Friday, July 22, 2016

{Friday Five}

Happy Friday! Y'all, this post almost didn't happen. I am exhausted both mentally and physically. This week was hard. Real hard. It's been one thing after another starting back when we were on vacation. Our 2nd day in Panama I woke up to texts saying that my sweet daddy had been taken to the hospital by ambulance. He was having a hard time breathing. After running many tests they sent him home with a diagnosis {can't remember the name} and some prescriptions. He had some inflammation which was causing the shortness of breath. We saw him the day we got back from vacation and he still wasn't feeling that great. He went to his PCP this week and told her some other things he was experiencing and she knew right away what was going on! Praise the Lord for good doctors! Also, the last morning of our trip Mason woke up at 3 the morning complaining of an ear ache. I gave him some children's Advil and he was back to sleep in a bit. The next day it bothered him pretty good {Sunday} so I made him an appointment as soon as I could on Monday. His doctor checked it out and he had swimmer's ear. No surprise...we have a little fish on our hands and were in the water for the majority of our vacation. She prescribed him an antibiotic ear drop. After a 3 hour ordeal we finally found a pharmacy that had the drops in stock! Then early Tuesday morning we woke up to a call that Nate's Grandmother had been taken to the emergency room. She was experiencing bad headaches and some neck pain. The headaches were debilitating and she couldn't barely move. After running every test under the sun they diagnosed her with a pinched nerve. She was released yesterday. In the wee hours of Thursday morning Mason started thrashing around in bed, moaning and then eventually crying hysterically. He kept saying he didn't know what was wrong and he just didn't feel like himself. I wanted to freak out! It's hard hearing your 6 year old crying and telling you he didn't feel like himself. At first we thought he was in the middle of a night terror, which we are not strangers to. But, we soon realized that he doesn't speak that clearly when he's in the middle of a night terror. And for once, I almost wished that it was a night terror because we know how to handle those and know that they'll be over before the next day. That wasn't the case. Once Mason finally came to he said that his head hurt and that his gums hurt. We immediately knew what was going on. Mason had an appointment today to get a baby tooth extracted. It had a cavity and his dentist saw no reason to fill it because it was going to come out soon anyway. Xrays showed that the next tooth is right there and already pushing on the baby tooth. She wanted to get it out before it became infected. Well, of course it got infected the day before it was to come out. Thursday morning Mason woke up and had some swelling on that side of his face, but no pain {Praise Jesus}. He said it just felt tingly and weird. I called Nate immediately and then called the dentist. They were able to get him in withing hours {Praise Jesus!}. His dentist put him on an antibiotic and rescheduled the extraction for Monday. She said the infection would fight against the anesthesia and Mason would be able to feel more pain. She told us things to watch for and when we needed to go to the emergency room. Fast forward to yesterday evening. I noticed that the swelling was getting bigger and it was getting warm in that area. Nate agreed, so we packed up our things and went to the emergency room. The waiting room was full and we just knew that we were in for the long haul. However, we were in and out of there in 45 minutes or so. The doctor looked him over and told us that the swelling was in the jaw/mouth area only and to keep giving the antibiotics and use warm compresses. He also prescribed him a mouthwash. One of the things we are watching for is that the swelling doesn't get down into his neck which could cause choking or blockage of airways. Mercy! Mason is such a tough  and brave little guy. I am so thankful for his high tolerance of pain right. I feel terrible and the guilt is in full force! I mean, we stay current on all of his doctors/dentist visits, this is just one of those things that happened in the in-between. Doesn't make my mama heart hurt any less, though. So yeah, that's been our week so far. If you are the praying type, we could use some prayers.

Now, time for five on Friday.

{O N E} // Posts from this week {which weren't many because of vacation!}

Tuesday >> We're back from vacation!! 
Thursday >> Day one in New Orleans

{T W O} // These are the pictures I sent to Nate to show him Mason's swelling. Poor guy!

{T H R E E} // Despite the tough week we've had we managed to squeeze in a few minutes on Monday and Tuesday down at the pond fishing. We are holding on to those vacation vibes pretty strong. More on the fishing later...I have too many precious pictures to share!

 photo 10_zpstwnpw7xm.jpg

{F O U R} // These two boys were reunited on Monday and it was so so sweet! I love them something fierce. Diesel gets a spa day today!

{F I V E} // Two of my sweet blogger friends {Jess & Amy - both are private blogs} have come up with a fun photo challenge for the month of August. I am so excited to join them. I love any good excuse to take some photos!! The challenge will run from August 1st until August 31st. Share your photos on social media using the hashtag #funinthesunphotochallenge. If you're a blogger you can share your first half of photos on August 15th and then again on Sept 1st. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

{Vacation Recap // New Orleans Day One}

If I am being completely honest, I have been putting off these recaps something fierce. Not because we didn't have an amazing time, but because I have been overwhelmed with photos and videos and all of the organizing and editing that comes along with it. There were 1153 photos (after a major purge) and 83 videos sitting in my "vacation" folder and it gave me anxiety!! When you are recapping an 11 day trip there is a lot to cover. Please tell me I am not the only one this happens to?! So for the sake of full disclosure, these recaps will be picture heavy. You have been warned. :)

We had the best time and made so many great memories as a family. I love that even though there were 7 of us (6 adults and Mason) and we visited two towns that we have never been to that we were able to do many fun things for Mason. I was worried about New Orleans not being too kid friendly, but we made it work. I mean, that's what vacations are all about right? Making memories that your child will remember for a lifetime.

I know I shared about our vacation on the blog and where we would be going (bucketlists), but I don't think I mentioned that we were camping glamping for the entire trip. We took Nate's parents 42 foot travel trailer and stayed at RV resorts in both New Orleans and Panama City Beach. Nathan, Mason and I have our own bedroom in the camper which makes it completely convenient when travelling with a child. The fun part was packing for 11 days with no plans of using a washer or dryer for clothes and towels. But, we managed just fine. Nathan, Mason and I rode with Nate's parents so that Nate could be a 2nd driver (pulling the camper) if needed. Nathan's brother and his girlfriend drove in their Jeep.

Our camper and camping spot in New Orleans
We started our trip on Thursday, July 7th. We drove to Shreveport, LA (3-3.5 hour drive) for a quick overnight stay. This was also the night the guy started shooting the Dallas Police. We spent the evening in the camper watching the news coverage and checking news sites on our phones. Our hearts were breaking and fear was creeping in. I don't think any of us (besides Mason) slept a wink that night. We couldn't believe something so tragic was happening so close to home. We also saw threats that this was going to happen the next day in Baton Rouge (which wasn't far from where we currently were and where we'd be travelling through the next day). At some point in the middle of the night it hit me that my mom's office was in downtown Dallas and my dad is usually in Dallas or around Dallas for his job. So I started texting my entire family to stay away. Just stay home. And then I spent the rest of the night going back and forth between prayer and checking the news. Devastating.

We were on the road at 6:15 am the next day destination New Orleans (about 6-6.5 hour drive). Nathan drove the second half of this trip (first time to pull this camper). We arrived to New Orleans in a torrential downpour and the road we needed to take was blocked off by a train that was completely stopped for an unknown about of time. We had to detour and finding roads big enough to fit us provided quite the challenge. Nathan was put through the ringer! We finally made it after about an hour delay. We camped at Pontchartrain Landing RV Resort which was nestled right along Lake Pontchartrain and only 12 minutes from the French Quarter. It was incredibly nice with an amazing pool and a dock/pier right behind our campsite. There were the cutest little pastel colored houseboats right behind us that you could rent. I was tempted to rent the turquoise for a night because they were so dang cute! There was also a boat repair shop across the lake so we saw all kinds of neat Yachts! We really enjoyed this resort. It was the perfect place to come home to after a long and hot day in New Orleans.

 photo 1_zpsagwoqxa4.jpg  photo 2_zpsnefkqrtd.jpg  photo 3_zpsmjv2fdc9.jpg

New Orleans - Day One - Swamp Tour & a Cajun Supper

Once we got settled in Michelle and I went to the office at the resort to book a swamp tour. There were so many to choose from and we wanted help from the professional/local. Sweet Ashley helped us find a good tour that fit all of us and we booked it for that evening. We didn't have to leave for a couple of hours so everyone (except for Mason and I) took a quick nap. Everyone was exhausted (both physically and mentally) from the events the night before and the early morning and long drive. Mason and I just had some quiet time. It was finally time for our Swamp Tour. We went with Louisiana Swamp Tour Co. I highly recommend them if you're ever in the New Orleans area! They also offer Plantation Tours, Airboat Tours, Ghost Tours and New Orleans/Katrina tours. The swamp tour was a complete blast and our tour guide (Captain Rocky) was awesome and very personable. We lucked out and had a fairly small group on the boat. Besides us 7 there were only 4 others. We had so much room to roam the boat and see gators on every side of the boat. I loved that for Mason. He and Rocky became bffs and Mason was always right next to him. Captain Rocky took us down swampy canals and bayous and got us up close and personal with a ton of gators! We fed them marshmallows, which we thought was kind of strange at first. But then someone asked why marshmallows and he said 1.) gators only see black and white, and well marshmallows are white, 2.) the texture is much like a fish, and 3.) they float. And let me tell you, those gators loved those things!

(I didn't take my big camera and now I regret it!)

 photo 4_zps8vd89m9g.png  photo 5_zpszi3bffip.png  photo 9_zpsltbdkosz.jpg  photo 7_zpskmjueywb.png  photo 8_zpsrls0qgw8.png  photo 14_zpscbgljxoa.jpg  photo 6_zpsxszdnbwf.png

Somewhere near the middle of the tour Captain Rocky asked if anyone would want to hold a gator. Mason ran to the gator and had it in his hands before I even had the chance to be terrified! It was a two year old gator and he was pretty calm. We learned that mama gators leave their babies when they are very young so this tour company will rescue them and keep them until they are big enough to survive on their own. While keeping them safe they are a fun attraction for the tour! Mason loved it. That boy has no fear sometimes!

 photo 11_zpseomzoshs.png  photo 15_zpswlufmeve.png  photo 16_zpsmez8bqfi.png  photo 13_zpsuhsr4klg.jpg

I plan on making a video of all of our vacation videos combined, but I wanted to share this one that Nathan captured on the GoPro. He lowered it down near the water to get a good view of the gators!

Swamp Tour - Louisiana - Gators from Crystal Hall on Vimeo.

The tour was both exciting and relaxing. And even though it was a swamp, it was quite beautiful as well. It was the perfect way to spend our first day in Nola. After the tour we asked Captain Rocky for some suggestions on some good Cajun restaurants in the area. He gave us three or four suggestions and said that we couldn't go wrong with any of them. We just randomly picked one called Boutte's. When we first sat down we were less than impressed with the service. Our waitress was a bit abrupt and came off pretty rude. But, by the end of the evening she was joking and chatting away with us. We just forget that some places are not the same as the southern hospitality we are so accustomed to here in Texas.

Nathan's dad ordered a batch of chicken livers as an appetizer (umm, yuck). We were sure he'd be the only one eating them, because um, no thanks! I can't even think about eating any kind of liver without gagging. Well, he offered one to Mason and he ate it. And he liked it. So much that he didn't even eat his meal. He only ate the chicken livers. He may have drowned them in honey, but he ate them. I couldn't even watch him because I wanted to throw-up.

 photo 17_zpshme0ubnk.png  photo 18_zpsn6jvdpno.png

After supper we went back to our resort for an evening swim before calling it a night. It was a great first day in Nola.

Next on our agenda...The French Quarter. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

{Back from vacation}

We are back from our 11 day vacation to New Orleans and Panama City Beach, FL! We had an amazing time and truly made so many great memories. I have hundreds {maybe even over a thousand} pictures to go through before I start posting vacation updates!  Being back is so bittersweet. The Type A in me is ready to get back to somewhat of a routine, but then it makes me sad to think just how fast summer is slipping by. I'm not ready to send my sweet boy back to school just yet. So, these vacation updates may even take longer to post because I am going to soak up every single last second of summer.

Hope you're having the best summer ever!