Port Aransas Vacation – Cinnamon Shore

Long time no talk!  My people!  Or I should likely type “person” since my mom will be the only one to read this.

I thought I would do a quick recap of our trip to Port Aransas and stay at Cinnamon Shore.  I had so many people ask me about it I think because it is a fairly easy drive from Oklahoma.

So lets do this!  Boom.

We had decided earlier in the year that we were going to do a beach trip this summer.  We also decided that we may never fly with our youngest daughter again so we knew we would need to drive.  I put a post on Facebook asking for recommendations and had a friend text and tell me about Cinnamon Shore.  It seemed like this cutest quaint place and so we said done and done.  Booked.

We knew we would be driving through Corpus Christi otherwise you put your car on a ferry.  It seems like a lot of people did it but it was just as easy to keep Ol’ Black Betty the minivan on land.

About Cinnamon Shore:


Cinnamon Shore is a beach front community.  It really has everything one could need on a beach vacation.  The property has 2 restaurants, 2 pools, a few ponds to fish in, super easy access to the beach, a great lawn with lots of space for games and running.  For the kids they had smores night, movie night, snow cones, and anything else that you could think of.  We rented a 1 bedroom condo with another bed for the girls and it was just enough space for all of us.  But they have giant houses able to sleep 15 people.  I didn’t snap a picture of our condo but it was just like any other VRBO situation.  The house was stocked with all necessary items that you would need.  We just bought groceries for drinks, breakfast, lunch, and snacks knowing we would be eating dinner out every night.

Cinnamon Shore also offered stuff like sandcastle building help, surfing lessons, and other really fun random stuff for the girls.  They didn’t do the surfing lessons because they are both such great surfers already 🙂 but the sand castles were epic.

They would set up umbrellas and chairs for us each day. We brought the girls little chairs. That pier behind our set up is Cinnamon Shore. It’s that close.
We found a real life mermaid!
One of the great pools at Cinnamon Shore
Getting her smores on
There wasn’t much I didn’t love about Cinnamon Shore.  We did have a small snag at check in where I went to the wrong condo and woke up parents knocking on what I thought was our condo.  So next time I’ll probably have someone drive me to the right condo.  The place is big and the numbering is a bit funky….and in my defense they numbered my check in papers wrong.  Other than that it was great.  Everyone told us that the restaurant on the property was super amazing but sadly we never did get to try it.  We had the grill restaurant by the pool a couple of times but never made it to the nicer restaurant.

One last thing to just throw out…..the condo has a washer and dryer and because I was so crazy about all the darn sand being every single place I looked…..I washed our swimmies, clothes, and towels every single day.  So I WAY over packed.  Lesson learned.


I hadn’t ever been to a Texas beach so I didn’t realize you could just drive your car right on up to the water.  I’m not just talking about golf carts either.  People pulled their minivans, campers, Mercedes, you name it we saw it on the beach.  So strange but totally convenient.  The water isn’t nearly as blue as other places but it was just as fun and the same big beautiful ocean.


When we were making our plans for our trip a couple of people had mentioned the golf carts.  First you can drive them on the beach for the day.  This helps a lot with small kids and lugging everything although like I said you can also just drive your Prism right on up there too.  The second thing is you can drive your golf carts down the beach to the Port A town entrance area and then cruise around town that way.  If I were to do it again I think we’d do the golf cart but I might do more checking on price.  It’s not cheap and I’m not sure if that was just the company we rented from and because we got it later or what but I didn’t do much research.  The only time we even got in our car while we were there was a day it was raining and we went to Corpus Christi.  So I suppose we did get our use of it.



Our favorite meal of the entire trip was at a restaurant called Black Marlin  It was seriously delicious.  Ben ordered the shrimp and grits….wowza.  img_5655

We also ate at Virginia’s on The Bay.  It had awesome open air eating on the marina.  We looked out at the ocean while we ate.  Pretty awesome.

Same with Trout Street.  We sat on the deck and looked out over the marina.

Bronn’s To Go Slushes – because Momma needed some daiquiri on the go.

We were VIPs at most of the ice creams shops in town and they were all really great.


On Memorial Day we woke up and it was raining pretty badly.  So we got in the car and went to the USS Lexington.  We ended up not going on the tour but the girls thought just seeing it from the outside was awesome.



After we looked at the USS Lexington for a bit we went right across the street to the Texas State Aquarium.  It was awesome!  The girls had so much fun and there was SO much to see.  I was super impressed and so happy that we loved it so much since it was raining.



The last day we were there we also went to the park by the bay where the ferry comes in and out.  It was actually a really pleasant surprise.  A playground that looks a like a pirate ship that was cool but the coolest part was all the sea life we saw while near the bay.  We probably saw 10 dolphins, giant jelly fish, and the coolest was a HUGE sea turtle.  I hadnt ever seen a sea turtle this big in the wild (is that even the right term? the wild ocean?)  You get my drift.

Do you see him?

So there is my not short at all recap of our trip.  I was really pleasantly surprised by Port Aransas and Cinnamon Shore.  We will for sure go back as a family.  As much as I love the cold mountains and cardigans all year long I think we have a couple of beach babies.



Have a fun summer!






A year later….a lifetime of wonder

My Dad with Lydia on her 1st birthday

Someone asked me the other day if it felt like my Dad had been gone forever or if it felt like just the other day he passed.

I couldn’t answer.

The truth is, neither of those are true for me because it doesn’t feel real.

Until it does……….and then it hits me like a ton of bricks.

Like a punch in my stomach.

Then, there I am having to abandon my cart at Homeland grocery store because I’m crying so hard I can’t catch my breath.  I leap into my car and cry tears I didn’t even know were there.

I cry tears and feel sadness because an old man asked me where the tomato juice is and then I remembered that my Dad will never get that old.

And then in that moment I wonder.  I wonder so much….

What he’d think about Evie.

What he would be like as an old guy.

What did he wonder about?

What kind of relationship would we have as he got older.  Would he live with me or one of my sisters?  Would he cook us dinner?  He loved to cook.

I question everything I did and mainly didn’t do and I wonder “why the hell Haley….Why didn’t you.”

This week is hard.

I recall everything about this week last year with such clarity.  What I can tell you is that the day and the moment he took his last breath wasn’t the saddest part. I literally felt him leap out of this world and become free of pain.  Each time I asked my Dad if he was scared he always answered no.  I always made sure he wasn’t.  I was so scared I couldn’t hardly remember to breath.  I couldn’t imagine my life without him and here I am.  I had so much to tell him and to do with him.  I am still so scared to let go that I try to forget it’s real.

Grief doesn’t have a right or wrong response.  A year later I haven’t learned anything about this process except for that.

As I go through my life I’ll wonder about what my life would be like with him.  In that wonder I’ll do my best to honor him and remember he’d want what’s best and happiest for his girls.

Dad, I’m so so sorry you never got the chance to fill your own wonder and I won’t ever stop wondering for you.

I love you and I miss you.  Today and forever.

One Reason. My Dad.


This is a picture of my Dad.  He died on February 13, 2014.  3 days before his 67th birthday and many many days too early.

He was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer and 4 weeks later he was gone.  He knew what he was up against but he had this fight in him that I’ve never seen in my life.  The chaplain in the ER came to his bedside and asked him about an advanced directive and he just looked at us with tears rolling down his face and said “Well this is it.  I either make it or I don’t.  I love you all and I’ve always just wanted the best for you.”  He wanted so badly to live.  To fight this.  Like so many with cancer he didn’t get that chance.  Did he suffer in the interim of his fight?  Hell yes he suffered.  Did things happen to him he would have much rather his daughters not have to see?  Absolutely.  But I can tell you this much…..he didn’t die undignified.  He died with his daughters holding his hands and looking as dashing as always.  It actually was the most dignified, peaceful, and heartbreaking thing I’ve experienced.

My Dad was there and in one final breath he was gone.  Forever gone.

I didn’t start blogging again after 2 years to tell you this sad story without a point.  My point is simple…..a death while fighting for your life isn’t dying undignified.   Whatever that fight looks like it’s damn sure not undignified.

My take on this story of Brittany Maynard is simple.   I have no idea what it’s like to be diagnosed with cancer or be told this tragic news.  She however has put her opinion of her life out for us all to think about and start talking about.  While I feel so sad for her and the tragic news she has received about her own life I am appalled at the people calling her decision to kill herself brave and courageous so that she dies with dignity.  It’s not about religion for me nor is it about my feelings on mental health and suicide (don’t get me started with either of those topics) it’s simply about one thing…..My Dad.  I’d give anything to hold his hand one more day….whatever suffering came with that one day I’d still take it gladly.  I’d help him pee.  I’d hold him while he cried.  I’d help him remember where he was.  I’d do anything for just one more moment.  Whatever that moment was.  I’d introduce him to my daughter he never met.

Brittany Maynard may have 2 more days after she takes that pill.  She might have 2 months.  But she’s choosing to take those days away.  Those moments.  Those introductions never made.  I can’t understand that.

Sure it’s her choice.  Her body.  Her life.  I just wish she loved all those things enough to know that she can fight for every last breath and STILL die dignified.  Still die with love surrounding her.  Still make an impact on this world without making suicide ever seem right.

Baby Spooniest – The short version

I was diagnosed with PCOS a year before Teddy and I started trying.  I went on Metformin.  It hated me for about the first month but we liked one another after that.

I was on Clomid from my OBGYN for 3 months when Teddy and I got serious about trying.  It didn’t help me ovulate whatsoever.

We started seeing a fertility doctor that my OBGYN referred us to.  He pushed IVF from the very start. 

I had a HCG done and was told there was slight blockage and it was slow to fill.  IVF was pushed even harder. 

We wanted to get a second opinion.  We got ALL of our medical records from the first fertility doctor.  Including the HCG results and took them to another doctor that my OBGYN suggested. 

Our new fertility doctor (Dr. C) was AMAZING from the start and during the first meeting with Dr. C we never even heard the words IVF.  In fact she said that my HCG results weren’t bad at all and gave us a lot of hope. 

We felt much much better about our options and future.  Whew….that was a good idea to get a second opinion….thanks TEDDY! 

I was on Clomid for 2 months and still no ovulation. 

Dr. C gave me the highest possible dosage of Clomid along with a trigger shot and wanted to take this next cycle very serious and possibly try IUI if I did ovulate.  A person can only be on Clomid for up to 6 months at a time and this was my last month to try with this particular medication.

We ovulated!  Whewhew!  And on a whim we decided IUI would be our best bet!  Go big or go home!  We were ready to give it our best shot and this was our best shot!   Teddy held my hand the whole way through and before we left that room we held hands and said a prayer I’ll never forget.  A moment shared with my sweet husband that might not have been our ideal way of conceiving but it was where we were and we were blessed to be there.

We waited the 2 weeks after the IUI…..

And on the second to the last day of waiting I took a pregnancy test and it was negative.  I was so sad.  But Teddy reassured me that they make you wait for a reason.

I woke up the morning of the day we were supposed to test and it was POSITIVE!  I couldn’t believe my eyes….so I took 5 more tests.  We went to Dr. C’s office that morning, had my blood drawn and sure enough….the IUI and the prayers had worked.  We were Baby carrying fools and oh so happy! 

Some people might think this post is over sharing but I want this to give someone hope that might not have any.  And if you think it’s over sharing then I’m not sure why you’ve read this far down. 

Before you are ready to start trying I suggest having your OBGYN run tests on both!  Like my dad always says….If you’re going to do something do it right.  You can’t get pregnant if you aren’t working right! 

If you or your Teddy have a diagnosis of something that will hinder you from having children don’t be scared to ask your insurance if you have to wait the 1 year before seeing a fertility doctor.   Our insurance did not make us wait the year since my PCOS was stopping me from ovulating.  You have to ovulate to get pregnant….duh. 

If you have a tug at your heart-strings to get a second opinon DO IT!  Don’t be scared!  Some doctors just aren’t a good fit and that’s why there are lots of them!  What’s right for some couples just might not be what’s right for you!  It’s that simple! 

Sorry this post has taken me so long to write….I’ve been busy going to be at 7:30 PM CST.  I’ll be back soon to touch on the much more important topics like baby bumps that are confused with overeating and tummy fat and seeing your baby move on the ultrasound the first time.  It’s pretty amazing stuff….this being pregnant. 

Lots of love,

Spooniest and Baby Spooniest


Really Exciting Baby News –

I can’t tell you how thrilled Teddy and I are about starting our family and being blessed with the amazing news of finding out I am pregnant! 

Yesterday I was offically 14 weeks pregnant. 

I am going to be telling the whole story right here on my blog because not only do I want to remember but I think it will help anyone out there that might be dealing with the frustration of baby making. 

Including but not limited to baby making the fertility way, doctor hunting, throwing up in cups while I drive, burping more than a frat boy, and other really wonderful stuff!  Stay tuned!

Each Day….

Each Day I feel my best when…..I am doing something for someone else that brings them joy!  

It can be making dinner for my husband, helping to make a connection for a rescued dog, buying ice cream sandwiches for our employees on a very hot day like today….I just really find myself so happy when I know what I’m doing is going to make someone else feel joy!  How they react, based on their day isn’t always what I would like, but it’s the joy I put into the act that also counts and I have loved learning this lesson!

What about you?  You finish the sentence! 

Each day I feel my best when……….

Confirmation of my Faith

I was confirmed on Saturday, Easter Vigil, as a Catholic.  Teddy and his family have always been Catholics and I had really come to enjoy the faith and decided to join my husband’s faith so we would be a family unit.  This included classes every Tuesday for 8 months, meeting a lot of great people who were also going through the class, but most of all diving right into a new faith with complete intrigue. 

A few days before my confirmation Ric, Teddy’s father sent me this email.  I wanted to share it with you all because it’s a wonderful email and I think everyone can appreciate his valuable words.


Haley, I wanted to drop you a short line to congratulate your “doggedness” in learning the Catholic faith.

You & Ben have developed a strong personal relationship.  In all Christian churches, the key is developing a strong personal relationship with another guy — Jesus.  He wanted us to be one.

As Catholics we give good example and help each other on our journey.

We believe when we get to heaven, Jesus will first ask us “who did you bring with you?”, it not just saving your own butt.

There is always doubt, Mother Theresa wrote of her doubt.  We have faith to see reality beyond the physical senses.  It is not scientific truth like the law of gravity and not beyond reasonable doubt like the courtroom.

All faith communities are a compass to the “wisdom of the ages” to lead an unbroken life for you, your husband, & your kids — honor God, respect others, don’t kill, steal, lie, love your spouse more each day, don’t desire foolish stuff, be meek, comfort the suffering cause we all need help.

Welcome aboard, enjoy the ride.

Love always — Dad Ric


Going through the classes, watching my marriage grow in ways I never imagined because of it, and really putting my faith in a new perspective has been amazing.  Something I’ll never forget.  Ever.  Thank you to those who have helped me, welcomed me, and supported me.