St. Louis Zoo

Happy Monday friends!  I am officially BACK and hoping to get back into routinely writing in this space.  I am so pumped because I have truly missed my online community and enjoy writing here.  Thanks for sticking with me through the thick of things!  I hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day yesterday and were able to celebrate all the moms in your life.  We spent the weekend in St. Louis and it couldn’t have been more perfect.

 

Saturday morning we had to drive up to STL to drop Chris’ mom off at the airport.  We had planned on making it a weekend since we are about a 2 hour drive away.  So we got up early, dropped Yon off, and headed straight to the zoo.  One of the things I love most about about STL is that there are so many free things to do and the zoo is one of those things.  We paid $15 for parking but considering the fact that each adult at the Phoenix zoo was $18 we figured this was a small price to pay.  Tip: there is plenty of free street parking around the zoo so if you get there early in the day you can definitely score a spot.

 

We were pretty impressed with the zoo itself.  There was a wide variety of exhibits and the zoo itself was very clean.  Emmie’s favorite was the elephants and mine was the penguins.  We even had a tag-along for our ice cream when a duck family came along.

 

St Louis Zoo

St Louis Zoo 5

St Louis Zoo 4

St Louis Zoo 3 St Louis Zoo 2

 

We spent the night in town and got to watch the Kentucky Derby during dinner.  Yesterday morning we got up, ate breakfast at the hotel, and headed back home.  Chris hung a ton of stuff on the walls for me and the girls kept talking about Mother’s Day.  I am so happy to be spending my weekends not worrying about studying and instead soaking up precious moments as a family of four.  I am reminded every day how quickly these years are going with my girls and I plan to make them count.

 

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Hilton Head Island // 2015

Happy Monday friends!  If you follow me on Instagram you know that we spent our weekend at the beach!  It was time for our annual family vacation with Presley and family.  Last year we went to Disney  and this year we stuck closer to home and went to Hilton Head Island.  I LOVE HHI and am going to miss it so much when we move in the spring.  We go up several times a year so we were really excited to be there with our besties.

Hilton head

 

When Presley and I planned the trip we opted to rent a condo via VRBO and found one right at Coligny Plaza.  It ended up being absolutely perfect and we could walk everywhere!  The beach was 1/3 of a mile away, there were shops and restaurants, and we were able to cook breakfast at home.  It was amazing.  For our dinners we hit up Salty Dog Cafe and Skull Creek Boathouse and neither one disappointed.  During the day we hit the beach, played at the pool, and hung around the house.  Basically it was the prefect weekend.

 

Hilton Head 1 Hilton Head 3 Hilton Head 2

 

I am starting this week rejuvenated and ready to go!  Maybe thats because we have already decided 2017’s vacation spot and I am pumped?  Who knows.  Either way this week can bring it 😉

 

What did you do this weekend?

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Beaching

Before getting into today’s post I want to pause for a second and remember the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country.  It’s because of their selfless service and willingness to give all that we get to celebrate a long weekend and be FREE.  Say a prayer for the fallen and their families today!

 

When I found out early in this rotation that I would be off for four days due to the holiday I immediately suggested to Chris that we get out of town for a night.  It worked out because my sister Heather and her husband were going to be in Jacksonville for the weekend and it was a prime opportunity to see them.  So we loaded up the car and headed south!  Friday night Heather and Mark met us at our hotel and we all went to Maggiano’s for dinner and go sufficiently stuffed on calamari, pastas, and of course dessert.  Perfect pre-beach food, no?  Saturday morning we headed to Heather’s friend’s beach house for a fun day in the sun.

 

Beach

 

This was Bryn’s first trip to the beach and she absolutely LOVED it!  Em is a water baby at heart and had a blast also.  It was so much fun spending time with my sister and her friends.  I haven’t seen some of them since Heather got married 19 years ago and I was 8!

 

Girls Beach

Emmie Beach

 

Bryn Beach

 

One of the hardest parts of being a military wife is being so far from family.  Seeing the girls with their aunt and uncle this weekend reaffirmed my goal of getting us home within the next few years.  They thrived being surrounded by so many people who love them and I can see many family beach trips with my nephews and niece in the future too.

 

Family Beach

Auntie Heather

 

In the meantime I am just thankful that we got to make these precious memories together as a family!  And to many more beach days ahead of us this summer.  Got to soak up the proximity to the ocean while we still can!

 

How was your weekend?  Do anything fun?

 

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Adventures in Vegas

Happy Friday friends!  I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and that Santa was good to you 😉  We are wrapping up our adventures in Vegas and are hopping on a plane for the second half of our vacay in Phoenix!  Wanted to pop in and share some of our adventures here :)

 

Ethel M’s

Christmas is one of my father-in-laws favorite times of the year and the outside of their house can rival any Christmas light show, however, going to look at Christmas lights is one of his favorite things to do.  So we loaded in the car and headed down to Ethel M’s for their outdoor Christmas light display!

Ethel M's 2

 

 

We had a great time walking around and looking at the lights.  The highlight of Emma’s experience though was the chocolate store 😉  We got amazing hot chocolate and other treats to take with us.  This Christmas light display was FREE and a ton of fun!

 

Mastro’s Las Vegas

Martin and Yon wanted to take us out to a nice dinner one night and arranged for a babysitter to watch the girls.  Martin had a great year at work and they also wanted to celebrate my first year of PA school so we went to Mastro’s.  We wined and dined and had a great time!  The filet minon was perfection and the lobster mashed potatoes (!!!) are a MUST.

 

Maestro's Vegas

 

 

Mount Charleston

One morning we made the 30-minute drive up Mount Charleston for breakfast.  Getting up in the mountains is one of my favorite things and the views didn’t disappoint!  The little lodge was quaint and the food delicious.  However, word to the wise, the pancakes are MASSIVE.  In fact all the portions were huge so we had way too much food!

 

Mount Charleston Pancakes

 

 

Boo Boos

Emma got a little boo-boo while on our trip.  We took her to the park and she was swinging.  She must have leaned back and lost her balance but she did a back flip off the swings.  Thank God she was ok!  A little scrape on the forehead was all we got but my heart nearly stopped!

 

Boo Boo

 

Penny Slots

Chris and I aren’t big spenders when it comes to gambling but I LOVE the penny slots!  I discovered the Zuma one on this trip and had a ton of fun …. and walked away with $90!  Too bad we had NO IDEA what was going on – we just kept hitting the bet button HA.

 

Zuma

 

Unruly Zin

Lastly, you MUST try this wine!  I am not a huge red wine girl – it gives me a headache – but this Unruly Zin is truly phenomenal.  I just googled it online to see where in AZ I can pick some up for my family 😉

 

Unruly

 

Next time I blog I will be back home in the dessert!  Have a great weekend friends!

 

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8 Things About Our Trip to Disney

How is it already Thursday?  YIKES!  With starting my Clean Eating Challenge and helping out with the last round of interviews for next year’s PA school class the week got away from me.  Rather than draw out this recap here are 10 fun thing from our trip to Disney World.

 

1.  We Love/Hate Water Slides

Blizzard Beach

 

Our first day in Florida we headed to Blizzard Beach in the morning.  Emmie had a love/hate relationship with the slides.  She went down it for a few times and then got stuck and that was that.  Ha.

 

2.   Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Food and Wine Festival

 

Presley and I couldn’t have planned it better if we tried.  Somehow we were at Epcot for the Food and Wine Festival!  We totally ate our way around the world.  The best things I had was the lobster alfredo in America and this amazing grapefruit beer in Germany.

 

3.  Two Toddlers is in a Hotel Room is Insane

Snuggles

 

Chris and Ryne had to go activate our tickets so Presley and I hung at the hotel room with the kids.  Maddux and Emmie were out of control and instant BFFs.  After hitting their heads repeatedly on the headboard, running around like crazy people, and yelling we finally convinced them to snuggle in until the daddy’s got back.  However, having 3 kids in there made me rethink my whole wanting another kid thing ha.

 

4.  Animal Kingdom Rocks

Our time at Animal Kingdom was short lived but we did manage to get a safari ride in.  Emmalyne was hilarious.  She yelled out all the animals she saw and also pointed them out on the gams spotter poster.  She was so excited which made my heart full.  Which brings me to the next point …

 

5.  Being Sick Stinks

Emmie came down with something at Animal Kingdom and we ended up having to make a trip to urgent care for Zofran after a few episodes in the hotel and car.  Chris and I were so worried that her trip to Magic Kingdom would be ruined but luckily the meds did the trick and she rallied.

 

6.  We’re Not Sure About the Princesses

Meeting Elsa

After waiting in line for 40 minutes we finally had the chance to meet Anna and Elsa.  And Emmie was not impressed.  Sigh.

 

6.  Bryn is the Easiest Baby Ever

Dumbo

 

 

No really.  She is.  I don’t know how I got so lucky.  She was so happy the entire weekend and just went with the flow.  She LOVED Dumbo and was completely transfixed by Finding Nemo.  Seeing so much joy in her eyes made me happy.

 

8.  Traveling with Friends is Awesome

Seriously.  Do it.  Presley and I have been friends for going on 3 years now and luckily when Chris and Ryne met they hit it off.  This was our first vacation together as families and it went perfectly.  We are already planning our next trip for next summer :)

 

That’s pretty much our trip in a nut shell.  I plan on talking a little bit more about where we stayed soon!  We had a great trip and certainly made lots of memories!

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