Category Archives: Family

A Trip to the Big Apple

We recently surprised Matt with a long weekend in New York City.  It was a big birthday surprise and we had the BEST time.  We kept this secret for months.  I had scoured the internet finding the best rates on plane tickets and really cool hotels and we honestly hit the jackpot.  When it came time to give him his birthday presents, Milo gave him a book about a little boy that goes for a walk in NYC with his dad.  This didn’t throw Matt off too much because Milo is always talking about going to the Big City.  He loves cabs and subways and tall buildings.  He’s a funny kid.  Anyway, it was only when Cady gave Matt tickets to Wicked on Broadway that he seemed a little confused.


The tickets were for 2 days later so we were all “We are going to New York!”.  Haha – his face!

Milo studied the books and knew all the places he wanted to go.


And the next day we were off!



We wasted no time after arriving.  We caught an uber to Manhattan and then headed out to find something to eat.  We settled on a deli just up the road from our hotel.


Milo was thrilled about all the “taxi cabs”.  We ate our $80 spaghetti, pizza and Reuben and then Milo and Matt headed back to the hotel and Cady and I went ice skating.  I had done a ton of research on what to do while there.  We knew we didn’t want to do some of the more popular touristy things – we’ve done most of those.  So I picked some low key alternatives (aka inexpensive).  Instead of ice skating at Rockefeller center, we elected to head to Wollman Rink in Central Park.


It’s a smaller rink and we had tons of room and NO lines and the prices are way more affordable.  The NYC skyline is at your back and you walk through Central Park to get there.  Definitely a must do if you are there in the winter months.

Next morning we were up early for breakfast and LOTS of adventures.


Another tip is to stay somewhere that has complimentary breakfast.  Our hotel had a super trendy restaurant on the bottom floor.  Literally, people lined up down the block to eat there during the day.  But during breakfast hours the restaurant closed and was only open for hotel guests.  And if you wanted to eat there for a regular meal you got to go in the back door and immediately be seated.  It was crazy seeing the long lines of people waiting hours to get in and we could skip the line because we were staying at The Blakely.  The restaurant is called Black Tap if you are interested – it was YUMMY.  And the crazy shakes are in fact…crazy.  And the balcony on the top floor wasn’t bad either…  Our hotel was classic old school NYC.  We elected to get a suite so Cady could have her own room with a daybed – we loved it and it definitely made our trip better.


Next up was a walk to Grand Central Station.


And of course we had to try out the whispering walls


Grand Central Station is obviously free. It’s a beautiful landmark and Milo knew it from his New York City books.  Next up was the NYC Public Library!

They just don’t make buildings like this anymore.


Amazing marble floors and columns on every floor. We walked around a bit, bought vintage NYC maps in the gift shop, and even headed down to the children’s floor so we could rest our feet and Milo could play legos.


Next up was lunch in Times Square and maybe a visit to the M&M store…



Later that evening Milo and I headed out on a date to Central Park… We followed our map and watched people throw frisbees, play saxophones, and sing opera.  We played “pretend” checkers at the Chess & Checkers House in the park and we visited and chatted with almost every statue.  We headed to the boat house and marched around fountains.  I think Central Park may have been his favorite part of the trip.


The weather was amazing.  I was so scared when I booked the trip back in Nov/Dec that a blizzard would happen in February (which would have been pretty common).  However, we had temps in the 50s & 60s.  Perfect for walking around the city!


While Milo and I were at the park, Cady and Matt got ready to head out for Wicked.  Matt loves Wicked and he had been wanting to take Cady to see it so the opportunity to see it on Broadway was extra fun.


The next day all 4 of us spent some time walking through Central Park (we were staying only 2 blocks away).  Milo and I were Central Park pros at this point, so we gave Cady and Matt a good tour.



I love this boy… So happy he let us make his birthday a family vacation!


And we couldn’t go to NYC with the kiddos and NOT go to the Museum of Natural History.  We’ve all seen Night at the Museum so this is a must stop.




We had lunch at Black Tap and here’s a pic of one of their shakes for your enjoyment.  There is a poptart (I think we may have already removed it by the time I remembered to take this pic) and a rice krispie treat and candy stuck in it…  Some of the shakes have pieces of CAKE on top!


Not gonna lie, our final night there we grabbed the kids McDonalds and then Matt and I went and walked around Times Square.  We had such a great time.  I wish all of our family trips were this easy and fun!


Until next time – Thanks for reading!




The Sparkly Time of Year Has Arrived!


I’ve been listening to Christmas music for weeks, not gonna lie.  Even when I’m NOT listening to it, I’m humming it.  Yes friends, it’s my favorite time of year!

Lately we have enjoyed visits from family with several more to come… we’ve been enjoying yummy meals that take extra time to prepare and make your pants feel tight…we’ve enjoyed wandering the aisles of Target looking at all their fun holiday stuff…Picking out Christmas trees and choo choo trains…and Christmas Plays…  It’s been a fun few weeks and there is more to come.


I told everyone that I made the best thing for Thanksgiving this year…RESERVATIONS!


Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer is becoming an annual tradition for us. 


We were so happy that Matt’s Mom was in town and could enjoy it with us!  Milo’s face though…


Again… that face?!


Another Christmas Play – this time A Christmas Carol at the Wyly here in Dallas… it was amazing!


Christmas Tree Shopping!  We may or may not have 3 trees up in our house…


One of those long trips to Target.  Cady and I both wanted this sweater so this is our edition of “who wore it better?”.  Neither of us ended up getting it.  ha!


This years advent calendar…What can I say, I went super simple this year.  Pieces of scrap paper taped to our chalkboard with activities written on the other side.


We have lots of more fun advent activities waiting for us.  Cady has a Christmas concert this week.  Milo is part of his preschool’s holiday program next week…  This year, in addition to a lot of our regular activities, we’ve added in some fun ones like “put on our own family Christmas play” and “Christmas make-overs”.  And each day I decorate a little more – every corner will be sparkly and  Christmasy by the time December 25th gets here.  I’m not sure who will take it all down but we’ll figure all that out later!  Gage and LaLa will be here for Christmas and we can’t wait until our whole family is in one place – even if it’s just for a few days.

Until next time, I hope you have added sparkly lights to every room in your house…there can never be enough.


Thanks for reading!


Camping and Crafts and Fall


I put Fall in the title but truth is that “Fall” hasn’t actually started yet.  I know it’s coming though, so I’ll be patient.  I was watching the weather the other day (I can be a complete weather nerd sometimes – I have a weather app FOLDER on my phone that I keep all my weather apps in..cause you can’t have too many, right?) and turns out we are actually predicted to have a WARMER than average winter… boo.  We were originally thinking colder than average with maybe lots of snow.  The top third of the nation is supposed to have a colder than average winter, the middle third a “wetter” than average winter, and the lower third a warmer one.  Oh well.  We still might get snow, it will probably just be in March.

A couple of weeks ago we went camping.  We had a great time.  Gage and LaLa drove up and Cady invited her boyfriend “Little Matt” to go as well.  We rented a cabin and also brought a big tent.  Milo has been wanting to camp in a tent and even though this girl DOES NOT tent camp, I did it for one night.

Processed with Snapseed.

It was actually kinda fun…temporarily.  The next night I was in the cabin on my queen sized blow-up mattress with my fluffy pillow and soft blankets.  That’s how I camp…

Processed with Snapseed.

The weather was perfect.  Warm afternoons and cold nights that were good for burrowing into sleeping bags and sitting around the fire.


Milo in our tent with his toy camping equipment – pretend fire, lantern and smores.  

The next day we drove into the small town located about 20 minutes away to visit Efurd Orchard.  They have all sorts of homemade ice cream (made from their produce).  I think we had sweet potato ice cream, apple ice cream, pumpkin ice cream, blackberry ice cream  – we tried a ton of flavors.  We also found some fun gourds and jelly.


biggest pickle ever? ha!

They make all of their own jams and jellies and dips and condiments.  We bought one called “Traffic Jam” and it is divine.  Just had some last night.

Gage and Alyssa had to leave a day early to get back for work and school but the rest of us stayed and hiked and fished and roasted marshmallows.  Fun fact – Cady is actually the ONLY person in our family that eats smores.  I will eat all the components separately, but I don’t like burnt marshmallows.  Anyway, she ate them for breakfast lunch and dinner.


After coming home from a long weekend camping I was happy to have the day off.  Milo and I took advantage of it by spending the day together and painting and decorating our pumpkins.


I entered them in my office pumpkin decorating contest and won second place.  So double WIN – hello amazon gift card.  I’m telling you, my company is the best.

We are coming up on Halloween quick and I *think* we are ready.  Milo has decided on his costume and we’ve got a few festivals/events lined up to attend.  That’s about it though.  I’m mostly looking forward to getting the presidential election over so I can REALLY look forward to the holidays and everything on social media will stop being so hateful!  Know what I mean?  Gage and Alyssa won’t be here for Thanksgiving this year so I made the executive decision to make reservations at a nice restaurant nearby.  I’m so thrilled about it!  I always spend way too much time and money on a meal that sometimes turns out to not be that great.  lol  We’ll still bake some fun desserts for snacking but I’m glad to have a plan in place for a RELAXING nice meal cooked and cleaned up by someone else!  That evening we’ll watch movies and then that weekend we have our first Christmas Play downtown.  Also… the Netflix Gilmore Girls premiers Thanksgiving weekend so I’m WAY looking forward to it!

Until next time, thanks for keeping up with us crazies!


A full start to Fall – Life Lately Oct 2016

I’m about to download a deluge of photos… About a month’s worth… Here’s what we’ve been up to lately:



Processed with Snapseed.

We are channeling our inner “Bob Ross”.



Processed with Snapseed.

We had a bunch of friends over Labor Day weekend for an end of summer celebration.  The weather was perfect, the pool was cool, and the food was yummy.  Love celebrating with these people.


Shopping for Homecoming dresses:

Processed with Snapseed.

Spent a day in Dallas looking for the “perfect” dress.  Favorite part of this pic?  The unicorn balloon animal on the floor.  Cady totally made me buy that for her from the “balloon guy” in the mall. 


I also made a quick trip to Canada and Michigan:


Pic on left is in Windsor, Ontario.  What a lovely little place.  The squirrels have black fur and are VERY friendly.  That one eventually jumped up on my table and glared at me like I had forgotten to bring him a sandwich or something.  Pic on right is when I was cruising down 8-mile in Detroit.  I sang rapped Eminem songs the entire time I was there.  


We took a trip to the moon from the backyard:

Processed with Snapseed.

Gage, Cady and LaLa made this rocket for Milo one night while they were babysitting.  Crazy good, huh?


Milo taught a class to imaginary friends dressed as The Little Prince.


We have read and watched The Little Prince quite a few times.  We found that little fox online from a European company and Milo loves him…sleeps with him every night. His name is “Best Friend Fox”.  


We headed to our local Oktoberfest…it was HOT…


It was fun.  I think Matt mostly enjoyed it because he got to drink multiple steins of beer. 


My sweet friend Kelly came into town so we all went to the Ray LaMontagne concert.  It was fabulous!   Although I was reminded again that I am old and staying out past 10 is so hard. ha!


Three Amigas.. Renee, Kelly & Me.  We may or may not have had a few cocktails at this point.  Also, clutch game on point. 


Processed with Snapseed.

We were so close!  Fortunately while we were taking goofy pics and drinking cocktails, the boys found a good spot.   Only drawback was a guy with a chubby butt in front of us that felt the need to twerk for most of the night…to folk music.  He also kept making out with his date.  #stop


Last week I had to head up to MO for meetings and I was able to take our company jet so I would only be gone for the day.  I LOVED IT!  I totally texted Matt and said “forget the Subaru, we need a jet…now”.  As a frequent traveler, I know the frustrations of delays, security, people in your personal space…  Flying privately is the way to go…also, a rarity.  I’m back to old AA next week.


On the flight home, the copilot let me have his seat and the pilot let me fly the plane.  It was so cool!  I got to push all the buttons and everything! 


Took some pics of this kid on picture day last week…


I literally have no idea when my baby got so big…He turned into a kid overnight I think…


And lastly… last weekend was homecoming.  And my girl had a great time with friends while looking fab-u-lous.


It’s been a full month!

The BIG big kids just got in last night and we are headed camping this weekend.  The weather is supposed to be great and I’m looking forward to unplugging and hiking and getting dirty for a few days.

Check in next week because I am determined to get a post up about all or fall activities – crafts, pumpkin patches, costumes, etc.  Cheers and thanks for reading!

I bought some new boots – must be September…

I realize that September in Texas = summer type weather, but STILL.  I want to buy all the Fall shoes!  Sweaters? Not so much… but give me a pair of super soft suede or worn leather booties any day.  Next week I’m in Michigan (and Canada – yes, Canada for a tiny bit) so I plan to bust out those suckers.

Anyhoo, we have been sucking up every last second of summer lately. We’ve completed a few projects around the house, I went on a Girls’ Trip to South Carolina, and school is back in session.

It’s ironic that I went back to find the post about our laundry room and it was the first post of September last year. ha! I had plans back then to do a slight makeover on the laundry room in the next couple of weeks…well, it took a year. Not sure why we never got around to it, but we just didn’t.  I got up a few weeks ago and I was like… “hmmm, I think I’ll start the laundry room.”  Here’s where we started.


And where we ended…


I had to paint the walls, paint the trim, paint the cabinets and replace the hardware.  We bought a new light, new baskets (we stores tons of off season stuff in those baskets), a drying rack, and a rug.

It was nice to take all the old junk off the walls.  We now only have the drying rack, broom hooks, and a set of hooks for our ironing board.


I put up the faux subway back splash and Matt built that shelf (I love it!!).  It’s nice to just use the under cabinet lights at night for a night light in the hall.


So that’s it – a quick weekend refresh.  We’ve been discussing some more big home projects lately but I just can’t decide.  I’d love to do a complete kitchen and master bathroom remodel but then my next thought is “nah, let’s just sell in a couple years and buy what we want…” I go back and forth. And after the issues of remodeling the pool/backyard, I’m not sure my nerves can take it.

So onto a much MORE FUN topic – our Girls Trip to South Carolina!  Renee and I flew to Charleston, SC to visit our good friend Kelly who lives in the area.  I’ve known Renee and Kelly for longer than I have not – since we were kids.  We went to grade school together and then have kept in touch.  It’s so fun that we can just pick up where we left off – even if it’s been years.


The only thing we did more than gab gab gab, was eat and drink! I can’t wait until our next get together!

Let’s see…what else?  Cady started back to school…


She drove herself…I can’t decide if I love it or hate it.  Okay, so I love it when I need chocolate and don’t feel like driving to get it.  But it makes me a little sad that she is already so grown up.  We have it on our calendars to go shopping for a homecoming dress this weekend.  She has a boyfriend and is REALLY excited about it this year.  sigh…

Milo also started PreK.  I’m not sure why I didn’t take a pic on his first day, but he’s been doing great.  His favorite thing is reading and he is constantly reading to Matt and I.


He and Matt also got “back to school” hipster haircuts.  Adorbs, right?



Gage’s internship ended at the end of August and he already moved out. waaaaah!  I miss him so much and it’s just not the same… I’m holding his and Alyssa’s cactus hostage though, so I know they will be back soon enough.

So are you ready for all the pumpkin stuff to start?  Fall leaves and football and flannel?  I’m not actually ready, but time marches on.  We’ll enjoy it when it gets here.  Until then I’m going to cling to the last bits of summer sun…in my new booties.


Until next time, thanks for reading!

Life Lately, July 2016 edition…



It was in the 70s while we were in Illinois! Perfect for walks and reading!

I started this post a couple weeks ago… Just when we returned from our trip to the Midwest for camping and family adventures and a celebration of America (Independence Day).  My heart was feeling kinda heavy though, even as we watched fireworks and everyone donned their red white and blue and we all whooped and hollered because the 4th is a reason to celebrate, right?!.  It’s just sad to see the politics of our country be so negative and well… gross.   Our own house is divided… it’s crazy.  I get on facebook and see people I really love and care for spouting  the most asinine things… yucky stuff that divides and attacks – and I’m talking about both sides.  So anyway, I haven’t felt super proud of our democracy lately – it seems a bit broken.  THEN… the police shootings happened.  And at first I tried not to watch or read about it because those things make me angry and confused and I just don’t get it.  I remember after the shooting in Minnesota I happened across the facebook video that had been posted.  It was sad and scary and absolutely avoidable.  I was laying in bed that night and I asked Matt, “why did that cop shoot that guy?  There was no reason?  This wasn’t one of those cases where there is some question about right and wrong, it was clearly wrong.”  I’m always one to support the police, I have family and friends that are police officers so I wasn’t choosing a side – I was saddened that something very wrong had taken place.   Sad, sad, sad…  Cady came in a while later and said, “what’s going on in Dallas?  a bunch of cops have been shot?”  And I just kept laying there.  I couldn’t bring myself to turn on the news or get online or anything (we live in the Dallas area, so it was especially close to home for us.).  I just laid there and prayed for this crazy, wicked, broken country of ours.  The next morning I watched along with everyone else as the media broke the news of the tragedy.  My heart broke.  And again I prayed throughout the day… what I didn’t do is listen.  I just kept repeating silently, “dear God, I don’t understand.  Please be with these people who have lost their love ones.  Please help our country.  I’m scared…”  And when I was finally willing to listen God gave me an answer I didn’t ask for.  He convicted me to stop with the frantic worry, intercede in prayer for these people (the innocent and the guilty) and to listen…to just be still.  I need to quit trying to figure everything out and stop convincing people of what I think is right and just let God handle it.  Politics, unlawful shootings, terrorist attacks, I need to remember that God is much, much bigger than these things.


So that’s why I haven’t been online much lately.  I try and keep away from the negative, divisive talk and focus on other things.

And with that, on to our recent adventures.


A coworker brought me a ton of purple hull peas from their farm.  We taught Milo to shell peas and he loved it.  Sometimes the simplest of things are entertaining to littles!  I have fond memories of front porch pea shelling as kid – if you don’t, get some.

Our 10 hour road trip went pretty well this time.


I created a map for Milo so he could get an idea of where we were and how long it would take.  I think it was beneficial… Also, when all else fails, the iPad is always a winner! ha!

Cady decided that while in Missouri she would film a movie…


Matt was one of the stars.  It’s a scary mockumentary about some kids that were murdered in a cornfield back in the 70s… Matt “knew” the people so he’s being interviewed.  He really played into it.  They planted evidence and everything.


Cady is still doing final edits, I’ll have to post a link when it’s done.  I’m sure it will be hilarious and anything but scary since she interviewed a ton of family about the “corn massacre of the 70s” and they were mostly like “what the h3ll are you talking about?!” City kids…

Next up was camping in Illinois!  Ninna came with us and Milo was thrilled.  I’m pretty sure Ninna will do anything Milo tells her to so she is pretty much his favorite person.


Even Milo and Ninna went on a few short hikes with us!

She also taught him some bad language so he has recently learned what ivory soap tastes like.  Just saying.

We chose to stay at a nice cabin that was close to a lodge this time.  We knew myself, Matt and Cady would be venturing out to do some hiking/rock climbing and Milo would not be able to go.  So we picked a cute place at Giant City State Park.  They even had two pools, one was a kid pool that Milo loved – just the right size…


Our cabin.  So cute!  We will definitely stay here again.  The lodge also had a restaurant so that was super convenient.  We brought some food and then had our dinners each evening at the lodge.


The hiking in the Shawnee National forest is fantastic!







There are tons of rock cliffs.  It was amazing.  It would be really cool to go cave hiking or rock rappelling, but this girl is too sensible for all that… (scaredy cat…)


The view from our back cabin… crazy pretty, huh?!

It was a good “camping” trip.  We all enjoyed it.

I have to post this pic too… This is on a road in Illinois.  Is this not the most creepy barn ever?!  See the weird stuffed people hanging in the barn opening?  *shiver*


While back at Ninna’s house we also did all of our normal things.  We thrift shopped…


We find the BEST stuff at an antique store one town over… We go there every time we visit.

We also hung out with family and of course Milo jammed with Uncle Ted.


I have so many pics of these two jammin’.  Uncle Ted was in a band with Matt’s dad so he has lots of great music stories.

It was another successful trip to MO.  I don’t think we’ll be going back until next summer though.  I love going, but it’s a LONG time in the car.  We are hoping Matt’s mom can come down here a couple times over the next year – I mean Milo doesn’t quite know all of the bad four letter words yet.  LOL!!  Until next time, I’ll leave you with this adorable guitarist on his grandmother’s porch.


Thanks for reading and may God bless America – we need it!


Sweet 16 and a Fabulous 4

As I sit down to type this, Milo is running around the house singing “happy birthday to you!”.  He is so used to it being “someone’s” birthday lately, that he just sings it all the time now.

Birthday recaps…

As you are aware, Cady turned 16 a week or so ago.  I just CANNOT believe she is 16…  She wanted a party with friends at a local pizza place so that is exactly what we did.  She also requested a “boho” birthday cake so I actually made one for her.  It was super fun and turned out so cute.  Thanks Pinterest for all the inspiration!




She got about a million presents for her birthday but her favorite was probably her new car…


It’s a cute little sporty Hyundai Elantra that her Dad got her.  We went and picked it up last weekend and she drove it through a drive-thru for the first time.  Of course there was a boy she knew working the window and he was all “Uuuuh, Hi Cady” – she was probably only a little embarrassed.  Although she looked super cool, her Mom was still riding shotgun and asking for extra helpings of fancy ketchup (it WAS whataburger – you have to get extra ketchup…)

The other big birthday event was of course Milo’s.  In his words, his birthday took “FOREVER to get here” so we celebrated for a few days.  Last week was also my last week at home with him full-time so we made sure we took advantage.  We spent time at our community splashpad…


Visited the museum…


Met Daddy for lunch downtown…


And rode the trolley – probably his favorite!


You can also see in this pic that he has a brand new black eye. Welcome to 4 I guess… 😉

And of course, the only present Milo asked for was a bike… so he has been learning to ride that over the last few days.



And If I didn’t mention it before, Milo loves Peppa Pig.  Cady made the most adorable cake topper for his Peppa birthday.


that shiner though… and that dog in the back licking her lips.

Two fabulous birthdays celebrated!

I also started my new job this week… And Milo started his new preschool program.  So far so good!  I cannot believe how crazy blessed I am with this job at this company!  I’ve spent so many years in an environment that was scary and pushy and stressful and I never knew from year to year if I’d even have a job because we did layoffs every.single.year.  I was so afraid to leave though because the money was great, the benefits were great, and you just DON’T leave good jobs like that.  It took a leap of faith and it has turned out better than we could have ever imagined or hoped.  I’ve been in orientation at my new firm this week and the CEO (yes, the CEO) came and talked to us and said – you’ve interviewed for your last job if you want – this can be your career until you retire.  It’s such a different culture. I totally understand the 6 rounds of interviews now – once you’re in…you’re in.  Pic of my new 1.5 mile commute…


I was also in the process of taking a selfie at the office the other day and someone totally walked by and I had to play it off.  How embarrassing.  I haven’t tried again since.

Milo is doing well in his new program too.  Matt and I have finessed our schedules so that he is there from around 9-3.  Give or take a half hour – another blessing that we have jobs with flexible hours!  9-3 is the recommended amount of time a child his age should go to school (or some sort of activity “away” from home) and it is suggested that he go 4 days a week (they should go the number of days of their age)… 1 day at age 1, 2 days a week at age 2, 3 days a week at age 3, etc.  This is recommended so their social skills develop, etc. I realize that a lot of kids go much more because their parents need them in daycare but I really get anxiety over that and it was another reason I was hesitant to go back to work.  I feel good about his school though and I can watch him at anytime from an app on my phone.  See?


I take screenshots periodically to send to Matt throughout the day.  And yes, I pixelated the other kids – don’t want their mugs out on the www without permission!

He looks so sweet there working on his letters (he’s in the peach shirt at the table).  His class is really scheduled and has a good routine.  It’s been a positive thing for him.  The only thing is he doesn’t like their lunch choices but when you have to adhere to our government’s school lunch policies, it makes for some interesting stuff.  They had baked fish for lunch yesterday…And one day this week they are having fresh sliced tomatoes as a snack.  Nasty.  Meanwhile, Matt wants to start eating there… people who eat healthy are weird.  Fortunately, they eat lots of ice pops on the playground and he LOVES that.  And trail mix, he loves the trail mix there.  haha!

So that’s our birthday update.  Next time I’ll update you on some fun things are family has done lately.  Bike Rides and new restaurants and visits from family.  And soon we’ll be taking off on our annual summer trip to the Midwest.  This year we are camping in Illinois and I think it’s going to be a BLAST.

Thanks for reading!