Napa Valley: The Westin and Oxbow Market

My husband and I just got back from three days in Napa Valley for our anniversary! If you are looking for a new vacation spot and want some place full of beautiful scenery, amazing food, great wine (and lots of it!) then Napa Valley is for you. We saw so much and are still relishing in excitement from the trip.

Napa Valley Westin Hotel

Westin Napa Resorts

 

We stayed at the Westin Verasa Napa resort. They were so good to us; they upgraded us to a one-bedroom suite upon arrival (that never happens!) and had complimentary tapas and wine every night. The resort is located within walking distance to downtown Napa Valley and the Oxbow Market, and sits along the Napa River.

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After checking into our hotel, we walked over to the Market for dinner. We ate at Kitchen Door (the pizza is fabulous) and indulged in an old-school double scoop of ice cream at Three Twins Ice Cream. We explored the many different vendors in the Market and then enjoyed a super relaxing walk back to the hotel. It was the perfect start to a vacation we’ll never forget.

Here are some photos of us exploring the Oxbow Market, and of our view walking back to the resort.

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Napa Valley Mom Blogger

Napa Valley Mom Blogger 4

 

Napa Valley Mom Blogger

Napa Valley

Napa Valley Mom Blogger

Napa Valley Mom Blogger

Napa Valley Mom Blogger

Napa Valley Mom Blogger

Napa Valley Mom Blogger
Napa Valley Mom Blogger

Napa Valley Mom Blogger
Napa Valley Mom Blogger

Napa Valley Mom Blogger
Napa Valley Mom Blogger

Napa Valley Mom Blogger

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Napa Valley Mom Blogger 2

Napa Valley Mom Blogger 1

Napa Valley Mom Blogger

I was putting the lens cap back on my camera when I accidentally snapped this picture and yet, it’s my favorite photo from the night. See my camera strap in the way? Me either. I’m just focusing on the moment too. 🙂

Senior Pictures!

Do you remember your senior photos? My senior photos were horrible. I was in some poor lit studio with a gray backdrop, laying on my stomach with my hands on my chin, right next to the numbers 00 for 2000. Nowadays, kids have it so much better – don’t you think? I had the privilege of taking non-cheesy senior photos of this cute baseball player last night. I love getting the opportunity to take pictures of special milestones like this, here are some pics.

Good luck in college, Ryan. The world is yours!

senior pictures boy baseball

senior pictures boy baseball

 

senior pictures boy baseball

senior pictures boy baseball

senior pictures boy baseball

senior photos phoenix photography

senior pictures boy baseball

Nolan’s First St. Patrick’s Day

When you’re the baby of the family, not a moment goes by where someone isn’t poking, tickling, cuddling, squeezing or loving on you. Tonight was no exception. It was Nolan’s first St. Patrick’s Day and while I was snapping a photo of the crew, the kids did this.

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I don’t know what it is about Nolan, but he is just so cuddly. Maybe it’s because he’s my baby and I just can’t get enough. When I was pregnant with him, I would sneak away from parties & events and have quiet moments with him. Usually, I would sneak out onto a porch and just sit, rub my belly, and talk to him without distraction. Now that he is born I am keeping this tradition alive. I call it our little “sneak aways.” During dinner tonight, we had a “sneak away” and Ryan caught us having a special moment.

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phoenix mom blogger

Merry Everything

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

When I started this blog in 2010, I had one goal in mind: Keep track of (most) everything we did. Take pictures. Write stories. Capture memories so that one day our daughter can grow up and read about her childhood. Since then our family (and my heart) has exploded with love. We have two more children and couldn’t be more thankful for the blessings we have been given.

Through this blog, I have found a love for photography and storytelling. Sometimes I look back at old photos and think, ‘Yikes!’ – did I really edit a photo like that? But that’s the whole point of this blog … to see how far we’ve come through the years. To grow. To explore. And yes, to edit photos in horrible Sepia tones until you finally get it right.

Another goal of mine was to document my children’s milestones so I could reference it later. I can’t tell you how many times I have asked myself, “When do kids get their teeth? At what age did we potty train Kelsey? What did we do for Easter last year?” When that happens, I can go into my blog archives and find the answer. How cool is that.

This little corner of cyber space as been an online journal of sorts. Albeit, I have vowed to be real but never allow this blog to be a place for venting. I have my husband, girlfriends and a good glass of wine to cure my need to vent. Besides, isn’t the world negative enough without me complaining and sweating the small stuff?

I also don’t use profanity on this blog. The worst word you’ll find on here is “shoot” because – like I said – little miss grown up Kelsey will be reading this one day. That’s something that means a lot to me.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’ll be continuing to blog in 2016. I’m excited to see where my love for blogging takes me next year, and I’m excited to document the things we do, the places we go and the way in which these kids grow up. 2015 was incredibly good to us – we welcomed Nolan into our family and lived our lives in a way that would make God proud. I can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store.

It’s been a treasure and a treat to talk to you through this computer screen. And for that future big girl who is reading this, momma loves you more than you know. Even when you’re throwing sass my way.

See you guys in 2016.

Such a big sister!

This morning, Kelsey came to me and said, “Mom, if you get me a bottle, I can do it so you can get dressed.” It was the sweetest thing. She is such a big sister and loves her little brothers so much. I live for these moments. (Nolan is 7 weeks old today!)

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Breakfast in Downtown Gilbert

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Liberty market bar
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liberty market family

Table for five!” – I’ve been waiting to say that for 10 months. Unfortunately for me, Liberty Market in downtown Gilbert is seat yourself. Doh. But we did venture out to breakfast as a party of five for the first time today. Nolan did amazing.

Well, he didn’t cry. He did have a blow out though and ten minutes after we sat down, I found myself walking swiftly to the bathroom with a baby in my arms and poop on my jeans asking the first employee I could find “Please tell me there is a baby changing table in the bathroom!” There was. Thankfully. Some restaurants don’t have changing tables, which drives me insane. This one did, so we were in the clear.

We played, “I spy” at the breakfast table. It was so cute because Colton would say, “I spy a black tee shirt on dad.” Kelsey and I would laugh and laugh. He started getting the hang of it though – for his next turn he said, “I spy a pink shirt.” So, that’s closer.

After breakfast, we walked around downtown Gilbert for a bit. The area has so much history and charm. Most of the restaurants are new, but they really blend into the historic neighborhood nicely. The kids found a splash pad directly under the Gilbert water tower. I’d say that was the highlight of their morning.

And, ours too! As Ryan and I were able to use the water tower to our advantage. “If you don’t sit nicely and use your manners at breakfast, you can’t go play in the water.” It worked like a charm.

A fun morning with a really fun group of people. My people.

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downtown Gilbert AZ mom blogger
downtown Gilbert AZ mom blogger
many hats of a mom - phoenix blogger
many hats of a mom - phoenix blogger

downtown Gilbert AZ mom blogger

Downtown Gilbert family

While the other two kids were busy playing in the water, I looked over and saw Ryan looking ever-so-closely at baby Nolan. I’m with Ryan on this one … I could stare at Nolan all day too.

downtown Gilbert AZ mom blogger

I don’t know about you, but I’d say Colton is really enjoying himself here. Ah, yes – two. year. olds.

downtown Gilbert AZ mom blogger

Look at him looking around! He is getting so aware. For only five weeks old, he is sure looking so much older. We love you little man, so much! You’re such a chill baby.

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many hats of a mom blogger - downtown gilbert

many hats of a mom blogger - downtown gilbert

Hello, there fall. We actually feel like we found you today. Pumpkins, cool morning air and people wearing sweaters. Although, we’re still in shorts but we’ll consider this progress.

Nolan’s Baby Vintage Tuxedo

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baby clothes mom blogger

I know, I know. This is very stage mom of me to dress my itty bitty three-week old baby boy in a tuxedo, but this isn’t just any tuxedo. This is the same tuxedo that both of my younger brothers came home from the hospital in. In the 80’s. Which means, Nolan is actually wearing a ‘vintage’ tuxedo. What you can’t see is the fact that he can’t straighten his legs. It’s a bit tight. But how could I not squeeze him into this? It was a moment that I couldn’t resist.

Not-so-Newborn Photos

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Funny story: I tried taking “newborn photos” of my little, Nolan Ryan Cross. The thing is, he’s 17 days old and he is already over 11lbs and 23 inches. Which means, all of the cute baskets and “newborn poses” that I put him in just looked ridiculous. Let’s face it: he doesn’t look like a newborn. So … I scrapped the traditional newborn photos and just took pics of him doing his thing.

Newborn Photos - Mom Blogger Many Hats of a Mom

He also wouldn’t sleep. Aren’t you supposed to get photos of them sleeping? I kind of like the photos of him more aware though. I like seeing into those baby blues. His expressions make me giggle.

Newborn Photos - Mom Blogger Many Hats of a Mom

My best friend, Angie’s mother gave us this dog from Anthropologie at my daughter’s baby shower (five years ago!). I love how this little pup has made his way into the arms of each of my three children.

Nolan Ryan Newborn Photos - Many Hats of a Mom Blog

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We call his feet “puppy paws” – big feet for such a young baby. He will soon grow into these puppy paws of his.

Newborn Photos - Mom Blogger Many Hats of a Mom

How cute are these anchor diapers from The Honest Company? The girls at my work gifted us these and I love them. Sadly, this will be my only pack. If you know my husband, you’ll know that he would never pay double for diapers just to get a cute, printed booty. So, I’ll just enjoy these while they last.

Nolan Ryan Newborn Photos - Mom Blogger

Newborn Photos - Mom Blogger Many Hats of a Mom
Nolan Ryan Newborn Photos - Mom Blogger

We just love this little man so much. Our family is complete. xo