vacay part 1- GW boutique, a blogging trip, + life w/one

So the last two weeks have been c r a z y. :D

With just a couple of weeks left before school starts, we knew if we didn't try to do something now we would have trouble leaving on a trip. We are people of routine, apparently. :) We like being home, especially when we have so many events happening in the next few months. But our anniversary is coming up, and I think the last time we took the kids for a kid-vacation (not a mom-related trip) was in 2014 so we decided to try to do something fun before 2017. :D

It all started a weekend ago now, when my dad and Rob's mom and dad kept the older five kids so we could have an anniversary vaca/break. :) With the baby in tow, we weren't eager to pay to stay in a hotel and not sleep so we stayed home and it was a FANTASTIC decision.

Our parenting break started with a trip to north of the big D for the Declare Conference opening night. They invited alumni back for a Q+A session:

I can't believe it had been four years since I last attended. I remembered all over again that night how much I loved this conference! It's purpose is to remind and encourage bloggers to declare His glory! It's about making much of Him through digital evangelism. I can't imagine a better goal for a blog conference. :)

We arrived early in Southlake for the conference so we decided to look for a Goodwill in the area to kill time. It wasn't too far away, but we drove right past it because it had a different name (!!!!!):

What? :D I've been calling it GW for years so I couldn't be more excited to see it in real life! :)

It smelled much better than a normal GW store, and was closer to a consignment store in the quality of their items (which meant the prices were higher than a regular GW). I didn't find anything I wanted, but it was fun to shop in a different environment. :) 

The next day was our Ivy-loo's first birthday!!

How can she already be one year old? I have no clue. We picked up the kids Friday from my dad's and took them to Nana's, then we had her all to ourselves all weekend long. 

Lest you think a mere 1-year-old single child cannot make many messes, I offer you proof that they can and do destroy entire rooms single-handedly:

Good thing she's cute though. :D

One nice thing about being alone for dinner at home is that you don't have to make dinner at all. You can buy random groceries and enjoy eating snacks like this:

With the munchkin tagging along, the next day we opted to celebrate our anniversary with a fancy lunch at our favorite restaurant in East Texas. I can't believe I used to be mostly vegan, because I kind of really love getting steak, crab, and duck as an appetizer: 

And I had chicken for lunch:

And they were extra sweet when they found out we were celebrating an anniversary: :D

Our weekend ended all too soon, (the kids weren't ready to leave the paradise of Nana's house either), and then it was back to the early alarm four of the next five days. :D

I have to set three alarms so I can wake up slowly. :D 

And then there was a special project I've been working on for two weeks solid, two Classical Conversations orientations (1 left to go!), subbing extra fitness classes, packing for vacation, and more- I'm just glad I made it out of last week alive. :D Thank you Lord God for ordering our time and giving us the energy to do what we need to do. :D

We are now headed back from vacation part 2 that (Lord-willing) I plan to tell you more about soon (and I have something very exciting for you too!). :D 

How many alarms do you set to wake up? Are you a snoozer? :)

Have school orientations started for you too?

Have you ever eaten duck? :D
I've had a tough steak version on a cruise, but those duck cigars were perfection.