We Arrived in San Diego!

THE US GRANT San Diego Hotel

After a quick airplane ride on Thursday, we landed in sunny San Diego for my brother’s wedding. As we were waiting to check into The US GRANT Hotel, we met up with my brother and his fiancé in the hotel lobby. We were the first wedding guests to arrive so we were able to have these two love birds all to ourselves for a few hours. I soaked in every moment of that!

celestial ballroom at THE US GRANT HOTEL

Before heading out to grab lunch with these two, we took a quick sneak peek at the Crystal Ballroom where they were going to be getting married a few days later, and the black/white bridal room where the wedding party would hang out in between pictures. My pictures do not do this room justice – its gorgeous and “so Shaun” as my friends & family would say.

Crystal Ballroom at THE US GRANT Hotel - San Diego Wedding

THE US GRANT Hotel San Diego - Details

Just look at those chandeliers! They were on the ceiling, hanging from the walls, everywhere. It made for such a dramatic effect. During the ceremony, they placed a gorgeous white runner down the aisle with rose pedals. The room illuminated “love” and was truly perfect. Let’s make that PERFECT (all caps!).

The bride, Sabrina, just glowed. First off, her hair was perfect (and it’s real!) and she looked like she was shining from the inside out. You could tell she was ready to marry this man. Kelsey & Colton were so excited to see their Uncle Shaun and I was really excited to have made it to San Diego without having a baby on the plane. <insert sigh of relief>

More photos to come.

Getting ready for a wedding

san diego wedding

little boy tuxedo

Not just any wedding, my little brother’s wedding!!! I can’t handle my excitement. I feel like it was just yesterday that they got engaged, but nope – it’s been about one year and we are all ready to see these two walk down the aisle.

Kelsey is a flower girl and Colton will following right behind in a tuxedo!!! We took Colton to go buy his tuxedo last week and I honestly wasn’t sure how he would react. My assumption was that he would hate it. But it was just the opposite!

He put it on like a champ and then walked out – rather ran out – of the dressing room to show his big sister his new outfit. It was actually good insight before the wedding because he treated this like a costume; once it was on, he turned super hyper running around like a super hero. Yikes. We’ll have to tone that down before the Big Day. But … back to Colton and this little tuxedo. My heart is going to explode.

I also found my great-grandma’s white beaded evening purse that Kelsey will wear (pictured, above). How special is that? Between her looking like an angel, Colton and this bow tie, my husband in a suit, and my family all surrounded around my brother and his fiancé - it’s going to be the perfect day. I just know it! Let’s just hope I don’t go into labor. Ha. Joking. Kind of.

Austin engagement photos

A Gazillion Ducks + a Playground

pinetop lakeside

pinetop playground

pinetop lakeside

pinetop lakeside

pinetop lakeside

pinetop lakeside

pinetop lakeside

There’s this public park near our cabin in Pinetop that we love to visit – we bring a bread basket to feed the ducks and hang out by the lake. This time though, we got down to the lake and we were surrounded by BEES! You guys, bees are the one insect that I can’t stand. Like, I’m terrified of them. They were everywhere.

We ended up moving to the dock to feed the ducks, but they followed us (it’s like they knew I hated them). We ended up feeding these ducks faster than you could say, “beeeeees, run!” and then spent the remainder of this lazy, hazy day on the playground.

It’s over 100 degrees in Phoenix so as I sit here and look at all our photos from our weekend up north, I’m making myself jealous. If only a 33 week pregnant girl could squeeeeze back into a car for the 3.5 hour road trip, I would be there every single weekend.

Kindergarten Supplies + a Printable

school supplies

Eek!!! Kelsey starts school soon! We are getting ready around here. I just downloaded the school supply list, ordered her backpack + lunchbox and started getting super excited for this big milestone in her life.

Ryan thinks $100 is ridiculous to spend on a backpack, lunchbox and water bottle but if he had it his way she would bring a paper sack to school (“What?” he’d say, “It’s cheaper.”) Kelsey and I had fun shopping for her backpack. We looked at over 15 styles and in the end, she decided on this horse backpack, water bottle and matching lunchbox.

school supplies

I found the chalkboard first day of school printable on Etsy that I’m excited to use to snap a pic of Kelsey on her first day. I see parents doing that all the time and I think that’s such a wonderful keepsake to have – a photo of her on her first day and her last of kindergarten. I wonder if I’ll do this for all of my kids, or if this is just a first-time-mom thing. The print is here if you want it – only $7 for the digital download.

Party in the USA!

DSC05104 small 2

fourh of july pinetop

DSC05190 small

fourh of july pinetop

fourh of july pinetop

fourh of july pinetop

fourh of july pinetop

Where do I even start? We had the best Fourth of July in Pinetop surrounded by family & friends. My in-laws hosted a party in the pines with live music, barbecue, too-much dessert, fire pits and all the drinks you could want. My parents and best friends were in town as well, so together, we gathered around and enjoyed this remarkable holiday as one big family.

pinetop fourth of july

pinetop fourth of july

4th of july

DSC05315 medium

Pinetop collage

4th of july

fourth of july party

It was all fun and games until Colton woke up from nap and realized everyone was at his cabin. It took him about 45 minutes to be okay with the notion that these people were here to stay. Once he warmed up, and let go of my leg, we were all happy campers again.

DSC05235 small

DSC05266 small

DSC05293 small

I can’t put my finger on it, but I love this photo so much. Thank you, Teri, for snapping it! My husband is pushing two kids on a swing and entertaining two others. And if you look reeeeally closely on the tree (front and center) you’ll see a squirrel wearing a helmet.

Thank you to my father-in-law for hosting such a memorable weekend and 4th of July party at the cabin. A lot of work goes into these things (especially when it rains and you have to move everything into the garage last-minute) and I am truly grateful!

We hope you had a wonderful time celebrating America’s birthday too!


Memorable Mornings in Pinetop

pinetop arizona

The mornings in Pinetop are some of my favorite times. We get to wake up to the sound of Aspen leaves swaying, watch the sunrise peek through the forest and smell fresh coffee brewing in the kitchen.

DSC04953 small


We spent last weekend in Pinetop, Arizona to celebrate America’s birthday. Together with my niece and nephews, we woke up early each morning and searched for four-leaf clovers, picked wildflower bouquets, made flower crowns, wore boots with pajamas (Colton!) and swung on a swing held up between two trees.

five leaf clover

PInetop Kids small

famliy cabin

Even though getting up at the crack of dawn while on vacation doesn’t sound like a treat (and sometimes it’s not), you really get to sit back and enjoy every moment from sun up to sun down. In this photo, Colton picked up the flower and said, “Mom, this one smells like chocolate!” Perhaps it did. Who knows.

pinetop arizona


DSC04979 small

After an amazing breakfast of pancakes piled up to the sky, we put our flowers in “vases” and headed to the lake to skip rocks. You can tell by the amount of flowers in each cup that the girls were a bit more excited about picking flowers than the boys.

DSC05073 small
We arrived to the lake at 9:30am and didn’t leave until 11! The kids had such a great time and I really enjoyed the silence. The kids were so focused on their upcoming throw that they weren’t fighting, screaming, yelling or pushing one another. Ahhh …

pinetop lake

DSC05020 small

They started with a few small rocks and then the kids had to find bigger and bigger ones. At one point, I turned around and Kelsey was in someone’s yard trying to roll a boulder to the edge of the lake. Sheesh!

pinetop family vacation

Did I mention we brought Elton John with us? Those glasses. I saw them at Gap and I just couldn’t resist. She loved them because it “made the world yellow.” And then about 10 minutes later, I was the one in charge of holding them and carrying them around for her.

DSC05047 small boost

pinetop arizona lakes

DSC05065 small

Mister too-cool-for-pictures these days and way too cool for kisses from mom when he’s trying to throw his 75th rock into this lake.

the lake small

Colton and his fascination with dogs! Every time we saw one he would do this:

Colton: Can I pet your dog?
Stranger: Sure
C: What’s his name?
S: Scarlet
C: Oh, Scarlet. That’s beautiful
S: Thank you
C: (pets some more. walks away)

I have to try to capture this on video. He does it the same way every time he sees an animal and this weekend was no exception. I hope he remains as sweet as he is today for the rest of his life. These kids are truly made from heaven and I’m so blessed I get mornings like this one to treasure, always.


Happy Fourth of July

fourth of july kids clothes

fourth of july kids toys

fourth of july kids toys

Happy Independence Day (a few days early) from the Cross family. I hope your weekend is long, restful, and filled with tons of birthday wishes for America. Since you can’t have fireworks in Arizona, we’ll party with pinwheels! The kids haven’t noticed yet that the pinwheels are filled with sugary candy. Let’s see how long we can keep that secret.

PS – It feels like it was just 2013 when my kids looked like this? Boy, time sure flies!