NOT Back to School Day 2018

Monday was the first day of school for the local districts so, as usual, we had a fun final day off.

We started off with pineapple-kiwi-blueberry smoothie bowls for breakfast. The kids were less than impressed. I thought they were amazing.

Jamie and the boys played some Dungeons & Dragons before Cameron had to leave us for the Monday lunch meeting he goes to every week for work.

Jamie, the little guys, and I headed out to the Tower of the Americas.

We squished some pennies.

And tried to find our house using one of the pay viewer thingies up on the observation deck.

The view of San Antonio from the observation deck is pretty awesome. We live in a very beautiful city.

We watched three short 4D movies. It’s funny how getting sprayed with water from an ocean feels different from getting sprayed with water from a mammoth sneeze even though it’s really all the same water.

Adrian got a color change cup, Fritz got a long tube of pucker powder, and Jamie got a cattle brand from the gift shop.

We went to an Asian buffet for lunch. Adrian ate his favorite food (rice and cheese) and Fritz ate approximately his weight in rolls and sushi.

We went to a really amazing comic book store. Fritz spent lots of time studying the D&D books. Both boys got starter Pokemon card decks and Adrian got a Teen Titans Go! comic book set.

We finished off the day by going to Bubble Waffle Bar. Ani came with us (Cameron was at work). There’s not much there we can eat there, but what we ate was still really cool. The Dole Whip was pretty normal, but the cotton candy wrapped chocolate, coconut, and mint chocolate chip ice cream was unique and really good.

Check out previous years’ Not Back to School Days: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. (I missed blogging about Not Back to School Day in 2011 and they went to public school in 2013.)

Ireland, Part Six

Jamie and I went for a walk around the park at the town where his mum lives. It has the most adorable fairy village.

The walking path through the park is just beautiful.

After we finished at the park, we walked a ways into the town.

Everywhere you go, there are ice cream cone signs meaning there’s a soft serve machine inside. The Irish definitely love ice cream!

It was so nice to spend the two weeks with Jamie’s mum!

We checked in at the airport (one bag was 1/2 kg under the limit and the other was 2/10 over, but they didn’t charge us for being overweight). The Irish really do care about fresh breath. This vending machine was in the restroom.

We got on the plane and about 7 hours later…

…we were in New York. Our layover was about 7 hours long, but then our flight was delayed almost an hour and a half, but eventually we left the east coast.

We finally made it to Austin at 2am and got to our house in San Antonio at 3:30. Total travel time was just over 24 hours.

So that was Wednesday through Friday.

It was such a lovely, fun, wonderful trip!

Ireland, Part Five

We returned the CPAP machine Jamie had been loaned. They didn’t charge us anything!

Jamie and I walked down to the river next to where Jamie’s mum lives.

We picked (and ate) lots of delicious wild blackberries.

We did Kinder Surprises.

We went a long way and ended up in Tipperary.

We went to Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers and learned about the history of their farm and how they make their blue cheeses. We also ate a ton of blue cheese.

We went to the Rock of Cashel. It’s an amazing, huge medieval religious fortress.

The pictures don’t do the place justice. It is truly awe-inspiring.

When we came down from the Rock of Cashel, there was a group of young buskers playing traditional music (on the way up a young man was playing a fiddle).

We went to Kilmallock, a medieval town that still has several stone structures and part of the wall. Their Catholic church is gorgeous.

We went all over the Abbey. We were even able to climb some very old stairs up to the second floor.

The old Church of Ireland building is now a burial ground.

So that was Monday and Tuesday.

Ireland, Part Four

We took a walk along the road where Jamie’s mum lives.

Jamie picked lots of blackberries.

Jamie put in a mailbox for his mum.

Jamie’s CPAP machine has been having issue for quite some time and, when we got back from Dublin, it decided it was all done working. Jamie’s mum made a few phone calls and we were lent a CPAP machine for the weekend with a promise that the doctor would see him on Monday to see what he could do for the rest of our stay. Having the machine gave Jamie the courage to open up his broken one and he found the problem was where the power adapter plugged in. He spliced and soldered and now it works great again!

We went to Killarney.

We got bubblegum flavored mega sours. The sour part tasted like super concentrated lemon, but once past that, it had a lovely bubblegum flavor. Until the middle. The middle was super concentrated lemon again.

I am a wimp when it comes to really sour stuff.

Jamie, however, is not.

We saw the Muckross House.

We went to the Traditional Farm.

I petted an adorable little calf.

We went in a one-room schoolhouse as it would’ve looked in the early 1900s.

One night we got lots of wind and rain due to a post-tropical depression.

We walked up to the corner store to hit the PokeStop and buy some candy.

This road used to be the main one for the area. Because there’s a nationwide scheme for speed, when it was the main road, it was 100kph. Now it’s 80. Even 80 is a bit fast for this road!

Jamie’s mum throws her table scraps out for the birds every day. They are huge and terrifying. I call them Chicken Crows.

So that was Friday through Sunday.

Ireland, Part Three – Dublin

We took the train to Dublin.

I love Dublin.

Our hotel, the Shelbourne, was where they signed the Irish Constitution. They had their own little mini museum off the lobby.

Jamie’s platinum with Marriott thanks to all the points he earns on business trips. For our thank you gift, they gave us a list of things to choose from. We picked a rather nice fruit plate.

Jamie and I went out walking our first evening there and when we got back, they had done their turn-down service. Fancy, but a little strange.

The breakfast buffet at the hotel was incredible. They even had a gluten free station with a dedicated toaster. That was so nice!

We took a tour at the Little Museum of Dublin.

We went to the Book of Kells exhibit at Trinity College.

The Book of Kells was cool, but the old library upstairs was amazing.

We took a ride on a hop on/hop off bus. The driver narrating the tour was so funny.

We walked around St. Stephens Green for a bit. It’s amazing how you don’t feel like you’re in a city at all while you’re in there.

Jamie and I went to the Natural History Museum (aka the Dead Zoo).

We took a stroll down Grafton Street.

At one end was a busker who was actually quite good (some of them are not).

We rode back on the train to Jamie’s mum’s through patches of rain. Even rain is beautiful in Ireland.

So that was Tuesday through Thursday.

Ireland, Part Two

We took a day trip to the Dingle area. It is so incredibly beautiful in Ireland.

We went to a bay both while the tide was out and then again while it was in. Pretty much the whole beach disappeared!

Jamie really, really wanted to go in the water. It was very cold, but he can always say he did it.

We went to a Celtic History Museum. They had some interesting pieces.

Like I said, Ireland is beautiful.

We went to see some very old beehive huts.

We went to a really amazing restaurant. Almost all of their food had gluten free options. I got fried chicken strips and chips and they were amazing. Also, we ate outside and the view was similarly amazing.

We ran across a mare and her foal. So cute!

We visited Castleisland.

They had a River Walk so we just had to go down it just because of the name.

It was a bit more rustic than the one we’re used to in San Antonio. It was quite a lovely walk.

So that was Sunday and Monday.

Ireland, Part One

We got to New York just fine and went out on the subway during our very long layover. We visited the 9/11 Memorial.

While we were out in the city, we got notification that our flight to Shannon was delayed 3 1/2 hours. The plane coming to the US never got off the ground due to technical issues. When we got back to the airport, it said the flight was on time. That seemed weird so Jamie went to the counter where a flight to Dublin was boarding to ask what was going on.

That’s when things went kind of crazy. Chances were, our flight would ultimately be cancelled (it was) so the guy at the counter (shout out to Emmanuel!) got us on the flight to Dublin that was boarding. He even got our luggage pulled and loaded on the flight to go with us. They rearranged some seating and got us in seats together. We buckled up and three minutes later pulled away from the gate.

I had ordered gluten free meals, but, of course, with how crazy and last minute that all was, that wasn’t transferred. The stewardess (shout out to Caroline!) bent over backwards trying to get me safe foods for my dinner. Crazily, it turned out that one of the people who didn’t show up for the flight had ordered gluten free, so when that was discovered, I got that person’s meals. So that was pretty cool.

We made it to Dublin, exhausted, before 5 in the morning and got nice little stamps in our passports allowing us to enter the country.

The restroom at the airport had a Tic Tac machine. Like, welcome to Ireland. You’ve been on a flight all night. Freshen up that breath before you go among our people.

Aer Lingus put us in a taxi to head toward Shannon where our flight was supposed to have ended up (shout out to the customer service guy we were too exhausted to get the name of). The driver was happy to drop us off in Adare, kind of meeting in the middle, where Jamie’s mum picked us up.

So that was all nuts, but we made it to Ireland on the day we had planned and the scenery (the second day, when we went to Tralee and did some shopping and caught Mr. Mime on Pokemon Go) made all the difficulties worth it.

The third day we went to the River Shannon.

We stopped at a random stone tower. There wasn’t much in the way of marking what it was. Pokemon Go to the rescue. Loghill Tower, a Protestant church that was partially torn down leaving the tower to provide a guide point for boats on the river (it’s a PokeStop).

We went to Askeaton where we looked at the castle ruins. It’s just amazing the way they’ve crumbled.

This gentleman, Anthony Sheehy, volunteers giving tours at the castle and friary. He’s pretty passionate about them both and super funny so he really made our time at the friary quite interesting. We learned a lot that without him we never would have known.

Every time we go in or out of Jamie’s mum’s garden, we have to walk through a lavender patch that always had adorable little bees hanging out on the flowers.

So that was Wednesday through Saturday.