A Gazillion Ducks + a Playground

pinetop lakeside

pinetop playground

pinetop lakeside

pinetop lakeside

pinetop lakeside

pinetop lakeside

pinetop lakeside

There’s this public park near our cabin in Pinetop that we love to visit – we bring a bread basket to feed the ducks and hang out by the lake. This time though, we got down to the lake and we were surrounded by BEES! You guys, bees are the one insect that I can’t stand. Like, I’m terrified of them. They were everywhere.

We ended up moving to the dock to feed the ducks, but they followed us (it’s like they knew I hated them). We ended up feeding these ducks faster than you could say, “beeeeees, run!” and then spent the remainder of this lazy, hazy day on the playground.

It’s over 100 degrees in Phoenix so as I sit here and look at all our photos from our weekend up north, I’m making myself jealous. If only a 33 week pregnant girl could squeeeeze back into a car for the 3.5 hour road trip, I would be there every single weekend.

Memorable Mornings in Pinetop

pinetop arizona

The mornings in Pinetop are some of my favorite times. We get to wake up to the sound of Aspen leaves swaying, watch the sunrise peek through the forest and smell fresh coffee brewing in the kitchen.

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We spent last weekend in Pinetop, Arizona to celebrate America’s birthday. Together with my niece and nephews, we woke up early each morning and searched for four-leaf clovers, picked wildflower bouquets, made flower crowns, wore boots with pajamas (Colton!) and swung on a swing held up between two trees.

five leaf clover

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famliy cabin

Even though getting up at the crack of dawn while on vacation doesn’t sound like a treat (and sometimes it’s not), you really get to sit back and enjoy every moment from sun up to sun down. In this photo, Colton picked up the flower and said, “Mom, this one smells like chocolate!” Perhaps it did. Who knows.

pinetop arizona


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After an amazing breakfast of pancakes piled up to the sky, we put our flowers in “vases” and headed to the lake to skip rocks. You can tell by the amount of flowers in each cup that the girls were a bit more excited about picking flowers than the boys.

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We arrived to the lake at 9:30am and didn’t leave until 11! The kids had such a great time and I really enjoyed the silence. The kids were so focused on their upcoming throw that they weren’t fighting, screaming, yelling or pushing one another. Ahhh …

pinetop lake

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They started with a few small rocks and then the kids had to find bigger and bigger ones. At one point, I turned around and Kelsey was in someone’s yard trying to roll a boulder to the edge of the lake. Sheesh!

pinetop family vacation

Did I mention we brought Elton John with us? Those glasses. I saw them at Gap and I just couldn’t resist. She loved them because it “made the world yellow.” And then about 10 minutes later, I was the one in charge of holding them and carrying them around for her.

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pinetop arizona lakes

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Mister too-cool-for-pictures these days and way too cool for kisses from mom when he’s trying to throw his 75th rock into this lake.

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Colton and his fascination with dogs! Every time we saw one he would do this:

Colton: Can I pet your dog?
Stranger: Sure
C: What’s his name?
S: Scarlet
C: Oh, Scarlet. That’s beautiful
S: Thank you
C: (pets some more. walks away)

I have to try to capture this on video. He does it the same way every time he sees an animal and this weekend was no exception. I hope he remains as sweet as he is today for the rest of his life. These kids are truly made from heaven and I’m so blessed I get mornings like this one to treasure, always.


The White Mountains and Us

pinetop arizona vacation

pinetop arizona vacation

pinetop arizona vacation

pinetop arizona vacation

pinetop arizona vacation

pinetop arizona vacation

pinetop arizona

pinetop arizona
Ryan had the great idea last weekend to retreat to our cabin in the White Mountains for a little R&R. After 11 weeks of morning sickness, I needed the fresh air. I wasn’t sure how it was going to work since we’re in the middle of potty training Colton, but he was a champ! Only one accident.

In fact, they were freakishly well-behaved. On the way home, Ryan and I looked at it each other in awe. Only minutes earlier Kelsey said, “Mom, I think I’m going to take a nap.” Colton followed suit and Ryan and I got 1.5 hours of uninterrupted time to chat. Who could ask for more?

We skipped rocks on the lake, spent hours on swings, rolled down hills, took morning walks, roasted s’mores and just relaxed. Surprisingly, I have never felt better. It was like morning sickness knew I was on vacation and decided to stay home instead. I’m already counting the days until we can go back.

We are so lucky to have such a wonderful home away from home in the woods.

A Good ‘Ole Country Store

If you find yourself in Pinetop, you have to go into Eddie’s Country Store. Owned by Eddie Basha (who owns a chain of grocery stores in Phoenix), this shop has everything you would expect in a country store – friendly service, locally sourced produce, good prices and really good food. We go for the apple smoked bacon. We stock up on the stuff, it’s that good. They also roast hatch green chili in front of their store. The smell alone is enough to get you into their store. Plus, there’s a little deli inside where you can grab a quick lunch.

When we were in Pinetop for the week, Kelsey and I visited Eddie’s while the boys were napping. We blasted our favorite music in the car, shopped the small town shops and stopped in Eddie’s. She’s my favorite partner in crime and makes ordinary moments, like this one, feel so special.


The Vacation Hat: One. Week. Off.

The best feeling in the world was jumping on my laptop this afternoon and forgetting my password. That’s right – I have been on vacation that long. I have been off work that long and I have been away from my computer that long. I loved it. Every single moment.

My friends are always suggesting Ryan and I take more vacations – frankly because I work for a hotel company and it makes sense to take mini breaks on the cheap. But, we rarely do. Except when my husband recently suggested that we take 5 days off work and just goooo. So, I put in a request for 40 PTO hours (eeek) and off we went.

We didn’t fly to Hawaii or drive to the beach, better yet – we drove 3 hours away from our home into a cabin in the woods. Sure, it’s not your average cabin (there’s a movie theater inside) but it’s in the wilderness and we did see a bear this weekend digging in our trash. So, it’s pretty much like camping. Kind of.

The best part? 80 degrees was the high. We spent our mornings lakeside feeding ducks and playing at a local park. Then, we would bike ride around the entire neighborhood and pick out our dream cabins. (Bike riding at 5 months pregnant is quiet the adventure. I had to reeeeally push to get up some major hills. I won’t get into details, but it created some memorable moments).

We did a lot of this: movies, sleep, card games, big breakfasts, nature walks, art festivals, puzzles, eating and visiting with our families. I can honestly say I feel a sense of “ahhhhhh” going into this work week. My girlfriends (especially this one – who lives for a good vacay) are right – vacations should be made a priority.

Here are some snapshots of our vacation.

My favorite photo of her.

This child has yet to meet a swing that she likes.

I tried to get a belly photo for you.

Then, the girls went to the country art fair to see what we could find.