18 JanMommy’s trip to TX

For Christmas we gave Mimi a mother-daughter trip to Austin and Waco, TX. It took a little prep getting there with Lisa working 11 hours Monday and several hours Tuesday between appointments and getting everything ready to go. Wednesday morning though we were ready and at the airport bright and early for our 6:15 flight.

Lunch with my favorite girls Tuesday before leaving Wednesday

Wednesday morning we were up and at the airport at 5 am. Early flight means we got almost a full day enjoying TX. The flights were smooth and we arrived earlier than planned which gave us plenty of time to get our rental car and make it to Waco for our lunch reservation at Magnolia Table. It was decorated as we expected from watching ‘Fixer Upper’. The burger and jalapeño jam was fabulous! The hash browns and bacon yummy too but the eggs were a little bland for our taste. Of course we took a few photo ops before leaving to head to the silos.

It was a little smaller than we expected but had a great atmosphere and green space to hang out. Of course, we visited the bakery too. Lisa took a picture of the bathroom floor per Leia’s request since she recalled them saying people would come in just to see the floor. As a surprise we also got cupcakes to take home to the girls. We went to Harp Design and original location of Magnolia Café which now housed, Little Shop on Bosque. They use it now as a clearance store.

Next on our tour of Waco was the Homestead Craft area. We walked thru pottery store and general store before Lisa was finally adamant she was going back and making pottery. We all made bowls. Can’t wait for them to ship the finished products to us after they are fired. They were each so unique. We stopped by a cave and cheese place to check it out and taste yummy cheese before going to a rooftop winery for a glass of wine and chill time then went to a local place for fajitas before finally going to the hotel and checking in for the night. Comically, Stacy noticed 9 other Mexican restaurants before we drive 2 miles to the hotel; I think they have a heavy Mexican influence. We called it an early night after the early morning wakeup call but looked forwarded to the adventures the next day held.

Checking out our rental. It was a step up from ‘Big Blue’ on the last trip

Welcome to Texas

Lunch at Magnolia Table. Thankful we were able to get a reservation and did not have a couple hour wait

Welcome to Waco

Visiting Magnolia Market at the Silos. The store was not quite as large as we expected but loved the outdoor area and the relaxing atmosphere

Of course we visited the bakery and took a pic in the bathroom per Leia’s request

So much fun doing pottery! This was a highlight of the trip. Loved doing something new and excited to see how they turn out after they are fired

Roof top wine bar in Waco was so relaxing and fun 

The server at the wine bar recommended a Mexican restaurant for dinner. Nice sharing fajitas and enjoying a good drink

Grandpa came to hang out with the girls while mommy was on her trip and daddy went to a plant for work. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that Leia sent a selfie of them on the couch!!

 

Thursday morning upon waking Lisa looked around for Mimi since she was not in the bed. Surprisingly, Mimi was in the floor on the other side of the divider wall sleeping. She said that Stacy had woke her twice for snoring and she did not want to disrupt her sleep so she moved as far away as possible not to disturb Stacy. After that craziness we all went to the lobby to get a cup of coffee and work on our game plan for the day.

First stop was ‘Our Breakfast Place’ to fill our bellies before heading back to the hotel to pack up. As we were going back into the hotel parking lot we saw a tour bus then Mimi spotted a member from Oak Ridge Boys in the lobby. Afer we checked out we got a quick picture of Mimi and him in the lobby. Stacy requested we drive thru Camron Park so Lisa drove us thru it. Lisa suggested getting out and walking on a little but Stacy and Mimi didn’t want to sicne it looked like it could rain so instead we headed to the Dr Pepper museum.

We  knew when we started planning this trip and saw that Waco was the birth place of Dr Pepper and had a museum we had to go to it since that is the only soft drink Mimi drinks. It was cool to walk through it, to learn to be a “flavorist” you had to work minimum of 7 years, plus we got sampled it afterwards. Mimi and Stacy said the sample tasted watered down. Lisa said it tasted fine to her of course Lisa may drink a sip or two of soda a year so she is not a good judge. While we were in the ‘Pop Shop’ having our sample Lisa asked the attendant about a historical house to tour. The attendant quickly asked if we wanted a historical house or magnolia house then did a ‘cha-ching’ with her arm when Lisa said historical; apparently there is a lot of people who like to tour the houses remodeled by Chip and Joanne but we do not consider those to be historical in our definition.  

After our Dr Pepper tour we walked thru a couple stores before going to ‘East Terrace House Museum’ to tour a home that was built in 1872 by a successful business man named, John Wesley Mann. The home was beautiful and is being completely restored to reflect what it would have looked like after it was built. After that tour we decided to go try some Italian food at what was described as a authentic Italian restaurant, Barris. It was a good recommendation! The salad dressings were great and bread freshed baked. We started drive to Austin with full bellies.

Stacy requested we stop at Buckees since she could not believe the number of billboards advertising a gas station. It was a HUGE gas station with 127 pumps, a deli, bbq station and anything else you could want to eat, plus all types of specialty items. We spent 30 minutes there. The girls would have had a field day and might need an hour. Alas we were on our way though and opted to stop by ‘Blanton Museum of Art’ as we entered Austin. Stacy had looked it up and we lucked upon going on a day that had free admission.

We headed to the hotel from the museum and were greeted with a glass of wine upon check-in. We enjoyed feta and crackers with the wine. After sitting in the room a little bit we decided we should get out and enjoy the city to try to get a game plan for the next day. Turns out if you as anyone in Austin what to do everyone tells you the same thing: eat, shop, and bars at night. We walked around for a few minutes but itt started raining a little harder than we wanted so we stopped by a store to grab a bottle of wine and called it an early night as we retired back to the room all soaked. 

Yummy breakfast 

Dr Pepper muesum for my Dr Pepper loving family. Although both Mimi and Stacy said the bottled DP’s are better

Stopping by the biggest gas station we have every saw, Buccee’s
If we see one of these with the girls and have a hour to spare we will stop with them 

Getting our education on at the art muesum

Fancy hotel that gave us champagne at check in and brought water, chocolates, and candles in the evening

Exploring the city before it started pouring 

 

Despite the early retirement Lisa got minimal sleep. She was not tired when we first laid down and ended up playing on her phone until 10:45 listening to Stacy sleep talk telling us to stop snoring but the room was quite other than her talking. Finally deciding to call it a night Lisa was awaken at 10:55 with Stacy shaking her saying to stop snoring. So then it took another hour and a half to fall back asleep. Thankful that there is coffee set up on each floor at the butlers area when we all woke up the next morning.

We walked to grab coffee dressed in our ZaZa robes and chilled out in the room acting like ladies of leisure. It was after 8 before we got out of the room. We stopped by Mary’s for a ‘Green Grill Cheese’ which was not a item that we would of traditionally ordered if it had not been for a sweet, local lady in the restaurant who suggested it. After we filled our bellies we went to ‘Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farm’ to explore homes and structures from the 1800s that have been relocated for various surrounding areas.

We were thankful that it did not pour the entire time we toured the farm but pushed thru the rain to walk around the whole farm before driving back towards the hotel. We elected to stop by ‘Graffiti Park’ to see that landmark then drove down Rainy Street where houses had been transformed into bars for an entertainment area. We headed back to the hotel to escape the rain again and park the car since a city is not the best place to drive and Austin drivers are not use to driving in the rain; we had saw several wrecks that day and locals had said it did not rain that often there.

We ventured out after a little bit when the rain eased up to try Coopers Barbecue since Chris said it was really good barbecue. We found where we were going tonight then headed back to the hotel to people watch and find a movie on the TV since we had not found much to do other than eat and drink in Austin. Stacy had made a reservation at Cru for happy hour at 4 that afternoon. It was just around the corner from the hotel. The bartender was fabulous and we chilled out there a couple hours or so just enjoying being together. Next we headed to a local coffee shop called “The Hideout” since Lisa had reserved us tickets for a show, “The Knuckelball” that night. The show was described as a “Fast and Furiously Funny Comedy from Improv Pros”; none of us had ever been to a improv show so it was something new. We sprinted back to the hotel afterwards to pack our bags since our flight home was the next day.

Coffee bar for the win

Quick breakfast at Mary’s. It was comical Stacy picked the joint next to the hospital, guess she was missing work

Exploring Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farm. It might have been a little better if it were not so wet and muddy but we had fun just being together

Graffiti Park is closed since they are relocating it but we did want to see it although there was several no trespassing signs so we just snapped a picture from the road

Relaxing and exploring the hotel while it rained some more
  
Chris recommended Cooper’s Barbecue for lunch one day so we tried it. That night there was standing room only with the line out the door

We hung out in a wine bar for over two hours. How much fun just getting to spend time, fellowshipping with a couple of my favorite ladies
 
Enjoying a impromptu show. We were not sure what to expect but it was fun and funny

 

Saturday morning as we woke we noticed Stacy sitting in the chair on the opposite side of the room. Apparently, she had been up and down half the night unable to sleep. It maybe time to start getting two rooms :-/. Nevertheless, we all went to get coffee from the butler area and chilled a few minutes before going to “Snooze” for breakfast before heading to the airport to go home where we all hope to sleep better.

Enjoying the coffee bar on the way out

Breakfast in the city that likes to eat

 At the airport, ready to head home

There was a female pilot on our way home. Leia had mentioned on the planes we have rode on she had never saw a female pilot but that she might want to be one. So when we saw we had a female pilot I asked to get a picture of her but she insisted that I join her for the picture. I wish Leia would have been there to be in the picture! 

Loved my welcome home sign the girls made and Ivy’s dance

 
The rest of the weekend was low key! Other than cooking dinner at our house Sunday night with the Rhoads’ and Mimi, then having neighbors over Monday we chilled just us and our girls; thankful to have a long weekend!

12 JanWeekend fun

Friday mommy got to have lunch with the girls 

Sweet Ivy had fun playing with a Barbie she bought and found a new hair style she likes

Saturday was a busy but fun day for us! The girls went to girl scout cookie rally then to McWane for a birthday party. That evening Lisa went with Mimi to see “Les Misérables” while the girls chilled out at home with Chris. The play was was a fabulous but Lisa got home after her bedtime.  

Cookie Rally fun




At home the girls had fun playing with a science kit Leia got

   
We went to McWane for our neighbor, Elliot’s 4th birthday 

  

Happy on Sunday both girls had play dates with friends while Chris and Lisa both worked to try to help Monday not be so rough. Wish we could go to a 2 day work week and 5 day weekend. 😉

07 JanJanuary 2020 Week One

This New Year kicked off the beginning of a new decade and new year. It is always exciting to start a new year and dream of what will happen. Both Daddy and Mommy were off for a couple weeks at the end of 2019 so we got to focus more on our sweet little family, spend more time together, and loved every minute of it; it might have spoiled us a little bit. Once the excitement of the new year settles down though, it hits that school and work is starting back very soon and with that the normal, hectic, everyday life. Mommy may dread the school and work starting back more than anyone else in the house knowing that we won’t have as much time just to be with homework, after school activities, and normal stuff but we try focusing on the moments we have until work and school starts back but we savor the last few days of no set schedule as we ease into 2020. 

New Year’s Day we rode the golf cart while the rest of the gang cheered on Alabama to victory then had our traditional New Year’s lunch of peas and greens during half time at Mimi’s house with the Rhoads’,  Mimi, and Al. Alabama has won all their games this year … they only have had one game in 2020 and beat Michigan in the Citrus Bowl


As soon as we got home we put the sensor bar up for the Wii so the girls could discover they loved the dance game Mimi gave them for Christmas

Chris started back to work on the second of January; easing our way back into the grove. The girls woke up and their day was normal until they noticed the time and thought daddy should be up can we go wake him and mommy had to tell them he was at work. They were shocked he was working since they were stlll off. Throughout the morning they asked a few times when he’d be home. Of course that was between them showing off their dance moves playing ‘Dance Now’. They happily stopped playing though when Mimi called to ask us to go to lunch with her, Sara, and Katie

Lisa headed back home after lunch while Mimi took all 4 grand-girls to Urban Air. Aunt Stacy met them there to pick up Sara and Katie since they had spent Wednesday night with Mimi. Thursday night was Leia and Ivy turn to spend the night so mommy and daddy both could go in early Friday morning. Our girls picked their evening entertainment at Mimi’s choosing to go to Target to spend some of their Christmas gift cards, eating dinner at Moe’s, and then ending it simply hanging out at Mimi’s house playing and watching a movie together

So thankful Mimi sends good morning pictures!!! She said she offered to go anywhere they wanted that morning too but they elected to just hang out and play at the house. I think they are smart girls to chill out with school starting back soon. Mommy wished she was not back at work already but thankful it was only a half day and it was Friday; easing into it.  

Ivy told Mimi when they started to head back to the house at 11 that she was starving and could not even make it back to Vestavia without eating so they stopped in Gardendale on the way home

There’s our big girls sweet smile

When we got off work we loaded the car to head to Newnan so we could celebrate Grandpa’s birthday with him. We got there by 4 EST so the girls had a few minutes to play before we went to Carrabbas for dinner then back to the house for cookie dough ice-cream cake that evening. 

Little Ivy loved opening his gifts for him. Both our little monkeys enjoyed helping light the candles and blowing them out 🙂
 

Saturday morning, Deedee and Grandpa fixed a big breakfast with sous chefs, Leia and Ivy. After breakfast Chris and Lisa volunteered to clean up the table while the girls and Deedee headed upstairs to set up a restaurant. We all joined them once it was set up for a little fun before getting dressed to go to “Bubbles and Brushes”. The girls painted pretty pictures then we all hung out a little while at the house before we headed home to unpack and start our New Year’s closet cleanups before the girls started back school Monday.
Our girl loves pictures! She wanted to pose while they were at Bubbles and Brushes 🙂 

Then that evening we went to dinner then hosted game nights with our friends and neighbors. WE also let Buddy our dragon try on his new leash. Thankful for the evening of laughter with sweet friends! 
 

Sunday morning we woke up to the temperature below 30 but the sun was out and it looked beautiful looking outside. We let everyone in the house get up at their own leisure knowing this was the last day of the girls Christmas break. They ordered their breakfast and mommy headed to the kitchen to make sausage balls, little round sausages, biscuits, pancakes, and eggs as ordered. To her delight the girls joined her. Leia rolled out half the sausage balls while Ivy cooked the pancake. It was nice having them in the kitchen helping and make mommy smile; so blessed to have such sweet girls! We all sit to enjoy our meal together. Chris mentioned the temperature so the girls started talking about how they wish it would rain so the roads would ice and they couldn’t go to school tomorrow.  As soon as we were finished the girls scurried off to the playroom in hopes of having a home morning while mommy and daddy worked on a few things that needed fixed in the house. When they did come back up we reminded them school started again so they got the rest of the reading finished we were all laxed on over the break.
 

Monday was the day Ivy dreaded, they started back to school. While Ivy totally dreaded it and said she could just see her friends away from school, Leia was in-different to it. The day went off without a hitch with the girls back at school and daddy/mommy at work despite the fact that Chris dropped them off early and mommy was still at work when daddy left so he picked them up too; it was a long first day back to school! That evening though mommy grabbed them Chick-Fil-A on the way home and we all got to snuggle and relax watching one of the girls shows, just what this momma needed. 

Tuesday marked the end of the first full week in 2020. We were all settled back into school and work. We still miss the days we all were home, having fun together without the worries of school or work but they give us the opportunity to do some pretty amazing things together. We treasure any time we get with each other, friends and family. We are counting down to MLK Day since we are all off and can have an extra day to just relax (hopeful Chris will not have too much homework). This year is going to be a great one! Chris will graduate in May and we  have a few adventures already planned. We hope this year takes us on many adventures, planned or spontaneous to make precious memories with family and friends! 

31 Dec2019 turns 2020

House decorated and ready for the New Year celebration

Games ready for family time

Sweet neighbors and friends came by to say hello 

We said it was 12 o’clock somewhere and took a NYE picture

The girls started game time while mommy and daddy was cooking and we were waiting on Mimi and Al to arrive for our night of celebration

 
We enjoyed a yummy dinner together
 
Yum-yum

The girls made brownies to accompany our homemade ice-cream for dessert while the adults finished eating dinner 

Toasting in the New Year playing games is always fun

The girls entertained us with shows after game time

We said it was 12:00 somewhere and celebrated the New Year a little early with Mimi and Al before they headed back to Gardendale

We even toasted in the ‘New Year’ together 

The girlies ended up falling asleep while they were waiting on midnight but we woke them to watch the ball drop on eastern time before we called it a night

Celebrating a new year with poppers. Praying this year brings blessings to our family and friends

30 DecLeia’s 10th birthday trip – Lego Land and Seaworld

The day after Christmas we loaded the car to head to Sea World and Legoland for Leia’s 10th birthday trip. It took us almost 10 hours with food, gas, and potty stops. When we finally got to the room Chris was ready to relax so Lisa took the girls to explore a little the 28 acres of the resort and find a pool they wanted to get into. Leia said it felt good while Ivy said it was a little chilly but they both had fun playing. Mommy made them get out at 9:45 to go get baths and in bed so we would be well rested for the day at Sea World the next morning. 

On the way to our adventure

Love how their personalities shine thru in this random picture waiting on the elevator

These two were excited to swim in December
  

We were up brought and early to go to the buffet breakfast at the hotel so we could head to explore Sea World. Chris saw a roller coaster on the way in called Mako and asked Leia about doing it but she declined. We suggested he go ahead and ride it since 10 minute wait while we went to do something else. We walked thru an aquarium then made our way to the penguin ride only to find out there was a electrical issue and all rides were closed. There was a walking exhibit for the penguins so we elected to do that instead. it was chilly in the exhibit but we watched the penguins shake their butts before we headed to feed the sea lions. Chris’s 10 minute wait was a little longer with the technical issue but but he said it was a fun coaster and was able to meet back up with us to go to the dolphin show.

The dolphin shows was one of our favorites. We all loved watching their tricks and grace in the water. Of course we sat in the splash zone. Thankfully Lisa and Leia did not get splashed but Chris and Ivy did. Next on the agenda was the Sky Tower since it was suppose to start raining the afternoon and we were told if there was any weather in the area this ride was closed. While we were in line another little girl in line said it was like Rapunzel’s tower and we all laughed as we headed up the tower. It took us 300 ft high and gave us a great view of the park and allowed us to see for miles. 

We headed to check in for lunch with the whales and Chris volunteered to wait in the line while the girls went to ride a carousal.  Thankful Chris waited since we got a great table next to the glass to see the whales. We found out that the whales have 7 pools they could be in at SeaWorld. Killer whale is the largest type of whale. Originally called “whale killer” but the name changed when they found out they ate more than just other whales. Another name for whales is ‘orca’. Killer whales also weight an average 10,000 to 12,000 lbs. 

After lunch we went to the flamingo paddle boats to float around the lake then to Arctic Wild to ride a helicopter simulator ride across the Antarctic. By then the rain had started pretty steady so we went to get pretzels to escape the rain but the seating was outside. We grabbed a couple ponchos and kept on playing in the park thankful that it was just a steady mist instead of a pouring rain as we explored a little moe. 

The girls got to pick our seats at the whale show, “One World” so of course we were in the soak zone again. This show was another favorite! Even after having lunch with them and watching a few tricks we were glad we went early to get into the show. After it we ventured down to a newer exhibit, ‘Seasame Street’ for the girls to ride the hot air ballon before we watched the Christmas parade. The balloons got Ivy a little motion sick but she pushed thru to watch the parade. The girls were wearing down so we shopped a little for souvenirs since we promised we’d do that just before we left before walking back to the hotel. Thankful we made it back before the bottom fell out. We decided to grab a light dinner on site with the rain before calling it a night. 

  


 
Feeding the Sea Lion

Dolphin Show

Turtle Exhibit



Sky Tower had great views of the park


Mommy took the girls to the carousal while daddy waited for our table 

We enjoyed getting to have a up close look at Orca’s or killer whales at lunch  





 
Girls asked to paddle boat in the flamingos after lunch
 
We rode a helicopter to the Arctic and learned about animals there all while staying at SeaWorld

We arrived to the show an hour early this time since the earlier show was sold out 30 minutes prior to start and the girls picked our seat

Always up for fun and a cookie

The girls played in Sesame Street Land then we watched the parade. We had planned on watching a ice skating show but it started raining more and we decided to head to the hotel

It was like being on a cruise when we got back to the room we found towel swan and the bed decorated. Thankful we opted to head back since the bottom fell out a few minutes after we got to the room

We lounged a little Saturday morning with the rain outside. We were up and packed for our next adventure by 8:00 though so not everyone would consider that a leisure morning but it was too us. We stopped by “@ the Diner” for breakfast on our way out of Orlando to Winter Haven to go to Legoland. We arrived at the hotel a little before 11 but of course couldn’t check in so we headed to the park for a little fun.

We walked in and were amazed at the mini-land of legos and spent a little while exploring it. Unfortunately, as we stood in line for our first ride it started raining. Several rides were closed down due to rain so we were a little bummed but enjoyed exploring. Our smart daddy checked their rain policy and found out that if a ride is closed more than 2 hours your can get a raincheck ticket so we were able to do that before we left. Thankfully the rain was on and off through the afternoon so we were able to ride a few rides but not all of the ones we wanted too. Chris couldn’t talk either girlie into riding a roller costed with him though. After being wet the second day in a row we decided to head to the hotel to check in and get out of the rain a little bit. 

When we checked in about 5 o’clock we had full intentions of returning later that night after the rain passed. However, the hotel was so exciting the girls did not want to return. They loved our room! Ivy celebrated there was a bunk bed and sissy let her sleep on top. They did the treasure hunt in the room to unlock the chest to find hidden treasures (apple juice, a snack, and lego packs to take home). Daddy said he was tired of park and hotel food so we pulled rank and forced the girls to leave for yummy food at “Harry’s Old Place”. A funny little 8 year old girl whispered to her daddy before we ordered that she “knew why it was called Harry’s OLD place because it was full of old people”. We all busted out laughing! Most the people in there were well past retirement but it was some good eating, even the funny girl admitted it.

We did not delay heading back to the hotel when we finished and the girls jumped right in the interactive story time, played with legos, connect four, and roamed around the pirate ship. Next on their agenda was the hotel pool. They had fun floating around and building with the pool legos. We ended up watching the fireworks pool side. Chris let Lisa head up to go get ready for bed while the girls shut down the pool. They came up to get baths but were full of excitement energy. The only reason they went to bed as early as they did was because the hotel had quiet time but they got to play on their devices for a little bit to wind down so they could sleep. 


The mainland was amazing. You can see national monuments from around the world made of legos and lego replicas of other things too

 
      



Of course we could had looked at those in the rain but as soon as we finished we tried to go ride a couple rides that closed due to rain so we played 
 

Finally found a open ride and the girls loved it
 
Leia found a jet ski ride next that Ivy wanted nothing to do with since it went in circles but she had fun spraying water cannons. I love that she can normally find the fun in anything 



We found a family ride next, loved that they let the kids play while the parents waited in line


And then the girls joust



Finally lunch for starving little people

Our girls always love a good carousal ride, especially a double decker

We explored Heartland at Lego land to see all the lego friends

 
On the way out we took advantage of a few photo ops
       
This girl can entertain herself anywhere and likes being in pictures more than her sister and daddy
  


We finally went to check into the hotel and the girls LOVED the hotel! They might have liked the hotel more than the park
 

The girls said our room was amazing! 
Great view

There was an adult area and kid area in the room
      
 
There was a treasure hunt in the room too the girls had to solve

Lego surprises around the room

Dance party in the elevator

We stoprped for a photo op on our way to dinner while daddy got the car

Ivy whispered to daddy, she knew why it was called ‘Harry’s Old Place’ since only old people were there; we all belly laughed

When we got back the girls jumped into story time and playing in the lobby


Next on their agenda was the lego pool
   
We watched the fireworks pool side


They were two of the last out of the pool as the hotel had “quiet time” so we were forced to go to bed

Sunday morning no one woke up before 7; mind you that normally at least one person is up early. Mommy was getting dressed when leia woke up followed by Ivy and daddy. Daddy told us cousin Brian had texted and he and Jonah was coming to Legoland today so we were excited to get to see them a few minutes. We headed down to bricks where the Lego-man ‘Chef’ cooked breakfast. The girls did a great job eating and seemed to really enjoy it while mom and dad thought it was okay. The girls enjoyed playing in the hotel while we packed and loaded the car then they wanted to go wait to get in the park in hopes they would get to ride some of the rides they’d missed the day before because of rain starting with Mia’s horse ride since it closes even if it misty rains.

Just our luck it started raining while we were in line. Thankful it was a light rain and short lived. We were able to ride the safari ride that we’d waited for twice the day before and missed because of rain. Chris talked the girls into a wooden rollercoaster, coastersaurus. Leia got off saying she loved it. Ivy said it was ok but she did not like the drop. The girls picked to go to ride Ninjago again before the line got long; mommy dominated this time. Cousin Brian texted they just arrived so we met up with them to head to ride ‘Great Lego Race VR’ but Ivy said she was too scared. Mommy told daddy to go with Leia before she could see Ivy freak out and back out too.  

Mommy and Ivy sat to watch them for a little bit but then decided to explore another area of the park we had not walked through thinking we would head back in time to get pictures. Chris texted on our way back that there was a rain delay before they could ride so it ended up being a little over an hour wait but Leia said it was worth it. Ivy led the way as we roamed the park and said there was rides she wanted to do but was too scared so mommy finally pulled rank and told her we were going to do ‘Master of Flights’, not knowing what the ride was or anything about it. We waited in line almost 40 minutes. A fun fact we learned while waiting per the fact screens is that there are 75 billion Lego’s produced in a year. Chris and Leia got done with their ride as we were 3 from the front so they hung around to wait on us. 

Ivy was not too sure about the ride as we approached but got in it with mommy with nervous eyes. She only closed her eyes a few times and ended up saying it was fun afterwards. Chris and Leia were waiting on us when we got off so we all met back up for a soft pretzel. Chris told us about a coaster that he was too tall to ride and Leia wanted to do so Leia and mommy went to ride the coaster, ‘Flying School’. The wait for the ride was longer than we thought it would be and 30 minutes in Leia said to just go but mommy said no and afterwards Leia said she was glad she didn’t miss it. Daddy and Ivy got icees, watched the rides, and even took pictures of us on the coaster. Since it had not rained in a while we tried going to ‘Mia’s Riding Adventure’ again on our way out of the park but they were still closed. Little sad we could not make that ride work we went to get Ivy get the henna tattoo she wanted and Leia pick out a lego set which cheered both of them up before heading to the car for our long drive home.

Chris was amazing on the way home. We had agreed before leaving that if we were too tired we would find a hotel and finish the drive the next day but he knew Lisa really just wanted to drive straight home. What he did not know is that by 9 o’clock had he said he was getting tired Lisa would have said lets get a hotel since she was struggling to stay awake. He never said he was tired though and pushed through to drive us all the way home. All three of his girls were thankful he got us home safely that night and we were all able to sleep in our own beds, waking up at our leisure the next day. What great memories we made on this trip! 

Before breakfast where Chef fixed all the guests meals
 
Love that this girl wanted a picture on her way into the park, we rain to catch up after snapping it

First ride in the park was through the jungle; this was the ride we waited on twice the day before but missed due to rain

  

Always having fun
  
 
Daddy finally got the girls to ride a roller coaster and got to see his cousin, Brian 


Ivy refused to ride another roll-a-coaster so we explored the park and she led the way and we took photo ops on the way per her request





   

We met back up with Chris and Leia after they rode a roller coaster then mommy went to ride one with Leia too. She was so excited to ride the roller coaster after almost an hour of waiting


On our way out Ivy got her henna tattoo right before we left the park to head home


Chris drove us all the way home while the girls and mommy dozed on and off. We got there a few minutes after midnight but the girls were up bright and early playing with legos while we let daddy sleep as long as he wanted 

25 DecChristmas Day (2019)

The sweet girls were up at 5:30 ready to see what Santa brought. Mommy held them off from waking daddy a few minutes but then thought, nah let’s wake him; the girls were excited and wanted to see what Santa brought. So we were out in the den seeing the goodies from Santa a few minutes before 6. We loved watching their sweet faces get excited looking through their stockings, flipping over the gymnastics bar, tearing into the legos, riding the Hoover board, and enjoying their sweet life. Once the girls were enjoying their toys mommy and daddy made a cup of coffee to sit back and take in a few minutes of the pure joy; it was nice not hurrying and having a few minutes to chill watching the girls enjoy their new toys. 

They were so excited to see what Santa had brought 
 
Cupcake left a sugar angel and note. Mommy thought it was funny that Leia was the first one to hop up on the bar for a trick
 
Love the excitement looking through the stockings

Sweet Ivy gave us a special present, a book she wrote at school

They had some fun playing 

Our lego queen
     
Daddy got a few snuggles and mommy/daddy got a quick picture 
 

The girls said grandpa said they could wake them at 7 but Deedee got up a little before and gave them the go ahead to wake grandpa. The girls separated the gifts as Deedee made tea and grandpa got his coffee. We all enjoyed watching the girls open their gifts then the adults opened their gifts and spent a few morning soaking it all in before getting stuff together to head to Mimi’s house for brunch. 

Sorting presents
   
 


 
The girls paused opening gifts to model their new items

Oh the shows we will see with their new microphones 

Love the sweet hugs Ivy gave

Fun after opening gifts
 
  
Girls relaxing 

Grandpa tried Ivy’s hoover board. Thankful the chair was there when he lost his balance. 

On our way to Mimi’s

We arrived a few minutes before the Rhoads and started cooking. We all enjoyed a yummy breakfast together then the little elves started separating presents   In the den. Mimi told them before anyone opened presents she wanted to hear a couple carols so the girls sang for us then we all opened gifts. Mimi sent them on a scavenger hunt for the last gift, a golf cart. It was fun watching them look for it and the excitement on their faces when they saw it. 

We arrived and Mimi’s and mommy started playing like she was a kid again

Family brunch

Singing carols to open presents

The girls and their loot at Mimi’s

Opening surprises


       
Getting instructions to look for a surprise

The search is on for the last present. It was comical listening to them try to  come up with what it was going to be and where it would be since we did not give them much to go on

Their sweet faces as they saw Mimi sitting on the golf-cart

We spent the rest of the day relaxing while the girls rode the golf cart. Best gift of the day was simply the time together. Time is so precious and we are thankful to get to share Christmas Day with our parents, sister Stacy and her sweet family. The boys grilled steaks for lupper and we enjoyed a yummy meal before heading home to pack and un-decorate the house for Leia’s delayed birthday trip adventure. Thankful Deedee and Grandpa were there to help so we got it all done before crashing for the night to do a new something and head out of town the day after Christmas.

 

24 DecChristmas Eve 2019

This is the first Christmas Eve we woke up without both little monkeys at home and missed little Ivy’s humor and energy waking up Christmas Eve. We were up and ready to head to Mimi’s by 8:30 but waited on Grandpa and Deedee to arrive to head to Mimi’s. We actually beat the Rhoads’s, first time to Mimi’s. They arrived 20 or 30 minutes after us and uncle Mark reminded us to do family pictures. He’s so good about that! 

Kristi and Stephanie arrived a little bit later. Sara and Ivy immediately met them to help with the babies; those two love little ones. We grabbed a big group shot before Mark prayed and we all enjoyed a barbecue lunch. Then the adults played a game of secret Santa and the kids opened their gifts. Kristi and Stephanie’s afternoon plans weren’t as packed as normal so we got to sit and enjoy a little more time together this year. It was nice having some relaxation time. 

We headed to Christmas Eve service at Mimi’s church that afternoon. It’s nice going back to the church where Lisa grew up and Mimi having her family with her there again. One of the girls favorite part of the service is the candle light part singing silent night. It is a very peaceful time and sweet experience. After the service we went back to Mimi’s for leftovers then headed home. 

Traditionally the girls have slept in mommy and daddy’s room but this year they decided to do what Sara and Katie does. Apparently they told our girls they get to stay up as late as they want playing cards and watching TV in their room. So the girlies started a new tradition this year after putting cookies and milk out for Santa and sprinkling reindeer food in the lawn. There was lots of laughter coming from their room and they were feeding off each other’s energy. Mommy finally went in and laid down to help them calm down at 10 since they were bouncing off the walls and we knew unlike their cousins our girls would be up early even though they said they’d sleep in some if they got to stay up late.

Annual photo’s by the tree


  



Family shot … we took 6 shots and still did not get one with everyone looking but love this crew

These two love babies!!

We all enjoyed sweet baby snuggles

The adults played our annual dirty Santa while the kids exchanged presents

      
Leia enjoyed playing cards with Deedee

We joined Mimi at her church for Christmas Eve candle light service again this year, such a sweet time together remembering the reason we celebrate the season 

Chris is so funny getting a picture just of him. We headed home not long after the service and the girlies got some energy and started flying around the house

They also enjoyed their tradition of giving each other their presents they picked out and bought themselves on Christmas Eve night. Of course afterwards they disappeared to the playroom to play for a little while

Before the monkeys retired for the night they set out the cookies and milk for the big man himself
  

23 DecWeekend before Christmas

The weekend was much slower than Friday. Saturday mommy went into work so the girls hung out at home with Chris with the exception of going out to lunch. Saturday evening we had the Talley’s over for game night and fellowship. Alex ended up spending the night with the girls too. Sunday, we skipped church to have a family morning then headed to Mimi’s to make Christmas cookies with the cousins. Leia got a one-on-one with Mimi that night while Ivy came home. Leia opted to go Christmas shopping to buy sissy something special and then they hang out at Mimi’s house. Daddy worked on computer stuff in his office while mommy and Ivy did a few chores upstairs then snuggled to watch a movie she’d picked then we headed to bed. Monday morning was a low key one at our house while Mimi took Leia back to see Star Wars again. We all met up at McWane afterwards for a little fun since the girlies wanted to go back. We traded kiddos for Ivy to have one-on-one with Mimi and Leia to have special time with mommy and daddy. Ivy got to get a mani and pedi, shop for sissy a special surprise then opted to chill at Mimi’s house too. 

Spend the night fun


We got to Mimi’s early to bake then Mimi played cards with the girlie when Sara and Katie arrived

We skipped the baking part of cookies decorating since the Rhoads wanted to do it Saturday but had fun decorating cookies. Sara and Ivy toasted to a job well done afterwards too
 
 

 
  
Lunch at Mimi’s before we headed home for Leia to have a little one-on-one time

Very few one-on-one pics taken since we were in the moment but Mimi sent a couple. 

Mommy and Ivy managed to get one picture too of Ivy finishing a puzzle Monday morning that  we had worked on 

Fun at McWane before Ivy headed for her one on one and Leia head to some special time with mommy and daddy



    
Ivy’s one-on-one with Mimi she got to go get a pedi and mani then opted to go back to Mimi’s to hang out as she requested 

Leia opted to go to dinner at Outback then we we went back home for baths, PJs, and snuggles on the couch before bedtime

20 DecNo School Calls for a Friday Fun Day

The girls got to leisurely wake up as they had no school Friday. We have been having to wake them up for school so Leia slept in until 6:00. Ivy was up by 7 despite the fact they both said they were sleeping in late after a late night Thursday night. Mommy should have known no school meant waking early. Daddy had to go into work, his last day of the year so mommy did get sweet snuggles and to enjoy a leisure breakfast before picking up the house a little and heading down to the Talley’s for cooking decorating fun. 

Cookie making and decorating is always fun with neighbors and friends




      


Mommy and Leia’s cookies. Ivy was more interested in playing with Bailey and eating cookies as she decorated them
 

We were not ready for the fun to end after we finished our cookies so we all decided to go to McWane. Before we left though we made sure to clean up; trying to teach the girls good habits.  We explored every floor at McWane and even got to go into itty bitty kingdom since Max was with us too. The kids got hungry in the middle of our exploration so we all even got to get a snack/lunch at McWane. Such a fun packed day thus far. We had an awesome time with the Talley’s! 

Ground floor right before we left


We had so much fun on the first floor together 
 

Bubbles are always fun  


    
Our little engineers having fun
     
Shows their personalities so well
      
Wind tunnel 
 
Shapes pegs are always a favorite

Leia found one of the funnest areas where we all played soccer, drums, and volleyball together 

Second floor fun … dinosaur fossils and Itty Bitty kingdom
 
Thankful Max was with us so we all got to explore the Itty Bitty Kingdom since we aged out of it




  
Third floor has the traveling exhibit so we enjoyed the zip line, train exhibits, and playing piano with our feet



Of course we took the photo ops that were provided too

After a already full day we still had our one-on-one time planned for the evening. Chris planned on taking Leia to see Star Wars at a new theater here in town with one of the biggest screens around. Ivy was suppose to plan our mommy-daughter night but kept changing up what we were going to do. We ended up making homemade vanilla ice-cream, she wanted to try Yummy Bowl, and coming back home for warm baths and Christmas movie snuggles; a perfect, low-key, and relaxing evening after a long day. When Chris and Leia got home we were already snuggled in bed half a sleep but woke up for a few minutes to hear about the movie and how much they liked it before we all said good night. 

Leia and Chris bonded over Star Wars. Leia did not that both Princess Leia and Kylo character was written off, even though Chris said they knew that Princess Leia’s character would be but the other was a surprise. Love their enthusiasm for these movies together

Ivy ordered homemade ice-cream on our mommy-Ivy night
 
She gave yummy bowl two thumbs up. She wanted to try it after hearing daddy talk so much about it
 
Selfies snuggles with my girl is always full of belly laughs

19 DecLast half day of school in 2019, fun with friends, and Zoo Light Safari

Our girls had to go to school for a half day today but it was the last time they will be going in 2019. Mommy picked them up from park and walk to kick off our start of break fun. We packed in a ton of fun for a half day! We headed home to make brownies then took Ivy to a ginger bread house decorating gathering with one of her sweet friends. She got to stay for about an hour and half or so then we grabbed Leia and all headed to the Bailey’s for family cookie decorating fun and cups of cheer. From there we headed to meet daddy from at our house and go to aunt Stacy’s to meet up with sweet family to go to zoo light safari. It was chilly but full of good family fun. Love kicking off a school break with the girls and creating fun memories. 

Ivy had a blast at her friend Emma Grace’s doing ginger bread houses, ornaments, and playing

We all had fun at the Bailey’s decorating cookies and sweet fellowship
 
We got daddy and meet up with family for pizza at Stacy’s before Zoo Light Safari
 
Our zoo membership [aid for itself tonight we all got in for ‘free’, kids got arm bands and adults got train tickets, winning

First stop Jingle Bell carousel

The girls slid down the polar bear plunge

Pics at slide waiting for the last princess to come down and fun on the way to the train

Selfies waiting for the train. The line was long but we entertained ourselves waiting in it


Candy Cane Train


Girls tradition is to ring the bell after the train ride so of course they ran to do it as we were exiting

Giving Mimi sweet hugs
    
  
My forever date
  

The Rhoads left since it was cold but we stayed to ride the carousal a few more times    

This child cracks us up! She is so full of life and joy!! She found some new pants when we got back home complete with a pee pee hole … her expressions, humor, and laughter she adds to our family amazes us all