Thursday, February 15, 2018

A Dallas Weekend Getaway

Oh be still my heart! I posted this picture on Friday night while lounging on the couch with my bestie Julie! Friday was the first day that we finally got to meet baby Alexandria since she was born 3 months ago.

Chloe and I woke up early Friday morning to be able to hit the road by 8:30am to start our journey. I knew that it would take quite a bit longer and I actually have a post planned talking about road trips with a toddler! We pit stopped at Bucee's and again at a McDonald's, but finally made it to Julie and Chris' house just before 2:30. So a 4 1/2 hour trip took us 6 hours. Not terrible considering we were at McDonald's for at least 30 minutes while Chloe ran around and played!

Friday we enjoyed time outside before the cold weather rolled in. Chloe loved playing on their swing set, and was pretty much stuck on repeat going up the ladder and down the slide. We went to get some delicious BBQ for dinner and closed out the night with bathtime for both girls! Chloe loved getting to take a bath with the baby!

Saturday morning started with LOTS of snuggles and movie time in the media room. Julie's husband is an ER doctor and was working nights, so we were trying to keep the kiddos kind of quiet and in their own space.

We had breakfast, watched Sing and Chloe finally got to hold Baby Alex or "the baby" as she calls her. She asked multiple times on Friday, but Chloe was filthy from eating in the car and playing on the swing set. Let's just say that Chloe used her bootie to dust the slides! She was so excited and proud to be holding her that I couldn't help but take all the pictures. Alex has a sweet little champ and didn't fuss one little bit while Chloe was holding her. It's the beginning of a beautiful friendship!

Once we got ready, we decided to head out of the house and go on an adventure. We went to the Dallas World Aquarium! This place was so neat and the perfect activity on a cold, windy day. We had been hoping to go to the zoo, but the aquarium wasn't just fish but tons of animals!

Birds and alligators and monkeys oh my! After seeing this toucan eating a blueberry, Chloe was convinced that all the animals wanted to eat blueberries.

The aquarium is downtown and multiple levels so we started at the top since we have strollers. Then we were able to cruise on down to the bottom only needing an elevator to get down to the basement. Tip: if you're planning to visit and have a toddler that will want to get out of the stroller a lot, you may want to forgo the stroller. There isn't a ton of walking like there is at a zoo!

The crocodiles were HUGE! Chloe decided they were super neat but very scary. We even got to see this guy in the sand moving around. Chloe wanted to stay and watch every animal for as long as possible. Unfortunately it was pretty crowded, so we had to keep moving to let other people in to see what was going on.

It's not the best picture, but this anaconda was massive. It literally gave me the heebie geebies as it slithered around. There was quite the line of people to see him and it was worth it. Chloe was freaked out, but she couldn't look away.

Next up, stingrays!!! I have a special love for stingrays since JP and I went swimming with them on a cruise many moons ago. These spotted guys were busy swimming and lots of kids were gathered around watching them and trying to stick their hands in the water. Chloe is still too small to cause that kind of mischief!

In the center of the aquarium is an amazing waterfall habitat with monkeys, birds, fish and even a manatee! You can see the centerscape from all of the different levels of the aquarium. Naturally we had to get some pictures of us and the girls.

Next we took an elevator to the lower level to check out the manatee! A space opened up right by the glass when we got down there. We were close to the end so I didn't think the manatee would come right in front of us, but I was so wrong!

He decided that he needed a snack and there was some right in front of us. Chloe was amazed and giggled the whole time.

I mean he was up close and personal for snack time!

Then we went to see fish from all over the world. Chloe was interested in one tank. Of course it was the tank with Dory and Nemo. She was so excited to see them together! Nemo was hanging out in his sea anemone while Dory was swimming in circles. 

We also saw monkeys, a sloth, flamingos and more! There was a black panther somewhere but we didn't see him in his exhibit. He was on a video monitor somewhere near his exhibit, but that's all we saw.

We spent a solid 2 hours at the aquarium and could have spent more time there, but we realized we were starving! Chloe decided for us that Chic-fil-a was for lunch and we were pretty pleased with her decision. 

It got colder and wetter as the evening went on so we decided to just spend the rest of the night at home. We had chili, watched the Olympics and just talked allll night. We also decided to watch a feel good movie and ended up with How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and eating popcorn. The perfect Saturday night if you ask me!

Sunday morning we hung out in the media room again. We watched Secret Life of Pets and snuggled those baby girls. Chloe got to hold Alex again and I got to have her fall asleep in my arms. A happy Auntie Amy indeed! Around 10:45am Chloe started losing her mind. I think 2 days with no naps and early morning wake ups sent my girl into a tizzy. I decided it was best to just load up and take off so Julie could have a relaxing Sunday.

Since we were planning on a few stops on the way home, we decided to stop in Waxahachie to visit Kristin!!! It was 1hr 15 minutes from Julie's house which is the perfect distance. We spent a little over 2 hours there which was so perfect. Chloe was able to watch Mickey and play with all the fun toys at Auntie Kristin's house while we got to talk and catch up. It was a wayyyyyy better pit stop than McDonalds! Next time I see Kristin, it needs to be longer for sure!

We had a wonderful weekend away, but of course we missed JP! I think he had a great weekend at home alone. He had the chance to relax and do nothing since he's been traveling so much lately. He also got lots of brownie points because I came home to a beautiful, clean house!

Now it's time to start looking forward to my NEXT trip...Disney! ONE MORE WEEK!

Where do y'all road trip to?
Do you like to get out and do things when visiting friends? Or just hang out and catch up?

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Be My Valentines

Happy Valentine's Day y'all! This year Valentine's Day is so much fun because Chloe is obsessed! She keeps telling everyone "Happy Balentime's Day!" and loving all the treats that come along with it. There's a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode about a Valentine's surprise for Minnie which is why I think Chloe started talking about it. That and school of course!

Chloe's very first Valentine's Day party was yesterday at school and she came home smiling ear to ear with her bag of treats. They made bags last week with a teddy bear holding a heart. {See below.} She's been talking about it literally since last Thursday! She finally got to show it to me and she was beaming. This age can be so much fun y'all!

My flowers and card above are actually not from JP...they're from my secret admirer! Just kidding, they're from my best girl Kristin! On our way home from visiting Julie in Dallas, we pit stopped for a few hours in Waxahachie to spend some QT with Kristin. More on that tomorrow when my Dallas post goes live! There's nothing better than a sweet card and beautiful flower from your friend you've loved since you were almost 9 years old!

JP and I have never really gone overboard for V-Day. Mostly we cook a nice dinner one night the week of Valentine's Day, and we try to spend more quality time together. In the past, I've tried to come up with a new and "fancy" recipe and paired it with a yummy wine. Meanwhile, JP has always had a sweet side. Even when I say don't get me anything, he always gets me flowers and chocolate or ice cream! {He always seems to know when I need flowers in my life!}

This year we're going a slightly different route. Tomorrow night my sister and her husband have offered for babysit Chloe for us to go out for a few hours and do whatever we want! We brainstormed and came up with a few ideas but settled on...BOWLING! We're going to put on some sweet bowling shoes, eat crappy bowling ally food and just spend time together! Plus we get to be competitive which is always fun for us.

This year we're definitely doing a bit more for Valentine's Day this year because of Chloe. Her love and joy around the holiday just makes you want to celebrate. We got her some sweet little gifts just because we love her. Thank you Target dollar spot and Cat and Jack clothes for helping me create something Chloe will just love.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Valentine's Day! Chloe and I have some fun planned to celebrate today and we'll have to surprise Daddy with a little something when he gets home!

And can you handle the cuteness?

What are your Valentine's traditions?
Do you celebrate or just let the holiday go?

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Friday, February 9, 2018

Friday Favorites v3

Hey hey happy FriYAY! Guess what? While you're reading this, I'm probably in the car on my way to North Dallas to visit my girl Julie and her baby girl Alexandria!!! I haven't seen Julie since my 30th birthday party and her baby shower last September. We're headed up for a fun girls weekend to just hang out, catch up and snuggle on these babies of ours.

This will be my first road trip with Chloe alone. We've done road trips before, but never just the two of us. It could be interesting. I have plans for 2 solid stops that will let us get out and run around for a bit along the way. I have a feeling this 4:45 journey is going to take about 6 hours. Oh boy! Stay tuned next week to see just how it goes and what advice I have!

But for today, I'm here with another volume of Friday Favorites. No exciting rhyme, reason or theme for this one. Just some favorites from this past week!

one. running with my favorite people
I had to get in a 12 mile run in for my Princess Half Marathon training last Saturday, and my two favorites ran the last 3 miles with me! It was nice to have someone to cheer me on and push me through the last little bit. It's a lot harder to do long run when you don't have people cheering you on from the sidelines and you don't get an awesome medal at the finish! Naturally we took a picture at the end so that I could brag about them getting up and out the door early to help me out.

two. this silly little girl
It's pretty much impossible for me to get a picture of her when I ask her to stand and smile these days. My great pictures are all candids and action shots. But every once in a while I catch a gem like this one. She has a cheesy smile on and is up on her tippy toes with a wild hand, but it shows her fun personality so much! I had to get one of her in this sweet outfit even though she took off her leggings and shoes before I could snap it.

three. pretty new bookcases
We ventured out to Ikea last weekend and bought this gem! Before we had the exact same shelving unit, but in black and without the doors on the bottom. The white has brightened up our living room and will look even better when we get painters in to give life to our beige walls! The cabinets on the bottom bring everything together because now most of Chloe's toys are hidden instead of out in the open. That makes Momma happy. Props to JP for spending pretty much all day Sunday {before the Super Bowl of course} putting this together for me!

four. sweet puppy snuggles 
These two have been so snuggly lately. I think the cold, gloomy and rainy weather has them in a mood. Of course after snuggly days, they have hyper bouncing off the wall days. Wednesday was cold and rainy and these two helped keep me warm while the baby slept in.

five. these buffalo chicken sliders
Y'all this was my dinner last night. I then dreamt about them. Yes, they're that good. Are y'all interested in a recipe? I'm already thinking about when I'll make them again because they were just that amazing. I don't know what else to say about them other than to me they look delish, but they taste even better!

Do you have any meals like that? If so, tell me what so I can give it a try! I'm trying to expand my recipe repertoire, so I don't keep having the same thing over and over again.
What are some of your favorites from this past week? Moments, food, shows, anything!

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

8 Fun and Interactive Valentine's Ideas

This year is Chloe's first school Valentine's party. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do for her to hand out to her class. As a fitness professional, I didn't really want to give candy, sweets or snacks because I know she will get plenty of those. {Plus we're potty training which means lots of jelly beans and M&Ms for potty treats!} I wanted to do something creative and interactive that all the kids would love! Naturally I took to Pinterest to see what was available and what ideas I liked the best.

I've already made my decision thanks to a sweet friend making it super easy for me! But just in case you haven't figured out exactly what you want to do for your little one, here are some awesome ideas! These are all fairly inexpensive; you can actually find a lot of items at the dollar store. Several of these ideas also have a sweet free printable for you to use. Let's take a look...

Usborne mini books! They have several options that are $2-3 dollars which is very reasonable if your child has a small class. These are actually Chloe's Valentine's this year! I'm not sure if there is still enough time to get these in before Valentine's Day, but you can always ask. Talk to your Usborne Book consultant, and if you don't have one, please let me know because I have an amazing one who always helps me out! My book lady created these labels for Chloe to stick on her books and even added the conversation heart stickers for extra fun.

This Play-Doh Creation Kit by Mama Miss may be one of the sweetest, most creative Valentine's ideas I've seen yet! Not only are you giving kids something they love, Play-Doh, but you're teaching them how to make something with it.

First Grade with a Cherry on Top made these sweet Valentine's for her students. It can easily be turned around and used to give to friends. You can get loads of glow sticks from the dollar store! They have necklaces and bracelets, so you can let your little one choose what they want to give.

You know what all preschoolers love? Painting! And not just preschoolers, most kids love to paint and this watercolor Valentine idea is great. You can pick up a watercolor set at the dollar store and then use this free printable from Smart School House.

You can get these adorable Sip Sip Hooray printables from Kinzie's Kreations! Add these to some super fun crazy straws and any little one will love it!

You can't go wrong with bubbles! There are tons of types of bubbles out there for you to choose from. You can use this sweet and simple printable from U Create or even make your own.

This one definitely takes a little more time and effort, but you can really get your little one involved! If you're feeling creative and up for the task, check out Princess Pinky Girl for a detailed step by step on how to make these fun heart crayons. It seems easier than it looks, and it's a great way to get rid of your old broken crayons!

Cars aren't just for boys! These little MatchBox car Valentine's are perfect for all the kids in your little one's class. Love and Lion created these fun Valentine's. All you need is a car, some paper and a little bit of fun washi tape! Hop over to Love and Lion to get this free printable. There's even a surprise underneath the car!

There you have it! If you're looking for something fun and maybe a little different for your kids' Valentine's, there is still time to get out there and create any of these. Most are fairly simple and inexpensive plus several have free printables for you to print and go!

Have you already picked out your kiddos' Valentine's? What did you decide on?
What are some other awesome ideas that didn't get included in my list?

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Friday, February 2, 2018

Friday Favorites v2: All About Chloe!

Happy Friday y'all! Guess what on Monday, my little bug celebrated her half birthday! That's right I have a 2 and a HALF year old. How that happened, I don't know. In fact, I kind of let it slip my mind until I realized that it was February! So by "celebrated" her half birthday, I mean that it came and went and today I got her a snow cone. {Because yes it was almost 80 degrees in Houston today. Definitely good snow cone weather.} Since we didn't celebrate, I thought it would be nice to commemorate my baby's half birthday on the blog.

Obviously Chloe is my favorite child. It's pretty easy to have a favorite child when you only have one. She's kind of a big star on this blog too. I thought it would be fun to go back and choose my favorite pictures of her over the last six months. In fact, I chose 6 pictures. They're not quite from each month of her last six months, but they're my favorites for many reasons!

I took this picture in Oslo last August while we were exploring the city. We needed to take a break from walking for just a few minutes and we managed to find this gorgeous spot. I thought the picture captured her sweet and spunky personality. It also showed me how she is such a toddler and rapidly headed towards looking like a kid!

Chloe's first day of school in September! Not necessarily her cutest picture, but I feel like her unsure smile captured my timid girl and really showed just how she felt about going to school. It took her a few weeks to get into the swing of things. Like it was REALLY rough at first. Now she loves it and has the most wonderful teachers that she talks about all the time. She even names them when we ask her who her best friends are!

This is another one from September! It was during our trip up to Colorado for my brother's wedding. The views were amazing and Chloe has so much fun getting into mischief with her Aunt Emmy in the creek. She got so many sweet pictures!

Splash pad in October. The Houston heat is no joke y'all, but this girl loves it because she is all about the water. She has been a water baby from the start, and that love has only grown over the years. We started swim lessons again last April and are still going strong. She even moved up from the mommy and me class to the toddler class. She'll likely move up to the second toddler level in a few months. Go girl!

October was an exciting month for our girl because she went trick-or-treating officially for the first time. In 2017, we did a little trick-or-treating at the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Disney World. It's just not the same as dressing up and going around the block with all of your neighbors and friends! She had a blast and rode around in the wagon even though it was cold and rainy. I didn't get any awesome pictures from that night, but I did get this sweet one before school!

I posted this one from December on Instagram the other day and couldn't help, but share it here because it's my favorite. I'm completely obsessed and I want to remember this smile, this face and this little girl for as long as I live. She literally makes every day better and is such a light in our lives. Of course she drives us crazy, makes us want to pull our hair out and finds a way to challenge us every day. I wouldn't have it any other way. The joy she brings to our family is far greater than any stress she causes. I love this 2 and a HALF year old so much!

In the last six months, Chloe...

  • flew on 7 planes.
  • visited 3 countries outside of the US.
  • "helped" her mom hike a mountain.
  • started her first year of school.
  • was a flower girl in her Uncle's wedding.
  • celebrated her momma's 30th birthday.
  • dressed up and went trick or treating for the first time.
  • "sang" in her first school performance.
  • caught the flu for the first time.
  • learned how to pee pee on the potty!
  • is officially pee pee potty trained.
There you have it y'all. This Friday make favorite is just Chloe. I haven't had an only Chloe post in quite some time, so it seemed completely fitting. Now I'm off to snuggle my girl and head out on an outlet shopping trip with our friends! Have a happy weekend!

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