Posted in Travel

Today, in my mind, I’m in…

California!

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 😉 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? 😉

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! 🙂

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.

Home

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!

Posted in Family, Holidays, Travel

Thanksgiving in KC

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 😂)

The rest of the fam went to eat breakfast at the hotel. I turned my back for a minute and found Homer living his best life on the hotel bed #baddog

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.

Snuggles with my mom’s dog, Gus.

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!

Uno and coffee. Low key Friday
Hadley and Gma worked on their selfie game!
Both are so cute, right? 🙂

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.

Thanks for reading,

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Posted in Travel

Fall break: Part 2

Did you read about Part 1 of our fall break in Asheville?

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.

Pics from our hike to the lake
Family fun x2
Lake Powhatan
Yes, I said, “Hey kids, turn and look at the lake!” but Hadley’s arm around C just shows their naturally sweet friendship.

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.

Hayden’s turn to tell a ghost story. “It was a dark and stormy night…and I ended up sleeping bed with my mom!” haha

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!

Sweet friends
Hadley slept most of the four hour ride home!

That’s a wrap on Fall Break, Part 2! We went from novice campers to somewhat novice campers!!

I hope you have a great weekend,

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweetea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Posted in Travel

Fall Break: Part 1

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!

New Belgium Brewery, White Duck Taco, and Biscuit Head

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.

That’s it for part 1 of fall break. I hope to share the rest of our adventure (the actual glamping part) the end of the week.

I hope you have a great Monday.

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea