Category Archives: Travel

At a loss for words

I dont even know what to call this post.  ‘At a loss for words’ covers it.  Which of course can’t be true, because here I am finding words to describe it– I’m never at a loss for words y’all but that’s just a good way of sayin “WOW” I can’t believe we made it.

The trip we recently embarked upon was just one of those things you do.  Just put your head down and do.  Start it, do it, finish it.  A little like giving birth-except I am not sure which one I could ever do again– move across country with a large family or give birth.  I am definitely not one of those people that gets all worked up about stuff before hand.  Maybe I don’t have time, maybe it’s the way I cope or deal but I don’t think much about things before they happen and then the time arrives and I have to think about it and whoa– you know the kind– if you had thought about it before hand you might not have wanted to do it.  That’s pretty much what this was.

In a previous post about our travel plans, I wrote that we would leave our house on a Monday, drive to my parents’ house and stay the night, get up and drive all day Tuesday, stay at a random hotel somewhere about halfway between San Antonio and Gainesville, get up the next morning, drive the rest of the way, arrive at our friends’ house-that also have four kids, stay the night there, and then wake up Thursday and head to our ‘new’ house to meet the movers early in the morning, unload and hopefully be set up by that night so that we could sleep here.  (I must put new in quotes for reasons we will get to later).

Well it all went down just like that.  With so much drama mixed in it gives me pause.  To relive it hurts- with a smile.

Monday morning:

Now is the perfect time to mention that the day we moved, the heat index in San Antonio registered at 106 degrees.  These guys were dripping sweat all over our couches and I just couldn’t bear it.  Yes, I felt sorry for them, but couldn’t help shuttering at the fact that our furniture was getting drenched with pints of a salty liquid that did not even come from members of my own family.  Foul.  Now you are never going to want to sit on our couches or chairs when you visit.  But this stuff is just what happens in a move I guess.  Actually, I really don’t know because this is the first time we have ever had movers.

At 5pm the kids and I arrived at my parents house, just after I squeezed in a hair cut for all of the kids.  At the hair cut  place I discover that one of the kids has lice.  (I wont reveal a name here to protect dignity.)  Ok, now before you go freakin out like we dont have clean kids–it’s actually really common now, especially in kids that spend a lot of time outside or go to camp….  So $50 later we have the stuff that is suppose to work and spend the next two hours administering treatment.  Nevermind the fact that we are moving the next day and have two cats staying in my mom’s laundry room that need to be let out on leashes to pee and poop.  I am not making this stuff up.

My mother went outside with one of the kids to help with the pottying of the cats– whatever that means.  Cats don’t potty on leashes or on command.  The first cat pulled out of her leash and it seemed like she was going to run away.  She hissed and freaked, but slowly came back, after way too much calling her name quietly, and then let us catch her.  We then decided that we would get them a liter box and liter — even though they have been trained to go outside for a year. I wasn’t sure if they would go back to liter.  But like a good baby goes from boob to bottle they did it.

Tuesday we woke up and loaded the cars: Florida or bust baby.

We drove ten hours and stopped somewhere in Alabama to stay the night.  During the trip, my cell phone battery was dying and since Big A was behind me in his car, this was a problem.  We had no idea where we were going to stop and couldn’t contact each other.  Here is the best part.  During the midst of that, we drove through two hours of torrential down pouring rain.  How is it even possible to be in rain for two hours!?    I will tell you.  Later that night Big A’s dad calls to check on us because he had seen where a tropical depression had been hovering over the area we were to travel.  I just typed tropical depression.  I was so tense and sore after clenching that long I couldn’t move my body when we stopped.  Of course the road warriors in the back were oblivious because the tootsie rolls and movies were flowing.  If you are wondering, all the kids were in my car.  Big A had the cats.  Still not sure if this was fair, but Big A assures me it was.

Once we got to the hotel, it was still pouring rain, we unloaded suitcases and pets but still hadn’t had dinner.  So here was the brilliant plan we came up with to not have to get back in the car or the rain:

By the way, this is always Big A’s go to plan.  Whatever, I can’t accuse.  What parent doesn’t use pizza for every back up plan?

Apparently, these two didn’t care as much about eating.

We had two rooms and two bathrooms at this hotel, and we snuck the cats in through a side door and they occupied one of the bathrooms with a liter box in the bath tub.  Nice.  I’ll never tell the name of the hotel, some of you might rat us out.  Woke up the next morning, emptied the liter box, cleaned up as much as possible, ate continental breakfast, and got back on the road.

We arrived to town around 2pm and got the keys to the house. These are the first moments of the kids checking it all out. Straight to the back yard.

We stayed at the house for awhile and tried to figure out where furniture was going to go and who had which room, then went on to stay with our friends for the night.  Always the gracious hosts, we ate a delicious and healthy dinner that didn’t come out of a bag or can and all the kids played for awhile.  I didn’t get as many photos as I would have liked, but there was a game of wall ball, American girl slumber party, and a table set for 12.  Here’s what our room looked like just before bed.

Thursday morning we shared our traditional breakfast of Dunkin Doughuts and huge coffees then set off early for the house.

Trucks arriving at the house.  (Did you think there was only 1?)  I’ll never say “we don’t have that much” again.

All the kids helped unload and unpack… interesting…

But we let em have a break every once in awhile…. this is the “veranda” off the dining room but immediately became a race track.

It was brought to my attention that this is a wheel chair ramp but fortunately for  us, not yet.  You can only imagine what we are using it for:

Most fun place in the house.  Game room.

First meal in the house.

First night in the pool.



Filed under Travel

Beaver Creek, CO

We are back from our family vacation to Beaver Creek, CO.  It seems like every time we venture out and try a new place we end up loving it even more than the place before.  Maybe that’s because I haven’t been alot of places but for a while I thought we’d never find a better place than Disney (dont get me wrong I am the biggest Disney nerd there is and it is fantastic for young families-old families too) but then we tried the Destin Beach area and fell in love with that too.

(Adam and I had been to Beaver Creek, but it was before kids so a whole new perspective this time around.) Come to think of it, this is our first real family vacation that included a plane trip, hotel and just the six of us.  We wanted to wait until the youngest was 3 to attempt a mountain vacay.  With no pack-n-play, diapers, or strollers anything is possible right?

If you can get to Beaver Creek in the summer with kids you’ve just gotta do it!   It is the most amazing place.  I tried to breathe deep the creativity of our God the entire time and that was overwhelming enough.  But on top of that it’s SO kid friendly.  Around every corner is another fountain, park, trail, or interesting outdoor activity.  I am going to try to highlite some the best parts, but truly the whole experience rocked!!

Hiking– so incredible!  Promise the one in the popsicle shirt thought so too.  This was called the 5 senses trail– each stop had a sign that told you what sense to look for-really fun.

Discovery Loop

Bungee Trampoline– they wanted to do this everyday.

White water raft trip down the Colorado River

Bocce Ball Court.  Guess whose chillin on the couches?

Ice skating in the village at night.  We did bathe every day, even tho this makes it look like we didn’t.

Playground at our hotel

No we did not go snow mobiling– saving that for a couple more years, but dont think the boys didn’t beg.

Horseback Riding to Beano’s Cabin for dinner

Beano’s Cabin


Filed under Travel


The girls and my mom and I went to NYC for Thanksgiving.  It was the most amazing four days ever!  Dreamy and just like we’d imagined- all decorated for Christmas, hustle and bustle, the works.

Max Brenner’s — kind of a chocolate cafe. Everything on the menu has chocolate in it.

Girls in front of FAO Schwartz

On the “Big” piano

Laying on a plaque at the foot of the Statue of Liberty. We went all the way to the top.  It was a breathtaking experience.

Trying not to be afraid of the noise on the subway.

Dylan’s Candy Bar

Playing ‘American Girls’ in Central Park

American Girl Breakfast

Before Mary Poppins on Broadway.  One of the top 5 highlights of my entire life.  And it wasn’t because we sat behind Will Ferrell.

Magnolia Bakery for cupcakes

Carousel in Central Park

Serendipity Frozen Hot Chocolate– and yes she thinks that’s all hers and gets sad when she finds out she’s sharing with me.

If you are wondering if we ate anything but sweets on this trip– pretty much no.


Filed under Travel