Erika and Shay’s 1st Annual Road Trip!


After reading Melanie Shankles’ books and hearing about the summer road trips Melanie and her girlfriend, Gulley, would take their kids on, Shay and I decided we wanted to start this tradition!  We made plans last summer we would do it in 2018!  We locked in the date, rented a big ole van that would seat us all, and made some road trip selections.  Then we were OFF!

The kiddos and I were at Shay’s house to pick them up at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning!  

We made these cuties wait to eat breakfast until our first stop in West, Texas, at the Czech Bakery!  Our crew ordered everything from cinnamon rolls to sausage kolaches filled with jalapenos and cheese.  Absolutely delicious!

Just FYI, this is what our crew looked like MOST of the time!  haha!

We all gave this stop two thumbs up!  If you’re driving from Dallas to Waco, Austin, or San Antonio…make time for this stop!

I must tell you this van was one of my favorite things about the trip.  We all loved being in one car together.  The kiddos had I-pads and played games or watched movies with their friends.  I’m not even kidding when I say the ride was actually pretty quiet.  I’m not gonna mention any names, but we talked to a girl friend on our way down and she was panicking about all eight kids in one car {who can blame her-ha!}.  But for real…they were great in the car!

I kept thinking about how great the littles were on this trip.  They hung in there and were troopers, but this picture reminds me…those big kiddos were amazing too.  They were so sweet with the littles the entire time!

Stop number two…Magnolia Market!  We arrived in Waco right before 9:00 a.m. so we let them run around, get rid of some energy, and enjoyed the outside before it got HOT!

They all loved running around for a bit.

Please note Madeley Shull.

Stop number three was a quick little walk from Magnolia…to the Dr. Pepper Museum.

The second floor had a wide variety of activities for kids.

We stayed for a while just letting them all explore.

So thankful to call this mama a friend.  Love adventures with her!

At this station, you had to do jumping jacks for a full minute in order to burn enough calories to receive a tiny cup of Dr. Pepper.

We walked around the other floors and saw the history of Dr. Pepper commericials, timelines of all the different sodas Dr. Pepper has created over the years, and more.

Then we walked across the courtyard to the newer exhibits along with the soda fountain.

Everyone enjoyed this ramp with cars!

This was my favorite spot in the exhibit…so cute!

All aboard this Dr. Pepper truck!

We ended this stop with a Dr. Pepper {R.C. Cola for me-I’m not a fan of Dr. Pepper} for each of us before walking back to the van.

Then it was just a quick drive over to Jake’s Texas Tea House for lunch.

Thing 8 wasn’t paying attention but I wanted you to see the cute decor.  🙂

After we refueled on burgers, chicken, and salads…we were off again!

And we made it to our next stop…Inner Space Caverns.  This was probably everyone’s favorite stop.  We signed up for the Adventure Tour that was an hour and fifteen minutes.  We were amazed at how quickly it got cooler once you began descending.  I might have been bragging about the temperature a little too much because the further down we got the more humid it got.  Shay and I were glistening by the end.  hahaha!  And it wasn’t a cute glisten, I should add!  The big kiddos did great on this tour, but Shay and I got our workout in by carrying Madeley and Britt the majority of the tour.  Let me just tell you my legs were sore the next day!  haha!  All fun and games until we made it halfway and had to start walking back UP!  


We ended the tour with a COLD DRINK…we were hot and tired!

But our FINAL DESTINATION was just a quick drive away…THE HYATT LOST PINES RESORT.  It’s an amazing hill country resort located right outside Austin, home to golf, spa, eight different dining options, lots of family friendly activities, hiking, a cool pool, and much more.  I’d heard great things about this resort, but had never had a chance to go and being just about 3 1/2 to 4 hours from McKinney {even though we stopped a ton on the way there} we thought it was great road trip material for our first time.

This was the view from our room.

The pool had a volleyball net set up on one end, a big open space in the middle, and then a beach-zero-depth entry on the other end.

Can you spot Ebby Lee at the top of the slide?

This slide ended at the entrance to the lazy river.

I finished this book while we were there…The Girl You Left Behind.  This same author wrote Me Before You, and I’ve gotta be honest…I love a thriller, romance, and comedy but I’m not a big fan of sad books.  This one was WAY better than Me Before You, in my opinion.  Head to Amazon to read the recap, but it was a good one!

We had a quick dinner pool side and then…
at 7:30 every evening we enjoyed SMORES!

Near the smores’ area there was a big Gaga pit set up and they played hard every evening before and after smores.  We called it a night early since we’d gotten up before the sun.  All in all, a PERFECT day one.  🙂

Our day two began strong with animals in the lobby.

More fun in the sun, great food, and lots of trips around the lazy river.  There were lots of activities {I can’t emphasize that enough!} to do with the kiddos…horse shoes, corn hole, ping pong, etc.

We enjoyed dinner at Shellers, definitely our favorite spot at the resort.  GET THE BRISKET!

And we ended the night with Coco.

Day three was just as fabulous…pool, lunch, more pool, dinner, smores, and then this…
-lots of flipping with our big diaper showing.

And popcorn while we watched Finding Dory.

It was the best way to end our trip.  🙂

Isn’t it gorgeous?

I also finished this book while we were there…If You Only Knew.  It’s Jamie’s Ivey’s book about how with Jesus she became free.  I’ve listened to her podcasts, but didn’t really know much about her.  She has an amazing testimony and is using it to let His light shine.  

Our plan was to get up and head back on Friday morning, which is exactly what happened except in the night Ebby Lee woke up sick so she and I were up most of the night.  NNNOOOOO!!!!  I’m so thankful that happened on our last night and it was a quick drive home {all the other kiddos were AMAZING to her on the van ride home…seriously so sweet}.  We made it back around 1:00 p.m. and I got that girl in bed ASAP.  She started feeling better on Saturday and much, much better on Sunday.

Here are a few of my thoughts…

*If you can, grab your people and head out on a road trip ASAP!
*This trip doesn’t have to be far from home…hit up interesting things near you or hours away-whatever you’d prefer.  Depending on stops and destinations you could make this as cheap or as expensive as you’d prefer.
*These stops are mostly places we’d never take the time to stop on a typical trip.  But all of our stops were FUN!  I’m so glad we did this!
*My mother-in-law was talking to me when we returned and I almost cried because she started talking about how one day those eight kiddos could be spread out all over the world, but they’ll have these amazing memories of getting to spend days together each summer.  I hope they always remember.
*We really did make some awesome memories.  You should do it.  I promise you-you won’t regret it!

Saturday afternoon…it was back to life, back to reality {and all the laundry}.  🙂


We had a blast and it was a trip my kiddos will talk about all year long.  Slaughters are ready for our 2nd Annual Road Trip in 2019!  Pack your bags, Shull Crew!  And thanks for all the FUN!


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  1. 7.31.18
    Amber said:

    Looks amazing!!! Sorry EL got sick but hey…we used to say it wasn’t a road trip unless someone puked! Our kids rarely let us down!! 😉

  2. 7.31.18
    Mix and Match Mama said:

    I loooooved our road trip so much!! I am so thankful to have a mama friend like you to do life with! (Also, people should get that creamed corn with their brisket 😉 ) . xo

  3. 7.31.18
    Anonymous said:

    What a fun trip!! I know you guys had a blast!!! I love all the pics!

  4. 7.31.18
    Sheaffer {Pinterest Told Me To} said:

    So I read Shay's blog first, and I already admitted to my panic attack. Hahaha! And YOU DON'T LIKE DR. PEPPER? How did I not know this about you? And poor Ebby Lee. There's nothing worse than being sick on a car ride! 🙁

  5. 7.31.18
    Simple Purposeful Living said:

    Such sweet memories they will have forever for sure 🙂 I love those random stops along the way, they always end up being favorites! xoxo ERIN

  6. 7.31.18
    Karen Ward said:

    I love FRAMILY!!! We spend a week every summer at the beach in Navarre FL with framily. For the most part, there are four families and we have camped at our favorite RV resort – this year was our 11th!! Two families have grown children but my family and another have girls that were 10 and 11 when we started. Of course, they are both adults now. We have so many great memories and we always look forward to making more!!

  7. 7.31.18
    Kaz said:

    What a fun trip!! The resort sounds amazing!

  8. 7.31.18
    Marla Slaughter said:

    Oh I still have such wonderful memories of all our camping road trips! Loved getting to see your journey!

  9. 7.31.18
    Kelsey Peacock said:

    I just love this idea! What your mother-in-law said made me tear up too! My cousins and I all live across the US now but we have the BEST memories of summer adventures and fun times together that keep us connected.

  10. 7.31.18
    Kathy Lang said:

    Looks like everyone had a great trip and made lots of wonderful memories together!

  11. 7.31.18
    Kimberly said:

    This looks like so much fun! Glad yall hit up the Czech Bakery…it's definitely a family favorite!

  12. 7.31.18
    brookerichardson said:

    I totally agree with what your mother in law said. What wonderful memories you made!

  13. 7.31.18
    Amanda @ That Inspired Chick said:

    This was such a great idea!! Y'all's sweet framily dynamic is just so perfect. Everyone has their counterpart. And I've never heard of this place so it's now on my list! That Inspired Chick

  14. 8.1.18
    Diana said:

    You and Shay are my idols! I wish I had the energy and stamina that you ladies have…what is your secret?!? AND the two of you always look so gorgeous! One question – do you know the brand of headphones your kids use? I’ve bought a couple off of Amazon but they only lasted a few months!

  15. 8.3.18
    Baby Kate's Mom said:

    I've been dreaming of road tripping from Florida to Texas to see Magnolia!!! Looks so fun!!!

    Tell me about your entertainment center, I love it! Where did you get it?

  16. 8.3.18
    Shelly @ The Queen in Between said:

    So fun! So glad y'all stopped at the childrens museum it is a good one. We love lost pines but my older kids have kind of outgrown it. 🙁 So love that you guys rented that van!!

  17. 8.3.18
    Joanne said:

    It really does sound like you had an amazing time but I can't help but think… you had time to finish up 2 books while vacationing with 8 kids?!?! Now that is amazing.