• Updates

    Monthly Recap: June 2018

    We had a great month!

    For Father’s Day, we started the day with Michael opening his gift – matching shirts for him and Gavin. Our routine for Father’s Day is to go to BJ’s Restaurant for dinner. They give dads a pint glass on Father’s Day, and since we go each year, we’re getting a nice collection of glasses.

    Michael & Gavin on Father's Day | rainerlife.com

    Gavin did a little fishing with his grandparents at the lake. The fish were biting, so he caught a bunch. A fun family outing!

    The realtors we use sometime host a family-friendly movie event as a thank you for their clients. This year, they hosted The Incredible 2. It was a fun time, and Gavin liked the movie. He also enjoyed dressing as a superhero!

    Gavin playing superhero with The Incredibles | rainerlife.com

    This time of year is nice for our flower beds. We’ve had lots of beautiful flowers blooming. Gavin and I have spent some time gardening and keeping everything looking nice. I enjoy have pretty flowers, and Gavin loves playing in the dirt. It’s a great activity for us.

    Day lilies | rainerlife.com

    Hydrangeas | rainerlife.com

    Day lilies | rainerlife.com

    Day lilies | rainerlife.com

    Gavin is improving with his swimming. We’ve been swimming on these hot summer days. Lots of fun memories in the making.

    Gavin in the pool | rainerlife.com

  • Updates

    Monthly Recap: May 2018

    It’s summer time!

    We started the month off with a week in Austin, TX. For info and photos about that trip, click here.

    Michael took a little time off, and instead of going somewhere on vacation, we did fun stuff at home. One day, we drove over to Cherokee Trace Drive-Thru Safari. It was fun to see all the animals and get to feed the ones that came near our car. We hadn’t been to a drive-thru animal park before, so it was a new experience. Something we would definitely do again.

    Cherokee Trace Drive-Thru Safari | rainerlife.com

    Cherokee Trace Drive-Thru Safari | rainerlife.com

    Cherokee Trace Drive-Thru Safari | rainerlife.com

    Cherokee Trace Drive-Thru Safari | rainerlife.com

    Cherokee Trace Drive-Thru Safari | rainerlife.com

    Michael, Gavin & Darinda at Cherokee Trace Drive-Thru Safari | rainerlife.com

    We plan on spending a lot of time by the pool this summer, so we enrolled Gavin in private swim lessons. Gavin really made progress with his swim lessons, and I’m glad we opted for private at-home lessons. I think it’s made a big difference, and Gavin’s confidence around the pool has increased.

    Mother’s Day was in May, and Michael and Gavin were so good to me. I started the morning off with opening a couple of gifts… well, they were for me, but Gavin opened them. That afternoon we went out to a delicious lunch with my mother and stepfather. A fun and relaxing day with family!

    Our town has a couple of breweries, and we sometimes go to the family-friendly events they host. This month, one of the breweries was hosting a crawfish boil. I love crawfish, and the added atmosphere of the brewery with music and a play area for kids was lots of fun.

    Crawfish and Beer | rainerlife.com

    Michael and I celebrated our anniversary this month. We have been married for six years! He knows me so well, he gave me bookends and a sign for my book blog. That evening, we went to dinner out at a Brazilian steakhouse. Another fun and relaxing day!

    Anniversary gifts - bookends & sign | rainerlife.com

    The Rainers | rainerlife.com

  • US Travel

    Trip to Austin, TX

    We took a quick trip to Austin, TX early in May. Michael had to go to a conference for work, so Gavin and went along too. While Michael worked, Gavin and I explored Austin and some of the fun family friendly activities.

    We drove to Austin on a Monday, so our first day in town was a Tuesday. Gavin and I went to the Austin Nature & Science Center. We were able to spend a couple of hours walking trails and looking at exhibits. It’s a very nice science center and a great place to spend part of our day. Gavin especially enjoyed the dinosaur dig area. We spent quite a bit of time there while Gavin played in the sand and dug for fossils.

    Gavin at the Nature & Science Center in Austin | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at the Nature & Science Center in Austin | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at the Nature & Science Center in Austin | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at the Nature & Science Center in Austin | rainerlife.com

    Our second day, Wednesday, was spent at the Thinkery. A great indoor learning space. Gavin was most impressed with the light up blocks. We explored the different rooms and did all sorts of activities. Gavin was a little young for a few things, but he was able to do most of the activities. That evening, Michael went on a “bat cruise” with others from the conference, so Gavin and I walked over to the Congress Bridge to watch the bats. We were staying at a nearby hotel, so it was a quick walk. We did see a lot of bats, but Gavin wasn’t very impressed. Still, it’s worth checking out when in Austin.

    Gavin at the Thinkery in Austin | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at the Thinkery in Austin | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at the Thinkery in Austin | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at the Thinkery in Austin | rainerlife.com

    On Thursday, Gavin and I went to the Botanical Gardens and Barton Springs Park. The gardens were fun to walk around and look at the different plant varieties. At the park, we rode the train and played in the playground. It was a very active day!

    Gavin at the Botanical Gardens in Austin | rainerlife.com

    Darinda & Gavin at the Botanical Gardens in Austin | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at the Barton Springs Park in Austin | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at the Barton Springs Park in Austin | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at the Barton Springs Park in Austin | rainerlife.com

    Our last day in Austin was Friday. Michael had the day off, but, unfortunately, it rained all day. Since our plans were mostly rained out, we stayed around the condo we rented, but did go out to eat for lunch and supper. The weather improved on Saturday, so we stopped at the Inner Space Cavern and toured the cave. It was very interesting, and the first time for Gavin to go in a cave.

    Gavin at Inner Space Cavern | rainerlife.com

    Inner Space Cavern | rainerlife.com

  • Updates

    Monthly Recap: April 2018

    It’s been a beautiful Spring! We’ve really enjoyed our flower beds this year. The azaleas, roses, irises, and a bunch more, all did great.

    Azaleas in our backyard | rainerlife.com

    We started April off by celebrating Easter. We did our usual Easter Sunday – Mass in the morning, followed by hunting Easter eggs, and then a family lunch.

    Gavin at Easter | rainerlife.com

    Gavin hunting Easter eggs | rainerlife.com

    Gavin showing his Easter eggs | rainerlife.com

    I’ve been loving our new home library. Their were two local book sales this Spring, so I stocked up on books. Now that I have somewhere to keep books, I can stock up when I find great deals.

    Home Library | rainerlife.com

    Gavin and I have been going to the local science place more often. He loves the different activities they have for the kids, and he even learns new things. Sometimes they host events, and in April there was a Mini Maker Faire. We enjoyed seeing what local “makers” are doing. The hands on activities were great.

    Gavin playing astronaut at Discovery Science Place | rainerlife.com

    Gavin playing at Discovery Science Place | rainerlife.com

    Gavin playing at Discovery Science Place | rainerlife.com

  • Home Improvements

    Home Library

    Home Library | rainerlife.com

    We did a home improvement project! It wasn’t exactly a planned project. I had wanted to turn the home office into more of a home library, and that’s where it all started.

    We took everything out of the room to repaint the floor. I had previously painted this floor, but it never looked good. The paint did not stick properly, and was coming up in areas. So, I scraped and cleaned the floor to try repainting it. I painted it using the same paint I had used on the floor in the home gym, which looks really good and we haven’t had problems with. After painting the floor, it did look good, but it was still coming up in areas. I gave up. I called a local flooring place that had done the wood floors in other areas of our home, and they installed wood floors for us. The floors look great. Really, it’s way better than a painted floor.

    New floor in home library | rainerlife.com

    New floor in home library | rainerlife.com

    Oh, and since I had everything out of the room, I thought it would be a good time to repaint the walls. I painted the walls Behr Full Moon, which is the same color as our living room. The walls were fine and didn’t really need painting. They were painted with Behr Sparrow a few years ago, but I wanted it to be brighter, so went with a color I knew would really brighten the room.

    After the walls were painted and the flooring was done, it was time to put in bookcases. I wanted a lot of bookcases, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money. So, I went with the Ikea Billy bookcase. It’s a staple among bookhoarders booklovers everywhere. I like the look of the white bookcases, so we bought six of the regular bookcases and two of the narrow bookcases. We got the extension unit for all the bookcases to add extra height. After I assembled them and secured them to wall, they were ready to be filled with books.

    Billy bookcases for home library | rainerlife.com

    Billy bookcases for home library | rainerlife.com

    Other than the bookcases, the only furniture in the room is the desk and chair that we already had. I would like to add a comfy chair. I’m not exactly sure what I want and where I want it, so that will have to wait.

    I’m really happy with our new home library. I’ve been spending more time in this room, and it may be my favorite room in the house. We purchased more bookcases than we had books to fill, so we can continue to grow our library.

    Home Library | rainerlife.com

    Home Library | rainerlife.com

    Home Library | rainerlife.com

  • Updates

    Monthly Recap: March 2018

    Happy Spring!

    We started off March with Gavin running in a local 1K race. He ran the whole race and had lots of fun.

    Gavin ready for the Freshie 1K | rainerlife.com

    Gavin running in the Freshie 1K | rainerlife.com

    Gavin with his medal after the Freshie 1K | rainerlife.com

    Gavin and I went with his Honey, my Mama, to a local quilt show. She’s a quilter, and it’s always nice to see all of the beautiful quilts. It’s not Gavin favorite activity, but he was a good boy and put up with us looking at quilts for an hour or so.

    Gavin and his Honey at a quilt show | rainerlife.com

    We finished fixing up our new home library. I’m really happy with how it came out, and have been enjoying having all the books in one room. I bought more bookshelves than I have books to fill, so I can continue to add to our collection. I will do a separate post on this home project in the coming weeks.

    Home Library | rainerlife.com

  • Updates

    Monthly Recap: February 2018

    It’s been a fun and busy year. After our vacation to Hawaii in January, we were ready to do a few things around the house.

    We had already hired someone to install a new front door for us. We had enough space to put a double front door, and we opted for solid wood. It looks great, and we’re happy with the new door.

    New front door | rainerlife.com

    We also did another home improvement project. It wasn’t exactly a planned project. I had wanted to turn the home office into more of a home library, and that’s where it all started. In the end, the room is now painted, has new flooring, and new bookcases. I will do a full blog post about this room when the bookcases are installed. I’m really excited about this room, and envision spending a lot of time enjoying it.

    New floor in home library | rainerlife.com

    For Valentine’s Day, we enjoyed a night out. A local restaurant was offering a Valentine’s dinner, so we all got gussied up and went out. Plus, I got some beautiful roses from Michael.

    Valentine's Day flowers | rainerlife.com

    Gavin dressed for Valentine's Day dinner | rainerlife.com

    Gavin is great at entertaining himself, but he also likes to be near me. While I was cleaning house one day, Gavin was set up with his chalkboard and chalk. He’s been improving his drawing skills, as in he attempts to actually draw something. One day, he drew a picture and told me is was a picture of me. He was so proud. Below is the photo I took of him and his artwork.

    Gavin with his drawing of his mommy | rainerlife.com

    I have wanted to have a separate blog for all my bookish posts, and I have finally finished setting it up. If you are interested in books, then check out my new book blog Nightcap Books. I mainly post book reviews, but I also post my personal reading goals and updates.

  • Home Improvements

    New Front Door {Before & After}

    New front door | rainerlife.com

    We got a new front door! This has been on our to do list for a while, and we decided to do it last Fall. We picked the door and ordered it in October, but it didn’t come in until January. It took longer than expected, but we are really happy with the new door.

    We had the old door and sidelights removed, and had a new double door installed. It’s nice to have a door that opens so wide. Next time we move furniture in and out will be a breeze. Plus, it looks amazing!

    Front Door {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    New front door | rainerlife.com

  • Updates

    Monthly Recap: January 2018

    We started off 2018 with a bang!

    My birthday is in January, and this year was a big one, so I wanted to take a family vacation to celebrate. We traveled to Hawaii and had a fantastic time. I love beach vacations, and Hawaii was beautiful. We stayed on Oahu and Maui. I already posted about our trip, so click Oahu or Maui to read about our trip and see photos.

    Pearl Harbor | rainerlife.com

    Dressed for the Old Lahaina Luau {Maui} | rainerlife.com

    Sunrise at Haleakala {Maui} | rainerlife.com

    Maui sunset | rainerlife.com

    When we returned from vacation, we were in the mood to get a few home projects done. So, we focused on that for a little while. I’ll do separate posts about what we did when everything is finished.

  • US Travel

    Maui Vacation

    Kamaole Beach Park III {Maui} | rainerlife.com

    Aloha!

    We spent most of our Hawaiian vacation in Maui. We mainly wanted to relax and do fun family related activities, and Maui is great for that.

    In Maui, we rented a two-bedroom condo located in Kihei. We had a great location, right across the street from the beach. The condo worked well for us because both bedrooms had king beds. Most condos I looked at had a king in one bedroom and two twins in the second bedroom. This one had a bedroom upstairs in a loft area, with a king bed and a private bathroom. The other bedroom was downstairs, as was the kitchen and living room area. Another perk was the lanai. Technically, both bedrooms had private lanais, but they looked back toward the condo complex, whereas the lanai off the living room was large and looked out toward the ocean.

    Sunset from our lanai {Maui} | rainerlife.com

    We arrived in Maui on a Wednesday afternoon, and didn’t do much that day. We found the condo, unpacked, went out to eat dinner, and enjoyed a relaxing evening. In Maui, a rental car is necessary, so we booked a car for the week so could explore the island.

    On our second day we picked my mother and stepfather up from the airport, they stayed an extra night in Oahu. After getting everyone settled in the condo, we decided to go shopping. Well, my mother, Gavin, and I went to a quilt shop for her to shop fabrics, and the guys (Michael and my stepfather) went to a brewery. After that, we stopped at the Kihei Kalama Village for shopping and dinner.

    Friday was spent at the beach and ended with a luau. We walked across the street from the condo to go to the Kamaole Beach III and spent the day there. Friday night we went to the Old Lahiana Luau. It was a fun experience, and something we all enjoyed.

    Old Lahaina Luau {Maui} | rainerlife.com

    Dressed for the Old Lahaina Luau {Maui} | rainerlife.com

    Roast pig at Old Lahaina Luau {Maui} | rainerlife.com

    Old Lahaina Luau {Maui} | rainerlife.com

    Old Lahaina Luau {Maui} | rainerlife.com

    Saturday got off to a rocky start. That was the morning the missile alert message was sent out. So, we saw that on our phones, and tried to verify if it was real or not. We never panicked or anything. I did try calling a couple of police stations, but never got through – guess we weren’t the only ones calling. We turned on the local news because the national news wasn’t reporting anything, and the local news announced it was a false alert, so we went back to drinking our morning coffee and enjoying the view. It was still a little while before we got phone alerts that the first message was an error. Anyway, we never really did anything that day. I went for a long walk by myself down the beach. I walked along Keawakapu Beach, Mokapu Beach, and Ulua Beach. It was beautiful, and I enjoyed a nice, long walk along the beach.

    Gavin at sunset {Maui} | rainerlife.com

    On Sunday, Michael, Gavin, and I went to Lahaina. We did a whale watching boat trip, walked around town, and had lunch. It’s a great town to walk, and had plenty of restaurants and shops. Also, there was a big harbor there, and a lot of the boat tours left from that harbor.

    Gavin whale watching {Maui} | rainerlife.com

    Whale watching {Maui} | rainerlife.com

    Whale watching {Maui} | rainerlife.com

    Monday morning was a very early start. We got up really early to drive up to Haleakala National Park to watch the sunrise. It was a beautiful sunrise, but Gavin did not like it. He was sleepy, and it’s really cold, so he wasn’t having it.

    Sunrise at Haleakala {Maui} | rainerlife.com

    That afternoon we drove over to Big Beach, also known as Makena Beach and Oneloa Beach. It’s the widest beach we went to. There was a serious shore break, so swimming was a little more dangerous on this beach than some of the others we visited.

    Big Beach {Maui} | rainerlife.com

    Michael and Gavin at Big Beach {Maui} | rainerlife.com

    Tuesday was our last full day in Maui, and we drove over to Paia. We wanted to visit somewhere on the north side of the island, and this town seemed like a good choice. We walked around town, visited some shops, and ate lunch. On the way out of town, we stopped at Hookipa Beach. We parked the car, and Michael and I walked a little on the beach while Gavin waited in the car with his Honey and Pappaw. This is definitely not a swimming beach, but there were some kiteboarders out. This is also the only place we saw sea turtles.

    Hookipa Beach {Maui} | rainerlife.com

    Hookipa Beach {Maui} | rainerlife.com

    Wednesday was our last day in Hawaii. We flew from Maui back to Dallas. Another long travel day. We were all exhausted when we got home, but had a great time in Hawaii.

    Gavin playing at beach {Maui} | rainerlife.com

    Maui sunset | rainerlife.com