Mom to Iris. Wife to Todd. Our little family lives at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We love it here and I love sharing little bits of our life.

© 2014 sarahfortune.



In planning our recent Carnival cruise (that post will be next!), we also added on a little bonus vacation to Houston. We have good friends that moved down to Texas a while back, so it was the perfect opportunity to visit with them before we jumped on the ship in Galveston.

Initially we were going to make it a road-trip adventure, however as the trip got closer, the thought of driving over eight hours and then being on a boat for days sounded less appealing. Finding some good prices on flights, we booked our trip to arrive in Houston a couple days ahead of our cruise.

Iris was super excited to fly on an airplane, so for us that’s when our vacation actual began. I flew with her a couple times as a baby, but she was too young to remember it. I thought she would gaze out of the window in amazement the entire way, but instead all she cared about was watching The Sound of Music on my iPad. Oh, kids these days…

But after an easy flight, we arrived in Houston just in time to watch the very first Razorback game with our old pals. Once the Hogs barely squeaked out a win (phew!), we checked into our hotel. The kind folks at Visit Houston set us up with a room at The Whitehall. Situated right downtown, it was a great location to pop over to various points in the city and explore.

The next morning we woke up pretty early and got the show on the road. After breakfast at our hotel, we hopped over to Discovery Green where we met back up with our friends. Less than 10 minutes from our hotel, there was a huge splash pad, a water area with little sailboats, restaurants, playground, etc. – all surrounded by the high-rises of Houston. Iris was in heaven romping around with Remy, cooling off in the water.

After we dried off the girls, we made our way to eat Mexican for lunch before using a coupon out of the City Passes that Visit Houston kindly gifted us. With that, we got admission to quite a few Houston attractions, but with our limited time we had to narrow it down to just a couple options.

After hearing great things about the Houston Museum of Natural Science, we decided to make our way there. From a beautiful butterfly center, to a fascinating dinosaur exhibit, this place was pretty cool – and there was a LOT more that we didn’t even get to see. I actually spent my first hour there freaking out because I couldn’t find my wallet. After calling the restaurant where we ate lunch, the bank, and searching the car twice, Todd finally found it UNDER our car. I’m so thankful we discovered it was missing before we drove away, as that would have been the worst way to start a vacation.

After a few hours at the museum, it was most definitely happy hour time. Per usual, we always like to visit at least one local brewery in all the cities we explore. Houston was no different, so we checked out Karbach Brewing Co. With a huge outdoor “play” area, the kids had fun while we tried out the beer and food.

Full and happy from our day, we said goodbye to our friends and headed back to the hotel. The next morning, we pulled out our City Passes and decided to explore the Downtown Aquarium with the time we had left in Houston. Our cruise didn’t depart until late Monday afternoon out of Galveston, which is only about an hour away, so we took our time visiting the the fish, sea creatures, and white tiger. Yes… a white tiger at an aquarium. I don’t know, but I’m not complaining.

Another cool thing about the aquarium was the outdoor carnival area with rides, games, and fair-style food. So the very last thing we did in Houston before our trip came to an end was take a ride on the ferris wheel, which reached almost as high as the skyscrapers it sat next to. Pretty cool way to wave goodbye to the city.

Thanks for having us, Houston! We hope to come back soon.

Falling into Autumn

Life has been quite the whirlwind lately. I did the math and I’m officially traveling more than I am at home in the month of September. I’m still working on my re-cap post of our last trip, which was essentially two trips in one: a weekend get-away to Houston and then a five-day cruise off to Mexico. I held onto a little cold that entire week and then came home to get even more sick, so I’m playing catch up on aspects of my life it seems. Thankfully, I’m finally starting to feel like my normal self, but just in time to go on another trip.

I fly out on Sunday to Vegas for work meetings, so until then I hope to soak up as many moments around my home as I can: watching the Razorbacks game, cooking dinner, hide & go seek with Iris, and being in my cozy pants as much as possible. I would say things will start to slow down come October, but I would be kidding myself because October is always one of our busiest months of the year. With Halloween, our annual camping trip, football, my birthday, and Iris turning FIVE one month from today, it too will be a whirlwind. I need to get busy figuring out out just what we’re going to do to celebrate her big day. There’s no way we’ll ever top last year, so we aren’t even going to try. Regardless, it will be full of sweets and smiles, and that’s all that matters.

End of the Summer

Once again, summer is almost done. Being from the south you would think I hate our hot, humid summers, but it’s always been my favorite season. Sure, fall is lovely with the crisp air and turning leaves… Nothing quite like it, actually. But I think one of the reasons it’s so lovely is that it’s so temporary. You know it won’t last. Summer, on the other hand, seems to last forever. I love the long days, the day drinks to keep cool, the pools to keep even cooler, the road trips, and the summer dresses. I love it all and this summer has been no exception.

We have one more big family trip before we completely bid farewell to Summer 2016. We’re spending a few days in Houston and then taking our first ever cruise to Mexico (so hurricanes, let’s chill out for a minute, k?). This is fresh off the heels of a work trip to Salt Lake City, and then another trip to Kansas City and the wineries of Hermann, Missouri.

My trip to Hermann, though a whirlwind, was well worth the time it took to get there. I had just flown in from Salt Lake on Tuesday night, worked Wednesday and Thursday, then drove the 3.5 hours to Kansas City on Thursday evening. Bright and early the next morning, I took a four hour train ride to the tiny and very old town of Hermann to explore the wineries there. I went with six other ladies in celebration of my friend Bev’s 40th birthday. My only regret is that I would have taken more pictures because the town was so lovely and full of charm, right down to the trolley that took us everywhere we needed to go. After a night at a grape-themed bed & breakfast, we took the train back to Kansas City to hang with a few more friends.

Below are just a few photos of our trip by Laura Hobbs. As mentioned, I should have taken more photos, but hers are so much better than what mine would have been anyway!

by Laura Hobbs

by Laura Hobbs

by Laura Hobbs

by Laura Hobbs

Portraits of Iris

While in Kansas City last weekend my old friend Laura (and by old I mean she was in my wedding nearly a decade ago!) took the time to take some photos of Iris. I have a post on our recent travel coming up soon, but Laura just emailed me these and I had to share. By the way, Laura lives in Boulder, Colorado so if you are in the area and are looking for a portrait photographer, give Laura a shout at Darling Creative.