Dallas Adventure: Perot Museum

Dallas Adventure: Perot Museum

We had a family wedding in Dallas, so we decided to make it into a really fun weekend.

It was Tyler’s cousin, so of course, Nancy was going with. And my mom came to keep Remi during the (very fancy, swanky) wedding.

We left on a Thursday after work and made the trip. Remi’s a champ- we made only one stop the entire 4.5 hours.

IMG_0001

We adventured all Friday until it was time to get ready for the wedding.

We started at Cindi’s NY Deli for breakfast. My mom grew up Chicago and misses deli food. And I love it, too. Mom asked them for a sample of their chopped liver, and Remi surprised us, diving right in for a bite! She loved it!

IMG_0002

I got wonderful cheese blintzes. (along with some potato latkes we all shared). We all ended up taking leftovers and eating them the next morning.

IMG_0003

Our next stop was the Perot Children’s Museum. It was a bit cold and gloomy (especially for Texas in May), but we enjoyed the frogs outside.

IMG_0089

Inside, we took Remi to the toddler area (only for kids 5 and under). We thought after a while she would want to venture around the rest of the museum- but nope. We were in that are for like 3 hours. She explored and enjoyed every inch!

She loved this big water table. They put on aprons and could build and play in the water.

IMG_0007

In the middle was the big produce truck. They could drive it, fill it with veggies or take the produce and stock the little grocery store. Remi did all three.

IMG_0009IMG_0013

Another corner was a camping set up with a picnic, fire and animal puppets. She loved this as well.

IMG_0015

Outside was a giant sand area where they could dig (supposed to be for dino bones, but the kids just loved playing in the sand!)

IMG_0019

IMG_0023

She also enjoyed the craft area- with glue sticks, scissors, stickers and other things to create with.

IMG_0024

There was an indoor slide/play/climb area with these fun conveyor belts. Remi sent like 50 blocks up them- she loved spinning that wheel.

IMG_0025

She CRASHED on our walk to lunch. She never does this.

IMG_0028

We reached the holy grail – Shake Shack. I LOVE it so much. Though the downtown Dallas location had poor service, the food was still great.

IMG_0029

Remi perked up after a hot dog, fries and ice cream, and she enjoyed riding back to the car with dad.

IMG_0033

She spotted these big 00s outside of El Fenix (to mark their 100th birthday or something- you could stand and be the 1). But she just wanted to sit inside it and she said “Take my picture” ha!

IMG_0036

We finally convinced her to make a big 1 to show 100!

IMG_0039

She had her own Rocky moment when she wanted to climb these stairs outside the Perot Museum on the way back to the car.

IMG_0041

We dropped her and my mom off at a park near our AirBNB while we got ready and left for the wedding (Shoutout to Mimi, carrying her the half mile back from the park when she didn’t want to walk).

The wedding was SO fun and SO nice. After the reception, we had a cold but awesome cocktail hour by the pool.

IMG_0045IMG_0042IMG_0047

Then we partied until after 11 at the reception. Delish food, great company (a table full of Tyler’s fun family) and dancing the night away. It was a great day in the Big D!


Anniversary Weekend in Lake Ozark

Anniversary Weekend in Lake Ozark

When we were looking for options for our anniversary weekend, we had lots of thoughts. We could go somewhere we’ve been and know we like.  Or we could go somewhere new! But with endless options within like 5 hours of us, we didn’t know where to start.

I was checking Groupon Getaways (some great deals, but mostly inspiration for locations) and saw something on Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. It was like 4.5 hours away from us and intriguing.

To be honest, I was sort of skeptical.  I did some googling but I couldn’t tell what the area was really like.  It looked nice with some neat resorts, but I know that sometimes things look better online than they are in person. But we decided to take a chance and try this area.

We ended up booking an AirBNB there and the entire area was BEYOND our expectations!

Lake of the Ozarks is a HUGE lake (really a damed up river).  It has more coastline than California (or so a few signs said!). I can tell during the summer this place is HOPPING.  But in March, it was great for a quieter weekend. There were endless condos and restaurants- most of which were very very very nice.

Our AirBNB was waterfront and perfect. It was a bit smaller, but very nice and comfortable.

We went for a 3-day weekend, and without it being warm pool weather, it was perfect.

We started Saturday by visiting Spa Shiki. Y’all.  The massage and reflexology were great, but the spa itself was AMAZING. You could literally spend all day there- wet and dry saunas, this gorgeous soaking pool, hot tub, hot and cold towels with essential oils, a lounging area, juice bar….I was sort of sad to leave and get Tyler.

img_8514.jpg

We went to Half Sauced for BBQ which didn’t disappoint. These BBQ nachos were YUMMY (once we added some BBQ sauce) and we enjoyed our sampler plate of all their meats.

img_8515.jpg

The area has several towns that are connected.  We didn’t mind driving 20-30 minutes either way to do stuff. So we headed to a town over to Bridal Cave. It’s on the water, so another pretty view.

The cave was very interesting. One of the neatest caves I’ve ever been in! Pretty easy walking inside, but unreal inside. You can see where some of the early explorers had to crawl through (thank goodness it’s been opened up for visitors!).

There was a small tour group, and we hung in the back so we could really take our time looking at everything.

img_8522.jpg

After the cave, we headed to Ha Ha Tonka state park. It’s “known” for “castle ruins” which are really the remnants of a big home from a fire in the 30s or something. Not that impressive.  But thankfully, we found a great trail and did some hiking.

img_8531.jpg

The woods felt very different from home- not as thick.  You could see for hundreds of yards (where at home, there’s thicker evergreen underbrush, so it’s more of just seeing the trail). We enjoyed the 60-degree weather!

img_8533.jpg

Then we rounded out the day with the outlet mall!  We stopped for a treat at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (where I had the BEST caramel apple!) and then we shopped and grabbed dinner at Dog Days (which was SO yummy).

On Sunday, we slept in and then decided to drive to the lookout over Bagnall Dam. Lovely views of the lake and we learned about the dam.

We were originally headed to brunch at a winery, but saw a line outside this place.  When the sign looks like this and there’s a line, you trust that. It was a DELICIOUS breakfast.

I had a cinnamon roll the size of my head!

And Tyler ate this crazy pile of biscuits, sausage, eggs and gravy. We were STUFFED (with enough to go for the next morning!)

img_8544.jpg

After breakfast, we did some more driving and exploring. We saw a couple interesting stores to stop at (which ended up being more of a dud than a hidden gem), but then we stumbled onto this winery. 7Springs was BEAUTIFUL. The grapes weren’t growing, but you could see the vineyards and the mountains.  We did a full wine sampling of like 15 wines for like $15 or something. We liked several of them and took a couple bottles home.

img_8545.jpg

It was a little chillier, but still a sunny day.

img_8546.jpg

We came back and took a nap (glorious!) and then we got ready for dinner.  I always wear my wedding shoes on our anniversary dinner, so these pink puppies came out!

img_8554.jpg

We dined at JB Hooks- on the middle of the lake. GORGEOUS sunset views and a wonderful dinner. We stuffed ourselves with steak and seafood and cocktails and creme brulee.  So so so good.

img_8562.jpg

On Monday, we mostly just took our time driving back- stopping at Bass Pro for Tyler to shop (of course!) and taking a more scenic route home through Missouri.

It was a fantastic time away together. I’m so thankful to celebrate 9 years in such a fun way.

When we got married, our pastor told us to always celebrate your anniversaries as best as you could afford with money and time. He said your marriage is something to celebrate- and we totally agree!


Branson Black Friday

Branson Black Friday

We decided to be crazy and go to Branson for Black Friday. We didn’t plan on doing much shopping, but wanted to just spend some time together and do some fun Christmas stuff!

Remi was recovering from a little bug, so she slept on the way. She woke up about an hour in and was pretty upset and fussy. We debated going home, but decided to press on, and I’m so glad we did. Once she slept a little more, she was GREAT and her sickness was over.

img_6825.jpg

When we got to Branson, we started with Dolly Parton’s Stampede! Remi was still in a nap fog (and had decided she didn’t like her first shirt, so we had to change)

299645725

But once the show started, she was INTO IT. She loved the music, the horses, and the whole thing. She also WENT TO TOWN on the food.

img_6835.jpg

The show was from 3-5, so we went back to the hotel after to chill. We let Remi girl play, and she wanted to take a bath in the big tub! We let her get water up to her neck (unlike at home) and she loved it. She (thankfully) slept pretty great in the hotel and was a happy girl when she woke up!

img_6837.jpg

Saturday morning we donned our matching pajamas and headed to the Showboat for a Pancakes with Santa cruise!

img_6843.jpg

A little better group photo this time. 🙂

299837121

Remi was INTO all the characters on the boat.  Hugging the gingerbread man, getting candy from the Sugar Plum Fairies…

img_6927.jpg

We waited in line (which she was much more patient for than I thought she would be) and she got a snowflake face painting.

img_6849.jpg

It was a gorgeous day (like 65 degrees) so we walked around the outside deck looking at the water wheel.

We ate pancakes and then the show started. She LOVED it. There were dancing hippos (I want a hippopotamus for Christmas!) and even a dancing dinosaur! And bless it, when Santa came out, she said “I hug him!” and tried to climb down to go get him!

img_6851.jpg

She did get to hug Santa after the show! He was waiting on the dock to meet all the kids. She (again) waited patiently and hugged Santa and sat on his lap.

299874119

After breakfast, we all changed clothes to head out and go shopping.  Remi liked walking back to the car- she played with those polar bears you see behind her, played in the rocks and found herself a stick.

img_6854.jpg

While we shopped, she rode the rides at the outlet mall. She LOVES them and remembered them from this summer. As soon as we walked up to the mall, she said “I ride horses!”

img_6925.jpg

After a little shopping, we got lunch and drove home.  A great trip all together!


Vacation? Booked!

Vacation? Booked!

Maybe we’re crazy, but we just booked a family cruise for February!

We are headed to Cozumel and Progresso, where we’ve been several times before, but we wanted to try cruising with Remi.  We hope to go on an Alaskan cruise in 2020, so we wanted to try a (cheaper) shorter cruise before committing to all that an Alaskan cruise involves (more $$, more time, flights, etc.)

Our moms are going with us, so we will be able to have a little more relaxation time than if it were just the three of us (plus, we like them and enjoy traveling with them). We do also plan on taking advantage of some of the on-board kid’s activities- I’ve heard GREAT things about the quality of childcare and kid fun with Carnival.

We have a few things to work on before then, but it’s 6 months away, so we have time.

 

Any tips for cruising with toddlers?  I’ll take all the advice I can get. 🙂