Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Back to School

I have so many summer adventures that I need to blog about, but this whole "back to school" thing is kicking my butt! Emily officially starts at Parish tomorrow and we've had tons of activities leading up to the big day.

My favorite thing about joining the Parish family has been everything they do to make every new family welcome. For starters, you are set up with a buddy family, which is a current family in your same grade. We have had play dates and they have helped answer so many questions I've had leading up to the school year. There is also a fellowship team for every grade that sets up activities throughout the year for the kids and parents.

Our final back to school get together with the other Kinder and Primer families was at a new place called Soar United. It's set up like a Ninja Warriors obstacle course and the kids had so much fun playing while I got to know the other moms that will be in Emily's class.

Video is on the blog at

Our last celebration before school was Harper's 3rd birthday party. I cannot believe she is 3, that sounds so old! She requested a mermaid cake and that is exactly what she got! We were missing a few family members due to travel, but I think between the cake and her gifts she still had the best birthday! ;)

We've checked off dentist appointments (including Ali's first), hair cuts, back to school shopping, orientation, meet the teacher, new parent dinner, and we're finally ready to go! I know Ali and I are going to miss having Emily at home with us. :)

Emily paid for her goodies with her own money and was so proud!

She sat in my lap and did so great!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

St. Louis

We checked another U.S. city off our list when we visited St. Louis with Alex and Emily a couple weeks ago. She is getting ready to move back to Dallas, so we wanted to visit before she comes home. It was so fun to have friends that are familiar with the city take us to all their favorite places! We stayed in a really cute boutique hotel called the Cheshire, and proceeded to eat, drink, and tour our way through the city. :)

Friday night we had drinks at the rooftop bar, 360, that overlooks the entire city. The view was spectacular and it was the perfect way to kick off the weekend. It was downtown and across the street from Busch Stadium, and it made me really jealous that the Rangers don't play in downtown Dallas. It's such a cool atmosphere to have the stadium right in the heart of downtown. Afterwards, we ate dinner in the Italian neighborhood, The Hill, and had one of the best meals I can remember in a long time!

Saturday morning, Mark and I toured the Gateway Arch. You ride up in a little pod and then can walk around and take pictures in the observatory deck at the top. We rode in the pod with an adorable 8 year old named Ocean from Virginia. To make a long story short.... She was there with her grandmother and dog, but the dog wasn't allowed on the tour, so her grandmother had to sit outside and wait and Ocean rode with us to the top. She was so cute and really well spoken and mature for her age and reminded us of Elsa. ;)  Afterwards, we met up with Alex and Emily for brunch at their favorite spot, Gamlin Whiskey House. Of course, Mark came home with lots of fancy whiskey...

Amazing views from the top of the arch
After brunch, we toured Forest Park and Emily pointed out all of the attractions and she walked us through the art museum. Then we headed to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery for a tour. This was definitely at the top of Mark's to-do list in St. Louis, so I'm so glad we went. Next up was live music and a snack at Blues City Deli, which is a hole in the wall known for its blues music and sandwiches. The sandwiches we tried were out of this world, and the guy singing was 17 years old and from Fort Worth! It was such a cool experience and I wish we could have stayed all afternoon. Afterwards, we went back to our hotel to chill and sit by the pool - we all needed some down time!

Saturday evening started with drinks and appetizers at Taste, which is known for their cocktails. It definitely didn't disappoint, and we all loved every sip and bite we took. We had dinner at Remy's Kitchen and dessert at Strange Donuts. They definitely had some bizarre donuts on the menu, but no one was brave enough to try one of them. It's not very often that we indulge in donuts, so I wanted to have one I knew I would like! ;)

It was an amazing trip and was so fun to have a host show us around a new city! We can't wait for Emily to move back so we call all hang out in the Big-D.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Cheerful Hearts Camp

Emily had another wonderful week at Cheerful Hearts camp, an adorable cheerleading camp. They have a performance on the last day of camp, and of course it was adorable. :) And, Emily loved having her own cheering section!

Videos are on the blog!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Summer Catch Up

I feel like I blinked and summer is already half way over! Most of June consisted of swimming, tennis lessons, eating popsicles on the patio, hanging with family and friends, and summer camp. I'm pretty jealous of their life right now, haha!

It's not officially summer until Mark and the girls have had a Drumstick ice cream cone! 
Ali finally turned a corner and is starting to enjoy swim lessons and going under water and blowing bubbles. Unlike the picture above, she is now all smiles after her lessons!

We had our annual summer Progressive Dinner with our neighborhood friends and we did an Italian theme this year. It was so fun and yummy and ended on the patio playing our new favorite game, the Heads Up App. ;)

Emily really enjoyed playing t-ball this summer and Ali loved watching her play. I can't believe it, but she would actually sit still and watch most of the game. I know she's going to be so excited when it's her turn to play in a couple years.

This week Emily is spending a couple days by herself at Birdie and Dodo's house in Hot Springs. Ali was heartbroken when she realized she wasn't joining her, so we wanted to do something special with her. We took her to see Finding Dory and to eat dinner at Hopdoddy. She did great at the movie and loved every bite of her cheeseburger. It has been so fun to spend a couple days with her as an only child, but we all miss Emily and are ready for her to come home. :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Father's Day Weekend

We spent Father's Day weekend in San Antonio at the beautiful JW Marriott. We took the girls 2 years ago, and it was as awesome as we remembered! We're lucky to have so many friends that live in the area. We drove down late Thursday night and spent the night at our friend's house while they were out of town. Mark worked from their house Friday morning while the girls and I met the Kristy for lunch! It worked out perfectly and we were able to check into the hotel early in time for Ali's nap. Emily and I hit the lazy river while daddy worked in the room and waited for everyone else to arrive.

My parents and the Johnsons all arrived by happy hour and then we had a babysitter come stay with the girls so we could enjoy a fun dinner at one of the hotel's restaurants. The best thing about the JW is once you arrive there is no reason to leave the entire weekend!

Saturday morning the boys played golf and we hit the pool with the girls. They have so many awesome activities for kids. We rented a cabana for the day so we would have a "home base." We spent the morning swimming and sliding in the kid's pool, tubing in the lazy river, and checking out their new sandy beach area. The boys met us at the cabana for lunch and then we went to an animal show, similar to the Creature Teacher. The girls loved it and Emily's favorite was the sloth. She sat up front and had her hand up to ask a question most of the time. I have no idea what was going on in that head of hers, or what she was planning on asking, but she never got called on. I'm sure it would have been comical! After the show, the little girls went up to the room to nap and our trusty sitter came and sat with them while they slept so we could all have fun with the big girls. I told her it would be the easiest babysitting gig she ever did, and thankfully it was! They were still asleep when she left.

Emily had been waiting for daddy to take her on the big slide, and her time had finally arrived. Derek and I went with them a few times and then bailed to go relax at the cabana, and Mark and Emily stayed for another hour! I think Mark said they probably went down the slide 15 times. Emily told him it was her "best day ever." He asked how it compared to Disneyland and she said it was equal! ;) Our girls were exhausted by the time we went upstairs - Emily was in the pool from 10am - 5pm!

We went to dinner again Saturday night and had our official Father's Day celebration. My mom, Lizzy, and I so blessed to have these guys as our hubbies/baby-daddy/Poppy. Not a day goes by that I don't thank my lucky stars for my wonderful husband and family.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend

We had a fun Memorial Day weekend at our friend's lake house on Lake McQueeney. It's on the Guadalupe River and only 30 minutes from the ranch, so we spent a night there as well. Friday night we got a babysitter for all the kids and went to Gruene Hall to see Hal Ketchum. It was a blast from the past - Mark and I haven't been there in years, and it felt like our college days!

We spent all day Saturday outside - the kids played in the bounce house and on the water slide and we took them on a ride in the boat on the tube. The best part was this awesome floating mat my friends have anchored in the water in front of the deck. The kids played on it all day and the adults had a little fun on it too after a few drinks! ;)

We drove home Sunday night and took the girls to the new Cane Rosso in downtown Carrollton. I'm excited to have one a little closer to home! #dangerous 

Monday afternoon we went over to the Johnson's to try out their new water slide and to grill out for dinner. The girls are obsessed - I wish it was an adult size!! All in all, it was a great weekend and perfect way to kick off summer!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Summer Camp and Swim Lessons

Summer is officially here and we are pumped! We got a lot of rain in May, but June brought the sunshine. We finally bit the bullet and got a pool heater, so I see a lot more swimming in my future this summer. ;) My girls are in various camps throughout the summer, and so far they have loved going. They are morning camps, so I pick them up for Ali's nap time and we have the afternoons to swim and play. There is plenty of art and playground time, so they are worn out when they get home.

And, did you know that summer camp isn't just for kids?! I'm taking tennis lessons at the Cooper Clinic while they are at camp, and I'm having so much fun. It's been a while since I got to do something competitive, and I can't tell you how great it is. I've never played, so it's awesome to learn something new and I know I'll be able to continue playing for many years.

Even though school is out, our schedule is still pretty busy. Emily has t-ball and tennis in the afternoons a couple times a week and Ali has swim lessons. I decided to have someone come to the house to teach her 1-on-1 and so far we've had two lessons (and a lot of tears). The first lesson was last Sunday and we had the Pfeiffer crew over for dinner so we all go to watch! It took her a while to warm up and take off her puddle jumper, but she did pretty well.

I'm pretty sure she thought it was a one-time deal, because she freaked out when he came back! We decided it would be beneficial having mommy in the pool to participate. Emily gets to come in too, and she feels so grown up and proud that she's "helping" Ali learn to swim. I knew tears would be a part of this process, so I'm not too worried. As long as the outcome is Ali feeling more comfortable in the water, it will all be worth it! And P.S. I love our swim teacher, Manny is wonderful and I highly recommend him!!