June 21, 2016

A Week in Eureka Springs | Staycations are the Best Vacations

Last week, Andrew’s family headed to Arkansas and we had the best time staying in Eureka Springs for a week. I mean, look at this sunset!! How couldn’t the week have been perfect?!

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The first full day of our trip, we headed to Onyx Cave where Max walked around with huge saucer eyes and where Henry got in trouble, like, fifteen times (ha!). Afterwards, we headed to Christ of the Ozarks where Isabelle (our niece) and Henry both fell down, like, three times each until both of them had legs totally covered in bandaids. It was hilarious. Three year olds are the best! And the craziest, too!

Also, please note how Henry wouldn’t stand next to us in the photograph below. #independentsoul

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I hope you’re ready for some serious cute in the next set of photographs!

Oliver has plumped up even more since the last time I saw him in New York and, basically, he is the sweetest boy ever who deserves all the heart eye emoticons. Homeboy laughs at anyone who makes eye contact with him and it is the CUTEST! We had lunch at Oscar’s Cafe Tuesday afternoon and it was seriously the homiest spot ever. Anywhere that has book pages for wallpaper and couches for seating and a quilt hung on the wall is a place for me. (True story: In our first apartment, I covered a wall completely with pages from a Victorian era novel). Also, the food? It was amazing!! Go here!

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For most of our trip, we stayed at The Hillcrest Lodge – one of the houses provided by Can-U-Canoe – in Eureka Springs and the sunsets were absolutely mesmerizing. Sunsets in Arkansas are the best anyway but, because our lodge overlooked the area by Inspiration Point, it was basically heaven. Look at those colors!! Arkansas can be such a (gorgeous!) show off.

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We spent one full day at Beaver Lake swimming at the beach.

I couldn’t swim (I had a stomach surgery back in May that is still healing!) but it was so fun to watch the kids play. It was seriously the most amazing day and I need to remember to take my kids here more often. They loved it and it is so close to our home!

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We spent lots of time walking around downtown Eureka during the week. We ate at some seriously good restaurants (Mud Street Cafe, we love you!) and the boys had the best time walking up and down the over-the-street staircase every chance they got. Here’s a shot of them climbing up their beloved staircase on Wednesday right before dinner!

That same night, Andrew, Ben (Andrew’s youngest brother), and I headed to The 1886 Crescent Hotel to go on a ghost tour. I love ghost tours. They are one of my very favorite things to do whenever we travel – the one in New Orleans will always be my favorite! – and the one at the Crescent, as expected, was so much fun. I don’t usually take pictures on my phone during ghost tours but I couldn’t help myself this time and I took at least ten photographs. They all had orbs (!!!) and this believer had a total blast hearing about all kinds of ghosts. If you like ghost tours, you need to take this one!

Sidenote: We have an Alice in Wonderland themed wedding at the Crescent next year and I am super excited for it! It’s going to be gorgeous!!

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Victoria went along with us on our vacation and – surprise! – she is still the cutest puppy ever and I’m obsessed with her. Also obsessed with her? Oliver.

Obsessed with watercolors? Isabelle and Maxwell.

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It’s not a week at the lake without some fishing and paddle boating!

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Max had the best time fishing with his grandpa. They didn’t catch any fish but, the entire time they sat there, Max was tormented by a tiny turtle that would swim up to his hook, nibble away the bait, and then swim straight away only to come back once Max had his hook back in the water. That trickster! Max also caught some lake plants (he was so proud!) and now wants a fishing rod of his very own.

Good thing his birthday’s next week!

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^^^ The photograph of Maxwell and Oliver above gives me serious baby fever. While O holds his cuteness all on his own, Oliver looks more like Max than Henry did as a baby (crazy how that can happen with cousins!) and it was so fun to see Max love all over him. Max was the chubbiest baby who ever lived (here’s a video to prove it!) and I used to call him Jabba the Hut behind Andrew’s back. In front of Andrew’s back, though, I called him the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man. I LOVE solid babies and, while it was fun to coo and laugh with Oliver on my own, it was way more fun to see Max snuggle up against him and love on him. He wanted to hold him all of the time and has asked me at least seven times for a baby since they left yesterday afternoon. There’s baby fever all around this house! Ha! ^^^

And Below! On Friday, we headed to Branson and hit up the Dixie Stampede and the Promised Land Zoo. I don’t have any photographs of the Dixie Stampede but I can tell you that it was ridiculously fun and perfect for Max. Max is totally into cowboys right now and, just like at the caves, his eyes were total saucers for the entire performance. He also got to feed baby cows at the Promised Land Zoo beforehand so, basically, Friday was his dream day. Henry also had his dreams come true at the zoo when he got to touch the most adorable (and fat!) frog I’ve ever seen in my life… followed by a hedgehog and a lizard and a squirrel and a snake. Homeboy is destined to work with animals later on in his life because he’s obsessed with every animal that has ever lived – except elephants.

As evidence by the photograph below, I don’t think modeling is in his future. Hahaha.

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And let’s end this blog post with a funny story!

Yesterday, we headed to the Amazeum before everyone needed to catch their flights. The kids had the best time at the museum (especially at the water section!) and, by the time we left for lunch, the kids were in crazy good spirits and their clothes were mostly totally dry after running outside for an hour. Food trucks are hard with Henry’s allergies so we decided to meet Andrew at Pressroom for one last meal before everyone headed back West. I’ve been to Pressroom countless times over the past several years – the first time I went I first met Brittany and Trey and I even took a few of my 2016 Senior Models there for dinner after a shoot one night! – and, going in, I knew it would be a bit of a stretch for the kids to eat there. But! They usually do awesome at restaurants and I didn’t think much of it.

And then?! Before we even ordered our food, I lost Henry under the table, Max bucked against the menu, and chaos ensued. After trying to calm them down for a few minutes, I pulled out my mom card and then pulled both of them out of the restaurant. When I did, everyone else in the family followed suit and we ended up eating across the street at The Station and, you guys, it was so hilarious and also mildly embarrassing. Shoutout to the server at Pressroom who didn’t even blink twice when we walked out of the restaurant with two crazy boys in tow!

And more importantly? Shoutout the Chandler Family for coming to visit us and for having the most wonderful week in the Ozarks! We loved seeing you!

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