Summer in Sedona with our Kids

Sedona with kids - phoenix mom bloggers

What a great weekend! We visited Sedona for the very first time and had such a great experience. Ryan and I took our oldest kids (baby Nolan stayed home with the grandparents) to see this scenic place. It was my first time visiting Sedona (I know. I know!) and Ryan went when he was little, so we’ll call this his first time too.

As we approached the city, we started to see some of the most gorgeous red rocks. They were all around! The kids thought Sedona looked like Disney’s Cars Land and we were blown away by the beauty of it all. For some reason we had envisioned a few rocks here and there, but nothing like what we saw. We felt like we were living inside of a postcard.

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We were fortunate enough to be invited up by Orchards Inn, a super quaint 70-room Inn located in the middle of Uptown Sedona. Right when Colton walked into the lobby he immediately ran to the patio and said, “Whoa! Mom, come look at this!” He was staring at “Snoopy Rock” and it was truly a sight to be seen.

orchards inn family friendly sedona hotels

The view from Orchards Inn had to be one of the best views from any Sedona hotel. I can’t imagine a better one.

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Just look at the Red Rocks reflecting off of our patio window! I think Ryan could have sat in those chairs every morning and evening just taking it all in. These huge patios made our room feel so spacious.

orchards inn family friendly sedona hotels

orhcards inn family friendly sedona hotel

many hats of a mom blog | sedona with kids

Every morning these two would overlook the pool and people watch. At night, we took blankets over to the hotel’s wedding lawn and watched the stars in the sky. The kids played with this constellation app on our iPhones and had so much fun pointing out Scorpio, Leo, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Ryan loved explaining what everything was. He’s such a science junkie. Mom on the other hand knew where the moon was and that’s about it.

orchards inn sedona hotels

I don’t know how she does it, but she manages to pose on the fly. “Kelsey, smile” somehow turns into a pointed toe, arms up in the air and a throw back of her head. I love her so much.

This picture was snapped on our way to dinner on Friday night. Directly across the street from our hotel is 89Agave – a super cute Mexican restaurant with – you guessed it – amazing views of the red rocks.

Agave89 Sedona Restaurants

I’m on the Whole 30 diet for the next 14 days so I got to watch as the kids devoured amazing cheesy dishes at this great Sedona restaurant and envied Ryan’s orange cinnamon margarita. The best part about the restaurant, for the kids, was this oversized chalkboard wall where Kelsey wrote her name and Colton drew a circle. Ha!

89agave sedona dining

89agave sedona restaurants for kids
89agave sedona restaurants for kids

89agave sedona restaurants for kids

89agave sedona restaurants for kids

89agave sedona restaurants for kids

89agave sedona restaurants for kids

89agave sedona restaurants for kids
After dinner we walked up and down the main street looking at all of the shops and touristy things. We listened to street music, grabbed ice cream at Black Cow Cafe and counted how many Pink Jeeps we could find.

phoenix mom blog sedona with kids

uptown sedona mom blog

sedona with kids mom blogger

sedona with kids - many hats of a mom blog

 

 

Sedona Many Hats of a Mom Blog

Day 2 we woke up and went to West Fork Hiking Trail. It’s $10 to park (cash only!) and we recommend arriving early – as the parking lot was full when we left. West Fork hiking trail is 3.3 miles (one way) and if you hike the entire trail, you’ll cross the river 13 times. We made it across 5 times before the kids wanted to head back. Mostly because mom left the snacks sitting on our hotel room bed. Mom fail!

About three steps into our hike back to the car, the kids requested piggy back rides. We really didn’t mind because this trail was shaded, pretty tame and super scenic. If you’re in Sedona with kids, I would recommend this hike. Maybe not with a toddler on your back, but nonetheless, it was a fantastic hike for our little ones.

west fork sedona hike with kids

west fork sedona hike with kids

west fork sedona hike with kids

Do you see Colton down there? He was yelling, “Echo! Echo!” at this little sparrow that was sitting on a rock. I told him he could hear is echo so apparently he kept saying “Echo” so he could hear it. Makes sense.

west fork sedona hiking trail with kids

west fork sedona hike with kids

west fork sedona hiking trail with kids

west fork sedona hike with kids

After the hike, we were starving! We randomly stopped at Indian Gardens because there was a sign on the front that said, “Deli”. To our surprise, this place was super charming and filled with healthy breakfast and lunch items. It reminds me of a restaurant back in Phoenix. There is indoor and outdoor seating and these amazing cupcakes that I just stared out while ordering my boring black coffee and egg whites.

many hats of a mom blog | sedona with kids

many hats of a mom blog | sedona with kids

sedona restaurants mom blogger

many hats of a mom blog | sedona with kids

many hats of a mom blog | sedona with kids

sedona restaurants mom blogger

After our hike, we took the kids swimming back at Orchards Inn and then Ryan, Kelsey and Colton took … ready for this … a three-hour nap! I couldn’t believe it. Apparently hiking + sun + chlorine is a recipe for a very peaceful afternoon for mom.

On Saturday night, we decided to celebrate Father’s Day a day early at the Orchard Inn’s sister hotel, L’Auberge de Sedona. We ate at Etch Kitchen & Wine Bar which was located along the creek. Besides the ‘tude I got from Kelsey on the walk down to the hotel (see below), it was a great way to cap off an already amazing weekend. I know I’m saying a lot of adjectives that sound the same in this blog post but I can’t stress enough how great this weekend was.

sedona with kids - many hats of a mom blog

sedona with kids mom blogger

Thanks Kelsey for snapping this picture of us. She even said, “Wait” and climbed up a few stairs so she would be tall enough to shoot the camera directly at us. Well done, sister.sedona with kids - many hats of a mom blog

sedona with kids - many hats of a mom blog

sedona with kids - many hats of a mom blog

sedona with kids - many hats of a mom blog

Celebrating one of the best dad’s there is!

sedona family vacation mom blogger

sedona family vacation mom blogger

After dinner, our GPS took us to “Chapel Cross Trail” which we thought would make for a great evening hike. Turns out, it’s actually a chapel and dead ends you into a residential neighborhood. As we were getting out of the car to watch the sunset, Colton stepped on a cactus. In true Stephanie fashion, I left the first-aid kit (which I literally packed for every type of situation) in the hotel room. This was starting to be a theme on this trip.

Ryan quickly pulled out the cactus and wrapped my jacket around his leg to stop the bleeding. He was so brave and said, “It’s okay mom. I feel so much better now.” We promised him any kind of ice cream he wanted for being so brave – to which he picked mint chocolate chip. We ended the night at Baskin Robins with a bloody jacket and super happy kids. Truly a Father’s Day for the books!

 

sedona red rocks - phoenix mom blogger

sedona red rocks - phoenix mom blogger

sedona red rocks - phoenix mom blogger

Ryan shot this photo from our car window! I love it because it really sums up the weekend. On the car ride back, we stopped by the famous Rock Springs Cafe and picked up a few slices of pie (courtesy of our hotel) and two pies for Father’s day. If you’re making the drive to Sedona, this is a great pit stop along the way.

sedona with kids - many hats of a mom blog

Thank you to Orchads Inn and 89Agave for hosting us for two nights and one lovely dinner! It’s a summer family vacation we’ll treasure forever.

Delivering a Massage to my Doorstep

While my kids run around like lunatics, I can grab my phone and book a much-needed massage. And then when the licensed massage therapists knocks on my door, I can hand the kids off to my husband and enjoy 60 minutes of me-time … all without having to leave the house!

I was recently introduced to Zeel Massage, which is an in-home on-demand message service. Through the Zeel app (think: Uber) you can book a licensed massage therapist to come to your house, set up a shop and give you a deep tissue, swedish, sports, or just-because massage!

zeel massage mom blogger

This would also make a great gift for Father’s Day. What man wouldn’t love a massage? Use promo code DAD25 to get $25 off a gift card of massage for him. Offer expires on 6/20/16. Check out more at Zeel.com.

*This is a sponsored post but that’s really me booking and anxiously awaiting my massage.

July Book Club: What we’re reading

I recently joined a Book Club with a few mommy friends of mine. It’s basically our excuse to leave the kids with our husbands for a few hours and indulge in cocktails and some much-needed girl time. We meet once a month and take turns hosting a discussion. It’s so much fun and I encourage you to follow along. I’m hosting July’s book club and this is what I picked: The Vacationers by Emma Straub.

July-Book-Club-Discussion-The-Vacationers

I’m about half way through the book and it’s just want I needed for summer: a light, easy to read, engaging book that allows you to escape reality and enthrall yourself in another family’s drama. It’s a great story to read poolside or on your own vacation. Enjoy!

Photo by Fruetcake

48 hours in New York

I tend to go to New York for small bits of time (seen here), one day I’ll make it for at least three-days because it would be nice to explore more areas of Manhattan and the other neighborhoods and landmarks that make this city so famous. That said, I was just in New York for the NewsCred Think Content marketing conference. It was a one day conference, so time was limited. In true Stephanie-needs-to-jam-pack-all-she-can-into-a-trip fashion, I was actually able to see and do a lot. My first Broadway play, for instance! What is it about this city that makes you light up inside? Not sure, but I’m so grateful to my job for allowing me to travel to great places.

w new york time square - mom blog

We stayed at the W New York – Times Square and I actually loved it. It was a great respite from the hustle and bustle of Times Square and located right in the center of it all. The rooms were spacious (that surprised me) and the staff were great! I would recommend this hotel if you like staying close to all of the action.

beauty and essex new york restaurant

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Following a friend’s recommendation, we made reservations at Beauty & Essex (amazing food + you enter through a Pawn Shop, which was pretty cool) followed by cocktails back at W Hotel and a great cheese dish downstairs at their Mexican restaurant. You only get a free pass to eat an entire plate of melted cheese when you are at least 50 miles from your home. It’s a known rule.

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many hats of a working mom blog

many hats of a working mom blog

The content marketing conference was great. Marketers from Airbnb, Google, New York Times, Instagram, Uber, SweetGreen and more graced the stage to share some of their content marketing tips and insights. After the conference, we had to hurry and catch a cab because we were going to see a Broadway play. I quickly realized that my hailing cab skills are horrible. One of my past New York friends told me to “only hail a cab when their light is on” – and then another told me (after the fact) that I need to take off my sunglasses and stare at them. Sheesh. So many rules. We tried Uber but it’s hard to catch one in the city (the rates get really high and then take forever to find your location). We finally got a cab, 10 minutes later, if you’re wondering.

she loves me musical new york

We saw our first Broadway play, “She Loves Me” at the historic Studio 54. Our seats were so close (row K) so we could literally see everything so clearly. During the first two minutes of the musical, this rude, rude, rude, rude, rude man yelled at the couple sitting behind us. “Are you going to talk the ENTIRE time!” he yelled. It was so loud, my boss, Melissa jumped in her seat. I gave him a really nasty look at intermission to which he just smirked. His nasty behavior aside, this musical was phenomenal. Truly remarkable and one that I would see again. I snapped a photo of Melissa before the play because she matched the sign. That calls for a photo opt, don’t you think?

The next morning, our flight didn’t leave until noon so we woke up and hurried our way over to The St. Regis New York for breakfast. It’s one of our most legendary hotels (built in 1904 and the first St. Regis hotel) and Melissa had never been inside so we’ll call this “work related research”. On our way over, it was raining so we had these massive W hotel umbrellas. We wanted coffee so we started walking towards one of my favorite bakeries. As we approached Bouchon Bakery we caught a glimpse of Luke Bryan playing a Today Show Summer Concert. Melissa swore it was Coldplay (hello? totally different sound) but then she saw this cute country boy and was assured Chris Martin was not in the building.

luke bryan today show concert

Here are a few more photos from the morning.

st regis new york hotels - travel mom blog

st regis new york hotels - travel mom blog

st regis new york hotels - travel mom blog

Still a little wet from the rain, we found ourselves eating breakfast outside of the notorious King Cole Bar at the St. Regis New York hotel. The food was amazing and I couldn’t stop staring at the gorgeous architecture and subtle details throughout the restaurant. Fun fact: There was a $100 omelette on the menu, if you can believe that. Clearly, I opted for something a little less extravagant, but equally pleasing to the palate, I’m sure. Next up, we strolled through Central Park, did some window shopping at Tiffany’s, bought some cute gifts for the kids at The Plaza Shops and then started the walk back to the hotel.

new york - many hats of a mom blog

new york - many hats of a mom blog

central park mom blog

new york - many hats of a mom blog

new york - many hats of a mom blog

new york - many hats of a mom blog

new york - many hats of a mom blog

new york - many hats of a mom blog

This was another great work trip for the books. I was really happy to be home and, surprisingly, back in the chaos of every day life as a mother of three. Don’t feel too sorry for my husband, he spent the next four days in Orlando on a work trip so he got his payback on me for skipping town for a few days.

As always, thank you for following my blog and allowing me to relive some of my favorite memories through photographs. And a special thank you to anyone and everyone that finds themselves on a work trip, or just next to me when I’m in camera snapping mode. My work friends call this “photo shoot time” when they are around me. Thanks to them for humoring me every time we hit the road. xo

A Weekend in the Woods with Nolan Ryan

A weekend in the mountains was just what I needed. While my husband took the older kids camping (photos to come), Nolan and I went to Pinetop, Arizona with my mother-in-law and Ryan’s aunt. It was the perfect retreat from the Phoenix heat and a great way to enjoy Nolan without any interruptions. I was also able to start and finish a book! Imagine that.

Here are a just a few photos from our quiet Memorial Day weekend in the woods.

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many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

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many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

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many hats of a mom blog

School’s Out for Summer!

It’s official. Kelsey is on her way to first grade and I’m left wondering where the time goes. We were holding hands today and I kept thinking back to the first time I put her little fingers in the palm of my hand. Back to the first time I touched her cheek. The first time I combed her hair. And now look at her!

And Colton … wasn’t he just born? Now he’s less than a head shorter than Kelsey and has more personality than all three of my kids combined. His smile lights up the room, and my heart. Then there’s our little nugget, Nolan. Seven teeth and counting and only eight months young. I was rocking him to sleep tonight and I told him to stay small for just a short while longer. I’m really not ready to let these kids grow up. Mostly because it feels like with each passing year they get more and more independent from me. And while I know that’s life, and that’s what they are supposed to do, a HUGE part of my heart wants to keep them in my arms forever.

Well, we’ve been doing so much in the first few days of summer. I took Friday off of work to take Kelsey and her best friend, Colin to an indoor amusement park. We did bumper cars, mini bowling and arcade games. And then I went into the laser tag arena and came out with a migraine. Seriously. The lights! And then Saturday we took the kids to Encanto Park. I’ve been living in Phoenix forever and never knew this park existed. We were there to take family photos of one of my friends’ kids – and decided to hang out until sundown at the amusement park, Enchanted Island (located inside the park).

I’d say the first few days of summer have been good to us. Here’s to another season of more memories with these three.

mom blog

Lazy weekend mornings with my boys, and Nolan’s thighs.

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Almost as delicious as Nolan’s legs are these In-n-Out burgers.

family mom blog

Kelsey and her buddy, Colin. I think he’s trying to eat her face. You know … kids.

mom blogger

Who do you think is the dominate one in the relationship?

phoenix mom blogger

Bumper cars with my little lady.

many hats of a mom blog

At the park, Kelsey had met Scarlet just five minutes prior and yet they were inseparable. Can we just take a moment to talk about their hair for a second. I mean … is this real life?

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

The two cuties on the left are twins. And who doesn’t love Colton’s little Alfalfa hairstyle in this picture. See it?

many hats of a mom blog

Summer nights are the best. And yes, I realize it’s not officially summer but we’re in Phoenix and we’re hitting triple digits already, so to us … it’s summah.

The Palace Hotel and Some Sights in San Francisco

travel blogger - many hats of a mom blog
After three-nights in Napa Valley, Ryan had to attend some business meetings in the city so we stayed one night in San Francisco before heading back home. The sights, sounds and buzz of the city wasn’t exactly what I had in mind after a few days of pure serenity, but it was fun to see The Palace Hotel and experience this luxury downtown San Francisco staple.

While Ryan was in meetings, I got to know the hotel a bit better. I worked out, dinned in the Garden Court surrounded by a gazillion chandeliers, did some window shopping at Chanel and Tory Burch and waited patiently for Ryan’s meetings to end. Even though I’m a full-time working mom, it was fun to pretend that I wasn’t. Just for a day.

the palace san francisco travel blogger

*Even the mustard was fancy.

the palace san francisco travel blogger

the palace san francisco travel blogger

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The city was in full bloom. Outside and inside of the hotel. The Palace was built in 1875 and recently came out of a restoration. It was gorgeous inside. Every corner was opulent and you could feel the rich history in all of the details, while still feeling like you were in 2016.

the palace san francisco travel blogger

the palace san francisco travel blogger

The feeling of enjoying a warm cup of coffee without three little kids screaming in your ear. Ahhh … take me back to this moment.

the palace san francisco travel blogger

*My view of the pool from the fitness center.

Before dinner, I wanted to go see the Painted Ladies at Alamo Square. You know, the “Full House” houses. Also known as Postcard Row, this cute little street was in the heart of downtown. I think everyone had the same idea as us because there were a ton of people hanging out on the hilltop directly across from the houses. We sat there too and watched as the sun’s golden rays painted the tops of city buildings.

san francisco travel blogger - many hats of a mom blog

alamo square painted ladies travel blogger

I wonder what’s it’s like for the people who live in these houses. Literally, thousands of people come and sit and stare at your house. Must be strange.

san francisco travel blogger - many hats of a mom blog

san francisco travel blogger - many hats of a mom blog

alamo square painted ladies travel blogger

Just before sundown we walked up the grass hill in Alamo Square and stumbled upon a dog park. It was the cutest thing. Seeing these little city dogs reminded us of home. We FaceTime’d the kids before jumping into an Uber and hurrying off to dinner. I love days like this one … when you least expect it, great moments just seem to find you.

alamo square painted ladies travel blogger

*The last picture I have of Ryan before he shaved his hair. Awe.

alamo square painted ladies travel blogger

san francisco travel blogger

alamo square painted ladies travel blogger

many hats of a mom travel blog

After the park, we went for sushi at Pabu – it was amazing! If you like sushi, I would totally recommend this place. I’m a self-proclaimed sushi snob so my expectations were high and Pabu did not disappoint. It’s located in the financial district so you’ll see a lot of corporate folks, but the vibe was exactly what I wanted. The sushi … delicious and super innovative how they put it all together! So much so that I actually put the camera away and just indulged. I did snap this one picture of our table before we sat down.

pabu sushi in san francisco

pabu sushi in san francisco

Less than 24 hours after we arrived in San Francisco, we had to wake up and run off to the airport. Thanks to the Palace Hotel, this truly was a picture-perfect way to cap off our anniversary-kids-free-weekend. You can see more about our weekend in Napa Valley here, here and here. Thank you for following along and letting me relive these special moments through photos. I can’t wait to see where travel and adventure takes us next.

travel blogger - many hats of a mom blog

Pre-Summer Fun at Wet n’ Wild Phoenix

wet n wild phoenix mom blogger

wet n wild phoenix mom blogger

There’s something about a water park that takes you back to your childhood. I have countless memories playing in wave pools and going down water slides as a child. The smell of sunscreen, the sounds of kids laughing and the awesome feeling of anticipation you got as you dragged your tube up flights of stairs to the biggest slide they had.

Imagine my surprise when Wet n Wild reached out inviting us to experience Wet n Wild Phoenix. As the perfect way to cool off in the Phoenix heat I was super excited to go. Albeit, a bit hesitant because my kids are young – 6 years, 3 years and 8 months. I didn’t know if there were many rides they could do.

To my surprise, they have Wet n Wild Junior! It’s this spot inside the water park created just for young kids and families. The slides were the perfect height for Colton, my 3-year-old (he’s 42″). Nolan (our 8 month old) loved running through the splash pads in his dads arms.

wet n wild phoenix mom blogger

wet n wild phoenix mom blogger

 

wet n wild phoenix mom blogger

We arrived at 11am (right when they opened) and snagged lounge chairs in the Junior section. Not only was there plenty of shade (a Phoenix must) but the splash pads let out a cool mist that filled the entire lounge area. I constantly felt like I was getting misted by cool water at every turn. It made the 100 degree heat bearable for once. And can we just pause for a second and look at how cute Nolan is in that hat? I mean. Those cheeks!

wet n wild phoenix mom blogger

wet n wild phoenix mom blogger

wet n wild phoenix mom blogger

wet n wild phoenix mom blogger

wet n wild phoenix mom blogger

wet n wild phoenix mom blogger

wet n wild phoenix mom blogger

Colton went on a few slides and then started to pout because … well, because he’s three but also because he was scared of the heights and the sounds. He got this trait from me. I’m a big chicken. When I was in eighth grade, I lied to my friends and told them that my dad wouldn’t allow me to ride roller coasters just so I could avoid the internal panic that I would feel if I boarded one. So, I totally get Colton.

wet n wild phoenix mom blogger

wet n wild phoenix mom blogger

wet n wild phoenix mom blogger

wet n wild phoenix mom blogger

https://www.wetnwildphoenix.com/

wet n wild phoenix mom blogger

wet n wild phoenix mom blogger

The wave pool was the highlight for the kids. Ryan took them out into the deep end (which terrified me) and they jumped over waves for what seemed like ever. Nolan and I kicked it in the back and just people watched. I have to say, I felt so safe at Wet n’ Wild. There were so many attentive lifeguards that I wasn’t worried one bit about the kids. And take it from me (the worry wart) this was a great feeling. They really did a fantastic job at this water park to put my mommy mind at ease.

wet n wild phoenix mom blogger

*She’s faking it.

All in all, it was a great experience at this water park Right before we left, Ryan and Kelsey ran off to do one of the “really big slides” as she put it. I think Ryan was more excited than our six-year-old. In fact, if we were to go again I would probably dedicate more time for Ryan to take her around. My little dare-devil couldn’t get enough of this place. Oh, and for those of you wondering, ALL THREE kids passed out in the car before we even left the parking lot. Success!

Thank you to Wet n’ Wild Phoenix for hosting us today. We will be back.