Happy 1st Birthday, Nolan!

My youngest son, Nolan Ryan turns one today! I can’t believe it has already been one year. This time last year, I was in the hospital getting ready to welcome the third addition to our family. A healthy (and huge!) baby boy.

Nolan is truly the kindest, gentlest child. The kids call him “nugget” and somewhere along the way, Colton started calling him “Justin.” Who knows why. Nolan is so easy going, has 10 teeth (wow!) and just started walking all over the place.

We never had to baby proof the house with the other two kids and yet Nolan is into everything. The toilet. The cabinets. The stairs. He’s all over. He is a tough little dude with no fear. Even though he’s sweet and kind, and totally easy going, if you take something away from him he’ll scream in the same high octave that his brother Colton can reach. It’s ear piercing and lets you know to back off immediately.

He is my little man and together we have made some of the best memories. I am truly going to miss the baby stage. The long nights waking up with him and soothing him back to bed. The cradling in my arms.  The snuggles at night. His first steps. His first tooth. His first sounds. ButI know that we have so much to look forward to!

We can’t wait to see your personality evolve, buddy and to get to know you even more. You are the light of our life and mean so much to each person in this family. This time last year, we were all waiting for you and so thankful for your arrival. Your brother and sister adore you so much and your dad and I love seeing you all together. Happy first birthday, Nolan. You have our love, forever and ever and ever.

many hats of a mom blogger

many hats of a mom blogger

many hats of a mom blogger

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

many hats of a mom blog

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many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

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many hats of a mom blog

The Palace Hotel and Some Sights in San Francisco

travel blogger - many hats of a mom blog
After three-nights in Napa Valley, Ryan had to attend some business meetings in the city so we stayed one night in San Francisco before heading back home. The sights, sounds and buzz of the city wasn’t exactly what I had in mind after a few days of pure serenity, but it was fun to see The Palace Hotel and experience this luxury downtown San Francisco staple.

While Ryan was in meetings, I got to know the hotel a bit better. I worked out, dinned in the Garden Court surrounded by a gazillion chandeliers, did some window shopping at Chanel and Tory Burch and waited patiently for Ryan’s meetings to end. Even though I’m a full-time working mom, it was fun to pretend that I wasn’t. Just for a day.

the palace san francisco travel blogger

*Even the mustard was fancy.

the palace san francisco travel blogger

the palace san francisco travel blogger

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The city was in full bloom. Outside and inside of the hotel. The Palace was built in 1875 and recently came out of a restoration. It was gorgeous inside. Every corner was opulent and you could feel the rich history in all of the details, while still feeling like you were in 2016.

the palace san francisco travel blogger

the palace san francisco travel blogger

The feeling of enjoying a warm cup of coffee without three little kids screaming in your ear. Ahhh … take me back to this moment.

the palace san francisco travel blogger

*My view of the pool from the fitness center.

Before dinner, I wanted to go see the Painted Ladies at Alamo Square. You know, the “Full House” houses. Also known as Postcard Row, this cute little street was in the heart of downtown. I think everyone had the same idea as us because there were a ton of people hanging out on the hilltop directly across from the houses. We sat there too and watched as the sun’s golden rays painted the tops of city buildings.

san francisco travel blogger - many hats of a mom blog

alamo square painted ladies travel blogger

I wonder what’s it’s like for the people who live in these houses. Literally, thousands of people come and sit and stare at your house. Must be strange.

san francisco travel blogger - many hats of a mom blog

san francisco travel blogger - many hats of a mom blog

alamo square painted ladies travel blogger

Just before sundown we walked up the grass hill in Alamo Square and stumbled upon a dog park. It was the cutest thing. Seeing these little city dogs reminded us of home. We FaceTime’d the kids before jumping into an Uber and hurrying off to dinner. I love days like this one … when you least expect it, great moments just seem to find you.

alamo square painted ladies travel blogger

*The last picture I have of Ryan before he shaved his hair. Awe.

alamo square painted ladies travel blogger

san francisco travel blogger

alamo square painted ladies travel blogger

many hats of a mom travel blog

After the park, we went for sushi at Pabu – it was amazing! If you like sushi, I would totally recommend this place. I’m a self-proclaimed sushi snob so my expectations were high and Pabu did not disappoint. It’s located in the financial district so you’ll see a lot of corporate folks, but the vibe was exactly what I wanted. The sushi … delicious and super innovative how they put it all together! So much so that I actually put the camera away and just indulged. I did snap this one picture of our table before we sat down.

pabu sushi in san francisco

pabu sushi in san francisco

Less than 24 hours after we arrived in San Francisco, we had to wake up and run off to the airport. Thanks to the Palace Hotel, this truly was a picture-perfect way to cap off our anniversary-kids-free-weekend. You can see more about our weekend in Napa Valley here, here and here. Thank you for following along and letting me relive these special moments through photos. I can’t wait to see where travel and adventure takes us next.

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Mother’s Day Morning

“WHY CAN’T IT BE KIDS DAY?” was the first thing Kelsey asked me this morning, in her most whiny voice. And then I responded in the EXACT same way my mom did years before. I said, “Every day is kids day.” And there it was. I am my mother.

Which isn’t really a bad thing. My mom is probably the most patient, loving, hilarious and beautiful woman there is. When my dad met her for the first time he said there was “a spotlight on her.” It’s true. There’s just something so special about my mom. Kelsey has that quality too. Everywhere she goes, the room lights up.

Together with my favorite boys, we celebrated Mother’s Day at church this morning. That’s my favorite place to spend a Sunday. I feel God’s presence in my heart and in the room and I am transformed.

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While Kelsey & Colton were in Sunday school, Nolan slept on my lap. The Pastor asked all the moms to stand up so we could give thanks and acknowledge the role a mom plays in our lives. I was the only person standing with a baby in her arms. When we were asked what we were thankful for all I had to do was tilt my head down at the little baby laying across my chest to see the amazing work God does in this world. It was a blessed morning.

After church we went to my in-laws house for Swedish pancakes, momosas, and some Bouchon Bakery muffins & scones. You see, my mother in law is one of the best cooks around so when we gifted her the Bouchon Bakery cookbook, she decided to spoil us by making some pastries. One bite of these and I was instantly transformed back to Napa Valley. 

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog - Bouchon Bakery Muffins

many hats of a mom blog - Bouchon Bakery Muffins

many hats of a mom blog

We never get clouds in Phoenix so seeing these white fluffy things in front of a clear, blue sky made for a great backdrop to our day. I was trying to teach the kids to look at the clouds and see the shapes, but they were more interested in climbing backwards out of the playhouse and tackling each other to the ground.

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog
many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

Anyone else thing we should get a monthly Mother’s Day? Me too.

7 Tips for Teaching Young Girls about Beauty

The girls at Stellar Day Magazine asked if I would write an article on ways I’m teaching my young daughter about beauty. This is an ongoing process and my approach will change with each passing year, but I had a lot of fun writing this article and reflecting on ways I’m encouraging Kelsey to feel her best.

I hope some of the tips shared in the magazine, inspire other parents with young daughters as they navigate this challenge.  Click here to read the April issue of Stellar Day Magazine. A huge thank you to Jessica Williams for putting this magazine together and for always inspiring women. If I know anything, it is that women lifting other women up is a beautiful thing. No matter how old you are.

tips for teaching little girls about beauty

tips for teaching little girls about beauty