• 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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Updates

    Monthly Recap: December 2017

    Merry Christmas!

    We had a fun December. Getting ready for Christmas is always fun with Gavin. Hanging out with a three-year-old is a sure fire way to get into the spirit of the season.

    We went to see Santa twice. Once at a Breakfast with Santa and once at the mall. Gavin does great with Santa. All smiles. So, we got two cute pics with Santa this year.

    Gavin and Santa | rainerlife.com

    Gavin and Santa | rainerlife.com

    Now that Gavin is a little older, I wanted to start an Advent tradition with him. Since we read a lot of books, I thought a bookish Advent would be great for us. I wrapped up 24 Christmas and winter themed books, and Gavin opened one each night and we read it. I didn’t have a particular order for the books, so we read which ever one he picked. It was a fun new tradition for us, so I think we will continue to do it in the future.

    Advent book calendar rainerlife.com

    While sitting in the pew, waiting for Mass to begin on Christmas Eve with Gavin, this happened:
    Gavin: Ladies and Gentlemen.
    Gavin: (a little louder) Ladies and Gentlemen.
    Me: Shh.
    Gavin: (holding Hymnal) Ladies and Gentlemen, I want to read you a story.
    Me: (whispering) No talking. Be quiet or we’ll have to step outside.
    Gavin: I’m talking to the Gentlemen.
    Me: (whispering) That’s it. Let’s go.
    Gavin: Sorry, Gentlemen.

    Sometimes it’s hard to keep a straight face. As a side note, we were really early, so it was asking a lot for a three-year-old to sit in silence for that long, and still last through Mass. Also, fortunately the people around us were more amused than irritated by our chatty boy.

    Gavin on Christmas Eve | rainerlife.com

    We had a very Merry Christmas, and enjoyed a relaxing end of 2017.

  • Updates

    Monthly Recap: November 2017

    We had a very low-key November. We stuck to our favorite activities: parks, library, and staying in. I didn’t take any photos this month, except for our trip to Hot Springs, AR.

    We went to Hot Springs for Thanksgiving. We enjoyed our time visiting with family, and we went on a few fun outings.

    The Rainers | rainerlife.com

    We did the National Park Duck Tour, which was a first for us. It was neat to ride through town and then out on the lake. It was one of those fun for one time things, so I doubt we will do it again.

    Gavin also got to go on the lake when his Grandpa took him for a ride in a boat.

    Gavin and Grandpa after boat ride | rainerlife.com

    One of our favorite things was Garvan Gardens. They were decorated for Christmas, and it was spectacular. We went on the Friday night after Thanksgiving… we were not the only ones with that plan. We must have waited in the car line for 45 minutes before being able to park, and go wait in line to buy tickets. They were well organized and kept the flow going, but they were very busy. Due to the large crowds, they stayed open later so everyone would have enough time to see the decorated gardens. Michael and I had been to Garvan Gardens once before for the Christmas lights, but it was Gavin’s first time. We walked the entire gardens, and I think Gavin had a lot of fun looking at the lights.

    Garvan Gardens Christmas Lights 2017 | rainerlife.com

    Garvan Gardens Christmas Lights 2017 | rainerlife.com

    Garvan Gardens Christmas Lights 2017 | rainerlife.com

    One of our favorite stops while in Hot Springs is the Superior Bathhouse Brewery. They have a lot of beer on tap, and it’s always fun to try some new ones. The food is good, and we like to sit at the counter seats by the window and people watch while we enjoy our food and drinks.

    Beer Bath - tasters at Superior Bathhouse Brewery {Hot Springs, AR} | rainerlife.com

    We enjoy walking around downtown Hot Springs. The shops are fun to check out, and we like to go in the Arlington Hotel and see the gingerbread house. We always stop at the hot springs and marvel at how hot the water is. A fun town to wander around and enjoy a stroll and some people watching.

    Gingerbread House at the Arlington {Hot Springs, AR} | rainerlife.com

    Fun in Hot Springs | rainerlife.com

  • Updates

    Monthly Recap: October 2017

    Happy Halloween!

    Our October was kind of busy. We had fun going to different events and places, plus we started a home remodel project.

    Early in the month, Gavin and I went to the Red River Revel with his Grandma and Grandpa. We had fun looking at the arts and crafts, and eating all the junk food.

    Gavin with his Grandma and Grandpa at the Red River Revel | rainerlife.com

    Also early in the month, we went to Dogtoberfest. The combination of animals, beer, and family fun was irresistible. Lots of places that have animals for adoption were set up, and had animals with them ready to adopt. We’re not looking for any new pets, we already have two crazy dogs, but it’s nice to look at the animals and talk to the different rescue groups. The beer portion of the event was pretty good. They sold tickets for entry and you got 10 beer samples. Most of the breweries represented were from Texas, and lots of good craft beer is available in Texas. We enjoy trying new beers, and like events that offer different things we can’t find in the stores. The family fun portion was great for Gavin. They had a fire truck and firefighters there, and Gavin was able to get in the truck and talk with the fireman. He loved that. They also had face painting, which we tried, but she ended up painting his arm instead of his face because it tickled.

    Gavin on a firetruck | rainerlife.com

    Gavin getting his face painted | rainerlife.com

    Speaking of firefighters, the library had a firetruck and firemen there one day at storytime this month. The kids got to talk to the firefighters, see what they wear, and get on the firetruck. One fireman put on his firefighting gear, which was a great way to introduce kids to a fireman in gear in a safe and friendly environment. A fireman in full gear (boots, pants, coat, gloves, mask, helmet, and tank) could scare young children that don’t know that is what firefighters wear. The firefighters were great about talking with the kids and letting them touch the gear.

    Gavin high-fiving a fireman | rainerlife.com

    Gavin with a fireman | rainerlife.com

    Gavin on a firetruck | rainerlife.com

    Gavin went fishing for the first time. His Honey and Pappaw took him fishing, and I think they all had fun.

    Gavin and his Pappaw going fishing | rainerlife.com

    Gavin fishing with his Honey and Pappaw | rainerlife.com

    The weather was nice in October, so we went to parks a little more than usual.

    Gavin at a playground | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at a playground | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at a playground | rainerlife.com

    One pretty day, Gavin and I went to the zoo. It had been a while since we went, and it was a fun outing. We walked around, looked at the animals, had lunch, shopped the gift shop (Gavin got binoculars), and played in the playground area.

    Lions at the zoo | rainerlife.com

    Giraffes at the zoo | rainerlife.com

    Pink flamingos at the zoo | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at the zoo playground | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at the zoo playground | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at the zoo | rainerlife.com

    Our home remodel project is in our living room. We hired someone to remove the paneling and built-ins, and put up drywall. We did not have new built-ins installed. I’ll post photos of the finished room in a future blog post. For now, here’s what it looked like while under construction.

    Living room remodel | rainerlife.com

    Living room remodel | rainerlife.com

    We celebrated Halloween a few times. Gavin dressed as an astronaut for the library Halloween storytime and we dressed as pirates for a Halloween event at a local brewery. For trick or treating, Gavin dressed as an astronaut and Michael and I were aliens.

    Gavin as an astronaut | rainerlife.com

    Darinda, Gavin, and Michael as pirates | rainerlife.com

    Gavin as an astronaut, Michael and Darinda as aliens | rainerlife.com

  • Updates

    Monthly Recap: September 2017

    Happy Fall!

    Our September was really quiet. We stayed in a lot and enjoyed our home. We swam in the pool, played outside, read books, built things with LEGOs, and just had fun. We did get out and go to storytime at the library each week and visited a few parks.

    Gavin front and center at storytime | rainerlife.com

    Gavin on a park slide | rainerlife.com

    The East Texas State Fair was this month, so Gavin and I went to check it out one day. I think his favorite thing was a kiddie pool with magnetic fish to catch with a little rod and magnet. I had a hard time getting him away from that activity, but he had fun with some of the other stuff too… there was a robot that he was really interested in and the petting zoo is always fun.

    Gavin fishing at the Fair | rainerlife.com

    Gavin and the Fair robot | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at the Fair petting zoo | rainerlife.com

    We did have some sad news this month, Michael’s father passed away. There was a nice Celebration of Life visitation. Thank you to our friends and family who were able to make it.