The cutest little boutique that ever was

phoenixfashionstores- mom blog

phoenixfashionstores- mom blog

phoenixfashionstores- mom blog

Have you been into T.Madison before? It’s a darling little shop on Chandler Blvd and it has so many cute trinkets. The merchandising alone is reason enough to swing by. Plus, it’s located inside FOUND, a super cute furniture store, so you kind of get two-for-one. I had about 45-minutes of free time yesterday so I swung by the shop and picked up Kelsey’s birthday present (well, one of them). A little, dainty gold necklace with a faux diamond. It’s perfect because on February 10th (the day after her birthday) she’s going to a Daddy/ Daughter dance at her school. I hope she’ll want to wear her new necklace. And if not? I’ll take it for myself. ha!

Sunday Funday with Friends

When our good friends, Teri and Danny came over with their newest bundle (baby ClementiMe – as Colton calls her), I couldn’t help but imagine what my life would be like with another baby in the mix. But then that notion was quickly squashed when I was holding baby Clementine and couldn’t keep my eyes on the three other kids running around my feet and trying to crawl into my lap. Props to those families with over three kids. I couldn’t do it!

In fact, while we were visiting, it suddenly became very quiet in our house (which is always an indicator that something is up). Sure enough, Nolan (my 16 month old) comes strolling out of the bathroom with my eyeliner on! All I could think of was … OMG that stuff is so expensive! That little squirt. Which proved even further that I wouldn’t be able to function with any more children.

We’re so thankful for fun Sunday’s like these. The circus tent in the background is super fitting … considering parenthood feels like a bit of a circus sometimes. Anyone else with me on that?

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many-hats-of-a-mom-phoenix-blog

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Colton just loved on her so much! He kept asking to hold the baby and would slowly pet her head. He couldn’t get enough. He’s one sweet boy.

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And there’s baby Nolan, rocking mom’s favorite eyeliner and his best Zoolander expression.

New Years Day!

We got breakfast burritos for the kids and took all of their bikes to the park. Sounds normal, but it was an important day because Kelsey started riding her new bike WITHOUT training wheels! Hallelujah! All it took was a bigger bike and a bit of confidence and she was sailing.

many hats of a mom

I was a nervous wreck (does that feeling ever go away?) trying to stay within feet of her so I could catch her when she fell. She didn’t need me or Ryan though, this girl was cruising. Colton is starting on his “strider” starter bike. We love it! Have you seen this thing? No pedals to help them glide and learn how to balance. I wish we got one for Kelsey when she was learning to ride.

These little monkeys bring so much joy (and stress, let’s be clear, there is a lot of stress!) to our lives, but the pure love that radiates around us when we are all together is magic. It’s going to be a great year, I can’t wait to discover what’s in store for us.

Happy 2017, friends!

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many hats of a mom blogger phoenix

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many hats of a mom blogger phoenix

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Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

paleo pumpkin chocolate chip holiday cookies

paleo pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

I have a love/hate relationship with holiday cookie exchanges. Mostly because since joining Whole 30 back in June, I’ve lost 30lbs and never intend to go back up in the scale. However, my weakness is SUGAR and anything sweet. Seriously, it’s a problem. I would forgo chips, cheese and dairy any day of the week but put a chocolate piece of cake in my face and it’s game over.

That said, I have to make six dozen cookies for an upcoming holiday cookie exchange so I researched a “healthier” alternative to the typical sugar cookie. I ended up finding an amazing recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies that are gluten and dairy free. Surprisingly this was super easy to make. I know people who bake say that all the time, but I don’t bake … in fact, I’m pretty horrible at it, so if I was able to master this, then you can give it a shot.

Tip: Before flattening the cookie dough at the end, I added a chocolate chip or two on top just to ensure you see the chocolate chips when its done baking. I think it looks prettier this way.

Original recipe source 

PALEO PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Makes: 2 dozen
Best part: Paleo, Gluten free, Dairy free

INGREDIENTS
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, almond butter, pumpkin puree, coconut sugar and vanilla. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the blanched almond flour, sea salt, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and baking soda.
  3. Once the dry mixture is well combined, slowly mix it into the wet ingredients until fully absorbed and a cookie dough forms. Lastly, stir in the dark chocolate chips.
  4. The dough will be sticky – I recommend chilling it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes at this point.
  5. Once the dough is chilled, roll into 24 balls and place evenly on both cookie sheets. With a separate piece of parchment paper, flatten each ball into a cookie shape of about ½ inch thickness.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until just set. Remove from oven and allow to sit for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Senior Graduation Photos

I had the pleasure of photographing Samantha’s senior college photos. She’s graduating from North Arizona University this month and will embark on her career as a teacher! We had so much fun together trying to find the perfect ways to capture the magic of this special moment in her life. Congrats, Sam! Success looks great on you.

senior photos phoenix mom blog photographer

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senior photos phoenix mom blog photographer

senior photos phoenix mom blog photographer

senior photos phoenix mom blog photographer

All Aboard the Polar Express Train!

We kicked off the holidays (and celebrated Colton’s 4th birthday) in Williams, Arizona. We drove 2.5 hours north to embark on The Polar Express train ride that takes you to the North Pole and back. It was truly THE MOST magical experience for Ryan and I and incredibly memorable for the kids. Beside that, we saw snow! The minute we spotted snow on the ground, Colton excitedly asked, “Mom is that really snow?” At that moment I realized he hasn’t seen snow since he was one years old so of course this was a huge deal for him. Nolan on the other hand was more interested in the rocks on the ground than the snow, but he’s still figuring things out.

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polar-express-Arizona-mom-blogger

We arrived on Saturday afternoon at The Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel where we booked their hotel package that includes free breakfast, dinner and train tickets. It was the cutest little hotel in the heart of a really charming town. We got checked in and immediately let the kids loose to run around and throw snowballs at each other.

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polar express Arizona

We then grabbed appetizers at the hotel Pub (and took a few glasses of  wine back to our room) so we could snack and gear up for the evening. We dressed kids in matching holiday pajamas from Hannah Andersson (our favorite!) and watched as they ran around the hotel room giddy in anticipation for what’s to come.

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polar-express-Arizona-mom-blogger

It was 28 degrees so we had to bundle up which unfortunately hid their cute jammies under big jackets but that’s the price you pay to avoid freezing your face off. Nearly every family was dressed in either matching outfits or pajamas (my kind of event!). It was really darling to see so many loved ones grouped together.

One family had grouped a few tables together at the hotel’s restaurant and had a game of Monopoly going. I thought to myself, that’s a huge commitment as no-one can finish that game in under two hours, but nevertheless they had the right idea. Grab some hot chocolate, snuggle up by the fire and indulge in game night with your family. Moments like this one where happening everywhere you looked.

As for us, we left our hotel room at 5:10 to get into the train line by 5:15 (it was that close of a walk). The kids had their train tickets in hand as we approached the station. “Don’t lose your ticket, Colton”  Kelsey would remind him. “That’s what happened to the kid in the movie and we don’t want that.” She was right. We were in train car J so we made our way through a crowd of excited families to find a conductor waiting to welcome us aboard.

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many hats of a mom blogger

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You get reserved seats when you buy tickets (just indicate if you’re doing two separate reservations that you’d like to sit together). We were so excited to find that our two rows were located in the back of the train car, making the ride feel a bit private and cozy. The train cars flip around (thank you to the kind lady who pointed this out) so we were able to face each other during the train ride and better contain our wiggly and always-in-motion toddler.

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As the train took off from the station I caught a glimpse of Colton starring out the window. He was stiff as a board and perfectly poised during the initial moments of the train. You could tell he was a little nervous and excited for what was to come. The team did a REMARKABLE job of bringing the Polar Express movie to life through the talent and decor aboard the train. I was incredibly impressed.

Less than five minutes into the train ride they started handing out hot chocolate and huge chocolate chip cookies. The hot chocolate was served at the perfect temperature for our kids little taste buds and must have been made with chocolate heaven because Ryan and I “got ours to share” but I really devoured most of it.

They played Christmas tunes as we entered a “magic tunnel” – the tunnel helped us jump into time so we could get to the North Pole much faster. They read the Polar Express book so bring your own if you want to follow along. As we approached the North Pole, Colton and Kelsey ran to the other side of the train and glued their faces to the window to get a peek at Santa and his reindeer.

We saw little itty bitty elf houses and some other scenic buildings from Santa’s hometown. As we slowed down and started going back to Arizona, we were told Santa boarded the train! This was super exhilarating for the kids. As we waited our turn for Santa to join our train car, they gave us song books and we sang Christmas carols. I’m telling you … does it get better than this?

It does because Nolan started getting sleepy and curled up into my lap as Santa arrived and greeted the kids, giving them ‘jingle bells’ just like in the movie. Colton got an extra special birthday bell and off Santa went. Ryan and I couldn’t have asked for a better evening with our family.

We highly recommend it if you get the opportunity. Next year we plan on visiting the North Pole Experience in Flagstaff, Arizona. Please let me know if you’ve been and if you have any tips!

Newborn Photos with Baby Clementine

scottsdale newborn photographer
This is the only photo I’ll post because I want Teri to be the first to post them all, but I had to share one of my favorite moments from Clementine’s newborn baby photoshoot last weekend.

She’s 4 weeks old (and born a preemie) so we wanted to wait to take her photos until she was a bit stronger. She’s already 7lbs and simply perfect. She let Teri and Danny cuddle her, change her, wrap her head in bows … whatever, she was so chill.

Nothing like my baby girl, I’ll tell you that. Seeing your friend in her zone was truly the best part of my day. Welcome to the world, baby Clementine.

Nothing but LOVE around here

We took the kids over to the Scottsdale Civic Center to explore. I was looking for new family photo locations and the kids needed to get out of the house (you have weekends like that, right?). We explored the park, tried to pet the ducks (that’s all Colton) and played around on the LOVE sign. Everything about nights like these remind me to stop and thank God for the blessings in my life.

I have a feeling it’s going to be a wonderful holiday season. xo

scottsdale family photographer

scottsdale family photographer

scottsdale family photographer

scottsdale family photographer

scottsdale family photographer
I bought Ryan this shirt for Halloween and apparently it made a second appearance tonight. Ha!

scottsdale family photographer

Good thing this isn’t a video or you would have heard me yell, “Stop attacking your little brother!” These two are starting to wrestle all the time, something this mom is not ready for.