Some places (like Door County or New England) we visit because we’ve always wanted to go there. Some places (like Hilton Head or Watkins Glen) we go because someone told us that it’s their favorite place. And some places (like Chief Timothy) end up being our favorite spots because they are just in the right place at the right time.
Last week, we were trying to decide where we wanted to be for Thanksgiving. Mahmood and I both really wanted to go to Austin, but the campsites we found weren’t that great – I figured we would have to find a Chinese restaurant or hotel buffet to crash for Thanksgiving dinner. But then I found a Jellystone Park outside of Houston that had an awesome pool and waterpark, as well as tons of kid activities throughout the week – plus they were hosting a huge potluck Thanksgiving dinner. It turned out to be absolutely perfect for us – the weather was great, the kids had a blast, and we made some good friends while we were there. So while I’m disappointed that we’re skipping Austin, our Thanksgiving in Houston was better then I could’ve ever expected.
  • Spending Thanksgiving day riding watersides with the kids: while it was tough being away from our families during Thanksgiving, it was pretty awesome to be laying by the pool and racing down the watersides instead of cooking and cleaning 🙂
  • Fun kid events at Jellystone: the kids were occupied all day, every day – between fishing, playing on the amazing jungle gym, riding the train, painting ornaments, meeting Yogi Bear, and listening to Boo Boo read stories, the kids were in heaven!
  • Neela & Esa’s new friends: Esa spent days chasing the train on his bike and playing in the pool with his new friend, Diego, while Neela and her new friend Evy decorated cookies, colored, played at the park, and were generally inseparable.
  • New friends for us too: since Neela and Evy wanted to spend every day together, we spent some quality time with her parents, Katie and Aaron, and happily learned that we had a lot in common! They taught the kids to fish, hosted us for dinner and puzzles, and really made our time in Houston special.
  • Thanksgiving potluck dinner: although we weren’t with family, it was nice to be with our new friends and so many other families during thanksgiving – plus, the food was really good, and I only had to make a single dish (which only took me 15 minutes to make!)
  • Neela’s hosts her first party: on Friday morning, Neela decided she wanted to have a party that night, so before I knew it, she had made invitations and handed them our to everyone at the campground telling them to be at site 62 at 4pm. She even put up signs around the campground to make sure everyone knew about the party… We weren’t sure if anyone would show up, but they did, so we put out snacks and turned on some music and had a party!
  • Texas food: of course, we had amazing BBQ, but we also got some awesome Mexican food (which we’ve been sorely missing since we left California.)
  • Outings in downtown Houston: most of our time was spent at the campground since there were activities going on all week, but I did manage to get to downtown Houston to ride the Christmas Train at Hermann Park, visit with Santa at The Galleria, and see the Zoo Lights show at the Houston Zoo.
  • The Saturday after Thanksgiving, Mahmood’s grandmother passed away, so Mahmood flew back to California to be with his family. This is one of those times that it’s really hard being on the road, away from our families. Mahmood was gone for 4 days, which was weird, since we’re all so used to being together now, but the kids and I managed to entertain ourselves (and even got to visit our friends at their home in Houston!)
Mahmood is back now, and our plan is to be home for Christmas, which means we have a lot of miles to cover. We’ll be driving for the next few days, through Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, ultimately headed for Palm Springs for a last taste of summer before we head home.