Elephants!

I know I’m not alone when I say this school year was beyond exhausting for teachers across the globe. We have undoubtedly earned this years summer vacation. But, instead of spending our first weekend at home recuperating and decompressing, we packed up and headed to Fredericksburg to visit the elephants at The Preserve.

When I first heard that there was an elephant preserve in Texas I knew I had to go. Elephants are hands down my favorite animals and I’ve always been fascinated with them. After doing my research I booked our Air B&B and tickets to see the elephants. I figured this would be the perfect way to celebrate the end of a rough school year.

As always our Air B&B did not disappoint. If you’ve never rented an Air B&B I highly recommend you do so.

We checked in the night before so we had time to relax before the big elephant adventure. It was a good thing we prepared ahead of time because the Bearded One was a little under the weather. Lucky for us me and baby O had plenty of room to run around the AirB&B while the Bearded One rested up.

The day of our elephant encounter started off rainy but cleared up by the time we arrived. I was a little nervous that baby O would be scared of the elephants and I didn’t know what to exactly what to expect.

Each encounter only allows about 30 people so it wasn’t crowded and we all were able to interact with the 3 beautiful Asian Elephants (Rosie, Kitty and Becky).

They staff did an amazing job explaining everything about these fascinating animals. They were knowledgeable and made the experience not just educational but interactive and fun.

We were able to give Rosie a bath, take pictures with Becky, watch Kitty get a pedicure, and so much more. Everyone was allowed to interact with “the girls” and baby O wasn’t even scared!

Giving Rosie A Bath
Elephant Feet!

Overall I give this experience 10/10 and I would definitely do it again! (We might wait until Baby O is a little older and more attentive).

If you’d like more information please follow this link:https://www.visitthepreserve.com/ . The staff said they would soon be adding more animals and exhibits so stay tuned!

Up Next…

Having a baby has been the biggest adventure of our lives and I have loved every single minute of parenthood. But, traveling isn’t quite what it use to be. The Bearded One and I use to spontaneously book an Air B&B, pack an overnight bag, and hop in the car, which is an absolutely impossible task these days.

Don’t get me wrong, we still love to travel, and we plan to take Baby O on endless adventures, but it can get a little tricky these days.

First of all we have to plan our adventures a little better, and account for any little bump in the road. Will he be fussy? When will we need to stop to change a diaper? Can we stop by a restaurant or should we eat in the car? So many questions with a plethora of possible scenarios!

All of those little details can be worked out, we are quite flexible when it comes to travel and preparation. The biggest question is, where can we take a toddler?!

Not all of our old favorite stomping grounds are necessarily toddler friendly. While I’d love to take him to a local brewery, or outdoor concert, it just isn’t possible to expect him to sit still for a lengthy amount of time. Baby O is a wild one and he definitely needs to be entertained at all times. He needs to run and climb and explore his surrounds…which begs the question, where do we take him?!

We do have a few vacations already in the works but we would LOVE some realistic suggestions! (too tiny for theme parks, Disney is out of the question!)

We are for sure going to Mexico on our big Anniversary trip with family and friends, and we are excited and nervous about that one (first plane ride for Baby O)!

We’re also taking him to The Preserve, an elephant sanctuary only a few hours from home. I am super excited about this one and I hope he loves it! (Here’s the link if you’d like to check it out https://g.co/kgs/DhrhAp ).

If you have any suggestions, ideas, personal experiences or advice on fun toddler trips for this summer, please share! We want to make the most out of every moment with our littlest adventurer.

Baby O’s First Adventure

“Let’s drive 14 + hours with a 5 month old. It will be fun!”….said no sane person ever. But, that’s exactly what we did.

After packing up the entire house (mostly baby stuff) we loaded up the car and headed to Colorado for baby O’s first big adventure.

We had no idea what to expect. Would he sleep? Would he scream? How many times would we have to stop? Just like every other first time parent challenge, we jumped in head first and winged it.

I’m not going to lie, there were times in the car he was inconsolably upset, but those were few and far in between. Overall, he did pretty well, especially when I crawled in the backseat and kept him entertained.

Other then the minimal stress of the car ride, Colorado was stunning as always.

The first few days we were there we had crazy weather. It snowed…in June. This was not just Texas slushy snow either. This was beautiful, huge snowflakes that actually stuck to the ground for a bit. We of course had to take all the mandatory snow pictures and let baby O experience his first snowfall!

Once the snow cleared up we were able to do what we do best, hike and enjoy the outdoors. In previous years we never really contemplated our hikes, we just lightly packed and headed to the mountain. Not this time. We thoughtfully and throughly packed for all of babies needs. We even bought a pretty neat hiking backpack for O….he lasted an hour in it…. Although we didn’t make it to the top of Hoosier Pass, we still enjoyed our time together and being able to witness baby O’s fascination with the great outdoors.

Baby’s first big vacation was a success and I can’t wait to travel the world with our little adventurer. First stop, Colorado, next stop….

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

Pensacola, Florida

Pensacola Beach was absolutely stunning. It claims to be the “whitest sands in the world” and I wouldn’t argue with that statement. The white sands and crystal clear water compares to the beaches we’ve fallen in love with in Mexico.

We stayed in a beautiful little AirB&B (Casita Sage) in Pensacola then made the short drive to Pensacola Beach for the afternoon. Beach parking was free, chair rental were free (I think we just got lucky) and the water, views, and beach were indescribably perfect.

After spending a few hours on the beach we ate at a delicious little place called The Shrimp Basket and we were not disappointed.

Our overnight stop in Pensacola exceeded our expectations and we are already planning a summer vacation there for next year!

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/

    Spring Break- So you want to go on a cruise?

    We’re Back!

    Roasted crickets, slaughtered pigs, and dancing in the street…we found it all!

    This was our second time on a cruise and we’ve came to the conclusion that we are just not cruise people.

    We had the most fun when we were OFF the ship and able to soak up the sun and culture of Cozumel and Progresso Mexico.

    Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of activities on the ship (including a hairy chest competition that The Bearded One partook in). There’s just so much more to see and appreciate off the ship!

    Cozumel

    Our first port was Cozumel, which we were slightly familiar with because of our first cruise. Once off the ship we grabbed a taxi and headed straight to Chankannab Beach for some much needed sand and snorkeling. The beach was beautiful, the snorkeling not so bad ( better than my first experience) and the staff attentive. We spend the whole day laying in the beach, watching the other tourists and chatting it up with our waiter Angel. He was so pleasant and beamed with pride when we asked him about his family (3 grown daughters all at university!). It was definitely a challenge to leave the beauty that is Cozumel and head back to our ship.

    Progresso

    Cozumel is the ‘fan favorite’ but personally, I love Progresso. It may be a little run down and impoverished but it’s full of authenticity and friendly people living their best lives. The Bearded One and I occasionally like to stray and explore when we’re out and about (no worries we were perfectly safe) and on this particular trip we wandered in to the markets and it was quite the experience.

    We saw fresh fruit and beautiful flowers, butchered pigs and sharks, and so much more! We also enjoyed multiple buckets of beer on the beach, fun little gifts from numerous beach vendors, and a couple of crunchy cricket snacks 😉

    All in all we had an amazing vacation (we always do). The cruise staff was great, the activities plentiful, the weather fantastic, the food decent, but making memories with my forever date was the best part ❤️

    Bon Voyage

    Today we embark on our 5 day Yucatán Cruise. Although we’ve been to these ports on our first cruise, I am still excited! As stressful as this year (school year for all our non teacher friends) has been, I am ready to soak up the sun and put away my phone!

    5 full days of sun, food, drinks, and relaxation with my numero uno.

    Today we #choosefun and think you all should as well. Sometimes you just need a break and I am encouraging all of you to take one! Even if it’s just a weekend getaway with your partner, friends, or yourself, you deserve it!

    Hasta luego my loves, I’ll report back on the fabulousness of our Carnival ship The Valor!

    ‘Tis’ the Season in San Antonio

    Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m slightly obsessed with Christmas and all it encompasses. I love the beautifully decorated trees, the sparking lights, the perfectly wrapped gifts, the nostalgia of Christmas as a kid, heck I even like the corny Christmas shirts! I’m just in love with the whole Christmas season and I want to experience it in every way possible!

    When I saw everyone posting on the IGs about the San Antonio Riverwalk Christmas lights I knew we had to check it out for ourselves, and it was definitely worth it.

    Now we’re not new to SA by any means; Six Flags, Seaworld, Market Square, The Alamo, The Riverwalk, Beerfest, birthdays, bachelorette parties, the list of San Antonio adventures goes on and on. We’ve been to SA so many times I’ve lost count, but this was the first time we’ve seen the city sparkle and shine with the Christmas spirit and it did not disappoint.

    We’re pretty touristy when we visit San Antonio and we started this little overnight adventure at Market Square. For those of you that have never been, Market Square is a great place to shop, eat, watch street performers, and experience something new.

    During the wonderful Christmas season Market Square was decorated with poinsettias, lights, and a giant Christmas tree. We had a great afternoon shopping and people watching.

    After Market Square we took our cliche touristy selves down to the Riverwalk to see the lights. Once again, San Antonio did not disappoint with their Christmas flare. From the trees to the river,the whole area was dripping with lights. No matter how many pictures I attempted, I just couldn’t capture the beauty of the Riverwalk Christmas Lights. It’s something y’all will just have to experience yourself!

    Another successful adventure for Messy Bun and The Bearded One ❤️🎄