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Monday, November 30, 2015

Casey's Bday Beach Trip!

It's a well known fact that Casey LOVES her birthday. This year though? It'll be a tough one to top. We had an epic family party for her, she got to celebrate her legit bday at Disney, and then Keeli surprised her with a weekend away to the beach the following weekend! (Not to mention the following weekend she went to the beach again with Jordan's fam and the weekend after that we had a girl's trip to Disney! Whew! Birthday MONTH!)

Keeli and Casey have been friends for awhile now and I've always liked Keeli when we've hung out. It surprised me when she called and told me her plans to surprise Casey and invited me to go along! It really meant a LOT to me to be included and was so thoughtful of her and I'm SO thankful I got to go. Casey was SUPER surprised and it was such an awesome weekend and really helped me get to know Keeli better and I'm truly so thankful for her friendship! 


Moms on a getaway trip: stop at Zaxby's and still order kids meals ;)


The trip was to Daytona Beach where we stayed at a super nice timeshare. We left on Friday and didn't come back until Sunday so it was a full weekend which was awesome. Casey hasn't really ever left Carter with Jordan solo for that long of a time period so it was good for Jordan and Carter to have that bonding. It was also good for Casey to get away. We know as moms we tend to always be MOM so it's important to reconnect with ourselves and there is no better way to achieve that than some quality girl time on a road trip! While I LOVE getaways, I have found that often the journey is just as much fun (if not even more so) than the destination. As long as I'm not driving then I love me some road trips! I think the deepest conversations happen on the road and this proved to be true for BOTH the girl's trips I took this month!

At check-in Keeli and I were cracking ourselves up! It is so funny how people hear "moms getaway trip" and immediately recommend the best local bars? We were more excited for the ice cream ;) 

They even had a goodie bag for the Birthday Girl! 


McD has THE BEST iced coffee. Thanks Keeli for a new addiction ;)




It was seriously SO AWESOME not having any agenda. It was also super fun to be on a trip like that with a newer friend. We had so many great talks getting to know each other better! The beach was beautiful and it was such a pretty time of year to go. I've never visited the beach in Sept?!? We hung out by the pool for a few hours. We all face timed with our kids and mine were mega jealous at our pool spot overlooking the beach!



I'm not cool enough to go for the water slide ;)






For dinner we walked down to Bubba Gump. Our condo was in a great location near a lot of restaurants but if y'all know me then you know I get CREEPED OUT in potentially dangerous situations (and by potentially dangerous I mean walking from a store to my car haha). I was pretty nervous the whole walk and went ahead and let them know I'd pay a dang taxi to get us back after we ate! Thankfully we saw a security guard guy and talked to him before we left and he agreed to watch us walk and keep us safe :) 

Dinner was really fun! Casey and I love interacting with people and I know Keeli totally loved it too ;) She better get used to us and our ability to embarrass our friends bahaha! The waiter DID tell me he could tell I was the "older sister." Um. NOT. COOL. I was a tad intimated on this trip because I am 3 years older than the other girls. And I have 2 more kids than they do. But I'm totally still cool ;) 


We stayed up super late talking and it was SO awesome to sleep in the next day! I slept on the pull out couch and let them have the bed and kinda lucked out that first night (however 2 nights in a row on that thing wasn't such a smart idea) b/c they woke up earlier and I just kept on sleeping :) I never understood people who went on vacation and talked about how much sleep they got. Hello. You can sleep at home. And then I had a kid. And then two more. And now? Sleep on vaca is amazing!

Tess had her first pancake!


Our agenda for the day was again: nothing! We took our precious time and enjoyed laying out at the beach looking through celebrity magazines and talking. Man. Beach trips with adults only are a TOTALLY different ball game than with kids. It was SO relaxing! 

We all contributed to some lunch food and my husband was amazing and bought us "fancy turkey" for our sandwiches. I text him a pic to let him know it was awesome ;) 


Does anyone else find it soooo annoying that virgin drinks cost almost the same price as the ones with alcohol???


We had some elevator issues when we left the beach and decided to go hit up a froyo place instead. Again...it was a tad bit sketchy when we first got out but we ended up being fine ;) I guess I do fit in the "big sister" role huh? I was all about some safety! This froyo place we went to was "pet friendly" and had stuff for dogs to eat. So. Weird. 


Keeli changed her headlight. Um. What? I thought you had to take your car into some sort of shop for someone to do that? I was blown away impressed haha


When Mama's away Daddy makes feasts ;)




For dinner we got ready and went down a pier to eat at Joe's Crab Shack. I don't think I've ever eaten at one before? But omg it was THE BEST experience. We basically owned the place by the end of the night haha. I'm surprised Keeli was still okay being seen with us ;) It was PACKED but the Birthday Girl knows how to make an entrance and draw people in. Someone found us seats at the bar within a few minutes and then soon after they had a table cleared for us and we'd make like 5 friends. There were SO many hilarious moments that night. We laughed so, so hard and seriously didn't want to leave. It was one of those experiences that probably won't be repeated and it was the type of thing where our husbands didn't think it was half as funny as we did haha. 






I already liked Keeli prior to the trip but finding out her love of a bargain made me love her even more! I'm not gonna lie, I'm alllll about some free food. We had coupons for free appetizers and our new buddies let us get more than one for our table. Plus they brought us a HUGE dessert for free. And I think our drinks were free too? It was legit the most free food I've ever gotten at a single meal. We ended up making friends with the manager too and he was hilarious. We saw a customer cussing him out and made him come over and fill us in on the dirt. I can't imagine working in a customer service situation. Some people are SO RUDE. The dude was mad b/c of how loud the music was! On a Saturday night. At Joe's Crab Shack. For real?!?!



This random waitress came by to sing Happy Birthday to Casey. Nope, not awkward at allll (here's a video)




Keeli and I were watching for moral support, we let Casey break it down ;) 


Free dessert...with free ice cream on the side ;)


Daytona treated the birthday girl right...fireworks!



You can't beat that! 




We really wanted to go into one of those little beach shops and get some of the bikini coverups to be funny but of course the one we picked didn't carry them. At least they had some swwwwwweet squid hats!




We were up even later that night and didn't sleep quite as well as the night prior! We miiiiiight have done a couple DubSmash videos. I had def brought my iPod on the trip and you know that beast is loaded down with some hits! We couldn't resist a little Destiny's Child action along with some old school TLC! 

 I loved waking up to seeing a pic of my amazing hubby at church with my babies!


This trip was perfectly timed for me as I nursed Tess for the last time the night before we left. I felt like a few days with me not at home would be best for her with the weaning process. She did GREAT for Zach and I did fine too! I did notice the pain starting to set in on the last day so I busted out the cabbage cleavage ;)


I def missed my hubby when it came time to load the car haha Men are handy to have around ;) 


We took our time and stopped to shop a little at the outlets in St Augustine. None of us really found much but we totally enjoyed our turkey sandwiches in the mall food court haha. Cheap and no shame ;) We stopped by an McD on the way for one last pic and one last iced coffee!



It was SUCH a great time! Of course anytime I'm with Casey is awesome but leaving the trip with a deeper bond with Keeli was so great too. I'm thankful to have been included in such an awesome birthday celebration! Maybe it'll be a yearly thing ;) I wouldn't complain! HUGE thanks again to Keeli for providing the fun and for the invite!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Banana Jacks ~ AKA The "I Can't Even" Dinner

I have talked up a restaurant called Banana Jacks a good bit on this blog. We visited for the first time back in Sept of 2013 (here) then we loved it so much we took the entire Parker crew back in April of 2014 (here).  I've also recommend it to a TON of blog readers as well as real life friends who visit the Orlando area. It's always been an affordable pizza/games/play place type deal and we've really loved it.

Those praises end NOW.

Zach and Jordan really love competition and enjoyed playing the basketball game at Banana Jacks in the past (the first time we visited Jordan and Casey went on another night than we did and loved it too). Since it's always been a fun place to go, we planned to all go together on our last night of the trip! Who doesn't love some pizza and some fun games, right?

Right when we walked in we could tell the vibe was different. I'm not saying it was ever fancy by any means...but it just seemed dark and creepy to a point. There was literally ONE person working there and it was overrun with quite the crew of customers. Not judging books by covers...but some of these dudes were ones I'd def be scared to see solo in an alleyway. It also got way more expensive! They didn't have coupons anymore and Zach and Casey took forever trying to deal with ordering and getting it all worked out. We were so turned off by just the initial entrance to the place that we debated not eating. Kinda wish we would have gone that route now!

Sidenote about me but back in the day when I auditioned for The Real World (you can read about that here) they told me I had a lot of "street smarts" because when a random guy told me he was with MTV and to "come with him" I said no way. I am the type of person who has my radar up all the time, everywhere we go. I know it's sometimes annoying to people with me, but I trust my gut BIG TIME and feel like it's an asset in keeping my family safe. My Emily Radar was going off in a mega way at this place. Everything just felt off and I didn't like it! But the kids were excited and I knew we had Zach and Jordan to keep us safe so I pushed those concerns aside and tried to let the kids enjoy themselves since it would be the last time we ever visit there!












So much of our experience is just something words can't fully describe. It's one of those times that those of us who were there will never forget. At one point Zach came over to the staff member and let her know he found human feces on the floor. No. Joke. This is a place where kids are supposed to remove their shoes in order to play in the play place. So tons of kids are barefoot. And it's also a place where FOOD IS SERVED. Yet there was poop smeared all over the ground by a couple of the games. What the heck!?! Magically another worker appeared to clean it up and only brought out some water and a mop. Um. Seriously?!? She said it was "gum" on the floor and not poop. But Zach and Jordan can smell and they confirmed it was not gum. Who even knows how long it had been there. Soooo grosssssssss.

It seemed like it took years for our food to come. I just wanted to EAT and GO! Of course Zach was pretty insistent on using up all of our tokens we had purchased. I'm usually not one to want to waste money either, but in this case I was over it. I just kept constantly thinking about everything my kids were touching. Like Tess never wears shoes. I was carrying her constantly b/c she was not about to touch that floor!

Don't you love how none of my pictures accurately portray the situation? haha! It just looks like we are all having a great time at a nice dinner! (I do have to admit...the pizza was goooood....)


Toooo cute (and omg their little milk cups sitting side by side!)


We were all cracking up at situation and about died when we saw a glass of wine sitting on table. Like who orders wine there?!?! I wish I had the nerve to take a picture of the guy who was drinking it. It would have made for a killer meme or something haha! "Just finished my drug deal...human feces on the floor...still drinking my wine"


The babies were having SO MUCH FUN!


Her silly side really came out!



Look closely at this picture. Do you notice anything?!?!


Yes. A security guard came in and told everyone in the place that they had to evacuate immediately. Y'all. I about died. She said we all had to leave. She wouldn't say why and of course I'm thinking someone got murdered when the obvious drug transactions went sour. Or like someone was on their way to rob the place and they got wind of it or something. The options were truly endless in this situation. 

She wouldn't tell us specifics but my husband, of course, wanted to finish out his tokens before we left. They wouldn't refund us for them and we sure as heck wouldn't be coming back to use them so he didn't want them to go to waste. Clearly his Zach Radar was getting different signals than my Emily Radar. 

She told us she could give us 20 more min and that she was pretty sure we'd be safe. Great. I felt SO much better. 

At that point everyone else had cleared out so honestly I did actually feel a little better. But that didn't stop me from speed rushing the kids to use as many tokens as quickly as possible! 

This. This is what we risked our lives for haha


Congrats on the high score, sorry you almost got murdered for it haha 



I was helping Britt play the race game but refused to put Tess down while doing it and the game took Tess's picture as the driver ;)


These are our "WE CAN'T EVEN" faces. We were DONE. SO DONE.


But, hey, massive amounts of tickets...totes worth it right? ;)



Praise Jesus we made it home alive from that adventure. While we were there I did take a peak out at the pool area because Banana Jacks is attached to Regal Palms which is a place we have stayed at in the past, that I recommend to people all the time, and where we actually almost purchased a place. It makes me SO THANKFUL that we prayed a lot on that decision and decided against it! Clearly the community is also going downhill. The girl who worked at Banana Jacks told us that it's under new management and has just been run completely to the ground. SO SAD. 

We also think that the reason the security guard cleared the place out was due to the feces. Right?!?! I mean they probably needed to shut it down for health code reasons? Because that was a crap load of crap haha

Since it was our last night of our trip we told the big kids they could share a room! They were SO PUMPED and had the best time staying up "late" and talking and laughing. I love how they have all their friends set up :)


When we first planned the trip I was REALLY excited for some tougher time with Casey and Jordan. But the night we got there Georgia Tech (Jordan's team) played, then the next night our crew was at MK, then Sat night Casey and Jordan had their date night (and FSU played) so the only night we all ended up getting to hang out was Sunday! It was well worth the wait though!

I love love love how close Casey and I are and that we spend so much time together but it is so fun to be together all four of us. While I'm so thankful they are parents now, kids are kinda a group hangout buzzkill! I mean it's hard to all get together when we have children to worry about right?!?! We spent so much time laughing (and omg Jordan has this awesome laugh that is so infectious) and it made me realize just how much I truly MISS those times together with them! We need to make it more of a priority even though it's tough to make it happen! It's well worth it and we had a blast!

Turns out I'm NOT good with a selfie stick. This took like 20 min to accomplish haha



Impersonating my selfie stick skills haha





When I booked the house for our stay it worked out to cost the same amount to book an extra night. Even though we were heading home Monday morning we actually had the place through Tuesday morning. Casey and Jordan hit the road but we took our time and decided to just leave later that afternoon. We wanted to enjoy the chill time and the pool and not have to rush packing up to leave! 

The house had a garage turned into a game room that Kye LOVED!


Making up games in the pool!




Helping pack...by putting their piles of "friends" directly in front of the stairs ;)


I found a mayo packet in my book bag from our Disney day and thought it'd be funny to leave it beside the bed just so the cleaning staff would wonder what it was used for haha


We had an AWESOME trip!!! Family time together is THE BEST!




PS: I sincerely apologize to everyone to whom I have recommended Regal Palms/Banana Jacks. DO NOT EVER VISIT THERE. I repeat EVER. 


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