October 3, 2017

3 1/2 & 5 1/2

So clique, but I can't believe my babies aren't babies anymore. Eleanor's baby ship sailed long ago, but it seemed like just yesterday that Fisher was a needy little toddler.

Eleanor Tidbits:

: We have a VERY proud kindergartener! She is in love with her school, her class, and her teacher. Socially and emotionally it was a very easy transition for her. Physically, the first month was a tough transition from a sleep aspect. She's been doing a half day school program since she was 2 years old, and the full day was a big leap. Eleanor came home on the second day of school, looking pretty beat up. She asked for dinner at 4:30, and as she ate her dinner, struggling to keep here eyes open, she asked to go to bed!

: Sister has become even more independent than she already was. The first week of school, we walked her into school and to the cafeteria where the students gather before school. The second week, she requested that we drop her off at the school's front door. The third week, she insisted that she didn't need us to hug her at the front door. Of course, we still hug her regardless of the requests;)

: Eleanor continues to love arts and crafts and drawing, and now spelling and reading. She's more confident in her reading and guessing less and less, and sounding out letter combinations more and mo

: Ellie is going to perform in an Annie play in November. She goes to rehearsal every Saturday from 10-12. I was nervous that this would be an overload for her new school schedule, but she absolutely loves it. We thought this activity would help her nurture her voice talents. She's super shy and doesn't like to perform, even for us. But since there were several girls from her former school in the play, I thought this would help bring her out of her shell.

She went to rehearsal for 3 weeks and was given her part last week. She is in the chorus of orphans, but also has 2 real parts! Kate and the Police Officer. Stage Mom is kicking in, already hi-lighting her lines in the script and practicing at family dinners.

: Eleanor lost her first tooth over Labor Day weekend! She noticed her bottom right tooth was loose while we were at Horseshoe Bay over the holiday weekend, and she was determined to lose that tooth quickly. After incessantly wiggling for a day and a half, it came out. She was BEAMING, so adorable. The Tooth Fairy brought her $2.

Fisher Tidbits:

: This kid is OBSESSED with his "pedal bike." He graduated from his balance bike a couple of months ago, with no training wheels ever. He started by mastering the pedaling, then the breaks, and now is full on doing tricks where he puts his feet up on the handle bars. This kid will test my patience daily with his daredevil antics... I'm sure this is only the beginning.

: Fisher took school well too. I was worried because he was used having sister in his class. He also got two new teachers which I thought would be a challenge because Fisher hasn't been great with school transitions in the past. He embraced the new teachers and his role as a big kid like a champ. He plays HARD and school and is dripping with sweat when I pick him up.

: Even though Fisher is no longer a baby, I'm still holding on (very tightly) to some of his toddler tendencies. For example, he still loves to snuggle with me and says, "Mom, I love you" (unprompted) on a daily basis. Today while we were snuggling, he says, "Mom, you are a sweet gurl." Heart melting.

I also embrace his mis-pronunciations, keeps just a little baby in him:

Adocado = avocado
Be-side = decide
Al-noe = Eleanor
Be-mem-buh = remember
Tweet = treat
Squirreler = squirrel
Bamama = banana
Wace-caw = racecar

First Day of School!

We love being close enough to walk Eleanor to school!

This was one excited kindergartener.

Ms. King is the BEST!

Buddy all smiles going back to Athena.

We were supposed to go to Crystal Beach with The Hacks for Labor Day weekend, but Harvey put a kink in those plans. Our backup was 2 nights at Horseshoe Bay Resort in Marble Falls, TX. This place was amazing, and we can't wait to go back!

Chillest baby ever - Louie Hack.

First lost tooth!

Harvey Relief Benefit at Waterloo - front row seats. Isreal Nash performed and gave the kids instruments to play during the show.
Love the new smile

Kids pretending to be pregnant, like Laura.

Homemade pizza night.

Eleanor got to attend her first baby shower. She had so much fun. Seen here is a photo when E was 18 months old, then another almost exactly 4 years later. These two have a very special bond;)

Henna tattoos at the baby shower.

Every day when I drop off Fisher, he asks to sit in my lap in the driver's seat and listen to a song of his choosing. Soaking in every snuggle I can get.

Speaking of soaking - this is what Fisher looks like when I pick him up from school every day. This kid plays HARD.

Snuggly siblings.

October 1, 2017


Ahhhhhh, Croatia. AKA HEAVEN. Justin and I planned this trip forever ago, so when it was finally here, it hardly seemed real. We went with The Hales to celebrate the guys' big 4-0. Words can't begin to describe how magical it was. Literally perfection, we had the BEST time ever. While the 6 days there (+2 looong travel days) went by quickly, we were ready to get back to the kiddos at the end. I think what made the trip so amazing was the following:

1) We were super compatible with our travel buddies, Maggie & Dylan. Had it been a larger group, it may have been tough to coordinate and accommodate different preferences, personalities, etc.

2) We planned ahead. Justin's colleague did this trip last June and shared his itinerary and travel agency with us. We used his itinerary as the base but customized it a bit to fit our needs.

3) We had the perfect amount of planned vs. unplanned activities. We were treated like royalty with private drives, private skippers, nice hotels.

4) Croatia was impeccably clean, like so clean you could eat off the streets.

5) Croatian natives were super polite, welcoming, and helpful. And everyone spoke English, which helped too.

Here was our lineup... (I'm sure I'm forgetting something):

Day 1:
We had a loooong journey to Croatia: Austin >> Chicago >> Munich >> Dubrovnik. We hoped to get a nice stretch of sleep on the overnight flight but didn't because we were surrounded by a bunch of loud teenage student who stayed up the entire flight. That, coupled with our excitement for the trip, left us with a few hours of sleep under our belts.

Day 2: 
We arrived in Dubrovnik, immediately changed into our swimsuits and plunged into the crisp Adriatic waters. We hung out with The Hales and then cleaned up for an unforgettable dinner at Dubrovnik 360. Maggie managed to get us the best table at the restaurant, and we had fun catching up with old friends. Then out to stroll the streets of Dubrovnik and grab some beers at a local pub.

Day 3:
We took a ferry over to Lokrum island to check out the beaches, do some cliff jumping, and get a good hike under our belts. We weren't exactly prepared for a substantial hike, donned in flip flops and swimsuits, but we survived. After another dip in the Adriatic at our hotel, we walked the walls of Dubrovnik before heading out to dinner.

Day 4:
Our private driver, Alex, picked us up for a drive to Korcula, with a stop in Ston for oyster and wine tasting. Alex let us know that we could do the traditional oyster tasting, or take it up a notch and do the "expensive" tour.  We immediately agreed to the expensive tour... we're in Croatia, let's do it up! After we agreed, we asked Alex about the price, and he replied, "158/per person." Hmmmm, a little expensive, but worth it to have the experience. We soon realized it was 158 KUNA ($30/person)... probably the best $30 we spent the entire week. It included a private boat that took us to the oyster farm; meeting the farmer who schooled us on the process of farming and the history of the farm; eating freshly shucked oysters and seemingly bottomless glasses of wine.

After our minds were blown, Alex took us to a local winery, Milos. We met the brothers who run the winery did a wine tasting of delicious wines and olive oils. We bought a bunch wine that they'll ship to us soon - cheers to delayed souvenirs!

Then onto Korcula. We hit up the beach across from our hotel and then ventured out to dinner.

Day 5:
Our private skipper picked us up for our 90 minute boat ride to Hvar. We mistakenly sat in the FRONT of the speed boat during a very choppy ride. We were all white knuckled the entire time and remarkably didn't get sick along the way. Upon arriving into Hvar, we were a little shaky still but pressed on by hitting up the hotel's rooftop pool. Then off to visit some local beaches.

Day 6:
We were signed up for a boating excursion, but after the previous day's boating experience, we were nervous to say the least. We rolled the dice, and thank goodness we did. It was the BEST DAY EVER. Our private skipper, Drago, explored various remote, quiet islands, and we were really able to get a sense of the vastness of Croatia. Croatia is actually made up of over 1200 islands!

Day 7:
We took the ferry to Split, explored the streets, and managed to stay up until 1:00 am. We contemplated the responsible route, going to be early after dinner, but we didn't want the trip to end! Our 4:00 am wake up call for the airport was pretty brutal.

Day 8:
What eases the blow of the end of an unforgettable vacation? Free upgrade to first class! It was amazing! We were super excited to see the kiddos and make up for lost snuggles;)

Well Hello, Beautiful!

Hit the ground running

Hotel Villa Argentina in Dubrovnik... best pool/open water combo I've ever seen.

Dinner at Dubrovnik 360 - stunning views, delicious food, and top notch company

Beers bigger than our head at the pub post dinner

Ferry to Lokrum island

Views from Lokrum, looking onto Dubrovnik

Our ill prepared hiking gear.

I've never seen water this crystal clear - you could literally see down 10-15 feet.

Rock beaches made for some tricky beach walking. The smart people came prepared with aqua socks. We braved the elements, but not so gracefully.

Hike up to the castle at the top of Lokrum.

So surreal.

On top of the world!
More views of Dubrovnik from Lokrum

As we made it to the ancient castle, we found this dude lounging on a chaise with a giant umbrella. Which means he had to schelp that loot on his hike up to the top. Huh?!?

Walked the walls of Dubrovnik before dinner

So much rich history here.

Lokrum island on the horizon

The pristine streets of Croatia. It's like they were just polished and waxed.

Found this speedo clad fella doing some minor construction work on his rooftop.

Our waiter artfully preparing our fresh fish for dinner

Best travel buds ever

Next up, our drive to Ston. Our driver, Alex, stopped for a killer photo opp here.

On the boat, an older oyster farm shown here.

Royal treatment.

The oyster farm where we docked.

Next stop Milos Winery.

Alex planned the perfect day for us.

Hotel Korsal in Korcula

Beach across the street from our hotel

Off to dinner

Next stop, Hvar! View from our room at Hotel Adriana.

This is 40! Hit up the local beaches in Hvar.

Rooftop cocktails before dinner

Island Hopping. Drago, our private skipper, set the scene for our favorite day of the trip. First stop, the Blue Caves. Boats weren't allowed in, so we couldn't capture the cool factor with our cameras.

Quaint little swimming hole.

Cliff jumping

Sweet little beach

Lunch with a view

Thanks for the memories, Drago!

Dinner out in Hvar

Bye Hvar!

Next up: Split

We loved the narrow alleyways throughout the city.

Ancient palace in Split


I could've laid down flat and slept soundly the entire time, but... I chose to stay awake and soak in the VIP treatment