A week ago, Josh and I celebrated our seventh anniversary. That’s the copper anniversary, by the way. Josh and I try to theme our gifts by the traditions for each anniversary. Copper is a difficult one. Finally, I asked my techie hubs in desperation, “Isn’t copper in all electronics?”
His response: “Uh…yeah.”
(By the way: the eighth is worse…bronze)
In keeping with tradition, we decided to stay (with Muffin) at the site of our honeymoon (and where we have stayed several of our anniversaries…or just after…): Dallas. More specifically, the Westin Galleria Dallas, using points+cash (but that’s a story for Cent Saving Saturday).
The efficacy of our anniversary coinciding with the whirl of the holiday season is great for many reasons. We can go shopping for Christmas gifts. Certain locations are already sporting Christmas decorations (which makes Muffin…and his mama…and his dad…very excited and hopeful for the wintry months ahead). We can go shopping for ingredients used to make Christmas goodies and gifts. We can get out of town and take a deep breath before plunging back headlong into the holiday season chaos.
We also strive to make this a very Muffin-friendly trip.
We started out getting donuts at the local donut shop as we left the house just after 5 a.m. last Saturday. Yes. Five a.m. By my choice. Muffin may have been still asleep.
Then, we stopped at a great truck stop between Gladewater and Tyler, Texas. They have “Canadian candy bars,” or rather exports of some of Josh’s favorite candy bars that he likes to stock up on when we pass through. They have all sorts of sodas and beverages that are difficult to find anywhere else. One that I tried there on this trip was on my “soda bucket list”…the holy grail of difficult-to-find sodas: Moxie. To put it as politely and succinctly as possible, I can now cross it off of my bucket list. (as in…thankfully I never have to taste it again…It wasn’t kale jerky bad…just not something I would willingly reach for unless dying of thirst)
After that, just down the road in Lindale, we stopped at Collin Street Bakery. Previously, they gave out free cookies to children. Muffin had to pay for his this time. Note: these are the people who make the fabled Collin Street Bakery Deluxe Fruitcake (with the deluxe price of $27 dollars…32 if you want it sliced). I’m going to attempt to make my own fruitcake.
Our first major stop in Dallas (other than the stop-go on I-635 for construction) was actually in Frisco…at IKEA. This was a special trip to IKEA because it was the first time Muffin could go in the play place there called Smaland (because last time he was still in diapers). Dropping him off did not bode well because this was the first time I had left him alone with someone who was not family (or not known to family). There were tears…not Muffin tears…but Mama tears.
No, my independent son soon forgot that anything existed outside of Smaland…such as his mama or dad.
He was a bit disappointed when his hour was up…until I told him that there were more surprises in store.
We then went to lunch at Rainforest Cafe…which is kind of pricey. The one saving grace, though, was that it had buy one, get one free coupons for Legoland Discovery Center…the next location on the trip.
Muffin really liked Legoland Discovery Center. Last year, when we came to Dallas on the great anniversary trip (one week late), we went to the “store” part of Legoland…but we didn’t go to the Discovery Center part. The line was way…too…long…at that point.
Then came the hotel. Muffin loves staying in hotels. When I first told him a week before that we were staying in a hotel, we had to count down from that day on the number of sleeps until we would be staying in a hotel. Seriously.
There are many reasons I love this hotel. The people who work their are fabulous…as in…call you to let you know that your debit card fell out of your pocket fabulous (and don’t tell your husband that you accidentally left his anniversary card for the next day at the table, as well). Yes. I did that. Both of those actually.
And how can you not love a place that has a decorate your own cupcake bar at check-in on Fridays and Saturdays?
And we all love the beds. Seriously. Love.
And the window seat that, until shortly before our honeymoon seven years ago, would have been a locked balcony.
And…keep in mind that this hotel opens out into a mall. Note: If you did not realize when you booked your room that the Westin Galleria Dallas was attached to the Galleria Dallas and have issues with it…you might not want to be in front of me in line at the check-in desk. Because a year later I will still be spreading that story.
But…if you are staying at the hotel (or visiting the mall) during the latter half of November or during December…you will be witness to this sight:
I think, for Muffin, the best part of staying at this particular hotel is that he gets to go to the play area on the third floor before the mall opens (when it isn’t crazy busy with kids):
In that same spot, fourteen hours earlier, you couldn’t walk without running over someone or being run over.
Sunday, after shopping at Central Market for our anniversary dinner (at home) of a cheese board as well as a few other items for making Christmas goodies and gifts, we ate lunch at La Mad before heading home. This was Muffin’s first La Mad experience…and I was frankly worried. Here is the shot with the food still on his plate.
And then the food disappeared. I asked Josh what was in Muffin’s fruit cup because, when I looked up the next time, it was empty. Josh said…”grapes.”
“Well…there was other fruit.”
“What kind of fruit?
To which Josh replied…”Well…I couldn’t really tell. It was gone too fast.”
The sandwich also went the way of the dodo bird…in this case in Muffin’s stomach. Note: Josh’s and my lunch consisted of tomato basil soup (a bowl for him and a cup for me) and the complimentary bread.
The trip was a great family vacation/bonding/anniversary trip experience. One that we will doubtless do again.