Summer Vacation!

Popsicles: sometimes they aren’t worth it.

(He’s showing us that it’s dripping.)

Our first non-work-related, just-the-three-of-us, family vacation with Jackson: totally worth it.

Curtis, Jackson and I just got home last night from our weekend vacation to none other than San Antonio, Texas. I thought of all my siestas while we were there. I can’t wait until we converge on that beautiful city in a couple of months!

We stayed at the wonderful Hyatt Hill Country Resort from Thursday night through Sunday. I’d found a great deal on rates for a stay before June 1. What an amazing place! It was really unique to be at a nice, beautiful resort that totally catered to families. I’d heard that it was a great place for kids and it definitely was. We spent most of our time in the pool and lazy river. In the evenings they do s’mores over a fire and show a movie on a big screen over a beautiful lawn. They even had pony rides! This is not where you’d want to stay for the Siesta Fiesta due to its location, but if you are ever in town with your families, definitely consider it.

On Friday we stayed at the hotel and enjoyed everything there. For Mother’s Day, Curt and Jackson gave me a gift certificate to have a massage at the hotel’s spa and I got to enjoy it that day. It was wonderful! The spa building looked like an old ranch house attached to a red barn. Check it out:

On Saturday we got up early and headed to Sea World, which was only a mile or two away from the hotel. We watched the Shamu show first thing and I won’t lie – I totally teared up. What kind of God do we have that would make such incredible creatures? And that He would give man the ability to have some sort of relationship with them? Our God is awesome! Sea World also has a water park and we took advantage of it in the afternoon when the sun started beating down on us. Jackson, our little water bug, had the time of his life.

We checked out of our hotel on Sunday and drove to Gruene, Texas, to have lunch at the Grist Mill. It is not to be missed. After that, we stopped briefly at the San Marcos Prime Outlet Mall where they have a Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma, Restoration Hardware, Crate and Barrel, and a ton of other great stores. (I think we were about an hour away from San Antonio.) I didn’t need one thing, but it was fun to look! We grabbed some ice cream cones from Baskin Robbins, taking great care not to repeat the Popsicle Incident of ’08, and started the trek home.

You may notice that I don’t have any pictures of us at the pool or at Sea World. As usual, I didn’t want to take a chance on getting my camera wet. So just imagine the three of us drenched from head to toe, smiling big, having pruny hands and feet, and looking slightly more tan than before. Welcome, summer!



116 Responses to “Summer Vacation!”

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  1. 1
    Brian and Nicole says:

    I would also like to ask where is the picture of you with Jackson or a family picture? We have got in the habit of asking strangers to take our picture, so we can have a few family photos. Our daughter is two and the first few months all photos we her and daddy! He is better now at getting out photos taken too.

  2. 2
    Brian and Nicole says:

    I forgot to also say that it looks like you guys had a very fun family vacation and what a great gift to give you a massage! And to be able to get away as a family and make some memories!

  3. 3
    Vicki Courtney says:

    Woo-hoo! I love the Hill Country Hyatt. And the San Marcos Outlet Mall–you were so close, you should have called me! I can always justify a trek to the Pottery Barn Outlet.

    Loved the popsicle pics and that last one of Jackson was hilarious! I’ll be in San Antonio for the Living Proof event and plan to track you and your mama down for a hug!

  4. 4
    HisTreasuredPossession says:

    oh my! Yes, my almost 2 year old is doing that same “thing” every time there’s a “no” from mama. AH, the refining that’s happening in my own life. So glad ya’ll had a restful vacation. Welcome Home.

  5. 5
    Michelle V says:


    Oh what a blessed time for the three of you! I’m so happy you had that time together! They grow up so fast! I see Jackson and think my oldest son who is now nearly a foot taller than I am! 🙂

    And I’m counting the days until we Siestas hit San Antonio by storm!


  6. 6
    Nicole says:

    I made an earnest LOL at the picture of your little guy crying with the Popsicle. I think it was the series of photos…”cute kid with popsicle”..”cute kid with dripping popsicle”…”cute kid crying over popsicle.”


    Thanks for sharing, and so glad you have a fun get-away.

  7. 7
    Chelsie says:

    Amanda I’m so glad you had this time with your family. It can be so great to just hang out with no schedule. Thanks for sharing the pictures. It is such a joy to see the fun your little guy has.

  8. 8
    strawberry rose says:

    I’m glad y’all had fun. I bet everything was beautiful at the hotel.

  9. 9
    Leah says:

    Don’t you just love Gruene? We were there in April and ate at the Grist Mill–great place. Did you go to Buck Pottery just down the street from the Grist Mill? They have to-die-for pottery that I bought way more of than I should!! I have also called back a couple of times since and had them ship pottery to me to give as gifts! Terry and Dee and the folks there are the best. You have to check it out the next time you are in Gruene!!


  10. 10
    Angela says:

    Amanda, look for Popsicle brand Long Lasting SlowMelts the next time you buy posicles. They last much longer than any other.
    We love SeaWorld, we just bought season passes for Orlando and it was a good investment.
    Thanks for sharing your vaca with us.

  11. 11
    Kim Safina says:

    The Journey continues ~

    Pop & the little Firecracker with popsicles running down him.
    TOO PRECIOUS! Priceless memories
    with “Heaven Bound” blessings,

  12. 12
    CrownLaidDown says:

    My roommate in college (at University of Texas, Chris says that’s before I got saved and went to A&M) lived one mile from Sea World, before it had grown up like it is now. She also worked there. So we had much fun and awe watching the creatures there. My favorite is the otter and the walrus show they had back around 1989.

  13. 13
    DigiNee says:

    Delightful post! So glad you had fun —- had to laugh at the popsicle shots – such is life when it is so hot . . . just keep the water hose handy and let him go at it!

  14. 14
    Moops says:

    The picture of Jackson on his daddy’s shoulders and Curt smiling from ear to ear….adorable!!

  15. 15
    Beth says:

    Oh, Bibby loves that boy so much she can hardly STAND IT!

  16. 16
    Anonymous says:

    Ah, Summer Vacations! I’ve heard that Hyatt is a fun place to visit. Poor Jackson having a meltdown over his meltdown! We loved the Sea World in Tampa. It’s such a great place to visit for the entire family. Looks like you all had a fun family getaway! Such refreshing time together!
    Blessings, Amy in OK

  17. 17
    MITZI says:

    Bibby, I bet you kiss the computer screen when you see that little boy. 🙂 I know those grandma feelings of yours.

  18. 18
    Stefani says:

    I love the Gristmill! The Torpedos are my favorite! I worked there in college as a waitress. All those stairs made my calves look great 🙂 Glad you all had fun–aren’t family-friendly vacation spots the best? We are going in a few weeks to Horn Creek in Colorado with several families from our church–should be awesome! Have a great summer!!!

  19. 19
    purefire says:

    Yay for vacations! Looks like ya’ll had a great time. It’s so nice to just get out of town for a bit and just have fun together. Glad ya’ll had a happy and safe trip. Welcome back!

    Love ya’

  20. 20
    Kelly R. says:

    How fun!! I’m so glad you were able to do that as a family. And I with you…WELCOME SUMMER….WHOO HOOO!!

  21. 21
    Traci Anne says:

    Oh my goodness, he is NOT wearing Lightning McQueen shoes. Is he?? So. Cute.

    I also make that face when my popsicle drips. Sigh.

    Adorable pictures!

  22. 22
    Reneé says:

    I just missed y’all at the Grist Mill – I had dinner there last night before a show at Gruene Hall! Definitely one of my all-time favorite “gems” of the hill country…

  23. 23
    Shellie Paparazzo says:

    Yuck. I don’t like summer. I can’t stand the heat, but I’m glad you guys had a good time. My kids last day of school is Wednesday and then my life gets absolutely insane.

  24. 24
    Mary Watkins says:

    Dear Amanda,
    I am so glad the Jones had the chance to get away for some R&R. It sounds like you all had a blast. I do believe Jackson is getting cutier by the day.

    I too look forward to our Siesta Fiesta in San Antonio.

    Love you!

  25. 25
    Anonymous says:


    We stayed there last year…got a great deal! It rained some, but we still had fun and the massage I got was the best ever!

    Thanks for sharing…see you in SA.

  26. 26
    Nicole says:

    Welcome home! Glad you guys had a blast! Love the pictures of Jackson and his broken popsicle..he is too cute. Pray you have grace as you begin the unloading process… dirty laundry and just plain coming back to real life! It is always hard for me after a relaxing vacation. We go to Pine Cove (an amazing Christian family camp) every summer and get totally pampered there by their incredible staff! While we love coming home, its always an adjustiment for our family!

  27. 27
    Rose says:

    Absolutely LOVE that picture of Jacks giving an ‘upset’ face!!! Popsicle, $2.00
    waterbill for spraying $5.00
    son’s face expression- – PRICELESS!!
    Sorry, not as creative as you, couldn’t come up with something more creative :>

  28. 28
    rusty'swife says:


    You hit all of my favorite places. Love Sea World. What did Jackson think of the Clydedales and the Aquarium? Shampoo as my oldest child calls him to this day, she’s only 28, has alway been the last stop of the day, go out with greatness.

    Glad you got some family time to just bond and be.

  29. 29
    Jill_in_AL says:

    So glad you took time to get a Baskin-Robbins….yum! Precious pics and smiles.

  30. 30
    BEBE says:

    We have stayed there – just my husband and me – but thought is was such a great place and we loved the lazy river. These are such special times in your lives – building memories!!! What fun we had with our two daughters at that age – everything is exciting. How very thoughtful for Curtis and Jackson to give you such a well deserved gift – good job guys!!!
    Whoa to the melting popsicle! He has such adorable facial expressions!!!

  31. 31
    Anonymous says:

    oh man- the gruist mill. we used to drive down there in highschool from the woodlands – seeing Pat Greene, canoing on the river, and eating at the lovely mill 🙂 thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  32. 32
    Anonymous says:

    Is that Lighten’ McQueen shoes I see????? They look very familiar as I have a little one that will turn three this Sunday. He is all about The movie “Cars”, Nascar, Hotwheels and “Speedracer”. Looks like y’all had a great time. We are taking a little weekend family vacation this weekend to the mountains. Can’t wait. I wish y’all the best summer ever. Keep the pics coming. They are great. God Bless you, Curt and Jackson.

  33. 33
    Katie says:

    How fun! Those pictures are adorable, and if you would not mind, could you please tell me where you got those shoes? My three year old LOVES Cars and Lightening McQueen, and he would absolutely go buts over those! Glad you guys got to have a relaxing fun vacation together!

  34. 34
    Anonymous says:

    My two year old has a meltdown (pun intended) almost everytime he gets a popsicle as well. He is a control freak in the making and bless his little high-strung heart, he can’t handle the drips and should a chunk fall off…oh my. He would sympathize with Jackson entirely. No some treats just aren’t worth it. 🙂

    Angela, WA

  35. 35
    Cheryl Barker says:

    Amanda, we just got home last night ourselves from a long weekend family reunion vacation in Branson, Missouri. We had a slightly larger group than you did, though — 21! Family getaways are great, aren’t they?!

  36. 36
    Donna says:

    Oh that look is all too familiar from my own ds.

  37. 37
    Anonymous says:

    children are the most precious…

  38. 38
    Maria Cristina says:

    oooooooooooooooh that Picture of Jackson crying… it tears me up and yet it is so absolutely PRE-CIOUS! Amanda, thank you for giving me a glimpse of Summer at the beautiful resort ! it’s STILL rainy and miserable here in London!


  39. 39
    Meg @ Spicy Magnolia says:

    What a special vacation, Amanda! My parents live in San Antonio and we go to Sea World every chance we get, and I am never short of awe in God’s creativity, like you said! It is incredible. What precious memories of your trip…it’s made me ready for my own vacation. 🙂

  40. 40
    Alli Rogers says:

    Frederick Buechner writes about crying after watching a similar show at Sea World. It’s in his book of sermons called “Secrets in the Dark”. In the sermon titled “The Great Dance” he says,

    “We shed tears because we had caught a glimpse of the Peaceable Kingdom, and it had almost broken our hearts. For a few moments we had seen Eden and been part of the great dance that goes on at the heart of creation. We shed tears because we were given a glimpse of the way life was created to be and is not. We had seen why it was that “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” when the word was first made, as the book of Job describes it…”

    It’s such a great sermon, I want to post the whole thing! I think you would enjoy reading it,


  41. 41
    Anonymous says:

    Oh amanda i was just at San Antonio a week or so before you. A friend and I left great ol Houston to take a girls weekend. I too got tears in my eyes watching Shamu. I did look around to see if anyone noticed. Whew! no one did. I just praised God because those animals and their trainers are just so beautiful. They then invited a little girl to go up there and hang out with them while they did their signals after giving her their noise makers for the whales. I could just see the excitment in her. So glad you got to get some family time. God bless you.

  42. 42
    Fran says:

    What a cool place y’all stayed!!!

    The popsicle incident was priceless…his face says it all!

    glad you had so much fun. I thought of you and hoped it was all good.

    Thanks for sharing!

  43. 43
    Amy Beth @ Ministry So Fabulous! says:

    I cannot even begin to get my head wrapped around the fact that you love Shamu as much as I do.

  44. 44
    Anonymous says:

    DARLING pic of Jackson with that frown – I’m sorry for him, but it was tres cute.

    Sometimes the summer is SUCH a challenge,

    Warm in Alaska.

  45. 45
    Sarah says:

    I love a gal who can cry over Shamu!! I have never seen that amazing creature, but I would completely weep over her with you. Love that Jackson didn’t exactly appreciate a melting popsicle. Looks stressful!! I have a friend who says she was 12 before she knew you could eat a popsicle other than in the bathtub — where her mother always made her eat hers!! 🙂

  46. 46
    Tina Vega says:

    Jackson’s popsicle series is TOO FUNNY! That is so the way it goes, isn’t it?

  47. 47
    doxielovers says:

    Thanks for sharing. The last “Popsicle” pictures had me LOL…and boy did I need a good laugh today :o)

  48. 48
    Kathy In Arkansas says:

    Oh what fun! Makes me want a popsicle.

    Looking forward to San Anotnio and hoping to go to Sea World to swim with the dolphins.

    Maybe you could arrange some “tours” for the area for all us siesta’s. I know I as others will be alone.

    Just went to Branosn for a day last week, we’re only a hop skip and a jump away. Planning vacation over July 4 for D.C. and NY! About 10 days of nonstop action and no rest!

  49. 49
    Jackie Sue says:

    Amanda, I’ve been to Sea World lots of times and honestly Shamu blows me away! I tear up every single time…I so want to be a whale trainer in Heaven! So glad you had a great time!

  50. 50
    Dionna says:

    Love the picture of Jackson sitting in the dirt by the barrell of flowers. Too cute!

    Glad you had a great getaway and start to your summer.

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