Monday, December 23, 2019

Paige's Frozen 3rd Birthday Party

We celebrated Paigey turning 3 on Saturday with a Frozen party. She has never seen Frozen but loves the music and has some YouTube videos she likes with Elsa and Anna, and that's enough to have our girl be OBSESSED, so the theme was a no-brainer. It's the first time I've invited a lot of people and even friends from school, and shockingly {given it was 4 days before Christmas} almost everyone was able to come!

Lots of yummy breakfast foods.
And I love that I can see my mom and MIL talking in the background!

My amazingly talented friend made these cookies!
Not only were they SO cute, but they were DELICIOUS.
Local friends, check out Doughmestic Batches {LOVE their name ha}

Paige also loves Pinkalicious, so I made pink cupcakes.

Our little Elsa! LOVE!
Don't you love her Frozen bow too??

She loved being sung too and blowing out her candles.

She wouldn't show me 3 fingers, that stinker!

She loved opening presents and totally understood what was going on.
I love seeing how her little brain works. 
She was so excited when people came in and had a present for her.

See? So excited!
And a total toddler with her dress tucked into her panties ha!

Not a great picture, but the memory was too cute - 
she told me 'Mom, it's me!' when she opened her new Elsa doll.

And of course I snuck a family photo in!
Love my little family.

We had such a great time celebrating Paige.
We love our little caboose more than I thought possible!
Happy birthday, Paigey!!!

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Happy 3rd Birthday, Paige!

From our first meeting... today...

...and every day between...

I wish you the happiest of birthdays and joy for years to come, Paige Noelle!

Friday, December 20, 2019

Currently: Holidaze

Current Book

Current Song

Pandora Christmas carols for the win!
Anyone surprised by this? You shouldn't be!

Current TV Show

My plan is to knock out season 3 of The Crown over the holiday break.

Current Podcast

This is BEYOND awesome if you are a fan of The Office.

Current Drink

Had an Arnold Palmer earlier today, yum!
And can't wait to get my hands on some of my MIL's cranberry tea!

Current Food

I've been doing pretty good resisting holiday treats,
so I'm really looking forward to next week!

Current Shame-Inducing Pleasure

I think Brent might kill me over the carols, does that count? {grin}

Current Outfit

One of my growing collection of Christmas tees!
*Picture taken while I sit waiting for Paige to fall asleep.*

Current Celebrity Crush

This guy is ranking pretty high up there!

Current Mood

This week has been very stressful getting ready for all the parties at school, getting teacher gifts, helping Brent with his work party, planning Paige's party, etc.

BUT now the kids are out of school and we can really enjoy the next 2 weeks!

Current Anticipation

This fat, precious little baby turns THREE on Saturday!!

Current Wishlist

I am SO close to being 100% done with shopping, just need to finish off our kids.
It will feel so amazing to have this ALL DONE!

Current Film

We haven't seen Frozen 2 yet because Drew got strep the day I was going to take the girls, so it will be top of my list for the break!

Current Picture

Dentist day for all the kids, including Elsa!
And great news - no cavities!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Broadway Across America - Dear Evan Hansen

It's been a decade since I had season tickets to Broadway Across America's Austin theater series, but my mother-in-law and her friends have kept the tradition going. Every once in a while one of her friends can't go, and I get invited to tag along. Last week I got to go with them to see Dear Evan Hansen.

Plot: Evan Hansen is a high school senior with Social Anxiety Disorder who we follow on his journey of self-discovery and acceptance following the suicide of a fellow classmate.

Review: I have really mixed feelings about this musical. On one hand the acting and singing {and songs!} were fantastic - really, really top notch. On the other hand, this was really heavy material. I knew nothing about the storyline going in and I wish I had been prepared for a DARK comedy. There were definitely some funny moments, but those because few and far between after about the first 1/3. I'm not saying you can't enjoy a dark plot, but I wasn't expecting dark, and I think some scenes with Evan reminded me a little of Trent and what I really don't want for his future, and I struggled with some of the scenes of Evan and his mother. So I think my personal experiences made this a little more real than I'd like. I also thought it was just a smidge too long. I think I'd give it a B+ largely for the songs and production value.

Has anyone else seen this one? I didn't want to say too much about the plot, but I'm curious if others had a different take??

Monday, December 16, 2019

That Time I Did Something Totally Austiny and Cool

One of my closest friends, Kelly {we ran track together in high school, lived together in college, and were in each other's weddings}, asked me if I wanted to go paddle boarding with some friends of hers as part of a holiday get-together, and I promptly said  yes because I'd never done it and it sounded fun!

Her friend that put it together did it as part of a fundraiser for a local organization that provides food to the homeless in the area, so it was also for a great cause. We were told to dress up in holiday costumes, and that was hilarious.

Kelly and Allena

Ready to get our paddle on!

The whole crew - we had a Christmas tree {the organizer}, a giant present, Santa, elves, 2 reindeer, a many great costumes!

The only truly scary part of the experience was getting onto the paddle board. I decided to start seated since I'd never done it before, but once I was settled it was pretty easy and lots of fun!

A little ways in I decided to stand-up which was a bit scary - again for that whole 'not trying to fall in the water' aspect - but once I was up, it was great!

The weather was amazing and we even got some great pictures from a friend who took them from some of the bridges above us.

I love this one with the skyline in the background!

Later that night, I got a message via Instagram from a social media friend who lives in Austin. A friend of hers sent a picture randomly of our Christmas tree - we had lots of onlookers who loved our costumes - so when she saw my IG stories about it, she questioned if the tree was who I was with. I love how small Austin can be!

We had a blast, and I can't wait to go again! Who's in for next year?

Thursday, December 12, 2019

The Biltmore

I took a quick little jaunt to The Biltmore Estate last week with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law. I have an amazing MIL who takes us Gurley gurls on periodic trips - in addition to numerous family trips over the years.

She thought Crystal {my SIL} would enjoy The Biltmore and has wanted to take us for a while but the fact that The Downton Abbey exhibit would be there was the icing on the cake since Crystal and I both LOVE Downton!

I won't go overboard with pictures - partially because I don't have a ton as my SIL's phone camera is INSANE and she's going to send me her pics...someday and partially because I know most people don't care about my trip nearly as much as I did!

We flew out bright and early Wednesday morning at 6:00 AM and immediately took a tour of the estate upon arrival. As background, George Vanderbilt {grandson of the railroad tycoon} built the estate in the 1890s and it was a private home for his family until 1930 when it began being opened for tours. The family still owns it to this day but no one has lived there since the 1950s. We stayed in a hotel on the property as no one actually stays IN the estate. It has 250 rooms, is 4-stories tall, has a bowling alley, indoor pool, workout room, 33 guest rooms...let's just say it's AMAZING!

In the dining room in front of the THREE fireplaces - 
there's also a pipe organ on the second floor of this room ha

After touring the house for about 2 hours, we took a shuttle back to the 'village' where our hotel, the winery, shops and more beautiful grounds were. We went through the smaller of the 2 Downton exhibits that focused on the costumers and had a wine tasting and shopped around.

Excited for Downton??

Quick FaceTime break {grin}

Gorgeous dresses for 
~Lady Edith ~ Lady Mary ~ Lady Sybil~

It isn't a Gurley vacation without a lemon drop martini!

 On Day 2, we hit up the main Downton Abbey exhibit which was beyond AMAZING. I could have stayed all-day and teared up several times, ha. We also went back to the Estate and viewed the Conservatory and grounds and then did a candlelight tour inside the Estate.

I was the lame one who didn't have a mimosa for breakfast.

A replica of Downton!!!

The BEST love story!


They recreated several of the sets in the tour - that was FASCINATING.

The kitchen - 
the main part of the show that wasn't filmed inside Highclere Castle

Lady Mary's bedroom

The most beautiful room - the dining room

The conservatory back over at Biltmore

Starbucks break!

I won't share more pics from inside the candlelight tough - the house looked amazing in the daytime and at night with all the Christmas trees lit up, but it is just pictures of a house, ha.

We did have the most amazing peppermint liqueur hot chocolate at dinner!
This restaurant was in what used to be the stables - so neat.

Friday, my MIL and I went through the Downton exhibit one last time and then headed to a nearby hotel - I think it was called Oak Grove but don't quote me on that - that was so neat and had a drink outside before we needed to get back to the airport.

Hot chocolate with Bailey's! Yum!

We had such an amazing time - I treasure the relationship I have with my MIL and appreciate the way she loves Crystal and me!