Saturday, August 23, 2014

Mo Ranch 2014

Every couple years, my Dad's side of the family gets together for a family reunion at Mo Ranch in Hunt, TX. It's actually not too hard to coordinate, because his side of the family is (unfortunately) quite small.  My Dad is the only remaining living member of the original family of 5 that emigrated here from Holland many, many years ago.  One of his brothers had 3 sons before he passed away, so those cousins and their families, and my dad's three daughters and our families, get together with my parents for a fun weekend.  It's a very laid-back place, where you get to roam around and choose from an array of activities like fishing, swimming, sand volleyball, tennis, hiking, riding the rapids, or going down the famous slide.  The funny part about this year is that Mo Ranch is very slowly renovating their rooms, and Meezy and I happened to get one of the only already renovated rooms! Nobody else in our group got one, yet we paid the same price.  Lol!

It's so nice for all the cousins to be together in one place at the same time, because we're usually spread out across Texas in different cities.  Our kids have an awesome time together too!

Jill, Joanna, Janet, Nick, John, Charles

The cousins and their spouses

All our kids!

We typically eat our meals in their main cafeteria, but on Saturday nights, they always do a BBQ by the river.

Doesn't matter how pregnant I am, you know I'm not going to pass up tennis and sand volleyball.

Dutch was hesitant about the long catwalk suspended high above the road.  He cracked me up with his timidity.  It was going to be quite a long journey if we hadn't intervened!


In my opinion, the coolest thing about Mo Ranch is the slide that terminates into the river.  Here's Meezy going down the slide:

Now imagine it without the protective guards along the side of it.  When I was growing up, that's what it looked like!  Those extra guards are a fairly recent addition.  I rode it when it was way more terrifying!

Since we go every two years, it's fun to see the changes taking place in our family between trips.  Here's Dutch and I two years ago, and again this year:

Bye, Mo Ranch.  We'll see you again in two years when we are a family of four!

Pensacola Beach Trip 2014

With baby #2 making his arrival later this year, Meezy and I decided we needed to try and get a vacation in while we still could.  We threw around the idea of having a getaway just for the two of us, but after talking with a cousin who told me about the great trips they take their toddler on and how fun it is to see him experience new things, we decided we should do a family trip.  Since Dutch had never gone to the beach, we started researching destinations with beautiful beaches.  Galveston was out, because I've been there many times, and I'm just not a fan of the beach there.  We thought about Destin, but the more I read about it, the more popular of a tourist destination it seemed to be becoming, and it is a little further away from us than other beaches.  We decided on Pensacola Beach.  The drive seemed manageable, online reviews were good, and we found an affordable hotel directly on the beach.

Dutch LOVED the beach.  From the first moment we took him out there, we knew we made the right decision.  He giggled like crazy when we took him in the water and would love to run away from the tide as it inched toward his feet.  He also thoroughly enjoyed playing in the sand and his favorite part seemed to be knocking down the sand castles we would build!

We tried to take a dolphin tour one day, but after heading out on the water for about 20 minutes, the captain decided to turn the boat around because the water was getting too choppy and dangerous.  It actually wasn't too bad, because we got a free boat ride and Dutch seemed to enjoy it.

One day we found a food truck/bar on the beach for lunch, and it was perfect for entertaining a 2 year old. After he ate, he enjoyed time in the sand while we got to leisurely enjoy our food!

Many of our afternoons looked like this:

We also threw in a visit to a children's museum and enjoyed some pool time:

All in all, it was a great experience for our family, and Dutch was a trooper on the extremely long car drives. I'm so glad we were able to take a few days out of our busy schedules to enjoy time together.