Beach Bound with the Boys

Our first family of four trip was a success! 4 1/2 hours on the road and 3 days at the beach seemed a little daunting but we all survived and had a great time.

We decided to stick rather close to home and adventure down to Corpus Christi. I know Texas beaches get a bad rap but we visited last year and found the perfect little condo on the beach. The water was much clearer than good old Galveston and we were steps away from the ocean.

I have to admit I was nervous about taking our 3 month old on a 4 1/2 hour road trip but he did amazingly well. We stopped frequently, I occasionally had to crawled in to the backseat to entertain the boys but it all worked out.

Pro Tip: stop frequently, don’t rush the trip, provide snacks and entertainment

Our second concern was taking a 3 month old and a toddler to the beach. How long would they last? How do we protect them from the heat? The sun? Well, we figured that one out too! We lathered them up with sunscreen and threw on protective swim wear. We decided to just stay in the beach for about 90 minutes at a time, which was pretty much all the boys could really handle. We also found a company that you could rent beach gear from. They came at 8:00AM to set up a canopy and beach chairs. It worked out perfectly. All we had to carry down yo the beach were toys, towels, and the babies. We spent mornings and afternoons splashing in the waves, napping in the beach, and building sand castles for little O to knock down 🙂

Pro Tip: Rent beach equipment, it might cost a little more but it’s so worth it! You have more time to enjoy with your kiddos and you don’t have to worry about carrying all the extra junk to the beach.

Overall we had a pretty great time. Baby L enjoyed his first beach vacation and Little O soaked up the sun and sand.

I’m not ready for summer to be over, not even a little bit. After spending so much quality time with my littles I am devastated to return to work, especially given the circumstances this year. The passion and drive I once had for my careers is minimal in comparison to the passion I have for my little boys. Some days I dream about just staying home with my boys but I have so many great adventures and plans in the works for this upcoming year. I pray my boys stay happy and healthy and I make it through this school year to enjoy our next greatest adventure.

Stay turned, I’m booking our Christmas vacation as we speak 💙 🎄

Our Next Greatest Adventure has Arrived

It’s hard to put into words the overwhelming emotions you feel as a mom. Pure joy, immense anxiety, constant uncertainty, a sense of accomplishment and most of all the inexplainable, unconditional love just to name a few. Over the past few years I experienced all of these and more; being a mom is the toughest and most rewarding role I’ve ever played and I wouldn’t change a second of it.

On April 13th we welcomed sweet baby L into the family and our party of 3 became a party of 4. I am now officially outnumbered because, surprise, it’s another boy! I knew in my soul I was destined to be a boy mom and I’m okay with that. How can I not be when I look at my sweet, perfect little boys?!

When we welcomed baby O into our world a few years ago everything was so fresh and new. We were terrified and excited to become parents and had no idea what to expect. It took a lot of adjusting but we figured it out (and are still figuring it out daily with our wild toddler !). Surely we would have it all figured out with baby #2…

While I was pregnant with baby #2 I constantly worried about being able to divide my time between 2 little humans. How could I possible love someone as much as I love baby O? How will baby O feel when he’s not the center of our universe? All of these self-doubting questions and more popped up while we prepared to become parents one more time.

I expected baby #2 to arrive early because baby O did but boy was I mistaken. After almost 2 weeks of doing EVERYTHING to induce labor naturally we finally made the decision to be induced on April 13th, bright and early.

I dreaded labor and delivery but it honestly wasn’t nearly as bad as I remembered. I went in pretty confident in my birth plan and better prepared for postpartum recovery. After a full day of laboring and a few minutes of pushing, baby L finally graced us with his presence at a whopping 8 lbs 15 oz. We were blessed with another happy, healthy baby boy and it was time to figure out the new normal.

I remember holding baby L in the hospital, looking at his cute little chunky face and I still had that nagging question that filled me with mom guilt what would baby O think? I was ready to go home and introduce my sweet boys but the hospital had another plan. We had to stay an extra night, which meant one more night away from my O, I was not happy.

Thank God for my husband because the next morning he went all the way back to the house to pick baby O up from my mom and bring him to meet his baby brother.

Their first meeting couldn’t have gone better. O was a little nervous but determined to hold and kiss his new “brobber”, and of course we let him. We spent the whole morning together and O did great. There were minimal tears when we had to take him home but I knew watching them together that it would all be fine.

We still have some adjusting to do but 3 weeks in we are finding our new normal. O gets plenty of mommy and daddy time and is learning the ropes with his baby brother. He helps bring him his blankie, sings him songs, and does his very best to snuggle baby L gently. I know my boys will forever have each other and share the same unconditional love.

To all the moms out there with unanswered questions just know it will all work out 💙

Without further ado, meet the newest member of The Beam Family.

Baby O’s First Big Trip

They say that traveling is good for the body, mind, and soul and I overwhelmingly agree. We knew from the start that we wanted to instill our love of travel and adventure into our children and in order to do so we started right away. At 6 months baby O was on a 14 hour road trip to Colorado. At 12 months another mini road trip to see Santa. And at 18 months, we decided to take baby O on his first international vacation to Mexico.

The unpredictability of traveling with a little one had me not only apprehensive but very anxious. So many unknowns, would he be okay? Fussy? Sleepy? Throw a fit? I was pretty confident in my ability to calm him down in any situation so we packed up and headed to Mexico with a dozen of our favorite people.

When I planned this international family vacation to celebrate our 5 year anniversary, I wasn’t anticipating a pandemic and I was completely unaware of how traveling with a toddler would be. Overall I was pleasantly surprised! Our first big vacation with our little one was a complete success! 1800+ miles away from home, 4+ hours on a plane, and zero meltdowns; he did so well!

Here are a few things I learned on this trip:

  • When traveling with a baby/toddler:
    • Pack snacks ! Not just for the airplane but for the resort/hotel as well. Baby O eats a lot and frequently. Snack are a necessity at all times of the day!
    • Keep them entertained. Whether your little one needs screen time, toys, or books, pack them all!
    • We took advantage of baby O being under 2 and he sat in our laps on the plane. Next time he will definitely get his own seat.
    • If possible, book the plane ride during baby’s nap schedule. Baby O slept on the plane both ways!
    • Pack extra necessities such as sunscreen and diapers. We packed enough but if we needed them, they were expensive at the resort.
    • When traveling to Mexico for the summer stay on the pacific side. The other side is swamped with seaweed from May to September. If I would have known this in advance I would have booked Puerto Vallarta instead of the Riviera Maya area.
    • Book a local photographer for family photos! It was inexpensive and easy to do.

We couldn’t have asked for a better first big trip with baby O. We soaked up the sun, enjoyed family time, and were able to watch our sweet boy enjoy vacation as much as we do.

St. Augustine Beach, FL

Our first time in the Atlantic Ocean and it did not disappoint.

Here are some key observations from our St. Augustine Beach adventure:

  • The beach was not at all crowded, it huge and we had lots of space to spread out
  • The beach and town were clean and well taken care of
  • The food was delicious (Sunset Grill & Antonio’s)
  • Old Town has great shopping and historical sites
  • Everyone was friendly, great customer service
  • Lots of activities, parks, museums, trolley rides, historical tours, etc (we went to old medieval torture museum)
  • Drive A1A instead of the interstate for better views (we took it down to Daytona Beach)

The Beach

St. Augustine Old Town

Savannah, Georgia

We fell in love with this southern city the moment we drove down Jones St. (Also known as one of most beautiful streets in the US)

The old oaks dripping in Spanish moss lined the brick laid streets and exemplify the historic homes. This city is rich in history, so much history in fact that we felt compelled to learn all about it on a classic trolley tour.

I found a decently priced day-night trolley package online and decided to indulge a little. We began the Old Town Trolley Tour by hopping on at one of the 15 stops throughout the city. During the 90 minute tour we saw famous monuments, churches, homes, cemeteries, and heard the stories to go with each. The trolley tour allowed you to hop on and off at any stop throughout the day.

We hopped off at City Market for lunch then decided to walk the shady streets of Savannah on our own.

During our own exploration we visited Forsyth Park, the cemetery and the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, which was absolutely stunning.

Forsyth Park

Cemetery

Cathedral

Later that evening after a delicious Greek dinner on the river (Olympia Cafe) we hopped back on our night Ghost Tour. The ghost stories told by the conductor were the best part, and we were able to explore the haunted Andrew Lowe house (we didn’t see any ghost 😉).

On our final morning we headed to Tybee Island to see what all the hype was about. It’s a classic little beach town, full of charm, old hotels, family run businesses, and a pretty neat little pier.

Overall Savannah was amazing and we’d love to come back (hopefully when the weather is a little cooler).

Tips and Advice:

  • Rent and AirB&B in the historic district
  • Go on a trolley tour
  • Wear good walking shoes
  • Shop and dine on River St.
  • Swing by Tybee Island

Los Angeles Summer Adventure

Once again we knocked out another fabulous trip. We laid on the (cold) beach, we explored downtown, we visited museums, but most importantly we allowed ourselves to relax!

Everyone knows we love the beach, even a chilly beach like we experienced on this trip. I refused to go in the water but the bearded one was fearless and jumped right in. Once we warmed up, we walked around the Santa Monica Pier. I know it’s overly touristy but I just love the pier. There’s so much to see and experience, it’s a must if you’re in LA.

We spent the next few days of our trip exploring the city. We visited art museums, a beautiful bookstore, and the local farmers market (which I could have stayed at all day!). We literally walked miles on this trip and I still don’t think we saw enough. There’s always something to do in Los Angeles; around every corner and down every street you will find museums, art galleries, restaurants, and so much more!

Other then spending time with my brother, my absolute favorite part of LA was this pop up experience we decided to go to. It was called the I Like Scary Movies Experience and it was fabulous! We were able to experience interactive art exhibits that represented different horror films such as Nightmare on Elm St., The Shining, and quite a few more. The creativity and interactive art was the perfect way to end our first summer adventure.

Staycation: Exploring Home

Huntsville, Texas

Home of the Bearkats

The Piney Woods

And of course The Prison (there’s actually several)

I think Huntsville gets a bad rap, you know because of the large population of prisoners and college kids, but personally I love this growing town.

According to a recent article I read, Huntsville is the 5th fastest growing city in the state. Now I know that might seem a little scary to the original Huntsvillies but I am excited about the growth and development!

Our rapidly growing town has so much to offer but yet still holds that small town authenticity.

Hidden Food Gems

Whether your in the mood for Japanese, Cajun, or El Salvadoran food, Huntsville offers it all. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Latin Food
  • – Hands down our go to Latin food place is Carbonero. They offer a variety of food but specialize in El Salvadoran cuisine. The owner is always so welcoming and friendly, service is great, drinks are fantastic, and the pupusas are the best!
    • Steak
  • – We’ve all dined at those expensive chain steak houses which in all honesty aren’t too bad, but nothing beats and original family owned steakhouse. If you’ve never been to 1836 Steakhouse you’re missing out. The restaurants itself is housed in a beautiful historic mansion. It’s been renovated numerous times and is quite beautiful. Our favorite dining experience is upstairs in the attic bar. Not only do they have delicious, perfectly cooked steaks, they have an array of creative appetizers and drink! (Try the friend goat cheese, sangria, and Caesar salad with housemade dressing)
    • Cajun
  • If you’re from the south, you know all about crawfish and Cajun food, and if you’re into all of that goodness you have to try Arnaud’s Cajun Kitchen. This fabulous food truck is situated in its own little food truck park (so if you’re not a fan of Cajun you have several other options). Arnaud’s isn’t just crawfish, they have it all…boudin, boiled shrimp, crab, and so much more.
    • Deli/Sandwiches
  • – If you’re looking for a sandwich, salad, or any other home town deli dish you have to check out Five Loaves Deli. This family owned gem is one of my absolute favorites and has been since college. I’ve never been disappointed in any meal I’ve tried here!
    • Something Different
  • If you’re tired of burgers and fries and the same old thing then you have to check out Potato Shack. This unique restaurant bar is literally potatoes in every way, shape, and form. Chicken fried steak stuffed potato? Sure thing! Boudin stuffed potato? They’ve got it! They have other menu items such as salads, wings, and funnel cake fries (yes you read that right). The atmosphere is always friendly and laid back, great owners, awesome staff, daily drink specials…we just can’t get enough of this place!
  • We’ve pretty much grabbed a bite to eat at every restaurant, diner, and dive in Huntsville and have rarely been disappointed. This small town has a lot to offer so come check it out for yourself.

    http://www.carbonerorotisserie.com/

    https://www.1836steakhouse.com/

    http://www.arnaudscajunkitchen.com/

    http://www.fiveloavesdeli.com/

    http://www.potatoshackhuntsville.com/