Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tiny Tot Tuesday at The Arboretum

From March 1st through the first week of April, The Dallas Arboretum offers special activities for toddlers on Mondays and Tuesdays (Mommy and Me Mondays/Tiny Tot Tuesdays). They do the same thing in the Fall, and we got to go twice. But so far this season, we haven’t had nice weather on a Monday or Tuesday. Today the stars finally aligned, and we had a gorgeous (hot!) day to go check it all out.

Nora took a little cat nap on the way to The Arboretum, so when we got there and out of the car, she was full of energy and ready to go. We admired all the beautiful Spring flowers as we made our way to the “toddler zone.” First we visited the petting zoo, which Nora loved! I thought she loved it when we went to this same event last October, but she was even more active and excited this time! She patted, brushed and tried to feed all the animals!

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After she got her fill of the sheep, goats, cow, bunny and chicken, we spread out our blanket and had a little picnic while we waited for Kindermusik to start. Luckily, we beat the crowds and had plenty of room to eat and run and play.

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At noon, a free Kindermusik class started. When we came in October, Nora really didn’t pay much attention to the class, but that had certainly changed this time. She danced, copied the motions and hung out up front with the big kids!

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When we came on a Mommy and Me Monday last fall, we had so much fun that we decided to buy a membership to the Arboretum. We’ve been back several times for the toddler events and also just to walk, run and burn off energy on a pretty day. We’ve certainly more than paid for our membership, and I’m so glad we have this option to use on a pretty day. Nora loves to be outside, and this is such a fun, beautiful way to enjoy the outdoors and take advantage of nice weather days! We’re looking forward to making the most of our membership the rest of this Spring and even in the hot summer as there are creeks and fountains for the kids to play in. I’m so thankful to spend my days, especially the ones like today, with my girl.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Oh, the Things I Never Want to Forget

When I ask Nora if she's ready for bath time, she runs to "her" drawer and picks a measuring cup (or two) to take with her.  It's pretty funny, but I don't know how I'm going to make my oatmeal in the morning! ;)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Our Weekend in Montilla, Spain January 2014

In honor of the one year (or by the time I post this, one year and two weeks) anniversary of our weekend trip to Montilla, the home town of our greatest Spanish amigos, Jose Carlos and Nico, I want to (finally) share a brief recap and some pictures of that trip. I can’t believe it has taken me this long to get around to it, but with my goal being to document every trip we took, a year later (or two or three) is better than never.

We stayed at Jose Carlos’s parents home, and when we arrived on Friday evening, we shared ham and tortilla and wine with his parents. Jose Carlos’s mom had a room all ready for us, including a perfect, cozy crib for Nora. On Saturday, Jose Carlos’s sister, Belen, treated us to a private tour and tasting at the winery where she worked, Alvear, while Jose Carlos’s mom watched tiny 3 month old Nora. After the winery, we all  (Nora included) went to a wonderful long lunch at Nico’s house. I can’t recall what all we had, but it was obvious that Nico’s mom is a wonderful cook! One of my favorite things about the Spanish culture was is long, slow lunches with starters and wine and desert – the whole shebang! It was so special to be able to experience that with our good friends in a true Spanish home! Later that evening we went out to a group dinner with both Nico’s family and Jose Carlos’s family and had a great time until we had to walk home with a screaming baby! (It was super late and at this time of her life, Nora only believed in 45 minute naps so she was way over tired.) After a Spanish breakfast of toast and ham (I think) on Sunday morning, we headed back to Madrid by way of Cordoba. Our authentic AndalucĂ­an amigos took us on a quick tour of all the things to see in Cordoba before we made the 5ish hour trip back to Madrid.

Although we were unlucky and visited Montilla (and Cordoba) on one of the very rare weekends where it was cold, gray and cloudy instead of sunny and beautiful, we still had an unforgettable time and were so honored to be guests in Montilla.
























And now I’m ready to visit Southern Spain!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Christmas 2014

Welp, just like that the holidays have come and gone, and we’ve got January and February looming drearily in front of us. (Spring can’t come soon enough!) Before it gets too far past, though, I wanted to do a little recap of our holiday season.

Like usual, we spent lots of time traveling this holiday season, and while we’re always ready to get back home to our own beds and normal routine, we truly enjoyed it so much. Luke was off the whole week of Christmas, so we kicked vacation off a little early on the Friday prior and headed to New Braunfels. We left super early in the morning  and stopped in Austin for breakfast (Kerbey Lane – so yummy) and a little browsing. Then we did a little wondering around a little town called Wimberley before joining my family (including the Roberts clan and Randy and Kay) at a cabin we rented just outside of New Braunfels. It was a great long weekend including a Carolina Story concert, lots of baby cousins, campfires, and of course plenty of eating and drinking. We enjoyed every second so much that I didn’t take one single picture – not even with my phone.

While the majority of the family stayed until Monday morning, Luke, Nora and I came back on Sunday evening so that we could pick Adam up from the airport that night and have a little bit of time to regroup before heading to Norman on Tuesday. We got to Norman late Tuesday afternoon and were able to stay through Christmas morning. Lacey and Ryan came in from Rhode Island, and it was the first time in a full year that all of the Matthews siblings and “out-laws” have been together. We had a good Christmas eve dinner, watched the little cousins play and open presents, and then stayed up late getting everything ready for Santa to come the next morning. (Thanks for the help, Ryan.)














On Christmas morning, we helped Nora find her cozy coupe from Santa and opened the rest of her gifts while some people slept in a bit. (That girl gets up early, and Christmas Eve was a late night, especially for the boys who stayed up past 3 putting together some type of skeleton model.) She doesn’t quite get presents this year (although she did love her new vacuum!), but judging by all her two year old cousins, next year will be a different story. Once everyone else was a awake, we finished the gift opening that we started the night before and had breakfast before it was time to pack up and go south on 35. It was a wonderful Christmas and hard to say good-bye to Lacey and Ryan who live so far away. But we can’t wait until the next time we get to see them and meet their sweet baby boy! Just over a month to go!




Once back in Texas, we headed straight to my Mom & Dad’s house where the rest of the fam was already gathered. We watched the kiddos open lots of fun gifts, did our Elfster gift exchange, ate lots of yummy soup and played Heads Up. Barring a scary incident involving a book and a newborn baby’s head (no worries – she’s totally fine), it was a perfect end to our Christmas day.













Once you have a child, it’s funny how much you start to think about creating traditions and trying to make everything special for them around Christmas (even when they’re too young to know the difference!) And I certainly began to worry about that this year, wondering how we would ever make traditions of our own if we’re never home. But then I saw several facebook posts, mostly from people around my parents age, talking about how it was just them at home on Christmas this year because all the kids had families of their own and places to be. And I imagine just like with most things involving littles, our simple Christmases when we’re all together will go far too quickly. So for now and as long as we can, I hope we can just enjoy the chaos and the travel, and teach our children that it doesn’t matter where we are as long as we’re together. Travel, and all the fun things that come along with it, can be one of our traditions.

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