Arkansas Tag Along

One of the major benefits of the stay at home mom gig is the ability to "tag along" whenever we want too.  Justin had a sales training conference at his corporate headquarters in Fayetteville, Arkansas last week.  This is also where tons of his family and friends live so the boys and I came along for the fun. This was definitely one of our best "tag along" ideas!  

The drive up was just crazy.  Took us forever, made tons of wrong turns.  There are endless jokes and stories about our adventure in the car for hours and hours through the 2 lane roads of Oklahoma but none that should be shared here :-)  Ha!  Regardless, we made it to his cousins The Bowers Family early Saturday afternoon. I have to admit Saturday night I was kinda out of it and totally exhausted.  I didn't really even take my camera out to record any of the cuteness and fun we had or the delicious food! A couple of Justin's extended family came over who also work for JB Hunt and brought their 2 precious daughters, Ruthie (6) and Ryan (18 months).  Along with the Bowers kids, Hadley (3) and Noah (15 months) they had a blast!

On Sunday morning after a great nights sleep, we all were ready for a fun day.  We went to church and Hadley was so excited to show the boys here Sunday School class.  

Before church.  Noah (15 months) Hadley, Eli, and Beckett (3)

attempting to take pictures with the "pig" outside church

Eli and Hadley held hands everywhere
Sunday evening, The Bowers had small group for their church at their house and we made plans to go see a bestie that I had not seen in 4 years and her sweet family.  The McClure Family lived in Huntsville at the same time as us a little over 8 years ago at Lauren worked at Target with me.  She is mom to Lawson (4) and Spencer Kate (8 months) who is was born this past May on my birthday!  I cannot believe this is the first time I have met her beautiful children but I love keeping up with them on her blog. 
sweet girls share the same birthday.  33 years apart :-)

oh how hard we tried to get a good shot.  Even with 2 cameras going :-)
The boys and Lawson hit it off immediately and they were off and running.  We caught up, at great food from the Catfish Hole, talked, chatted, chased kids, fed kids, cleaned up kids, read books, and had a great time.  Lawson is an absolute hoot.  I am serious.  Although not surprising because Lauren is super witty and we always have a blast together.  

Funny story.  Eli thought Lawson was the the coolest.  Ever.  They sat together for dinner on the bar stools and I heard Lawson say "Mom, can I teach him the bad words?" To which he said no.  I am rolling my eyes over at Lauren like "what?" This goes on for awhile and finally Lawson starts with the "bad words".  Fortunately they involved things like "poopy pants" and "stinky poop" and generally potty talk but Eli thought this was the BEST. Look at him looking at his new best friend. 

After such a fun night it was surprising when we got in the car that Eli started complaining he was cold.  When we got home, he only wanted me to carry him and said he wanted to go to bed.  If you know Eli, this is a shocker.  I put him in his requested fuzzy pj's, tucked him in the bed with his blanket and cartoons and went downstairs to finish getting ready for bed.  When I came back up and hugged him, it was clear he was running a fever :-(  Little guy did not feel good at all.

After a long night Dad decided on Monday morning to take him to the doctor.  Beckett was super fussy too but no fever for him.  We seriously had the craziest morning ever with the kids.  We were so excited when reinforcements arrived. Although they were cautious because we didn't have a diagnosis for Eli yet, Justin's aunt Mary Jane, cousin Leslie, and her little one Silas came over from Harrison to spend some time with us.

Aunt Mary Jane reading to Beckett

lots of playing 
Hadley has a trampoline in her playroom 
Silas (2) .. What. A. Cutie!

with cousins Shannon and Leslie
Justin getting some Noah love
Fortunately dad arrived home with a sinus infection diagnosis and a little boy that said the purple medicine (ibuprofen) and a nap on daddy made him feel much better.  We all breathed a sigh of relief that it wasn't anything more serious.  Eli said he was ready for fun. But first, lunch.  A long story, but we ended up at Cracker Barrel which the kiddos loved!


and more shopping

a little checker playing with mommy
After lunch the kiddos went down for nap and we got some great time to catch up, eat Shannon's delicious cookies, and enjoy her Keurig tea selection :-)  Pretty soon, all the kiddos were up and ready to go.  Except sweet Beckett.  He obviously wasn't feeling well either.  After 2 hours, he fell right back asleep on me.  I put him back down and he slept 5 hours.  Really.  5 hours. 

sweet cuddles

wondering if he will ever wake up??
We had so much fun playing!  Hadley and Noah have the greatest play room and all the kids love jumping on the trampoline, playing house, reading books, puzzles, cooking, and so much more.

And all too soon it was time for them to go.  But not with out the required cousin picture  Here are the bloopers.  Notice they pretty much all involve Eli not wanting to take a picture.   We bribed them.  Yep, cookies all around!

And here are the winners :-)  Can you believe these stair step cousins all have October birthdays?? 

Eli (3), Hadley (3), Beckett (3), Silas (2), Noah (1).. All October birthdays!

Beckett and Silas

The three 3 year old amigos.  Hadley is 2 weeks older than the boys
Now, if you ask the boys what the most fun or favorite part of the trip was they will immediately tell you "bowling and games".  After trying to entertain the kiddos in the house for a few days, we were literally climbing the walls.  Shannon and I sat down to find somewhere..anywhere.. we could take them to get out.  The boys have never been bowling and neither had Hadley so we decided to go to Fast Lanes in Rogers.  It. Was. Awesome.  Seriously.  Awesome.  The place was fantastic and super kid friendly.  The set up was great, the service was amazing and totally catered to our little ones.  As soon as we got there we got our shoes, our lanes, and out balls.  How fun was the green dragon?  

First time bowlers

my two little ringers

even Noah got in on the action

also doubles as a slide
What a fun bowling trip!  Love this pic of all of us together
Now, all 4 kids really enjoyed bowling.  But Beckett was IN LOVE.  Even when Eli and Hadley got a little bored and distracted, Beckett kept on playing.  He would bowl frame after frame after frame all by himself.  He could get his ball, carry it over, throw it down, come back, wait for the ball, and do it all over again.  Over an hour. No kidding.  He stopped just long enough to kill a piece of pizza and a fruit cup. He finished eating, looked at me and said "Wipe my hands mommy, I've got to bowl!"

After bowling and lunch, we hit the arcade for a few games.  It was awesome that the kiddo lunch came with 100 tickets so we didn't have to pour in a ton of money to win tickets.  I think they all loved shopping the ticket store the most and enjoyed their winnings.

Eli chose the monkeys
sucker for Noah
candy tube for Hadley
While we were there Shannon and Nathan were seriously the best hosts.  Shannon is an amazing cook and put gourmet meals on the table for us 3 times a day.  She was so patient with the tornados that blew through her house daily.  The extra mouths and hands in her kitchen.  She even had fun things for us to. The boys loved painting and crafting with Hadley.

And of course a house full of 4 kids under the age 3 makes for some fun bloopers and good times!

Little boy pillow fights

Noah LOVED this!
playing in Shannon's pantry

funny meal time conversations
walks in the woods 
minivan full of babies


comparing belly buttons

always chasing the big boys

Cruising neighborhood in the Cadillac Escalade

Sweet baby snuggles. Only happy near his big boy friends
This trip was packed full.  Full of crazy times, tons of laughter, lots of tantrums, a few tears, more hugs and kisses than you could imagine, and sweet sweet memories with friends and family. I miss them and the craziness already.  I personally think they should just all move to Texas so we can play every day :-)  Thank you Shannon for hosting us!  This trip was the best!

The Riley's

The Riley FamilyComment