Waco

A little over a year ago, my family and I packed up and set off on a road trip to Texas. Yep, that’s right. An eighteen hour drive with a two and a four year old, AND I was pregnant. A road trip from Minnesota to Texas. A total of 1,056 miles. EACH WAY. But we were not just going to Texas – we were going to WACO, Texas and it was going to be worth it. (If you don’t know why we were going to Waco, I’m not sure we can be friends. 😉 Kidding. Waco is the hometown of Chip and Joanna Gaines of the HGTV hit show Fixer Upper. Now you know.)

So the day after Christmas, we got up way too early (3am to be exact) and hit the road in a snow storm. Fortunately, we drove out of the snow and the kids slept for several hours. We told ourselves we would take it slow, stopping as needed to give the kiddos a break from the road.

    

We invested in a couple of iPad minis for Christmas for this road trip specifically. HELLO, if we are going to drive across the country – I’m GOING to use any form of entertainment/distraction possible. Judge me if you want – but it was completely worth it. I loaded their favorite tv shows, movies, and games onto their iPads prior to Christmas so that when they opened them up on Christmas morning, they were all set to go for the next day. It worked like a charm for our four year old. He put on his little headphones and hardly made a peep. Our two year old did get a bit antsy and the iPad didn’t work as well with her, but we had some other toys and tricks up our sleeve to distract her.

Somewhere in Iowa…

The first day we made it about 12.5 hours to Tulsa, Oklahoma before we called it a night. It was good to get into a hotel room and let the kids play and run around. We ordered a pizza and enjoyed being out of the truck for awhile.

The next morning we headed out for our final stretch to Waco. Just five and a half hours to go. Except there was Dallas. Just a word of advice – try NOT to hit Dallas at rush hour. There’s nothing like six lanes of backed up traffic, all headed through the heart of Dallas. That was quite the experience, and let me just say – it made me extremely thankful for my one stoplight, rural hometown in northern MN. I really don’t think I could deal with that regularly! Once a small town girl, always a small town girl. 🙂

We arrived in Waco by the early afternoon and were all set to see everything there was to see. We checked into our hotel, Hotel Indigo, which is located just about three blocks from THEE Magnolia Market. Hotel Indigo is a wonderful place to stay and close to many attractions. The rooms are beautiful, modern, and clean, and I highly recommend staying here if you are planning a trip to Waco. It’s a five star hotel in my opinion and a reasonable price to stay. I would stay here again in a heartbeat.

The only slight downfall to the hotel was the outdoor pool. It would have been great, but it was unseasonably cold for a couple of the days we were there, making it tough to climb into a cold pool when it was only 60 degrees outside. We enjoyed the hot tub instead (or as our four year old would call it – the “hot pool”). The pool really wasn’t a make or break for our stay. We spent very little time at the hotel anyways. I’ve also heard that the Gaines family frequents the restaurant in Hotel Indigo, so you never know who you may get lucky to see during your stay.

After check in, of course we headed straight for Magnolia Market. We were there about an hour before closing time, and as we soon found out, it was the best time to visit the store. The crowds were quickly dying down, as opposed to the mile long lines earlier in the day. Magnolia Market is really a beautiful place to visit. You can tell they have put much thought and effort into making it a destination for travelers. I was in awe to see the Silos at Magnolia, which I had seen for so many years through my television screen. The Magnolia shop is absolutely perfect and gorgeous. The farmhouse style is what I’m all about, so I could basically just live there. If you need me, I’ll be on the lower floor napping in the twin size bed covered with the gorgeous “Matilda Jane by Joanna Gaines” bedding. Oh, and I’ll probably snacking on some freshly made kettle corn.

  

Behind Magnolia is a large, grassy, back yard area with giant swings, yard games, food vendors, a covered shelter with picnic tables, gardens, and Magnolia Seed + Supply. I could literally spend hours here just hanging out and taking it all in. It is such a fun and inviting environment.

  

  

The Silos Baking Co. next door is super adorable, but the lines are so LONG to even get in – unless you are there at 7am when they open! My husband went on an early morning run a couple of times during our stay and stopped in right when it opened, in hopes to find something for breakfast. There weren’t too many breakfast options, but he did bring a box of delicious cupcakes back to the hotel for us. Cupcakes for breakfast? YES, PLEASE. While on vacation…right?!

While in Waco, we took in as many sights and experiences as possible – many of them being “Fixer Upper” related. We drove by several of the homes that have been featured on Fixer Upper, including Chip & Joanna’s Bed & Breakfast, the Magnolia House, in the nearby small town of McGregor, Texas. It would be a dream to stay in the Magnolia House, but it books out months in advance so getting a reservation can be a little difficult.

A recent news article(at the time) shared that the Gaines had purchased a local restaurant that they would be transforming – so we stopped by that and took pictures outside (then: Elite Cafe, coming soon: Magnolia Table). The Elite Cafe was a historic diner in Waco that is said to have been frequented by Elvis Presley in the 1940’s. How cool is that?? I’m super excited to see the way Chip and Jo fix this one up.

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Laundry Basket Babies

^A display of photos for Jake’s 1st birthday party!

A tradition I started – kind of by accident – when my oldest son was a newborn, was to take a photo of him each month in the same laundry basket. I actually took his first photo at just a few days old. When he was a month old, I was doing laundry one day and wanted to see how much he had grown. So I snapped a quick photo. At two months old, I did the same…and so on. I loved seeing his growth each month!

Now, I’m on my third baby and have continued this tradition for each child every month through their first birthday. I display several of these photos in my laundry room. On those crazy days when the laundry is piling up and I find myself complaining that it never ends, I see their photos and I am reminded that it is a BLESSING to do their laundry – not a chore. I am thankful for every single day I get to spend with them, and I’m beyond blessed to have three little loves (and a wonderful hubby) who create these piles of laundry for me. I’ll be completely honest, laundry is not my favorite thing to do. But seeing each of their sweet, little, happy faces in the very laundry basket that I am using reminds me to count my blessings and to serve my family with a cheerful heart.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine…” Proverbs 17:22