San Antonio, We Love You!

San Antonio has become our go to destination close to home. We’ve been there so many times  and each time we find new things to do. Heres a quick run down of our latest visit to SATX.

We made a quick stop at the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch before driving into the city. The animals were a bit slower and most of them tucked away in the shade, but who can blame them with this Texas heat! We did get to feed a few of them and it is still awesome to me how they will just walk right up to your vehicle and carefully take the food out of your hand. We didn’t stay too long but its a great stop and its right next to the Natural Bridge Caverns if you have time to explore.

Next we made it to the River Walk to finally take a ride on the boat tours down the river. Of all the visits we’ve made in the past this was our first time to ride down the river. It was a bit cramped and a lot hot but overall they covered great history. Of course we had to make a dinner stop and we stumbled upon Casa Rio which was mentioned on the tour. This restaurant was established in 1946 and was part of the history making of businesses to open their doors on the river.

The following day we took to the streets near the Alamo and gave the Ripley’s Believe it or Not! a chance. It was as weird as they say its going to be! The kids all enjoyed seeing the oddities. They packaged our tours nicely so we also had a chance to check out Louis Tussaud’s Wax Museum. It was fun taking photos next to a some of our favorite celebrities and characters. Lastly we hopped over to the 4D theater to see what it was all about. It was a semi roller coaster experience with all the effects but it was nice to know I could also just stand up and get off my chair at any point if I felt woozy. It made it more comical knowing that. Troy is a big roller coaster fan so he likes the real deal but this was just fine for me.

That evening we decided to go out for dessert and found this great little place called Snopioca. The shaved ice was a great touch to cool off for the evening. They offered a variety of flavors and the atmosphere was calm and relaxing. Even Lucas developed a taste for the the shaved ice, amongst all the other toppings I decided to throw on top, and he absolutely loved the color changing spoons.

We have heard great things about the San Antonio Zoo so we made a it a point to make it a stop on this visit. Did I tell you it gets HOT in Texas? Let me tell you, again, it gets HOT in Texas! We started with a train ride that was packaged nicely into our admission ticket. Also, a bit of savings tip, if you are a member of your local zoo ask at any zoo if they offer a discount. We are members of the Houston Zoo and were extended a discount. I was amazed that the animals were out and about with the exception of the tigers. They were napping away in the shade. We enjoyed the butterfly exhibit and I got a chance to get photographs of the butterflies as they flew all around us and stopped on the greenery in front of us. One butterfly even rode on my bum the whole time from beginning of the tour to the end. We all had a good laugh about that one. We finished our zoo visit with a carousel ride and Lucas was ready for a nap so that meant it was time to hit the road.

The whole zoo crew we travelled with decided to meet up at Big Lou’s Pizza and we ordered a giant pizza. I think the word giant may even be an understatement. Their biggest pizza is 60″ or maybe slightly bigger.  The wait was long but it helped everyone cool off from the zoo visit and it also helped pass the time under the shade and catch our second wind for our next adventure.  Once we got our 37″ pizza everyone fueled up and we were ready to hit the road again. Did I mention that the wait at Big Lou’s is long? They tell you about it, and once you’re an hour into the wait you really have no choice but to follow through but it is a lot of fun watching that giant pizza arrive at your table. A family had made a reservation for the biggest pizza they offer and watching that pizza make a landing on their table was pretty incredible. The kids get a kick out of it the most. The adults in our party just sat there wondering how in the world they were going to eat all of that pizza, good thing they give you to go boxes.

We closed our weekend with a stop at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Maybe eating that much pizza and then hopping on roller coasters is not the correct order of events, but our guys and girls who get on the rides are tough to break and nothing was going to stop them. I have to say that even though our visit to Six Flags was on a whim that afternoon, since we had been rained out the day before, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. There was little to no wait in line for the rides and the sun started to set and a warm summer breeze kept us all going. Our little guy had fun riding another train that weekend, a lot bigger than the zoo this time. And though he wasn’t able to get on the baby rides he still had a good time hanging out with his cousins. We found super hero capes at every corner and my obsession with Wonder Woman couldn’t help but suit us all up for a super hero family photo op.

This was another great trip under the Texas Sun and aboard all the cute trains plus a bunch of weird and random stuff because thats just how we do it.

Until next time SATX, we love you!

XOXO,

SaZa

 

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7 Acre Wood

Sometimes it’s nice to get out in your own backyard and find what’s happening there. We did just that and ran into a homey ‘old fashioned family fun park’ called the 7 Acre Wood in Conroe, Texas.  It is a fun little outdoor space to get the family out without breaking the bank or sitting on the road for hours.

Upon entering the park you migrate to an old times far west type of setting. Though some of the themed areas were a bit worn down you are still greeted with a warm and welcoming hello from the park staff.

There is a petting zoo filled with goats of all sizes. But watch out as they signs say because they will get feisty for food, so you have to feed them from outside the fence.

Lucas hopped on his first pony ride, and funny enough we happened to have his Toy Story Woody with him so we couldn’t resit the photo op.

The park is a great open space filled with all t types of activities from pony rides, petting zoo, little tikes cars parked, barrel rides, swings and even a zip line for older kids to have a great family day out.

Under this Texas heat we only lasted a short while but we look forward to visiting the park again in the fall.

XOXO,

SaZa

DIY on the 4th of July 

A photoshoot of Lucas was due as I had not taken individual portraits of him since his 1st birthday. I saw some pretty awesome patriotic backdrops made from pallets on Pinterest but there was one problem, the nearby shops either charge for them or reuse them. Being last minute I had my handy husband put together a pallet like board for under $10.

It was very easy to paint the colors using acrylic paints that you can find any craft section for under two dollars. I stamped my hands for the handprints in place of the stars. You can also get one of your little ones to have fun hand printing on the board, which I thought would be a whole lot cuter but Lucas was napping away.

Lastly, little one woke up from his nice long nap and was ready for his Fourth of July shoot. Check out some of his shots below!

I can’t wait to share the next photo theme!

Xoxo,

SaZa

A Presidential Father’s Day

This weekend we had the opportunity to visit the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas.

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We learned many facts and read stories about President Bush’s career and family. There are thirteen Presidential Libraries currently open around the country.

  • Herbert Hoover Library
  • Franklin d. Roosevelt Library
  • Harry S. Truman Library
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower Library
  • John F. Kennedy Library
  • Lyndon B. Johnson Library
  • Richard Nixon Library
  • Gerald R. Ford Library
  • Jimmy Carter Library
  • Ronald Reagan Library
  • George Bush Library
  • William J. Clinton Library
  • George W. Bush Library

and…

Barack Obamas Library is expected to open in 2021 in Chicago.

One of my favorite moments about touring George Bush’s Library was how it gave a very intimate view of the person behind the position. Learning about the personal hardships that he and Barbara Bush overcame made them relatable to us as people and parents. I was very young when President Bush was in office, and in school we learn about his political career, but the library offered an insight into the man as a whole.

I look forward to visiting more libraries soon located right in our backyard in Texas.

Xoxo,

SaZa

When in San Antonio…

This summer is all about little road trips to nearby places we love. One city that has a big place in our hearts is San Antonio, Texas. Each time we go, we get to do something new and also revisit old favorites.

We started our visit at The Doseum of San Antonio. Let me tell you, this place is a kid-tastic interactive learning wonderland! Lucas absolutely loved everything about the Little Town exhibit. He had fun driving the themed Little Tikes cars around the play roadway. He also sat upfront and pretended to drive a miniature trolley with dad as his passenger. The little ones can play and dress up in the various town places that keep it  running. From construction workers, veterinarians, taxi drivers, air traffic controllers, to passengers on a plane and a visit to the grocery store; the town has it all for endless fun for the little ones.

Although the other areas of the museum are geared for older children, except an area for younger babies, we continued to walk Lucas throughout and let him explore the different exhibits with help from mom and dad. We had a blast using our senses to explore light and sound as well as the simple machines exhibit. Lucas liked the robot in the robotics exhibit as well as waving hello to the crowd at the museum in Mexico via live streaming from both museums.

The summer heat kept us mostly inside but the great outdoor exhibits fall nothing short of spectacular with a gigantic waterworks interactive display exhibiting the power of water. A big playground is also available for the kids to climb and exercise their gross motor skills at maximum level. The Doseum has two stories to explore plus an enormous space outdoors to have fun learning! A definite must visit location when in San Antonio with your kids.

Our next stop was the very popular Mi Tierra Cafe and Bakery. The wait is long but the atmosphere is like no other and so is the pan dulce. Upon walking in you are taken to a festive place where the ceilings are covered in bright shiny piñatas, the waitresses wear traditional folkloric dresses, and the mariachi serenades while you dine. We ordered some conchas at the bakery and other goodies to snack on after lunch. Lucas had a few bites of the conchas and got his approval.

After lunch we made a quick stop at the Farmers Market next door. The shops reminded me of the markets in Mexico. As you walk around you find yourself surrounded by an array of luchadores masks, colorful embroidered dresses and shirts, talavera pottery and hand made trinkets posted at every corner. We found a traditional guayavera shirt for Lucas and couldn’t pass it up.

We let the afternoon heat settle a little and hopped over to Hemisfair Park for an evening walk. The park has a great relaxing ambiance. The kids have many play areas to choose from. There is a giant sandbox, water splash pads, jungle gyms, and a plethora of adirondack chairs for parents to sit back and relax while the kids play. You can also find the Paletería San Antonio in the park for a refreshing fruit bar to take the edge off the summer heat.

The next morning we tried to beat the sun and made a quick visit to Sea World since we still had our annual pass from our last visit. We enjoyed an entertaining and impressive show at the Pets Ahoy theater. Dogs, cats, birds, a skunk, and even a pig, showcased their talents in exchange for some yummy treats. It was a belly full of laughter and cuteness overload with the animals’ quirky personalities.  Another fun stop was the Sesame Street friends theater at the Bay of Play. The heat beat the fun out of us rather quickly so we decided it was time to wrap up our little weekend getaway. Perhaps we can visit the park again in December when the temperature stays below 80.

Until next time to the wonderful city of San Antonio, Texas!

Xoxo

SaZa

Peachy-Keen 

It’s about the journey getting there they say. Or the journey getting back. Texas highways are known for many landmark highway stops and we found a little gas station named Cooper Farms Peaches in Fairfield, Texas. It is a homey little country store stocked with homemade goodness. From the minute you walk in an array of homemade pies, turn overs, and cobblers catch your eye and of course their famous peaches. This store is stocked with plenty of peach made treats and more to satisfy that sweet tooth.

Of course I bought too many peaches so I did what anyone with too many peaches would do, cobbler! Bites that is.

I found a simple cobbler bites recipe from justapinch.com and topped them off with Cooper Farms Homemade peach cobbler syrup. Delicious!

 

Xoxo

SaZa

When in Waco…

A few weeks ago my sister thought it would be fun to take a girls trip with our mom to visit the Magnolia Market in Waco,Texas. We are big fans of the power couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines, from HGTV’s Fixer Upper and so I happily agreed. This is also the first time I have travelled anywhere without Lucas or Troy for that matter but this mom thought maybe it was finally time for a little getaway.

We arrived in Waco in time for dinner and to our surprise we came across a Ninfa’s Mexican Restaurant. It was located just a few blocks from the Silos and our hotel, and we knew it would not disappoint because who doesn’t love Mexican food? The original restaurant is located in Houston and we remember good times visiting that location as a family years ago.

 

Most of the shopping in the Silos and Downtown District close at 6pm so we decided to get an early start the next day. Our first stop was the Silos Baking Co for some cupcakes. The line expanded around the shop but moved fairly quickly. We got a menu card while we waited to have our cupcake order ready by the time we reached the counter. I was excited to try the cupcakes and knew I’d have help eating them so I bought myself an extra and some cookies to take back for the hubby. I generally don’t eat frosting but was totally enjoying everything about the cupcakes. Flavor to presentation made it completely worth the wait.

As we headed out of the cupcake shop we dove right into shopping at the market. The feel of the market just made me want buy it all and redecorate my whole house and shiplap a few walls fixer upper style. But I maintained my composure and hand picked a few great pieces for myself as well as some gifts. My favorite item was a galvanized watering can I got at the Magnolia Seed + Supply. I have been maintaining a few plants at home in the front and back yard and kept them alive for two months and counting. My green thumb hasn’t been too on point in the past but I think my new watering can will help keep me going with my minimalist gardening. The Silos was definitely a lot of fun, a great location to stop by and hang out with the family and kids as there is ton of outdoor space to enjoy.

Waco’s downtown district also has more sites to see of which include the Dr. Pepper Museum. I knew Waco was the home of the Baylor Bears and hometown to Fixer Upper, but when we found out about the Dr. Pepper Museum we knew we had to stop by. It is right down the street from the Silos, so very easy to hop over and take a peek as well as enjoy a treat at their gift shop and you know I could not leave without buying a bottle of Dr. Pepper.

We also visited Harp Design Co. It was wonderful to see Clint’s work, and I look forward to visit again with Troy, as he is the carpenter in our home. His biggest project to date is having built our dining room table and I could not be more impressed with his skills in being able to create furniture and decor ideas I present to him from scratch.

One of my other favorite stops in the area was at the Spice Village. It reminded me of several art and vintage markets I like to visit through out the year, but it was all indoors. You can literally spend hours perusing through the many shops housed under one roof. The Olive Branch Cafe was just below the Spice Village and it is a great place to have lunch.

Our final stops included the Waco Suspension Bridge and dinner at the Twisted Root Burger Co. The bridge lights up amazingly during the golden hour creating a picturesque ambiance for any special occasion needing to be captured. The Twisted Root Burger Co. was a colorful and laid back place to hang out and enjoy a shake and a burger. From the celebrity name cards they pass out when placing your order, to the bar stools sitting on kegs all around the bar. You won’t miss their vibrant murals covering each side of the building and the wall of kegs as you walk in the front door.

These were just a few of the many sites Waco has to offer. You can enjoy a weekend visiting more outdoor sites like the National Mammoth Museum and Cameron Park Zoo or if you’re short on time, simply enjoy a daytrip with your girls for some shopping and dining in the Silos District.

One of the best things about this trip was coming home and my husband letting me know how much I was missed. Even though we make a good team on a daily basis he said had big shoes to fill for the little one while I was gone. He did an amazing job of having a boys weekend and Lucas learned how to say Dada with a D instead of B! I think he just needed that little extra time with dad to make it happen.

XoXo

Saza

Moms Rule!

Being a mom is one of the most rewarding and toughest jobs there is. Tough mostly because you don’t know what you’re doing until you’ve done it a few times. I became a mom last year and it has really opened up my eyes to a whole new world. Perhaps its the same world but with a different set of shades. It changes you and it changes how you see everything.

I have learned so much about myself, about my son, about my husband and about what kind of life I strive to create for my family everyday, making changes as I see fit and embracing the qualities that I want us to carry on. There is no one set of rules that you can find to become a good mom despite what some people may try to tell you, it just simply is and you work with what you have and what you know in order to make it alright and sometimes even better than alright. Sometimes it just doesn’t work at all and that’s alright too, you just get to keep trying.

As a mom I often catch myself in the way I used to do things, to the way I “need” to do things, to the way that I end up doing things. So here are 10 open mom rules I go by that have led me to enjoy these past twelve months and I hope carry on for the years to come, with a  few tweaks I’m sure. I encourage you to make your own twelve rules to go by as a mom.

Rule #1: Enjoy every minute of it. Even the explosive poo diapers and the mini tantrums and the oh so sweet look on his face when he’s sleeping like an angel.

Rule #2: My husband is my best friend and my biggest ally; ergo…share all of it with him, even the poo diapers.

Rule #3: Take many photos because the days go fast. And look at them at the end of the day and at the end of the week, its amazing how much he develops in that short of time.

Rule #4: Hug and kiss them and tell them that you love them everyday, both Lucas and Troy.

Rule #5: It’s never perfect. Accept it for what it is, and embrace it for that time it is that way because just as he grows, that time it was “that way” also changes.

Rule #6: Be kind to myself. Give myself a pedicure, do my make up, indulge in my favorite show or have a cup of hot chocolate. I’m doing a great job.

Rule #7: Use all that expert advice as a guide but more importantly follow my intuition as a mom. It came with the baby, I just have to listen to it. Connecting with Lucas gave me the best guide I could have asked for. Instructions guided me to how to make a bottle but my baby was the one who told me when he was hungry or full.

Rule #8: Know that all moms are on the same boat. We’re all trying to raise good people. Some moms are more seasoned because they have more children or some have older children hence more practice. And some are completely new to the job like me. But all moms mean well and as intimidating as it can be to walk in a room full of moms like in a pediatricians office, know that there is a mom just like you in that room.

Rule #9: Be your own parent. Chances are you are probably just like your mom or your dad. As much as I fight it, it just carries on and soon I start hearing them come out in how I interact with Lucas. But, I also have a choice to do it different. I am the parent now.

Rule #10: Be that person I would like for Lucas to grow up to be. Our baby looks to us for everything and the best we can do is lead by example.

There is actually no one good rule book to make moms rule. Can we find advice along the way? Sure we can. It helps sometimes to talk to other moms to try new ways to make it work. We love our children more than we love ourselves and that makes any mom rule any day of the year.

Keep ruling moms!

Xoxo

Saza

Lucas Turns One

Troy and I have been celebrating our birthdays together for the past five years because they are a day apart. Little did we know last year that Lucas, who was due mid July, would make an entrance on the day right between our birthdays. Due to an unknown heart condition at the time, my pregnancy became complicated and he was born at 27 weeks and 4 days. A micro preemie with the heart of a fighter. He fought his way out of the NICU and into our lives and I can’t thank God enough for allowing us to get to know our beautiful boy despite all the risks that came with being born at such an early stage. He has been my inspiration to keep my head high while I went through all the medical ups and downs this past year. But now it is time to celebrate all the achievements, big and small, that we’ve accomplished as a family and the big birthday trio.

Troy and I decided that since this was the epic FIRST birthday we wanted make it big and take a trip to Disneyland California. However we still wanted to have Lucas celebrate with the family and a few friends so we were following the trip with a Mickey Mouse themed birthday party.

 

Weeks before our trip I started hand making all the decorations for the party. I have recently adapted some minimalism traits in life so I wanted to use up some things we already owned and of course try to keep it simple and capture the theme with just a few essential decorations. One piece of advice, even if you keep it simple it gets overwhelming if you’re hand-making decorations, so never follow a party two days after a big vacation. Give yourself at least two weeks in between.

I made Lucas’ piñata out of can soda boxes and paper mache and shaped it into a giant number one dressed as Mickey using tissue paper. I added Mickey Mouse silhouette heads to EVERYTHING using circle hole punchers and black card stock. I mean it was everywhere, yet simplistic and tasteful, from the ketchup and mustard bottles to the thank you treat bags. It was so easy and looked cute to see the Mickey head on what would otherwise be a plain party essential. Lucas loves the Hot Dog song at the end of the show, so in the efforts to keep it simple and go with the show theme, we served hot dogs. With a little research we learned that you can cook nearly 60 hotdogs in a crock pot at the same time.  Some people recommended no water but I added a teensy bit of water to it and it worked out. Simply kickstart the crockpot an hour or hour and a half before the party. My favorite and most recommended decoration was the Mickey themed photo backdrop made out of ninety-eight cent streamers. What a savings and awesome idea find! I think we must have spent a whole five dollars on it. I have a backdrop stand kit that I use for photography background rolls but you can tape the streamer backdrop to any wall in your home and ta-da! You now have a colorful custom backdrop. It is that simple.

Some of the props I used for Lucas’ one year photo shoot were integrated into the party for decorations, like the Mickey flag banner and his plush Mickey and Friends toys. Troy and I found a great sale at the Disney store and purchased them back when he was 6 months old and we’ve used them several times since. The overall trick is to use things more than once or look around to see what you already have and can use. It is less wasteful, keeps you from overbuying and saves money. I used to hand make things in the past and would spend double what it would have cost me if I had just purchased it. Of course it was a great feeling to make it yourself but if you are looking to stick to a budget then it helps to get creative and resourceful. If it takes a long time to make then be sure you make it nice enough to use is as a fun decor piece in your child’s playroom or bedroom. If its more expensive then be sure its durable enough to use it several times. We knew that our guests lists consisted of a lot of younger children so I also created several activity areas for them. We had a ball pit and building blocks area, a painting corner, a bubbles station, and even a sandbox inside a kiddie pool. All of these areas consisted of toys Lucas currently plays with with the exception of a few extra canvases and paintbrushes. This made it a lot of fun for the kids because they had something to do in between visiting, breaking the piñata, eating, and cake.

Our nearby bakery did a great job with the cake ideas I sent them. The cake and smash cake were the topping on the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse fun. All of our friends, family, and most importantly the birthday boy had a great time celebrating and opening presents. We even had cake left over for my birthday the following day and it was a great way to end our epic first trio birthday weekend.

Los Angeles + Cabazon Dinosaurs

Our travels around Los Angeles deserved a post of their own. The city of Angels has so much to offer and a six day trip including Disneyland was not enough time to see it all. So that is why we made a list of places to visit while in the city. Everyday we had a goal to make it to the park and then break away for a little site seeing.

Before we even arrived at our hotel we headed up to the Griffith Observatory. The views of the city from the observatory were breathtaking. You can also get a great view of the famous Hollywood sign from the area. Inside the observatory they had so many installations about our universe that you can learn from and a little gift shop to take a little piece of science with you. We decided to get a baby Albert Einstein plush for Lucas and a cute sweatshirt for moi.

Another great location we made it to during our stay was the Santa Monica Pier. There were so many people and boy was it windy. Lucas was a trooper behind his baby blanket and just enjoyed people watching and making friends with the waitstaff at the Bubba Gump Restaurant located on the pier. We took a few photos and walked around by the beach and made way to a nearby park between the pier and Venice beach where we took a break from all the excitement and let Lucas crawl around and take a bottle before we got back into Los Angeles traffic. Bottle and crawling breaks are a must with a little one. Sometimes you just have to sit it out a few minutes in order to continue with the day.

A fun and quick stop was Beverly Hills 9.0.2.1.0. As a teen I loved watching 90210 so we got touristy and took photos in front of the Beverly Hills sign. We then walked over to Rodeo Drive and had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory and did a little window shopping. Troy enjoyed all the sports cars revving up their engines and cruising up and down the street.

We got an opportunity to visit the LACMA to see the Urban Light Exhibit in person and of course take a quick photo shoot while there. The lamps all stood so decorative by the street and it was fun to weave in and out of them. We were there pretty early in the day so it was easy to set up for a few snapshots. We went inside the museum to check out the Rivera and Picasso and were so pleased to see that Lucas was so engaged with the paintings. I often wonder what his train of thought is like as a baby. The staff at the museum were amazed at how in tune he was with the paintings and that he sat in his stroller and studied them for a bit. We were just as amazed and happy to give him the chance to see it. Troy and I had seen a Picasso exhibit at the MFAH so it was great to see more of his work in person. We wanted to visit the Automotive Museum across the street but it was almost time for a nap for Lucas which meant it was time for us to hit the road. Totally random trivia; we learned from the gift shop clerk, that in front of the automotive museum was where Biggie Smalls was shot.

Our next “near” Los Angeles adventure was visiting the Cabazon Dinosaur Museum. It is a great roadside attraction between Los Angeles and Palm Springs. Before you even enter the museum you are faced with an enormous T-Rex and a Brontosaurus. We had fun taking photos in front of these and moved on to go inside the museum shortly after. When entering you suddenly feel as if you’re stepping in to a set of Jurassic Park. They keep the dinosaurs well painted and the signage lets you learn a lot about the dinosaurs. We learned everything from the name changes to why they were called certain names. If Lucas was a few years older I think he would have learned a great deal but I think he still enjoyed all the new cool sites and colors. Troy was brave enough to climb inside the giant T-Rex that faces the front and went all the way up to inside his mouth. He tried taking some photos from up there but everything was mostly red. He tried taking some photos through the small holes in the barrier screen. We took a few more fun photos and then rolled our way back out to the front and made our way back to Disneyland to enjoy the rest of the day.

Traveling with Lucas proved to be a lot of fun and there was nothing new that we haven’t learned how to handle from how he is at home. When faced with the question are you taking the baby? The answer is YES and will always be yes for family trips. So far he has made his way around Texas from San Antonio to Dallas and we are proud that he had so much fun in California. Can’t wait to see what travel plans come up so he can travel to before he turns two.