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).

There’s something so real about this photo


Sometimes you have to just give yourself credit for trying. This past Sunday we were getting ready for church when I noticed these giant clouds overhead. The way the sun was bouncing off of the clouds left this really pretty glow in the sky. My inner photo hobbyist immediately thought, “Such great lighting for a photo!” So I asked Ryan if he would snap of photo of the kids and I on our front porch. (I have been a mother for nearly five years now and should know better than to think I could actually get my kids to sit still for a photo, but I tried anyway.) Turns out, Colton started running in circles like a crazy person, Kelsey kept asking if we were all done and I was taken to the ground to try to wrangle the troops. This is actually the best photo I got. It was such a bummer that no one really looked at the camera (Kelsey was almost spot on!), but what I love most is this picture actually represents what mornings are typically like for our family … half chaotic, half insane and always full of silly, unexpected moments.

The best (summer) day I ever had

During our week long vacation in Pinetop, Kelsey and I were out shopping at Eddie’s Country store (here). Directly across the street from Eddie’s is a popular steakhouse called, Charlie Clark’s. Someone once told me that Charlie Clark’s offers live music in their orchard and that we should try to go. So, I called them up. I was certain live music was only on offered on the weekends but to my surprise they do live music in the orchard on Wednesdays too. Perfect!

After the kids took their naps we loaded them up and drove down to Charlie Clark’s orchard (it’s right behind their restaurant). We found a small little table and sat down. I already knew this was going to be a fabulous night from the look of the place – old signage, rustic tables and chairs, a dance floor (I mean, come on!), country music, twinkle lights, perfect weather and huge trees all around.

There was this large grass area for the kids to run around in (and any parent knows waiting for your food to arrive is always a gamble so to be able to let your kids run around and play while you talk to your husband … well, that’s a dining out dream). Kelsey brought her baby doll and, together with Colton, they played “keep away” from one another. I got that on video, so I’ll have to share it with you. Seeing them play so well together was music to my ears. The table we were sitting at was off to the side and had a little itty bitty sign on it that said “no bar or food service”. But our waitress clearly saw that we were there to stay and served us anyway – score!



As the drinks started coming, the sun started to set and the musician started to play. It really was the perfect evening. Kelsey wanted to dance so she grabbed Ryan’s hand and led him to the dance floor. Then we all joined in; which wasn’t as embarrassing as it sounds, it was actually pretty special. When the musician asked the audience what they would like to hear next, Kelsey leaned over to me and said, “Mom, do you think he knows Let it Go.” I couldn’t help but laugh. We decided to ask … so, we put money in his tip jar, walked up to him and asked if he knew anything from the Frozen soundtrack (for the record, he doesn’t).



Then, Kelsey did something that really took me back. She found all of these green fruits (we’ll call them that because I have no clue what they were) and started collecting them. In a matter of seconds, Colton wanted in on the fun – only he started to eat the green fruits, which started to make her upset … so I needed to come up with a way to keep the peace. I had an idea. Kelsey and I would find a secret, secret hiding spot for our fruit so Colton couldn’t get them.

She thought I was the smartest person ever, so off we went to collect these green things. Then, it hit me. I had this blast from the past moment where I had done this before. Did I do this when I was little? Had I played this exact game before? I can’t remember much but I do remember being at a family reunion with my family, under large green trees, playing keep away with my cousins. The sun was setting, just like this evening was, and we were all running around giggling. That’s about as much as I recall but in this moment that rush and euphoric feeling of being with my family and being a kid came over me.

I looked up and realized that parenting is much more than being in the present. It’s about letting your inner kid come out and allowing yourself to relive the past. In that moment, I remembered my childhood so vividly .. and there I was playing this game of hide and seek and really influencing Kelsey’s childhood in such a positive way. Oh, I hope she remembers this moment forever. Or at the very least, when she is in her thirties and her children are running around laughing, playing, and having fun that it transports her back to a moment like this. A moment where mom was the smartest person in the world, dad was the strongest and her brother was the coolest.


If that wasn’t enough, the check presenters were mousetraps. I mean … that’s just darn cute. The next time you find yourself in Pinetop, Arizona, check out Charlie Clark’s for live music, dinner, and a really good time.

charlie clarks


The Best Resort (and drinks) in Coronado

Hotel Del Coronado

Hotel Del Coronado

Hotel Del Coronado

Hotel Del Coronado

I had a business meeting at the Hotel del Coronado last week. It was my first time at this historic resort. At first glance, I kind of felt like I was on a Disney cruise – with all of the kids running around, but then I got the reason why: The Del is a safe and beautiful place, steps from the beach. The amount of activities for kids (and adults) is unreal.

Hotel Del coronado

They have somewhere between six different restaurants, a comedy club (Laugh Factory), spa and a ton of little shops. Plus, it’s a true Southern California staple. The resort was beautiful, charming and exuded so much character. I will definitely be back to the resort … only next time, I’ll ditch the laptop back for a diaper bag and bring my family along for the ride.

hotel del hotel

We had dinner at Eno Pizza & Wine bar at the Del and I had some of the best gluten-free pizza to-date. It was topped with fennel  sausage and charred broccoli and was the perfect compliment to a cool glass of wine, great conversation and a beachside sunset. I introduced Kelly to the art of taking a picture of everything you see. It’s true. I’m guilty.

Hotel Del Coronado Hotel Hotel Del Coronado Hotel Hotel Del 12
I wish I had more time because their Sheerwater restaurant looked pretty cute too. Prior to dinner we had cocktails at Sunset Bar. The group and I sipped on lavender lemonade, blackberry margaritas and white wine before calling it a night at the Laugh Factory (where we saw Biff from Back to the Future perform). I vote for all business meetings to end this way.

Hotel Del Coronado Hotel

Our family adventure. Continued.

I still haven’t had time to go through all of our summer vacation photos. (Sometimes I wish kids would take naps or let you play around on the computer while they cleaned their room or something, but that’s not how it works around here.)

In the free time that I have had, I came across these vacation photos. My aunt and I sat on the cabin porch, in near perfect weather, and watched the kids play in the yard. We made flower necklaces for the kids, which Kelsey loved. Colton? Not so much. He ripped his necklace to shreds about 2.5 seconds after we put it on. Then he tried to eat it.

colton mom blog

Both kids were in good spirits so I figured I would try to get a photo of them together. It’s impossible to do at home, but this time I thought it would be different.

I convinced myself that this is the day they would magically listen to me and smile at the same time. Just once. Just once! I would like a photo of both of them together. But on this day, a photo with his sister was the farthest thing from his mind. Oh well, the outtakes are kind of the best takes anyway.

Side note: How proud are you of Kelsey for holding her pose while trying to wrangle in her brother? That’s talent.

many hats of a mom blog

Kelsey’s Digital Photography Debut

vtech kids camera -many hats of a mom blog“Mom. I’m getting good at this. I’m going to start bringing my camera everywhere I go, just like you do.” Can you tell that we’re related? I suppose I do take my camera along for the ride at every chance I get.

vtech kids camera -many hats of a mom blog vtech kids camera -many hats of a mom blog vtech kids camera -many hats of a mom blog“See, Mom! Do you like it?” Lately, Kelsey takes her Vtech camera everywhere that we go! We were at Ikea this weekend. And so was the camera. I was getting ready. There was the camera. We were playing outside, yep there was the camera. Ryan and I were kind of surprised she knew what to do.


She reviews every photo she takes, to make sure she’s satisfied with the way it looks, and to show off the photo with such pride. You should have seen her yesterday. She was taking pictures of stationary objects, but she would move them around until they were in a position that she liked. She did this with a chair, a ball and even took this artistic upward shot of the umbrella.

vtech kids camera -many hats of a mom blog

vtech kids camera -many hats of a mom blog
Then, the inevitable happened. Colton saw how much fun she was having with this pink little “toy” so he took it from her. In her sweetest voice she kindly asked for it back. “Colton, can sissy have back her camera, please. Please, Colton can I have that back now?” The sweet talk didn’t work but it was pretty cute to watch.

This camera actually takes digital images that you can download to your computer with a USB port. It even has it’s own version of “photoshop” built into the camera so if she wanted to, she can add frames and shapes to her pictures. Here are some of Kelsey’s pictures from the weekend. And yes, she really took a picture of herself. I’m telling you, they watch everything you do.

Kelsey's Photos kelseys photos Kelsey's Photos 4Kelsey's Phtoso 3

Pillow Talk with One Kings Lane

These prices won’t last long, in fact it’s a sample sale site so in a few day this link might not even work. So … shop while you can! I love these pillows from One Kings Lane. Wouldn’t they make a great addition to your nursery or toddler’s room? Or heck, even on your bed. The sale ends in 37 days and 19 hours, to be exact. One Kings Lane Pillow Sale >

one kings lane pillow sale
One kings lane | Pillow Sale

Mornings that I love most

Mornings when I don’t have to run out the door for work, but can sit on the bar stools with Kelsey and chat over a big bowl of Cheerios, are some of my most favorite ways to start the day.

These amazing little people grow up faster than you know it. It was just yesterday that we were teaching her how to use a spoon, and now she can pour her own cereal and even demands what she eats each morning. I love her personality and I truly love being a mom. It’s the best.