• Updates

    Monthly Recap: December 2018

    Merry Christmas!

    December was full of family activities. Gavin was super excited about Christmas this year, which made the month so much more fun.

    We started the month with setting up our bookish Advent calendar. I wrapped a bunch of books, and each day Gavin got to open one. It’s a fun way to count down the days of Advent. We used Christmas and winter themed books.

    Bookish Advent | rainerlife.com

    We went to a couple of events to see Santa. We did the mall Santa early in the month, and finished up our Christmas shopping. We also did a breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

    Gavin with Santa | rainerlife.com

    Gavin with Santa and Mrs. Claus | rainerlife.com

    One fun-filled day, we went to Jefferson, TX, to ride the Christmas train and then headed to Marshall, TX, to see the Christmas lights. The train ride was fine, but it was during the day. They used to do it during the evening, so displays were lit up and it seemed more Christmasy. During the day didn’t seem as Christmasy, but Gavin got to ride a train, which is always fun. After Jefferson, we drove to Marshall for their Festival of Lights. We walked around the downtown area and took in the sites. Gavin rode the carousel with his Honey and Pappaw, which is somewhat of a tradition now. After that, we all rode a horse-drawn carriage. Probably the highlight of our day.

    Gavin on the Christmas train | rainerlife.com

    Gavin with his Honey and Pappaw on a carousel | rainerlife.com

    Horse-drawn carriage around Marshall, TX | rainerlife.com

    We celebrated Christmas by going to Mass on Christmas Eve and opening presents on Christmas morning.

    Gavin asked for LEGOs for Christmas, specifically, NEXO Knights and Minecraft sets. We did get him some other things, but he is REALLY into LEGOs.

    Gavin on Christmas Eve | rainerlife.com

    Christmas morning rainerlife.com

    Gavin opening Christmas presents | rainerlife.com

    That’s it for the month of December. Can’t wait to see what 2019 brings for our family!

    The Rainers | rainerlife.com

  • Updates

    Monthly Recap: November 2018

    Hey There!

    November was a great month! We managed to stay busy and get a few things accomplished, but I didn’t take any photos this month. Going through my camera roll, I had five or six random shots, and that’s it. I’m getting worse about remembering to take photos, so I’m going to try to make a little more effort and take more photos each month.

    Our biggest thing this month was getting a new car for Michael. He had been thinking about getting rid of his truck and getting something that got better mileage. After shopping around, he decided on a plug-in hybrid by Kia. It gets great mileage and is the perfect size for our family. We’ve only had it a few weeks, but we’re all enjoying the new car.

    We had a nice, relaxing Thanksgiving and enjoyed some family time. As usual, we ate too much food, but it was all so good! We’re not big on shopping on Black Friday, so we stayed home and watched football. I did make a trip over to the bookstore that afternoon to get some books while they were on sale, but that’s about it for our shopping. We did do some shopping the week after Thanksgiving, and it looks like we’re mostly finished with buying gifts. We also got our Christmas decorations out that week, so we’re in the Christmas spirit around here.

    A couple of random shots from my phone this month…

    Gavin goofing off while shopping | rainerlife.com

    Gavin playing with LEGOs | rainerlife.com

  • Updates

    Monthly Recap: October 2018

    October was full of fun! Gavin loves Halloween, so this time of year is a blast!

    We went to a couple of events at the library this month. Early in the month was fire safety week, and firefighters were at the library talking to the kids. Later in the month was Halloween at the library. The kids dressed in their costumes for storytime. So cute!

    Gavin on a fire truck | rainerlife.com

    Gavin on a fire truck | rainerlife.com

    Gavin as an astronaut for Halloween at the library | rainerlife.com

    A local event that we enjoy each year is Dogtoberfest. It’s an event the combines dogs and beer in a family friendly environment. Even though we were not looking for any new pets, we enjoyed walking around and looking at all the dogs and cats that were available for adoption. We have our hands full with the two dogs we have, but if we were looking to adopt a new pet, this would be a great place to get one. For the beer portion, they sell tickets for a beer tasting. They had more than a dozen breweries set up, and we were able to try some beers we hadn’t tasted before. Since it’s a family friendly event, they had face-painting and bounce houses for the kids. For food, they had a bunch of food trucks. The event was at a different venue this year, and it was better than the past years. They had an indoor space for the beer tasting, and it was so much better. In the past, the tables have been close together, and so many people go to the tasting, that it’s hard to get around the crowds to get samples and talk to the brewers. The outside part was better too. It seemed like a good layout for everything, so hopefully they stick with this place for future events.

    Pumpkin face-painting | rainerlife.com

    Bounce house fun | rainerlife.com

    Gavin really likes pumpkins, so we bought one to carve this year. Gavin picked out a pumpkin and a design he wanted carved, and I carved it for him. He was supervising me the whole time, and was very excited about having a jack-o’-lantern for Halloween.

    Carved pumpkin for Halloween | rainerlife.com

    It’s been rainy a lot, and, unfortunately, it poured down on Halloween night. We usually do a family costume and take Gavin trick-or-treating, but that didn’t happen this year. The day of Halloween, Gavin and I ran errands around town, and he wore his astronaut costume while we did that. During the day, he said he wanted to be an alien. I think this was because Michael and I were aliens last year. Anyway, we did get him all dressed up as an alien that evening, so he was excited about that.

    Gavin as an astronaut | rainerlife.com

    Gavin as an alien on Halloween | rainerlife.com

    It was a great month!

  • Updates

    Monthly Recap: September 2018

    Happy Fall!

    It’s been a pretty quiet month around our place. We had a lot of rain in September, so we spent more time at home and going to indoor activities, like the library. Fortunately, Gavin loves books and storytime. We also went to see the new movie Small Foot, which was cute and we all had fun.

    The fair was in town this month, so we went to that one night. Lots of fun watching Gavin enjoy the rides, and we all enjoyed some yummy fair food!

    Gavin at the fair | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at the fair | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at the fair | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at the fair | rainerlife.com

  • Updates

    Monthly Recap: August 2018

    It was a big month around our house. Gavin had a birthday! He is now four years old. Growing up so fast! His birthday was early in the month, so our first weekend in August was busy with birthday celebrations. He had a great time with all the birthday activities – family time, presents, cake, birthday dinners, a movie, a local tiger rescue, and an aquarium visit. A pretty amazing weekend for our little man.

    Gavin on his 4th birthday | rainerlife.com

    Gavin opening birthday presents | rainerlife.com

    Gavin opening birthday presents | rainerlife.com

    Gavin turns 4! | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at Tiger Creek | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at the aquarium | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at the aquarium | rainerlife.com

    Around the middle of the month, we went to Dallas to the Fire-Rescue International Expo. The company Michael works for had a booth at the expo, and families were invited to attend on Saturday. We thought Gavin would have fun looking at the fire trucks and other vehicles and equipment. Of course, he had a blast!

    Michael & Gavin at the Fire-Rescue Expo | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at the Fire-Rescue Expo | rainerlife.com

    Michael & Gavin at the Fire-Rescue Expo | rainerlife.com

    It’s still hot in Texas, so we’ve been sticking with indoor activities. If we want to leave the house, we go to the local science place or library. Otherwise, we stay home and enjoy pool time. Looking forward to the weather getting a little cooler so we can start going back to the parks and playgrounds more.

  • Updates

    Monthly Recap: July 2018

    It’s time for our monthly recap!

    We started off the month with celebrating the Fourth of July by watching fireworks at the lake. We saw fireworks twice at the lake, once the Saturday night before the 4th, and again on the 4th. Lots of fun, and great fireworks!

    Gavin watching fireworks | rainerlife.com

    Gavin watching fireworks | rainerlife.com

    Michael’s birthday is in July! We didn’t have much planned in the way of celebration, so we kept it simple with dinner out at one of our favorite restaurants 🍕🍻, homemade pie for dessert 🎂, and a few gifts 🎁. Gavin was in charge of picking gifts, so it was mainly water guns. 😂😂

    Gavin had swim lessons again this month. He was not a fan. He learned a lot though, and I feel better about him being around water.

    For fun activities, Gavin and I went to the Discovery Science Place and library story times. It was so hot, we didn’t do our usual park and playground outside playing. One Saturday, we went and saw the new Hotel Transylvania 3 movie. It was a silly and fun movie that Gavin really liked… it kept his interest the entire time.

    Gavin playing at the science center | rainerlife.com

    Gavin playing at the science center | rainerlife.com

    Gavin playing at the science center | rainerlife.com

    Gavin playing on a slide | rainerlife.com

    The not so fun part of our month was that both Michael and I had vehicle problems that landed them in the shop. Fortunately, they were in at different times, so we always had one vehicle to use. We also had a few home repairs to get done – AC repair, replaced a ceiling fan, and we had a tree fall in our yard. On the plus side, everything was fixed by the end of the month. 😊😊😊

  • 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