Monday, April 23, 2012


11 months, 1 week

One of my best friends in the whole wide world, Rea, is having a baby in June. She lives in Arkansas and we don't get to see each other more than a couple of times a year. Well, being from Wichita, I was planning on attending the baby shower she had there. Unfortunately dates didn't match up, so we decided to drive down to Fayetteville for her 'couples' baby shower. Since both girls hosting the shower were pregnant, I offered up any help and we made plans to head down south!

Our original plan was to head to 'the lake' - Grove, OK where all my dad's sisters live and meet my Dad/Pat down there for the weekend. Then Nick and I would just drive over to Fayetteville for the shower. Well, my dad had some minor health issues come up last week and they decided they weren't going to be able to make the trip. Once we knew my dad was in the clear, we were still going to head down for the shower and just leave Saturday, instead of our original plan of Friday.

Well, my fabulous husband and the best daddy ever, found this awesome place in Eureka Springs, AR called Turpentine Creek ( They rescue wild cats (think tigers, lions, cougars, even bears) from crazy people who think they would make good pets. They have over 100 animals (sadly) that have been turned over from again, crazy people, who decide that cute little tiger cub isn't as cute when it becomes a full grown adult tiger that could eat your face off. So these wonderful people have set up a sanctuary for these animals - some are in small caged areas, but many have large caged grass areas with room to roam. So we decided we had to take Brock to see it! We re-planned our entire trip to leave Friday morning, head for the 'big cats', then stay near Fayetteville for the weekend.

Turpentine Creek, while it was cold/windy, did NOT disappoint and it's somewhere we will go again! You could get so close to these wonderful creatures! Tigers, Ligers, Lions, Bears, Cougars and other animals. While I usually hate seeing them in cages, all of these animals seemed very happy in their home!!

Friday night we went to dinner with Rea and her husband Budd. Brock absolutely loves both of them! They are going to be such amazing parents and I can't wait to meet their sweet princess in a couple of months!

Given that our trip was altered, this meant we still had time to make the hour drive over to visit my family. Randomly, it turned out a bunch of my cousins were there also, one with his baby that is just 3 months younger than Brock. It was WONDERFUL to see my family. Brock got to play with his cousin Tristan and while Brock is usually grabbing at people's faces, etc, Tristan was giving Brock a taste of his own medicine. However, Tristan was much more gentle than Brock usually is! LOL! Only a few little melt downs out of Brock due to being tired, but they seemed to love hanging out with each other!

The shower on Saturday was so fun and Brock was the life of the party. He let people hold him and play with him and finally passed out on Mommy at around 9:30. He certainly took advantage of the 'vacation schedule' with later bedtimes! Luckily, he also slept in a bit!

Overall the trip was just wonderful. Life down there is so much less complicated and slower than where we are and in the best way possible. You feel like you are able to clear your head and think of what really matters. It's just an absolutely gorgeous part of the country. There were so many times over the weekend that I just wished time could stop. Seeing Brock laugh at the 2 tiger brothers wrestling each other, taking him to my absolute favorite place as a child and introducing him to my family, seeing him watch the fish in Aunt Mollie/Uncle Delmar's pond, being with Rea and Budd and seeing how great they will be with baby Monroe.

It was a much needed break from everything for our whole family. I feel like it even helped Nick and I reconnect. Those 4 hour drives to and from really gave us time to just talk. Not about what was going on this week, or what chores need to be done, or how work went that day. Just talk, like we used to, about everything and nothing all at the same time.

Brock wasn't a fan of being in the carseat that long, but overall he was wonderful! People at the shower kept asking if he's 'always that good' and while we do see his 'naughty' side more than others, we were so proud and thankful to be able to say 'yeah, pretty much!'.

Rea and Budd taught him how to say 'bye bye' and wave! He had been doing the waving, but they really helped him put the 2 together! We are now saying 'mama', 'dada', 'dog', 'oscar' (sometimes and it's still a work in progress), 'uh oh', 'bye bye', 'no' and many other things he randomly repeats after us! He LOVES to clap! If you start cheering 'yeah', he'll start clapping! He also started mimicking our faces this weekend. He's just so much fun!!!

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