Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Deily-White Summer Vacation - Big Cedar Lodge

We took an amazing trip to Big Cedar Lodge in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri at the end of May. It has been a daunting task to figure out how to condense the trip into a blog post, but I am going to do my best. I took hundreds and hundreds of pictures. Madeleine had a lot of "firsts" on this trip, and the destination was just beautiful. My first step was to condense the photos to a manageable amount for a shutterfly book I made for my dad for Father's Day. The blog has been even more condensed. I'll let most of the pictures do the talking, and I'll add a few words here and there. :)

Day one: 
Madeleine's first plane ride! She did great - Granna had lots of neat things in her bag for her to play with - Disney princess bandaids, pipe cleaners, etc. etc. She got passed from lap to lap, and she did wonderfully.

We flew into Little Rock, Arkansas because it was less expensive than flying to Springfield, and the drive wasn't that different. We ate lunch at 42, the restaurant at the Clinton Library. If Madeleine wasn't a factor, we might've moseyed around the museum before driving north, but we ate lunch, explored a bridge over the Arkansas River, then headed out. The drive was gorgeous, and Madeleine napped like a champ. We made a substantial Walmart run in Harrison, Arkansas to get our groceries for the week, and we arrived at Big Cedar Lodge in the late afternoon. Big Cedar is so neat. It's owned by Bass Pro Shops, so it feels very outdoorsy, but the cabins we were in, the pools, the restaurants, staff, spas, etc. were all top-of-the-line - you weren't REALLY roughing it at all! We had our first meal at one of the resort restaurants, and the weather was perfect.

Day two: 
After breakfast, we drove to Dogwood Canyon Nature Park for a biking adventure! We did a six-mile trail with lots of stops along the way to explore and take pictures. Madeleine did great in the little bike trailer behind her dad. She explored her first teepee, and about halfway through the trek, she fell asleep in the little buggy. The weather was so fantastic - dry and cool. We had a picnic by a waterfall before heading back to our cabin at Big Cedar.

We had a lazy afternoon - some of us went to the pool, others napped at the cabin. Dad grilled our dinner, and we even had a little visitor after we'd thrown some scraps off the balcony. :) Madeleine loved the "acoooon!"

Day three: 
Liz and I had our massages in the morning. Ahhhh so nice. In the afternoon, we rented a boat from the marina and explored Table Rock lake. Madeleine wasn't a huge fan of the life jacket, but she did okay. She even got in the lake! After our boat ride, we stopped by the lazy river pool (one of three different swimming areas) at the resort and spent some time there before dinner.

Day four: 
We didn't leave the resort on this day. We all went canoeing in the morning - Cason got to channel his Eagle Scout days, and Madeleine didn't tip the boat over, so it was a success! After canoeing, we pool hopped a bit, played some shuffleboard, and generally just hung out. Madeleine really enjoyed playing with everyone at the pools - she busted out some sweet poolside dance moves to "Mr. Postman" in her daddy's Cowboys hat.  She had quite the audience. And P.S. - aren't my parents so stinkin' cute - still in love and affectionate at the pool after 30 years of marriage? Awwww.

We had dinner at the fancy restaurant at Big Cedar that night, but my super-smart parents knew it would be more enjoyable for everyone if we got to truly have an adult dinner. So, we dined in shifts! Cason and I went at 6 while the Deilys hung out with Mads, then we returned home to put her to bed, and they went at 7:30! Those parents of mine are so smart. While it would've been fun to go all together, this was a great solution.

Day five: 
Mom and Jul got their massages on Friday morning, and after lunch, we all headed to Branson. We were only about 20 minutes away, so we figured we better give it a try. While the show we went to was fantastic (Legends - Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Blues Brothers, Michael Jackson and Elvis) we think that one Branson visit was enough for the Deily/White clan. No offense if you or your mama just looooooves you some Branson, it just wasn't really for us. Back to the show - the impersonators were really good, and the music was fun.  The guy who played Michael Jackson was creepy good and my mom and I kept saying "Oh my gosh - he is JUST like him!"  Elvis paid special attention to my sisters and I in the audience because I think we were the youngest there by about 40 years. ;) Madeleine did great in the show (we didn't quite know what that would look like) and she conked out in the second half.

Day six: 
Time to move on out! We got in the car and drove back to Little Rock so that we could catch our flight.  Madeleine was an expert traveler - reading the manual and all.  She and her daddy made sure Lambie traveled safely too. :)

We are so grateful for all the planning that my parents did to make this trip so much fun and fit so well for the different stage of life that our little family is in. Everyone was so great to work with a toddler along! What a fun way to kick off the summer, and I have a feeling we'll be back!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Summer Survival

I just took a step outside to grab something from my car, and (at 11 p.m., mind you) the humidity almost knocked me over.  I thought I was drowning.  Anyway, such is the beginning of summer in Houston - something that can turn this almost-always optimist into quite a grouch.  Especially last summer.  My newly-sodded front yard was in its death march thanks to the drought, and there was nary a hurricane or tropical storm to spice things up.  FALL is my happy time.  If you've read this blog for any number of months, you probably know how much I look forward to the beginning of October.  I am trying to have a better attitude about all this, and these are some things that are helping. :)

On pinterest, I've seen some beautiful succulent terrariums.  I was able to make three for my house for under $20.  Lowes sells a variety of succulents in a 6-pack for about $13.  All I needed were some small rocks (thank you, Hobby Lobby, $2.99) and I used dirt and vases I already had.  This is how they turned out, and I especially love the largest one with the Voluspa Italian Tangelo candle on my kitchen table!

See that one on the bottom left, it used to be in a globe-like vase, but silly me put it within Madeleine's reach.  She let me know that wasn't a good move by bringing it to me and dropping it on my bedroom floor.  Thanks, love.
We certainly like to be outside as long as there is water involved!
Pedicures with your girlfriends - that's always fun!

These...for 98 cents each, I can afford my addiction.

Summer Bible/Book studies...

And of course, inexpensive, yummy smelling summer beauty products!  I don't like to wear much make-up ever, but especially in the summer, so that usually goes by the wayside (save for a little bit of mascara and lip gloss, depending on the occasion.)  This lotion has just enough tropical scent and a ton of moisturizer, and it was maybe $4.  While in summers past I've been a Fiji girl, this year I'm trying Belize! Like a vacation in your armpit. Just kidding.

 I also have been enjoying sleeping in this lovely gift in Hawaii blue.  As I mentioned in 2009, I wish I could just estivate in it allll summer long. ;)


  [es-tuh-veyt]  Show IPA
verb (used without object), es·ti·vat·ed, es·ti·vat·ing.
to spend the summer, as at a specific place or in a certain activity.
Zoology to spend a hot, dry season in an inactive, dormant state, as certain reptiles, snails, insects, and small mammals.

There's hope for summer Scrooges yet. :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Adrenaline Addict

So we've come to discover that Madeleine is definitely going to be our daredevil, roller coaster kid. She has been pretty fearless (too fearless, actually) for as long as we can remember, and she continues to get such a rush from things that might make other 19-month-olds uncomfortable. Some of her favorite things include:

  • Being tickled
  • Being chased - we get  many requests for "chase you, chase you!"
  • Climbing. Up. Everything.
  • Being sneaked up on - one day on a whim I sneaked up on her and scared her.  She surprised me back by saying "more, more" and so then I would run away from her, hide around different corners and jump out to surprise her.  We did it more times than I could count, and we play this game quite often.
  • Daddy doing "jump" - he holds her little hands and lifts her up over his head
  • Back flips with Mommy - I hold her hands, she climbs up my legs with her feet and flips backward
  • Spinning in the swing - for her it isn't enough to just be pushed high in the sky, she must get dizzy, so she asks for "round and round" in the swing when her boring mom simply pushes her.  Below is the result (yes she is wearing two bows by request!)