Blowing out Dallas (Day 3)

When the genetic cards were dealt at my birth, I was blessed with a light-sleeping seven-two off-suit.  This meant that when the third day started off like so many others do, with the children waking up and making noise, I was now up and wondering how I could keep them from waking Katie up, too.  I did what I usually do: I shushed the kids repeatedly until we all had empty enough bladders and sufficient public-appropriate clothing to get out of the hotel room and on to breakfast.

Here’s where I get off the cross and admit that I enjoy eating breakfast with the kids, especially when it’s a great all-you-can-eat buffet with an omelet bar.  Andre and Owen explored bacon omelets (no cheese for Owen this time – he’s random about meats and cheeses – the boy does not like butter – WHAT?!), and I had whatever veggie items I could stomach dumped into my omelet, with bacon, because I’m healthy.

Katie and the Littles were then up and ready to splash around in the water park.

No massive head trauma today.  Ollie Little, pictured on the right, was a real trooper, battling off blistered 2nd-degree sunburns to play with the other kids at the park.  Papa Smurf says, “You too should talk to your babysitters about adequate sunscreen.”


The Smurfs were in full effect back at the Gaylord.  The kids rocked a Smurf scavenger hunt, and the Gittelek Clan (the 10 of us) destroyed the other Smurf-flavored escape room, I believe setting a record that may have lasted that whole day….

That night we partied with the Smurfs, and it was Smurfurific.


Okay, honestly, it was a disaster. The Littles had lost one of their 27 or so kids, Andre had the same fear of the big Smurfs that I did of clowns as a child, and Owen, well his finger got stepped on. Happy news, they found their kid, Owen got his finger kissed, and we found a safe distance to enjoy the Smurfs:

At least our kids got some balloons from easily the best “balloon artist” I have ever seen.  Using 33 years of balloon making experience, Christopher Lyle captured the true essence of Andre’s balloon request, “The Fart.”  The result is lovingly placed here on Owen’s head.


That capped off quite a day and night.


To Utah We Go! (Days 1 & 2)

And it begins!  Lists upon lists to ensure we packed everything we would need for a 20 day road trip (okay, still forgot the kids’ toothbrushes), and we are off to Dallas for our first stop.


Three hours of smooth driving, narrowly avoiding the beloved Dallas rush hour, and we arrived at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center (GTRACC? nah).  This place brings home the “Everything is Bigger in Texas” theme; it’s a huge hotel with its own outdoor water park.  Clearly, that’s where we headed first.  Andre took all of two minutes to find a slide.


Yes, this photo depresses me because of how old Andre looks.

A large bucket would fill up and scare the children occasionally.

It was late, so we didn’t stay long in the water.  Back at the Gaylord, they had a Smurf theme rocking, and we scrambled to get tickets to do the Smurf-flavored escape room.  Yes, for all of you who know us, Katie found a way to do an escape room on the first day of our road trip.  Let’s see how many we end up hitting on our journey….


Using our X-ray vision, we found all of the clues needed.  With some help from a few teammates (Eli, Elia, and a little girl who’s name did not derive from Eli), we escaped in 25 minutes and had a blast in the process.

Dinner that night at Zepolle, the resort’s “Coastal” Italian restaurant was fantastic.  Andre’s spaghetti and meatballs would have been more appropriately named “massive meatball with a little bit of spaghetti under it.”



The purpose of our Dallas trip is to meet up with our friends from Austin, the Little family (that’s their last name peeps).  We had met Nate and Megan Little in Cuba, and they and their 4 children (Stella, Sam, Ollie, and Maggie) are some of the coolest people we know.  If you ever want to know how to be great parents to 4 kids, just watch them.

They were arriving a little after noon, so we ventured back to the pool for some morning fun.


Lucky me, I was the first to bleed profusely this trip!


Andre was doing a zip line thing which he couldn’t reach, so I helped him up onto it.  While watching Andre as he fell about 5-10 feet into the water, I didn’t notice the handle bars speeding back my way.  WHAMMO!  The middle steel part was pretty heavy and pointy!  It was one of those “please don’t bleed, ah crap” moments.  “We’ve got a gusher!”  I’ll never forget the freaked-out, disgusted look Andre gave me when he saw the bloody pulp of a face and mouth telling him to follow to the First Aid area.  These nice people above helped me clean off all the yucky-ness and glued my head back together.

This is what Owen was doing while I was bleeding.


Finally, the Littles arrived!  Back to the water park!


The resort really did a good job of shuttling you to and from the water park area.  There was always a shuttle waiting for the 5 minute drive, and sometimes it was a trolley-type bus, which the kids loved.

We closed the 2nd day back at the same great Italian restaurant, this time with the Littles.  Late night eats, pushing the limits of what the six kids could handle….  Thank you wine….


And thank YOU for reading this far! As a special treat, here is a video of Owen conversing with himself in the mirror on our first day. See you tomorrow.

– The Awesome Family