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 can’t pack my weighted blanket 😂
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 😉
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.
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. 😂
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.
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 😉 ), 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. 😉
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.
Friday morning Travis and I went on a walk on a trail close to my mom’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. MonopolyDeal 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.
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.
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.
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.
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! 😉
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??
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…
Y’all, I’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.
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! 😉
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.
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.
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.
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! 😂 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!
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! 😉
I joked that Hadley was easy to find in the ocean because she’s the only one out there doing Tik Tok dances.
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, “Hadley, in middle school, I’m worried that you are going to fail history and geography class.” 🤣
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 😉
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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 😉 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.
On Sunday, the weather was again perfect, so it was a beach day.
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.
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.
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…
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!
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.
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.
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.
I ordered the scallops and risotto because I feel like that’s what Giada would have wanted me to order! 🙂
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!
Well, the five day break certainly flew by…& now just three weeks of school until winter break!
We traveled to Kansas City to see my family for Thanksgiving.
We headed out after school on Tuesday, made a pit stop in St. Louis and finished the drive on Wednesday morning.
We decided to bring Homer with us. He was awesome in the car and in the hotel overnight. (I joked with the kids that Homer won “best behaved” between the three of them 😂)
Wednesday, we just hung out with family and had pizza for dinner…followed by early bedtimes for all.
Thanksgiving morning, we slept in and lounged around until Thanksgiving dinner at my cousin’s house.
I’ve always loved watching the parade on Thanksgiving morning & now my kids do too.
Ready to go — & of course, thankful for these two…
Thanksgiving on my dad’s side of the family is always fun. My cousin’s house is so pretty and the tablescape was beautiful. I loved the chocolate turkeys with our names on them for place settings.
After dinner, we always watch the Plaza Lighting ceremony on tv (& then we recreated it as we flipped my cousin’s outside lights on 😂)…Then, we usually play a game…This year, we played Empire, and had a great time.
Friday consisted of some online shopping , card playing, a nap…or two and turkey soup for dinner. My mom’s been making the turkey soup for years on the Friday after Thanksgiving. My grandma came over to have dinner with us.
I do not Black Friday shop…at ALL. I’m more of a Cyber Monday girl. Fighting the masses for things I can buy online has always sounded like 0 fun. I saw this on Instagram, & my 5w6 ring true!
Saturday morning, we packed up, had breakfast at a local place, picked up Homer at my dad’s house and headed home.
Homer was our backseat driver!
I’m always sad to leave after a good visit, but it’s also always good to get home, get situated and ready for the week ahead…plus, we had a Christmas tree to buy and a Santa to see!
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I hope you have a great week.
Part 2 of our Asheville trip entailed glamping. By last Friday afternoon, we were settled into our tent and sipping on White Claws while the kids ran around. I was really pleased with how nice the facilities were and the area was so pretty. Like I said, we’d be to Asheville many times and even hiked in different areas like Chimney Rock, but Pisgah and Lake Powhatan were new to us. My friend Krista found this location, and the pictures online certainly do it justice.
After a little while, we decided to hike down to the lake. It was a little over a mile or so, and it was good for the kids to run around and for us to get our bearings. We were gone a little over an hour and then decided to make dinner.
After we returned from getting the lay of the land, we started dinner. We were hungry and didn’t give our fire time to roar, so we ended up having hot dogs and hamburgers rather than the original plan of the foil packs with chicken and potatoes. Then, it was time for s’mores and ghost stories.
This is going to sound stupid—but I didn’t realize how dark it would be…and so early. Thank goodness for our flashlights and lanterns…but even still, we were in bed by 9:30.
I woke up to this view the next morning…and a huge dip in temperature!! Friday was in the 80’s and Saturday was in the low 60’s and a drizzle rain most of the day. I am a fan of the fresh air, but I also am wise enough to pack my allergy medicine!
I spent a few minutes on the porch sipping my coffee before we got the day started.
Travis went on a trail run #showoff while the moms read , and the kids ran around and then played games. Go Fish for the girls and Chess for the boys!
Just a few pics of our manly men manning the fire as well as some of our food. Saturday morning breakfast included sausage, bacon, and pancakes on the cast iron skillet. #howdidthepioneerwomendoit ?!
After breakfast, we all went on about a 3 mile trail hike and ended with us by the lake. The evening before, we went to the fishing pier, but that morning we ended up on the beach. The kids were so awesome on the hike! They were usually way ahead of us and in charge of the map. We stayed on the blue trail, and they had fun finding the mile markers.
After the hike, we cleaned up and headed to Asheville to have a late (3:00!) lunch at the Wicked Weed Brewery. We usually go there when we are in Asheville, and the food, beverages, and atmosphere never disappoint. Hadley went to check on a table option while we waited, and I ended up checking on her…what was taking so long was she had found the free pretzels and was stocking up for the rest of us while we waited. haha
After lunch, we walked around for awhile and even ended up getting coffee and hot chocolate before heading back to the camp site.
We were all pretty full from lunch, so we just ate snacks and more hot dogs for dinner followed by more s’mores and ghost stories. Then, again, another early bedtime of 9:30 or so.
We woke up the next morning around 7:30, packed up, and left by 9:00. We had fun but were ready to get home, start laundry, see Homer, and sleep in our own beds!
I’ve only been camping one other time (besides my Girl Scout days when I was in elementary school) When Travis and I had been dating for almost a year, we went camping for one night near Columbia, Missouri where we lived. We had a great time, but even then, with just the two of us, it took so much effort, planning, and packing! I’ll never forget as we drove home from that camping trip in the spring of 2002, he turned, looked at me, and said, “You passed the test!” haha…Listen, I’m not high maintenance, and he (and my friends and family) know that…I love the outdoors. I will hike, bike, paddle board, etc…eat hot dogs, s’mores, and all the things…I just prefer to sleep at a Marriott! I struggle with needing to be in control, and it’s hard to control all the things in nature, so it takes me a minute to let that character trait of mine go. That being said, I would definitely do this again. It definitely did take a lot of planning and preparation (and I think my friend did most of that!!), but the effort was worth it in the end. It was a great as a family to unplug for awhile, let the kids run around, and see what the world has to offer. And, it was certainly fun to go with another family who we are great friends with!
These memories will last a lifetime, I’m sure!
That’s a wrap on Fall Break, Part 2! We went from novice campers to somewhat novice campers!!
We had a short fall break with a four day weekend. While our summer vacations are usually traditionally spent at the beach, for fall and spring breaks, we usually mix it up. Sometimes we stay home and do things around Lexington that we usually don’t have time to do, other times, we have family visit or we go visit them, but often times we try to go somewhere new or do something a little different in the few days we have off.
This year, the four of us went to Asheville (we go there once every couple of years or so–there’s so much to do outdoors…and so many breweries, that we have some faves but also try new things) on Thursday, but then on Friday met up with our Lexington friends to go glamping at Lake Powhatan.
So–this is me…today…with tons of laundry and trying to get our life back on track!
Travis found an Air bnb (our first experience staying at one) and said, “Jen, the location is perfect!” (read: riiiight across from New Belgium Brewing) When we arrived Thursday afternoon, we got settled and walked across to the brewery. Kids were running around the grassy area, there was a food truck, and others were sitting in adirondack chairs with a view of the French Broad River. Travis and I enjoyed a flight of beer while the kids had a Sprite and looked around. Then, we headed back to get ready for dinner.
For dinner, we went to White Duck Taco which was also nearby. I got the Bangkok shrimp taco and the steak and cheese taco with a margarita! So good. Travis tried a few other tacos while Hayden also had two steak and cheese tacos, and Hadley enjoyed the black bean taco…Fun fact about Hadley: she can eat her weight in black beans, so she loved these tacos! We all split the chips and queso. After dinner, we found an ice cream place for dessert and went to bed pretty early.
On Friday morning, we ate breakfast at Biscuit Head in West Asheville. Listen, I’ve said it before…I’m not from the south…I’m not all about the big southern breakfast of biscuits and gravy (Hadley, on the other hand, eats gravy with a spoon! #southernbelle)…but these biscuits were so good. I got the Classic Biscuit Sandwich with egg and cheddar cheese and a side of bacon. We all shared the biscuit donuts tossed in cinnamon sugar and served with a side of lemon curd. So delicious!
This meme cracks me up…and is so true. I could eat Mexican food and/or tacos at least once a week…so I was definitely in my happy place at White Duck Taco.
After breakfast, we packed up and Travis had mentioned to the kids about a place you could zipline nearby. Well, once those words were out of his mouth, there was not turning back (unfortunately, for me! haha) Since day one, Hadley has always been more adventurous and Hayden more reserved. Let’s just say the kids get these traits honestly—Hayden from me and Hadley from Travis. As soon as we got out of the car, I saw the big ziplines…and Hayden looked uncertain. That’s when Travis told them about the Kid Zip area. I’ve never been happier that my kids weigh 65 (ish) lbs. You could be eight years old and zip on the big lines but have to weigh 70 lbs! So–we were limited to the kid zip area. Honestly, I think zip lining is fun, but I like to remind everyone that I’m trying not to break any bones at this point in my life! Hayden was a bit hesitant at first and even said, “Uh, I’m not sure this is for me. I don’t even get on the monkey bars at recess!” haha. Anyway, after some instruction, we were set! We all had so much fun….Hayden too. Hadley liked to show off with, “Look, mom! No hands!” There were definitely some higher zip lines in the kid zone and even some that went through the trees. We were able to zip line from 1:00-3:00, and after a few times on the nine zip lines, we even let the kids just zip on their own.
After zip lining, we headed to the grocery to pick up a few last minute items before meeting our friends at the glampling place.
Here are the kids at our tent, and our friends were just a couple of tents away.
Here’s the inside of the tent. The bed was comfy and the tent included a fan (which we didn’t need as it got into upper 50s/low 60s at night), coffee pot, lamp, towels, charging station, cot, etc.
We got settled and then hung out with our friends before walking around Pisgah.