Kevin and I recently spent a Saturday morning with the coolest photographer but we never expected it to turn into a hot date!
Steamy post alert!
Now, I know not everyone enjoys taking pictures let alone a couple’s photo shoot, but let me tell you we had so much fun!
Maybe it’s because I take a lot of pictures, you know it’s kind of a blogger thing or maybe it’s because I have a total willing hubby haha! I do take lots of pictures but even after a few years of blogging I still have plenty of awkward moments.
Brooke, our lovely photographer, loved my idea of a romantic shoot and she really made us feel comfortable from start to finish. We truly felt right at home with her, like we had known her for years. In reality, however, we just met! We both quickly bonded over photography and motherhood and oh did she make us both laugh!
All I can say is, she’s good!
Kevin and I have done a few
couple’s photo shoots like when I was pregnant with our first child and about
seventeen years ago on our wedding day. And, this time was reminding me a lot
of our wedding day except way better!
Seventeen years of marriage
has grown and bonded us and we were both feeling all the love vibes. I love my
husband so deeply and to have something like this photographed is something I
will always treasure.
After gazing into each
other’s eyes, sweet whispers and lots of laughs, we quickly realized we were on
a hot date!
Initially I thought this was just a great opportunity to work with another photographer and gain pictures for content. I never expected to have so much fun and to feel like we just when on a super romantic hot date!
Our visit to The OdySea aquarium was complimentary and as always all opinions are 100% honest.
If you are local or visiting Scottsdale, Arizona we highly recommend checking out The OdySea aquarium!
Recently, we all got to attend the Grand opening of Monster Fish, their newest attraction at the OdySea, it was so cool! Our eldest is a huge animal lover and she was beyond excited. Over this past summer, she watched and recorded every Monster Fish on Nat Geo.
I have been to several aquariums both as a kid and now with my own kids and this one is my favorite!
We had so much fun learning about different fish and watching the stingrays wiz by us. Did you know some swim as fast as 30 miles an hour! I was laughing trying to get good captures of them with my camera too! Honestly, they were too fast!
This aquarium is built so beautifully, really easy to navigate, something we always appreciate, especially with three small children and its hours of family fun!
A few other favorites… Meeting two penguins up close and personal. For a moment we felt like Mr. Popper’s Penguins and we were all mesmerized! Then, adjacent to the Penguin Encounter are hands-on activities like the giant light bright, water table, and of course an area to dance!
Beyond all this is a really nice place to eat because food and snacks are around the clock with kids. Am I, right? Highly recommend, by the way, the burgers and fries are delicious!
Then we slowly made our way to another touch pool and we saw otters swim and play right before their dinner.
Lastly, we went downstairs to the deep ocean exhibit where there are sharks, rescued sea turtles and so many amazing, different, fish! It is truly breathtaking and marvelous to sit inside the moving theater too.
OdySea in the desert has so much more to offer too like Dolphinaris, Butterfly Wonderland, Pangea Land of the Dinosaurs, Bodies revealed and even Laser Tag. A must see, a place to visit and a destination in Arizona!
Monster Fish exhibition will be open until May 5th. I really hope you get to visit soon!
Have you ever intentionally spent a few days alone?
Recently I checked into the Four Seasons in Scottsdale and spent an entire weekend by myself!
I was a little apprehensive at first but when the idea kept popping up I knew it was something I was being called to do. This year marks my 39th birthday and I knew I needed to get away for a variety of reasons.
At first I just wanted to escape from it all! My messy house, kids that seem to be really gifted at driving me bonkers! Oh, and a baby that has shown signs of toddlerhood way before I ever anticipated. Need I say more?
Mama needs some alone time!
Well, besides all the usual suspects, and countless other distractions clouding my mind I was just not looking forward to the last year of my thirties.
The first one is a doozy, yep, its vanity. It is definitely on the top of the list too, I’m not gonna lie. But besides the obvious, realizing you are starting to age and seeing those oh so wonderful, little, lines around your eyes and OMG, is that a grey hair?
All of these outward things amount to a deeper emotion and it feels like the end of my youth in a lot of ways. Gosh, that sounds so depressing doesn’t it? But its honest and I know it’s a temporary feeling. And maybe its because I am done bearing children and even though we feel complete, it feels like another “you’re old” reminder!
Ok, so besides vanity and the obvious scary thoughts of getting older, the second one is where I feel God met me during my weekend alone. This is the real core of all my issues and that is the feeling of acceptance. Growing up I never truly felt accepted and therefore I have spent my whole life searching for it. Searching, craving, for everyone I come in contact with to like me. Ugh, it’s even exhausting writing about it!
God has so much more for me.
So I relaxed and I prayed, and I ate alone, oh it was glorious, eating alone I mean and I prayed some more. Definitely not the most avid reader but I’m reading some really great books along with reading scripture and I’m starting to break the lies I have built up for 39 years! Hallelujah, I am starting to taste the sweetness of freedom in this area of my life! God is good! He is good even when I can’t see and have blinders on.
Sometimes I wonder why it has taken me so long to see this problem but I am choosing to believe that it is God’s perfect timing because it always is and He knows exactly how I feel. He knows I don’t want to enter into my forties with this heavy burden weighing me down. I may not always want to grow older but I never want to stop growing!
If you ever get the chance to take a weekend or even to have a day all to yourself I would highly recommend it. My soul feels cleansed and my heart is full again. For someone who almost chickened out, I am really glad I didn’t because it blessed me more than I expected.
Unglued, Lysa Terkeurst
Boundaries with kids, Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
This post is sponsored by Parabo Press and as always all opinions expressed are 100% my own.
I honestly can’t recall the last time we mailed out Christmas cards, can you?
Well, I have a really easy and affordable solution for you! Parabo Press offers several beautiful options to make personalized Christmas or holiday cards with just a few simple steps.
There are five different designs and I really love this one because it’s simple and compliments our photos so nicely. Also, you can choose a flat card like this or one with a fold. Some of my favorite holiday cards over the years were a simple flat card so it was an easy choice!
The print quality and weight of our card are really nice too. I’m giving this an A+ for all the above and for the price! 24 cards with envelopes cost $20, that’s .83 cents a card! I mean, right? You have no excuse to not send out Christmas cards haha!
This year we opted for a family photo shoot and yes it was stressful but that’s life with little’s, isn’t it? In the end, we had a lot of fun and Holland kept us on our toes and made us all laugh! Lot’s of fun memories were made! One of my most favorite things about photography is capturing special candid moments and how a picture can capture so much personality.
Please don’t think you have to do a family photo shoot because any collection of your favorite photos would be just as beautiful on a Christmas or holiday card. And, if sending out cards isn’t your jam Parabo Press has you covered with so many other great print and gift options. Another Favorite of mine is making a photo book. They are fun to put together and now we have something to always remember our family photo shoot by.
Definitely check them out this holiday season because they offer so many beautiful print options for such an affordable price! Remember to use this code, LIL30 for 30% OFF your entire order until December 13.
And if you are local my friend Maria always takes the best photo’s.
Then, be sure to check out Legoland with your littles! We just got back from a weekend of family fun!
When we asked Luci what she wanted for her 7th birthday she told us she wanted to go on another family trip. The girls have already been to Disneyland twice and to Great Wolf Lodge over the summer (I know, must be nice, right?) so we chose someplace new, Legoland!
All three girls love Lego’s and we knew it would be a lot more manageable with three, little, kids. And, I have to say it totally is more manageable over a larger park like Disney.
We also opted to go for two days. The first day, on Luci’s birthday, we spent the entire day enjoying all the rides. For a Friday, the park was not super busy and it was pretty easy to navigate around most of the day.
Day two was all about Brick-or-Treat and it starts after regular park hours from 5 pm to 9 pm. This is extra and an add-on to your regular ticket into the park but it was fun to do. Holland took a normal nap at the resort, everyone rested up and the girls had fun collecting candy, dancing and looking for all the people dressed up in costumes. The weather in October was and still is perfect too!
Legoland California is located in San Diego and we opted to stay at Welk Resorts, about a 30-minute drive to and from the park. I am so glad we did because it is so perfect for a family of five. The girls had their own room and bathroom and so did we. There was also a full kitchen too. We definitely plan on heading back to enjoy this place over the summer!
Our little Luci had so much fun on her birthday and it was a beautiful day at the park. She was so brave and got on every ride with her big sis! Her favorite rides were all the roller coasters! Mommy and daddy had fun taking turns on rides and chasing Holland around too! Thank you sunny San Diego for a perfect family fun weekend!
I am super behind on getting this post up but its finally here. All things, Maui!
Here we are on year seventeen of marriage and what better place to celebrate than in Hawaii. Kevin was already on the Big Island for work and we met up on the day of our anniversary in Maui. This was a super fast vacation, only five days, two of which were mostly travel but it was well worth it!
I say this not to sound like a brat but if you haven’t been to one of the islands it’s nice to give yourself plenty of time to relax and time to enjoy all the adventures.
Some excursions take a bit of planning. We quickly learned this by traveling the road to Hana. Kevin was so excited to rent a vintage Porsche roadster. Omg, was this fun! Soft-top down most of the ride, mists of tropical rain falling on us and oh, an adventure to remember. I felt like an A-list Hollywood movie star in the middle of an Indiana Jones film!
Though, the road to Hana is not one to take lightly as you can see in some of my shots. We even encountered three coconuts in the middle of the two-lane highway! Thank goodness we made it through when no one was coming from the other direction. So, what I meant about planning, this particular road travels a long distance and it would take almost a day to complete and back.
We made it to Maui’s Garden of Eden, a couple of beautiful waterfalls and a gorgeous rainbow! What’s Hawaii without a beautiful rainbow, right? So, we made it a little more than halfway but it just leaves us another adventure to finish next time!
Mama & baby peacocks!
Daddy is king!
A sweet couple offered to take our photo!
Maui is so beautiful and I forgot to mention this was both our first time here. The Hotel Wailea is like something out of the movies, I’m telling you. So, so, amazing! Our room was spectacular, the views, the food, the pool! I usually care two shits about a resort pool especially next to gorgeous Hawaiian beaches but it really was one of my all-time favorites.
Our room nestled just below the stairs
Stairway to heaven and amazing rum drinks!
Another favorite and a huge highlight of our trip were seeing three, huge, sea turtles swimming and sunbathing on the beach! All the times we have traveled to Hawaii, this was the first time seeing sea turtles like this. Such a treat!
Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Preserve
In the distance, Makena State Park beach
Honestly, there is so much more I would love to see of Maui but I think it was the perfect trip for us.
Oh, and the food, almost forgot about the food!
I go loco for Moco loco!
A little sweet and spicy peanut glazed calamari with edamame and a mai tai of course!
Famous fish tacos from Coconuts a local favorite! Tacos you eat with chopsticks!!
This post is sponsored by Oh Joy and Lorena Canals but as always all opinions are 100% my own.
Clara just began third grade and she is so happy with the few new changes I made to her room.
Lorena Canals reached out to me again at just the right time too. We have their beloved Berber beige rug in our living room and we just love it! Recently, they came out with a new line by Oh Joy and Clara fell in love with the Happy Daisies print in gray.
Clara is our eldest Flower and we thought this was a perfect fit for her and her space. Lying almost in the center of her room, she happily plays with her toys and her sisters.
Besides playing she has discovered handstands and cartwheels and this beautiful rug offers her a safe place to practice and land! Another awesome thing about Lorena Canals rugs is they are machine washable. I literally never have to worry about dirt, allergens, or other mishaps because I can always give it a quick wash!
Another favorite addition we made to Clara’s room is a desk. She really wanted her own space to create and do homework and we felt this was a perfect time. I bought myself this same desk and love it because it doesn’t take up a lot of space and its super affordable too! Literally costs under $50!
Shopping for her desk chair was such a blast. I really thought we were going to find one at TJMaxx because there were some good contenders. But, alas, we found the perfect one at Walmart! I am such a fan of their ship to store option too! Her chair was under $50 on Rollback, winner, winner, chicken, dinner!
A few other changes were made and maybe we will make a few more in the future but really loving how this remix turned out! What do you think?
It’s that time again, back to school and I thought I would gather up all my most favorite things to share.
This year I am really proud of myself for not overspending in areas that were unnecessary. Like, on new backpacks. We bought new ones last year and with a quarterly toss in the washing machine, they look good as new! Also, did you know most brands have a lifetime warranty? Major savings!
So besides the usual back to school items here are a few things I think are really cool this year!
No. 1 on my list, name labels from NameBubbles! I love to label things and so do my girls! Plus, as a mom of three, I always know who’s cup is who’s and guess what? So do they and our school, church, and just about anywhere else we go! My girls labeled their backpacks, folders, and water bottles and they make it through dishwashing, washing machines, even the microwave!
No. 2 This one may not fit the back to school category but in my mind it does. Especially if you had a mom freak-out like I did over the summer! You can see full details on my IGTV but I will give you the condensed version. Basically, we have too many toys!
With three girls we must have every Shopkin, Lego, Barbie known to mankind!
My solution is Swoop bags! I’m not sure why I didn’t think of this sooner because we love them for our Lego storage and they hold a lot of toys. They each will have one of their own and whatever doesn’t fit, will be donated. I’m hoping this will finally resolve our HUGE problem of toys scattered all over their bedroom floors.
No. 3 Wetbrush + Bumble and Bumble invisible oil spray
OMG, this one saves my life every day! You may think, oh three girls how fun to style and comb hair. Um, no. I mean I want to love it but it’s a struggle. Are there any other girl moms out there? A Wetbrush and using Bumble and Bumblesaved my life! Both of these have cut down on whining and crying over tangles down to almost nothing. Bumble and Bumble can be a bit pricey but I use on three girls plus myself and a little goes a long way too.
No. 4 Ok, and as for me personally, loving Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shieldfrom Colorscience SPF 50 and their Brush-On SPF 50. We walk every day to school twice a day and it’s hot, the sun’s out 24/7 and this protects my skin. I also have sensitive skin and this goes on so nice, its’ not greasy, no smell and I love that it is SPF 50!
No. 5 The last item on my list is a favorite for baby. I mentioned it’s hot and Phoenix heat can last clear to November! Since we walk to and fro to school every day I found this really helps keep Holland nice and cool in her stroller. I found this on Amazon and it is such a lifesaver! You can use as a heating pad in the winter too.
Do you have a list of favorite back to school items? I would love to hear what you find helpful, leave me a comment.
We just got back from our family vacation at Great Wolf Lodge and it was a blast!
Do you live in water in the summer? From about May to the beginning of September, we live in our pool! Well, this summer we thought we would kick it up a notch and head to Great Wolf Lodge!
OMG you guys, if you love water and family fun, this place is for you! There is literally something for everyone too. If you were following our stories then you know we went as a family of four. My mom graciously offered to watch Holland for us and it was such a blessing. Our flight to Colorado Springs was delayed by almost two hours sitting on the tarmac and I know it would have been a struggle with a baby.
However, Clara and Luci were so excited they didn’t seem to mind our delay. Plus, our room was ready well before check-in so everything worked out perfectly. Since we were originally planning on going as a family of four we chose the Royal Wolf Suite instead of a room with bunk beds. The room was great for us because it gave mommy and daddy a separate, private, spaced apart from the girls. There was also a mini fridge and microwave in our room too.
My camera died shortly after snapping a few pics so bear with me. I thought I could get by without packing my camera battery charger and well I was wrong. Lesson learned I will not make that mistake again!
Ok, so onto the water park, we went for the next four days! The water park at Great Wolf Lodge Colorado Springs is completely indoor. I only missed the sun occasionally to warm up but it was really nice not having to worry about sunscreen!
Clara is probably the bravest out of all of us. Let’s just put it this way, she went down the Wolf Tail first! Whereas I lost sleep contemplating it for three days, lol! Everything about this ride is intimidating. Maybe it is the height, or the chamber you walk into, or the fact the floor drops from under your feet? Oh, and there is also a heartbeat sound effect too. On the very last day, I went down and I was so proud of myself. Guess what? It is a total blast and it put the biggest smile on my face! Be sure to check out my video! 😂
Besides an awesome water park, we enjoyed the food, drinks, arcade, nightly dance parties! There is even an adorable Kid spa, called Scooops! The girls got their toes done while wearing princess sashes and tiaras along with a scoop of their choice from Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. I mean I was jealous!
If I were to rate our experience I would give it five stars, seriously. For a family trip, it met all of our needs and then some. The only thing I would change is offering separate conditioner in the bathrooms no 2-1 stuff and a retractable clothing line to hang wet suits. We ended up using skirt hangers and hanging them on our balcony to dry. Totally worked by the way too.
The best part of our summer took place at Great Wolf Lodge and we can’t wait to go back! There is buzz they are building one in Scottsdale and it will be so fun to take Holland on our next adventure!
One more tip, take your family pic on the first day! The girls were sad to go home!