibolo Moon is a certified tequila bar known for their margaritas and tequila selection! When in Rome! Look how pretty this is. And there’s fruit in it…. so it’s healthy! #hahaiwish But seriously, this margarita was so good- not too spicy with the jalapenos and not too sweet- the perfect mix!
The food was excellent there and the buffet was great too. After dinner it was back to the hot tub! I’m telling you, that’s where all the cool kids hung out! 😉
They’ve got lots of games like chess, checkers, basketball for everyone to play. There’s also and arcade but James wasn’t that impressed with it.
We were up late that first night, but my kids are early birds, so while everyone else slept until around 10, my crew was ready to go by 7am! WHHHHHHHHHHY?!
Luckily, they have a Starbuck’s in the hotel, and I went there every morning for a coffee and oatmeal.
One way we saved money was by bringing snacks like blueberry muffins, apples, granola bars, and Doritos (James’ fave).
They have really nice cabanas which we reserved for our full pool day. When traveling with so many kids, it’s nice to have a place they can all meet up and also get out of the sun for a little bit.
SIX FLAGS AMUSEMENT PARK
San Antonio is also home to Fiesta Texas Six Flags, so we took advantage of that while we were there. The temperature cooled down A LOT, so we traded our swimsuits for jackets and spent the day at the amusement park.
It was overcast and chilly, so I mistakenly didn’t put sunscreen on me or Jordan. We both ended up with light sunburns and I regret it. Days later my skin is still punishing me with breakouts and dark spots!
TRAVEL TIP : Bring a stroller or wagon for your toddler! It was also a great place to store coats!
But, you have no idea how happy I was to be in the land of roller coasters! I love them so much and haven’t ridden on one since I was a kid. Back in Ohio we used to spend summer days at Kings Island and I’ll never forget The Beast– the longest wooden roller coaster in the world!
Turns out James is a big fan too! 😉
TRAVEL TIP : You can buy tickets online in advance to save money. Also, the 50% flash pass let us reserve spots at the front of the line and we didn’t need to splurge for the 90%. It was worth it!
If you have a season pass, you’ll also save money on everything in the park from food to souvenirs. So, if you plan to go multiple times, it ends up being a big savings.
Jordan was a big fan of the kiddie rides – the swings, mini ferris wheel and teacups especially. But there was also a little playground she loved playing at, until she bumped foreheads with another kid!
The caricature drawings were right next to the Teacup ride and James had to have one!
I think it turned out cute! I love how she captured his braces with blue rubber bands!
The older kids rode the Bugs Bunny Goalie Washer 3 times and ended up soaking wet! It was fun at first until they were freezing. Luckily it was the last ride before we left. I didn’t realize they had a big human dryer you could pay $5 for- that helped a little!
A long day at the amusement park calls for carbs and wine! We’re lucky our friends Andrea and Anthony own and operate such a yummy restaurant. It’s literally the only pizza James will eat! They have them everywhere, but there happens to be one right by Six Flags so it’s perfect for sitting down to relax and enjoy a meal after all that walking and riding!
Did you get to see my Story where I went into the kitchen and filmed Anthony cooking some of his signature dishes?! That’s so cool and they do so much more than pizza. The mushroom pappardelle was mouth wateringly delicious!
Finally, it was time to head home, but not without coffee! I found these PJs on Amazon and they pretty much sum up my life! 😉
Then comfy road attire for the trip home!
JW MARRIOTT SAN ANTONIO VS. HYATT LOST PINES BASTROP
You can’t go wrong at either resort, both are family friendly, with lots of pools and lazy rivers, great spas, lots of on-site activities, and childcare (you have to pay extra for).
Overall, I think Lost Pines is better for families with young kids (under age 5) and if you want a more peaceful, relaxing vacation with more emphasis on nature. It’s smaller and more intimate.
JW Marriott is a bigger resort with more to do for older kids with huge water slides and better restaurants.
JW MARRIOTT SAN ANTONIO
- 1002 rooms
- Better restaurants
- Lots of fun water slides
- Sandy beach without much shade
- Lots to do near the resort – Six Flags, Sea World, Natural Bridge Caverns
HYATT LOST PINES BASTROP
- 491 rooms
- 400 acres
- Closer to Houston
- In the middle of nowhere – 23 miles from Austin, but there are good BBQ restaurants nearby
- Sandy beach with shade
- Outdoor movie and S’mores with a ‘camp’ feel
- Resort Activities
I have really fond memories of going to Lost Pines so I might be partial to that resort, but we had an awesome time at JW Marriott too!
Have you been to either resort? I’d love to hear your thoughts? Do you have any fun plans for Spring Break?
Have a great weekend!