A Weekend in the Woods with Nolan Ryan

A weekend in the mountains was just what I needed. While my husband took the older kids camping (photos to come), Nolan and I went to Pinetop, Arizona with my mother-in-law and Ryan’s aunt. It was the perfect retreat from the Phoenix heat and a great way to enjoy Nolan without any interruptions. I was also able to start and finish a book! Imagine that.

Here are a just a few photos from our quiet Memorial Day weekend in the woods.


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many hats of a mom blog

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many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog


many hats of a mom blog

My favorite corner of our house

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mom blogger in phoenix

This is my favorite spot in the house. It’s an itty bitty corner off of the kitchen that tends to be my resting spot. It’s got a cozy little chair, a Christmas tree and a perfect spot for my coffee. Which, by the way, is always brewing at my house lately. Today, kids wouldn’t nap … it was rainy and gloomy outside … and the coffee was keeping me going. What do you do around 3pm anyway? You know, when it’s too late for coffee and too early for wine. You just wait it out I guess … or pop open the bottle early. That’s what we do.

Thanksgiving with the Cousins

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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.

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many hats of a mom blog

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

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Two of the most handsome men I ever did see.

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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.


Kelsey’s Family Portrait / Children’s Art

children's artwork - many hats of a mom blogger

childrens artwork - many hats of a mom blogger

A child’s artwork is so insightful, isn’t it? I don’t know about you but I always analyze my kids artwork when they come home. I guess I’m looking for clues that they are indeed happy. I’ve probably watched too many crime shows that always start with signs in kids art that they are miserable. Like, if she started drawing black clouds, skulls, fire-breathing monsters pointed at mom … that sort of thing. Is that insane of me to admit?

Anyway, no signs of anything crazy over here. Kelsey came home with this drawing of our family yesterday and I LOVE it. We are all standing in the rain, holding umbrellas, underneath a beautiful rainbow. I love how she always draws us in order by height and she always paints a scene around us.

The best part about this one is how she drew her baby brother, Nolan. She put him in my arms!! See it? I about rolled over in happy tears when she brought this one home. I love it because that is exactly how she sees our family. This picture deserves a frame, for sure.

What’s in a name

Ryan and I went through so many (so many!!) boy names before finding The One for our soon-to-be, second son. We analyzed everything. You can’t do Ross Cross, you can’t do Christian Cross (hi, religious), Ryan wanted two syllables since our last name has one and he was adamant that this name couldn’t also be a girl name (see: Peyton, Reagan, etc.). Ryan had so many requests that I’m amazed we finally picked one.

These were some close runner ups:

  • Hudson
  • Jameson
  • Carter (Although Carter Cross is a mouth full of r’s)
  • Noah
  • Spencer (My top pick! Only, it’s my brother’s name and Kelsey kept reminding us, “We already have a Spencer.”)

We finally found a name that we love. It’s a name that my father-in-law introduced us to. We heard it and were intrigued. The only issue was, we knew this boy’s middle name would be Ryan, after his dad. And together, there is already a very famous baseball player with this name. Can we do that? Can we give our son a name that someone famous already has? At first, we weren’t sure.

Then, we looked up what this name meant. The meaning behind this name is “champion” alternative meanings are “famous, noble renowned”. And that sealed the deal for us. Our little champion’s name is: Nolan Ryan Cross. I wrote it on my chalkboard in our kitchen so you know I’m serious.

Doesn’t naming your unborn child make things that much more real? I had a doctor’s appointment today and little man is transverse and kicking – rather marching around in my tummy. He’s super active already, so Lord only knows how he is going to interact with his brother, Colton. We’re going to have our hands full, that is for sure.

Some people (hi, Heidi) think I’m insane for having three kids (it’s not like I’m having 8!) but Ryan and I have always said someone is missing. And now, with baby Nolan on the way, we know our family is complete (complete … you can quote me on that). I can’t wait to meet, hold, snuggle and kiss you, Nolan! 19 more weeks!

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Every day should be like this

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Saturday night was all about family. Ryan and I took the kids out for dinner and walked around one of our Phoenix resorts enjoying the sunset and snapping some photos. We let the kids run around the grass, climb the trees and chase after ducks in the lake. It was truly the best day. Doing life with these three individuals makes for some of the most memorable moments I have ever experienced.

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I can’t help but laugh at this photo. I mean, who holds a child like that?

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This was the sweetest moment. We were standing by the lake, when I snapped this photo of Colton. His arms were crossed and he was staring into the distance, as if to contemplate the meaning of life or something. It was really deep. Then, I realized he was just pouting because Ryan told him he couldn’t jump into the lake with the ducks.

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mom blog

mom blog

His expression is priceless! Yes, Colton. Your mom and sister are crazy.

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The best part? I can hit repeat on this day any time that I want because wherever we are, life feels this wonderful.

Teri’s Autumn Holiday Party

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Almost every year, Teri hosts fall party to kick off the holiday season (check out this one from 2011). She’s much better than me, because she actually waits until after Thanksgiving to dial up the Christmas decorations – so truly, this is an autumn party.

Ryan was home with a terrible cold (thanks, Colton & Kelsey) so I went solo. Teri is such a fantastic hostess – and I just loved catching up with dear friends (hi, Rachel) that I don’t get to see as often as I like. She had just the right amount of light, food everywhere, a local guitarist, bar station and all the fixings to make it feel like the holiday season has arrived.

Thank you so much for hosting, Teri! I just love your darling home!

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How cute is her house? I’m coming over one day and taking pictures of all the cute designs, little corners and personal touches that make her little bungalow in downtown Phoenix so perfect!

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.

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