Posted in Monthly Musings, Travel

Monthly Musings: Vacation Planning and Prep

Happy Friday Eve! Well, it’s the last Thursday of the month. Isn’t that so hard to believe?!

That means that I’m linking up with Patty and Holly for this month’s Monthly Musings.

This month’s topic:

1. What trips/vacations do you have planned for the rest of the year?

We will take a summer vacation like usual. Since Hayden won’t be playing summer baseball, we decided to treat ourselves and splurge a bit on a vacay. We’re headed somewhere that needs a passport, and the kids are excited 😉

Then, we will go to KC to see my family at the end of the summer. I’d love to plan another quick getaway in the summer, but we’ll see.

We get a week long fall break this year, so we are thinking about going to Florida in October.

2. Best packing tips?

I’d love to say pack ahead of time, but that’s a great packing tip that I never follow. You would think my “type A” personality would shine while packing for a trip, but that’s definitely not the case.

I always have to have all the laundry finished before I start packing. As we put the clean clothes away, I hold out what we’d like to pack for a trip.

I do use packing cubes (more on that with #3), and I do think they are a great way to keep your clothes together, organized, and sorted by person.

As the kids have gotten older, I’ve started making them a list of what they need to pack, and have them do so. Then, I go through and give approval on what’s in their suitcases.

Leading up to a trip, I start a note on my phone of the random things I want to remember: book, Kindle, charger, sound machine, Melatonin, etc. I keep meaning to create a standard packing list to have on hand when we pack, but I’ve never done it. It would be nice to have a “beach” list, “overnight one night somewhere” list, and “KC” list, etc. Maybe this summer I will get to it!

3. Packing cubes. Yes or no?

Heck yes! I started using these cubes (affiliate link) from Amazon a few years ago and haven’t looked back.

Depending on how long we will be gone depends on how I divide these up. If each kid is bringing their own suitcase, I usually just give them a smaller one to hold their underwear, swimsuit, etc. Hadley has used a smaller one for hair stuff and other odds and ends.

If the kids are sharing a suitcase, they each get a color. I actually only have a gray and a teal set, but as I was working on this post, I made a calendar notification to order another set before our summer trip.

When I use them, I typically use a smaller one for undergarments. Then, I use another for workout clothes and swimsuit and cover-up. I will also use one for pjs and shorts, etc. Because I am an over-packer (more on that with #10), these do help condense what I pack. I still usually have a few things like sweaters if it’s the winter, that don’t go in a packing cube.

Travis doesn’t use packing cubes…not because he’s opposed to them but because he’s just a very efficient packer!

4. Favorite travel outfit?

I guess it may depend on the mode of travel. On an airplane, I like to wear a dress with a cardigan or denim jacket. I typically will also wear sneakers rather than pack those since I tend to have a suitcase that’s always pushing the weight limit!

In the car, I love leggings and a sweatshirt with flip flops.

5. Favorite vacation destination? Why?

I shared this post recently on some of the favorite trips we’ve been on. It’s not that we are world travelers, but it is hard for me to choose a favorite destination. If I’m going for comfort and familiarity, I love our trips to Siesta Key beach. We’ve been many times through the years, and it’s a place my entire family loves.

2020
2015

My heart belongs in Charleston! I love SC.

2018
2021

Of course, other family trips like our trek to AZ and then Cali provide such special memories.

2018
2018

If I could get to San Diego (Del Mar) easily and regularly, then hands down that would be my favorite place.

6. Have you flown since March 2020?

We have. As a family, we flew to Florida in the summer of 2020. Then, Travis and I flew to California last summer. I feel like I’ve flown another time as well, but I can’t remember off the top of my head.

7. Beach or mountain vacation?

As you can probably tell from all of the photos above…I’m a beach girl. I don’t necessarily need to get in the ocean, but I love sitting on the beach (preferably covered by an umbrella), listening to the waves crash, and reading a book.

photo cred: hadley

That being said, we love going to Asheville when we can.

8. Do you prefer to sightsee or relax on vacation?

Well, growing up with the Major provided early wake-up times when we traveled. He’d open the hotel curtains and say, “What?! I let you sleep until 7!?” haha

I always swore when I was an adult that I would just relax on vacation, and at the beach, that’s what we do. Places like Charleston have so much to offer in regards to sightseeing and the beach which I enjoy. Having kids “forced” us to sightsee a bit more. For example, Hayden’s desire to see the Grand Canyon prompted us to plan that trip…and then added on the California beach part as a compromise.

We still hope to take the kids to NYC and DC in the next couple of years as well.

9. Hotel, camping, Airbnb?

We’ve done it all, but to me, vacation means a hotel or a nice house. To be honest, we’ve been so spoiled with being able to stay at Trav’s aunt’s house in Florida, that when we stay at a hotel, even a nice one with a decent size room, I feel so on top of each other that I just wish we had more space. I guess that’s become more of a thought as the kids have gotten older.

Travis always “does his research,” and we’ve always had good Airbnb experiences.

As far as camping goes, well…I’ve only “glamped” for a few nights in Asheville. It was a great experience, and I would do it again, but that’s about as rustic as I get.

10. Overpacker? Underpacker?

I am an overpacker to a fault! I want to have all the options. To be honest, through the years, I’ve gotten really good at packing “just” a couple of pjs, workout options, etc. I still tend to overpack sweaters and dresses depending on the time of the year. I want to do better. Not to psycho-analyze myself, but I guess the fact that I’m a homebody by nature means that I want whatever it takes to make myself feel at home on vacay?

Making a list and the packing cubes both really help me at least try to rein it in.

One more thought…

This wasn’t on the list, but are you the type to unpack as soon as you get home from a trip, or do you let your suitcase sit on the floor for a while?!

Honestly, depending on the time of the year or how we traveled (car/plane), etc. determines where I fall on this. There have been times that my suitcase hasn’t been unpacked for a week. I know, it’s ridiculous. That being said, once we get home from a trip, we always make sure everything is out of the car and in the correct room. The kids tend to get their clothes put up almost immediately (per my suggestion), and I put away snacks (if it’s been a road trip), and always put away my toiletries. So that just means I’m about 90% unpacked once we return home and then my suitcase might linger for a day or two depending on if I have time. (I will say this is a character flaw that Travis wishes I would re-evalute! haha)

Shew! This post has me thinking about summer. I can’t wait for summer travel.

See you back here tomorrow for Friday Favorites.

Posted in Travel

Asheville Recap

Hello! How has your week been? We’ve been extra busy now that baseball games have started and the kids have had track as well. Just last week, we had very little on our agenda, and now we are back running from one place to the next.

Last week we visited one of our favorite places for a few days of our Spring Break, and today I’m recapping our trip to Asheville, NC.

We typically treat Spring Break as a time to go somewhere nearby. I swear, as a teacher (and I guess as a parent, too), March-May kick my tail. It’s the busiest time of the year for a teacher, and then the kids are busy with sports and activities as well in the spring.

It’s no secret I’m a homebody, but I do love to go somewhere when we have extended time off. I love that we started break in a very lowkey way with just hanging out at home. We were able to do things around the house, run errands, cross things off our never-ending “to do” list and more. Then, it was nice to get away for a few days going to a place we all enjoy and then having a few more days at home before break was over.

We had a couple of appointments on the Monday of break, so we left Lexington around 4:00 and drove about 3.5 hours to Dandridge, TN. We’ve stopped there before, and know it’s a good pitstop. We checked into the hotel, grabbed a quick dinner, and then the kids splashed in the pool for a bit. What is it about kids and an indoor hotel pool? Hard to resist, apparently!

We slept in a bit on Tuesday, grabbed breakfast at the hotel, and then left for Asheville around 10:00.

We arrived in Asheville around 11:30. We didn’t really have any plans, so headed downtown, parked and walked around for a bit.

We’d never been to Rocket Fizz, but we couldn’t resist after seeing all the candy.

I saw this and showed it to the kids…I said, “This is how we used to pass the time on a road trip.” No phones, no movies. Only our imagination, a book, or Road Trip BINGO.

We walked a bit more, and ended up the Mast General Store. It’s not a trip to Asheville unless we stop there. It’s always fun to look around. Often times, we pick up a souvenir or a snack, but we didn’t make any purchases this time.

We walked around a bit more and ended up at Wicked Weed. This is one of Trav’s favorite places, and I don’t think we’ve ever visited Asheville and not eaten there.

Trav got chili, I had a salad, and both kids ordered the pretzels. Hayden had fun with is pretzel!

Technically, our hotel check in wasn’t until 4:00, but we arrived at Grove Park Inn around 2:00, and our room was ready. We’ve stopped at GPI to meet friends once before, but this was our first time staying on the property.

It’s a beaut!

Welcome!

Right when we walked in, we saw this view! While Travis got us checked in, Hadley and I headed outside.

Once we came back in, Hayden was reading about all the history and about all the famous people who’ve stayed at GPI. They have photos all throughout the hotel, and I don’t think Hayden missed the opportunity to look at the photos.

We stayed in the Biltmore Wing. Our room was quite nice with a pretty view and enough space for the four of us.

We unpacked a bit before walking around and exploring the property.

Next stop! The pool. Hayden and Hadley had it all to themselves.

There’s this indoor pool in the Sports Complex along with some other activities. After they jumped in, they both emerged and said, “It’s salt water!” haha

There’s an outdoor pool and then a pool at the spa as well.

FYI: GPI apparently has an amazing spa, but you have to book way in advance. The website suggests 6 months in advance. I’d love to try it some time, but we rarely know what we are doing that far out!

Some of our Lexington friends were stopping in Asheville for the night on the way to their Spring Break destination. We met up with them at Catawba Brewery and enjoyed a beer. The girls hung out and played Racko, and outnumbered Hayden stuck with us!

Then, we walked to Pie.Zaa Pizza to grab a quick dinner. We’d never been to this pizza place before, and the slices of pizza were huge! We took our food to go, and ate at the picnic tables at Burial Beer.

The sun was setting and there was a chill in the air, but the kids had fun playing…

..while the adults enjoyed a beverage.

We ended up staying for a bit and the adults played Racko while the kids hung out.

After that, we went back to GPI. Our friends joined us for a drink while the kids got ice cream. (It was nice that right off the lobby there were a few restaurant choices as well as the market that had snacks, coffee and ice cream.)

I swear I think it was the fact that we were staying in the Biltmore Wing that Hayden got to thinking about our 2018 trip to Asheville and the Biltmore tour that we took. He was adamant about visiting again. I finally relented (who could say no to a boy who wants to take an educational tour?!) and booked two tickets for the 3:30 tour on Wednesday. We went to bed around 10:00 that night after a great first day.

Honestly, I had the worst night sleep ever for a variety of reasons….(not the hotel’s fault!) We still had a slow start to the morning. We hung out in the room for a bit as everyone got ready, and I drank some coffee.

We’ve been to Biscuit Head one other time and wanted to go again. We visited a different location, but the food was amazing just the same.

We were little limited on time due to the 3:30 tour, but wanted to take a little hike. Trav and the kids had previously been to the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor’s Center for a trail run, and it was nearby. It was a nice two mile hike…In the past, we’ve always hiked where there are more views or even waterfalls, but at least we got out in the fresh air and got some exercise.

When we got back to GPI, Trav and the kids went to the Sports Complex and played ping pong and basketball. While they did that, I sat on the patio and read for almost an hour. It was glorious.

Then, it was time to head to the Biltmore. Travis and Hadley dropped us off.

Hayden obliged for a photo…

…reminiscent of this one from 2018…minus a sister!

The Biltmore is just so magestic!

We had the audio tour where they give you a handheld device. When you get to each room, you press the room number and hear about the details and history of the room.

The entryway:

The dining room:

The tapestry gallery:

My favorite room: the library

Amazing!

Some of the bedrooms:

The pool and kitchen were in the basement. Hayden thinks the pool is so neat! I loved the view from the kitchen.

Once the tour was over, we stopped in the shops to get a fridge magnet. Then, Hayden got a root bear float, and I got a diet coke before Travis and Hadley picked us up. We were there for about an hour and a half.

We went back to the hotel, changed our clothes and headed to one of our favorite places: White Duck Taco. There are two locations, but we always go to the one by the river.

We came back to hotel and that was about it. I was seriously so tired from the lack of sleep the night before. While the kids got ice cream and hung with Travis in the lobby, I showered, read, and watched a bit of tv.

I slept MUCH better on Wednesday night. We all slept in a bit on Thursday. Then, the kids and Trav went for a run while I got us packed up.

Once they got back, we picked up quick breakfast at the market.

Coffee with a view

The kids waited by the fire while Travis checked us out of the hotel.

We got a quick family photo. I love it 🙂

It was nice not to rush. Usually, when we are out of town, we get up and leave ASAP, but we enjoyed the property a bit on Thursday morning. Around 11:00, we said goodbye to the Grove Park Inn and headed for the outlet mall.

I’d mentioned to the kids if we had time that we could stop there before heading home. Hadley, especially, needed some running shorts. Her legs just keep getting longer!

After the outlet malls, we stopped by Hillman Beer for lunch. Travis and Hadley actually ate a few appetizers there the day before while Hayden and I were at the Biltmore.

The atmosphere was great, and the food was delish! I ordered the rice bowl with chicken, and it was amazing. The perfect way to end our trip.

We left around 2:00 and were home around 6:30. Homer is always happy to see us 🙂

You know I love coming home, but we really could have used one more day in Asheville. I think I felt this way because we were staying on such an amazing property. We still wanted to do so many of our “regular” things that it would have been nice to spend one day just staying at GPI and relaxing a bit more. It’s a resort in the sense of having multiple pools, restaurants, shopping, a trail, a golf course, and more.

I’m always so glad we take the kids to a variety of places throughout the year. We tend to go on a bigger beach vacation in the summer, Asheville in the fall, and then somewhere nearby in the spring. Past Spring Breaks have included trips to Indianapolis, Knoxville, Hilton Head, Asheville, KC, and Nashville. While it’s always nice to experience a new place, it’s also comforting going somewhere we all know and enjoy.

Have you ever been to Asheville?

Here are some of my previous Asheville posts:

It really is a great place, and I love that it’s less than five hours from Lex. Asheville has so much to offer.

See you back here tomorrow for Friday Favorites.

Posted in Friday Favorites, Travel

Friday Favorites {#107}

Hello!…and Happy April 1st.

Well, you know I love a Friday…but dang, today means we only have a few days left of break.

We’ve had a great week of downtime, productivity and activities.

As always, I’m linking up with Andrea and Erika for this week’s Friday Favorites...

…Spring break edition…

Since Spring Break is always a favorite, I’m recapping Spring Break and sharing the favorites from each day.

Last Friday:

Last Friday, Spring Break officially started at 3:30. I picked up Hayden from school, came home and on my pjs. It was a cold and overcast day, so we didn’t make any evening plans. I picked up Hadley at 5:00 from a school event and texted to say, “Don’t make me come inside. I’m in my pjs!” 😂She promptly came out to the car.

I read, we watched basketball games and had takeout for dinner. Truly, this was a favorite way to start break.

Saturday & Sunday:

Saturday and Sunday looked much the same. We were able to sleep in, we watched basketball games, I read my book and did some things around the house. The kids had no sports, and, again, it was just nice to have time at home.

I did run a few errands on Saturday, and Hadley and I went to our favorite nail salon. I got a pedicure while Hadley got a manicure. After I saw her color choice, I did same for my toes!

I seriously don’t think I left the house on Sunday. We tidied up, did laundry, and watched basketball games. For dinner, we had a family favorite…brinner!

Then we watched our March movie: Cheaper by the Dozen. It was cute and very modern day. We all enjoyed it, but I think we all prefer the 2003 version.

Monday:

Monday was busy, busy, busy. We had some errands, had a Target pick up, a stop at the library, and an ortho appointment for Hayden. Then, we came home and packed and left for our Spring Break trip. We drove to near Knoxville to stay for the night.

books for all of us

Tuesday :

On Tuesday, we drove the hour and a half to Asheville. We arrived mid-morning, and got started on our trip. I plan on recapping the trip next week. We stayed at Grove Park Inn, and had a great time.

The kids had fun checking out the property when we arrived.

Wednesday:

On Wednesday, we had an action packed day that included a hike…

and Hayden and I visited the Biltmore. This wasn’t necessarily on our “to do” list since we did that a few years ago, but Hayden was insistent! I couldn’t say no, so he and I went on the tour.

Thursday:

On Thursday, we eased into the day and enjoyed one more day in Asheville.

obligatory family photo before checking out of GPI

We got home around 7:00, unpacked, hung out with Homer (he missed us!), and caught up on American Idol.

The last few days of break will be spent with a little bit more downtime, errands, and getting ready for a busy upcoming week. Next week, of course we have school, but baseball games and track meets begin, and I have a couple of longer school days with the after school tutoring program.

Favorite Food:

We always eat a lot of great food in Asheville (& go to some great breweries), but White Duck Taco Shop is a fave. We eat there every time we visit Asheville.

Favorite Kid Quote:

Travis and Hayden were talking about some of the activities at GPI. Travis looked at Hadley and told her about a cycling class. She said, “You do you, dad.” 🤣 She takes after me and likes to relax on vacay.

Favorite Mom Meme(s):

These memes feels accurate:

Bonus Fave: Flashback Friday

For memory sake, here are the kids at the Biltmore for Spring Break 2018.

Weekly Recap:

I had a couple of posts this week…memes to make you laugh and a recap of the two books I read in March. Here they are:

I know some are finishing up Spring Break while others are just getting started! I hope you have a great weekend.

Thanks so much for reading,

Posted in Thursday Thoughts, Travel

Thursday Thoughts

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Did you see my post on Tuesday? It’s not too late to get your corned beef and cabbage in the slow cooker!

Well, after St. Patrick’s Day, all I can think about is Spring Break. After Spring Break, all I can think about is summer 😉

With the weather feeling warmer and the sun shining most days, I’m really thinking about vacations.

Today, I’m sharing my Top 3 vacations. I’ve written more detailed posts on two of them, but today I’m also sharing some of the places on my TT (to travel) list.

Top 3 Vacays

1. Lake Tahoe

We went to Lake Tahoe for our tenth wedding anniversary in 2015. Our anniversary is in June, but we waited until my Fall Break in October to go.

The views were amazing, there was lots to do, and the weather was perfection. I would definitely go back there for sure!

2. Grand Canyon to Cali

A few years ago, Hayden mentioned wanting to visit the Grand Canyon. We thought that was a great idea because neither Travis nor I had been to the Grand Canyon as well. We also figured if the kids were wanting to go, we should. (rather than drag them there one day when they might not be as pumped to go.)

We spent a few days in Arizona before then driving to…

California. Travis knows I love Cali, and San Diego was an 8 hour drive. That seemed doable and a way for us to also hang out at another favorite place…the beach.

This trip meant driving from Lexington to Cincinnati, flying to Las Vegas, driving to Arizona (stayed three days), driving to San Diego (stayed four days), driving to LA (stayed two days), driving back to Las Vegas (for one night) before flying back to Cincinnati and driving home to Lex.

Shew! It was a great trip, and we were gone around 10 days, but we had such a wonderful time.

3. Napa

I’ve never blogged about this trip and could only find a few photos from our trip to Napa in 2008. This was pre-kids when we had lots of time on our hands. We were in California for about eight days. We were in Napa for most of it and then in San Francisco for a couple of days at the end of the trip.

We went to Napa with another couple and had so much fun. I will say that a week in Napa is enough. I love wine, but I swear we went to probably fifteen wineries.

One of our favorite wineries that we stumbled upon was Anomaly. It was quaint, the people were lovely and the scenery was perfection. We brought home three bottles of the wine from there from that trip. One we drank in 2009 when Hadley came home from the NICU, another we shared about six months later when we celebrated our five year wedding anniversary. Then, we took the last bottle with us to Tahoe to drink to celebrate our ten year anniversary. We’ve purchased a few more and been gifted one or two as well which we appreciate.

I couldn’t find the photo, but the next year for our anniversary Travis had one of his friends paint the Anomaly Vineyard from the photo I took. This painting still hangs above our fireplace.

I’ll cherish it always.

Fave Vacay Spots

We kind of have a rhythm with trips. For Fall break, we often head to Asheville.

Here are some posts I’ve shared:

Asheville is close to us and perfect for a quick getaway.

We’ve glamped…

We’ve hiked…

…and we’ve seen all the sights.

We went to Asheville for Spring break in 2018 (I think) with Hayden’s main requirement being we visit the Biltmore. It was a great trip as well.

For Spring break, we usually go somewhere pretty close. Last year, we went to Nashville to visit the Gaylord Opryland hotel.

We’ve also gone to South Carolina, Indianapolis, and Knoxville for Spring break.

The summer is our bigger vacation of the year. I always wish we could go somewhere warm in the winter, but it’s too hectic with the holidays and often going out of town to see family.

For summer vacation we often go to South Carolina or Siesta Key, Florida.

We’ve been to SC for Fall Break once, Spring Break once, and then summer vacay many times. Hands down the best time to visit SC is in the fall…as long as there isn’t a hurricane happening 😉

Siesta Key is another favorite vacation spot. We are lucky because Trav’s aunt and uncle own a house there. They are generous enough to share it with the family.

As my kids have gotten older and their schedules are busier, it’s hard to plan a vacation too far in advance. So, it’s great to have this option as our “go to” whenever the schedule allows.

on our 10th wedding anniversary in 2015
2020
2020

Bucket List:

We definitely have a list of places we’d like to travel either as a couple or with the kids.

  • New York: We actually had our 2020 Spring Break trip planned to take the kids to NYC, but had to cancel it once the reality of the pandemic was setting in. I’d still like to take them there.
  • DC: This is definitely on our short list for Fall or Spring Break.
  • Hawaii: Of course, that will be a trip we need to plan for…but I also just can’t get over how long it will take us to actually get there…which means I’ll feel like we definitely need to stay for a good stretch of time.
  • Nantucket: I don’t know if any of my family is interested in visiting Nantucket, but I sure am.
  • Pacific NW: This would be another great family vacation.
  • London, Paris, Ireland: In high school, I went on a ten day (I think) tour of Europe, but I’d love to go back. Hadley would love to go to Paris.
  • Virgin Islands: I’ve heard such great things about BVI, and I’d love to go.
  • Mexico

The last time we were in Mexico was 2005 on our honeymoon.

We look like babies!

I like that we’ve taken our kids to both familiar and new places through the years. While we aren’t world travelers, they’ve certainly seen many parts of the U.S., and maybe we’ll get abroad one day. That being said, when we go to Asheville, Isle of Palms, and especially Siesta Key, they are very familiar with those places and have some favorite restaurants and activities that “we have to do” when visiting.

What places should I add to our “to travel” list?

If only we had more time, energy, and, oh yeah — money (haha!), we’d be able to cross some of these places off our list a little sooner.

See you back here tomorrow for Friday Favorites.

Posted in Travel

California Recap

Hello! How was your weekend? We had a good one! On Friday, Travis had knee surgery, so he took it easy all weekend while we took turns getting him whatever he needed 😉 Hayden had baseball on Saturday, but then it was rained out on Sunday. While I love watching his team play, Sunday at home, was much needed with Travis, groceries, laundry, and just taking it easy. We were all pretty tired after our first week of school.

Today, I’m recapping our recent trip to Del Mar, California.

I have been there quite a few times, and it’s definitely one of my favorite places! Travis goes there a few times a year for work, and he often invites me to join him when he goes for work in August. I always say, “no” because it’s the weekend before school starts which is hectic within itself, but this year I decided to tag along.

I certainly have no regrets, and it was nice to get away for a few days, but it really did make the days leading up to the trip hectic to prep for back to school, and then I started school the day after we returned home.

We had a great time. Here are the details!

Wednesday:

An Uber picked us up at 4:30 AM for our 6:00 flight.

We flew to Dallas, and I will spare you the details of delays, deplaning, and changed gates, but the two hour layover turned into eight hours at DFW.

We finally landed in San Diego around 4:30, and after getting our luggage and a rental car, we drove the 25 minutes to our hotel in Del Mar. We rinsed off, got dressed, and I wanted to see the beach for a minute…

After travelling for 12+ hours and wearing a mask the entire time, I wanted some fresh air before we met some friends for dinner at…

Pamplemousse. I got the halibut, and it was delish. We were back to the hotel by 9:30. With the time change and long day of travel, we fell right asleep!

Thursday

On Thursday, I slept until 7:00, which was later than Travis did. I met him at the hotel bar for coffee and breakfast.

After breakfast, we enjoyed our coffee on the deck with an ocean view and planned out our day.

We went for a walk …

before heading to lunch at Brigantine.

This dress was one of the best things I packed! Comfy and cute!

This is a restaurant that overlooks the Del Mar racetrack, and Travis typically runs into people he knows. We both got the fish tacos and a beer!

After lunch, we headed to the beach for a couple of hours, and it was glorious.

I took a walk while Travis dozed off. By the end of this trip, I had 50+ photos of the beach and ocean on my phone…I can never get enough of the view.

Also, while beach trips with my kids have gotten easier as the years have gone by, it’s been a while since just Travis and I were at the beach. It felt so weird to grab my sunglasses, my book, and my towel and have that be all I need.

After the beach, we relaxed a bit, and then went to dinner at Market.

We actually sat at the bar, so we could watch the USA women win gold in beach volleyball!

The sushi was amazing!

Again, we were home by 9:30 and fell fast asleep!

Friday

On Friday, Travis was up very early to meet friends and clients on the back side of the track to look at horses. I slept in a bit, and then headed to the hotel bar again for breakfast.

I took my book and read while enjoying only about 1/3 of these pancakes with my coffee.

When Travis got back, we decided to drive to La Jolla which is only about 20 minutes away. We walked around and there’s an area where you can see the sea lions on the rocks, and we always go there to take in the views and see the sea lions.

We walked around a bit before going to Puesto for lunch. We split some chips and guac, and I got the shrimp tacos and cilantro rice.

On our drive home, I spotted a trail by the hotel, so while Travis napped, I went for a walk. The views were breathtaking, and I wondered what it would take to have a house on the side of a cliff with ocean views.

Ahh…

After I got back from my walk, Travis was at the pool. After a few minutes there, he was going to to the track to catch a couple of races. I went to the beach for about an hour. It’s not that the horse track isn’t my thing, but the beach in 75 degree weather is!

I hung out and …

started a new book…

before getting ready for dinner. Right before the trip, I was at Target with Hayden, and picked up this dress on a whim. It was perfect for dinner…

…with a view. A racing group from Trav’s farm hosted clients at Pacific Coast Grill. The views and the food were amazing.

We could hear the waves while enjoying champagne and seafood!

Saturday


Saturday morning, Travis was up early and at the track. When he returned, we had one more hotel breakfast before going to the beach for a couple hours.

Then it was time to pack up, and get ready for the track. Again, they were hosting clients for the races that afternoon. We arrived around 1:30 before the races started at 2:00.

Trav’s co-workers really knocked it out of the park with the attention to detail, gift baskets, food, hospitality, and more!

We were able to see other clients and friends who I usually just get to see when they come to Lex for the sales or racing. The track is so pretty and right off the ocean.

Once the races were over, we snapped a couple of selfies before leaving.

We had about an hour and a half before we needed to be at the airport, so we weren’t sure we’d have time for a nice sit down dinner. Well, we drove right past an In-N-Out Burger, and our dinner decision was made 😉 Travis has dined there a few times, but I never have! The burger was really good!

When planning our return flight, we weighed the pros and cons of taking the Saturday red eye or early Sunday morning. With school starting back on Monday for me and since air travel is so unpredictable right now, we decided on the red eye. We arrived at the airport around 9 PM for our 11:00 flight. We returned our car, changed our clothes, checked in and had plenty of time before boarding. Once in the air, it was about 3.5 hours to Chicago, and we slept hard! We landed in Chicago at 5:30 and had a two hour layover before taking the quick flight to Lex. We were home by 10 am! I took two naps that day and went to bed early, but was glad with the decision to go ahead and get home.

It was a really great trip, nice to have time with just the two of us, and I’m glad I said, “yes,” to join him.

Hotel:

While in Del Mar, we stayed at Hotel Indigo.

It was super cute and felt very much like a California hotel.

Have you ever been to Southern California? I always say if I win the lottery, I’d moved to Charleston, SC or So Cal! I just need to cash that winning ticket!

I hope you have a great week! We are continuing to ease back into school with a four day week this week! See you back here tomorrow for Tuesday Talk.

{this post contains Amazon affiliate links…}

Posted in Travel

Isle of Palms Recap

Hello! Today, I’m sharing the details of our vacation last week to South Carolina. We often head to Siesta Key, Florida for most of our vacations, but we’ve gone to SC pretty often as well. I actually was thinking and we’ve been to Hilton Head once, Folly Beach three times and IOP three times as well. So, we know our way around the Charleston area pretty well. Since our summer is filled with baseball, we chose IOP because we can drive there in 8-9 hours, and we hadn’t been there since fall break 2018.

These memes are timely:

and…

It’s so much effort for my homebody self to get everything organized and packed, but the trips are always worth it once we get there.

Warning: photo overload! 😉 My love language must be photo taking!

We left after Hayden’s Sunday baseball championship game, and drove to Asheville. We arrived at our hotel around 10:00.

Monday

Monday morning, we slept in. Even I slept in! The kids and I woke up around 9:00 and, after a quick breakfast, we hit the road around 10:30. We definitely took longer than we thought we would in the morning, but the sleep was much needed.

We arrived at our hotel around 4:00, unpacked, and headed straight to the beach. There was an outgoing tropical depression, so it was really windy but no rain. We walked around a bit, and the kids splashed in the water before we changed and went to dinner.

We drove a few minutes to Mt. Pleasant and ate dinner on the water at Saltwater Cowboys. I had the shrimp tacos, and they were delish!

This pic of Hayden and Travis is a fave of mine!

Hayden and Hadley checked out the dock of the restaurant after we ate.

Then, we headed back, but made a stop for ice cream on Sullivan’s Island. As we were parking, Travis recognized the picket fence that I had the kids stand in front of in 2013. This photo (on the left) is on our gallery wall in our kitchen. The kids obliged for a “how it’s going…” photo for contrast of “how it started.” Since 2013, the kids have grown two or more feet and the house has definitely been upgraded!

We hit up Co-op for delicious ice cream.

We headed back to the hotel and went to bed!

Tuesday

Travis always gets up early on vacation, and I do try to sleep in a bit. The kids really sleep in on vacation! Travis usually goes for a run, and then it’s my turn to sip my coffee on the beach. It’s my absolute favorite thing to do!

Our hotel was on the beach, and we rented two chairs and an umbrella for our four full days there. They were set it by the time Travis got down there each morning. (We packed two smaller beach chairs from home, so we all had somewhere to sit when needed). These are the best spent money for sure!

Me: every morning…

I brought a ton of snacks and drinks from home, but Travis went to the grocery for sandwich stuff and other food for the week. The kids had a quick hotel breakfast (They had grab and go until 9:30 each day), and then we hit the beach.

I usually went to the room around noon to make sandwiches and grab any other food we needed. We typically stayed at the beach until 2:00 or so, and then the kids liked to go to the pool. I will say that Travis knows my love for the beach, an ocean view, and reading a book under and umbrella, so most days I stayed put while he monitored the kids at the pool.

We usually got an afternoon snack or headed back to the beach for a bit before dinner each day.

Travis and Hayden love oysters, so everyone freshened up before we went to happy hour at Pier 41.

Oysters were the happy hour special as was $2 champagne. They had oysters, Hadley had calamari, and I sipped the bubbly!

We went back to the beach afterwards. Hadley and I walked around while Hayden and Travis played catch.

I always love watching the sunset at the beach. Through the years, we’ve tried to make a point to go to dinner early and head back to the beach for sunset.

After the sun set, we headed to at late dinner near our hotel at Acme Lowcountry Kitchen. We’d eaten there during a previous visit and knew the food would be good. Hadley got the salmon, I had a salad, and Travis and Hayden split the fish special.

The kids wanted ice cream, so we got that on our walk back to the hotel. We all went to bed with full bellies.

Wednesday

Wednesday started with another morning filled with sunshine and coffee.

Once we all got down to the beach, we took our traditional beach family photo 😉

On this day, we purchased a boogie board, and the kids had tons of fun.

I got some time on my own in the afternoon with a book and a cool beverage.

Wednesday evening we headed to Charleston to eat at Coast. I love all of the colorful home in Charleston!

Our dinner at Coast was my favorite. The atmosphere was amazing, and the food was phenomenal.

Hadley, outside of Coast, looks like she’s 11 going on 16!

On our way to dinner, I spotted Sewing Down South which is Craig’s pillow store. I love watching Southern Charm, so I was excited when I saw his store! Hadley and I stopped by there for a few minutes after dinner. Craig wasn’t there, but the employees were so friendly!

We ended our evening in Charleston walking around Battery Park. We usually do this every time we visit.

Then, we headed back to the hotel and went to bed!

Thursday

On Thursday, I checked the weather, and they were calling for 100% chance of rain on Friday, so we beached hard on Thursday!

I got my “me time” in the morning.

Then, we hung out in the sand most of the day! Hadley borrowed my hat for a bit:

Then, Travis and Hayden wanted round two of oysters, so we went to Binkys, by our hotel, for Happy Hour oysters.

Then, the kids played in the pool for an hour or so before we headed to dinner at Papis.

When we visited IOP for fall break 2018, we went to Papi’s TWICE. We loved it that much. So, we couldn’t wait to eat there again. We got all the dips and chips, some margs (for the adults ;), tacos, and then churros for dessert!

After dinner, we headed to the beach for a bit before bed!

Friday:

Friday morning’s hour by hour forecast seemed pretty favorable for a decent day at the beach. One more morning of coffee …

followed by my sunshine and sand.

The day actually turned out to be so nice. The wind picked up and the skies got cloudy around 4:00, so the kids hit the pool and then we got ready to go into Charleston again for dinner.

The kids really wanted to do a ghost tour, so Travis found one for Magnolia Cemetery at 9:30 pm. We walked around Charleston, and as expected on the Friday of 4th of July weekend, most restaurants had quite the wait. We go to Hyman’s every time we come to Charleston. They said their wait was about 1.5 hours, so we walked around, and Hayden and I got ice cream sandwiches at Peace Pie (key lime pie for me and chocolate peanut butter for him), and Hadley got some macarons from Le Macaron which was next door.

The wait ended up being about an hour, and we ate dinner around 8:00. We were a bit pressed for time because we had to be to the ghost tour by 9:15. We ate quickly and headed that way…

Hyman’s has these little cards on the tables that are fun to read. Fun fact: When Travis and I visited Charleston for the first time in 2010, we ate at Hymans, and I have carried one of these marriage cards in my wallet ever since. I should probably refer to it more often, but it’s a good little check list!

This one is so funny and so true!

The Magnolia Cemetery Nighttime Tour was so good. I didn’t know what to expect, and I told the kids to be prepared to be “spooked” a little, but it was all good.

We met our group and tour guide, Joy, at the gates of the cemetery at 9:15. Joy was amazing! Hayden and Hadley were the only kids on the tour. After she closed the gate, she pulled them aside, and told them they could ring the massive bell to start the tour. She gave us all flashlights, and explained that we needed to stick together because there are various birds, bugs, spiders, and ALLIGATORS! that we may see on the tour.

Joy was so knowledgeable. The tour is listed at 1.5 hours, but she told us that her tour takes about two hours, and she wasn’t wrong! As we walked, she shared the history of of the cemetery, talked about Charleston, the people who were buried in the cemetery, and sprinkled in spooky stories within the history.

My kids loved it! Hayden White was often found near Joy, asking her questions!

Checking out a mausoleum…

We spotted the huge cranes, definitely saw spiders, and had to keep our eye on a alligator that we spotted in the pond as Joy told one of her stories!

Her tour ended right around 11:30, and I definitely wish we had time to drive through the cemetery during the day just to see some of the headstones and structures in the daylight.

We got back to our hotel after midnight, packed up most of what we could before falling asleep around 1:00 am.

Let me tell you what is more spooky than a southern cemetery at night…me on less than 5 hours of sleep 🤣

We were up by 6:00 and on the road around 7:00. Of course, we hated to say goodbye to one of our favorite places, but we were ready to get home and see Homer!

To sum up the trip with a favorite quote:

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me) it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.”
~e.e. cummings


I never realize how much we need to get away until we do. Grateful for some time in the sunshine with a mix of sand and saltwater. The week provided a time for great memories, wonderful weather, amazing food and a different setting for the kids to bicker 😂

This was me most of Sunday…unpacking all my overpacking…

If you made it to the end of this post, you’re the real MVP!

I’m so glad we made the time to squeeze in some uninterrupted family time in one of our favorite places.

Have you ever been to the Charleston area? We’ll definitely be back…hopefully soon!

Posted in Friday Favorites, Travel

Friday Favorites {#75}

Hello and Happy Friday! Also…

Or should I say…😂

Linking up with Andrea and Erika for this week’s Friday Favorites.

This has been quite the week with lots of favorites.

The kids had lots of fun with friends this past weekend.

Hayden’s on a summer basketball team, and following their game on Friday, we went out for pizza and ice cream with friends.

Hadley spent most of Saturday and Sunday at a pool / slumber party for a friend.

Hayden had two baseball games on Saturday and he and Travis went to the pool Saturday night and met up with some friends.

Sunday, Hayden’s team won in extra innings to move on to the championship game of the tournament.

There’s a grandma on the team who takes the photos with her nice camera. She gets some great shots of all the players and the team.

The dugout photos are some of my faves.

…and another favorite is Hayden’s team won in the championship game!

Right after Hayden’s game, we hit the road for…

Isle of Palms, SC.

We went from 90+ degrees in Kentucky to the sand, saltwater, and sunshine of South Carolina.

We’ve eaten delicious seafood all week!

Shrimp tacos

Hayden and Travis were able to enjoy some oysters…

I always say if I win the lottery, I’m buying a house here!

We often vacation in Siesta Key, Florida, but we head to SC every few years. With the short window between baseball tournaments, it was the perfect getaway destination. The last time we were here was for Fall Break 2018. I love the Charleston area.

2018

A few fave photos from the week:

Family time
Sunshine Sis
Mom & Dad
Surfer Boo
Beach Bums

Favorite Beverage:

I still love White Claws, but Trulys have been my drink of choice this week, & I’ve loved the Fruit Punch variety pack!

Favorite 4th of July Tradition:

We will be home for the 4th of July this weekend, and I will be serving my favorite red, white, and blue waffles for the kids.

Favorite Mom Meme:

Currently me…

Bonus Fave: Flashback Friday

We were cruising down Middle Street on Sullivan’s Island, and Travis remembered the photo I took (it’s on our gallery wall at home) of the kids in 2013.

While my kids have grown over two feet since then, and the house was definitely updated, some things will never change: they had to be bribed with ice cream for both pics 😂

Weekly Recap

I had two posts this week:

I hope you’ve had a great week. We definitely have, & I hope to share more details about our trip soon!

Have a great weekend. If you need me, I will be unpacking and dreaming of the beach!

Posted in Everyday Life, Travel

Lexington Top 5

Hey there! Happy Thursday. Today, I’m shining a spotlight on Lexington. I’ve lived here since 2004 when I moved here from Missouri after becoming engaged to Travis.

One of the immediate things I loved about Lexington is the small town feel but in a city. While I miss Missouri, I did feel “at home” when I moved here many years ago. I felt like I was able to navigate pretty easily on my own, I love all that Lexington has to offer, and the activities and restaurant options have only expanded through the years.

Here are the Top 5 things I love about Lex:

Keeneland

Hands down, my favorite activity is Keeneland. “Out-of-towners” always ask about Churchill Downs in Louisville, but I always suggest visiting in October and April when Keeneland has their fall and spring meets. The atmosphere at Keeneland can’t be beat!

At Keeneland this spring with Travis.
I rarely bet…I just watch the horses run!
Fall meet 2018
At the track with dad in April 2018

Restaurants

There are so many awesome restaurants in Lex. Here are some of my faves.

Merrick Inn:

Merrick Inn is a classic Lexington restaurant with a cozy indoor atmosphere and an awesome patio.

Merrick

Carson’s Food and Drink:

Carson’s is a favorite as well. The inside is fun and has a rustic feel. It’s known for it’s cocktails and craft beers as well as it’s wonderful menu.

My birthday dinner this year at Carson’s
Carson’s oscar style salmon

Native Cafe:

The Native Cafe is fairly new and located at Michler’s Greenhouse. The outside atmosphere is picturesque and quaint. Native Cafe is tucked in and quiet while in an urban setting.

June 2020

Windy Corner and Wallace Station:

Windy Corner Market and Wallace Station Deli and Bakery are both located just outside of Lexington. They are great places to go to for outside sitting and great for families. Both have plenty of green space for kids to run around and picnic tables for diners to enjoy their meal.

July 2020

The Stave:

The Stave is another restaurant just outside of Lexington with a wonderful outdoor space and great food.

May 2020
Fun in the creek while we waited on our food.

Bella Cafe:

Bella Cafe is another new restaurant in town. It’s “everyday dining elevated.” I love their grilled salmon salad, and Hadley gives their lemon tart two thumbs up!

Bella cafe

Others Faves:

We also love:

  • OBC Kitchen – bacon in a glass as an appetizer is a MUST!
  • Malones – great steaks…I love their oscar style twin filets!
  • Graze – lots of classic food options, hamburgers, and more!
  • Puccinis – Italian food, affordable, and family friendly!

This is the just tip of the iceberg for restaurant recommendations in and around Lexington.

Sports:

Y’all knows the the city of Lexington bleeds blue. While I’m not necessarily a “super fan,” I do love all of the sporting events and athletics that UK has to offer.

From football, to basketball, to volleyball, along with baseball and softball, there’s something going on every season of the year!

We usually go to one to two volleyball games a season. We often try to hit up the MIZZOU/UK match when it’s in Lex.

In the fall, you’ll find us at most home football games.

So many fun photos through the years.

2019

The girls…

2019

and their moms…haha

2019

Parks:

There are so many great parks and hiking opportunities in and around Lexington.

UK Arboretum:

The Arboretum is always beautiful!

2018

Shaker Village:

Shaker Village is outside of Lexington and is filled with history and has great hiking trails.

July 2020

McConnell Springs:

I took the kids to McConnell Springs last year for the first time, and we had so much fun exploring.

June 2020

Other Parks:

Other parks we enjoy include:

  • Jacobson
  • Masterson Station
  • Woodland Park
  • Raven Run Sanctuary

Activities:

There are so many fun activities throughout the year.

Winter:

The Hillenmeyer Christmas Shop Santa is the best in Lex!

Santa visits through the years…

Mustard Seed Hill was a fun place to visit. It’s located just outside of Lexington in Millersburg, KY. We went there for the first time this past December, and the lights were amazing!

December 2020

The Horse Park’s Southern Lights are a fun family tradition for us.

Ice Skating at Triangle Park is also fun, but the rink is only open for a couple of months around the holidays.

December 2017

Spring:

I already mentioned it, but Keeneland is lots of fun in April.

The Children’s Garden at the Arboretum offers activities and trails.

August 2016

UK baseball and softball games are always fun to watch.

The blue and white football game is a fun way to get a glimpse of the football team for the upcoming season.

April 2016

Summer:

We picked strawberries at Evans Orchard for the first time last summer, and we hope to make it a summer tradition.

June 2020

Picnic with the Pops is a fun event that happens in August. There’s always a theme, and people decorate their tables, wine and dine, and listen to the classical music.

C/o Kentucky.com

The Mid-Summer Nights run is neat activity. There’s a mile race as well as a 5k. There are also booths and snacks like popcorn. We always end up running into friends and others that we know.

fun run August 2016
5k in August 2018

Fall:

My favorite thing to do in the fall is to head to Evan’s Orchard to pick out our pumpkins and get the apple cider donuts.

October 2019
2019

As I mentioned before, we often attend the UK football games at Kroger Field. Tailgating is the best part!

UK games through the years…

Keeneland fun continues in the fall with more racing in October.

2016….Hayden’s horse lost by a nose!

Other Lexington “to do’s”

  • Waveland Museum
  • Explorium
  • Ashland: Henry Clay Estate
  • Bourbon Trail (surrounding Lexington)
  • Mary Todd Lincoln House
  • Horse farm tours
  • Kentucky Horse Park

Shew! This ended up being quite the list! I could get a job at the Kentucky Department of Tourism! 🙂

Anyway, this is just a glimpse of the great things, places, and food that Lexington has to offer.

What’s the best thing about where you live?

See you back here tomorrow for Friday Favorites.

Posted in Travel

Gaylord Opryland Nashville Recap

Hello! How is your week going? I’m not going to lie…re-entry back into reality after a week of Spring Break has been a major adjustment. On top of school and work, Hayden has had two back to back late baseball games! Only a couple more days until the weekend!

Today, I’m sharing about our Gaylord Opryland Resort trip. We’ve had this place on our “to visit” list for a couple of years. As I mentioned in last Friday’s post, we typically plan a Spring Break trip for a few days of break rather than going somewhere for an entire week. Spring Break has been the perfect time to visiting some place new for a few days. This year, we headed to Nashville to stay at the Gaylord, have fun at Sound Waves, and experience some of what Nashville has to offer.

Travis and I have friends in Nashville, so we’ve been there quite a few times, but this is the first time the kids had ever been there. We left Tuesday morning after breakfast, and arrived around noon at the Gaylord. We were able to secure an early check in, and this was our view when we exited the elevator:

I checked out our balcony view while the kids got ready for the water park.

Funny enough, in our 48 hours at the Gaylord we ran into three different families we know…but rarely get to see! One of the families we knew would be there, and my kids had fun playing with their kids!

We spent most of Tuesday afternoon at the Sound Waves water park. The kids swam, I enjoyed the lazy river(s), and Hayden tried the FlowRider body surfing. He had lots of fun giving that a try. While the dads kept an eye on the kids, my friend and I hit up the water slides. Eventually, Hadley and our friends’ daughter joined us for the four person water slide. We had lots of fun.

We went back to the room around 5:30, cleaned up, walked around some of the property.

Nothing says Opryland like guitars hanging from the ceiling.

We stayed in the Cascades Atrium, and the waterfalls were amazing.

The main restaurants (sushi, Mexican food, steak, etc) on the property rotated being open for dinner while the market and smaller “grab and go” places like Cinnabon and Starbucks were open daily. Tuesday night, we decided to see what was nearby and stumbled upon Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. There was a bit of a wait, so we had a later dinner than usual. It was “family style,” so we shared the fried chicken, chicken and dumplings, green beans, mac and cheese (and more!) between the four of us. The desserts were amazing, and I even picked up a couple of boxes of the gooey cake on the way out. The restaurant was super cute, and I had to show great restraint at the gift shop!

Once we got back, we walked around the resort a bit. The waterfalls and the seating areas were so pretty at night. We headed to bed around 10:00. (Hayden stayed up a bit later than the rest of us watching the basketball game.)

Day 2

The kids slept in until about 9:00 on Wednesday morning. I enjoyed my coffee and quiet time on our balcony while they snoozed.

Then, we walked to pick up breakfast while checking out some of the Easter decorations.

After that, the kids and Travis changed for the pool. We got two day passes for the Sound Waves Water Park. While they swam, I went to Landyn’s store! This was a “must” for me this trip as I love following her on Instagram …

and her…cream and white color palette is just my style!

Her shop is in L&L Market and there were other cute shops restaurants there as well. At Landyn’s store, I purchased her “Morning Announcements” mug, a pair of fun gold earrings with my initials, and a cute white bunny (bottom of the photo above). I actually asked one of the girls working if it was for sale…and they weren’t sure. She looked it up, and it was only $5! Uh…sold! I will remember my trip to her store every Easter when I put out my decorations.

I also stopped by Marigold Popcorn which is in the space across from her store. She shares them on stories sometimes. I picked up some churro flavored popcorn as well as white chocolate drizzled popcorn.

It was only a 20 minute drive from our hotel, so I’m glad I made the trip!

I got back to the hotel around 2:00, and read my book until about 3:00 when the kids and Travis got back from the pool. We lounged around for a bit, and then got dressed for Wednesday night activities. Before heading out for the night, we walked around for a few minutes, and a sweet family offered to take our photo (and then I took theirs).

We got in the car and headed to downtown Nashville. I have such fond memories of trips to Nashville with Travis and friends to visit our friends who live here and also to see the football CATS play at Vandy a few times. We’d always end up at Tootsies or Legends. We walked around for a bit, but as we walked by Legends, there were some people (and families) in there listening to music, so we stopped in for a bit.

Listen, when you hear Dixieland Delight being played, it’s hard to resist hanging out in Legends for a few minutes.

The band was really good and so sweet. They asked Hayden and Hadley for requests, and they obliged with an Eric Church song (Hayden) and Maren Morris song (for Hadley). While out an about in Nashville, people were wearing masks, we we kept ours on until we sat down, and then we stayed seated until we left.

Hayden loves American Idol as much as I do, and was excited to spot the Lionel Richie album on the wall.

After Legends, we walked passed Ryman Auditorium on the way to…

Assembly Food Hall. I’m assuming this is new since the last time I was there, but it was a good quick option for us. It was basically an upscale food court with live music. Travis and Hayden got pizza while Hadley and I got chicken (chicken pita for me) followed by cookie dough for dessert.

Then, we headed to Top Golf Nashville. (We were going to go to Top Golf Cincinnati the first weekend of break, but a friend told us there was one in Nashville, so that made more sense to just go there rather than drive to CInci and back)

We had such a good time. We had our top level golf bay for an hour, but ended up adding an additional 30 minutes on because the kids were having so much fun.

While Hayden is definitely the golfer in the family and can drive the ball far, Hadley wins for most accurate!

I’m glad we went around dusk and stayed until dark. The atmosphere was so pretty.

Then, we headed back to the hotel and checked out the fountains and waterfalls at night.

We headed to the “Delta” area for ice cream for the kids and then a glass of wine by the waterfalls for me.

We were all fast asleep by 10:00.

Day 3

I had to wake the kids around 9:00 on Thursday morning, so we could enjoy our last few hours at the Gaylord.

We packed up, got a quick breakfast in the Delta area…

and then the kids tried the rock climbing wall. Hadley scaled the wall in a minute and 37 seconds. Hayden took a couple of tries, and then made it to the top.

We headed back to our room, checked out around 11, and then made a stop at the outlet mall. We hit up Nike and Vineyard Vines before heading home.

We had such a great time, and I’m sure we will go back there some day. I’d love to see it at Christmastime because I know the decorations and lights are amazing as well as their winter activities.

Of course, we planned this trip knowing there were Covid precautions in place. Everyone wore masks on the property, limited tickets were sold for the water park, only some restaurants on the property were open each day, among other precautions.

So that’s a little look at our trip. It was a great three days away, but we are always happy to get back home…and the kids are always excited to be reunited with Homer.

Thanks so much for reading!

Posted in Family, Friday Favorites, Travel

Friday Faves {#62} and FBF: Spring Break

Hello and Happy Friday! Usually, Friday means a hectic week is wrapping up, but today, Friday, means Spring Break is almost over. Ugh!

Today, I’m sharing a twist on my normal Friday Favorites posts. I’m still linking up with Andrea and Erika, but this is a special Flashback Friday edition.

Spring Break is always a favorite, so I’m taking a look back on our previous Spring Break trips because those places and those memories will always be favorites for us.

I love Spring Break, and I honestly love being at home. March is always a hectic month, and I know that April-May will be busy with activities and end of school things, so it’s sometimes (always 😉 nice to just be home, relax, unwind, and regroup for the last couple of months of the school year.

Before the kids started school, we never took a Spring Break vacation. We usually had family visit during that time. Once the kids started school, we did make a point to start going somewhere for a few days. What I’ve come to love about Spring Break is we do something different each year. We usually plan to go to somewhere in the middle of break, so we have a few days at home on either side of the trip.

Upon reflection (this post!), I love that we’ve provided our kids with these various opportunities and created so many memories in different places!

Knoxville {2016}:

When the kids were in kindergarten, I was teaching in a neighboring district. We ended up having different Spring Breaks that year (which never happens…and hasn’t happened since as most districts in KY tend to have the same break the first week of April).

Anyway, on the first weekend of my break, we headed to Knoxville because Kentucky was playing Tennessee in baseball, and we knew the kids would enjoy that. We were gone Saturday-Monday, so the kids missed school that Monday. (Kindergarten and already skipping school! haha)

As soon as we arrived, we checked into our hotel and headed to the ball park to watch the game.

That evening, we went to dinner and the kids are all about a hotel pool!

That Sunday, they swam some more, and we hit up some local attractions like the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster and miniature golf. We went to dinner that night and headed home on Monday.

It was a fun little getaway.

Hilton Head {2017}:

In 2017, I was teaching in the same district as the kids, so we for sure had the same Spring Break 😉 We decided to head to Hilton Head. We love South Carolina. The weather was on the cooler side but perfect for playing in the sand (and the kids braved the ocean!) and swimming in the heated pool at the resort.

Can’t beat sunshine and the ocean.

We ate lots of great food, Hadley and Travis rented bikes one day, (After a fall the summer after kindergarten, Hayden refused to ride a bike for a couple of years. I wish I was kidding!), the kids collected seashells, played in the ocean and the pool, and we had lots of other fun.

One of my favorite family photos!

The beach and the pool can never be beat!

South Carolina is always a great place to visit.

Asheville {2018}:

Spring Break 2018 location came about because Hayden was adamant about visiting the Biltmore. We went to Asheville for four days and three nights. We spent one entire day at the Biltmore wandering around the property and taking the tour. Once it was our turn to enter, we toured on our own. Hayden was mad we didn’t pay for the head sets and guided tour. He’s a history buff!

I would definitely like to go back there again.

On the other days, we hiked a couple of times including to this waterfall. The scenery was stunning.

We always hit up a few breweries…

Of course, the hotel had a pool, and then on the last day, we hiked a bit more before heading out of town.

On our way out, we drove past The Red Rocker Inn. Long story short, Travis took me there after Christmas in 2003. I thought he was going to ask me to marry him. He did not. We didn’t get engaged until May of 2004. 😉

We actually went back there a few years ago and stayed as a getaway for Trav’s 40th birthday.

We always have a great time in Asheville.

KC/Vegas {2019}:

As our summers have gotten more hectic, we don’t always make it to KC to see family in the summer. We decided to go visit family for Spring Break 2019, and then Travis had the idea to leave the kids with my mom and he and I headed to Las Vegas for a few days. Airfare from KC to LV is always cheap, and it’s a pretty short flight.

Well, even with that plan in place, we had an even better surprise. The Kentucky Wildcats would be playing in KC for the Sweet 16 on the day we were to arrive! So, Travis, Hayden, and my mom went to that game…and the CATS won!

Then, Hadley and I joined the three of them for the Elite Eight game on the first Sunday of break. Travis and I weren’t flying out until later that night, so it all working out perfectly.

Once we were inside, my mom and Hadley made their way to their seats while Travis surprised Hayden (and me!) with…

FRONT ROW SEATS!

Hayden was so excited, loved to shake the pom poms, and hoped that Coach Cal would hear his advice.

Well, the game was tied at the end of regulation…and this was Hayden’s face…

Hadley was at the game for all the free swag she could find…and Tyler Herro. He’s still her crush!

I sent Hadley the Herro photo from where we were sitting, and told her he was winking at her.

Unfortunately, the CATS lost in overtime, and Hayden was very upset. I told him not to cry or he’d be the kid that CBS zooms in on, and that’s not the the national TV recognition that he would want!

We all went back to my mom’s, and Travis and I headed to the airport for Vegas.

We landed around 8:00 Vegas time and guess who we saw waiting for his Uber? O.J. Simpson! I spotted him, and Travis didn’t believe me. Then, he was waiting with us as we got our Uber…and it was him.

We were in Vegas for 3 nights and 2.5 days. We hung out by the pool,

went out to dinner,

ate lots of great food, and Travis gambled bit.

The first two nights, we stayed at the Aria and then moved next door to Vdara. Travis White is known for booking multiple hotels on single trip because he either 1. waits to long too book or 2. find a better deal!

On our last night, we went and saw The Beatles: Cirque Du Soleil. It was out of this world amazing. I’m so glad that we saw that performance.

Afterwards, we had a delicious steak dinner and walked back to our hotel before an early wake up call for our flight. Travis White is also known for finding the earliest flights possible!

It was a great trip and the kids had fun with GG while we were gone. We’d just lost our dog Shiloh right before Spring Break and that KC/LV trip was just what we needed to get away.

Spring Break {2020}:

Ugh! Last year, we were supposed to visit NYC. We had our air fare and hotel booked for the week, but of course we didn’t get to go.

Nashville {2021}:

This week, we decided to take the kids to a place that’s been on our list for a couple of years: Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville.

We stayed in the Cascades Atrium section of the resort.

The kids had lots of fun at the Sound Waves park.

and we enjoyed our first Top Golf experience in Nashville.

This Spring Break has been pretty perfect with nice weather in Lexington, fun with neighbors and friends, a few days in Nashville, and still a couple more days left (and Easter!) before we get back to school next week.

What do you normally do for Spring Break?

Weekly Recap:

Here are my posts from this week!

Thanks so much for reading. I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and a lovely Easter.

See you back here next week.