Sister, Sister!

My sister-in-law, Sabrina and my brother, Shaun are in town this weekend. We’ll be spending the afternoon at their resort pool, a much needed staycation for us since we still don’t have our backyard built. Have you ever been to the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass pool during the summer? They have so many family-friendly activities, I’ll let you know how it is.

phoenix mom blogger - many hats of a mom blog

Last night we had a great dinner at my parents house. I really need to get my mom stemless wine glasses because whenever we have a drink, she uses her wedding china. Not that I’m complaining because it’s beautiful but with my three kids running around it makes me incredibly nervous.

phoenix mom blogger - many hats of a mom blog

Sabrina and I managed to snap a photo amongst the chaos last night. Oh, and I cut my hair 8 inches! 8. inches. Change is a good thing, don’t ya think.

phoenix mom blogger - many hats of a mom blog

Do you see Kelsey’s choker? Her friend at school bought her that and she wears it all of the time. How cute is that? She’s turning into such a big kid. And look how tall Colton is! He’s four, people. I bet he passes Kelsey is height by the time he’s five.

What Real Life Looks Like

I’m so over all of the perfect family photo floating around Instagram. That. is. not. real. This is what real mom life looks like. You know, just trying to get a photo of my family but Nolan refuses to wear pants (I have to sneak into his room at night and put pajama pants on him so he won’t freeze) and Colton has so much energy that I wish I could bottle it up and use it for myself. Kelsey loves giving me attitude, rolling her eyes and making me feel like I am a mother to a teenager. But, at the end of the day, I love them so incredibly much and sometimes (just sometimes) they look at me and smile. Other times, it goes a little something like this.

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Our Disneyland Spring Break Vacation

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We had the time of our lives on a three-day vacation to Disneyland! Last Sunday, we told the kids that we were going to a very early church service and as they were about to jump into the car we told them we were going to Disneyland instead. You should have seen their faces!

Along with my parents we arrived at the airport at 7am for an early flight to Orange County. It was Nolan’s first plane ride and besides being way too large to be a lap child, he was perfect! I’m telling you, this kid makes life with three so much fun (and actually not too difficult). When we landed, we persuaded my parents to give Uber a try for the first-time. It took a bit of convincing since my mom is certain that everyone is “out to steal her credit card” and Uber is no exception but after one ride, they are now believers.

We arrived at the hotel, dropped off our bags and boarded a shuttle to Disneyland! We were inside the Disneyland Park gates just in time to eat lunch with Darth Vader. Perfect timing! Below are some photos and stories from our Disneyland vacation. I had a hard time narrowing down photos for this post, so apologies for the photo overload.

 

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As I was waiting for Ryan and the kids to finish up a ride, Nolan and I were walking up and down Main Street. I was people watching and he was chasing anyone who had a balloon. About five minutes later, he decided to sit in the MIDDLE of Main Street. I apologized to about 50 people who had to walk around him, but then noticed that everyone smiled the minute they saw him. There is something about a cute pudgy baby that no one can resist.

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Disneyland_phoenix_momBlogger

Disneyland_phoenix_momBlogger

Our favorite California residents Aunt Lauren and Uncle Brian drove down from Los Angeles to meet us for dinner. About seven minutes into this plate of spaghetti I realized that I forgot to pack two important things: Nolan’s bib and my makeup bag. Looking back on this photo, the bib was missed the most.

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It took this picture just as we arrived at California Adventure Park. Since Kelsey “remembers more” from the last time she was here, she took Colton’s finger and started pointing at all of the sights – explaining to him, “this is this and that is that” – it was so incredibly cute! And, believe it or not, these two got along the ENTIRE trip. Not one fight between them. If you have two kids close in age you know how miraculous this is!

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*Colton is pointing to Cross street. 🙂

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Nolan woke up from his nap, jumped out of his stroller and strutted around Cars Land. This was the cutest moment … he looks like such a man on a mission.

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Talk about the thrill of the ride, these kids were obsessed with all of the exhilarating rides like Thunder Mountain. Which was so interesting to me because the last time we went to Disneyworld (seen here) they were more into the characters than the rides. It’s funny how quickly their interests change.

Ryan and I were riding Thunder Mountain with Kelsey and Colton – if you have been on this ride, then you know it’s a jerky rollercoaster with a lot of turns and dips – and, I don’t love rollercoasters, in fact, I’m pretty terrified of heights so I’m not the best one to partner up with. Anyway, as we were on our second dip my eyes began to water. This is new, I thought. Must be something that happens when you get old (ha!) but then Kelsey turned to me and I noticed her eyes were watering too. She and I busted out laughing and the boys just looked at us like we were insane. Guess that’s a genetic thing we do … we cry on rides.

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I love this photo. Colton’s face is so sweet, innocent and filled with joy. Ryan’s got our 18 month old on his own horse. And, if you look closely, you’ll noticed Ryan is strapped in. Yep. He is THE ONLY adult in history that uses a seatbelt on a merry-go-round horse. That’s my husband, folks. Mr. Safety First.

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I tried so hard to stay away from desserts on this trip, but when your son hands you his incredibly messy and melting Mickey Mouse ice cream and says he “is done” you kind of just devour the rest of it without thinking. And the churros … don’t even get me started on the churros.

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*That moment you realize you’re on a baby ride.

Bug’s Land was a trip. The kids loved the bumper cars but after Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain, the Bug’s Land “rollercoaster” just didn’t cut it. However, if you get the chance, do the Bug’s Life 3D movie. It was incredible and the kids enjoyed every second of it.

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*Spring was in full bloom at the park.

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* What happens when Grandpa is in charge of getting breakfast

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The kids wanted to go on Space Mountain (whose kids are these?) and Ryan snapped this photo just before we boarded the ride. Colton’s face symbolizes how he felt going in … and coming out. He wasn’t a fan but Kelsey took about 30 seconds to regroup and then asked if she could ride it again. Little thrill seekers, I tell you.

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disneyland-phoenix-mom-blogger

My dad bought the kids these Mickey bubble wands. They light up at night and put out a gazillion bubbles. It added to the magic. Thank you, dad. And thank you for buying three of these things (Colton lost his first one on our last evening so Grandpa replaced it).

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I have so many great memories from this trip, but the Electric Light Parade was particularly special. I remember seeing this same parade with parents when I was little, and here I am watching it with them and my husband and three children.

I twisted my ankle during a workout the day before we left for Disneyland (good timing, I know) and about 45 minutes before the parade started my ankle gave out on me. I told Ryan I would just sit alongside the street with Nolan to save our seats while he rode some rides with the kids. For awhile it was just Nolan and I in the center of Main Street watching the sun set over the Park. It was a special moment because Nolan just lit up my heart with his giggles as he danced in the middle of the street to the music. Moments later Ryan arrived with a churro in hand (he loves me so!) and we bundled up to watch the parade.

Disneyland has given me so many magical memories over my lifetime and this is another one I won’t forget.

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*No more pictures, mom!

There is something about Disneyland that gives parents freedom from judgement. Am I right? It’s like, if your child is throwing a tantrum or screaming in the middle of the restaurant … it doesn’t matter because everyone around you is in the same boat. At Disneyland, it’s like you’re in a safe zone because everyone around you “gets it”. I wish the world was more like that, don’t you? No judgement for parents. Just everyone living for the moment.

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I snapped this photo on our last night from the top of Tarzan’s tree house. We were climbing up the treehouse when I happened to glance back and see this gorgeous sight and it’s one I will never forget.

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And that’s a wrap! The kids (and my mom) have already started to plan for Disneyworld 2019. We have plans to go back to Florida with my brothers and sister-in-law. Maybe for Ryan’s 40th birthday? He wants to go to Europe, but maybe we’ll end up at Epcot instead. Or, maybe I can convince him to invest in both. Wish me luck on that!

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.

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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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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!

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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.

MacDonald’s Ranch Pumpkin Patch

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Fall is my favorite time of year. The weather FINALLY cools down in the desert making the nights and mornings bearable. Not to mention, my birthday month is on the horizon and everything smells like pumpkin spice and cinnamon. What’s not to love?

We recently took the kids to the MacDonald’s Ranch Pumpkin Patch – it was our first time at the ranch and honestly the best pumpkin patch we’ve visited. From the moment we arrived, I had a great feeling this would be great. There were so many activities for the kids to do! Pony rides, gold digging, lasso learning, horseshoe throwing, petting zoo and a huge hay maze that they had all to themselves!

The gates close at 5pm and the patch officially ends at 6pm. When we were there, I looked at the clock and realized it was 5:45 and we hadn’t even picked out pumpkins yet! We looked around and couldn’t figure out where they were until one of the ranchers told us we had to take a hay ride over to the patch. Had to? Yes, please!

We jumped on board a mule-drawn hayride and off we went. Our ‘driver’ Gary was so incredibly nice, patient and talked to us all about the ranch. I call him patient because 5 minutes into the hayride back to the main entrance, I realized I had left my purse down at the pumpkin patch and he had to take us aaaaaall the way back. Did I mention by this time it was well over 6pm, which was their closing time. What can I say, I’m a mom without a memory these days.

If you get the opportunity to go to a pumpkin patch this year TAKE YOUR KIDS TO MACDONALD’S RANCH. I’m literally shouting it because I loved this place so much. We’ll be back year after year, for sure.

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macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

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macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

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Nolan was the best this evening. He walked around with a huge smile on his face and pointed at everything he saw. When we got to the pumpkin patch part, he literally just sat down in the patch and watched his sister and brother pick out the perfect pumpkin. Dare I say, he was the cutest pumpkin in the entire patch? 🙂

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Watching the goats eat dinner.

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog
macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog
macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

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macdonalds pumpkin patch

We had the hay maze to ourselves! It was so fun to watch them run through the maze and figure out how to get out. And if Ryan and I are being honest, it was a nice way to enjoy a moment of silence while your littles are contained by barrels of hay.

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch
macdonalds pumpkin patch

Do you think they look alike? Nolan is a spitting image of my brothers but I think he’s got a lot of Ryan in him too.
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macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog
macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

If you’re wondering, no – we did not get the $9.00 pumpkins. If you know Ryan Cross, then you know we had to wait until the kids found pumpkins that fit in the smallest $4.00 hole.

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

Thank you to MacDonald’s Ranch for hosting us this year. We are so thankful for the opportunity to come experience your ranch. If I could do it all over again, I would allow for more time to spend here – there is seriously so much for kids to do. We only had one hour, so I would recommend two at least. Enjoy!

Family Breakfast at The Henry

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My brothers and sister-in-law are in town from Austin, TX. Within hours of them landing, we were at The Henry for breakfast. The kids couldn’t wait another minute without seeing them. And Colton? Yep, just as we were about to take a picture he ran into a sign and had a fit. He was totally fine. He’s just a bit dramatic. Ha! We hope you’re having a wonderful three-day weekend, too!

A family guitar lesson

Ryan’s been traveling for work and we’ve missed him so much. Last night, he got back with only three hours to spare before we needed to leave for church. As I was getting the diaper bag packed, I noticed (and heard!) the kids and Ryan on the couch; Ryan was teaching them how to play guitar. I just sat back and watched for a few minutes. It’s little moments like this, amongst the hustle and bustle of every day life, that makes my heart explode with gratitude. God is good, isn’t He?

many hats of a mom blogger

many hats of a mom blogger

many hats of a mom blogger