Thursday, January 19, 2017

Cloudcroft NYE Trip

Our holiday fun concluded with a trip to Cloudcroft and we were hoping for lots of fun in the snow. Unfortunately, Mother Nature wasn't on our side this year, and we didn't have any snow.

The good news was the local ski slope got a snow machine and was able to open the bunny slopes for the kids. This worked out perfectly, and the big girls got to ski 2 days. We even took the little girls to play in the snow and Mark took them up the lift and skiied down with them. So even though we had no sledding the backyard, the girls still got to have some fun in the snow!

We also went sledding in White Sands in Alamogordo, and absolutely had a blast. The weather was mild and even Ali and Harper (and the mommies!) got to join in on the fun.

The rest of the week we hung out at the house, and, of course, took a trip to the Dollar Store for a toy! It's the girl's highlight of the week. ;) We cooked lots of yummy meals, made lots of delicious cocktails, and even got a babysitter one evening so we could go to dinner and enjoy a kid-free meal. We ended the trip with a NYE "party" with the kids and everyone was in bed by 10:00pm! #myhowthingshavechanged

To see the videos of skiing and sledding, visit the blog!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Christmas 2016 {Part II}

Thankfully, the girls all slept in and weren't up at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning. I told the big girls to come get me when the wake up, and I was pleasantly surprised they actually listened and obeyed instead of running downstairs the second they popped out of bed. We gathered the troops, and all went downstairs to see what Santa brought everyone!

Santa conveniently brought all 4 girls the same thing - a new monogrammed lap desk full of goodies and a Brightling doll. His gifts, along with their stockings, kept them busy while the grown ups woke up a little. ;)

The rest of the morning was a blur, but and I think it's safe to say the American Girl paraphernalia was the favorite amongst everyone. But I have to say that Ali's very favorite is her new polar bear sleeping bag - she didn't get out of it all day! We are in the prime "Santa" years with the girls, and definitely don't take that for granted. I know we only have a few more years before Emily figures it out and spills the beans to everyone else! ;)

After presents and lunch, the girls played ALL DAY with their American Dolls and new accessories. It was the most relaxing Christmas ever, especially because none of the gifts required hours of assembly. We had dinner with my uncle and cousins and then packed up the car (barely!) with all of our new goodies and headed home.

We hosted the Pfeiffer/Jackman clan, along with Alex and Emily, the day after Christmas. Mark took the girls to see Sing with his mom and brother while I got the house ready. Thankfully, my wonderful mother in-law agreed to be in charge of the cooking since we wouldn't be home to get everything prepared. Mark was excited to show off his new "toy" and we had lots of yummy cocktails while waiting on Ali to wake up. It was killing Emily to see all the gifts on the fireplace tempting her. Once Ali woke up, we dove straight into the presents and then had dinner and watched the Cowboys game.

It was a wonderful evening and it capped off a great Christmas. The fun wasn't over though, because as soon as we were unpacked from Christmas, it was time to pack and head to Cloudcroft for the week!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Christmas 2016 {Part 1}

Our house looks so bare without the tree and decorations, but it was back to the real world this week for the Pfeiffers. We had a wonderful Christmas with our families and a great trip to Cloudcroft for New Year's.

The week leading up to Christmas was full of fun. We visited Santa at the Galleria, looked at Christmas lights with hot chocolate, listened to Christmas music, and watched lots of Christmas movies. On Wednesday, Emily went to camp at SOAR United with some friends from school and had an absolute blast.

Thursday evening, Mark and I went to a dinner hosted by one of his realtors at Oceanaire. I love getting dressed up and going out during the holidays when restaurants are so decorated and festive! We had dinner with my parents and uncle and cousins on Friday night. And just like that, it was Christmas Eve!

My parents hosted their annual Christmas Eve Brunch, and it was baby-palooza! There were 9 new babies born in 2016 at the party. Add to that a bunch of kiddos, and it was quick the scene. Thankfully the weather cooperated so the kids could all play outside. Lots of bubbly and bloody maries were served and fun was had by all. After nap time, we went to the family Christmas Eve service at church and then headed to the Gilmore's for tamales and Christmas Carols!

**Out of nowhere, a few days before Christmas Eve, Emily decided she was going to do a "Frozen" performance that evening and had it all planned out and a costume to go with it. She and Hadley worked on it all day and were so excited. When it was time for the performance, I realized they were both doing solos...

Hadley went first and nailed it - acapella - because that is what she does! Then it was Emily's turn, and I'm not going to lie, I was panicking. Thankfully, Mark put the music to the song on the stereo, but it was painful and I was pretty much sweating the whole time! Poor thing was born with my terrible singing voice, and on top of that, she got stage fright and it was barely audible. I don't blame her - it was in front of about 30 people! Hadley came in at the end of the song to bail her out and it was so sweet. I do have to say, Emily wasn't phased at all and thought she knocked it out of the park. #perceptionisreality I know she'll love looking back on this in 10 years, ha! ;)

Everyone had a wonderful time and the kids loved singing Christmas songs and playing instruments. The crowd favorite is always "The 12 Days of Christmas!"

To see the "performance," visit the blog

Our Christmas Eve tradition of my parent's brunch and tamales at the Gilmore's has been around for my entire life, and it has been and always will be one of my favorite days of the year. It's exhausting, but worth every second.

We got back to my parent's house late and told the girls they had to go to bed after setting out cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer because we heard Santa was on his way to Texas! They were beyond excited and went straight to sleep and we didn't hear a peep from any of them. Everyone was officially ready for Santa to come!

Ready for Santa!

These two are the sweetest and their faces crack me up!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Surprise 10th Anniversary Trip (a few months late)

Mark and I celebrated our 10th anniversary in September and somehow he pulled off a surprise trip to Jackson Hole and Whitefish! He had been planning it for months, and had planned the itinerary, booked all of our hotels, and lined up the grandparents to watch the kids. Since we went to Europe last year, we decided not to go "big" for our anniversary this year, but apparently he had other plans!

In Mark's ideal world, he would have woken me up the morning of our departure and told me to pack and that we were leaving for the airport in a couple hours. Thankfully, my mom talked him out of that! I probably would have lost my mind. ;) We left on a Wednesday morning, so the Sunday before he and the girls woke me up and said, "Surprise, Happy Anniversary! Googie is on his way over and you have one hour to pack and we're heading to the airport." I wasn't buying it at all, and was still half asleep, but then Emily handed over our flight confirmation for Jackson Hole. I started to freak out and it took me a couple minutes to read the fine print that we weren't departing until Wednesday. So we both got what we wanted - he got to surprise me and make me think we were leaving immediately, and I got a couple days to get organized and let it all soak in. :)

Our itinerary was jam-packed and not exactly a "relaxing" vacation, but what else would you expect from Mark?! The plan was to fly into Jackson, and spend a day there, drive through Yellowstone, spend the night in Butte (pit stop), drive and spend a day in Missoula, drive through Glacier National Park, and end up in Whitefish. In case you're trying to add up the miles, I can confirm it's a lot! We officially put 780 miles on the rental car in 4 days. **Fun fact: Jackson Hole is the entire surrounding area in the valley, but the city is Jackson. We were very confused and had been calling it Jackson Hole. Rookies! 

Traveling with TSA Pre-Check and without kids is heaven. The airport in Jackson is in the middle of nowhere and we saw a moose on the side of the road on our way into town! Our day was so relaxing and we were sitting in a brewery on the square in Jackson Hole by mid-afternoon. He picked a great hotel and it was in a perfect location right off the square. Neither of us had been to Jackson Hole, and we quickly realized why people love it so much. Going in September was perfect - we got a break from the Texas heat, but it wasn't freezing yet. We stopped into a couple fun places for cocktails and then had one of the best dinners of my life at Gather. Mark tried to talk me out of getting pasta, but I stood my ground and ordered the homemade pasta with Elk bolognese. It was out of this world!

We were up and at 'em the next morning and ready to hit the road for Yellowstone National Park. I didn't know what to expect, but the day was mostly driving and looking at scenery. We didn't allow too much time at each stop for hiking and exploring - we had too many miles to cover! The first adventure was the Grand Tetons. We entered Yellowstone by lunch time and arrived at Old Faithful by mid-afternoon. We had bison chili and an Old Faithful Ale for lunch in the cafeteria while waiting for the next "blow." We conquered the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and Old Faithful all in one day and along the way saw elk, deer, bison, and black bears!!

We had dinner in downtown Bozeman, which coincidentally is where Mark went fly fishing with his mom and Ben over the summer. It's a great town and I'm glad we called an audible and were able to go. We stayed in Butte that night to cut down on our drive time the next day.

The next day was our actual anniversary and we drove to Missoula. It's a fantastic college town described to us as a mix between Portland and Austin, so needless to say, we were pumped. We stopped into a local bakery for lunch and found an awesome magazine that had a booze and history walking tour of the town. We spent the rest of the day exploring the historical sites and distilleries. In other words, it was an awesome day! There were so many cool places and we tried lots of fun drinks. They love their Huckleberry and put it in everything - cocktails, honey, syrup, etc. It looks like a blueberry and Grizzly Bears love them too. :) 

Loved celebrating "X" years with this handsome man!

Our next adventure was Glacier National Park. This is another place that you could probably spend an entire week at camping and hiking, but we only had 1/2 a day. Because of our time crunch, driving the "Going to the Sun Road" is what the visitor center recommended we do. We also learned after some quick research that you don't casually get out of your car for a quick hike. Grizzly Bears roam the area and it's not something you do without a guide or bear spray. And, it's freezing! 

We started the drive and decided we'd go as far as we could in the couple hours we allowed ourselves. The views were stunning and the drive (for Mark) was intense. I have literally never seen him so freaked out in my entire life. Mark doesn't really "do" heights, and he most definitely doesn't like driving on the side of glaciers! For me, it was absolutely breathtaking. For Mark, not so much. The higher we got, the worse the fog got, and that is when Mark about lost his mind and turned around. The ride down was much better, but I can't say that he really enjoyed it. ;)

We arrived in Whitefish, our final destination, by lunch time. It felt like a "newer" and slightly smaller Jackson. After visiting both, we think prefer Whitefish! The restaurants are fantastic, the shops are slightly better and more current (everything in Jackson felt like Santa Fe turquoise), and Lake Whitefish is stunning. It would be an awesome summer vacation spot, I just wish it was easier to get to! We toasted an amazing trip with drinks on a rooftop bar, had an early dinner at a tapas restaurant, and were in bed and watching football by 8pm. A perfect ending to a fabulous vacation!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas Break has arrived

The Pfeiffers are so excited the Christmas Break arrived. It means no more alarm clocks for school, and soon daddy won't have to set one either. We kicked off the break with pizza and Christmas lights with Tran and Emily! We ate at Cane Rosso in Downtown Carrollton and then drove through the Farmers Branch Tour of Lights. We had a great night and the best part was looking at the lights wearing the 3D glasses Emily surprised the girls with!

On Saturday we celebrated Googie's birthday and Christmas with him and Grandma. It was our first family celebration at their new house and we had a wonderful time. We kept the Bass Pro tradition alive and met everyone there to walk around and "take it all in." It was Samantha's first time and she quickly realized why we love it so much and keep going back every year. The decorations, activities and people watching are the best and the girls love it. I call it the free aquarium and zoo - the animals just happen to be stuffed. ;)

We spent the rest of the day relaxing at their house and opened Christmas (and birthday) presents by the fire. We ended the evening with dinner and birthday cake! The girst slept with all of their new goodies and were in heaven.

On Sunday, my mom, Lizzy, and I surprised the big girls with the Charlie Brown Christmas show at Dallas Children's Theater. Emily's snaggletooth was hanging on by a thread, and while we were waiting in line to get into the theater, Aunt Lizzy took her into the bathroom and Emily pulled it out. She was ecstatic and now both her and Hads are missing their top two front teeth! Having the tooth fairy visit again while Coconut (our Elf) is here is her dream come true! The girls absolutely loved it and we will definitely be taking them to another show in the future.

My, mom, Lizzy, and Riane and I had our annual girls dinner at Houston's and enjoyed drinks, dinner, and, most importantly, uninterrupted conversation (mostly about fashion, lol)!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas Parties

I feel like last week was a whirlwind of Christmas parties and activities at both girl's schools, and we did our best to enjoy all of them!

On Monday, Emily's Primer teacher hosted a Primer "Past & Present" Christmas party for last year's inaugural Primer class at Parish and Emily's class. This was the first annual party and she plans on doing it every year! It's going to be such a fun tradition and I can only imagine how special it will be for Emily to visit each year as she grows older.

The kids love hamming it up in the photo booth Mrs. Sentell set up and they played the Pie Face Game! And of course Ali loved playing with Annie, the rat. ;) We ended the party on the playground with all of the kids and it was such a fun afternoon.

On Tuesday, Ali had her Christmas party at school. They sang a couple songs for the moms that was one of the the cutest thing I've ever seen. But I guess I'm a little biased. ;) The party also included pizza and cupcakes, so you know Ali enjoyed herself! Visit the blog to see the videos.

Thursday was Parish Pagaent Day and Emily was so excited to sing the songs she's been practicing over the last month. The Pre-K kids dressed up for the story of Baby Jesus, and the older kids wore their Sunday best to sing. They all did a wonderful job and were so proud of themselves. We weren't allowed to video the program, but they had a videographer record it and I'll post it once I get it!

Friday was Emily's class party, and they "painted" cookies, did a book swap, and played a holiday themed charades! They even had a visit from Mr. Monaco, the head of school! Of course they had to get a picture with him. :) It was at the end of the day right before Christmas Break, so you can imagine how excited they were.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Reunited at the ranch

We were able to reunite with our San Antonio beach trip friends at the ranch a couple weeks ago and had so much fun catching up with everyone!

We drove down Thursday night and Mark worked on Friday at the Lodge while the girls and I went to the Thinkery Children's Museum in Austin and met Kelly for lunch. It worked out perfectly and by the time we got back to the ranch Mark was ready to relax and have some fun.

We finally got good December ranch weather, and everyone enjoyed bundling up for rides and sitting by the campfire. The kids picked up right where they left off in Florida and had a blast hanging out together. The kids (and dads!) loved shooting the bow & arrow, BB gun, playing corn hole, and taking lots of rides to look for deer and pigs. I wish we all lived closer and could see each other more often, but I do love our "trips" and spending uninterrupted quality time together!