Tres Trips To Texas

Spring break is here again, and we’ve got a pretty decent thang going the last three years in heading south to spend the week with our Waller buddies. We weren’t sure if this year it was going to work out with some important appointments this week, but we decided sorta last minute to make it a reality to head down to Texas! With Jason and Lauren having a new baby a few months ago, and knowing it would be this summer before we’d see them and meet their sweet Ruth (who knows if it will be all of us together even then!), it was worth it to make it work. No regrets!

We hopped in the car on Saturday after a crazy week at school and a million hours of packing the night before, and made it for dinner and the KU game that night. Pork butt and catch up time made our evening full, and with Sunday morning booked with churchy things, we finally got to relax a bit that afternoon and evening. I love how each of our family members can just pick up where we left off with these friends. Glad to get some quality time with Lauren amidst the cooking and such. Long distance is just not quite the same.

By day, we made some time to get out to the Botanic Gardens in downtown Fort Worth (DSLR photos courtesy of Lauren and the lovely garden backdrop), ate out at Rodeo Goat, and skipped back home for a neighborhood Easter egg hunt and backyard play time. The guys enjoyed an evening out at Top Golf, and the girls got after it at the Tanger Outlets one morning. The kids just plaaaayed. Games, trampoline, water, sand, dinos, shows, reading, snacks, bone-shakers (who knows?). Olan loved to give baby Ruthie hugs and he also discovered the next phase of toys that the big boys are playing with these days. Real looking dinosaurs, trucks, and helicopters, what!? Evie, Hudson, and Nolan just loved playing together. Evs is now suddenly into PJ Masks. She loves people.

By night, Rack-O, Hedbandz, Phase 10. Our evenings consisted of games, along with snacks and 90’s music reminiscing and cutting up together. We watched Wonder on our last night there while the guys talked video and nerdy stuff.

Wednesday morning, we had another wonderful meal made by Mrs. Waller and said our goodbyes. We loved our time together, friends! Thank you so much for housing us and taking such good care of your guests. You are rockstars.

As for the traveling, our children were honestly angels for the road time (about 8 hours when it’s all said and done). Evie’s been really into audiobooks on trips, and enjoyed hearing the woes of Amelia Bedelia via Hoopla this year. Olan played with his helicopter and sucked on a pacifier forever. Thankful to get some quality time with my family and basicallyfamily. God was good when he made us for community!

Arizonaing

Vacation! Back long, long ago (like February or something), some of our super de duper friends, Nathan and Shelly, invited us to go on a trip to Phoenix with them to visit Nate’s old friend, Tim (Sidenote: we knew Tim from the Peters’ wedding, where Logan and Tim were both groomsmen). And so we said yes. We opted to give Evie a vacation too… so she quite literally got a vacation with the grandparents, who definitely made it so we had to win her back upon our arrival back. Ha! It was an odd feeling to be unrestricted by naps and bedtimes and looking over my shoulder to make sure my kiddie was still around and not touching breakable things. Freedom from responsibility was nice to experience again, even for a short while.

We left on June 10 for Wichita and took a 2.5 hour direct flight down to Phoenix through Allegiant. We arrived in Mesa that afternoon where Tim picked us up and we headed back to his house. Phoenix is two hours behind, so we were finding ourselves hungry and tired well before we “should” have been. Ah well, it’s vacation! To comment briefly on the weather… the whole time we were there it was around 100 degrees. To me, it seemed a lot like Kansas. It was just… well, hot. I can tell this go around with kid numero dos, the heat gets to me a lot quicker. Joyous.

Friday evening, we went to an upscale Chinese place called Flo’s… amazing. Of course I got the eggplant. I love Chinesey eggplant dishes! We were all so freaking full. Day one of being super grateful for Tim being a local to show us the best places to go! After dinner, we toured Tim’s workplace, Sandhills. He’s the manager of the branch in Phoenix, and lots of techie talk and big windy server rooms and wires and buttons and lights and backup tapes later, we had a pretty solid look at what he gets to do during his workweek. Good thing he’s the real deal engineer and not me.

Saturday, we headed to old town Scottsdale and went through a few Southwesty stores and shops (where I met my Native American friends below), and then ate at The Sugar Bowl. I don’t even remember what food I got, but the ice cream I got was super de duperly old fashioned and delightful. A fun local joint! We went to see Captain America: Civil War at the theater and then came home to taco salad and game night! I shouldn’t say game night. It was actually gaming night. There’s a difference if you weren’t aware of the distinction. So… the guys did some high quality reminiscing of their college days with some Steam games (Counter Strike, Team Fortress) while us girls had a long, relaxing poolside chat, just dipping our feet in. Another favorite part of the trip! After successfully drowning three bees in the water, we decided to call it an evening. Bees are better than scorpions I guess… Tim had warned us that we might see scorpions scuttling around and if we could just crunch them with some gumption we’d be just fine. Uh, yeah. Luckily, I personally didn’t encounter any, but Nate did get to try his foot at crunching one in the casita. Eww!

Sunday we visited a church called Desert Springs (it’s been awhile since I’ve visited a church where I knew nobody. It gave me some good perspective on how new folks feel when they try out a church: awkward) and grabbed a quick In-and-Out sandwich before heading on to our afternoon plans. While Shelly and I went to the mall to do some shopping (I found a maternity swimming suit! And I also bought a little Henley going home onesie for the little man), the guys went to the electronic heaven of the world, Fry’s. Glad they had a mall. Ha! We traveled back to Tim’s to make a lovely salmon dinner together. After dinner, we opted to go out to the desert. Well, really we went to the Botanical Gardens that was like a dessert. This was actually one of my favorite stops of the trip! It was super beautiful to see most all of desert life all in one place together. It was put together very creatively, it was hot, but the perfect time for an evening stroll.

Bright and early on Monday morning, we hit the road for the Grand Canyon, which was about three hours from Phoenix. Oh, my tailbone. It was on this trip that I began to discover that sitting for more than an hour anywhere makes my tailbone hurt like the dickens. These dang pregnancy thorns. We finally made it and ate a picnic lunch and headed for the rim trails. What a sight to see! I told Logan later that it’s hard for me to even wrap my brain around the vastness that the canyon truly is. It was difficult to register the handiwork of the Lord in such an enormously great place. We hiked a few miles on the rim (which was paved and felt a little ninny-like to me, although Nate had an bloody encounter with a yucca plant early on) and saw many different views of the canyon that first day. I was so stinkin’ beat by the end of the day, but I think mainly due to the long car ride! We stayed at the Grand Canyon Inn about thirty minutes out of the park that night… and sleep was necessary.

The next day, we started out early back into the park and decided to do one of the South Kaibab trails that went down into the canyon a few miles. I’m so glad we did! Not only did it feel like a “real hike” but I also really enjoyed seeing the canyon from within. We hiked down to the Ooh Ahh point, which was perfect for pregnant people. That sounds really lame. But actually it was a decent hike for all of us I think! This was also one of my favorite parts of the trip. We made the long trek home (with a few more rest stops for me to get a load off my feet… or off my buns), took showers, and then went out for our last evening on the town at Vito’s pizza. Again, another favorite of Tim’s and a great pick! When we arrived back to his place, after much debate, we watched Guardians of the Galaxy to top off our night. It was weird. But oh well!

Luckily, our flight on Wednesday wasn’t too early, so we were able to make waffles for breakfast, play a bit of Goldeneye (or the guys did at least), and pack up our stuff with plenty of time. Tim chauffeured us to the airport, as he did the entire trip. What a blessing he was to us, taking his vacation while we were there, letting us stay in his house (each couple had our own room and bathroom!), carting us around to wherever we fancied, and providing food and entertainment whenever necessary. Logan and I both agreed that without Tim, our trip would not have been even close to as enjoyable. So thankful.

We got back to our house at 9:15 on Wednesday (after driving through a bunch of fun stormy weather from Wichita) to be greeted by a sweet, smiley, nuzzley little lady who was beyond happy to see her mom and dad. Great ending to a fun trip! Grateful for friends who invite us along on their adventures, and moms and dads who spoil our little baby girl while we are away!

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Texas Trippin’

Spring break! A week we’ve been looking forward to for many reasons… but mostly because we got to visit our lovely friends, the Wallers! EEEEEK! It’s only been two or three months since they moved to Keller, but sheesh, we’ve missed them like crazy. So thankful we had the time in our schedule to spend four days of our break with some real gems. We didn’t do a ton of crazy sightseeing, the weather wasn’t perfect, and my kid wouldn’t sleep worth a darn, but it was so worth it! I loved being able to just live life with them for a few days, catch up, and see what they’ve been up to. Our days went fast, but good memories were made:

  • Amazing food. Lauren is such a good cook.  And Jason’s cold brew coffee saved my life. I don’t even remember the last time I stayed up until midnight or made it through a movie. Dewd.
  • Lots of basketball. Anyone who knows the Henrys knows that we don’t really get into sports much and the Wallers, well, do. For whatever reason, I joined up with my dad’s bracket group this year and so the competitive spirit in me came out. I actually enjoyed keeping up with the games and like, you know, caring. Basketball was the perfect thing to have on in the background whilst chilling together. And, just saying, my bracket did hit the number one spot in the group a few times.
  • Girl time and guy time. One of my goals on the trip was to get to go out and shop at a sweet mall with Lauren. Spring break made for busy stores, but we both found some great deals and updates to our wardrobes. I also found a dress for Holly’s wedding! Woo! And Evie’s flower girl shoes. Mission accomplished! We got to eat lunch at a place called Torchy’s Tacos. These tacos were to freaking die for. Lauren’s first extended (six hour) time away from the house without kids in a year… probably the best time of the trip for me! The guys went out after we got home… they were jealous so they had to go to Torchy’s as well. They hit up Guitar Center and probably some other stuff. Good times! After the kids sacked out, we watched The Martian. I liked!
  • Our kiddies did a lot of hanging out in the house since it was pretty cold. We went to a nearby park, went on a short walk to see a peacock, traveled to an indoor play area, went to a city wide easter egg hunt, and stopped by a cute little candy shop during our stay. But Evie sure enjoyed her Huddy time! Not sure if any of his car playing business rubbed off on her, and also not sure that Hudson was really very into make-believing with dollies either. They sure loved being superheroes together in their undies though! And now Evie growls at me. Thanks, Huddy, thanks.
  • The last night we went to Roanoke and had an amazing dinner at Reno Red’s. Chicken fried steak, fried okra, banderos, ribs, and cornbread. Yes plz.
  • Church at The Mount was the next morning. It was neat to see their new place of ministry, and being able to hear from the Lord during the service was an encouragement to my heart. Shortly after that, we walked back to their home and started packing the truck up. Saying goodbye will probably always be difficult. I made it to the truck without losing it, ha ha!

Thank you so much for a wonderful time together and showing us such grace with your hospitality. May we meet up with you again soon, dear friends!

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