Delilah’s top 5 : Traveling out West.

Per my posts the past couple of weeks, I am taking a day off and this post is brought to you by none other than Delilah.  If you have questions about her travels make sure to email or comment.   I hope you enjoy.  – Melissa

Hello as most of you know I am Delilah, my mom has asked me to write something for her blog. With summer coming to a close I thought I would write about the trip I took across the country with my Dad and sister (Avery).

My top five favorite things that I saw while traveling over 1500 miles out West were:

I love taking pictures of sunsets.  I have enjoyed watching beautiful sunsets everywhere I’ve traveled. There was something about this particular sunset in Kansas that grabbed my attention.  Did you know, a fun fact I learned in Science class, “By the time you see the sun set, it’s actually gone.”  Who knew?!


I love pizza almost as much as I love sunsets.  In Kansas I got to enjoy both. I saw the first original Pizza Hut at Wichita University, Kansas. I am not sure how they make pizzas in a tiny place.


You have not lived until you have been inside a whale. This beautiful, big blue whale is in Catoosa, OK.   We got to Catoosa, by driving on the famous Route 66.   If you want to read more about my friend the blue whale, click here.


The mountains, rivers and valleys in Colorado are beautiful and amazing.  We were able to drive up this particular mountain, so no hiking here.   Yes, I know I am paler than Casper the ghost.


My top favorite thing,  was to play in snow in July. Wait! Snow in July??!! Yes, Colorado has snow in July.  Yikes. The snow is fun, but I was happy to come back home and play in the pool.





The worries that come with having a teen driver

I know I talk a lot about my little Lou, but this week’s posts are all about Delilah.

I have always felt a connection to the bible verse located in the book of Mathew Chapter 6:33 which says, “33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  In this post I want to discuss the verse that comes after, 6:34, “34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Now, I am sure you asking what in the world has gotten into this chick…

Stay with me because this is going to go fast. 


Time is fleeting.  This picture is Delilah’s first day of Kindergarten.   I can remember that day like it was yesterday. 

As you know, Delilah received her driver’s license.  What I failed to tell you was how I took the news.  I am having a hard time with the fact that I knew the time was coming for Delilah to go off into the world.  I was ready to go to court with her and listen to the Judge. Which by the way scared the living poo out of me.  I do not know if it scared the rest of the parents but, I sat there listening to the statistics, the judge was mouthing out thinking holy guacamole that is a lot of texting and driving accidents!  Thank goodness I did not have a phone to deal with when I was 16, because I am sure that would have given my parent’s more headaches. Not to mention I got into three accidents in one week. Seriously, I was not the best driver earlier in my driving career. What I also failed to tell you, minus I was a craptastic driver, is that I am a worrier. l like to have plans A, B and C for when something happens. Maybe it is because I have been there done that as they say, or maybe it because as a parent I want to protect my girls from all harm.  I have not heard a parent yet who wants harm to come to their child.  Then on the flip side of the coin how will Delilah learn valuable lessons if I do not let her fail.  Ugh, the struggle of parenthood is real.  My husband will tell you, I am not a worrier as much as I am a control freak.  Needless to say, when your child drives off into the sunset (without you sitting next to them) you really have no control over their driving skills or other drivers for that matter.  You have to rely and pray that God will take care of them and keep them safe.

Here is the part you will start laughing about or find sadly pathetic: when Delilah first got her driver’s license, I actually thought she was going to continue letting us drive her around from place to place with a few occasional outings on her own.  Seriously I thought this.  I just could not wrap my head around her gaining this new-found independence. Quite frankly I am having a hard time just wrapping my head around her growing up. All of these life lessons up to this point I want to take back.  I want her to feel as if she still needs me as much as I need her.  I know she still needs her Mom but it is just a different kind of parenting than when she was in Kindergarten.

I recently watched the movie Father of the Bride, there is a part in the movie when the daughter (played by Kimberly Williams) tells her father (played by Steve Martin) that she going to get married.  The funny part is how the father took the news.  Steve Martin (the father) took the news as if his little three-year old daughter (Kimberly Williams) was telling him.  I found the movie hilarious until it has all started happening to me.  No, Delilah is not getting married, but she is growing up and gaining more independence that I am just not mentally prepared for.  I want to hold on to her as long as possible.  The part that Delilah is getting older and I can not control time is a reality that is not setting well with me.

Now you ask how are the bible verses I mentioned the in the beginning relevant to this post.  When I am in need of a pick me up I go to my bible.  I always have and always will, it was a part of my upbringing. My favorite verse is (Mathew 6:33) but in my case currently (Mathew 6:34) seems so relevant.  While reading my bible did not immediately end all of my worries (like a magic trick) it does help me focus on the right here and now.  I do not worry today on tomorrow’s problems.  I try to remember to enjoy each day, in that moment, that I have with my family. I can not control Delilah, when she is not in my sight, I have to rely on the fact we have raised her as an independent thinker; who will hopefully follow all the rules of the road.  We have raised an amazing young woman who we are so very proud to be going out into the world and driving.  I will keep reading my bible and relying on God as I am sure this will not be the last moment I worry about Delilah.


One of the few times I am smiling while riding with her.  Normally I am white knuckled and pressing on my imaginary break on the passenger side. 

That is it for today.   Delilah will have her post about her 3 week trip to Colorado on Thursday so make sure to come back and visit us.

As Always,

Melissa Gayle

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Lessons Learned


I have to admit I was not looking forward to this Florida vacation at all.  Don’t get me wrong I love to see Lucy and her teammates play field hockey; but I was not looking forward to going to theme parks afterwards on a hot and muggy day.  If you have ever been to Florida in July then you know a 100 plus degree day feels like 500 degrees. I also do not care for crowds of people. Clint says I am getting grumpy in my old age. Clint and Lucy on the other hand were so excited to experience Disney.  Neither  one of them have been to Disney . This was my 4th visit to Disney.  In my mind if you have seen one theme park you have seen them all. Just in case you are not familiar Disney World is 4 different theme parks.  Due to time restrictions we chose to visit 2 of the 4 parks.


I thought this picture was funny and a good way to dive into Animal Kingdom.

All of my negative connotations were quickly swept away as soon as I stepped foot into Animal Kingdom.  To try to break down a big topic, like Disney, Lucy and I decided it would be best to give our top 4 reasons why Animal Kingdom is our favorite Disney theme park.

  1. As you know, summer time is a crazy busy time for any touristy area. Disney is no different, even in sweltering heat. Animal Kingdom, felt spacious. We did not feel as if we were being herded around like cattle.  We did not have to fight crowds to get on rides or see shows.  We did not have people pushing through the crowds looking everywhere but who located is in front of them.  The best part is we did not have people running over feet with their baby strollers.


    Clint and Lucy at The Tree of Life  which is located in the front of Animal Kingdom.  This was honestly the biggest crowd we encountered all day.

  2. Animal Kingdom, is fun and educational.  Lucy’s objectives while visiting the Disney was to ride as many rides as she could.  She actually, opted to take part in the learning scavenger hunt in lieu of riding many of the rides. Lucy earned her Wilderness Badge, ” by completing challenges while walking around the park”.   Lucy’s favorite new fact that she learned is that a hippopotamus can run an entire length of a football field in 7 seconds.  It takes me longer than 7 seconds just to wrap my head around the fact that I am going to run the length of a football field. I honestly would have loved to see the sprinting in action, but the hippos were swimming.  I guess I would pick a cool pool over sprinting too.


    Lucy working towards her Wilderness Badge.  She did complete all her tasks.  

  3. Animal Kingdom does an amazing job of educating their patrons about their ongoing conservation efforts. For example in certain parts of Africa, elephants are being killed and poached.  To help save the elephants, Disney assisted in research that found elephants are afraid of bees.  All of this resulted in creating beehive fences around African villages. These beehive fences keep elephants out of villages, and the villages are able to profit from the beehives.  I have provided a link if you are interested in further information here. We were so intrigued, because as you know my father in law is a beekeeper.  Lucy wanted to immediately call her Pa-Paw and tell him he needed to move to Africa and help save the elephants.  


    Hippo taking a swim to cool down.  I did not have a good picture of the Elephants. 

  4. My absolute favorite part of Animal Kingdom is even though it was hot, most of the park is shaded.  The shade was perfect for a 105 degree day.  I had such a great time at Animal Kingdom, I did not want to leave.   


    Lucy taking in the shops and having fun with ears. 

My original thought of if you have seen one theme park you have seen them all, has changed.  I could go back and visit Animal Kingdom over and over again.

We also went to Hollywood Studios.  Clint and Lucy were glad they got to experience Hollywood Studios but chose not to go back and visit. I think they felt it was a one-time kind of park.

Lucy, Clint and I would love to know what Disney park is your favorite?  If you have tips, tricks or  good Disney advice we are all ears (no pun intended). If you are planning a trip to Disney and are in need of opinions on other aspects I would be happy to share.  Please email me your questions.

I think it is safe to say we will visit again in the near future, just not in July.

As Always,

Melissa Gayle



Ode To Summer 16′

Disclaimer: this post is a hodgepodge of thoughts and summer activities.  It is hard to fit an entire summer of fun into one blog post.  I am also writing this laid up in bed with pneumonia.  The lack of O2 is not helping in the topic jumping.

Wow, where did summer go? Yes, I know it is not officially the end of summer but it feels as if the Labor Day weekend marks the end of summer.  Our summer involved lots of big accomplishments, road trips and sun. Lucy graduated 5th grade and has begun, as of today, her new middle school career.  Delilah is a “for real” driver now.  My eyes have finally stopped twitching from the stress.  I have worked on a revamp to The House of Hazel.  When I started The House of Hazel it was to share in my experiences as a mom and wannabe fashion icon.  Lucy and Delilah, love reading the blog and your comments, and want more ownership in shared topics and stories.  So, you will start to see some tiny revisions to the blog over the course of the coming weeks.


To back track and kick off our ode to Summer 16, let’s dive right in.  In the past, our summer trips are to the beach.  Actually, all of our trips whether summer or winter are to a tropical location.  Clint and I found years ago if we stay up really late and plan early enough you can find great deals on tropical vacations.  This summer, our trip involved a 12 hour drive in which we ended up at Disney.  This summer, Lucy chose our family vacation.  Lucy’s travel field hockey team played in a 4 day tournament at Disney’s ESPN Zone.  When Lucy heard about a trip to Disney, with a side of field hockey involved, she jumped at the opportunity. Most of the summer, up until we left at the end of July, was taxing her around to practices and games in preparation for the tournament.

Most of the summer involved lounging by the pool and actually going to a job to pay for this amazing life we have. Me actually going to work and Clint getting a “honey do” list done.  Remember he is a teacher so he gets to stay home with the girls in the summer.


While we were driving Lucy all over town, Delilah was driving herself to work. She worked a lot this summer.  I am so proud of her.  She is learning valuable lessons in work ethic and money does not grow on trees. She is working so much because, as a family we decided it would be best for her to pay for her car and car insurance.  While I realize we will get some parents who will give us the stink eye for this, I find that it works for our family. Delilah, did not just work all summer she, also got to take an amazing 3 week road trip out to Colorado.  As part of the “revamp” of the House of Hazel, she is going to write about her experience road tripping it across America.



I had every intention of diving into our Disney trip, but Disney is a big topic to tackle in a paragraph or two.   Make sure to check back in Thursday when I promise to discuss our Disney trip.

I want to hear how you spent your summer. Make sure to comment of your favorite 2016 summer memory.


As Always,

Melissa Gayle