our trip to Arlington

This post is sponsored by Arlington CVB; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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As you know by now, we are huge fans of vacationing within our own state, especially since we have young kids! There are so many amazing cities within a 5 hr drive of Houston in EVERY direction -- seriously, the possibilities of where we can go are almost endless. Last weekend, we went to Arlington and it did not disappoint! Arlington is located about 20 minutes west of Dallas and is typically know for being the home of the Texas Rangers, AT&T stadium and Six Flags Over Texas, although there are a TON more attractions and hidden gems than just those 3 things! It's only around a 4 hr and 15 min from Houston, but ended up being around a 5.5 hrs for us since we had to take some restroom and snack breaks with the kids haha!

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We stayed at the La Quinta Inn and Suites that's located on the same street as Six Flags for our trip and it turned out to be the perfect location -- pretty much everything we wanted to do was only 10-15 minutes from the hotel! We also sprung for a suite, which is the only way we'll travel from now on. Silas is pretty good about just falling asleep wherever and staying in the room next to our bed but Verity is a SUPER light sleeper and needs her own space or she keeps everyone up. So the suite with a separate living room was definitely the way to go -- and honestly, we LOVED how big it was and that the kids could run around and burn some energy off when we came back to the hotel in between our adventures. I also believe the hotel was recently renovated because it was gorgeous! The staff was very friendly and although they weren't able to secure us a crib for the stay, they went above and beyond in every other way! Also, the breakfast they provided was ridiculously delicious -- just let the record state that. Haha!

We arrived in town late on Saturday evening and crashed at the hotel. The next morning, we got up, ate breakfast and headed out to the nearby Aquarium. Silas LOVES fish/sharks/manta rays, the whole shebang and Sissy is old enough now to recognize and enjoy them, too, so it was a no-brainer! We loved getting to walk through and see all of the exhibits and displays! 

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After the aquarium, we stopped in at Rio Mambo for lunch -- y'all, it was probably the BEST TexMex we've both ever eaten. The menu had so many choices and the staff was SO amazing -- even when Silas accidentally tipped a giant glass of water over and it spilled everywhere, three staff members immediately came over with towels and cleaned it up with a smile on their faces! Just a super family-friendly place and huge portions, we highly recommend it!!

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From there, we headed to the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) for a show at the Planetarium! I've never been to a Planetarium before and HOLY COW, you guys!! The experience was seriously magical! Even the kids were absolutely speechless. I wish we could've caught more than one show while we were there -- but I'm glad that we DID end up getting to sit in and see their Spacepark 360: Infinity show, which was a simulation of some super intense roller coasters! It felt so real, I actually had to close my eyes a few times because I felt nauseous, haha! If you're ever in Arlington over a weekend, I cannot suggest enough that you pop by UTA and visit the Planetarium. 

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For dinner on Sunday night, we headed to Downtown Arlington and ate at the Mellow Mushroom, a local pizza joint! And a delicious pizza joint, I might add. Seriously y'all -- they make their own crust (from just 3 ingredients!) and have a ton of specialty pizzas that were just UNREAL, so dang flavorful. The staff was super friendly and helpful in giving us suggestions -- our faves were the Mighty Meaty pizza and the Holy Shiitake Pie! Can't go wrong with either of those two. Also, side note: downtown Arlington is SO cute and we had so much fun walking around and exploring before dinner. Their little theater was one of my favorite hidden gems of the city!

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Monday morning, we woke up and headed to River Legacy Park to feed the ducks! We grabbed some extra bread from the hotel's breakfast and set out -- unfortunately, we didn't find any ducks where we were haha. BUT we had so much fun exploring the park with the kids! The playgrounds are super safe and the landscape was just so beautiful! Lots of grassy areas for the kiddos to run around and burn off some energy before loading up and driving to the next place! Next time we will bring a picnic lunch!

After the park, we decided to pop into Bishop Arts District in Dallas before heading home and I'm so glad we did! It's the cutest little area with tons of boutiques, coffee shops and local restaurants. We grabbed some lattes and just wandered around, taking it all in. The weather was breezy and cool and the whole area was quiet and serene -- it was honestly like a dream! 

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We had the BEST time on our little getaway to Arlington, y'all! I never would've thought there would be so many amazing places to visit and explore in Arlington, but there were! In fact, we could've used an extra 2 days to fit everything in the we wanted to do haha! If you're headed up that way, make sure to check out the Arlington Visitor's Guide -- there are so many ideas and great suggestions for you to try! We had such a great time, made so many memories as a family and I'm just falling deeper in love with our weekend trips together! I can't wait to see where we go next! 

Love,

B

 

 

adventure, wherever you are

This post is sponsored by Royal Caribbean; however, all photos and content are my own.

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There’s just nothing quite like getting away for a few days on a family adventure, am I right?? Checking out of reality, turning off our phones, finding all the new and fun things to do in a city. It’s just so exhilarating and quite honestly, in a world where we are tied to electronics and schedules and to do lists, it’s absolutely NECESSARY. Matt and I recently realized that it had been almost an entire year since we’d done anything alone as a couple and we’ve never really gone on any adventures with all four of us! We decided to remedy that and take everyone on a mini-getaway! Thankfully, due to the nature of Matt’s job (real estate agent), we are able to set our own schedules (to some degree) and plan our adventures when we want. And to be honest, sometimes spur of the moment and spontaneous adventures are the best kind!

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I just have to add that, if we have the time to get away for longer than a night or two, one of our personal all-time favorite vacations is a cruise! We’ve taken a couple cruises with Royal Caribbean now and have loved every second of the entire experience — being on that gorgeous ship with all of the amenities and nightlife and the ability to be in different cities every day… not to mention there is something for everyone on board! AND Royal Caribbean visits more than 250 destinations world-wide – which means you could literally go anywhere with them! It truly is, hands-down, one of our favorite ways to vacation. Unfortunately, we can’t live on a cruise full-time (SERIOUSLY, HOW AMAZING WOULD THAT BE?!), but we CAN be inspired by the same things that Royal Caribbean stands for — discovery, exploring, family bonding, adventure, getting outside of our comfort zones. And that same spirit of excitement has carried over into our local vacations and getaways!

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For this trip, we decided to go explore the city of Fredericksburg and Enchanted Rock! They are both just so beautiful — Fredericksburg is a quiet, quaint town with so many good restaurants and stores; perfect for walking around, poking your head into shops, grabbing ice cream. I feel like small towns always give you the best memories and best experiences! Enchanted Rock, about 30 minutes from Fredericksburg, is a MASSIVE granite dome that gives absolutely breathtaking views (once you make it to the top)! It was the perfect combination of rest and adventure for our family.

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We drove up on a Saturday morning, spent the night in our hotel and then got up early on Sunday to make sure we were some of the first people there (the park fills up fast)! It was honestly the perfect day — foggy, misty, a little chilly. My ideal hiking weather! And Enchanted Rock was the perfect place for our first family adventure. The summit trail is a pretty intense hike but completely doable for kids and we were SO proud of Silas – he climbed up the entire thing from start to finish all by himself!!! However, the poor kid was absolutely exhausted by the time we reach the top so Matt had to carry him the whole way down ;) But I still can’t believe he made it up that huge dome with those skinny little legs of his!!

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I’m not going to lie, I wanted to quit halfway up. I was carrying Verity in our ergo baby carrier and realized that getting myself up the mountain was hard enough but strapping an extra 20 pounds to me made it nearly impossible. My legs were burning, my lungs were burning and I told Matt, “I don’t think I can do it. I can’t go any higher!” He started, “You can do it! 1 foot in front of the other; just keep putting 1 foot in front of the other. This is a good lesson for Silas, that we finish what we start!” Even Silas got in on the encouraging, “Come on, mom!! Keep going!!”, as he walked behind me, pushing me up the rock.

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I love that we worked together and made it happen!! WE DID IT!!! There were lots of rest stops along the way and many times I thought we would fail, but we reached the top of the summit and that view just blew me away!!! It was breathtaking, the city below, covered in fog. It was hard to even see where the mountain ended and the sky began. We honestly felt like we were in a different world — it was just magical! Matt and I looked at each other and just grinned. We. Did. It.

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But, of course, it wouldn't be a TRUE adventure without some problems haha! Like how I accidentally booked the hotel in the wrong city, 40 minutes from where we should’ve been. Or when our bank messaged us right as we pulled into the town that there was fraud on our accounts and canceled our cards immediately, so we had no money (thankfully, Matt had forethought to pull out some cash before we went otherwise we wouldn't have had the ability to pay for our hotel or any meals or gas for the ride home). And then, halfway up the mountain, both kids had dirty diapers that eventually leaked all the way through their clothes AND our clothes! We actually ended up having to spray Verity down naked at the on-site campground in 45° weather because it was such a mess.

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Finally, on the ride home, we narrowly missed getting into a massive accident (luckily, Matt was the one driving back from Fredericksburg, not me), since about an hour into our trip home, there was a huge mangled metal ladder in the middle of the freeway — the 3rd car in front of us hit it, it bounced up and the other 2 cars in front swerved to either side of us, soo guess who had to run over the ladder at 80mph?? We did!! I’ve never been so terrified in my life — it ripped off the entire plastic underside of our van but thankfully no tire damage or other issues. We were safe, the kids were safe.. just the grace of God, y’all. Also, I’ve officially nominated Matt to drive for all roadtrips from here on out!

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It was absolutely insane, you guys, the amount of things that went wrong. But you know what — even with all of the wild, WEIRD things that happened on that trip, I would do it again in a heartbeat. Life is unpredictable. It just is. And it can throw some crazy curveballs but if we let that stop us from trying new things and making memories as a family, then we’ve lost sight of the entire point! We WANT our kids to get out, to explore and try new things — and that only happens if we, as parents, make it a priority!! This trip was the first time the kids have ever been in the car that long, five hours each way (which, of course, with children turns into six or seven hours each way ha ha). But honestly, they did so good and it definitely gave us confidence to take them out again soon. 

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This whole experience just filled my heart and we talked the whole way home about all of the places we’d like to go next! We made so many amazing memories on this trip and were so inspired by our time on our Royal Caribbean cruises, their innovative designs and encouragement to get outside our comfort zones and try new things! I hope you’re just as compelled as we are to take more vacations, turn off our phones and just getaway for a few days because it’s worth it!! Every single time.

XO

breakfast ideas for toddlers

This post is sponsored by Horizon Organic, but the content and opinions are my own!

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Alright, I've been asked for posts like this for awhile now, so here's the first one: breakfasts! I'll do a follow-up with lunch ideas soon!

If you don't know me, I have two kiddos: Silas (who just turned 3) and Verity (16 months). They are incredible eaters and I attribute that to a few things: breastfeeding (since breastmilk changes flavor based on what the mama eats), never really doing purees or anything like that (I always chewed the food for them before they had teeth haha!) and the fact that they eat what we eat, no questions asked. There is no other option -- our lives are busy and I already cook 3 meals a day from scratch, so I'm not making any extra/special meals! They eat what I make or they wait until breakfast the next morning haha! Mean mom? Maybe. But while there are lots of choices they will get to make in life, dinner isn't one of them ;)

The kids usually wake up between 7-7:30 every morning and immediately get a cup (Silas) or bottle (Verity) of milk -- it usually tides them over for a bit before breakfast and allows me to get everyone settled, clothes picked out, just lets us kind of get our wits about us without diving straight into making breakfast after rolling out of bed! They also get milk before bed -- both of the kids have super fast metabolisms and since they eat dinner at 5:30/6 and don't wake up until 7:30 the next morning, the milk before bed at 7pm really helps them sleep longer and more deeply!

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We've always bought the Horizon Organic brand of milk for our kids and they just came out with a new grassfed version! I CANNOT tell you how excited I was to hear this-- we're pretty obsessed with all things grassfed over here, haha. We ran to Walmart and grabbed a container for ourselves and y'all, Silas would NOT put it down! It's just super fresh and so creamy -- we will absolutely be buying it from now on! Click here to learn more and for a coupon to go snag yourself some, too: https://ooh.li/1f2c8bb

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After their milk, I start making breakfast and then while they're in their highchairs eating, I utilize that time and get myself ready for the day! It's way easier to do my hair and makeup while they're strapped in and immobilized ;) 

Here are my favorite breakfast go-to's:

- Oatmeal and fruit (I always make their oatmeal with milk and then mix in some grassfed butter, cinnamon and maple syrup -- the kids are OBSESSED with it!)

- Scrambled eggs with avocado and fruit (usually some kind of berries or banana)

- Protein shake (our fave version: milk, frozen banana, frozen blueberries, peanut butter, kid-friendly protein powder, a little bit of coconut oil and 1-2 ice cubes)

- Hardboiled egg cut up, toast and butter, fruit

- Avocado toast (I smash up 1/2 of an avocado, spread it on a piece toast and top with a little bit of salt, garlic powder and everything but the bagel seasoning from Trader Joe's)

- Mashed or roasted sweet potatoes, organic whole wheat flax mini waffles, fruit

- Sausage, scrambled eggs and fruit

 

I hope that list of ideas is helpful for you guys! I can't wait to get started on the lunch one!

What do you usually make for breakfast?? I would love to hear from you!

 

Love,

B

 

 

here's to strong women

This post is sponsored by ThredUp; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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"Here's to strong women: may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them." Nothing has rang truer in my mind as a woman and as a mother, than it did the day my daughter was born. Being a girl mom changes things -- it just does. And I'm sure most other mothers of daughter would agree -- having a girl makes you so much more aware of how you talk to and about yourself, how you view food and exercise, how being strong and healthy is the only goal.

We really make an effort in our home to not focus on weight -- we don't own a scale. Matt and I don't ever talk about "how fat" we are, whether or not we want to lose weight, we don't point of specific body parts we'd like to change. We eat healthy, VERY healthy.. but not for the purpose of "being skinny"; no, we eat healthy because we want to fill our bodies with good things that FUEL us, that make us stronger! And I'm so grateful for this mindset -- because it wasn't always like this (for me).

For years, I used to obsess over every calorie I ate, every minute I ran on the treadmill, every weight I lifted. I went to the gym so that I could indulge and then I'd feel guilty and go back to work off even more calories. I couldn't eat a thing without considering how long it would take me to burn it off on the elliptical. What a sad way to live, friends! Thankfully, soon after that, I met Matt and I can honestly say, in the 6.5 years we've been together, I've never thought about food in that way again. Being loved no matter what changes a person -- so now I exercise (sometimes haha!) because I WANT to, not because I feel like I HAVE to. I eat healthy because it makes me feel good and strong, not because it'll make me skinnier. Those self-loathing thoughts don't even cross my mind anymore and that freedom is something I want my kids, especially my daughter, to always live in.

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My favorite "right" from the Girls' Bill of Rights is this: "Girls have the right to accept and appreciate their bodies." This is true for all ages and became even more of a reality for me after having children - our bodies can do incredible things as women, one of which is to become pregnant and give birth. Pregnancy is incredible -- you are literally growing a human being. A HUMAN. Just let that sink in for a moment. It's nothing short of a miracle and instead of being celebrated, most women I know lament the extra weight and skin and stretch marks (mainly because society tells us we should bounce right back and not be changed by it). But the reality is, we ARE changed by becoming mothers and that change is BEAUTIFUL. Hard, but beautiful -- and I get it! I do. I'm a woman, I've had two children, I've been there. But that accomplishment, growing and then birthing our babies, it should empower us, not shame us! We have the right to ACCEPT and APPRECIATE our bodies. For what they are currently! Not just what they can be in the future. 

So let's be strong, friends. Let's be healthy. Let's be kind -- to ourselves and our bodies. Let's learn to LOVE the way we were created, the way God made us. And then let's pass this legacy down to our daughters and start a revolution of beautiful, strong, confident women -- truly, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them. It starts with us!

To shop the closets of some amazing women and learn more about how ThredUp is celebrating International Women's Day and giving back, check out these links below:

www.thredup.com/shophercloset

www.thredup.com/bg/p/about-shop-her-closet

Love,

B