A Holly Jolly Weekend

trail of lights 2023

It’s Monday and I’m working on getting my act together after a very fun and full holiday weekend!

I’m still working on finding that delicate balance between filling my holiday calendar too full versus saying no to everything because events with these two little rascals are just so exhausting. Lol. Aren’t we all? It was a packed weekend and I somehow completely lost my voice in the midst of it all (!!), but I wouldn’t have traded anything. It was just so fun, and we’re two weeks out from Christmas now!

On Saturday morning I loaded up the boys in the car to drive up to Dallas! Dayton is a whole situation in the car.

We stopped at the halfway point in Waco so I could get a cappuccino at BRU. Just look…

…this is their tiny coffee shop! It’s inside an old elevator!! Literally pocket-sized with just room for one barista.

I let the boys run around for a few minutes. Milo stole my phone and took 100 photos of the inside of the coffee shop, and then we loaded up in the car and drove the remaining 1.5 hours up to Dallas.

Grandpa and Ama took the boys to a playground for the afternoon, and I got to go to…

…BankheadBrewing! It was only about 20 minutes from my parents house, and I always love checking out new (to me) breweries.

We got some flights and a few apps for the table and settled in for the afternoon!

Sisters + Tyler. I love this crew!

We sipped, we talked, we ate, we relaxed, and then…

…the brewery was all dark and cozy and Christmasy in the evening, and it was time for us to head home.

I hadn’t been to Rowlett in years. It has a really charming little Main Street!

So, the reason I went up to Dallas was because I had gotten tickets to Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant’s Christmas concert tour! Back in October, I saw there were just a few tickets left, so I texted my dad and asked him if he was free to join me, and he said yes!

I am a Christian child of the 90s, so Michael W Smith and Amy Grant are SUCH a Christmas dream team to me! Theirs are those “nostalgic Christmas albums” that will always remind me of cozy Christmases in my family home growing up. I heard those songs on the radio in elementary, middle, and high school, and I still have the albums on in my own home here in Austin all the time.

I love them.

Michael W Smith and Amy Grant Concert

And it didn’t disappoint! Ultimate 90s Christmas throwback concert! Btw, see that guy on the keys who’s directly behind Michael W. Smith? That’s his keyboardist who has been touring with him since his “Go West Young Man” tour in 1990. You know the album cover? It’s that one where he’s wherein that godawful giant purple jacket and clutching his hat across his chest? I mean…legendary.

Michael W Smith and Amy Grant Concert

And then Michael Tait from DC Talk made an appearance and I just about died.

Michael W Smith and Amy Grant Christmas Concert

Y’all, his voice!! I guess I never realized how incredible his voice is, but when he was up there singing solo…Michael Tait honestly stole the show. He has a new Christmas EP for 2023 with 6 songs on it, and you’d better believe that I’ve had it on repeat since that concert.

Michael W Smith and Amy Grant Christmas Concert

And Amy Grant’s voice is just as classic and lovely as ever. I adore her.

Michael W Smith and Amy Grant Christmas Concert

She rocked the costume change at intermission and came out in this long glittery gown, and of course Michael had sneakers with his suit, and it all just felt nostalgic and cozy and warm and Christmas-y. I’m so glad I got to go to this concert with my dad. 🙂

I’ve gotta say…the demographic for that Michael W Smith + Amy Grant Christmas concert was probably about ages 50-70, and we got home from the concert at 11:45 pm. ZZZZZZZZzzzzzz!!!

I woke up the next morning and hung out at my parents house. My mom was busy making a cake for my little brother, and Milo was more than happy to help her!

And Dayton was very happy to taste test.

We played golf, my dad taught Milo how to reel a fishing line (is that the correct terminology? I’m clearly not a fisher…), and the boys soaked up some time with grandparents before we loaded back into the car and drove to Austin in the afternoon.

A quick stop to pick up Nate from home, and then we were off to Trail of Lights on Sunday night!

I had pre-purchased my parking pass, but when they say parking opens at 5:30 they REALLY mean it! At 5:20 they were still asking us to keep looping around Mopac, and I was just like “GET ME OUT OF THIS CAR.” Haha. 7 hours of driving that weekend made me go a bit insane and I literally couldn’t sit in line for another minute.

So we just found free parking on the other side of the lake and walked across the Mopac pedestrian bridge. I literally couldn’t stand another minute in that car. Haha.

We were all so excited to see the lights!

trail of lights 2023

One of my favorite views in the entire city of Austin. 🙂 We have a tradition where we meet up with neighborhood friends in Zilker Park for a Tacodeli picnic before going into the park together. It was cold and we were all bundled up on our picnic blankets!

There were 8 kids total but only 6 made it into my pic. Haha.

Dayton discovered that he has pockets in his jacket, and I think he kind of assumed he can’t really move if his hands are in there. So he just stood there like this for a while, taking in all the lights. I thought it was hilarious.

^ A few meltdowns (it had been a very long two days for these boys!) but overall…

…everyone was in a holly jolly mood!

trail of lights 2023

Trail of Lights is my FAVORITE Austin tradition! I was really sad when they had to turn it into a drive-thru activity during the pandemic, because the joy of it is walking (running if you’re two-years-old…) and seeing the lights close up. Now that it’s a walking event again, I always say that it is THE must-do holiday activity in Austin. I love the lights, and I also love the extra stuff, like Letters to Santa, and the H-E-B free books booth, and the hot cocoa and cookie stations. There’s a Ferris wheel (we’ll do that when the boys are a bit older and can stay up later!) and a carousel, and soooo many great food trucks.

trail of lights 2023

Nate snuck in a few beers in the bottom of our stroller (shhh!! a vanilla porter and a coffee porter) which he and I sipped while walking the trail with our boys.

trail of lights 2023

Love him!!

trail of lights 2023

Milo was SO excited about “finding the longest tunnel!!”

The ZIP passes are 100% worth it, imo. Not only can you skip the long GA line (which is soooo long!), but you also get access to a special little area with free hot coca and cookies and nicer bathrooms. I’ll always be willing to pay in order to skip the porta-potties. Haha.

My baby. 🙂

They had a little craft table in the ZIP lounge, and I’m pretty sure this was Milo’s favorite part of the Trail of Lights 2023.

He is SO into arts and crafts right now! He decorated two ornaments before I had to pull him away so we could walk the trail before it go too late.

It was so gorgeous. And Dayton was a little clown, per usual.

We were lucky and got a very cold night! It was fun to get bundled up in hats and beanies and breathe in the cold air!

Thank you, H-E-B, for the books! ^ Please note how Milo is holding his ornament out to the side. He went around the entire trail like this so he could let the glitter glue dry on his ornament. #priorities.

Good job on decorating this park, Trail of Lights. It was SO beautiful.

Phew! One of the trickiest parts about special holiday activities at this stage of life is that our boys typically go to bed at 7 pm. So when we finished the trail around 8:30, they were both wiped out and very ready for bed. (Aka meltdown city.) Haha. Our group of 4 neighborhood families all texted one another goodbye at the end because everyone was kind of frantic to get the kids buckled into car seats and home to bed…and we were all just like “had fun! love y’all! good luck with bedtime! sorry we couldn’t say goodbye in person!”

Ha. Anyway, it is so wonderful to have a fantastic group of friends who are all in the same stage of life and get it.

Xo. Have a wonderful day!


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