Thanksgiving with the Cousins

many hats of a mom blogger

My in-laws put on a fabulous Thanksgiving and I’m STUFFED! I literally had three pieces of pie. Small pieces, but still … three!! And now, I’m just going through a few photos that we took right before dinner tonight. I love seeing all of these cousins in their element. It’s pretty cool to just kick back and watch them play.

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

My itty bitty beautiful baby boy, Nolan Ryan, at 11 weeks old.

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blogger in phoenix

Two of the most handsome men I ever did see.

mom blogger in phoenix

We snapped this photo right before we left for the night. If I’m learning anything it’s that you take a photo before you leave for the evening (if you want one of you all together) because once you’re out the door, you’ll forget / get busy / get distracted / forget your camera / or no one will care to stop and pose for you. Ahem … Kelsey.


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


Little Bear Lake with our Littles

I was never a nature lover until I met Ryan. In fact, I still can’t stay outdoors too long or I start feeling dirty and the bugs around me start to really get on my nerves. But I know how to savor the moment and soak in the sight of mother nature, she sure does a beautiful job.

When we had the choice to go left for “Little Bear Lake” or right for “Big Bear Lake” we decided to go left. It was only fitting as we wanted to spend the afternoon lakeside with our two littles. We found the perfect spot and camped out for a few. Note: You have to buy a $10 permit to do this, you can do it at the gas station just before the turnoff.

little bear lake

little bear lake

Little Bear Lakelittle bear lake little bear lake The kids saw this squirrel and it was too funny because Kelsey was so quiet and whispered, “hi little buddy” while Colton decided to jump up and scream and run toward the little fella.

little bear lake little bear lake litte bear lake little bear lake I told Ryan that besides the bubble machine in the way, this looked like a Toyota car commercial. Speaking of, the bubble machine was a hit. It totally got the kids to stay in one spot and not immediately jump into the lake. As enticing as it was for Colton to do that.

little bear lake little bear lake little bear lake little bear lake

A Love Note to Kelsey Jean

Her confidence and her personality are two of the most beautiful things about her. She shines when she enters a room. It’s like there is a spotlight following this girl. I know I’m her mom and moms are supposed to think the world of their children … but there is something about this girl. Something so remarkable.

She has the most powerful personality, laugh, smile, heart and that makes her an all-around beauty to me. She is my best friend and I could not vision my life without her. Nor would I want to.

She’s almost four years old (I can’t even …).  And I can still remember the day she was born like it was yesterday.  It’s like somehow you forget all about the pains of labor (until you’re about to do it again) but you remember so clearly exactly how you felt the moment your child was born.

When people ask me about my daughter, they all seem to ask the same question  “What’s your favorite age?” And my answer is always the same. This one.


The Parenting Hat: Weekend with One

When you have two kids and you get the opportunity to only watch one, you suddenly realize that having one is a piece of cake. This weekend, Kelsey was at the cabin with my in-laws. Let me say that part again. This weekend. Yes, the entire weekend we only had one child to look after.

It was so relaxing. When Colton napped. We napped. When I cleaned, no one messed it up. We watched TV whenever we wanted. I painted my nails (and had time for them to dry!) We went on a date. I had dinner with a girlfriend. And, Colton got one-on-one attention all weekend long.

And even though it was super relaxing and quiet, we miss our little diva pants so much! I can’t wait to see her this afternoon. In the meantime, Colton and I are going to go outside and finish our game of airplane. He looks totally excited about it, don’t you agree?


The Parenting Hat: Sibling Love

Never in a million years would I have thought that kids could slow down time as much as they speed it up. It’s true. When I see these two together, the world stops.

As much chaos is around me, I seem to just focus on these two beautiful faces. I see such love in their eyes. Such innocence. And such joy. They are a blessing to me and Ryan and every day second we are thankful that God gave them to us. This is what life is all about.


The Labor Hat: Men and Contractions

You’ve got to watch this video. It’s genius. These two guys think women exaggerate when it comes to labor pains. They think contractions aren’t that painful. Sure. They can’t comprehend the amount of pain we go through to deliver our miracles. Well, that is about to change.

With their wives in the room, they undergo contraction simulation.Which, come to find out is a real thing. Every doubtful male should have to go through this exercise. Right, ladies?

Labor Pain Simulation from Kensington on Vimeo.

The Mommy Hat: Colton is Growing

He’s growing so fast! 20lbs and 5 months later, this is what Colton is looking like. He’s pretty handsome, if I do say so myself. I’m jealous of his eyelashes and his laid back personality. And his lips. Love those.

He’s such a chill dude … until he wants something and then it’s game on. His scream still goes into octaves that I can’t even comprehend. He has the cutest cheeks around and lately we’ve been watching him eye his sister with such love. I just know he’s going to want to follow her around everywhere.

Here are two pictures of Colton this afternoon. Instead of napping (his choice) he laid in bed with mommy and daddy just oohing and ahhing. I seriously think Ryan and I could sit around all day, just watching him look at the world around him. He’s our favorite little mister.

colton at five months oldcolton at 5 months