The New Austin City Library

We took my little bookworm to the new Austin City Library yesterday. The library is six stories! It was remarkable. It really puts all of our library’s to shame. The children’s section is amazing – filled with interactive games, reading stations, outdoor areas and shelves upon shelves of books. If you are in Austin and you haven’t been, the Austin City Library is a must-visit. The architecture alone will make you stop in awe.

Austin city library

Austin city library

Pardon our hair. We weren’t expecting to take photos (ha!) and it was record high heat plus humidity in Austin yesterday. 86 degrees in November! What gives, Austin?

What Real Life Looks Like

I’m so over all of the perfect family photo floating around Instagram. That. is. not. real. This is what real mom life looks like. You know, just trying to get a photo of my family but Nolan refuses to wear pants (I have to sneak into his room at night and put pajama pants on him so he won’t freeze) and Colton has so much energy that I wish I could bottle it up and use it for myself. Kelsey loves giving me attitude, rolling her eyes and making me feel like I am a mother to a teenager. But, at the end of the day, I love them so incredibly much and sometimes (just sometimes) they look at me and smile. Other times, it goes a little something like this.

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mom-life-many-hats-mom-blog

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The cutest little boutique that ever was

phoenixfashionstores- mom blog

phoenixfashionstores- mom blog

phoenixfashionstores- mom blog

Have you been into T.Madison before? It’s a darling little shop on Chandler Blvd and it has so many cute trinkets. The merchandising alone is reason enough to swing by. Plus, it’s located inside FOUND, a super cute furniture store, so you kind of get two-for-one. I had about 45-minutes of free time yesterday so I swung by the shop and picked up Kelsey’s birthday present (well, one of them). A little, dainty gold necklace with a faux diamond. It’s perfect because on February 10th (the day after her birthday) she’s going to a Daddy/ Daughter dance at her school. I hope she’ll want to wear her new necklace. And if not? I’ll take it for myself. ha!

Halloween Kid Parties!

It’s the weekend before Halloween which means our children have once again dominated our social calendar. It’s filled with school events and kid costume parties. We are so grateful for this though. It is truly what we live for these days. Tonight, our friends invited us over for wine in skeleton glasses (they so get us) and a pre-party before the kids school event. Every year I say this, and every year I mean this, there is nothing more adorable than kids in costume.

Here are a few photos from our first Halloween party of 2016!

mom blog halloween costumes

BTW, Colton has no clue (or doesn’t care) that this dog is about to lick his ear. Ha!

mom blog halloween costumes

They are the best of friends. They have been in the SAME class since they were one-years-old.

mom blog halloween costumes

mom blog halloween costumes

mom blog halloween costumes

mom blog halloween costumes

mom blog halloween costumes

mom blog halloween costumes

I bought Ryan this “Iron Man” shirt only to be told that it’s actually “Flash” – whoever that is. I’ve got to work on my Superhero knowledge. Disney Princesses are more my thing.

mom blog halloween costumes

What a great start to the weekend!

Falling in love with Pinetop, Arizona

Pinetop, Arizona does not disappoint! Especially in the fall. Last weekend we took our kids to Pinetop to enjoy cooler temps, the golden leaves and to get a little R&R. The kids loved touring the Pinetop-Lakeside Fire Station, riding their bikes around the neighborhood and roasting s’mores by the fire. We are so lucky that we can drive 3 hours east of Phoenix and find fall!

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Phoenix-mommy-blogger

Believe it or not, it was Nolan’s first time seeing golden leaves all over the ground. Every time Kelsey would throw leaves into the air, Nolan would gasp, “Ahhhhhh!” as they came crashing to the ground. He was in awe and I can’t say that I blame him. It was beautiful.

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Notice anything? She’s missing her third bottom tooth! She’s only lost the bottom row of teeth so far, which I love because I get so emotional when those things come out. I know, I know … it’s a mom thing.

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Nolan is twinning with his dad. Morning walks called for jackets and we were more than willing to comply .

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phoenix-mom-blogger

Phoenix-mommy-blogger

Morning walks around our cabin lead to moments like this where I just stop, stare and thank my lucky stars for kids like this.

Phoenix-mommy-blogger

Touring the fire station and getting to crawl into the firetruck was the highlight of the trip for the kids. A huge thank you to the Pinetop-Lakeside Fire Department for all they do for the community and for opening their ‘home’ to our kids. They provided hot dogs, burgers, snacks, fire prevention educational tips, a bounce house and lots of goodies for the kids. We had a blast!

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phoenix-mom-blogger

phoenix-mom-blogger

phoenix-mom-blogger

phoenix-mom-blogger

Phoenix-mommy-blogger

Phoenix-mommy-blogger

How is it that she can sit on a curb, eat Cheetos and appear so much cooler than I will ever be. Sigh.

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many-hats-of-a-mommy-blog

When the boys were napping, Kelsey and I walked around the neighborhood collecting leafs for a bouquet. As soon as she walked into the cabin she threw them across the counter and forgot all about them, but it was a fun game while it lasted.

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many-hats-of-a-mommy-blog

phoenix mom blogger

many-hats-of-a-mommy-blog

Phoenix-mommy-blogger

I set up my camera on a timer and wanted one family photo. However, Colton is holding a hair brush. No one brushed Nolan’s hair. Kelsey is posing behind dad and I’m barely standing  after sprinting back into position after setting the camera’s timer. I love every bit of this photo though because it’s real life.

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I caught a glimpse of Nolan throwing rocks into the lake with Ryan at sunset. It’s really cool to see Nolan hanging out with the big boys. He is walking everywhere and trying his hardest to keep up with his dad and brother.

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Phoenix-mommy-blogger

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The last night we were in Pinetop, we walked over to the golf course and let the kids roll down the hills. You’re probably not allowed to do this so let’s keep that between us.

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Look at that determination in Nolan’s face to get up the hill! Meanwhile, his brother comes rolling down at record speed. He was so confused. ha.

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I’m framing this. He was trying to tell me that his pockets were “dirty” which then proceeded with a little giggle attack.

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many-hats-of-a-mommy-blog

phoenix mom blogger

Now, let’s go back!

MacDonald’s Ranch Pumpkin Patch

Fall is my favorite time of year. The weather FINALLY cools down in the desert making the nights and mornings bearable. Not to mention, my birthday month is on the horizon and everything smells like pumpkin spice and cinnamon. What’s not to love?

We recently took the kids to the MacDonald’s Ranch Pumpkin Patch – it was our first time at the ranch and honestly the best pumpkin patch we’ve visited. From the moment we arrived, I had a great feeling this would be great. There were so many activities for the kids to do! Pony rides, gold digging, lasso learning, horseshoe throwing, petting zoo and a huge hay maze that they had all to themselves!

The gates close at 5pm and the patch officially ends at 6pm. When we were there, I looked at the clock and realized it was 5:45 and we hadn’t even picked out pumpkins yet! We looked around and couldn’t figure out where they were until one of the ranchers told us we had to take a hay ride over to the patch. Had to? Yes, please!

We jumped on board a mule-drawn hayride and off we went. Our ‘driver’ Gary was so incredibly nice, patient and talked to us all about the ranch. I call him patient because 5 minutes into the hayride back to the main entrance, I realized I had left my purse down at the pumpkin patch and he had to take us aaaaaall the way back. Did I mention by this time it was well over 6pm, which was their closing time. What can I say, I’m a mom without a memory these days.

If you get the opportunity to go to a pumpkin patch this year TAKE YOUR KIDS TO MACDONALD’S RANCH. I’m literally shouting it because I loved this place so much. We’ll be back year after year, for sure.

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

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Nolan was the best this evening. He walked around with a huge smile on his face and pointed at everything he saw. When we got to the pumpkin patch part, he literally just sat down in the patch and watched his sister and brother pick out the perfect pumpkin. Dare I say, he was the cutest pumpkin in the entire patch? 🙂

macdonalds pumpkin patch

Watching the goats eat dinner.

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog
macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog
macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

We had the hay maze to ourselves! It was so fun to watch them run through the maze and figure out how to get out. And if Ryan and I are being honest, it was a nice way to enjoy a moment of silence while your littles are contained by barrels of hay.

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch
macdonalds pumpkin patch

Do you think they look alike? Nolan is a spitting image of my brothers but I think he’s got a lot of Ryan in him too.
macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog
macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonalds pumpkin patch

macdonalds pumpkin patch

If you’re wondering, no – we did not get the $9.00 pumpkins. If you know Ryan Cross, then you know we had to wait until the kids found pumpkins that fit in the smallest $4.00 hole.

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

macdonald's ranch scottsdale mom blog

Thank you to MacDonald’s Ranch for hosting us this year. We are so thankful for the opportunity to come experience your ranch. If I could do it all over again, I would allow for more time to spend here – there is seriously so much for kids to do. We only had one hour, so I would recommend two at least. Enjoy!

Book your Fall Mini Sessions and/or a Halloween Photo Shoot

Fall is already in the morning air around here, so I’m excited to start thinking about fall & holiday photo sessions.  Many of my friends were asking, so I decided to do family fall photo sessions again this year. These are mini photo sessions (30 minutes) and a great way to capture memories with your family. If you live in Arizona, I would love to photograph your family this season. See below for details.

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I’m also really excited to announce that I’ll be doing mini sessions for Halloween! Instead of snapping an iPhone pic of your child the night of Halloween when it’s dark and the kids are running out the door in excitement, let’s dress them up a few days early and take some high-quality photos! For only $50 (per family), you’ll get 10 edited images and the kids only have to spend 15 minutes showing off their costumes. Offer details are below.

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The Halloween sessions will be in an outdoor seating in Phoenix. Location to be announced.

First Day of First Grade

Mom-Blog-School-DaysYou know the phrase, “In the blink of an eye?” I think that phrase was invented by a parent. I cannot comprehend the feeling that I was just bringing Kelsey home from the hospital, and now we are seeing her off on her first day of first grade.

As I was filling her new backpack with school supplies and packing her lunch for her first day (and yes, it includes a handwritten note telling her how proud her dad and I are of her), I started to cry. And not a pretty cry … I had a full-blown adult tantrum, hysterically crying over how big all my kids are getting.

Kelsey came up to me and gave me the biggest, tightest hug. I reassured her I wasn’t crazy and rather, I was just so proud and filled with such joy at how big she’s getting. She’s incredibly smart, nice, helpful and so kind. I know she is going to make a huge impact this year and I am so happy for her. But, she’s my little girl. My first-born baby that I cherish so much.

After I dried my tears and got it together, Kelsey and I spent 30 minutes going through old photos and blog posts of when she was little. She smiled. I cried some more. And we had some great laughs going down memory lane. She’s truly my best buddy and I am so incredibly proud of the girl she’s becoming. Here’s to another year and more school memories ahead.

I just love these two photos of her, you can really see how much she’s changed. I especially love seeing how her handwriting has evolved. See the ‘Y’ in both pictures? Last year’s was backwards and this years comes with a swirl. I love it.