After closing out my duties, handing over the house, and outprocessing my unit, the cats and I said goodbye to Fort Huachuca and headed East towards Kentucky. It was a two-day drive for me, but since the Army allocated five days for me to travel, it made all the sense in the world to stop in Texas to spend a few days with the girls.
As I was driving through, the girls’ Mother was nice enough to let me visit them for a few days, as it was likely the last time I was going to spend with them for about nine months (my deployment date got pushed back by a couple months, so they were able to visit me in Kentucky, which I will post about later). As the girls anticipated, I had a lot of activities planned and we stayed pretty busy over the next two days.
After breakfast on the first morning, the girls and I headed out to the Whistle Stop Playground in Temple. This was a train-themed playground only a few minutes from the hotel.
The playground was absolutely huge, so we got in some really good games of hide-and-seek while we were there.
We also had a lot of fun just exploring and seeing what different slides, climbs, and activities there were.
We were right next to the Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum, but Elaina still has scar tissue from the Pima Air & Space Museum Tour, so we skipped it.
Since it was over a hundred degrees in Central Texas, we spent quite a bit of time in the pool. One of the girls would jump in and “save” the other. Then they would switch places, repeat, for hours. And they liked pushing me underwater. A lot. So that was fun… the things we do to make our children smile.
They got some toys at the store, which included slime they had really been wanting. It looked a little messy, but I gave in and purchased it for them. I mean, I was only in town for a couple days, so what was the harm? It ended up getting all over their bathing suits and towels, so the joke was definitely on me.
After spending the rest of the night watching Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for Family Movie Night, in the morning we headed to the Mayborn Museum at Baylor University. It was more or less a children’s museum, which the girls were pretty excited about.
And the giant Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton that greeted us at the entrance did not hurt either.
The girls spent the next few hours going room by room in the museum, playing with anything and everything they could get their hands on.
They watched fish and reptiles, looked at (real) stuffed animals, and pretended to be bees in the nature area.
They probably enjoyed the bubble room the most, constantly trying to make bigger bubbles than their sister.
They also enjoyed the space area, but it was much less interactive that the other rooms (they wanted to go to space, not read about it).
The music area was a hoot (pun intended), and we made wacky music for a quite a while with some truly odd contraptions. The piano was definitely the most fun of the instruments though.
The room they looked forward to the most was the tearoom. While adorned with historical pictures and classic porcelain tea sets, the girls just wanted to have a tea party with all the plastic tea sets and accessories.
So we sat down and had a nice, quiet tea party… that is, until other kids started showing up and the girls did not want to play with them. Elaina got a little frustrated and then wanted to leave. I felt bad because this was the room they were most excited about, but spent less than an hour in it. We ended up purchasing the tea and cupcake sets for their cafe at home, so they were able to get in their hours of playtime later.
We saved the main event for the end: The DC Super Heroes Room.
We started out by testing our speed against The Flash himself, which tired us out a lot quicker than him apparently.
Each activity area was a crime scene involving a supervillain, including Catwoman and Poison Ivy, that gave you a clue. About halfway through the exhibit, we realized the whole thing was a coded message puzzle, so we had to go back to the front to get the worksheet.
The crime scenes definitely made a lot more sense now and we had a lot of fun going through them again.
Once we completed the puzzle, we entered in the secret code, B-A-T, and the Bat Signal appeared. The girls immediately wanted dress up in their 2017 Batgirl Halloween costumes to fight crime, but ultimately decided to leave it to the professionals.
Lastly, we took a test to determine which superhero we were most like based on our personality traits. The girls both got Mr. Terrific (?), but I was a little disappointed I did not get Batman (but really happy I did not get Robin). We left the museum, went out for pho, and then we said goodbye when their Mom picked them up that evening. It was a really fun visit, but like every single moment I get to spend with the girls, even for months at a time, it never seems long enough.
While this post certainly reinforces our family’s love for playgrounds, children’s museums, and ice cream, it highlights the need to never let an opportunity to see your loved ones, especially your children, pass you by. I could have easily driven to Fort Campbell in two days and reported for work a few days early, but work is not the most important thing in the world to me; my girls are, hands down, and the score is not even close. Even though I did not end up deploying right away and was able to see them again before I left, it was not even a topic of debate in my mind. And it makes me happy that the girls know and appreciate that.
Thanks for checking in on us.