We took over the mall for a few hours



Family night out

It was an indulge-in-a-vanilla-shake-from-IN-and-Out-Burger, mixed with shopping at the Disney store kind of night. We took the mall by storm. No really, we kind of did. Have you seen how fast Colton can run? And for whatever reason, if there is a lot of people nearby and many breakable things around, he runs even faster.



Taking a spin

Before we left for the store, Kelsey emptied her piggy bank and picked out all of the quarters. She stuffed them into her purse so she could pay for things at the mall. It was the sweetest thing. We rode this merry-go-round with her quarters. She even paid for her little brother to ride it twice. I don’t know who was more proud in that moment …me, or her.




We found relief in Pottery Barn

Well, mostly I did. I love Pottery Barn so much and the fact that it’s all decked out in fall colors makes this mama one happy lady. While Ryan was trying to wrangle Colton from running into every shelf, corner and taking out every aisle, I was busy drooling over their new stuff. We made it through the entire store without any child knocking over anything and then I go and run right into a sign and nearly knock it over to the floor. Seriously, sometimes we worry so much about our kids and we are actually the clumsy ones.

many hats of a mom | Family night out

coltonMy people

There is nothing (nothing!) I love more than being around these people. It’s the silly things Kelsey will say, the crazy things Colton will do and the most special moments Ryan gives me just by allowing me into his heart every day. I don’t have enough lucky stars to thank for the blessings that I’ve been given. To know these three people has given me more fulfillment and joy than I could have ever asked for (I have God to thank for that).


Summer has been really good to us, lots of family memories are being made over here. Some of our favorite things about summer:

1. Pooltime!
2. Bright umbrellas, palm trees and blue skies
3. Nektar Juice bar every Saturday morning after swim class
4. Refreshing bowls of cherries
5. Sunday morning church (and trying to sneak in a photo)
6. Frozen (that one was for Kelsey)

We hope summer is treating you and your family well too. It’s hoooooot out here, but the kids are loving it.

Girlfriends at every age

Even when you’re four, you realize the value of good girlfriends. These girls have known each other all of their lives and it’s so much fun watching them grow up. I love how close they all are and I hope they remain friends forever. Or at least up until high school so I can bring out these photos and they can reminisce with me. Have a wonderful weekend.

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Six Years and Counting

Today, we have been married six years and one day! It feels like yesterday. It’s pretty cool because every six years your anniversary falls on the actual day of the week that you got married: ours was Friday, April 18, 2008. My in-laws graciously watched the kids while Ryan and I went to dinner at Lons at the Hermosa Inn.

We heard great things about Lons and were not disappointed. The food was okay but the patio was heaven. It was beautiful weather, we had a great spot near the fountain, under this huge tree and near the live music. They greeted us with a ‘Happy Anniversary’ and had rose pedals on our table (how cute is that?). We laugh because for our first anniversary we went to Elements at The Sanctuary and received the WORST service to-date so this place not only trumps them, but it’s a place we will recommend and come back to.

Ryan and I were finished with dinner and just about to order desert when Ryan pulled a blue box from his pant pocket and set it in front of me. I got you a little something, he said. A little something? It was a Tiffany’s box which equates to waterworks after two glasses of wine and an already perfect evening. I think I cried for 10 minutes. Finally, he said, “Aren’t you going to open it?”

He bought me an infinity ring to symbolize how long we’ll be married. All of our lives. I  love it. I love him. I loved celebrating six years with a man who I look up to. I think I pinched myself seven times last night, just thinking of all the great things we have been able to do in six years. Together, I feel like we are better versions of ourselves. Marriage is a true blessing and for that I’m forever thankful.

anniversary at lons at hermosa inn

Little Mr. Silly Guy

Colton, you are the funniest person I know. You make me laugh in the most unexpected ways. Like this afternoon. You and I were hanging out while Dad and your sister went out to lunch. It was your nap time, but you refused to go upstairs and into your room. Instead, you wanted to play outside.

What was so ironic about this entire hour was the fact that you grabbed a patio chair cushion and carried it around, then set it down, then laid on top of it and pretended to sleep. You did this over and over, many times, taking your pillow to different parts of the patio. I sat there, watching you, laughing.

You do the funniest things. You know it too. Because you kept looking my way, giving me a little smerk. You know what you’re up to, don’t you kiddo? You just love giving mom a run for her money. I love that about you. Don’t ever lose your sense of humor or adventure. And don’t ever stop making the girls laugh – it’s like food for our soul.

Love you forever and always,

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Watching Imaginations Soar

When you get four kids under the age of 4 into a room, just watch their imaginations soar! It’s the best thing. The older kids make the rules, the younger ones disobey them. The parents kick back and watch their imaginations go.

Last night, we were at my sister-in-law’s house for dinner. She made this amazing lasagna (via The Pioneer Woman Cooks) and we played outside. The kids were making me laugh. They grabbed squirt guns and were shooting the bad guys (“Mom, you can be a bad guy-girl, okay?” – Kelsey would say).

I could take photos of these kids all day. Not sure they would like it, but I sure would. Having cousins is a blessing, having cousins around the same age that live so close to us – well, that’s being beyond blessed.

many hats of a mom blog

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

Do you see the little photo bomber in the corner?

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

This is my favorite picture! Look at that aim. That focus!

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog many hats of a mom blog

Four years ago I became a mom

It was February 8, 2010. Ryan had just finished putting the car seat in. The house was extremely calm and quiet. As if everyone and everything around us knew something was about to happen. We climbed into bed and shut our eyes, it was the last time we would go to bed, just the two of us.

The phone rang at 4am. It was the nurse. She said, “Is this Stephanie? Are you ready?” I knew exactly what she meant. I perked up from bed and excitedly yelled, “We’ll be right there.” We were getting an induction that morning, February 9, because Kelsey was averaging over 9lbs and it was her due date.

I hurried up and ate oatmeal (a decision I would later regret), jumped in the shower to wash off, grabbed our suitcases and we hit the road. We were on our way to the hospital, and it was so dark outside. I can’t even remember if we listed to the radio. We were so excited and so scared. I remember being over the moon that I was about to meet my daughter, but terrified at the same time because I had no clue how to be a parent.

We arrived at the hospital and immediately went into Triage. It was 5am when we got there and we weren’t ‘seen’ until 7am. I remember laying in the hospital Triage room, watching the Today show when the nurse came in and gave me an IV. No one can ever find my veins so they had to prick me like 5 times. Then, I turned to my right and threw up on Ryan.

A little after 7am, we were wheeled into our delivery room. This was the moment we had waited for. Shift changes at 7am and 7pm, so we got a new nurse. This one would stay with us the entire delivery. She was not nice. In fact, I remember her being cold and matter of fact. She didn’t get my humor, but that’s okay. I wasn’t there for her.

A lot happened in between. The Pitocin. Drip. Drip. Drip. The nurse broke my water, then I got a catheter in, then I got the epidural (yes, in that order). Pain. Pain. More pain. The contractions were intense. I remember my mom by my bedside trying to keep me calm. Ryan was there too (I think he was just about as scared as I was) but I remember him being right by my side the entire time.

The epidural felt like someone hitting your funny bone … in your back (I would later have the complete opposite experience with my son, no pain whatsoever there). I was laser focused on the machine to my right. It was monitoring my contractions, but more important it was monitoring Kelsey’s heart beat. I listed to it very carefully. I heard every beat. My mom had a daughter before me who didn’t make it. I was terrified this would happen to me.

I just listened. Thump. Thump. Thump. Good, she’s still with me. If anything had happened to her, in this moment, I would have lost my mind. God had a plan for us. And it involved meeting a healthy girl in just a few short hours. The epidural was heaven sent. I felt one contraction after that, and that was it. Pain free.

My doctor arrived in a leopard dress skirt and top. She looked like she walked out of a St. John catalogue. Which is what I loved most about her. She’s fashionable. Amazing at her craft and really put me at ease. “Let’s have this baby,” she pronounced. And just like that, my mother and mother in law scooted outside to the waiting area and it was just Ryan, me, our doctor and the nurses. It was go time.

They put an oxygen mask on me. I remember thinking it smelled like a spray tan. You know the way that solution smells? That was it. My doctor asked me if I wanted to a mirror to watch. TO WHAT? NO. THANK. YOU. I said something along those lines, and then we started pushing. And pushing. For about 45 minutes (Colton would later come out in 15 minutes. Boys are much easier from the beginning).

I remember knowing when “it was it”. I looked at Ryan, then looked at my doctor and said, “This is it.” Sure enough, Kelsey came out right after I said that. She was crying, of course. It was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. Life. That’s what it sounded like. Everything after that was a huge emotional blur. I heard her crying, saw her beautiful blue eyes, rubbed her cheek and never took my eyes off of her.

Ryan stole her first kiss. I really wanted that, but he just swooped in. He couldn’t help himself. We both couldn’t, our eyes never left her face. We went back to our room where I devoured graham crackers, peanut butter and a giant éclair. We settled into our room, where we would stay for the next 48 hours. We listened to music, stayed up all night, laughed, cried and somehow learned what to do.

Every day since has been a blessing. Kelsey has blossomed into the world’s sweetest girl. Do you know something? My dad always said to me, “You’ll always be my little girl.” And I get it now. I really get it. Because no matter how big she gets, how mature she becomes or how much distance is every between us, she will always be my little girl. That little 9 lb girl who blessed our life on February 9, 2010.

Happy birthday, sweetheart. Mommy and daddy love you so much!! Nanni took this picture of you and I when you were 24 hours old. You were in this hospital crib, which sat next to my bed. Dad had to sleep on the hospital couch while you and I got beds. You never left our side the entire time, and you know what – we will never leave yours. Ever.

love – Mommy

newborn Kelsey

He’s on the fast-track teething plan

At 9 months old, Colton was cutting his fourth tooth (proof). Fast-forward four months later, and here we are, 13 months old and cutting our 14th tooth! It’s safe to say that everyone in this house could use a good nights rest already.

Anyway, his eyes are closed in one of these photos but he wanted to show you his mouthful. And when he smiles lately, he raises his eyebrows, wrinkles his nose and grinds his teeth – really hard – to show you his pearly whites.