Celebrating Rachel’s Birthday!

Celebrating Rachel’s Birthday!

My sweet friend Rachel turned 30, and we had BIG fun for her!

For starters, our “circle” got together for dinner.  My mom was gracious enough to host us (so I didn’t have to clean my house!) and I cooked dinner for us.  We had LOTS of fun talking, laughing and being together.

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Rachel was laughing SO hard when we sang to her!  I made food from her Pinterest board, including this birthday cake cheesecake.  It was GOOD.

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That weekend, we headed to Hot Springs for some fun.  My family is there, so mom and Remi drove down with us to spend time with them (more on that later).  Rachel and her husband got a lake house and we got together with some of her other friends and family.  We started with the horse races, which are always a favorite!

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I was SO glad Tyler got to come with us! It was a fun weekend together.

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We didn’t bet on much, but I did win one race! Woop!

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After the races, we changed clothes and went out for dinner. It was a funny dinner- Tyler took a bet to eat an entire macaroni and cheese ball in one bite.  Goodness.

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After dinner, we hung at the lake house.  I got Rachel a birthday shirt, because everyone deserves a fun birthday shirt!

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Her husband decorated the game room for her birthday!  There was pool, karaoke, shuffleboard…lots of fun!

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Rachel and her husband totally rocked “Shallow.”  And since it was just us, we all just basically took turns on the mic all night.

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I mostly karaoked and played shuffleboard, but Tyler stayed at the pool table.

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Later that evening, we did cakes.  Rachel’s friend made her a cheesecake and her mom got her a cake from Rick’s – a bakery in NWA.  Yum!

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After cake, we played games and then at 11 pm, Rachel was like “there’s only an hour left in my birthday!  Let’s hit the hot tub!” SO WE DID.

It was a bit cool outside, but it was good in the hot tub.

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After the hot tub, we got into dry clothes and sat around the fire pit. This lake house was AWESOME and had everything you could want.

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And the view was GORGEOUS when we got up the next morning.

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We had to do the post-fun-Saturday thing and hit up Waffle House. A good choice.  Of course, I picked some winning tunes on the jukebox for us.

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It felt a little like being back in college. Fun with friends, a late night and Waffle House.  Love this man!

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It was so fun to get away for the day/night and celebrate Rachel!


Really Fun Weekend Together

Really Fun Weekend Together

It seems like lately we’ve sort of been on the go every weekend (and to be honest, March was BUSY and May will be too!), so a fun weekend at home was just what we needed.

We got an impromptu invite to our friends the Hensons house for dinner.  The girls all played, the adults chatted and then we had a special celebration.  Remi has been sort of hit or miss with sleep, so we were discussing what reward she wanted if she slept all night long without waking or leaving her room- and she was VERY specific.

“A happy cake. For daddy.  With sparkles (sprinkles) and fire.  Singing to daddy Happy Birthday!”

Well, when we got the dinner invite, I told Ashley, “Long story, but we need a cake tonight.  I can pick one up.”  And she said, nope- she would make one! And it was SO good.

We sang to daddy and ate…

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This yummy strawberry cake.  We brought candles and sprinkles to make it just what she asked for.

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Saturday was a little chilly and it was supposed to rain that afternoon. So we took advantage of the morning without rain and hit the park.  Bless it, She wanted her dolly to swing, too.  I remember bringing my dolls along as a girl. I love that she does it.

We ran into one of my friends from work (and her husband, who Tyler went to school with!) and their girls…and they played for a while. Remi did have a 2-year-old meltdown when Avery got on the swing she wanted, but it was all good.

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Momma worked out while Remi and daddy bought a new lawnmower. Then we had lunch…where this CRAZY kid HAD to get on stage and dance.

She’s so fun and brave.

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We hit Sam’s for some shopping then came home for nap and playing.  Daddy had to work overtime that evening, and since it was raining, we snuggled up in Momma’s Big Bed to watch Sweet Pea Beauty.

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Daddy texted us to go outside and look in the late evening to see the rainbow!  Remi LOVES rainbows!

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We tried taking a picture with the rainbow, but it washed out.

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Sunday morning, she was playing so sweetly and independently and I was doing some housework after getting ready for church.  UNTIL SHE DID THIS and colored herself blue!  She went all the way up to her knees, her elbows and feet, hands and face.  SO MUCH BLUE.

After church and lunch, she and I left for the afternoon.  We hit the park (much nicer weather on Sunday!).

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Then we went to see my dad.  She is so sweet with Grandpa. She was showing him her pocket and her shiny shoes.

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And then we stopped for the first snow cones of the year!  She didn’t love them last year, but she happily ate her blue one.  I see many more snowcone dates in our future!

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I am so thankful for some downtime without travel or too many plans. It was a fun weekend together.


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!)

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

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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!


Such Fun Lately

Such Fun Lately

We’ve just been having SO much fun with our big girl lately.

She’s really getting into imaginative play, being creative and just playing. And I LOVE it.

She has really been digging her princess getup lately. And this day was extra funny.  Early morning.  She had watched an episode of Daniel Tiger (with Prince Wednesday) so she declared herself Princess Friday.

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She and Daddy made a HUGE tower with ALL the blocks!

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She dug this little smocked dress out of our “too small” pile (which, turns out, it still fits but it’s more of a shirt/tunic now than a dress ha!), declared it her Princess dinner dress, and then she set a table for us.

She put a tablecloth down (a “table blanket”) put her baby doll down with a bib, made me sit down and she got food out for us.  We did lots of pretend eating, drinking and saying “yummm”

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Blue is her FAVORITE color.  She always wants a blue bow.  And this day, she got her backpack full of toys, put it on and was ready to go with Daddy.

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And thank goodness, it’s been nicer out, so we’ve done LOTS of backyard swinging and jumping and sliding.  This particular day, she thought it was too bright and needed her sunglasses.  Her little face and nose are almost too small for the glasses, but she looks like a little diva with them on!

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This season of life is just SO fun!