Another Summer in the Books

Summer is my absolute favorite time of the year. I work exponentially hard throughout the school year so I can relax and enjoy my vacations, which is exactly what we did this year.

From Mexico to the Texas coast, we had quite a few adventures with our little man in tow.

Corpus Christi

After Mexico we decided venture somewhere a little more local. Usually we enjoy South Padre Island in the summer but we decided to try our luck in Corpus Christi. I’ve heard good and bad things about CC and honesty, we enjoyed our trip and we will definitely be back. I found a great little beachfront Air B&B that we really loved. The only bummer was all the rain! But, even with the torrential down pours, we were able to enjoy the beach and explore the Corpus Christi Museum off Science.

Schlitterbahn New Braunfels

We booked a trip to Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels early in the spring and honestly, I was only slightly looking forward to it. I did my research and found a ton of toddler activities throughout the parks so I knew there would plenty for our little water baby to enjoy. I on the other hand, am not a fan of water parks. We decided to stay in a little cabin located in the park and the location was great but other than that, I was unimpressed. I think we will save water parks for when baby O gets just a little bit older.

We did however have a pretty good little road trip and stopped at our favorite restaurant in Bastrop, Maxine’s on Main (check it out if you’re every there!)

Galveston

Our final trip of the season was just this past weekend. We decided to join our friends on a little last-minute getaway to Galveston. Of course, it once again rained, but we were still able to soak up the sun, play in the sand, and enjoy our time together.

Unfortunately our sweet little summer is coming to an end but don’t worry, we already have lots of adventures planned for the fall!!!

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.

Spring Break Shenanigans

With our masks on and our hand sanitizer packed, we managed a few Spring Break adventures close to home.

First we decided to take Baby O to the downtown Houston Aquarium. It wasn’t a terrible experience, and Baby O seemed to enjoy himself, but I wouldn’t go back. It was overly crowded, people weren’t very kind, and honestly, there wasn’t much to see or do. Overall I give it 4/10.

Although the aquarium wasn’t a huge success we decided to try again the next day with a trip to the Houston Zoo. Other than getting caught in a chilly 40 minute thunderstorm, the zoo was a pretty good experience. It wasn’t too crowded ( we did have to book tickets online ahead of time) and there was plenty to see and do. Baby O saw lots of new animals and was even able to get out of his stroller and run around. I’d give it a 7.5/10.

We had a pretty good Spring Break and are already planning our next big adventure!

Quarantine Chronicles Continues

I never imagined our sweet little baby would be growing up in the middle of a pandemic. All of the weekend getaways and spur of them moment adventures we envisioned seem pretty far out of our reach given our current situation. But, despite the hell of a hand we’ve been dealt, we’ve managed to make the best of the situation.

Although baby O isn’t a world traveler quite yet, he has managed to have few little adventures of his own. (All precautions were taken for all of our small travels)

We were fortunate enough to get to go visit Baby Os great grandmother before the bearded one and I returned to work. It wasn’t an over the top-extravagant family vacation but it was a once in a life time experience and seeing the two of them together was worth the 10 hr car ride.

Baby O spent most of his summer at home but not even a pandemic could keep us from visiting our State Fair of Texas this year (we had to go, I bought matching shirts in December!) O got to meet Big Tex, taste a Fletcher’s corny dog and even had a bite of the infamous fried Oreo (we never give him sweets!)

We’ve had a few other outdoor adventures such as the pumpkin patch but nothing quite elaborate yet.

Sometimes I feel honestly feel like O is missing out. But, on the other hand, we’ve been able to spend so much quality time with our little guy. We’ve watched him grow and flourish and reach all of his milestones despite this never ending pandemic.

We will continue to take all of the necessary precautions during this unprecedented time and hopefully squeeze in an adventure or two. I know we have O’s whole life to travel the world and I look forward to what’s to come.

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….

Quarantine Chronicles

Quarantine sucks. Okay, I said it. I’ve been safe in my house since March 10th (well technically baby O hasn’t left the house since birth ) and I have to admit, we’re getting pretty restless. I was already a nervous wreck when baby O was born; it was flu season and germs were EVERYWHERE. I did my best I keep him safe then this dang COVID hit and I feel absolutely helpless.

Im trying to find the positive in all this so here goes:

1) We get so much extra time with baby O. I love being his mom, I love seeing him hit all his milestones. He literally does something new and different every day and we are LUCKY enough to get to witness it all!

2) I love spending all this extra time with my husband. Believe it or not, we’re best friends, we rarely get on each other’s nerves and I enjoy all this time with him.

3. My house is clean and we have finished lots of projects.

4. I’ve watched my tiny little 11 week old (beginning of quarantine) grow into a perfect 22 week old with such a big personality.

Even though things are starting to open back up I do not feel confident rejoining the world quite yet. So until then, I’ll soak up all the snuggles and try to focus on the positive!

Welcome Baby Owen

Our Birth Story

On December 27th at 1:20 AM our whole world changed. Just as I was getting ready for bed, my water broke. It was totally unexpected and 9 days too early. It was such a surreal, unexpected moment; I don’t think we were ready, but God had other plans. Ready or not, baby Beam was on the way!

We had a birth plan in place, but that went out the window as soon as I called Labor and Delivery. I had all intentions of laboring at home, comfortably, until my contractions were consistent but the LD doctor on call told me I had to come in since my water broke naturally. Around 3AM we headed to the hospital not knowing what to expect.

To be honest the whole process was pretty uneventful at first. We were admitted, waited for a room, and hung out for a few hours. My contractions were barely existent and I was only dilated to a 1 so they started the Pitocin to help my labor progress. The Pitocin was administered in small doses which they increased every hour. It was a very slow process. The Bearded One and I passed the time by watching football (of course) and playing Uno. Finally, about 12 hours after being admitted, they upped the dose and the real contractions started. I don’t know how women give birth without pain medicine because my contractions were so uncontrollably painful. As soon as they started I was ready for my much needed epidural. Unfortunately, the anesthesiologist had an emergency and I had to wait about 4 hours for my epidural. During that time I dilated to an 8 and was extremely uncomfortable and physically exhausted. Thank God for my husband because I could not have done this without him. He stayed cool, calm, and collected and helped me through the whole process.

I was finally given my epidural, and soon after I was fully dilated and ready to push. No one tells you how difficult pushing is (especially when you can’t feel your lower half). With the help of my husband and the encouraging words of the nurses and OB I pushed and pushed.

We were so exited to meet our little baby Beam. Would it be a boy? A girl? We had no idea and the suspense kept me going.

Almost an hour later we welcomed baby Owen Michael Beam in to the world; 7 lbs 12oz, 21 inches. Our biggest adventure started December 27th, 2019 @ 10:48.

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