Beach Inspired

Posted by casey on February 20, 2014 in Escaping Home, Writing Nook

Mama Kat proposed the idea of writing a vacation inspired post this week which just reminded me on how little I have shared with you about such a topic and how badly I need another.  A vacation that is.  Life with littles.  Loving every day and always dreaming of the beach with a drink in hand.  Or Italy.

Ah Italy.
April 2013

Remember that time we went there? Yeah me too.  It is on my calendar to give you a detailed write up with an abundance of our photos during the one year anniversary of our trip since I have yet to do so.  I hope it actually happens!

Since Italy is a bit farfetched, how about something slightly more realistic of an option. Back in September after months and months of speculation, idea-throwing, resort researching and finger crossing it happened.  A Mexico beach vacation with my best friend of 14 years and her husband who just so happens so be a friend of 14 years as well.  We do high-school sweethearts big around here. We were oh so overdue for a reunion now that they have made their lovely abode in Oklahoma and we haven’t really gotten to spend any true quality kid-free time together since the birth of our first kiddos, almost four years ago, just three days apart. We held our breath until we got on the plane not believing that it was actually going to happen.

But it did.


Talk about needed.  Days filled with beach time full of sun-baking, frozen drink gulping, girl-talk while our husband’s got their fill of beach sports in our view.

Our hectic schedule consisted of wake up on our own (not due to our combined four toddlers or work alarms), throw on bathing suit, walk to breakfast, walk to beach and spend the morning hour laying, looking and chatting.

 So much chatting and just taking in the quiet that my book-deprived brain that so desperately wanted to read just couldn’t get into a book because I was so enjoying “just being” and not having to do anything.

When “Oh My!” the beach started heating up a bit too much for our desired liking (rough right?) we would saunter down the stretch of soft sand to wade in the perfect depth, just cool enough, just warm enough no coral in sight ocean to continue our conversations and laziness.  The best part about vacationing with your fellow “mom-to-toddlers” best friend?  It is in no way weird or offensive when your conversation turns back around to your kids, then back to what you were talking about, then back to mom-life, then back to catching up.  Because let’s be honest.  The majority of what is going on in our stay at home mom lives is kid stuff at this point.  So we are cool like that.  Which is why we can vacation together like this.

Yup.  This was hectic schedule location #2.  When it was just too, ahem, (insert hand waving fan here) stifling on the beach we gathered the very few belongings we carried with us and walked the few paces to the pool to find an inlet spot complete with lounge chairs and lounge beds to spend the afternoon, you guessed it; laying, looking and chatting and oh yeah, drinking. Oh yeah, and eating chips and guacamole poolside. It was as stressful and challenging as it sounds.

But we endured.
I swear our husbands vacationed with us as the photographic evidence doesn’t show.
Maybe I should prove that.

 Once we completely used up all of our sun and poolside accommodations we would start thinking about getting cleaned up for dinner.  Just thinking. Really though, we waited until our floats were taken away and we were the only ones left in the pool giggling as other guest started appearing again…completely showered and dressed for dinner at the various restaurants nearby.  Time to go.

By go I of course mean the short jaunt from pool to room, the quick shower into resort wear and then dining time.  While my inability to stay awake past 10 pm, and staying in the sun all day did catch up with me during dimly lit dinners, it was nice to actually get to eat a meal at our own pace over real conversation and then go to bed. And sleep. For a whole night. After night. After night.

So, as I sit here, riddled with life, a stomach bug that has made its way to each family member except myself (please Lord…) over the past week and a looming bronchitis like cough I know that I am SO over this back and forth winter/spring weather and I am SO dreaming of the beach.

But then again, aren’t we all?


Barton Creek Bound

Posted by casey on December 4, 2013 in Caden, Escaping Home, Everett, Holiday Fun

For the first time in years, and I mean years, we traveled on Thanksgiving.  The plans were set a couple of months ago when Colter’s Aunt who lives in Houston invited us to her new home in Barton Creek to spend the holiday with all of the family there.  It is a little confusing because yes, we have family in Austin (who we did see too) but we were going to Austin to see the Houston family.  Wrap that around your brain a few times to get it straight.

The packing lists for all family members where compiled and worked on the day before by yours truly and then on Thanksgiving morning we hurried about getting everyone fed, dressed and some minimal playtime before loading into the car and

heading out.  With an uneventful drive behind us we arrived just in time to let the

Walking Off Our Turkey With Auntie

boys run about for a half hour to 45 minutes (when there usual naptime is) and then sit down to Thanksgiving “dinner”.  Yes, I actually said sit down.  Believe it or not with one kid (Caden) who hadn’t napped at all and was overdue by an hour, and another kid (Everett) who decided 15 minutes of sleep in the car was enough no one thought they would be in the mood to sit.  However, we also had the bonus of hungry tummies so sit they did.

Maybe I shouldn’t say sit.  Stayed in their chairs…standing, kneeling, sitting….standing, kneeling, sitting. That may be shocking to others but to us, it was a total victory. At the table AND eating with everyone? Win.

Caden melted down shortly after but with some convincing and some settling into our room there (he doesn’t much like sleeping anywhere but his room and his bed and his nightlight) he konked out leaving us with one little one to wrangle.

I was useless.  A turkey and car coma left me so tired that I should have laid down but with everyone else up and about and not wanting to leave Colter alone to play with Everett since he had done all the driving and was tired too we forged ahead!

Serious Cousin Talk

Fortunately, the boys had their cousins there.  Locke and McKee came in time for the Thanksgiving meal and then JP, Braiden and Kaylie arrived for dinner that night.  The boys LOVE their cousins as I have mentioned before and it continues to be such a joy to watch them ask about them and get excited to have the chance to play with them.  They ran around out back enjoying foam footballs I packed and the “magic” of the house (an automatic sun shade screen over the patio windows).  We also had the added bonus of a pool vacuum cleaner which Caden just can’t believe is anything but a robot that he has to check on constantly, show everyone and chat about.

We were able to catch up with and chat with Colter’s Aunts & Uncles, his cousin, both brothers and my sister in laws, and some other extended family members from marriages that we hadn’t had the pleasure of meeting yet.  Naturally catching up while chasing all of the little ones around is a little different than just sitting arou

Chair Spinning Time

nd and catching up but to us, it was catching up!

The real adventure was sleeping.  All of us in one room, which for one night, was fine but sleep deprivation was most definitely the tune and theme of Friday.  When the kids are older they won’t care where they sleep, or who sleeps with them and will find it exciting to have floor pallets, or bring sleeping bags and all of those fun traveling experiences.  Right now, ours just don’t travel exceptionally well in the sleep department and are more confused, scared and unsettled than exhausted.  When you add in the exhaustion that they really do have running through their veins it makes for an interesting, restless, up and down night.

I will say it was a highlight hearing them upon putting them down for bed comforting each other over the monitor. “It’s okay Everett, I’m right here, don’t be scared, I’m not leaving.” Sweet boys.

JP’s Turn

Cousin Races


I did enjoy stumbling out in the wee hours of the morning in our PJs and slippers with Caden to try to let Everett, who had finally passed out get a couple of hours of sleep.  Tom’s mother Evelyn had just woken as well, put on a fresh pot of coffee and it was quiet and cute.  Caden ran up to her for a big hug, warming both of our hearts telling her “Good Morning” and then chatting away.  You would think she was his best friend all of the things he had to tell her.  After a couple of minutes he said “I don’t think I know what I am talking about.” We both agreed.

A Lesson in Chicken Wrangling

Yes, we packed up early and headed back to Dallas, but we had a limited reservation

Here chickens, chickens!

at the vet for dog boarding and though it is tempting at times didn’t want our pups to be homeless, or our bank account to be empty because of added fees.

With a quick stop at his other Aunt and Uncle’s organic farm, which was SO fun and nice for the boys to run around and see their 2nd cousins we were off. Sidenote: If you live in the Austin area, you MUST go buy some fresh produce from Springdale Farm. It is fresh (obviously), family driven and fun to see all right there

Traffic was atrocious but we survived and boy were the kiddos glad to get home and run around!

I think they were tired on the way home.

So we did it! We traveled on Thanksgiving, shared our thanks with family and the boys got to see all of their Kazmann family members all at once. A success indeed.


Road Trippin’

Posted by casey on September 12, 2013 in Escaping Home, Family, Nieces and Nephews Oh My!

Colter and I pretty much despise traveling with the kids.
We avoid it pretty much constantly.

Nephew Locke and Niece McKee

At their age it just isn’t particularly enjoyable.  Yes, they need the experience, and yes we need to do it so we know we can (like me taking them to Florida alone) but we do not have kids that travel particularly well or easily. Some people say they do which may be true, or they may be liars. :)  It took such a long time before we could even really leave our house semi-pleasantly with Everett that risking sleep is something we are still a bit hesitant on. Almost two years later.  Then again he didn’t start taking naps or sleeping predictably at night until he was 19 months.  Caden LOVES his room and his bed.  LOVES it.  So, when he goes anywhere he is fine until bedtime when he whimpers with the most concerned face you have ever seen, “I’m ready to go home now Mommy.  I’m ready to get in my bed.”  It’s sad.

Everett’s allergy and eating challenges make it tricky and unless we are somewhere with a kitchen or refrigerator of our own it is pretty much impossible since he can’t eat anything at restaurants.  So, we don’t travel with them often.

My furry nephew Toby. They need portraits too.

One day, when we can tell them to shut it, read their books, and eat what we put in front of them without much real misunderstanding on their part we will and we will all enjoy it and remember it.  Right now, man, it is hard.

Miss McKee

I have deterred.

We went on a road trip.
The extent of our traveling with them.
To Houston.

Super exciting right??!!  But it was.  We hadn’t seen Colter’s middle brother in awhile and we hadn’t taken the boys down there since Caden was like 8 months old or something.  Yes, we have seen them many times since then but since we are the lucky pair that has Nonna & Pa Pa in town they come to us often.

So, knowing that our kids play so well together we decided Labor Day was the perfect time to go down for a visit, snuggle our niece and nephew, let the kids romp around and maybe, just maybe drink a beer together while watching the Aggies kick off their football season. 

Overall?  Success.  The boys didn’t sleep much, which we knew would happen.  We crept out of the house in the mornings in our PJs while it was still pitch black outside to head to Starbucks so as not to wake the rest of the house.  All weekend the kids played, watched each other and giggled and Caden being the oldest (never happens) means he was teaching everyone all kinds of tricks they didn’t need to know such as, turn the shopping cart over and turn it into a “riding lawnmower” or stand on the coffee table trunk and jump to the couch.  Awesome.

It was SO nice to watch their bond with each other and with Uncle Asher and Auntie Meghan grow.  They are still talking about our trip and Everett asks to call or picks up his pretend phone to call Auntie himself daily.  What is interesting for us is that they actually have family resemblances.  My boys don’t look like most of their cousins, but Locke and McKee, you can see it.   How about his?


Locke will be three in March and McKee will be two in May. So they are each within a year almost of our boys.  It is a really great age spread for all of them to “hang out”.

Growing up I didn’t get to see my cousins much as we moved around so I have said it before and I will say it again that I LOVE that my boys have the opportunity to truly grow up with their cousins the whole clan of them.  It is so much fun for us to be on the parent side of this relationship now and to get to know our nieces and nephews while they are getting to know their cousins too.  They are all starting to get old enough to remember each other and respond to their personalities which is a great dynamic in this group.  Locke reminds me SO much of Caden at that age, a little more observant, a little quieter and full of so much sweetness.

Locke and McKee love their parents so much and I love seeing them in that role.  It isjust a pleasure to be around each other and Caden and Everett must think so too they way they chat about their cousins.  They think we are going to get in the car and see them all the time now.

Our boys fought, their kids watched, all the kids played, McKee wanted held, all the kids ate, naps were had, football was watched, coffee was injected…I mean drank, our boys taught, McKee and Locke learned, giggles were heard, cries were ignored…I mean tended to, forklifts were climbed on, portraits were taken, etsy was browsed, races were held, bats were swung, dolls were cuddled,beers were injested and conversation was had.

The boys passed out in the car as soon as we left which I take as a sign of too much fun being had.  Caden even told me that.  “Mommy, I just had too much fun, I’m SOOOOOO tired.”

If only they knew how much we hate to “travel”. Ha!
It was so worth the drive and the weekend away to spend time with sweet family.

We did it Houston!

What Four Under Four Looks Like in a Picture


The Sunshine State {Sand & Sun}

Posted by casey on August 28, 2013 in Caden, Escaping Home, Everett

As I continue to look through the photos from our trip to Florida to see Pop & Nana last month there is a specific set and specific days that stand out among the rest.

Baby Boy Beach Days

Fortunately for us, the beach was only three minutes away from my Dad’s driveway.  Therefore it wasn’t too much commitment to pack up and try it out as we did the first day just driving by to see how they would do.  Caden hadn’t been to the beach since he was 1 1/2 at Pop’s wedding in the Bahamas.  Everett had never been.

As soon as we pulled up and walked across the ramp they could see the sand and hear the waves which elicited squeals of delight as the beach was certainly before them.  After some minor convincing both boys removed their shoes prior to getting their toes sunk in the sand, and then after a bit more convincing Everett was willing to walk in it seeing as how he decided he didn’t have much choice.

It only took about 45 seconds for Everett to then decide that sand in your toes was awesome.  Caden was already well beyond settled in and ready to explore.  Since we weren’t planning on making a big day of it that first trip the boys even still had their clothes on as we stopped by on our way home from errands. Mommy smarts knew to at least throw their suits in my bag because there was going to be no stopping them from soaking themselves once they figured it out.


Caden was IN LOVE with the waves.  Everett was IN LOVE with copying Caden.  They ran and splashed and held tight to Pop & Nana.  It only took one wave catching Everett off guard a little as the tide came in more to knock him off balance and break his love affair.  He was not too pleased to be covered in soggy sand, half soaked, half dry and still unsure.  After making him realize it wasn’t so bad so that he wouldn’t be afraid we called it a day with promises to them both to come back with shovels and snacks (always their main concern) on another day.

All that afternoon, during our pre- nap, and pre-bedtime conversations and in phone calls to Daddy, the topic was the beach. “We went to the beach! I love the beach! I think we are going to go to the beach again sometime! Did you like the beach Mommy?! I think we had fun at the beach today!”  It was a sure thing that we had to go again and really let them have some fun.

A few days passed and then we brought up the idea of going back to the boys which just sealed the deal that we weren’t getting out of it.  We had signed a beach contract to them at that point.  We packed up some supplies, still minimal since we were so close to home and were off.  They picked shells, they buried Pop, we built the sand castle Caden had been asking for, they ran in the sand, they splashed in the waves, they ran from the waves, Caden held hands and jumped over the waves.  They played, they laughed, they snacked, they experienced the beach, and loved it.

We are still talking about the beach.


The Sunshine State {Petting Who?}

Posted by casey on August 11, 2013 in Caden, Escaping Home, Everett

Swimming, tractor rides and running crazy clearly wasn’t enough to occupy toddlers so we just had to throw in a zoo visit to change it up.  Obviously they needed more fun and excitement!  The Brevard Zoo is a great mid-size zoo that gets all the basics in while walking relatively shaded walkways in a compact space. So you get to see a lot without dragging your toddlers over entirely too far of a distance.

I used to go during the couple summers I spent there during college and we took Caden last fall by himself which he loved.  My son with the detailed memory was ready to go and knew just which turn to take to get to his favorite part, the petting zoo.  Last year it was all about the tortoise which still got plenty of love…after we made it past the Armadillo. Yes.  I said Armadillo, in a petting zoo.

Both boys giggled and scurried back and forth just like the animal itself not knowing exactly what to think.  One of Everett’s favorite books which we read every night before bed (and just so happens was give to him by Jordy) has an armadillo in it.  So, Everett was excited to get to say “Goodnight armadillo,” in person.

An armadillo, in a petting zoo, go figure.

Caden was adamant about NOT seeing any crocodiles.  Crocodiles are mean.  Crocodiles will eat him.  No crocodiles.  Right on past the gators…to the pretty birds.

Birdy want a cracker? Or some nectar?  The Brevard Zoo has this great bird exhibit where with a cup of nectar in hand you get a pet bird until it is empty.  Sometimes they reach over from their perch on the rail and sometimes they jump right on your hand, arm, shoulder, head, you get the idea.  The things we do for our children.

Everett is particularly fascinated with birds these days so he couldn’t believe they wanted to be around him up close and personal.  Unfortunately for him he didn’t quite get that you have to hold the cup of nectar still and not drop it.  So there was a bit of a learning curve that ended with enjoyment and giggles on both parts.

Plus, birds don’t eat you like crocodiles.
They think.

 As the boys began to grow weary, and I continued to be weary of their incessant whining (Honesty is the best policy right?) the zoo trip started to come to a close as we had checked off most of the animals, gotten hands on experience and played in the misting machines.  At this point I was pushing Caden in the stroller because he was just “so tired of walking mommy” and carrying Everett who wanted to walk but is just so slow at rare times.  Their favorite part of most zoos is always the giraffes and knowing they would get to see them right in their face here too, we schlepped over to their exhibit for one last stop.  I mean surely these giraffes were going to go hungry if we didn’t get there to feed them their crackers!  They weren’t messing around and after they all had a nice snack while the boys were enjoying a nice snack of their own we could say we had had yet another successful zoo visit with a lot of stories to tell Daddy.


The Sunshine State {Little Fishies}

Posted by casey on August 7, 2013 in Escaping Home, Family

Much of our visit was spent doing the norm – waking up at the crack of dawn…breakfast immediately…snacks two minutes later…lunch ten minutes later…etc.  While the boys weren’t sleeping great therefore I was sleeping even less it was affecting their coping abilities a bit.


Enter lifesaver here.
The pool.

I tell you what, minus that whole risk of drowning have to watch them at all times so they don’t fall in thing, having a pool in your backyard with toddlers is a dream. Dream.  Then again, every time we went out there they wanted in.  Maybe it is a dreamy nightmare.  Regardless, we utilized it A LOT.  Every day we were there in fact, sometimes multiple dips in a day.

Every morning the boys and I ate breakfast out back while watching the sun rise (literally) and chatting to the pool’s “robot”. Caden has an obsession with pool cleaners because he thinks they are robots…and he thinks he needs to talk to them, take care of them and be just enough afraid of them at the same time.  So, every morning we greeted the robot, decided if he was still sleeping (off) or awake (on) and what he was going to to that day.  Feet were dipped in by the step, which turned into Everett going in with his clothes on EVERY.SINGLE.TIME and breakfast was consumed all while waiting for the sun to go up the sky so that we could actually get in the pool.

Caden was a pro from the start.  Give him a pool and his floaties and he knows just what to do. Everett was a little shyer, thought he was been swimming great all summer as he “tested the waters” of Pop and Nana’s pool wanting Mommy in with him and more interested in running around the deck while getting in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out….shall I continue?  Once Caden learned to go all the way back to that red door you see there so that he could take a huge running jump into the pool, Everett got the picture.  Fun-to-be-had-here.  If Caden can do it, so can Everett.

Thankfully my little fishies had Pop in the pool with them too which was a nice break for them from Mommy who just clenches her eyes and only sees ER visits anytime they start playing.

Florida helped them become jumping experts, more confident in going under and thrilled to splash, ride rafts and kick, kick, kick at any given opportunity.


Florida fit right in for our summer swimming fun,
any my little fishies’ hearts.


The Sunshine State {Get it Going}

Posted by casey on July 31, 2013 in Caden, Escaping Home, Everett

Let me tell you, after an early flight and long day of travel you would think the boys would want to konk out like their Mama did. Wrong!  A short car snooze was enough to boost their sleepy morale and upon pulling into Pop and Nana’s driveway, they were off and running – on a tractor.

According to Caden, there were serious items to be checked off his “I’m at Pop & Nana’s List”, from his memory of last fall’s visit. The winning first task?  A lawnmower tractor ride.  He truthfully hasn’t stopped talking about his tractor ride from last fall, since well, last fall. So, it was quite high on his priority list once he found out we would be visiting again.  Conveniently for him, his car door opened right next to…the tractor.  The second we pulled in it was a big “Oh, look at this! I think we need to ride on this.”

Suitcases dumped inside, changed out of plane ride PJs.  Get on tractor.

Thankfully Pop has a big open greenbelt area directly across from his driveway which is perfect for blades up lawnmower tractor rides.  Caden remembered just what to do and was convinced he was ready to drive while Everett was just giggling and trying to decide if this was really happening. Yes son, yes it was.  “Get your tractor riding pants on because you’re up next!”

The only way we could keep the boys from continuing to beg for rides or fight over pretend driving it parked in the garage was to put it “night night”.  I found just about every greasy garage towel I could and we covered the whole tractor and each wheel one towel at a time while saying “Night night tractor, have a good rest, we will see you later when you feel better, night night.”  Seriously we did it.  Seriously it worked.

We may have even sung a tractor lullaby.
With his long awaited tractor ride checked off his must-do list Caden’s trip was off to a fabulous start and Everett was just seeing the potential…and that his big brother seemed to already know a thing or two about Pop & Nana’s house.

They took a drink, ate a five minute snack and then on to the next. Go, Go Go! Nothing beats a tractor ride like finding the baby floats while wearing your floaties to play bumper rafts to cool off!


The Sunshine State {On Our Way}

Posted by casey on July 30, 2013 in Caden, Escaping Home, Everett, Life as I Know It

Two weeks ago I embarked on a journey which included checking off a task from “The Bucket List No One Should Have”, flying alone with two toddlers. Insert dooming music here. Truth be told the boys did WONDERFUL! Caden flew with me last fall so he remembered and was extremely excited to ride on an airplane again. We had many talks about how I was going to need his help and what he could do to help; hold Everett’s hand, be a good listener, share his seat, etc.  We made a countdown checklist in the days leading up to our trip to see Nana and Pop to wrangle his growing anticipation and give a visual for them both.

The morning arrived and before the sun rose we plucked them from bed, put them in the car in their PJs and off to the airport we went. With a minor meltdown when Daddy said his official goodbyes at the security line by Everett…through all of security his first bottle was downed by his request and we were cleared and headed to the gate.  (Getting two lunchboxes, sippy cups, bottles, iPADs, backpacks and a stroller all through is marathon worthy, and I am thankful that my boys aren’t “runners” and stay right next to me holding hands. I have a pretty set method after flying twice with kids…four times if you count both ways!)

The real fun finally began, AIRPLANES!

My plan worked and we were able to maintain a row to ourselves the entire trip to Florida. (Everett didn’t have his own ticketed seat since he is still under two.) We had to stop in Austin and switch planes but the short layover worked great for restroom stops, special snack breaks and some running around time before boarding again.  It was nice for everyone to have a little space for just a bit and let them feel somewhat free.

I bribed the passengers sitting in front of and behind us with treat bags so that they would hopefully feel sorry for me instead of angry with me if the kids were wild-men.  Fortunately, they were entertained and maintained in our row with the backpacks full of games, movies, colors, playdough, trucks and special snacks.  Exhausting for me, fun-filled for them!

The boys were SO excited to see Nana and Pop that they ran in wild circles hiding, and tickling and tackling and giggling once we met.  I think the look on Caden’s face in these pretty much sums up his feelings on the arrival.

Over the states and into the clouds, to grandparent’s house we flew!

And then they passed out fifteen seconds into the car ride.

While the boys were resting up for a fun week ahead I was only thinking of what adult drink I was going to enjoy for conquering the feat of flying with them both.  I was so proud of both of them and yes, myself for doing it and it going so well.

Stay Tuned for Tales from the Sunshine State Trip


Remember When

Posted by casey on July 26, 2013 in Escaping Home, Snapshots

Remember that time I went to Italy for two weeks.
Three Months Ago?

I Spy St. Peter’s {Rome}

Where has the time gone?

I Spy a Chandelier {Venice}

I know where the pictures went.  On my external hard drive.
Where they are still sitting untouched.

I Spy Resting Gondolas {Venice}

Ah Italy.  I am getting to you.
Picture by Picture. Memory by Memory.


Battle View

Posted by casey on April 29, 2013 in Escaping Home

The view may not be the same and lacking in history, but we are viewing another battleground now.  Not that of Gladiators like last week at the Colosseum, but that of siblings.  It may not be filled with the same action, but sometimes it feels like it could be to the death too! I kid. Kind of.

But really.  I need another two weeks to catch up on sleep, pictures and laundry

Capuccino in Piazza San Marco – Venice

(9  loads so far).  Not to mention the nasty colds we contracted on our way home. Hooray! You aren’t taking me very seriously are you…coming from the girl who just spent two weeks in Italy?  I figured as much.

Now, would anyone like to bring us our afternoon capucinno? Please. Please?

Oh dear.  I think this back to the real world thing will take a bit of detox.

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