Road Trippin’ in 2016: Part 3 (AKA: the end)

Day 7: Chattanooga – Alabama – Mississippi

We let the girls spend the entire morning in the pool in Chattanooga instead of doing much sight-seeing. We were tired and it was overcast so it seemed like the thing to do. I’d like to go back someday, though, because it seemed like a really interesting place. We did go up to Point Park before we left to see the view and it was pretty awesome (and totally worth the drive up the mountain to get there).

One of Jerm’s many poses. He was especially into modeling this day.
Yall, let’s talk about my hair on this trip. It was a horrible disaster-y mess. I’m trying to grow my grey out and that awful blonde was not doing me any favors. I was in the process of trying to figure out what on earth I could do to it because I didn’t want to dye it dark again, but looking back my indecision was probably not the way to go….
Dramatic much?

We accidentally detoured into Georgia while trying to create our own “shortcut.” Turns out it wasn’t our best idea and added like an hour to the trip. I had planned a stop in Birmingham, just for the fun of it, but we ended up skipping it because we had spent so much time that morning before leaving Tennessee. So our grand total of experiences in Alabama was blaring “Sweet Home Alabama” while driving through it as fast as we could. Honestly, I don’t think we missed much.

Two time zones!

We pulled in to Jackson around dinnertime and were pretty much ready to be home at this point. I remember being grouchy and tired and done with the sightseeing and hotels and car and all of it. We had the pool all to ourselves that evening and let the girls swim until they were exhausted. And then I somehow managed to forget all our swim stuff in that last hotel. At least it was the last night or I’d have had a mutiny on my hands.

Day 8: Jackson – Vicksburg – Louisiana – Dallas

We were ready to head home, but we didn’t want to skip the Military Park in Vicksburg, and we’re so glad we went. It was one of those places where you really need hours and hours to explore and read about, but we took an hour or so and drove through, seeing all the high points. Pretty amazing stuff. I remember memorizing a speech in 5th grade about the battle at Vicksburg, but seeing it in person made it so much more real.



We only made one stop in Louisiana. These guys aren’t really my thing, but Jerm likes them and we were literally driving right past it so we stopped to see what we could see. Which was pretty much a lot of duck calls.

And that’s it, folks! We got home, returned the car, and vowed we wouldn’t leave home again for a good, long time. And then the next week I drove to Temple. It was just one of those years.

Road Trippin’ in 2016: Part 2

Days 4 and 5: Florence – Cincinnati

So the main reason we were up in Kentucky was to visit the new Ark Encounter in Williamstown, but Jerm wanted to see the Creation Museum while we were up there, too, so we did that on Monday. Yall, I’m not a science-y person at all, but it was still a pretty cool place to wander around. My favorite part was the fossilized dinosaur eggs and the camels you could ride outside (I so wanted to do it, but sent my kids instead). 😀 Jerm could have stayed there all week I think; he thrives on technical, science-y things. And guess who met us there?!

It was so cool to get to meet the rest of Amber’s family and the girls were thrilled to have Harley and Hudson and hang out with for a few days. My in-laws also flew in that night so we had a big, happy group to have dinner and spend the evening with (Red Robin, for old time’s sake). The kids were all very sad about the no pool thing so we took them to a spray park in Cincinnati for the evening and let them be wild hooligans for a few hours. If you check out the photos you can see that they didn’t enjoy that at all.

Tuesday we went to the Ark and it was pretty amazing. Fun fact: it started POURING when we got ready to leave so we were stuck there for a while waiting it out, but seriously, what better place to be during a torrential downpour? 😀

(See that tiny door in the first photo of the ark? That’s the same door the girls are standing next to a few photos down. (!!!!) Not so tiny after all.

Amber and Jared had to head home after we finished the tour; we were sad to see them go, but so grateful for the opportunity to meet up with them for a couple days. Love em.


Day 6: Cincinnati – Chattanooga

We spent Wednesday morning in Cincinnati because I kind of loved it there and had lots more must-see places on my list. Jerm’s parents were still with us for part of the day so we explored Smale Riverfront Park (such a cool park!), walked the Purple People Bridge (I don’t care how dorky it makes me, it was cool to walk over a river and into a different state), and rented a bike to ride along the riverfront. It was hard. I wouldn’t recommend it with all the people we had crammed in that thing. 😀 But definitely an experience to remember. I also had to try Tom +Chee‘s grilled cheese glazed donut sandwich. It was AWESOME. I realize that I sound like a donut addict, but truthfully donuts aren’t even really my thing. Grilled cheese, however, kind of IS. I also sampled the macaroni and cheese grilled sandwich and gave it an A+, too.  What?! Food is an important part of a road trip, yall.

We spent some time in Cincinnati when I was 6 or 7 and I have a very distinct memory of this double-decker bridge.

This was after half of us had disembarked. 🙂

She wasn’t impressed.

After the in-laws headed back to the airport we went to Findlay Market and drove out to an actual castle built by a guy who served in WWI. It was an interesting story. I’m still not sure exactly why he wanted a castle, but hey, cool place to stop and explore.

We spent so much time in Cincinnati that it was pretty late by the time we got to Chattanooga, so we headed straight for our hotel.

Looks like I need to break this up into three parts since this is getting so long. Stay tuned for the final couple of days of our epic road trip! 😉

Road Trippin’ in 2016: Part 1

There’s no logical reason for me to be posting about this now, but I realized I never wrote about our road trip last summer and fully intended to, so I figured now is as good a time as any.  We traveled in late July so it was boiling hot everywhere we went (but let’s be honest, probably not as boiling as it was in Dallas). We were gone for eight days, traveled over 2,000 miles, visited 8 states (although Georgia was mostly an accident), visited with friends and family along the way, and were very sick of the car by the time we made it home.

Day 1: Dallas – Little Rock – Memphis

After waiting around on our rental car for a while (why do they never have the car ready that you’ve reserved?) we hit the road mid-morning and made it to Little Rock around lunchtime. We didn’t have much time to spend in Arkansas, but needed a break from the car so we stopped at the Old Mill to stretch our legs and I’m so glad we did – it was gorgeous! It reminded us of a fairy garden and was full of bridges, secret pathways, blooming plants and frogs (which made Mad happy of course).

We didn’t stop again until we reached Memphis, but because of construction traffic we missed the duck parade at the Peabody Hotel by about thirty seconds (no joke), so we were pretty sad about that. The hotel was still cool to see, though, and we saw some of historic Memphis while we walked to The Arcade for dinner where I tried A Memphis Thang sandwich (turkey, brie, red peppers, Creole mustard – pretty good!) and the floors were literally slick with grease (GROSS!). We walked past the Lorraine Motel and attempted to ride the trolley (it was down for repairs) before deciding to head to our hotel for the night so the girls could swim before bed.

DAY 2:  Memphis – Nashville

We only had to drive about four hours to Nashville so we got there around lunchtime and hit the Parthenon (which was both weird and cool because…why?!) before heading downtown to see the sights. It was extremely crowded and hot so we didn’t spend all that much time there, just walked around a bit, had lunch at Biscuit Love (we wanted to try the bonuts, a biscuit/donut cross) and walked a pedestrian bridge to get a good view of the city. We stopped at an old Confederate cemetery on the way to our hotel in Franklin, which ended up being quite a bit more interesting than the city anyway.

DAY 3: Nashville – Ft Knox – Florence (KY)

We got up super early to make it to church near Ft Knox where my little brother lives and barely squeaked in on time. We didn’t realize we’d crossed the time zone while driving that morning so we missed Sunday school and got to services right as they were starting. Ty and Shannon fed us an amazing lunch at their home and it was so nice to visit with them for a few hours. I’ve barely known him as an adult so it’s pretty cool getting to see him with his cutie wife. We made it to Florence that evening and visited a favorite burger place from my childhood, Big Boy. We finally had a few hours to relax that evening but the girls were devastated to find that the pool in our hotel was out of order. Sadly, I somehow lost most of my photos from that day. 🙁

Stay tuned for part two later this week! Turns out it’s kind of fun looking back over the photos and reminiscing over this trip. 🙂

Around Here: January

My mind refuses to accept that we’re already well into February, but computers don’t lie. Except when they do…mainly when I log in to Facebook and see all kinds of malarkey. (That whole thought was just an excuse to use malarkey cause it’s an awesome word.) But anyways. Here’s a bit of what we’ve been up to so far this year.

  • Not pictured, but taking up gigantic amounts of time: school. Lots and lots and LOTS of school. We’re all tired of it and it’s only February, yall. Our schedule has been kind of weird and wacky so we’re fitting it in around all the crazy.
  • We had a tiny dusting of snow early in the month and the girls promptly bundled up and reveled in it for about five minutes. Then they got cold and came inside forever. 😀

    Cause Southern girls gotta do what they gotta do
  • Jerm took me out to a gorgeous little bakery/restuarant downtown called Bread Winners where we had the most amazing smoked gouda fondue I’ve ever tasted. We split the chicken and waffles and I was seriously sad that we couldn’t finish the fondue…my heart has been longing for it ever since. 😉
    Isn’t that brick wall behind Jerm awesome? It was such a cool building!

  • My sister made an impromptu visit at the end of the month and we had such a good time having her here with us. We spent a few days in Temple with grandma and the fam there, had some amazing Mexican right on the river, and of course made the obligatory stop at Buccee’s to load up on completely unnecessary trinkets/treats/etc.  
  • We also stopped by Magnolia Market on the way back to Dallas. It’s one of my favorite places to wander around, ever. You might even say the bakery there is my happy place. 😀 
    I’ll never get used to Texas weather. It was chilly in the morning when we left, but by the time we left the market I was DYING in those boots and flannel. I hold to the belief that it should NOT be 80 degrees in January.

     

    So those are the highlights. We have a lot of stuff happening in the next month or two, so I’ll share about that as it happens. Remember how as a kid January and February were like the slowest months ever? I’d be down with that.

Blog-tember, Day 9: Oh, the places you’ll go…

Day 9 prompt: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?

i-havent-been-everywhere

The quote above pretty much sums up how I feel about traveling. There are a zillion places on my to-go list, but Greece is the place I would choose if I could go anywhere right now. The history fascinates me, the landscape is so varied and gorgeous, and it’s one of the few places in Europe that Jerm has any interest in visiting. We even considered it briefly for our 10th anniversary last year but decided we’d wait until the girls were a little older before going. Someday, though.

1.2.3.
one.two.three.

So where would you go if you could pick anywhere in the world? I’d love to hear!

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March Happenings

Peoples, March has been insane. It kind of makes me sad that we’re down to the last few days because I love March in Texas. There’s bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush and wisteria everywhere and it’s super green and the sun isn’t set to “scorch everything in sight” quite yet, but it’s warm enough to go out and do whatever for however long you want without being either too cold or hot. BUT I’m also kind of glad it’s almost over because I AM TIRED. April probably won’t be any better, but I’m not gonna think about that.

So here’s a quick(ish) rundown of the insanity that was our March.

#1 – We roadtrip to Missouri to get the girls a dog.

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We can't help it. We're dorks and perfectly fine with it.
We can’t help it. We’re dorks and perfectly fine with it.

So here’s the thing. I adore road trips. I will not turn a road trip down. I want to take a million different road trips.

Just no more for at least two or three months. (Although if Jerm suggested one, you know I’d be in the car two minutes ago…) We’ve traveled every month this year so far and it’s beginning to take it’s toll. (Plus school is hard when you only have three days every week to work with.)

The trip was fun, we got to hang with Jerms aunt, uncle, and cousins, several of which I’d not met yet. It was cool getting to know them a little, plus they lived on an honest-to-goodness farm, which Mad LOVED. I swear, she ran out to check the henhouse for eggs at least twenty or thirty times every day. So stinkin cute.

Unfortunately she also had the worst athsma attack ever while we were up there, which was scary and led to another round of doctor appointments when we got home. I think she’s finally getting the meds she needs now, though, so that’s good.

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And we are now dog owners. Meet Blossom (the girls named her, of course).  I am so NOT an animal person, but I’ve got to admit that I’m kind of attached to her already. Not enough to like, roll around on the ground with her like Madeline does, but enough to pet her and walk her and stuff. So long as I don’t see any ticks on her I think we’ll be great friends.

#2 – We throw a pirate party

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We were actually in Missouri on Mad’s birthday so we celebrated a few days after we got home. This year she requested a pirate party, which was surprisingly easy to throw together, especially with the help of the wonderfulness that is Hobby Lobby and Amazon. I didn’t have the time to do much handmade this year, but she was happy with her party anyway. And all prejudices aside, I think she makes a pretty cute little pirate. 😉

#3 – We host our friends from North Carolina for a long-awaited girls weekend (minus the weekend part)

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My friend Amber brought her little daughter to Texas for a visit and we had a wonderful time together. The time went by too fast, but we’re so grateful for the days we had together. Susannah and Harley have been pen pals for a year or two now and it was so fun watching them get to know each other face to face. We shopped and took them to the Rainforest Cafe for lunch (which, to be honest, we enjoyed even more than the kids did I think)  and had an impromptu tea party and laughed and talked and watched Mockingjay (where’s Lanae and a creepy theater when we need them?!) and laughed and talked some more. Mad cried when they left and I don’t blame her one bit. Come back to see us again, Amber/Harley!

There were so many other things crammed into this month, too, but I think I’ll stop here. I sadly did not get any Easter dresses made for the girls this year. In fact, I didn’t get any Easter pictures either (total honesty here – we haven’t even had our egg hunt yet…put it off until this week). Susannah’s been begging me to sew her something, so maybe I’ll make them April dresses instead. But I’m not holding my breath on that.

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10th Anniversary Trip

I can’t even believe that Jerm and I have been married for an entire decade. We agree that it doesn’t seem like that long and also that it feels like forever. Like…we almost can’t remember NOT being married. 😉

So we went to Florida to celebrate our 10th and took a little trip up to Georgia and South Carolina while we were, you know, IN THE AREA. If I lived on the East Coast I would be constantly hounding him to take me to see just one more thing/place/historical site because after having lived in Texas and Alaska for so long it’s incredible to me that you can cross that many state lines in just a few hours.

So anyway, here’s a quick(ish) recap of our trip. I told myself I would only share one photo per day but that was too hard, so I settled on one collage a day instead.

Friday – so even though it took most of the day to get to this point (packing is the worst!), we didn’t actually leave until about 5pm. I told Jerm from the start to steel himself for all the picture-taking and he was mostly a great sport. We learned that we’re pretty bad at selfies. I’m not going to say who gave us the most problems, but he/she can’t even look in the right direction apparently. 😉 We got to Ft Lauderdale around 9 and by the time we got our bags and car and found our hotel we were ready to call it. Exciting first day, right?

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Saturday – we spent the entire day in Ft Lauderdale and it was beautiful out, which was awesome since Jerm wanted to spend it snorkeling. This is the only day we spent a lot of time on an actual beach (although we visited lots of others during our trip). I’m not a strong swimmer (understatement) so I didn’t try to swim out to the reef but Jerm spent quite a few hours snorkeling and then we spent the afternoon walking through all the cute shops around the beach. We splurged and went to Texas de Brazil that evening – the food was awesome and the service was awful.  So..yeah.  Day 2

Sunday – we had a lot of fun this day and headed down to Key Largo after attending a local church for morning services. We took our time going down, stopped at a farmers market and tried rumbatan for the first time (super weird looking fruit, but actually pretty good). We were a little worried about our hotel down here, because the reviews were pretty awful, but we actually loved the place, mostly because it had it’s own tiny private beach and hammocks that we pretty much had all to ourselves. And there was a restaurant next door (called Snooks – had to take a photo for Mad!) that had live music every night that we enjoyed while in “our” hammock. 😉

Day 3

Monday – We took this day to drive out through the keys all the way to Key West. A lot of it was unimpressive, but seeing the key deer on Big Pine Key was pretty awesome and the views  were pretty great. We also found a really cool little beach right outside of Key Largo where Jerm spent an hour or so wading out in the extremely shallow tide while I huddled on the beach in my sweatshirt. Key West reminded us too much of New Orleans and since we’re not party people we were largely unimpressed. The architecture was pretty cool and I loved the whole southernmost point thing (Jerm didn’t care. Whatev.) so we’re glad we went once, but probably wouldn’t do it again. I did finally get to try macarons, sold by a true Frenchwoman, and they were just as fun and tasty as I imagined. Jerm does NOT recommend the rose flavor, by the way. Public service announcement there. 😉

Day 4

Tuesday – this day was largely spent in the car as we drove all the way from Key Largo to Savannah, Georgia. We detoured to Miami Beach, which was mostly deserted and gorgeous (it was kind of a cool, windy day) and worth the stop (I thought). Jerm had to take his shoes off and get in the water at every beach, but I usually just took pics and searched for shells for Madeline. We also stopped in Jacksonville and had dinner with Hannah (yay!) which was awesome since I missed seeing her over Christmas. We were suuuuper ready to be at our hotel by the time we pulled in to Savannah.

Day 5

Wednesday – You guys, I adored Savannah. It’s such a pretty city and I love all the history. We stopped at Wormsloe to take the tour and see the awesome oak-lined lane with the Spanish moss. Totally worth it. Then we wandered through the city for a few hours (Jerm played Forrest Gump in Chippewa Square) – saw the historic houses on Jones St, tried pralines for the first time ever, because duh, it’s Savannah, and checked out all the pretty squares (seriously, we don’t have parks like that down here). Then we headed to Tybee Island where we climbed the lighthouse and I learned that I now posses a decent fear of heights (huh? since when?), hit the beach (again) to wade (Jerm) and search for shells (me). We tried conch fritters and fresh shrimp and found a church on the island to visit that evening. One of my favorite days of the trip, for sure.

Day 6

Thursday – We headed to Charleston and stopped first to see the Angel Oak, which seriously is the hugest and most beautiful tree I’ve ever seen. Then we went to Folly Beach and you guys it was cold that day but it was my favorite beach stop we’d made so far (I even took my shoes off!). There were starfish all over the beach and tons of shells and it was just pretty and so different from the Florida beaches. Then we headed into Charleston and oohed and aahed over the awesome buildings (okay, mostly that was me) and took the Fort Sumpter ferry and tour, which was really cool. Everyone we talked to spoke of how awesome the food scene was in Charleston but no one gave us recommendations and we ended up at a BBQ place by the water (not a normal choice for us, even being Texans and all) and I personally hated the food (the only real food disappointment of the trip). So bummer. I guess I’ll have to go back someday to get some good Charleston food. 😉

Day7

Friday – we had to be back to Ft Lauderdale for an early Saturday flight so we spent a good portion of the day driving again. We stopped to see Hannah’s farm and got to spend a little time checking out her work, which was fun and then we spent a few hours wandering around St Augustine, which we really enjoyed also. It’s got all these old, narrow cobblestone streets that I pretty much want to live on. We didn’t see the fountain of youth, although we could use some. 😉  We weren’t planning to stop on any more beaches but it was a little stormy out and we couldn’t resist one final wade in the water and I don’t know if it was because we knew it was our last day but I had more fun on that beach than any other day (Folly Beach was a close second). It was BEAUTIFUL and the big stormy waves reminded me of the Pacific. We finally made it back to Ft Lauderdale and fell into bed for a few hours before flying out at the way-too-early crack of dawn the next morning.

Day 8

So there you pretty much have it. We had a fabulous time together and even though we missed the girls it was good to get away for a while (besides, we got to FaceTime with them every day). Happy 10 years to us.

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