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.

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.

Our Not So Adventurous Life

When I asked God to give me more time with my son, this is not what I envisioned.

Since December 27th I was already doing my best to keep our itty bitty baby locked up, and hidden away from the germs, flu, RSV, and all the other possible illnesses out there. I was TERRIFIED of our little man getting a sick. My anxiety as a new mom got the best of me several times, so I shut the door and locked my baby away from the big bad scary world.

When it was finally time for me to return to work the very thought of putting my son in daycare sent me in to hysterics. I cried and begged for a solution. We were about Halfway through our Spring Break when I learned we would not be returning to work. I have to say, I let out a huge sigh of relief. If I had only known 30+ days ago the extend of this virus I would have begged God for something different.

This is a crisis. Coronavirus: COVID 19 has rocked not only our nation, but the entire world and it makes me feel utterly helpless. Although my opinion may be unpopular to some, I firmly believe our government is failing our people. “We the people” are failing our own people. This should have been contained, there should be solutions, this is not and never has been a hoax. I know I can only attempt to protect my corner of the world but my heart aches for our healthcare workers and all of the people suffering right now. How did this happen? How did this get so bad? How is this happening in OUR front yard? How is there NO solution or relief yet?

This is a time in my life I should be celebrating the birth of my only son, his baptismal, his introduction to family and friends. But instead, I’m snuggling in the house, avoiding everyone, and praying each time my husband goes out he doesn’t bring back the virus.

Our adventures theses days consists of watching our son grow through his milestones and the occasional evening drive in the country.

I am thankful and blessed that we get this extra time with our son and that we are happy and healthy. For now the adventures of Messy Bun, Bearded One, and Baby O have ceased to exist. Hopefully, in the near further, we will be back at it. Until then we will keep soaking up the snuggles and enjoy every minute of this extra time with our perfect little boy.

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/

    ‘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 ❤️🎄

    Christmas in Gruene

    Last weekend we were fortunate enough to get away from it all and bask in the Christmas spirit of Gruene, TX. Not only is Gruene our favorite little getaway, but there’s always so much to see and do. We were able to enjoyed the Christmas festivities including:

    • watch the Pony Express ride into town
    • shop at the Ole Gruene Christmas Trade Market
    • hear Christmas carols for a local choir
    • and my favorite, witness Kris Kringle light up the town

    Gruene already holds a special place in my heart, and when you combine that love with the spirit of Christmas, it became a magical vacation.

    I would definitely recommend Gruene to anyone who hasn’t been. Even if you can’t make it for a special holiday event, this special little town is chock full of love and adventure.

    Check out some of our favorites when you plan you visit!

    • Check in to Gruene River Inn for fabulous service, rustic decor, jacuzzi tubs, and unbeatable river views
    • Dance at Gruene Hall (this is mandatory)
    • Grab a pizza and listen to some music at Infernos Pizza
    • Have a Batman and Robin at Mozies while you snack on their amazing garlic fries
    • Shop shop shop!
    • Sample some wine at the Grapevine (try the blackberry)
    • Shop at the Gruene Olive and sample their innovative oil and vinegar blends
    • Share apps or have dinner at The Gruene River Grill
    • And finish the night enjoying free music at the outdoor venue Oma’s Secret Garden (recently renovated)

    I hope you fall in love with Gruene just like me and my Bearded One ❤️

    Gruene River Inn Views

    Wine at he Grapevine

    Gruene Hall

    Kris Kringle Lighting the Town

    Oma’s

    A Much Needed Weekend Away

    Gruene, Texas, my favorite little town.

    This weekend we finally decided to get away and head to my happy place, Gruene. Situated on the banks of the Guadalupe River, home to “Texas’ Oldest Dance Hall” , and notorious for historic shopping and live music, I am in love.

    This perfect little town is chock-full of history, music, and memories for me and my bearded wonder. This is the place where I was asked to become a Mrs, I discovered acceptance and love from strangers, I two-stepped without a care in the world, I discovered my favorite wine, and continue to build my adventures.

    We’ve never experienced this perfect little town in the winter and although we’ve been here for less than 5 hours, I’m already overwhelmed with the holiday spirit.

    I can’t wait for tomorrow adventures! We plan to welcome the original Pony Express, shop the artisan Christmas market, and cheer on Kris Kringle as he arrives on horseback to spread a little Christmas magic.

    Stay tuned, my heart is full tonight ❤️

    Road Trip: New Mexico-Arizona-California

    Well ladies and gentlemen, we’ve covered quite some ground in the last 24 hours. We’ve seen the white sands in New Mexico, the organ pipe cacti in Arizona and we will arrive on the pacific coast of California this evening. We have been pleasantly overwhelmed by the beauty of nature on this trip and we’ve used every opportunity to stop and explore. An hour detour here, 30 minutes there, every extra minutes and mile was well worth it.

    White Sands National Monument

    We knew a little ahead of time we wanted to see the white sands in New Mexico and we couldn’t have picked a better day. When we arrived it was about 68 degrees and the views were stunning. While we explore all these places we always take the time to learn a little about the history. The white sands aren’t technically sand, they are white gypsum and they’ve been around for over 8,000 years. There are over 275 square miles of white gypsum dunes and a large portion of them are enjoyed by visitors from all over. I visited here as a child but I really didn’t remember much of it. As an adult, it’s completely mesmerizing and I’m still impressed by the park overall.

    Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

    Our next stop was Tucson Arizona. We didn’t really do much in Tucson, except eat some bomb-ass pizza at a little place called Dry River Pizza and Beer. After that we spent the evening researching things to do in AZ. The Bearded One found Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and was determined to see these cacti. It was slightly out of the way but well worth it. The desert terrain is nothing like we’d imagined it would be. It’s full of unique vegetation, most of which we’ve never really seen before.

    We’ve already seen quite a lot and can’t wait to explore California next. We will be in San Diego for the next few days and then up the coast from there!