Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Chief Greyson's Third Birthday

I can't believe my sweet baby boy turned THREE last month! The transformation and changes from 2 to 3 has been mind blowing. 

I'll admit the first part of the 2's was a battle of the "wills".  (Greyson's newfound will vs. our will.) We experienced four alarm meltdown's, the "NO" stage, a three month period where he was terrified of baths, a long stretch where he ONLY allowed me to put him to bed, POTTY TRAINING (GOD BLESS), and his discovery of manipulation. It was quite a year.  

But there have been so many amazing changes too. Greyson's communication skills increased exponentially.  I have no idea where he picks up all these words (actually, I have a strong guess...HE GET IT FROM HIS MAMA), but he can essentially participate in a full conversation now.  He remembers things about his day and even months ago, and really picks up on other's feelings and perceives cause and effect.  Child still loves to dance like a fool, dress in multiple costumes a day, and loves his sweets.  I don't have another child to compare him to, but in general, he is really just the most JOYFUL person in general that I've ever met.  He gives every day all he's got and then just passes out from the sheer exhaustion from it.  

And so I had to snap this last picture of my 2 year old the night before his 3rd birthday....

His birthday fell on a Monday, so we celebrated with presents and Shipley's donuts.  

Afterwards, I took him to the new Playstreet in Allen, which has a "Transportation" them.  We spent most of our time in the plane while the "Pilot" bossed me around to load up my luggage and sit down in my seat.  ; ).  We were headed to Mississippi by the way.  

A couple weeks later we held his actual birthday party, and of course we HAD to have a firefighter theme.  Greyson has been utterly obsessed with all things firefighter/firetruck for over a year now, so I've actually been sitting on this theme since last year.  It turned out super cute; every year I say "Oh, this theme is my favorite!

I just can't throw a theme party without having theme food, so the "menu" so consisted of: 'Lil Smokies, Fireballs, Stop Drop & Cinnamon Rolls, Firehoses (Twizzlers), and Firetruck Fuel (beverages). Clearly none of this took much culinary effort, but just giving things a name makes it more festive! 

My favorite part was the little kids table, which really came in handy at this age.  No parents had to hover over kids trying to sit in big chairs and everything was accessible to them.  

The party room we held it in was perfect and the kids ran around like wildcats, just the way I envisioned.  (Party tip: If you have your party offsite in a simple room, spread out a few toys for the kids to play with.  I usually go with whatever theme the party is, so last year, I brought a bunch of toy trains, and this year I brought a few of Greyson's firetrucks. Because he only has 752 of them.) 

I loved this little backdrop that my sweet hubby and Father-in-law labored over right before the party. I swore to them there were no last minute projects, but let's face it, there always are.  ; ) 

After a very lively round of The Hunger Games opening presents in front of a group of toddlers, we headed to the fire station across the street for a tour.  The firemen we so gracious to show us the inside of the station and then took us to the trucks and did some demonstrations with their equipment. 

The kids loved giving the firefighter "High 5" after he was all geared up.  Except Greyson.  Despite his fascination, I think he was a little too Darth Vader with his oxygen mask on.  

Yet again, another year of parenthood has stretched and challenged us far beyond the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual capacity we thought possible. But as all parents know, the love you have for your child is more than enough and makes every day more than worth it.  

HAPPY "THREE" to my sweet boy. I love you with all my heart. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

September Recap!

Happy Tuesday everyone, and for those of you in my neck of the woods, HAPPY FALL!!!!  IT'S HERE! FOR A LIMITED TIME! SO ACT FAST! Throw on your scarves, boots, and leggings and put some Taco Soup on the stove! BUT. Keep your bathing suit handy, cuz it'll be 90 on Saturday, kay? 

Anyway, I've been trying to recap September for a few days now, so let's see if I can actually finish it up!  

September was fun and hot as Hades for the most part. September is slightly better than August because school is fully back in session, there's a three-day weekend, and it seems like Fall relief is just around the corner. (Or at least we can throw some pumpkins on the front porch and try to convince ourselves of that.)  And I would say that football is back, but the Bulldogs have already thrown this season away, so I can't say I'm too invested in that anymore either. 

We kicked off September with a super fun trip to Hyatt's Lost Pines Resort in Austin. You can read all about our trip here.  It was a blast and if you're looking for the perfect family friendly getaway, this is it! 

A few days later, I ended up sitting in the audience for Good Morning Texas! This was a super fun opportunity through Dallas Moms Blog! It was a Fall Fashion show and there were LOTS of giveaways. Jewelry. Home Decor. A $400 Brahmin bag.  You know what I went home with? Some honey and plates that have flowers on them that are "portion-sized" so you know how much meat, veggies, and carbs to serve yourself. I could tell my skinny jeans didn't feel so skinny anymore, but GEEZ.  Regardless, I had a great time with these ladies and it was super fun to see what happens behind the scenes. 

That weekend, Greyson and I took off for Louisiana to go camping with my parents at Lake D'Arbonne.  It was the most beautiful park! This was Greyson's first camping trip and needless to say, it was one of his favorite adventures! He loved building and watching the campfire with Pop...

And picnic-ing for every meal. 

CC had ALL the yummiest treats and meals prepared! 
We walked in the "woods"...

And played on the docks...

And even spotted a rare Sasquach! ; ) 

My dad has quite the flare for the dramatic...he really worked this fake beard my mom found at the thrift store...
We did some antiquing in the adorable town of Farmerville and had THE BEST catfish dinner at a little joint there. Greyson's first encounter with a jukebox, and he was amazed...

We had a blast with CC and Pop and Greyson can't wait to stay in the "little house" (camper) again!

On Saturday, we headed into Ruston for the MSU/LA Tech football game! Auntie Amy and Uncle Adam met us there! This was Greyson's first football game, so I didn't really know what to expect. (Well, actually, as a well seasoned toddler-mom, I expected the worst.) But he actually did GREAT! He was super into watching the band and the football game itself.  He kept saying he wanted to go down and play "real football"....

The LA Tech fans were the most FRIENDLY fans I've ever met! The campus was beautiful and I loved the small town atmosphere! My grandfather's side is from Ruston, and my mom was born there, so for her, it's super special!

G LOVES some Auntie Amy and Uncle Adam!
And let me tell you...LA TECH holds NO BARS on their halftime show. They ran a fireworks display THE ENTIRE length of halftime that rivals any Fourth of July display I've ever seen! Talk about perfect for kids! G was loving it! 

The game started at 6:00, so he was tapped out after halftime.  I decided not to push my luck, called it a success and got the heck out of dodge.  We headed to our hotel and sacked out.  

And there's nothing better than a good hotel breakfast the next morning......

And now, my friends, along with Fall comes birthday season.  I don't know how this happened, but essentially, all of our friends have Fall birthdays, including G of course.  

Our first stop was for our sweet friend Everett, who requested to celebrate at Chuckie Cheese.  And I'll tell you, even his mom was like, "REALLY? Anywhere else?" But I admit, they put on a smashing birthday party.  Everything was taken care of, there was more than enough entertainment for the kids, and zero clean up.  And G had a downright blast. 

Call me crazy, but Chuckie might be on the birthday short list in the future.  The problem now is that Greyson remembers things and knows what Chuckie Cheese's is.  Hopefully, he doesn't discern that it's only 2 miles down the road.  

As I mentioned, MSU's football season has been a flop, but we've still enjoyed "tailgating" from home....

We call this the "Last Supper", as it was eaten during a fantastic win over LSU.  I mean LSU, people; they're legit right? And then they got beat by Troy, so now we know. And we haven't won a game since. 
We finally made it to the Plano's famous Hot Air Balloon Festival. While there were some fun kid's activities, Summer was still going strong here in late September and there was not the first slice of shade to be had. I'm pretty sure the night glow is the way to go.  ; ). 

We still had a good time....

I'm pretty sure Greyson's favorite part was meeting Miss Texas.  Heck, y'all know how I feel about pageants, so I think my favorite part was meeting Miss Texas.  Especially since the Miss America pageant had just happened two weeks before! 

That being said, I'm SUPER SAD to report that I did not host a Miss America watch party this year.  It was the Sunday we returned from Ruston, so I just couldn't swing that. I really missed adorning my friends in sashes and crowns, but I begged J to watch AND PARTICIPATE in the judging with me, and my beloved agreed. He picked out his top 15, narrowed it down after each category and everything. I'm pretty sure this was as much torture for him as it would be for me to muscle through a 2 hour "Alaska Frontier" show, but he was a great sport! 

Greyson is going through a "Costume" phase, where he changes outfits, or personas, about every 30 minutes.  We go from Monkey, to Cowboy, to Pirate, to Construction Worker, to Firefighter, all in one day!  It's quite entertaining.  

And believe it or not, this photo was not staged. He was in the monkey costume and instinctively asked for a banana.  ; ) I died.
We are slowly picking things up for Greyson's birthday party, and he requested me to take his picture with this cow piƱata. 

We made our first official trip to the pumpkin patch, and Hall's Pumpkin Farm did not disappoint. They had a corn maze, farm animals, two playgrounds, a tractor race, hay ride, and of course, pumpkins! We had never been to this one before, but we'll definitely be back! I want to go at night when all those string lights are lit up! 

We ran in to our best bud, Ford. 
I hope Greyson is down for a lifetime of cheesy photo opps with his Mom. 
And that's it for September! The end of Greyson and Jeremie's sword fight kinda wraps up how I feel about it! 

I think we're pretty much full speed ahead from now until through the holidays, but that's okay....because it's definitely my favorite time of the year!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Labor Day Getaway: Hyatt Lost Pines

Well, I'm caught up to Labor Day weekend on the blog, so makin' progress!  

We booked a semi-last minute getaway for Labor Day weekend to the Hyatt Lost Pines resort outside of Austin, and I'm so glad we did! I think ER'ONE in the family needed a little break from the ordinary. We'd heard great things about this resort and how family-friendly it was, so we decided to give it a try.  (This post is not sponsored, just a personal review of our visit!) 

Of course, you can't be on Highway 35 without stopping in West, Texas at Slovacek's. (I love the original Czech Stop too, but Slovacek's is just a little bit bigger, with some more options, making it more toddler friendly.) 

While the boys chose ham and cheese sandwiches on freshly baked bread, I stood in line at the Kissing Pig Cafe for some good ole-fashioned BBQ.  And it did Mama right.  

Seriously, this place is so much more than a pit stop....there's the cafe, the deli with all sorts of treats, and amazing gifts and shopping! I'm not above doing some Christmas shopping at the gas station...trust me, if you are a recipient of one of these gifts, you'll NEVER KNOW....
We finally made it to the other side of Austin and down the THREE MILE winding driveway to the lovely Lost Pines resort.  It feels sorta in the middle of nowhere which we loved. But trust me, this place had every amenity of your heart's desire. 

When we checked in, we were given a "Calendar of Events" for all the things going on during the weekend.  And goodness me, it was like one big 3 day party.....

First up was a tractor ride down to the Colorado River.....

It doesn't get much better than a tractor ride for this baby.
The property itself is something like 200 acres....it even has it's own stables and fields with Longhorns hanging out.....

That evening, I was "S'MORE" than excited (hehe) to participate in the S'More roasting.  

The best part is that they had everything prepped for you! Marshmallows were already on the sticks and ready to go! 

They even had servers attending the table and "assembling" your s'more for you! They have it down to a science! 

Surely there is a similar banquet table in Heaven.
Greyson was QUITE THE FAN of the S'more. He's still talking about it and will randomly start listing out what's in a s'more and how to make it.  (Think he's hinting around?!)

It helped that the weather was sheer perfection.  September was already toying with the idea of Fall, so it wasn't brutally hot.  The evening was SO BEAUTIFUL on the back lawn by the fire pit. Kids were running around playing and laughing; it really is the quintessential family resort.

The next day we decided to hit up the pool(s). More like an aquatic resort, if you will.  I loved that everything is built around a grove of pecan trees and there are beach chairs and relaxing areas tucked away around all of the water features. This place is complete with a kiddie pool, a splash pad, a small sandy "beach" with a zero entry into a pool, lazy river, a water slide (that lands into the lazy river) and a private Adult Only pool in case you are one of the lucky ones that gets to break away from the CRAZY and enjoy some quiet time. (We were not those people.)  Regardless, we really enjoyed it! Greyson is still not a big fan of a lazy river, but he enjoyed the splash pad and kiddie pool. And really the best part about it is that there is a full service staff walking around, so you can just order food and drinks while you splash around with the fam all day! 

The ONLY negative thing about the pool situation is that (other than the adult pool I'm assuming), there wasn't a regular/traditional pool that you can actually "swim" in.  The zero entry beach pool is probably 3 feet at it's deepest. I know it's meant to be more of an "activity pool" with the volleyball net and basketball goal, but me and Jeremie felt a little weird just standing knee deep in the water.  Greyson likes to do "Candy Balls" off the side of pools, so this wasn't really a possibility in the pool or the lazy river.  And since the main pool WAS zero entry from the sandy beach, I could just feel sand in the pool.  And listen, after what WAS a glorious week at the beach this summer, I still have PTSD from all the sand. 

The water activities did seem to be pure JOY for older kids.  Jeremie and I commented that ONE DAY, we WILL be the parents laying in the cabana with the kids old enough to run back and forth from the slide to the lazy river and just come back when they're hungry. I'm not rushing it, BUT WE WILL BE THOSE PARENTS, RIGHT? Please, older parents, assure me.  

The next day we took advantage of the many other amenities on the resort. We didn't fish, but look how charming the little morning fishing was.....

One of Greyson's favorite things was the bike selection. Under a beautiful grove of pecan trees, they have all sizes of bikes from toddler to adult! He found a "motorcycle" that we about couldn't get him off off. 

Jeremie loved toting him around in this little bike seat...it was adorable!
Every cyclist needs his cowboy boots right?
Good thing he had his cowboy boots on, because later in the day we stumbled upon a Cow Ropin' lesson....and my little Texan got it on his FIRST TRY...

To complete your Texas experience, they brought out their very own mascot Longhorns for a photo opp....

Racing down the LOOOOONG hallway was a favorite for the weekend...

And so was the horse inside, who Greyson deemed "Miss Sally"....

More hallway fun....

After nap time, we caught Mississippi State's first football game....

And then caught the train ride...more than once...


This was pretty much the scene at the end of each day....COWBOY WAS TIRED.

The resort has like 7 dining options on the property from poolside food to fine dining. (Which again, we did not get to participate in.) BUT everything/everywhere we did eat was incredible! The first night, we ordered pizza from Old Fashion Creamery and took it to our room, and it was probably one of the best pizzas I've ever had. We did the buffet at one restaurant for breakfast and dinner, and listen, it wasn't Golden Corral people.  When I walked in and saw the DESSERT TABLE complete with a fondue fountain, I giggled like a school girl. The food at all the stations was fresh and delicious...our favorite was also the "Create your own Pasta Dish" station.  #givemeallthealfredo

Of course my waffle was in the shape of Texas. DUH.
The last night we ate at the restaurant on the golf course, called Major Neighbors.  It was divine!

And how charming was the fire pit that night with everyone sitting around it?!

We had the best time and will certainly be back.  If you are looking for a family friendly-one stop shop resort, this is it! You don't even have to leave the property and there is more to do than you even have time for! (There are a TON of extra activities from horseback riding to scavenger hunts to airboat rides!) I'll also add that they DO have a "Kid's Camp" so you can get a little time away if you'd like.

Of course the resort itself was incredible, but I am always so refreshed when we just get away for some family time. Just a change of scenery and routine always makes me realize that I might be taking life a little too seriously sometimes, if that makes sense! ; )

So that was our trip! Good thing I always do a thorough check of the hotel room before we leave.....because apparently Greyson had put his new Armadillo (also "Miss Sally") down for a nap in the closet.

She did nap with with him on the way home though...