Mornings with Nolan

Nolan has transitioned out of his crib and into a big boy bed. Which makes for really hard evenings for us. He comes into our room throughout the night wanting to sleep in our bed. We have to take turns walking him back to his room in an effort to teach him to stay put throughout the night. It’s an exhausting process when your used to getting sleep. This morning, Nolan woke up extra early so we watched the sunrise and picked flowers from our front yard. It sounds peaceful (and it really was for about 5 minutes) before the door shut on his foot and Ryan told him he couldn’t drink my coffee. These are the moments I treasure though because I know he’ll be a teenager within a blink of an eye.

phoenix many hats of a mom blogger

phoenix many hats of a mom blogger

phoenix many hats of a mom blogger

What’s for lunch

grilled cheese

The only way I can get Kelsey to eat a sandwich is if I cut it into cute little shapes, like hearts. Even then … she took two bites out of this one. I made Colton a snowflake (because who has cookie cutters that are non-holiday themed) and then he cried because he wanted the heart. As a parent, do you ever win?

Traffic Jam



I’ve been wondering when I was going to become that mom with toy cars all over her house. I see it all of the time with my other friends who have boys in the house. It was only a matter of time. Colton and I recently played “traffic jam” in the entryway of our house. We crashed, vroomed, and raced for what felt like hours, but was only 30 minutes. And so, it is now official … my house is becoming a parking lot for cars of all shapes and sizes.

The Travel Hat: Disneyland Photos

I love fall. I love Disneyland. It was like the stars aligned for this trip. Two weeks ago we went to Disneyland with Kelsey. I was there for a work trip so we decided to make the most of it.

Ryan flew out with Kelsey and away we went. We bought a three-day pass and used every minute of it. And even more exciting is seeing the Park from your child’s eyes.

We went on the Ariel ride (about 5 times) and just before our first ride, Kelsey would turn to us and say, “When we see Ursula, we have to cover our mouth so she won’t take our voice!” See what I mean. Just too cute for words.

disneyland at halloween time

disneyland with kidsdisneyland with kidsdisneyland with kids

big thunder ranch barbecue

We went to Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue for dinner on our first night. It’s family style barbecue food (and oh-so good!). They had great country singers, we sat outdoors and there were pumpkins all around. Kelsey’s favorite part were the tongs on the table. Go figure.

disneyland with kids OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA disneyland with kids disneyland with kids

disneyland with kidsdisneyland with kidsClick on this picture to enlarge it. There’s something so nostalgic about it. Maybe it’s the guy in stripes. Maybe it’s the bouquet of balloons. Or, maybe it’s the castle in the background. Whatever it was, I really liked this moment and had to snap a photo.

disneyland with kids

disneyland with kidsKelsey’s two heroes: Dad and Peter Pan. I’m pretty sure my daughter was the only girl in the Park carrying around Peter Pan. Two years ago, all she wanted was Mickey. This year, it is all about Peter Pan and the Princesses.

disneyland with kids disneyland with kidsdisneyland with kidsThere is something about heights and going round and round in a circle that doesn’t do it for me. But, Kelsey’s G-ma told her that she had to ride Dumbo and the Tea Cups so away we went.

For the record, I stayed on the ground and Ryan took one for the team on Dumbo. It’s a classic. You can’t come to Disneyland without riding the elephant.

disneyland with kids

After day one, we had been on Dumbo, Tea Cups, Alice & Wonderland, met some characters, visited Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue and the nearby Halloween Fall Carnival.  And to think our day started at 2pm.

We went to Cars Land too. We had no idea who the Cars were, but the rides were so much fun. We at ice cream at “Cozy Cone Motel”. It’s this super cute outdoor eating area where the buildings are orange traffic cones. The cones light up at night and it makes for a great spot to end the day with dessert.

disneyland with kids disneyland with kidsdisneyland with kids

disneyland shirt

There came a point during our trip, when Kelsey wore a Snow White costume and I was purchased a Dumbo tee-shirt. When in Rome, right?

disneyland with kids

disneyland with kidsdisneyland with kids

disneyland with kids

disneyland with kids

Meeting Tinkerbell was one of the highlights. But, not to be outdone by the new Starbucks that opened on Main Street the very day that we were there. They even have their own Disney cups. Let’s just say we were a bit excited.

disneyland with kids disneyland with kids disneyland with kids disneyland with kidsThe castle! Where do I even start? Kelsey loved seeing a real Princess castle up close and personal. She even threw a Princess-sized tantrum right outside of the gates. What’s that saying? Ah yes, If the shoe fits.

disneyland with kids

disneyland with kids

cars land at disneylanddisneyland with kidsdisneyland with kids We convinced Lauren to visit us on Friday. And then a few hours later she and her brother convinced me to try the world’s best sandwich, the Monte Cristo sandwich at the Blue Bayou Restaurant. Wowza. This thing was loaded  deep-fried goodness and I think I’m still working off the calories of that lunch. You can read about the Monte Cristo here.

goofydisneyland with kids   disneyland with kids

disnyand with kids disnyand with kids OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen, we waited in line for Goofy, Minnie, Mickey … the works. The button that she is wearing is from lunch at Ariel’s Grotto. If you’re going to Disneyland, I recommend the Grotto for lunch.

I’ll be honest, we spent way too much on lunch ($115 for three) but it was worth it to see her face light up as each Princess visited our table. And she met Ariel, her favorite.

All in all, Disneyland was worth every penny, every tantrum, every early morning. We just loved experiencing the “Happiest Place on Earth” through a child’s eyes. We’ll be back … next time, we’ll take baby Colton with us.

The Travel Hat: The St. Regis Deer Valley

It was our family’s New Years resolution to “travel more”. And I would say that Ryan and I are making good on that promise. I was visiting The St. Regis Deer Valley Resort last year (for work) when I called my mother-in-law and said, “this resort is for you!” (if you know my in-laws, you know this mountain resort is right up their ally).

Fast forward to this year, and my in-laws and I took the kids to Deer Valley to celebrate my mother-in-law’s 60th birthday and to indulge ourselves in the royal treatment. In case you’re wondering, Deer Valley is a private community right outside of Park City, Utah. It’s gorgeous. Secluded. And resides against the Wasatch Mountains.

Ryan and I did feel a little “Downton Abbey-ish” at this resort. For instance, our Butler was waiting for us upon arrival at the front desk. He greeted us all by name and walked us to our suites to point out all of the room features. His name was Alexander Mattinson, head butler for the resort and lead butler for the North America St. Regis Training Program.

As we were walking down the hall to our suites, my mother-in-law turned to him and asked, “What did you do before you worked for St. Regis?” “Oh”, he replied, “I worked for the royal family at Buckingham Palace”. Turns out, he worked as carriage driver, store manager for the Royal Mews and valet to the crown equerry. Yep, this is how our experience started out. It was a five-star family vacation that I’ll never forget.

Throughout the week, I’ll post more pictures and stories from our trip. It was truly a memorable vacation with my family that I will always cherish.

St. Regis Deer ValleyThis is the resort; beautiful, isn’t she?

St. Regis Deer Valley

St. Regis Deer Valley

The pool area where we spent an entire afternoon. We couldn’t keep Kelsey out the pool. Travel tip: Bring your children’s swim floaties. Thank me later.

St. Regis Deer ValleyI used to have the same initials as St. Regis – before I got married that is. To me, whenever I see the initials “SR” I get extra excited.

St. Regis Deer Valley St. Regis Deer Valley

St. Regis Deer Valley

St. Regis Deer ValleyEvery night from 7-9pm you can roast s’mores at the fire pits. I had been craving s’mores since my last pregnancy so to me – it was heaven! You literally walk right up and the s’mores tray is already set out for you.St. Regis Deer Valley

St. Regis Deer Valley

St. Regis Deer ValleyThis the “Funicular”. It’s an indoor gondola-type car. You park at the base of the resort, then you ride the Funicular up the mountain and into the resort. It’s one of two ways you can arrive. Kelsey loved it. And that view?

St. Regis Deer Valley

St. Regis Deer Valley

This is a photo right outside the “fire garden”. It’s a little area where you can sit and watch multiple fire pits while gazing over the horizon.

St. Regis Deer Valley You have to “click” on this photo to enlarge it in order to see its true beauty.

St. Regis Deer Valley

St. Regis Deer ValleyDo we look like parents or what in this photo? This was our first official vacation as a party of four. Here’s to many more family trips in our future.

The Family Hat: Santa Photos 2012

I love her expression in these photos. Priceless, if I do say so myself. She loves herself a good pose and pout. This is another photo for the record books. I swear she doesn’t learn this from me …(right?).

Did you know Bass Pro has an entire winter wonderland for kids inside? Who knew? My in-laws took these two crazy kids there on Friday and said it was awesome for kids. That’s where they got these photos. They said they have crafts, Santa, activities, ornament making stations, carousel … the works! And it’s free. Head on over if you can.

The Family Hat: Annual Car Show

Every year we try to get to the cabin to just relax. Today, we visited the annual car show and showed Kelsey all the vintage cars like ’56 Chevy’s, ’55 T-bird, Ford GT Cobras … but, the most important car of all was a vintage hot pink car that Kelsey loved.

Every time you ask Kelsey to “smile and say cheese” she tilts her head to the side, flips her hair out and gives you a smile. I have no idea where she gets this stuff.

The Parenting Hat: Faces of a Toddler

This is how toddlers are. One minute they are loving, smiling and oh-so happy. Their smile is super infectious. It can light up a room.

Then, they get pissed at you.

Then, they are happy again. Delirious with joy.

Then, as quickly as a cheetah, they make a charge at you! If you aren’t careful, they will rip that camera from your bare hands.