Road Trip #2

Well, we did it!  Last week, we completed…



Last Monday, Erika and I set out for our second annual road trip with the 8 kiddos.  Just like last year, we rented a big 12-passenger van, loaded up and headed out bright and early.

Okay, let’s backtrack just a bit before we dive in…last year

…we decided to leave the dads at home to work while we took off for an adventure.  After years of hearing about our friends Melanie and Amy taking their kids on a “moms only” road trip, we decided to do the same thing.  Last year, we drove down to Austin (stopping for many adventures along the way…hello, caverns?!) and then ended up staying three nights at the Lost Pines Resort…

…it was PERFECT!!

Erika and I have a long list of places we want to road trip with the kids over the next few years and one at the top (for their ages now) was Fossil Rim about 2.5 hours away from us.  We also really wanted to stop and do some Fort Worth stuff with the kids because even though it’s only about an hour from here, we never go.  So, we decided to map out a trip where we left McKinney, stopped for breakfast in Fort Worth (at a diner we’ve always heard about), hit up Fossil Rim and then cute Glen Rose followed by some fun in Fort Worth and then finishing our day (and stopping for the remainder of the trip) at the Gaylord Texan Resort.  (It took us 13 hours to do all of this!)  Even though the resort is only like 30 minutes from our house, it’s a place I’ve never taken my family and have always needed a reason to visit, so bam!  We made it happen.

Here’s a little look at how our trip went down.  My favorite part?  Just watch for all of the SMILES!!!!

We left McKinney at 5:45 AM to beat traffic out west towards Fort Worth.  I have always heard of this diner…

…and between the atmosphere and the food, you did not disappoint…

…West Side Cafe!  It was the perfect first stop!  About an hour and 20 minutes after we left town, we arrived for a yummy breakfast!

They were hungry and happy kids!!  West Side Cafe is just a good old-fashioned diner.  We all dug into our delicious breakfast (I had the yummiest bacon and egg breakfast taco!) and the moms drank a lot of coffee 🙂 .

After we filled up, we loaded back up to drive another hour or so to…

…Fossil Rim Wildlife Center!

I have heard about this place my entire life but never been.  You arrive, pay to enter, grab a bag of animal food and head out to see the wildlife…

…here we go!!  When we were there, it wasn’t busy at all!!  We were able to drive at our own pace (nice and slow, stopping often to check out everything without feeling the least bit rushed!)…

…animals, animals, everywhere!


Since the only windows that rolled down in the van were the front two, we let the kids take turns coming up front to feed the animals.

Britt’s face was cracking me up!  She was very much like “oooohhhhh, animals!”.

This ostrich here would not move.  We sat parked for quite sometime because he was happy in the road “talking” to us and did not want to scoot over.


This was the only time we were around other cars, and it’s because these guys here wouldn’t move out of the road…

…everyone watching them stand there…

…um, hello.  Look how close this guy is from my side of the car!

Kensington sat in my lap at one point while we stopped and fed the deer…

…both of their little hands in that feed bag is so cute!!!

At the halfway point, they had a restroom, cafe and gift shop.

The halfway spot also had spectacular views!

We lined them up as often as possible on this day 😉 .

I thought it was so sweet that in the cafe, Kensington asked Ebby Lee to take a pic of her with her sisters.  I”m so happy that Kensington has sisters!!!!!

OH. MY. WORD.  On the second half of the ride, this ostrich came all the way into our car.  Where are Nixon and Smith?  They were sitting in my lap!!!!!  It took our bag of feed right out of the car!

Whew!  After our amazing morning at Fossil Rim (I think it took us about 2 hours to go through), we headed to the really cute little town of Glen Rose, TX for lunch…

…we heard The Green Pickle had yummy burgers, so we all wanted to try!


Cheeseburger, fries and fried pickles?  Yes, please!!!

We loved Glen Rose’s town square!  It was super charming!!

After we left Glen Rose, we piled back in the car and drove an hour back to…

…Fort Worth’s Museum of Science and History!

This seems about right 😉 .

Friends!  We LOVED this museum!!!  I cannot believe we’ve never been before because it was amazing!  Everything was so interactive and designed for kids of all ages.

The bed of nails was a huge hit…


We spent hours here!  There was so much to do, to see and to even build!



The kids had the BEST time!!

About halfway through, we had tickets to see Superpower Dogs in their IMAX theater!!  My kids are STILL talking about it!  The 45 minute show was really entertaining and educational too!  I loved it!

After the movie, we still had lots to do at the museum!



See?  So hands on!!

After our fun day, it was time to eat dinner at one of Fort Worth’s most iconic restaurants…

…Joe T. Garcia’s 🙂 .

This restaurant has been there forever and is one of our very favorites!  I hate that it isn’t close to us because IT IS SO DARN GOOD!!!  Now, typically, you MUST eat outside at Joe T.’s because the ambiance is crazy fun (there is a swimming pool in the center of the restaurant!), but it started raining us, so we moved into their dining room…

…happy mamas ready for some Mexican food!!

The smiles!


We had the BEST dinner!! Look at the food?!?!

After dinner, we packed up once more and drove about 45 minutes to…

…the Gaylord Texan Resort.  It was late, so we checked into our two rooms, everyone showered, got comfy, watched a bit of TV and we went to sleep.  This was the view from my hotel room into their lobby area.


We slept late the next morning and met at 10:00 to hit…

…their pools!!

Not. Too. Shabby.


Two days by the resort pool?  We’ll take it!




Love hanging out with this girl and her family!!


Do you see who Nixon is talking to back there?  That’s the manager for the Texas Rangers.  Hahaha!  Isn’t that a small world?  Since it was the All Star break, he was there with his family.  He was SO NICE!  He and his wife both were!  (And that’s coming from someone who doesn’t like the Rangers 😉 . )

Apparently, I stopped taking photos after this one (us leaving the pool on Day 2).  I really hope that on Erika’s blog today, she talks about what we did that night and shows some pics.  We took the kids to an escape room inside the Gaylord.  Um, it was not our idea of fun!  Two moms and eight frustrated kids locked in a room for 40 minutes realizing they’re not smart enough to escape…yeah, not our best money spent.  Hahaha!

After the escape room, we ate dinner at the hotel and then went back to our rooms to get cozy and go to sleep.

The next day, our third and final day, we had TWO big surprises for the kids…

…the dads showed up!!!

Tab and Andrew surprised the kids and showed up to the water park for the day and then spent the night at the resort with us.  It was SO fun, and the kids were SO EXCITED!!!

That wraps up ROAD TRIP #2!  Thank you to my friend Mark for making our awesome t-shirts 🙂 .  We saw animals, we learned, we explored, we played and we rested.  It was the perfect little road trip.  Since we have 8 kids between the ages of 3 and 10, we’re dipping our toes in the “road trip” water, but we’re having fun while we do it even if it means we’re not spending all three days in the car.  We’re already so excited about ROAD TRIP #3!  At that point, the little girls will be a bit older, so we have some other tricks up our sleeves!  Make sure you hop over and see Erika’s pics from the trip today too!!

Last but not least, today is the last day to enter this…

…tomorrow morning, I’ll announce the two winners!  See all the details and enter to win HERE.

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  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog July 17, 2019 at 4:55 am

    I love how you guys make t-shirts just fir the road trip! So cute and super fun! 💕✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    • emily July 17, 2019 at 9:44 am

      it’s super wasteful actually

      • Mix and Match Mama July 17, 2019 at 8:07 pm

        That’s so silly! We supported a small business! That’s never wasteful. That’s how businesses grow!

  • Holley July 17, 2019 at 4:56 am

    Shay, I love your little road trips with Ericka! Isn’t it so crazy how you can be a tourist so close to home?! I LOVE it! And what about the Gaylord? I’ve stayed at the one in Orlando and it was AMAZING! I’m so glad you guys had so much fun! I can’t wait to do this as our little grows older! Because right now road trips are not fun with a 17-month-old. Btw K looks so big! It made me sad because I remember reading your blog and it feels like yesterday she was so little. My little is going to be her age before I know. Oh gosh! Can’t think about that anymore! Have a great day in Nantucket!

  • Diana July 17, 2019 at 5:21 am

    where did you get your cute sunhat?

  • Ahna @ Hammers N Hugs July 17, 2019 at 6:29 am

    Love this! Such fun memories! I am impressed how many times 8 kids were willing to “line up” for a picture. My kids would have protested after one! Hahaha.

  • Erika slaughter July 17, 2019 at 6:37 am

    So Much Fun!!! I’m already thinking about where #3 can take us!!

    • Ina July 17, 2019 at 11:17 am

      May I ask how many rooms you all had to get to fit everyone? Me and my friend want to do it with 7 kids and don’t know what to do with the room situation.

      • Mix and Match Mama July 17, 2019 at 8:03 pm

        They let us each have one room for all of us. Two beds and a rollaway!

  • Aja July 17, 2019 at 6:38 am

    Escape rooms are one of our favorite things to do! My 10-year-old loves them!

  • Sheaffer Sims July 17, 2019 at 6:46 am

    These kids are going to have some amazing memories that they’ll talk to their kids about! I love this tradition y’all have!

  • Kristin July 17, 2019 at 7:07 am

    What fun! I have a soft spot in my heart for the Gaylord Texan. My son was there for a competition during high school and he got food poisoning (NOT from the Gaylord). They were so kind, and brought him a tray of broth, Ginger Ale, and teas, and the housekeeping manager wrote him a sweet get well note. Having your baby sick and far from home isn’t fun, and the Gaylord’s treatment of him made me feel so much better. And him too!

  • Narci July 17, 2019 at 7:08 am

    How fun!! I’m laughing because rob and
    I learned the hard way that we aren’t escape room people. Hahaha. What a fun road trip! Loving all the pics!

  • Heather July 17, 2019 at 7:25 am

    Almost exactly two years ago, my college bff and I went to Fossil Rim and did the drive thru AND stayed overnight so that we could get up early and do the behind the scenes tour. HIGHLY recommend! I think there’s an age requirement so definitely more of something for the bigger kids

  • Brooke Richardson July 17, 2019 at 7:29 am

    So fun!!!! Looks like a blast!

  • Melissa Terry July 17, 2019 at 7:44 am

    So fun! We had the best time on our Gaylord Staycation two summers ago. I love seeing your road trip experiences and marking things I want to do with our kids.

  • Tina July 17, 2019 at 8:06 am

    I’m jealous! I wish I had a friend to do this with. Looks like such a blast.

  • Becky Cowen July 17, 2019 at 8:18 am

    Question… how did you fit your family into a room? Or did you have to get two rooms? I’ve looked at the Gaylord for our family, but I’m unsure what the best way to do it is for my family of 6.

    • Mix and Match Mama July 17, 2019 at 8:05 pm

      It was tight that last night with the dads, but the other two nights it worked great! We each had two beds and a rollaway.

  • Erin Hill July 17, 2019 at 8:18 am

    There is a fun drive-thru zoo like that in New Braunfels. I was warned (but I did not listen!) that the zebra were a little aggressive and sure enough – one stuck his head thru the car window and took the bag of food right out of my lap and ate it bag and all!

  • Elspeth July 17, 2019 at 8:32 am

    This looks so fun! I love the idea of a road trip with kiddos near or far from home! Have the best time on your family vacation.

  • Leah Reinemund July 17, 2019 at 8:37 am

    AHHHH! I am so happy you loved Fort Worth! I moved here from Southern CA to go to TCU 9 years ago and never left after i graduated! It truly is a special place!!!!
    Our rehearsal dinner for our wedding was even on the patio at Joe Ts 🙂
    I used to take the kids i babysat through college to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History!!
    Next time come check out Sundance Square–in the Summer the kids can run through the water features and there is lots of places to eat and get a cold drink. And they show movies there at night on the square!
    Let me know if you ever want some tips about visiting FW!!!

  • Ali T. July 17, 2019 at 8:37 am

    You and Erika are creating lifetime memories. I just love it! But, how tired are you both after herding 8 kids by yourselves for 3 days??! 😉

  • Madyson Werner July 17, 2019 at 8:38 am

    Love this! Road Trip #3 you should come to Kansas City!! There is so much to do! And you can stop in Oklahoma on the way here!! Happy Summer!

  • Tracie July 17, 2019 at 8:38 am

    You have to come back to the Gaylord at Christmas for ICE! The hotel is beautiful, and there is so much to do: the ice sculptures, the snow sled, decorating gingerbread. The theme will be announced soon. The best price will be before Christmas (you can find discount codes) and go early in the day because it gets crowded. I like to bring our own snacks (food is terrible) but I do buy a “beverage” to get my parking validated. I recommend heading to downtown Grapevine, the Christmas Capital of Texas, for dinner and stroll. Check the city website for their events. Also by the train station is the best Santa (online reservations for the win!) Hope to see you there!

    • Mix and Match Mama July 17, 2019 at 8:04 pm

      Yes!!! We’ve done that!! We haven’t stayed the night, but we’ve gone for ICE and enjoyed the decorations!! It’s gorgeous!

  • Deb Weber July 17, 2019 at 8:41 am

    The picture with the empty front seat because of the ostrich reaching in and grabbing the bag of food cracked me up!! I’m heading to Texas from Nebraska on Friday. I will be sure to share your adventures with my nieces and nephews!! Thank you for sharing!!

  • Kathy July 17, 2019 at 9:05 am

    What a fun trip! Lots of great memories made. 🙂

  • Cortny July 17, 2019 at 9:27 am

    I love that you explored Fort Worth! So many fun things to do here…not biased at all! 🙂

  • Jennifer July 17, 2019 at 10:03 am

    We took our kids to Glen Rose a few spring break’s ago and ate at The Green Pickle. Delicious! Next time make sure and go to the Dinosaur State Park. You get to see real dinosaur tracks!

    • Mix and Match Mama July 17, 2019 at 8:03 pm

      We considered it…but with the heat, we decided to do the museum instead. it looks so cool though!!

  • Janey Polk July 17, 2019 at 10:03 am

    Shay, y’all need to come visit New Braunfels! It’s a small town (but getting bigger!) with German roots right in the Hill Country between Austin and San Antonio! There are rivers the float and Schlitterbahn Waterpark for the kids. You would love it! Plus in November we have a 10 day German festival with the best food! 😊

  • Marie T July 17, 2019 at 11:32 am

    How do you do sleeping arrangements with that many people? I noticed you wrote 2 rooms for the 10 of you and then the husbands joined. Where does the 5th and 6th person sleep? Just looking for any ideas you may have since we are a family of 6 and it’s hard to find rooms that will hold all of us.

    • Mix and Match Mama July 17, 2019 at 8:02 pm

      They were great at the Gaylord! We each had two beds and a rollaway. On the last night with the dads, it was a little tight in our room, but we made it work!

  • Amanda @ That Inspired Chick July 17, 2019 at 11:37 am

    We’ve got the Gaylord or Great Wolf Lodge on our list of things to do this summer but I’m not sure if we’ll get there! Summer is going by so fast!! This looks like so much fun!
    That Inspired Chick

  • Liz Thorson July 17, 2019 at 3:14 pm

    What fun and the memories made will be such fun for all of you! Love that the dads joined you all for day 3!

  • Karina Pol July 17, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    Which would you recommend for an adult: Perot Museum or Fort Worth Museum of Nature and History? I only have a couple days in a Dallas/Fort Worth. Thanks!

    • Mix and Match Mama July 17, 2019 at 8:01 pm

      I would probably say that they’re both much more geared to kiddos. If I had to say which one was “more adult”, I’d probably say Perot!

  • July 17, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    Hey Shay! I was just on this great website and saw this! You totally need it for the girls! I know you sing this song to them often so I thought of you and needed to give you the link. lol! 🙂

  • Detroit Duchess July 17, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    This is SO fun! When we were young I remember doing something like that and an Ostrich kept tapping on our car window, haha! My husband and I just drove through Pennsylvania and it reminded me of all the little road trips and exploring we did when I was a kid. There are SO many awesome things to see!

  • Audrey July 17, 2019 at 10:07 pm

    Where did you get your jean shorts? Thank you!

  • Mother of 3 July 18, 2019 at 5:24 am

    That sounds fantastic! That hotel/pool looks so amazing!

  • Sara July 18, 2019 at 10:41 am

    OMG. I’m dying over the ostrich. Every.single.time. They can be mean!! My youngest barely escaped with his finger one time so now when we go, we roll up the windows when we get to the ostrich. ahahahaha! And I’m laughing over the West Side Cafe visit. Not in the best part of town, but the food is great! And you can never, ever go wrong with a little Joe T’s….rain or shine 🙂 Looks like a fun trip!!

  • Lindsay D. July 18, 2019 at 9:51 pm

    What a perfect road trip!! Your kiddos will always remember the fun!!! I have an 8 and 10 year old…we just drove home for a family event and spent 8 hours in the car each way. I think it’s a great idea to do something close to home!! 🙂

  • Sharon anderson July 22, 2019 at 11:36 am

    Your trips always look like sO much fun!!! My daughter is a lifeguard at that Gaylord!! 🙂 I’m going to have to show her this post and see if she remembers seeing you all at the pool. So fun! (And I’m dying to do Nantucket…just finished Elin Hilderbrand’s “Summer of 69” and adored it!!!)

  • Gina July 23, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    Shay do all your children know how to swim? Curious to know if you recommend a swimming school?

    • Mix and Match Mama July 24, 2019 at 4:51 am

      They do! We use a lady around here who does private lessons at her house.