Road trip #9 is in the books

I meant to wrap up the road trip last night but I fell into my couch and a pile of dirty laundry and the next thing I knew I was sound asleep in my bed. It’s always fun to be away, but I always love to get back home. Except for the part where we were down to one roll of toilet paper and I had to go to the grocery story.

On Thursday morning, after two fun-filled days at the JW Marriott, we packed up all our stuff, called for a bellman and watched as he tried to solve the dilemma of fitting all our things into the back of Gulley’s car. I’m pleased to report that he made it work beautifully, much better than Gulley and I had done on Tuesday when we basically just crammed everything in and prayed that it wouldn’t fall out upon our arrival.

We began to make our way to Bryan, but made a stop at Chick-Fil-A in New Braunfels since we hadn’t eaten lunch yet. And that’s when I thought to take this picture of the kids in the backseat because it’s road trip tradition to get a pic of them all in the backseat. They used to fit much better than they do these days. Now they are just a mass of arms and legs.


I’m sad to report that less than three minutes after this picture was taken, Will threw up. For those of you who have read my books or this blog for any length of you time, you know that this is practically a road trip tradition and I’m pleased to report that some things never change. He told Gulley it was because he’d eaten too many chicken nuggets, but then she noticed he’d only eaten one. So by too many, he meant one. One nugget. It pushed him over the edge.

I posted that pic on Instagram and several of you mentioned we should tape a penny to his belly button next time which feels kind of like putting Vicks Vaporub on your feet to help with a cough, but who are we to judge? We are totally trying this next time. It feels like carsickness voodoo and I’m on board.

We arrived at Honey and Big’s a few hours later without any further incidents and the kids spent the rest of the afternoon and evening playing soccer and basketball outside. Honey had ordered a ton of barbecue for dinner and invited Uncle Johnny and Diane to join us so they came over. Which was fortunate because Caroline got bitten by something in the yard and Johnny came to the rescue with a little tobacco from his cigar.


I mean it’s no penny on your belly button, but it worked like a charm because a few minutes later you couldn’t even tell anything had happened. I believe the life lesson here is that we should all be smoking cigars. Or maybe just always have some tobacco on hand in case of bug bite emergency.

The next morning we all slept in and later on Jo and Dorothy Kay stopped by to visit. If you’ve read Nobody’s Cuter Than You , you know these are Nena’s best friends. Gulley and I always love catching up with them and got so tickled when Dorothy Kay told us, “You know Jo and I like drinking at lunch. The only problem is Jo needs a nap afterwards!” and then they told us how Honey will take them out to lunch and they’ll all have a glass of sangria and then head to Dillards, but Jo is so tired that she just sleeps in a chair while Dorothy Kay and Honey shop.

Later on, Gulley’s cousin, Ashley, came by with her little girl and we ended up rescheduling our visit to the George Bush Library for the next day since we were having so much fun visiting with everyone. We ate leftover barbecue and a second batch of brownies (Jackson can finish a whole pan by himself these days) and then just hung out the rest of the night.

On Saturday morning, Gulley, Honey and I were sitting around the breakfast table when Jackson walked in and asked when we were leaving for the Bush Library. We told him we’d leave as soon as we finished talking and he said, “I know what you’re talking about. Blah, blah, blah and blah, blah, blah and that’s why one of you has quit watching Scandal again.” And we got so tickled because he has totally figured us out.

Eventually we all got dressed and made our way to the George Bush Library on the Texas A&M Campus.


I’d never been to a presidential library before so I didn’t know what to expect. We’d always thought the kids were too young until this year, but we all agreed it was a great activity. It starts with a short film about President Bush and then there are all kinds of exhibits detailing his service in World War II, his family history, gifts of state that were given and a complete replica of the Oval Office.


If you don’t feel a little scared of this image then you haven’t been paying attention here.

After we left the Bush Library, we visited the new Cafe Eccell for a late lunch/early dinner. For those of you familiar with College Station, Cafe Eccell is now in the old Luby’s on Texas Avenue and I have to say that the food is better than ever. Sadly, we were all too full for a strawberry tart but it’s a must visit if you’re in the area. You won’t be disappointed.

We spent Saturday night in our pjs on the couch binge watching The Astronaut Wives Club on demand and I’m a big fan. I’d hesitated to watch it because I thought it might be too soap opera-ish. Which is a funny thing for me to say because since when am I too good for a soap opera? But it is really interesting and I’m hooked. It’s a winner for me both because it’s set in the 1960’s and there are congealed gelatin salads in almost every scene involving food.

Finally, we woke up Sunday morning and it was time to pack up the car and head home. Sadly, we didn’t have a JW Marriott bellman to help us this time but we did our best to get everything in and then said our goodbyes and hit the open road for San Antonio. And, per usual, we weren’t even home before the kids were asking if we could all have dinner together later that evening. I love how much they love each other.

At some point during this road trip we did the math and realized this was our ninth road trip. Which means next summer is number ten. A decade of fighting in the car and throwing up and eating too much candy and seeing all the sights along the way. I suggested to Gulley that maybe we should celebrate next summer by revisiting our top five favorite road trip stops. And she didn’t really answer but just looked at me silently.

I think it’s because we both know the Snake Farm is making that list.

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Fashion Friday: Edition the Nordstrom anniversary sale


We are still on the road trip. We’ve made it to Bryan and I’ve already had one or six of Honey’s brownies and Caroline is currently taking a nap at 4:00 in the afternoon which has me concerned that she’s getting sick because you know how many naps she’s taken since she was three years old?


And both times she had strep.

But I’m taking a break in our reports from the road to discuss the Nordstrom Anniversary sale. Gulley and I have decided the Nordstrom sale is brilliant because it’s incentive to buy things that you’d never normally buy in July but will be so glad you have come November or December.

The sale has been open to cardholders over the last week, but officially starts for the public today and I will tell you that the good stuff goes fast. Also, you can see last week’s picks from the sale here if you’re interested.

Here are some other things I love:

1. lush perfect roll tab sleeve tunic


I am such a fan of these tunics and I like this because it appears like it’s a little bit longer than usual. These are great alone or layered under a vest or sweater in the winter. It comes in several colors and is on sale for $27.90.

2. hooded jacquard cardigan


This is one of those things that will make you so happy you bought in once the weather gets cold. It’s $44.90 and is normally $68.

3. karly shift dress


I don’t know that this is a dress for most of us, but it does appear to look like it good be great with leggings and boots or booties. It’s on sale for $31.90.

4. indian summer cardigan


I love this, especially the back view and it’s on sale for $45.90.

5. nike gym vintage hoodie


Who doesn’t need a hoodie? Especially a vintage one for $35.90? This one also comes in gray heather and black.

6. blurry plaid wrap coat


This may be my favorite of all. I’m not sure when I think it will actually be cold enough to wear it, but a girl can dream. This is a great deal right now at $149.90 marked down from $248.

7. salinas tall boots


I haven’t seen these boots in person or tried them on, but they have great potential. Love the detail on them and I think these boots in black may be exactly what I wanted all last winter and never found. They are on sale for $129.90 normally $189.95.

8. trott bootie


I bought some flat booties last year but want a version with a heel because sometimes you need a little height. These have great reviews and are on sale for $79.90 normally $119.95.

9. ugg jemma quilted sneaker


These are Uggs so you know they’re comfortable. I love the quilted look and they have great reviews. They are on sale right now for $74.90 but normally $109.95. These are the perfect shoes for every casual outing this fall and winter.

10. crisscross hoop earrings


Love the unique look of these earrings. And they’re just $15.90 and come in silver.

11. kut from the cloth flare jeans


Flare jeans are FINALLY and THANKFULLY coming back around and this is a great time to find a pair because lots of them are on sale. I haven’t tried on this exact pair, but I did try on some other Kut and Kloth jeans last year and loved the way they fit. These are on sale for $62.90.

12. the north face ruka parka


For those of us who may spend our weekends outdoors watching our kids play sports in the cold, we might be in need of a great jacket that looks equally great with jeans or with yoga pants. I love these North Face jackets and this one is on sale from $134.90 but will go up to $180 after the sale is over.

That’s it for today.

Have a great Friday.

Life on the road

So, yes, we opted for a staycation for the first part of the road trip, but we are heading to Bryan/College Station this week because none of us want to have a road trip that doesn’t ultimately involve the brownies at Honey and Big’s house.

But yesterday we had another full day at the JW Marriott and had the best time. Even though Gulley and I laughed because being at a nice resort doesn’t exempt you from a slice of real life. The kids have bickered over everything from who ate all the Dots to who is going to push the button in the elevator. They’ve popped each other with towels and aired various grievances and thought it was a good idea to climb all ten flights of stairs to our hotel room. At one low point yesterday morning Gulley and I wondered if maybe next year we might be able to take a road trip sans the children.

However, there isn’t much that a lazy river and a margarita can’t fix and we all fully relaxed into our day. Gulley and I found some prime pool real estate situated right by the lazy river and with bathrooms close by and I got tickled as the day went on because I wondered if the cute young female lifeguard might be wondering why the older lady needed to go to the bathroom so many times and I wanted to tell her to enjoy her bladder while she can because she was looking at her future.

After a great lunch by the pool the kids asked if Gulley and I would ride the slides with them and so we spent the next hour or so doing that and then rode the slide that drops you into the lazy river which has all kinds of waterfalls and water spray features along the way. Caroline and I were in a double tube but she was working overtime to make sure I took the brunt of whatever water feature was up ahead. I tried to be a good sport until I realized she’d purposely parked me under a waterfall for close to two minutes. Why? Why do you want to aggravate your mother like that?


I also feel like I need to confess there may have been a point where I threatened to take everyone home and leave them there while Gulley and I went on to Bryan because I cannot deal with the arguing over minutiae.

But, ultimately, we had a great day and ended the evening sitting around looking at this year’s Aggie football schedule and making our individual predictions for the season. For posterity’s sake, I’ll tell you that Caroline, Jackson and Gulley believe we’ll go 10-2 with losses to Arkansas and LSU. I’m going with 11-1 with a loss to LSU or maybe Alabama. And Will is going with an undefeated season and even did the whip and the nae nae to accentuate his certainty. What you can know for sure is that we are all total optimists where Aggie football is concerned. We will always believe in the best until we have concrete evidence to suggest differently like losing 58-0 to Alabama.

And I just have to say that I cannot say enough nice things about the JW Marriott San Antonio. The service has been exceptional, the food is delicious and the kids have ended every evening playing soccer on the big lawn with a ton of other kids. In fact, Gulley and I sat at the Crooked Canyon bar during happy hour and ate the best ham and cheese biscuits while watching the kids run all over the lawn and hopefully burn every last vestige of energy they had left.

My only regret is that Gulley and I weren’t able to sneak away to the spa. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we thought about it. But ultimately decided that we needed to stay in the vicinity. This allowed us the opportunity to watch Will cannonball right into the lazy river and splash a group of about six women who were not amused at all and one of them remarked, “That’s not even one of our kids!”

And Gulley and I apologize deeply to those women. Both for the fact that they were splashed and the fact that we may have laughed when it happened. I realize it wasn’t an optimal situation but there is an all-adult pool on the premises where I’m guessing nobody is getting surprised by a cannonball. Also, these kids have dumbed us down as evidenced by the fact Gulley and I got on Dubsmash and laughed until we cried making videos. Sometimes it’s the little things.

So Thursday afternoon we’ll leave here and head to Honey and Big’s house for the remainder of the road trip. When it’s all said and done, we won’t have covered as many miles as we have in years past, but we’ve already made some of the best memories.

None of which involved seeing a King Cobra in a flimsy cage made out of used office furniture.

And for that we are eternally grateful.

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