Whew, it’s Hot in Texas!


Disclosure: This post was underwritten by Kia Motor Company.

Dallas arrival

Last week we visited Texas for a couple of days. Even though I had been there eight times previously, I am always in shock as to how hot it is. It’s a different kind of heat than here in Tennessee. Even so, my hubby and I love Texas! It’s one of our favorite states to visit because the people are amazing, everything looks so clean, the interstates are incredibly smooth, and the food is the jam! First, we were picked up from the airport by the Parking Spot to escort us to our car for our visit. Kia so graciously provided a car for our trip. Can y’all tell how excited we are? No kids, time alone, lots of sleep in our future, and we were headed somewhere we’ve wanted to visit forever!!


But first, my hubby is totally enamored with the camera in our Kia Optima. He just cannot figure out where all the cameras are located that show the top view of the car in our parking place. Since the cars that we drive are a 2001 and a 2007 model, we felt extra special in a brand new car!


Anyone fans of the show Fixer Upper? It’s our absolute favorite show, and we couldn’t wait to take a day trip to the Magnolia Silos. Since it’s less than 2 hours away from Dallas, we couldn’t resist. It’s every bit as charming as you would expect!


We were so hoping to meet Chip and JoJo or at least catch a glimpse of them from afar. No such luck for us, although my guess is that they don’t come out very often. The Magnolia Silos were packed! If they did happen to show up one day they would probably be mauled. I had no idea that it would be that busy on a random Wednesday afternoon in July.


The Magnolia Silos is everything I expected it to be and more. It was both gorgeous and beautifully arranged. So much so that I wanted everything, but settled for a #shiplap t-shirt since we were limited on space in our luggage.

magnolia silos fav products

My favorite items were all the different types of wall art. So many different styles, textures, and looks that would all fit perfectly in my beautiful farmhouse that I’ve been constructing in my head. 🙂


If gardening is your thing, you would love the Magnolia Seed Supply store and garden area. It was small but packed full of items. The outside garden areas were well maintained and full of fresh produce and spices.


Behind the store, there is an incredible commons area for families chock full of swings, picnic tables, food trucks, and sporting equipment. Many were tossing balls to each other, while others were enjoying the breeze in swings. I love how family oriented everything was. Chip and JoJo left no stone unturned when it came to attention to detail and creating a family atmosphere outside.

george bush museum 1

The next day was our last full day of leisure before we began the business part of our trip. Since hubby is a history buff, we took a trip to  The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect or if I would enjoy it. Since I’m a homeschool teacher much of the year and spend so much time learning with my kids, when we aren’t in school my brain enjoys a break. However, it was very entertaining and informative. I would love to go back and take our kids.

George Bush Museum

Being able to go back and experience 9/11 as it unfolded in the headlines and media was such an eye-opening experience. So much has changed in my life since the day our nation suffered such a tragic terror attack. Having children and seeing the world through a different lens made it so much more real. In this picture is debris from the World Trade Center. It was astounding to see how iron was completely twisted as if it were as pliable as a straw. I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like that day to experience such devastation in person.

george bush gary pres

One of my favorite exhibits is a replica of the Oval Office. This guy right here might not be president of the US, but he’s the head of our family, and I love and adore him so very much. Two date days in a row is the bomb diggity just so you know!


And then, despite the fact that we knew it would scare our moms to death, we took a trip to downtown Dallas. The shootings had happened exactly a week before, and there was evidence of that everywhere we turned.


When we walked around downtown Dallas that day, I’ll never forget what we saw. There were police and state troopers everywhere we turned, crime scene tape, barricades, bullet holes, busted windows, and entire blocks closed. We recognized places we had seen on the news where just last week innocent lives were lost. I thought about the families and officers, whose lives were forever changed. I felt somber and humbled. In the midst of it all, I saw something else. I saw a group of people beside crime scene tape with their heads bowed down praying. This group included people of all different races, who were gathered together for one purpose. I saw people thanking police officers, others walking from street to street handing out thank you notes to officers, memorials for the fallen officers, and signs that said: “We support Blue.” I left feeling hopeful and proud because THAT is the heart of America. In the midst of crisis and pain, there is good and hope. 


While in Texas since I was kid free and had a little extra time on my hands, I thought I’d document my growing baby bump. This pregnancy is flying by too fast! In this picture, I am at 17 weeks 3 days with our fourth little one.

kia pic1

I briefly mentioned at the beginning of the post that our car for our trip was sponsored by Kia Motor Company. Let me tell you how much Kia rescued us. I have been so sick the past couple of months in my pregnancy, that renting a car for our trip slipped my mind. Normally, that wouldn’t be a big deal except this particular week in Dallas when every news outlet in the country was traveling there to cover the Dallas shootings, and 25,000 people from AdvoCare were coming to Dallas for Success School. When I checked the price for rental cars two days before our trip what normally would cost $17 a day was $75-90 a day! That kind of difference made me sick! I hate throwing money away. I contacted a travel blogger friend of mine, Jeanna, who blogs at Surf and Sunshine, and she so kindly shared my situation with her contacts at Kia. Within two hours I was in touch with Kia. I have never been so impressed with a companies willingness to jump in on such short notice as we needed a car the next morning by 8 am! I was in tears when I got the email with all the details of how to pick up our car. It wasn’t just a bottom of the line car either! My hubby fell in love with this 2016 Kia Optima SX LTD. It was the loaded turbo version.


Here are some of our favorite interior, comfort, and convenience features:

  • Dual-Zone Automatic Temperature Control with rear vents (Does your husband like to keep the temperature so cold that it’s perfect for Penguins? Mine does, therefore dual control is important to me.)
  • Blind Spot Detection System – This is amazing! We decided that our kids need this feature in a vehicle when they are old enough to drive! I didn’t know this technology existed.
  • Lane Departure Warning System
  • Heated and Ventilated Front Seats
  • Push Button Start / Smart Key / Smart Trunk
  • Navigation System w / 8′ Rear-Camera Display – We didn’t get lost once!
  • Surround View Monitor – My hubby was enamored with this feature
  • Much more!


As a momma with a 19-month-old and one on the way, I especially loved the built-in shades in the back seat.


I was so impressed with the quality of the leather seats with Nappa Leather Seat Trim. They were so plush and gorgeous!


My hubby’s parting remarks about the Kia Optima were, “I’m sad that we have to return it today. I’d like to take it home with us; I’ve enjoyed driving it so much.” We’ve traveled quite a bit over the past 19 years, and I’ve never once heard my husband say anything like that when it was time to return a car at the end of a trip. I was so impressed with all the added options, quality, and durability of the Kia Optima.

miles to magnolia

All in all, we had such a fantastic trip. We don’t have any family that lives close by, so a date night can get expensive when we hire a sitter. We haven’t done the best job in taking time out for date nights but have committed to being more intentional since we are about to add another little one to our family. I don’t want ever to get too busy in my day to day responsibilities to remember why I married this amazing man. He’s my rock, my best friend, and the best daddy for our children. If you’ve read any part of our story you know, there have been long hard difficult years that we have pushed through to a redeemed, healed, and restored marriage. I highly recommend taking time for a night away with your spouse when possible.


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