Road to Chicago (Day 4) ...

When you're from Texas a two hour drive is basically a stroll down the road. So when I looked up the drive to South Bend and saw that we were only 93 miles away I knew that we had to add a visit to Notre Dame to our itinerary. 

I love visiting college campuses... and when they are as beautiful as this one, it's easy to see why.

We all lit candles at the grotto and just paused for a minute to sit and pray.

I love that this is just in the middle of campus ready for anyone to sit and reflect and pray. 

We ventured into the Basilica which is truly breathtaking.  

We just missed mass for the day but I can only imagine how amazing it would be to worship within these walls.

The good student affairs professional in me thought it would be fun to see what their student center was all about and lucky for us, they had a Subway! I will be willing to bet than when we ask the kids to tell us one of their favorite stops from trip - one of them will say Subway.

On the way out, we said Howdy to Touchdown Jesus...

and then bid Notre Dame farewell with a "gig'em."

We were back in Chicago by 2pm and Ryan won "Dad of the Year' by dropping us directly off at Maggie Daley, parked at the hotel, grabbed bathing suits and walked back so the kids could play in the splash pad. This park really was worth the double visit, especially if you have littles!

We ended the night filling our bellies with some amazing food from Eataly...we ate so fast that we may have set a record. From there, Ryan and Rad met the cousins for dessert and the girls and I headed back to the hotel for some girl time/sleep!

We still have three days left...and I can't wait. My heart is almost too full to function y'all...what an amazing treasure it is to share these travels with my people. 

Royally Waiting - Vacation Mode

Howdy friends!  Welcome to Royally Waiting.  I'd love to join you today but I'm on vacation and taking some time to enjoy my family.  Don't worry, you can read all about our Road to Chicago thus far and still link up and share what's been going on in your world!   

I'll be back here to share all about the next adventure I'm waiting on next week!  Be sure to hop over and see what Shelly and Holly are waiting on today!


Road to Chicago (Day 3)...

Chicago is definitely our kind of town! Sun, breeze, no humidity - we may never leave. We are early risers but most of the things that we want to do don't open until 10am, so we headed straight to Maggie Daley Park on Monday and basically had the entire place to ourselves. 

If I had a couple million to spare, I would build this exact park in College Station. We all had so much fun climbing, sliding, and running around!

We wasted money on a played a round of putt putt and decided that unless the putt putt course is LEGENDARY then we'd probably not do that on vacation anymore. But let me tell ya, the "please please please please please" "can we can we can we can we" of little kids is hard to resist. 

Maggie Daley and Millenium Park are connected with this awesome boardwalk that gives you amazing views of the Chicago skyline. I mean, I feel like you can't even photoshop a day that beautiful.

And this is what happens when you ask strangers to take your picture. Two of them actually because I didn't like the first one at all. My poor family. And yes, we have a selfie stick, I just keep forgetting it. My bad.

Editors note: We are the most basic family ever because I most certainly bought the boys those Cubs shirts for our trip. (Extra note: we really do love the Cubs, not just because they won.)

When in Chicago...

Landry and Emmy have been in to taking pictures - this one is definitely a framer.

We tried to convince the kids that no one knows how or why The Bean is here. I don't think we did a good job of convincing them that aliens put it here.

Mom takes a picture - waits for a clear moment and snaps 1000.

Stranger takes a picture - ALL OF THE PEOPLE ARE IN  IT!

My little beans  in front of the bean!

We did a quick change at the hotel because it warmed up quickly and headed to Navy Pier for lunch and an afternoon of fun.

I'm not sure if Landry had to pee or just thought this pose was awesome. 

And look - we were there too! (Thanks for the angled shot, Rad -HA!)

Finally - a stranger that took a great picture!

This is a new ferris wheel with lots of upgrades including the gondola type seating. 

Rad and Ryan took a ride on the swings but we couldn't convince the girls so I sat this one out and I'm so glad I did because I feel like I nailed this shot!

We headed to the water taxis for our last stop of the day.

I think I finally agree that they may look a like. 

We headed to the former tallest building in the world - Sears/Willis Tower. Can I make a confession - I had no idea that Sears Tower was named because it was the HQ of Sears. As in the retail giant. Y'all. How clueless am I? And how crazy is it that Sears was once that big of a retailer!?!? It recently had a name change because the new largest tenants are the Willis Company. I don't think I like that.

The lighting was perfect for pictures. 

After three super looooonnnggg days the kids were exhausted. Landry fell asleep at dinner and missed out on the pizza. We called it an early night and all fell asleep as soon as our heads hit the bed!


Road to Chicago (Day 1 & 2)...

We began our annual road trip adventure bright and early on Saturday morning. Radley set his alarm for 4:30am y'all and I'm not sure he even slept because he was so excited to begin - we all were! We loaded up the car, grabbed some coffee and we.were.OFF!

Our first stop came from Holly's recommendation from their trip to Memphis. If you are ever near or headed close to Hot Springs, Arkansas then you need to plan a trip to Garvan Woodland Gardens. We packed food for a picnic and enjoyed the beautiful sites and sounds (and WEATHER) before heading out to explore.

We stayed about an hour longer than we intended but we could have stayed all day long. Every inch of this space is beautiful and enchanting. It's seriously gorgeous and a GREAT way to get rid of some of that energy from sitting in a car all morning.

These are the kind of pics and adventures I really hope they look back on with fondness. The big trips and elaborate days are awesome, but these moments of us in our shorts, tshirts and flip flops with messy hair and unscripted fun are the memories that matter. 

(We are currently working on our selfie stick skills.)

The kids had a list of items to find in the gardens and I'm pretty sure all of them liked the fairies the best. I mean - that's the TOOTH FAIRIES house (including teeth!)... Emmy was SO PUMPED. 

Everywhere you turn is something beautiful. The kids and I decided that Ryan's newest project is making our backyard look like this. Good luck, babe! 

My four favorite people in the whole wide world.

And look - I even got in a picture! :)

Our last stop in the gardens was the Anthony Chapel and we lucked out and got there just as a wedding was finished so the girls got to see the bride leaving which was basically like seeing a real live princess. 

Poor strangers that always have to be the ones that take the pictures for the crazy lady.


We hopped back in the car and made the 3 hour drive to Memphis and headed straight to dinner. We helped the wedding photographer to her car as we were leaving the gardens (because of course we did) and she recommended a place called "Westy's" as her number 1 favorite all time place to stop in Memphis. We've already had the BBQ on Beale Street so we figured - why not!

The beer was amazing. 

And the food wasn't so bad either!!! I ordered the Mediterranean which was olives, ham, cheese and some special sauce with a side of homemade onion rings. Clearly living my best #Whole30 life over here.

Gina, the sweetest waitress you ever did meet, hooked us up with the "biggest fudge pie I have EVER made"...

We pretended we weren't going to be able to eat it all but spoiler alert: we did.

Sunday morning we were up bright and early again. We had big plans to make it Chicago by 3pm so we could explore some of the city! Our first stop was another Holly recommendation - Gibson's donuts. Y'all - we ate for $8.94 (not pictured: coffees and milks).


The only thing sweeter than those donuts were these faces!

We met the Peabody Duck Master (seriously, that's a thing) while we were eating at Westy's (which should clue in on how good this place was). We missed him walking the ducks down and were leaving too early to see them on Sunday, but he gave the kids some duck pins, told them all about the ducks and told us to come visit the duck palace the next morning.

Goodness, it was a BEAUTIFUL day.

And our selfie skills are improving.

The kids were also such good sports and then....

Yep. Landry and Emmy discovered that the momma duck had laid and egg and were so excited to show me. As they were running away I said, "no running"... they kept running and well.. 

Natural consequences are some of life's greatest lessons. Poor Landry scraped her entire face and her shoulder and then as Ryan was picking her up, she got sick. Everywhere. On the roof of the Peabody. So, we got delayed a bit on our start time but we made it to Missouri... 

Which has an awesome welcome center...

and Illinois ...

which also has a welcome center but not so great of a picture spot...

got settled into our hotel and then went to Ryan's cousin's house for dinner. Day two ended just as sweet as it started!