Thursday, July 30, 2015

Hey, Hey, We Went on Vacay

Last weekend, we packed up the kiddos and headed out of Cowtown for a quick late summer getaway to Galveston. Our oldest requested a trip to the beach sometime in June, and I--a beach girl, for sure--was happy to oblige.

We stayed in a tower room at the Hilton with a great view of the Gulf and the pool area. The kids were having so much fun that they even kindly shared elevator button-pushing privileges with one another. That was worth the trip right there. We spent part of the days at the pool and part building sandcastles on the beach. The little lady actually cried when we left the beach.

I hadn't been to Galveston since I was a teenager, and I was impressed! It has recovered well from Hurricane Ike. Family-friendly nightlife is abundant, from the Pleasure Pier to something as simple as the multiple ice cream shops and snow cone stands along the sea wall. You can't turn the corner without spotting great seafood, and we especially liked The Spot with our preschoolers. The Strand has quite a few fun shops (boutiques and souvenir stands), and we made a stop at la King Confectionery for a piece of fudge.

Maybe I have my Lone Star goggles on, but if it weren't for the muddy water, this beach town would rival any other in the Gulf region. Well done, Galveston.

All in all, we had a great first big Texas family road trip. We even convinced Jack to try shrimp, and he requested it a second meal. It has Mr. G and I excited about all the possibilities to show them the great state of Texas for the next 14-16 years we have them at home!

A little review about our lodging with info moms might like that I couldn't find online:

The Hilton Galveston Island Resort was a lot more hotel and lot less resort, but the location was perfect. Our room was in the tower, and it had a small refrigerator. The staff was friendly and helpful.

Sandwiched between our hotel and the San Luis was a Landry's, Rainforest Cafe, and IHOP, with the beach directly across Seawall Blvd. Even with our small kiddos, this was in wonderful walking distance, and there were great family-friendly activities outside the Rainforest Cafe. We utilized the beach across from the San Luis, which had chairs and umbrellas set up and available for rental for $30-40 a day.

If we planned a longer stay, we would likely opt for a condo and perhaps prepare some of our own meals, however, I was not interested in cooking this trip. This was perfect for the purpose of a short family trip, and we would probably stay there again.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Kendra Scott Mystic Bazaar Collection

My KS Mystic Bazaar Faves

clockwise from top left:
Everly Iridescent Peach | Rory Bracelet in Gold, Gunmetal, and Rose Gold | Everly in Gunmetal Iridescent Opalite | Fran earrings in Iridescent Peach | Adair earrings in Rose Gold

Kendra Scott released the Mystic Bazaar collection last week, and I'm loving the rose gold look. It's perfect for now and perfect for Fall/Winter. Specifically, the Everly Iridescent Peach and the Adair earrings are going to need to make their home with me, along with one of those bangles down the middle to add to my stack. I love the gunmetal finish, but I'm not sure what I would pair it with.

My birthday falls in August, and I'm already deciding how I'll spend my birthday discount from KS. They give 50% off one item during your birthday month. Such a deal!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Organized Summer Fun

I'm taking the opportunity to catch up some on our summer activities here, mostly for posterity's sake. That's one benefit of blogging about family life--you remember where you were when because it is published on the www for review!

The first couple of weeks this summer were spent in swim lessons. Last summer he took from Fort Worth Family Swim, but this year we chose to use TCU's Swim Camp. Children have to be age 4, I believe, to take part in this one. It's run by the TCU Head Swim Coach, and he uses TCU swimmers, grad assistants, and a few others that have come through his summer camp program to teach the lessons.

Lessons are taught at the TCU Rec Center indoor pool with 4-5 children assigned to an instructor in each lane. While there are quite a few more people in the pool during lesson time, I think that increased Jack's enjoyment of the water. By the end of the two weeks, Coach Sybesma knew which kid matched with what parent, and intermittently spoke with parents about their child's progress and the parent's expectations. I was impressed with the program and highly recommend it.

For the past 7 weeks, our little ladybug has been immersed in all things dance. One of my Pure Barre friends is the preschool coordinator at a local dance studio, and she reminded me that AB was old enough for classes this summer. She has had a blast. From the moment she tried on her tap shoes at the local dance shoppe, she was smitten.

Please pardon the grainy photo. I cropped it close for the privacy of the other girls. Most of what I have taken are really sweet videos of her twirling about the room with ballerina arms. Her excitement once we get to the studio is uncontainable, and she usually sprints to the door when the teacher opens the classroom, then again when she comes out to change from ballet to tap. Parents are allowed to watch from the lobby where there are windows into the classroom. It's one of the most precious things to see!

I'm glad we did swim lessons early in the summer and equally glad we've had something do each week taking AB to dance as the summer has begun to slow down. Who can believe August is almost here again?!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Our Ten Year Anniversary

I can hardly believe it, but somehow today is our ten year anniversary! If you had told the girl in the picture that 10 years would pass this quickly, she would've rolled her eyes. But yes, somehow I've blinked and have a decade long marriage, two children, and have lived in the same place for the longest I've ever been since childhood.

I'm not great with too much sentimentality, and since we've been married, it's been a running joke that, "That's why I buy the Hallmark card--to say it for me." But in all seriousness, I could not have a better companion for life. Not only is he a thoughtful, loving, and hard-working husband who leads me to be more like Jesus, he is also a wonderful, fun dad. I'm particularly smitten with him in the evenings when I hear him reading and teaching our kiddos at bedtime with great patience. He's great at it!

So Mr. G, if ever should you read this, I salute you for sticking to me through thick and thin, sickness and health, ugly and pretty, and all the ordinary days in between. I love you!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Book Review: In Good Company by Jen Turano

Through the Bethany House Blogger Review Program, I received a complimentary electronic copy of Jen Turano's latest book, In Good Company in exchange for a review. I found the publisher Bethany House through Julie Klassen's affiliation with them, back when I mentioned her works.

Millie Longfellow is a quirky, yet competent nanny who can't seem to keep a job, and Everett Mulberry is a single, soon-to-be-engaged, society gentleman who's been named guardian of 3 children that can't seem to keep a nanny. Hilarity ensues and wrongs are righted as these two fall straight into a mystery and perhaps something else along the way.

Within the first 10 minutes Ms. Turano had Pride and Prejudice in the storyline, so I knew I was going to like it. I did have to suspend my disbelief that an employee would talk to her employer as matter of factly as Millie does to Everett (it's no wonder she can't keep a job!), however she has an unlikely benefactress named Abigail Hart that sponsors her, so I was willing to accept it. Millie's a cross between Mary Poppins and Amelia Bedelia, and you just can't keep from liking her.

If you're looking for a good summer read, this one's yours. This is apparently the second book in her A Class of Their Own series, so now I'm going back to read the first!

(ETA: I downloaded the first one, After a Fashion, yesterday afternoon and am loving it!)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Wedding Weekending

This past weekend my cousin was married in Waco, so we headed south last Friday afternoon. They asked Jack to be their ring bearer a few months ago, so we have been practicing his "Ringmaster" skills ever since, for that is what he called his position. In case you're wondering, Ringmaster skills include walking (not running!) down the aisle at the church with the ring pillow and smiling a picture smile at all times.

Friday evening after the rehearsal at First Baptist, my aunt and uncle hosted the rehearsal dinner at Manny's on the River. It was a perfect July evening for patio dining, and our whole party was seated on the deck behind the restaurant, right over the Brazos river.

Photo compliments of my selfie stick!

That night we stayed at the Waco Hilton. If we'd had a babysitter, we probably would've explored the area on foot quite a bit. Don't tell any Baylor Bears this, but we thought the area was slightly cool. We were directly across the street from the river on one side with a row of food trucks and across from the Spice shopping center on the other, with Ninfa's and a bicycle shop with rentals and such. Our room overlooked the pool and had a great view of the river straight across to the new McLane Stadium.

The water was a little cold, and she wasn't having it.
"I NOT get in the water. I put on my pink coverup, and I GO HOME."

The next morning Mr. G made a Shipley's donut run (we don't have them here at home), then we dressed and went to the pool wear our kids out in time for early naps. It was a 6 PM wedding, and Mr. G - an usher - and Jack had pics at 4. A bit of our fam was down there, so we had a good visit with them and the groom before the day got super busy.

My brother and me!

I had some credits from Rent the Runway, so I used them toward this gorgeous Kate Spade party dress. Lipstick is MAC Ruby Woo, a bright but not too cheap looking matte red. By the time I had everyone else ready, I only had time for a side pony. #momlife

It was a sweet wedding, officiated by my grandfather. The reception was at Knox Hall, where they had BBQ and dancing. I think it was one of the best visits I've had with my whole family in a while. We saw the bride and groom off in a shower of bubbles, then put our little folks in their PJs before driving back home to our own beds. I can't wait to see the photographer's pics; she got a great one of our family of four! It was such a fun time, and we're so glad to welcome Cari to our family!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Babies and More Babies

I've launched a new look today, thanks to Anna at Designer Blogs, so if you're reading through Feedly or another RSS reader, I'd love for you to click on through and take a look!

My friend was such a champ earlier this week. After laboring for 30 something hours, she finally was delivered of her sweet little guy. (I'm leaving out a lot of details here--she is wonder mom.) Annabelle and I were able to meet him and fell in love with his precious little self. She loved it for a few minutes, and then she'd had enough of her mom holding another baby and was done with that.

At the hospital, the topic of baby fever and whether I will have more little sweeties came up. (Current answer: no.) While this was a perfectly normal conversation to have in that company, I find it interesting when folks who do not have a close relationship with my family or me ask it. It doesn't bother me, but I do think it's quite a personal thing to ask. I would go so far as to categorize it with asking a childless couple when they are starting a family, which is incredibly annoying. If they are having trouble conceiving, it's not just annoying, it's hurtful.

Do you agree, or am I totally off the mark?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Taking My Pure Barre Hobby to the Next Level

Back in April I attended Pure Barre Instructor Training in Denver and have been officially teaching at Pure Barre Fort Worth since mid-May. That's one little reason I've been sparse in this space lately.

My love for Pure Barre is well documented here and here. I especially mention it a lot on instagram, although I try not to be obnoxious about it.

This is the longest I've ever stuck with one workout. It has changed my body in ways that I didn't think possible. When paired with healthy eating, I notice results in my biggest problem areas. Then of course, something comes along like a birthday, an anniversary, spring, summer, fall, winter, or a day ending in 'y' that I fall off of the wagon and start over again on the good eating. But Pure Barre is always there, assisting my big, long work in progress.

Teaching has changed my class taking a little. I'm taking less classes because I teach during some of the times I normally would've have been working out. But it's made me more accountable to challenge myself when I am working out, and that's a great thing.

Last ๐Ÿ”ฅbefore the 4th! ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ’ฅ๐Ÿ’

A photo posted by purebarreftw (@purebarreftworth) on

Sunday, July 5, 2015

My BFF is Having a Baby!

Today I had the hankering to fire up the ol' blog and write out a few thoughts on my best friend having a baby tomorrow. Because I've been missing from this space for a while, I had the hardest time coming up with a post title. With the picture posted below, I don't want anyone to misunderstand: my FRIEND is having a baby. Not me.

(That's another topic, another day. Ha!)

I'm sitting here tonight having all the feels about my best friend having her first baby, a boy, tomorrow. I would consider him to be the closest I've come to a nephew, so I'm terribly excited! I'm remembering the first time Jack was placed in my arms--I had no clue what I was supposed to do. All of a sudden, every bit of medical staff had cleared the room. It was just him and me (Mr. G was going to get our parents) and all I could think was, "Do these nurses not know I do not have a clue what to do here? What are they thinking leaving me alone with a minutes old baby!?"

Of course, there is no truer welcome to motherhood. It's fast and furious and half the time you're making it up because you don't know what to do, all the while praying to God that He will give you the wisdom and the strength to make it. And that He will fix it for His glory when you mess up. I'm so thankful for God's grace each day.

Baby Luke's shower cake made locally by Leah's Sweet Treats

No words can prepare you for holding your heart in your arms. There is no crazier revelation than in an instant realizing every cliche about having children is true. It's such a rush, a sweet new type of honeymoon, and the most beautiful feeling in the world.

Congratulations, my friend, and welcome sweet baby Luke!
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