Posted in Everyday Life, Travel

Lexington Top 5

Hey there! Happy Thursday. Today, I’m shining a spotlight on Lexington. Iโ€™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:


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


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.


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.


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.


The girls…


and their moms…haha



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

UK Arboretum:

The Arboretum is always beautiful!


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


There are so many fun activities throughout the year.


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


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


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.


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


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

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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…


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.

Posted in Travel

Asheville Trip Recap

So…we had a very brief fall break last week, and we decided to make a quick trip to Asheville, NC. We’ve been there quite a few times, and actually, when I got to thinking about it, we’ve gone at least once a year the past few years. Asheville is about a four hour drive for us, and we like the outdoor vibe NC has to offer. Also, Asheville is the city with the most breweries, per capita…which makes it a place Trav loves to visit.

A couple of times, Travis and I have stayed at the Red Rocker Inn in Black Mountain. Actually, the first time I ever went to Asheville (in 2004), we stayed at RRI…and all weekend long I thought Travis was going to propose. He did not. That happened a few months later in May of 2004…but that’s a tale for another time. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I also booked a stay at RRI in 2013 to celebrate Travโ€™s birthday with a getaway for the two of us.

For Spring break 2018, we visited Asheville with the kids because Hayden wanted to go to the Biltmore. Of course, we did other activities like hike to a beautiful waterfall, but that was one of our main goals of the trip.

Last fall break, we stayed in Asheville one night before glamping with friends in Pisgah National Forest two additional nights.

Anyway, any time we visit, we check out new (to us) restaurants, breweries, and hiking trails, and we always leave planning a return trip ASAP.

Quick note…We stayed at an Airbnb that was cute and close to downtown. Every place we went—downtown, restaurants, hiking trails, etc….followed Covid protocols very closely. I don’t think I saw a single person without a mask in the 48 hours we were there. Of course, when we hiked, we just kept our masks handy if necessary, but everyone seemed to keep their distance while letting other pass and looking at the views at the top of the trail.

And…my only other mental note for a fall trip is to eat dinner earlier. We ate dinner both nights at around 7:00 which is about dark and much cooler outside. So, if we go back in the fall, I will try to remember to rally my crew for dinner at 5! ๐Ÿ˜‰ During the day, with the sunshine, the weather was glorious.


We arrived Thursday around 2:00, found our Airbnb, and unpacked.

The kids were excited to see the bunk beds….but on both nights, Hadley slept on the bottom bunk and then Hayden slept on our floor (don’t ask ๐Ÿ˜‚), and then in the other bedroom the next night.

The 3 bedroom Airbnb was so cute and super clean. I loved the bedding and couch so much that I was trying to find the brand name on the tags of the duvet and the cushions of the couch. There was only one bathroom, but we made do.

There were cute little touches around the house like the Asheville bar of soap on our bed, brochures and books for the area, and a welcome packet with info about the house and electronics.

Then we headed to Highland Brewing. We sat in the “meadow” area where there were picnic tables both in the shade and in the sunshine. I don’t have a good picture, but you can see parts of the hoops that had out for social distancing. If you wanted to picnic in the grass, you sat in the hoop on the ground or put your chairs in the hoop to maintain distance. The picnic tables had larger hoops around them, and they had bricks with a red and a green side for dirty vs clean table. The large hoop around our table was wide enough for the kids to move around a bit if they didn’t want to sit at the table. That being said, it wasn’t very crowded, we we could space out some and give them a few extra feet to roam. When you weren’t at your table, you were to wear a mask…and everyone obliged.

The weather was perfection. The kids got a coke and a lemonade while we enjoyed a beer. Hadley spotted the food trucks, so Travis took her to get something to eat. They came back with tamales and a Nutella crepe. Hayden and I weren’t mad about it! So good.

Travis also purchased a hat within the first five minutes. He didn’t pack one from the trip…and to be honest, many of his hats have been #homered! He was due for a new one.

We went back to the house to freshen up and then went to White Duck Taco for dinner. We love this place, and try to go there to eat with each visit. We’ve passed by the one downtown, but have only eaten at the one by the river. There are tons of picnic tables and the scenery is pretty!

I got one steak taco and one gyro taco. So good

After dinner, we headed to Omni Grove Park Inn for drinks and dessert. A couple of Trav’s work friends were also in Asheville, so we met up with them. The kids did a good job letting the adults have some conversation time…

while they devoured the s’mores dessert…and Hayden enjoyed looking at the wall of famous guests who had stayed at OGPI as well as the history of the resort.

Then, we went back to the house and went to bed.


On Friday morning, we slept in a bit. I actually slept until 9:00 which was pure bliss. Then, my crazy crew decided to go for a trail run…

off they go…

while I ….sipped my coffee and read The Flatshare on my Kindle.

When they got back, we got ready for the day. We decided to head to downtown Asheville, walk around a bit and find a place to eat.

We stumbled upon H&F Burger. We did eat inside because outside seating was all bar top sitting in a row. We wanted a table to sit at, so we went inside. Like the other restaurants, everyone had on masks unless sitting at their table and tables we very spaced out. Also, it wasn’t crowded for inside eating.

I got the ricotta gnocchi with bolognese sauce, and it was amazing!

The kids each got a milkshake, and I had a Diet Coke from a bottle (which Hayden thought was so funny). Travis got a burger, and both kids got the chili cheese dog. Both of them loved it so much, and let me have a bite.

Hayden loved it so much that he borrowed Trav’s phone to leave a review! ๐Ÿ˜‚He’s very into reviews lately…more on that in a minute.

Then, we headed down the Blue Ridge Parkway, stopping at a couple of lookout points…

Hadley actually dozed off in the car, so it’s only Hayden in this lookout pic.

We drove to the Craggy Pinnacle Trailhead and parked. This was our view when getting out of car…

With the elevation, it was definitely cooler, so Hayden went back to the car for this jacket before we hiked. The hike was only a little over 1.5 miles round trip, but it was pretty much uphill to get to the top.

family selfie before the hike

On our way to the top…

Halfway point…

View from the top. Gorgeous.

Gorgeous part 2:

We snapped a couple of photos and headed back down the trail.

Love this pic of my 3 โค๏ธ

It’s no secret Hayden loves to golf. We haven’t been to a putt putt course in quite some time. Well, Hayden searched for putt putt places in Asheville and stumbled upon Lakeview Putt and Play. He said, “Moooommmm…they have over 100 five star reviews, and their ice cream is supposed to be amazing!”

Honestly, when he gets an idea in his head, he’s like a dog with a bone! So, we fit it into our day after the hike. I am glad we went. We had a good time…and I humbled him by beating him by turning my putting game around for the last few holes. Travis won…and Hadley came in last. Poor girl…she started off strong though!

Of note, we did get a scoop of ice cream after our round, and it is pretty good!

We went back to the house to relax for a bit before a low key pizza dinner.

Travis found All Souls Pizza, and the outside seating was so cute. The pizza was delicious as well. The kids got pepperoni, and Travis and I tried the sausage, fennel, fontina pizza…SO good!

We were pretty chilly, so we didn’t stick around long after dinner. Again, the setting was so pretty, but the temperatures definitely drop quickly when the sun goes down!

We were back to the house around 8:00, hung out, watched tv and read before 10:00 bedtime.


Saturday morning, we eased into the day, but were packed and out of the house around 9:45. We wanted to make a pit stop at Pisgah to see our friends who were glamping and camping.

By the time I went to make a glamping reservation, there were no more tents…which is how we ended up at the Airbnb. So, of the three families in Asheville, we stayed at a house, one family glamped, and the other family camped….like in a tent, on the ground. I’m not about that life! …but would like to try glamping again.

The kids were excited to see their friends and run around for a bit..

while the adults drank coffee and caught up.

We left Pisgah around noon and got back about 4:00 Saturday afternoon…just in time to see the Cats (lose in a heart breaker of a game), for Trav to watch the Preakness race, and to see my mom and Gma who were in town at my brother’s house.

One more day in Asheville would have been perfect, but we are always happy to get home…

Let me know if you have any Asheville questions! It’s definitely a great place to visit.

See you back here on Friday for this week’s Friday Favorites.

Take care,

Posted in Monthly Musings, Travel

Monthly Musings

Hey! Hey! I’m linking up with Holly for this month’s Monthly Musings post all about Summer Vacations & Staycations.

Top 5 Items to Pack:

  • Well, I can’t leave home without my Kindle or a book, so that’s the first thing that popped into my mind!
  • Workout bands. I try to at least workout a couple times while on vacation whether it’s a walk or using my workout bands.
  • Sunglasses. I need to have a pair or two on hand.
  • Face wash, Toner, Moisturizer. I try to keep up some kind of skin care routine even if I don’t do all the steps every morning and night while on vacation.
  • A hat. I always have a ball cap on hand or a beach hat if that’s where we are headed.

One more “must have”…

  • Melatonin – especially if I canโ€™t pack my weighted blanket ๐Ÿ˜‚
Pic from my Let’s Look (at what’s in your carry on bag.)

Packing Cubes. Yes or No?

Yes! Packing cubes are life changing for packing. I’ve been using these for a couple of years and love them. I use them to keep my items organized, but I also use them for the kids…especially if they share a suitcase. Besides helping with organization, they do condense what fits in the suitcase. I actually need to buy a few more as I only have two colors and I’d like to have a third for each person to have their own color. Trav is on his own when it comes to packing ๐Ÿ˜‰

Warm or Cold Destinations?

I’d probably have to say warm destinations, but that’s because most of our vacations are beach vacations. That being said, I love to visit the mountains in Asheville…especially in the fall when the weather is cooler.

Isle of Palm, SC

Favorite Vacation Destination of All Time:

San Diego/Del Mar is my favorite place to visit.

Lake Tahoe is a solid runner up!

Staycation Tips:

  • Learn to love where you live.
  • Try a new restaurant.
  • Hike at a park you usually wouldn’t go to.
  • Have a picnic.
  • Go for ice cream before dinner (which is something we sometimes do on vacation)

The kids and I visited McConnell Springs Park this summer which was a first for us.

Camping, Glamping, or Uh No?

Travis and I went camping in 2002. He was testing our relationship ๐Ÿ˜‚

Last fall, we went glamping in Asheville with our friends. Overall, we had a great time…but I still prefer a cabin in the woods with a cozy fire…and tv…and cell service! ๐Ÿ˜‰

How Many States Have You Been To?

I did a quick count, and I actually think I’ve been to 22 states? Of course, some I’m counting like Missouri where I’m from and Kansas where I visit family. One family vacation when I was in high school, we knocked out three states for one vacation: Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. Also, places like Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee are near Kentucky and we’ve visited for both day and overnight trips. We’ve been to California a few times, and then places like Florida and South Carolina many times.

Still…22 states blows my mind. Also, while we love the beach and going to places we know, I’m glad that we are purposeful with planning other trips for the kids like our Grand Canyon/AZ/California trip. We try to plan a spring break trip to visit somewhere new…It doesn’t always work out that way, but we try!

Have You Ever Traveled By RV?

I have not, but definitely think it could be a fun way to travel and see many parts of the United States.

Most Random Place You Have Been To?

This one stumps me…I can’t think of anything off the top of my head…

I keep asking myself, “Have I been to an alligator farm?” or “Have I seen the world’s biggest ball of paint?”

and those answers are “no” and “ball of paint is in Indiana.”

I need to branch out more, I guess!

Check out the highlighted tourist attraction in your state with the link below. ๐Ÿ˜‚

First Place to Travel to After Pandemic?

If I could hop in a plane and go anywhere at any time, it would be southern California. That being said, we were supposed to spend Spring Break 2020 in New York City with the kids, so that’s where I’d head first whenever it’s safe to travel and sight see.

Vacations are always fun to think about…and I actually love a good staycation too.

Thanks so much for reading! Don’t forget to check out Holly’s post as well as other bloggers’ posts who linked up as well.

See you back here tomorrow for What I’ve Been Reading: July.

Posted in Family, Travel

Road trip to KC

Last week we hit the road to visit family in Kansas City. I’m from KC (hence part of my blog name…I’m from the “Show Me” state ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), and try to get back there at least a couple times a year.

Obviously, with the world turned upside down, I hadn’t seen family in a while. I had to adjust our dates a few times and wanted to make sure to take as safe of a trip as possible, so we headed out last Wednesday and came back on Sunday.

With a few stops, KC is about a 9 hour drive from Lexington. We made great time on both legs of the trip, only stopping quickly for gas and restroom break if needed.

I mentioned this earlier in the week, but this trip reminded me that traveling with kids does get easier! I made a list for each kid for their suitcase and backpacks, and they packed themselves! I double checked a few things, but they had it all. Also, I felt less stressed packing this time (I just hate packing…and unpacking) because I knew we were just going to lounge around! Comfy clothes, workout clothes and pjs were all that I needed.

We arrived Wednesday afternoon and stopped at my dad’s house first. The kids played outside, and my dad helped Hayden with his golf swing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Then, we made our way to my mom’s house. The kids were excited to continue their dog walking biz by walking her dog Gus. They walked him twice a day most days.

It’s summer. It’s July. It’s hot everywhere, but KC brings the heat. Travis and I were married in KC in June 2005…when the heat index was pushing 110. So this heat index of 106 was something I’m all too familiar with.

Two days of our trip, Travis took the kids to a nearby golf course so they could hit balls on the driving range…and “drive” the golf cart.

Look out!

Friday morning Travis and I went on a walk on a trail close to my momโ€™s house. We didn’t start our walk until after 10:00, and it was already so hot. We chose the trail, so we’d at least get a little shade!

Friday afternoon, one of my mom’s friends graciously let us cool off in his pool! It’s always good to see him and his wife…and the pool is a great way for the kids to cool off and burn some energy.

Gus got lots of snuggles.

I’ve mentioned before that Hayden has been reading the Harry Potter series. My mom has all the books, so she was saving them for when the kids would be interested in reading them. Hayden has read the first three books, so he started with the fourth book, Goblet of Fire, once GG gave him the set.

He even stayed up later than the rest of us on Wednesday night to start the book.

Sunday, on the drive home, Hayden read 90% of the time! He was really loving that book.

Throughout our stay, we played quite a few games. Monopoly Deal was a favorite. It took a couple of rounds to get used to, but we enjoyed it…and it’s definitely easier to pack and shorter to play than the Monopoly board game.

We also played Battleship that my mom had and then Dominoes at my grandma’s house.

Missouri has my favorite convenience store…Quik Trip. (It’s the little things that make you miss home, right? ;))They are always so clean and the employees are known for ringing you up as quickly as possible.

Sometimes we stop at QT on our way in or out of town, but Saturday, we picked up drinks for everyone as well as tacos from Taco John’s which are a fave of Trav’s when we visit.

When we are in KC, we usually hit up other local faves like Topsys for their popcorn and cherry limeade, Winsteads for a burger and shake, and of course, KC BBQ. This trip, we didn’t eat out as much just to be on the safe side.

On Saturday, we celebrated my Gma’s birthday. I ordered her a flower pot from the same Etsy shop that I purchased end of the school year gifts for the kids’ teachers.

Saturday night, we played more Dominoes before lasagna dinner and cookie cake at Gma’s house.

dinner at Gma’s

Then, it was time to pack up on Saturday night to head out Sunday morning.

It was a great visit, and we got to spend lots of time with our family.

Of course, it’s always sad to leave (and as the kids get older, they definitely do miss seeing family that’s far away), but it’s also good to get back home to Homer and sleep in our own beds.

Until next time, KC…

I hope you are having a great week.

Posted in Travel

Lake Tahoe

I mentioned in my What’s Up Wednesday post that Travis and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary yesterday. That got me thinking about how we try to go somewhere for “milestone” anniversaries.

For our first anniversary, we went to Florida. To celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary, we went to Charleston, SC.

So thought I’d look back at our 10th wedding anniversary when we went to Lake Tahoe.

I did a Today, in my my mind, I’m in… post about our family vacation to Arizona and California two years ago.

So, today, in my mind, I’m in…Lake Tahoe.

I thought for our 10 year we may go somewhere like the Bahamas! BUT…Travis is the first to admit he likes the beach and ocean but not necessarily for a stretch of days. He prefers to explore and be a bit more active on vacation.

He mentioned Lake Tahoe, and I loved the idea. Our anniversary is in June, but we decided to take this vacation in October of 2015. At the time, the kids were in kindergarten and had a different fall break than I did. The district that I was teaching in at the time gave us a whole week for fall break. So, we thought it would be easier on my mom and gma to watch the kids while the kids were mostly in school and we could take advantage of the fact that I had a week off of school.

We left on a Tuesday afternoon and flew to Reno, NV. We arrived late, so we just stayed at a hotel that night that wasn’t too far from the airport. The next morning, we drove the scenic route to our destination of the Ritz Carlton, Lake Tahoe in Truckee, CA. (more on that later)

This first picture is one from our drive to Truckee. There were scenic pull off spots to look at the gorgeous view.

It’s amazing how different parts of the lake from different angles show various and beautiful shades of blue.

We arrived at the Ritz Carlton around lunchtime on Wednesday.

Let me just say that we aren’t fancy people. I mean, we like nice things and think through major purchases, but we rarely splurge. Travis always does our vacation planning, and I’m not mad about it. This trip was definitely a treat, and I’m pretty sure it’s the only five star hotel I’ve ever stayed in.

Of course, the grounds were beautiful and the amenities were amazing. After checking in, we walked around a bit before heading to lunch on the water.

I don’t remember where we ate for lunch that first day, but this was our view.

We went out to dinner in Truckee and came home to this delicious cake in our room. During that time, the KC Royals were in post-season play, and I remember drinking a glass of wine from our favorite winery (Anomaly) and eating this cake while watching them play on the TV in our room. #heavenonearth

On Thursday, I had booked myself a massage. I’ve had massages before, but this was certainly a treat. I met Travis back in the room afterwards, and he looked 10 years younger. I asked him where he’d been while I was gone, and he said he sat in the steam room for a bit. I’d never done that before, so I headed back to the spa and sat in the steam room for a while. I don’t know that I looked 10 years younger, but I loved it! I felt so refreshed.

Later on that Thursday, we drove a bit to the lake to stand up paddle board. This was my first SUP experience, and I loved every second. My yoga and Pilates classes paid off because I found it pretty easy to do, and I did not end up in the very chilly water!

Thursday night we ate again in Truckee. It is the sweetest little town surrounded by mountains with cute little shops and wonderful restaurants.

On Friday, I checked out that steam room again for a few minutes, and then we decided to go zip lining. I hadn’t been zip lining since Girl Scout camp in 1989, but when Travis came up with the idea, I went with it. Admittedly, I don’t like heights. That being said, this was apparently a zip line/obstacle course. My fears were definitely tested, and I asked Travis more than once why he brought me all the way to Lake Tahoe to kill me, but I persevered! I truly enjoyed the zip lining part…just not walking on the wobbly sticks 1,000 feet in the air.

I’m smiling because I didn’t know what I’d gotten myself into.

After doing some of the obstacles and telling Travis that I would not be doing the harder obstacles, I watched as he “challenged” himself on the more difficult courses. #showoff

Top photo and bottom right photo: Travis way up in the air. Also, the time I confirmed his life insurance was up to date.

Bottom left photo: Me holding on to dear life on the zip line.

After the obstacle courses, we had lunch and hiked a bit.

at the top of a mountain
The view was certainly worth the hike

When we arrived back from our hike, we were reminded that we aren’t bougie as the valet drove our Ford Focus right past the high roller cars. Travis said the really rich must arrive on the weekends! ๐Ÿ˜‰

For our last dinner of the trip, we ate at one of the restaurants at the hotel. It was a great way to end our little vacay.

We had to get up pretty early that Saturday morning to travel back to Kentucky, but it was a great trip overall.

With Covid and life just being different right now, our 15th anniversary kind of snuck up on us. I’m not sure if we will be able to go anywhere this summer. If so, it will most likely be in driving distance. We’ll see.

Where’s a favorite place that you’ve traveled to??

Take care,

Posted in Let's look, Travel

Letโ€™s Look: Your Carry on Bag

Last week, Shay and Erika hosted their montly Let’s Look link up. The topic was “your carry on bag.” I believe the topic changed, and I wasn’t able to link up anyway, but thought of the original topic as I unpacked my carry on bag this weekend. So, I thought I’d share that…

Yโ€™all, Iโ€™m a chronic over-packer. Driving, flying, being gone for one night or seven, I over-pack. I’m not sure why. I’ve tried to work on it. Sometimes, my thought is if I’m driving and bringing a suitcase, why not just bring the biggest suitcase I have? Also, I hate packing. For being “Type A” and pretty organized, I wait until the last minute to pack. I’ve been using packing cubes for a couple of years, and those keep my items organized and condensed but that’s once I get to actually packing. haha

The point of telling you how I pack is that my carry on usually gets some of the leftovers. Also, items that may weigh down my suitcase are also perfect candidates for my carry on bag. For example, my tennis shoes, my Revlon hair dryer brush, or books would be items that I’d possibly throw in my carry on bags whether I’m driving or flying anywhere. If I’m driving and know we’ll make a pit stop, I will also throw in my pjs and few products like face wash and moisturizer.

Anyway, here’s a glimpse of my most recent carry on situation.

I’ve had this bag for about four years; I found it at Target. What I love about it is that it can unzip to expand. I always keep it zipped while I fill up the bag thinking I won’t have to unzip it #sillyme, but then I eventually unzip it for my space if needed.

Ball caps or beach hats usually go in my carry on. This way, the beach hat doesn’t get squished in the suitcase, but the ball caps also come in handy if I just need one because my hair is looking sad after traveling. My sunglasses usually go in my carry on or purse as well just so that I can easily keep up with them.

I keep all my necessary cords and chargers in a baggie. I also include my Kindle and carrying case in the carry on as well for easy access.

This little zip pouch includes band aids, aspirin, Chapstick, cleansing wipes for Hayden’s glasses, etc. Hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes were a travel companion even before Covid 19.

I read a lot on my Kindle, especially when traveling, but I also bring a few books. Sometimes I read one book on my Kindle while reading another hardback book.

I also pack some of my favorites in my carry on like my favorite coffee mug and slippers. I just think about my suitcase getting lost and losing some of my favorite things. Not that I want my suitcase full of clothes to get lost, but the extra items can easily fit in my carry on.

So that’s a little peek at my travel carry on. What are some things you include in your bag when you travel?

Next month’s topic is Let’s Look: Your Summer Wardrobe. I believe they ladies said they are doing that post a bit early and moving it to July 1.

I hope you are having a great week.

Take care,

Posted in Travel

Friday Favorites: Florida Vacation

Hello and happy Friday!

Like most Fridays, I’m linking up with Andrea and Erika for their Friday Favorites blog post.

We’ve spent the past week in one of our favorite places: Siesta Key, Florida.

One of Trav’s aunts has a vacation home in SK that she graciously shares with the family. We come here most summers, usually after baseball wraps up at the end of July. Well, once we received the email that baseball will start back June 15 and go until the end of August, we decided to go ahead and take a trip while we could.

Of course, given the circumstances, we didn’t make the decision lightly. We took comfort in knowing we’d have a familiar place to stay and could space out at the beach and even get carryout from our favorite restaurants if we didn’t feel comfortable dining there.

**Warning: lots of beach and sunset pics headed your way! ๐Ÿ˜‰

The trip started off very rainy thanks to Tropical Storm Cristobal. Friday afternoon and all day Saturday called for torrential rains, and Cristobal wasn’t playing around! We did get a break in the rain both Friday and Saturday nights allowing us to check out the beach a bit and eat dinner outside.

The radar was fierce those first couple of days.

Friday afternoon we unpacked and got groceries while it rained. Before dinner, we walked on the beach.

Super cloudy skies but always good to get our toes in the sand.

As many times as I’ve been to Siesta Key, I’ve never noticed this little spot which was perfect for taking a picture before dinner.

Thankfully, his aunt’s house has a pool, so the kids spent lots of time in it…sometimes while it rained but mostly when the sun was shining!

Sunday called for more rain, but that never happened! That being said, the overcast skies included heavy winds. We braved the beach for a couple of hours anyway.

Hayden swims with his glasses. We should probably get him some prescription googles.
Love this pic of Hadley โค๏ธ

Travis is definitely the fun one on vacay. My kids know I like to sit and read my book. He’s the one to throw the football with Hayden and swim in the ocean with the kids. I do get in the ocean and love when the waves are calm.

They don’t know how lucky they are to have each other!

Monday morning, we went for a walk on the beach.

and then the sun came out! That being said, we’ve never arrived in Florida so pale! ๐Ÿ˜‚ So, I spent most of my time making everyone reapply sunscreen! After Cristobal moved out, we couldn’t buy a cloud in we tried!

Truthfully, I’m glad that we are less maintenance now when packing stuff to the beach. Also, the kids can help carry what we need. Hayden’s happy just to bring his football and shovel. They love to dig holes!

We were still able to eat at our favorite restaurants. I will say that at some restaurants the servers had masks and other restaurants did not. There were social distancing signs and tables we definitely spaced out at our favorite places. Also, on the sidewalks of Siesta Key Village, many restaurants had additional seating even if it was just two top tables.

We are not people who stay at the beach all day. We usually go for a few hours, then come back to let the kids swim in the pool and then shower for an early dinner. We’ve always done that most days because if we can make it back to the beach for the sunset, we try to do that.

So, most days we had dinner at 5:00 allowing for less of a crowd and no wait. Also, we usually just get carryout pizza one night when we are too tired to get back out, and we did that on this vacation too. We made adjustments and sometimes had our bigger dinner meal at 3:00 Happy Hour and I took the kids to their favorite ice cream place at 5:00 rather than later when there’s usually a line out the door.

Our favorite restaurants that we make a point to eat at (sometimes more than once) are the Daiquiri Deck, Siesta Key Oyster Bar (Hayden and Travis had 24 oysters for $14 at their Happy Hour!), Owen’s Fish Camp, The Hub, Phillippi Creek, Rip Fire Pizza, The Lobster Pot, and we tried a new place to us: Big Water Fish Market. It was so good.

Hayden could eat his weight in oysters. Travis loves them too. Hadley and I do not!

oysters at Phillippi Creek
Happy boy!
Round 2 of oysters at SKOB
We got to the Daiquiri Deck at least twice each trip.
Big Olaf ice cream is their fave.
Owen’s Fish Camp

As I said before, we hit the beach for sunset as many times as we can. The kids always oblige with a few sunset pics.

Seriously, nothing puts my mind right like a beautiful sunset.

or 5! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Photo by Hadley

I joked that Hadley was easy to find in the ocean because she’s the only one out there doing Tik Tok dances.

Girl has got ups!
with my fave

Once or twice on vacation, we even pack up to go to the beach from 6:00 or so until sunset. It’s not so hot, the beaches are less crowded, and we can relax without sweating! On this night, the kids came out of the ocean and had been playing some kind of question game.

Eventually, Travis started asking them geography questions…Hayden’s strength and apparently, Hadley’s weakness.

Hayden said, โ€œHadley, in middle school, I’m worried that you are going to fail history and geography class.โ€ ๐Ÿคฃ

Talking smack to his sister

On Tuesday, the kids and I went to the Siesta Key Market for a few things. The grocery cashier asked us what beach we’d been going to, and I said Siesta Key Beach (closest to our house) and he said we should try Turtle Beach which was only about a ten minute drive.

So, on Wednesday, we thought we’d give that a try. We found the beach easily, found a parking spot right by a beach access point and saw the most beautiful waters ever! The kids ooh-ed and ahh-ed, and Hayden declared Turtle Beach as his favorite spot.

The SK waters never disappoint as the Gulf of Mexico is gorgeous, but these waters were like nothing we’d seen before. Hadley said, “It looks like Hawaii.” None of us have been there, but she may be right ๐Ÿ˜‰

While it’s a public beach, there are no life guards but the waters were pretty shallow like we are used to anyway. The sand was different–darker and reminded me of when we go to South Carolina beaches. Also, this beach had a steep decline into the ocean rather than just walking in like we are used to. That being said, the location, lack of crowds, and gorgeous water made for a perfect day.

Also, Turtle Beach lived up to it’s name. The kids saw a turtle when they went to look for the shower. By the time I got there, the turtle had moved into the trees and brush.

Real talk: Hadley was sitting there and I told Hayden to go sit by his sister. I couldn’t pass up that view or photo op.
Top left pic is what we saw as soon as we parked the car. The kids were excited.

We went back again the next day and there were hardly any waves at all. Also, we saw dolphins swimming in the distance. Well, Hadley & I saw them…Travis and Hayden kept looking at the wrong time!

Hardly any waves at all
They found the sandbar a ways out!

Lots of family members take a pic (or force their kids to take a pic) in front of the palm tree in the front yard at the end of their trip. Each year, the tree seems to get bigger…the kids too!

While it was good to get away for a bit, especially after being home for so many months, we are still ready to get back to Lexington and see the Homster! We are thankful to be arriving home sun-kissed after another family vacation in one of our favorite places.

Don’t forget to check out the other ladies’ posts too! Have a great weekend.

Posted in Travel

Today, in my mind, I’m in…


Recently, Lauren shared her “Today in my mind I’m in…” post about her honeymoon in Hawaii. I loved this idea. After having to cancel our spring break NYC trip and having no clue what we can plan for the summer, I thought I’d look back on our best trip as a family…June 2018 when we spent our time in Arizona and California…also known as #Whitesgowest (Travis thought of the hashtag and was very proud of himself!)

Now, before we could get to California, we had to first spend a few days in Arizona.

Hayden mentioned going to the Grand Canyon, and neither Travis nor I had ever been there. I’ve said it before, but I am grateful that Travis plans our trips because I feel like I plan every other second of our lives! I was down with the Grand Canyon idea, but was hesitant to spend a big chunk of vacation somewhere without an ocean. Travis was steps ahead of me and knew that San Diego, our all time favorite vacation spot, was an 8 hour drive from Sedona. So, we put the wheels in motion to start our trip in Arizona and spend the bulk of it in California.

To say the kids were excited for this trip, would be an understatement. To say I was nervous about being gone so long and it being just for four of us for the bulk of the vacay, would be an understatement! Turns out, we actually enjoy spending time together especially with sunshine and an ocean view.

Ready for Takeoff…

We left on a Monday afternoon and drove from Lexington to Cincinnati for a direct flight to Las Vegas.

Ready to fly!

Arizona & Grand Canyon

We landed in Las Vegas, rented a car and drove 4.5 hours to Sedona, AZ. Needless to say, we were happy when we arrived, just as the sun went down, at Amara Resort and Spa. We unpacked, and the kids swam while Travis got us a late night dinner. We stayed there Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights.

Due to the time difference, even with a good night’s sleep, we were awake pretty early on Tuesday morning. So, we went ahead and decided to visit the Grand Canyon that day.

The kids were excited and ready to roll.

at the resort…

We stopped for breakfast and drove the almost two hours to the GC. Once we got there, we explored for quite some time. We’d follow the map, drive a bit, sight see, get back in the car, drive a bit more, etc. There was lots of “ooing” and “ahhing” and “Don’t take one more step closer!” during our adventure.

It was a hot day, but the views were breathtaking. Of course, the pics don’t do it justice!

Looks can be deceiving. If we backed up three feet, well–I do’nt want to think about it!

After a few hours, we drove to one of the visitor centers where the kids picked out a souvenir, and we picked up some lunch. They had a picnic area where we had lunch and then got ice cream. Then, it was time to drive the two hours back. I will say…there’s not much to look at on the drive to and from!

Once back at the resort, the kids swam (They love a good pool!), we relaxed and then went out to dinner.

On Wednesday, the kids hiked at Bell Rock with Travis while I had a massage at the resort.

Then, we went to nearby Slide Rock State Park where the kids and Travis were brave enough to slide down the rocks in the cold water. I swear I’m fun…but apparently not that fun!

Pool time, Bell Rock, and Slide Rock Park
They were hesitant at first, but loved it once they got going.

After a couple of hours, we headed back to the resort where the kids swam, we hit up Happy Hour had dinner at one of the best Mexican restaurants I’ve ever eaten at, and then headed to bed.

Snoopy Rock on the right

Thursday morning, we were up, ready for breakfast and then 8 hour drive to California!

San Diego Part 1

San Diego has my heart. We’ve been there quite a few times through the years, and I just love it. I would have gone to any part of California, but I was so pleased that San Diego made the most sense.

The kids were fine in the car. They are used to 9 hour road trips when we drive to Kansas City. Much like driving to get to the Grand Canyon, there wasn’t much to see. That being said, the terrain did change to sand dunes which was interesting. We drove through the border crossing which was also an interesting experience.

We arrived in La Jolla late afternoon and stayed at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. Travis has lots of California friends due to being in the horse business, so they were able to tell us where to stay. While some of the rooms need updating, they were still nice and you couldn’t beat the location and being steps from the beach.

We were a little bummed that the weather was overcast for our first two days in San Diego, but, for me, the weather and view were perfect for reading, watching the kids play, and relaxing.

Upon arrival, the kids played on the beach and checked out the pool, before we walked to dinner at a delicious Mexican restaurant. Then, we headed back and went to bed.

I love this pic of Hadley…one of my favorites pics of the trip. First time seeing the Pacific Ocean and just taking it all in. Also, check out her natural highlights…what I wouldn’t give!

Fun at the pool…

On Friday, we spent much of the day on the beach. The kids went for a run with Travis while I continued reading and sipping my coffee. They bounced back and forth between the beach and the pool and even checked out the tennis courts until it was time to shower and go to dinner.

The “I love you so much” was a perfect spot to snap a pic before diiner.

Ready for dinner.

After dinner at a restaurant on the water, we stopped for ice cream (We eat lots of ice cream on vacation!) on our walk back to the beach club. Then, it was time for bed.

San Diego Part 2

If you haven’t traveled with Travis White, then you don’t know that we like to change hotels during our trips ๐Ÿ˜‰ By the time we booked the trip, he could only get two days at the beach club but then found two days at a hotel on the beach in Carlsbad.

So, Saturday morning, we loaded up the car, made a pit stop for lunch at the Taco Stand and arrived at Beach Terrace Inn in Carlsbad.

After we unpacked, we hung out on the beach where the sun finally out! Later, we walked to dinner at a pizza place in downtown Carlsbad and then headed back to the hotel to watch a few television shows and go to bed.

I heart the ocean

On Sunday, the weather was again perfect, so it was a beach day.

Now I’m wondering where these sunglasses are…

My kids have been to the beach often, but are used to the calm waves of the Gulf of Mexico when we go to Siesta Key. So, the waves of the Pacific Ocean gave them a run for their money. They enjoyed it anyway!

That Sunday was actually our 13th wedding anniversary. After some hours on the beach, we walked around town for a bit. The English teacher in me geeked out for a minute while seeing the Farenheit 451 Book Store. I went inside for a few minutes while Travis took the kids for ice cream.

Before dinner, we took some quick, informal family beach pics, watched the sunset, and then walked to dinner at Campfire Restaurant.

My 13th anniversary gift…Hayden didn’t argue about putting on a Polo and both let me take their pics as the sun set.
I love these pics so much. Definitely shows how their relationship goes!

When we go on a beach vacation, we usually eat dinner early and head back to the beach for the sunset. Beach sunsets really are my fave. Our reservation was late, so we decided to watch the sunset first and then go to dinner.

Happy anniversary!

Campfire provided an awesome atmosphere, wonderful food, and amazing s’mores for dessert. Truly, it was an anniversary I will always remember spent at our favorite place (San Diego area) with our favorite little people.

Monday morning we had breakfast, hung out at the beach for a few hours (again, the weather was amazing) and then drove to…

Los Angeles

Travis has been blessed with some amazing business opportunities that have turned into friendships. While in Los Angeles, we stayed with one of Trav’s friends at their amazing house. They have young kids too, so our kids had fun playing with their boys while swimming in their pool.

Monday night, we went to the Dodgers game. Justify had won the Triple Crown of racing and Bob Baffert was at the game to throw out the first pitch which was an amazing coincidence!

Go Dodgers!

On Tuesday, we went to Rodeo drive and then to the Santa Monica Pier where there was a kids exhibit with activities.

The kids had fun at this exhibit.

Tuesday night we went out for a sushi dinner.

I knew we wouldn’t escape without going to the horse track! We went to Santa Anita Park, so Travis could watch some horses work out while also meeting up with friends/clients.

They love horses. What choice do they have? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Then, we went to breakfast, checked out the Hollywood sign, said our goodbyes and then headed to Las Vegas which was a 4 hour drive.

Goodbye, Cali!

Las Vegas

After the drive, we checked in at Mandalay Bay, had a snack, took a nap (well, I did!), and then had a late dinner at Giada’s restaurant! I was so excited to eat there, and it was a perfect way to cap off our trip.

While we waited for our table, we took a few pics in her photo booth.

It’s hard to get everyone to look at the camera!

I ordered the scallops and risotto because I feel like that’s what Giada would have wanted me to order! ๐Ÿ™‚

We had about 4 hours Thursday morning before our flight and kids voted to go to the pool. We went to the pool that has the lazy river and wave pool. It was perfect for them.

Of course, we soaked up all the sunshine and fruity drinks we could causing us to have to rush to pack up. Too long of a story, but while Travis returned the rental car, the kids and I ran Home Alone style through the airport. Travis was literally the last person on the plane with minutes to spare. I thought he was going to have to spend an extra night in Vegas with our car keys in his pocket as the kids and I would have been stuck in the Cinci airport. BUT…it all worked out.


Thankfully, our flight from Las Vegas to Cinci was uneventful as was the drive back to Lexington. We arrived home around 10:00 pm only to realize we were locked out! haha

Our sitter/dog sitter saved the day about twenty minutes later with a key!

We were gone 11 days, and definitely needed that length of time to pace ourselves for both sightseeing and relaxing! We will forever treasure the memories of this vacation…and it all started with Hayden’s idea to see the Grand Canyon!

If you made it to the end, thanks for sticking with me through the details. When posts like these come up, it reminds me how much I wish I had started blogging sooner as to have all these memories and details in one place. (And to share with anyone who may be interested!)

Thanks for following along on our favorite vacation. I can’t believe that it’s been almost two years since we made that trek. #WhitesgoWest

Where’s your favorite place to vacation?? We usually stick to Florida or South Carolina, but this trip was definitely one worth taking!

I hope you are having a good week!