Labor Day Weekend in the Lone Star State

Husband and I just spent a very relaxing, long weekend visiting family and friends in Southeast Texas. For the first time ever, we flew into the teeny-tiny local airport near my parent’s home. (Normally, we fly into Houston and then drive a long two hours to their house.) This local airport is so small that it has one line through security and only two gates. The check-in counters, baggage claim, metal detectors, EVERYTHING is all in one room, one floor, one terminal.

Check-in and baggage claim
Check-in and baggage claim
Check-in and baggage claim
Security line
A total of two gates to wait for your flight
A total of two gates to wait for your flight

It’s awesome. There is no hassle, no wait and hardly any people. Welcome to small town USA.

We spent the entire weekend eating and snuggling baby boys. I will have to save the adorable baby boy photos and stories for a separate blog because they are just too cute to not have their own post. Anyways, we ate A LOT. My baby bump definitely grew over the weekend, but I’m positive it’s all food.

In the last 5 days I have had more seafood gumbo than should be legal, so much TexMex I should be speaking Spanish, fried goodness, and everything a vegetarian can possible eat at family BBQ. I’m afraid the doctor will find a burrito instead of a baby at the next ultrasound.

NOTHING is better than my Mom's seafood gumbo
NOTHING is better than my Mom’s seafood gumbo

Other than eating myself silly we got to visit LOTS of my best friends and spend time with my beautiful Grandmother. This young lady has 19 grandchildren, 20 something great-grandchildren and 4 great great grandchildren. Woah.

4 generations!
4 generations!
Visiting our beautiful friend in the hospital after she gave birth to her son...love these girls so much.
Visiting our beautiful friend in the hospital after she gave birth to her son…love these girls so much.

We got to enjoy the country around my parent’s house by taking out the side-by-side for a few spins, and get bit by about a bazillion mosquitos in the process.

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My Dad also took us out for a ride in his new boat on Cow Bayou….yes, that’s the actual name of the body of water. I love relaxing on a boat, but holy cow, I truly forgot just how hot Texas is during the summer! Luckily, we had a little break for lunch. We tied the boat off to the side of a restaurant, and basically hopped off the boat and into our booth.

Captain Husband
Captain Husband
Woohoo!
Woohoo!

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Stepping down from the restaurant into the boat
Stepping down from the restaurant into the boat
Captain me!
Captain me!

And, the highlight of the weekend may have been convincing my Mom to do Insanity with us.

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Just kidding, the babies were obviously the highlight…just wait till’ next post.

Cheers!

Saturday on the River

This past Saturday was possibly the most beautiful day middle Tennessee has had all summer. It did NOT rain, it was sunny, warm and a perfect day for going out on a boat. A friend of ours invited us for a boating trip with lots of other friends and there was no way we were going to miss out on this opportunity. About 20 of us ended up spending 7 hours on the water around Rock Island.

boat

We took out a pontoon boat, a speedboat, a grill, so much food, large tubes, knee boards, skis, 2 jet skis and a wakeboard. With that much going on I was sure of two things 1) Good times are sure to be had and 2) Someone is bound to get hurt.

15 months pregnant and looking like have a baby gut.
15 weeks pregnant and looking like have a baby gut.

Being pregnant means I can’t be as adventurous as I want, but I still got to tube a couple of times with someone who I trusted not to throw me off in my delicate state. The boys on the other hand did everything they possibly could to hurt themselves. Besides jumping from giant rocks and pulling multiple people behind the boat at top speed, they pulled multiple tubes and attempted to battle each other.

Me and my new friend getting a nice relaxing ride.
Me and my new friend getting a nice relaxing ride.

niki on tube rock climbing steve jump 3 boys blur

This little stunt turned out to be the most entertaining part of the entire day. It was absolutely hilarious to watch them all try to hold on for dear life while simultaneously knocking other people off and jumping from tube to tube. They built pyramids, attempted surfing the tubes, wrestled and somehow managed to not get hurt. (minus a few scrapes and bruises)

slant on tube

stacking pyramid all 5

It was the best day on the water. It was so relaxing to just ride, eat and hangout with some of the best people I know. We met a lot of new friends too. It’s always a little (or a lot) nerve racking to meet new people, but these particular people were instant friends. Everyone was just happy to be there and excited to be with other people who love to have a good time.

sunrays turtle grill mark

It was a two-hour drive for us, and we didn’t get home until super late, but it was all worth it. September is fast approaching and I think we all know our hours in the sun are quickly coming to an end. I want to soak up every list bit of warm summer weather while I can.

sunset

How did you spend your weekend?

Cheers!

Good Times in Chicago

chicago

We only had a few days to spend in the windy city during our recent visit, and like any trip, we spent every second soaking up the city and making the best of the time we had. My cousin’s wedding is what brought us to Chicago, which means I got to enjoy the city with my parents and a few other family members too.

Even though the daytime was spent running from Grant Park to the Magnificent Mile we still managed to have a great time and see A LOT of the city.

fountain chicago
Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park

architectural tour

One morning we took one of Chicago’s famous boat tours down the Chicago River and into Lake Michigan. The Wendella Boat Tour took us around and told us the history of Chicago, the history of many of its skyscrapers and several entertaining stories…like where Ferris Bueler was filmed and the fact that a guy dressed like Spider Man once shimmied his way up the side of Willis Tower. There’s also a bar on the first floor of the boat that provides just about every drink…hot chocolate for me.

wendella big buildings

on a boat

We even made time to go to the top of Willis Tower. Willis Tower  (formerly know as Sears Tower) has what they call “Skydecks”. The Skydecks are glass boxes off the side of the 104th floor. It’s pretty funny to watch people slowly creep out on the clear floors, scared to look below them. It’s even funnier (and a little embarrassing) to watch their faces when Husband walks out and begins jumping up and down, as carefree as can be.

willis tower skybox

hair

One of my favorite stops was at the Art Institute. One of the current exhibits at this museum is “Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity“. This show is AMAZING. It shows how the Impressionist artists of the 19th century embraced fashion trends in their art. The exhibit not only shows some of my favorite pieces, but also displays period costumes that go with each painting! It’s perfect! This show was actually at the MET while we were living in NYC and I was so disappointed when I missed it. You can imagine how excited I was when I found out it was at the Art Institute.

Sadly, I was told "photography is not allowed" right after I took this photo at the entrance of the exhibit.
Sadly, I was told “photography is not allowed” right after I took this photo at the entrance of the exhibit.

The museum had lots of other famous art, like “American Gothic”, too.

american gothic

The rest of our time was spent enjoying the taste of Chicago. You can’t visit this city without trying the deep dish pizza and the Chicago style hotdogs at Navy Pier. We even had time for a large breakfast at Lou Mitchell’s… a world-famous breakfast joint that offers free donut holes and milk duds everyday.

deep dish
Deep dish Chicago-style pizza from Gino’s East

brunch hotdog navy pier

Now, I have to say it…New York’s pizza and hot dogs is WAY better!

Even if the food wasn’t the greatest, Chicago is still a nice getaway if you’re looking for a weekend vacation. Not only did we get to spend some time in the city with family, but we also got to visit our cousins AND a former 2005 Disney alumni!

chris

 

Thanks for the good times Chicago!

nightlife

Cheers!