On their way back to El Paso from Houston, my in-laws stopped off here in San Antonio.  Ryan’s youngest sister’s husband is an NCO in the Army (we’re one big Army family!) and stationed at Ft. Bliss, Texas.  They have three sons, the youngest of whom was just born at the beginning of December.  We decided yesterday to take advantage of Sea World’s program “Here’s to the Heroes” where active duty military and their dependents are admitted to the park for free once per year.  So, all nine of us were admitted to Sea World for free (the 5 of them, the 3 of us, and Ryan & his sister’s mom).  The “Here’s to the Heroes” program saved us $460!! WOW!

The kids had a fantastic time. Aidan loves Sea World. She’s been three times.  I can say with total faith that it’s WAY better to go in the winter than in the summer!! We were able to see three shows this time in addition to the stingray tank that is the “sneak peak” for the new Aquatica portion of the park.  The first two times we’ve been to the park, the Shamu show has always been sort of an iffy thing.  The first time we went, Labor Day weekend, when Aidan was 4, she wasn’t able to sit through the whole thing.  She tends to get over-stimulated by loud noises and crowds.  Ryan had to take her out and sit on a bench to calm her down while I recorded the show for her to watch later.  The next year we missed the show.  This year the music was much calmer & quieter since it was Christmas music.  She LOVED the Shamu show!

After Shamu we saw the sea lion show.  The kids adored the little otter that kept running through and doing silly things.  Sea World at Christmas time is really neat.  They gear all the shows towards Christmas, play holiday music everywhere, and have Christmas lights everywhere. It was so neat to see.  When the sea lion show ended we had some time to kill so Nonnie (my MIL) took the boys into a souvenir shop to look around, Haley fed the baby, Dave & Ryan held down our seats with Aidan and I went to get snacks.  I love that Sea World’s prices for snacks aren’t exorbitant.  I got a bottle of water, a bottle of juice and a container of strawberries for $6.25.  Not bad!  After we got everyone rounded back up (it’s hard to keep 9 people together in a theme park!) we headed over to the Azul Dolphin/Beluga Show.  That’s always our favorite show.  It’s like what I

imagine Cirque du Soliel to be like, only with dolphins and beluga whales. 🙂 After the show, we stuck around to let the crowd thin out.  While we were doing that, we discovered that the cast members come down & let guests take pictures with them.  Aidan wanted her picture taken with the “bird girl”.  There’s a portion of the show where a girl comes down from the center of the roof on a ring and does a dance with silks, dressed kind of like a bird.  Everytime we’ve been to Sea World, Aidan is completely mesmerized by this show and especially the “bird girl”.  It was really fun for her to get to take her picture with her.

Today we’re spending our New Years Eve, taking down the Christmas decorations, rearranging the living room, and cleaning.  I’m doing some massive organization on my computer (I’m a tad OCD about my virtual space…it has to be PRISTINE) and we watched the Aggies win their bowl game and last game as members of the Big 12.  Happy New Year’s y’all!  Here’s to 2012!!  Lots of changes on tap for the new year!