The Wedding Day

bridal party

bridal party getting ready
wedding dress

Kelsey, Colton, Ryan and I snuck into the Presidential Suite the day of the wedding to get a good glimpse at the bride and to hang out while everyone was doing makeup and getting fancy. Colton was smitten with all the girls getting ready and Kelsey made herself at home with the 10 bridesmaids.

In fact, at one point I turned around to find Kelsey chatting with one of the bridesmaids on the couch. “What are you guys talking about?” I asked. Kelsey looked over at me and said, “Mom, we’re talking about Disneyland.” Of course.

Later that afternoon, my in-laws had the brilliant idea to take the kids  to the Westin Gaslamp to use their pool and to get them tired enough to take a nap on the wedding day. It worked! Colton and Kelsey swam, like the little fish they are, and then came back to the hotel and crashed for a 2 hour nap.

And that’s how fast the day flew by. Before I knew it, it was time for us to get ready. We kept calling Colton’s tuxedo “a costume” so he would be excited enough to wear it – I was preparing for a meltdown, but he did great. He jumped right into that tuxedo as if it really was a super hero costume. Phew. I have to tell you though, as we were getting ready, I had this out of body experience. Here’s what happened.

I was putting on Kelsey’s flower girl dress in the bathroom. I had just finished curling her hair, so I was slipping the flower girl dress over her head ever-so-slightly. As I finished tying the back of the bow on her dress, I zipped it up and she began to turn around to look at me. As she turned, she sort of twirled … and in very slow motion (it seemed) I saw her face.

She was smiling from ear to ear, looking down in awe of her dress. There she was. My daughter. My five-year-old beauty looking down on her ivory dress, so angelic. I lost it. I completely came apart because in that moment, I saw it. I saw her future. Her wedding day. There I was standing kneeling at my daughter’s feet, putting the finishing touches on her gown.

I couldn’t help it. The only thing that kept me from completely turning into putty was the fact that I had just put on my make up, eyelashes … the works. Suddenly, she napped me out of it, “Mom, are you crying?” Oops. Caught. But I just smiled and said, “Yes, darling. You look so beautiful.” One day she’ll do the same.

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Kelsey and I left the bathroom only to find the next best sight I have ever seen. This. Ryan putting the finishing touches on Colton. I mean. My heart just sank back to the floor. He was so big in this moment. And yet, so incredibly small. He looked like a mini, pint-sized Ryan. He would look up at his dad, and then down at his bow tie, and back again. I literally tripped over suitcases and shoes to snap a photo. It was the best 30 minutes of the entire vacation; watching these two, so young, yet so grown up.

Colton in Tuxedo

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san diego wedding kids

Wedding Flower Girl and Ring Bearer

Can we say it was the best day? I mean, it started out like this and then just continued. The ceremony was really beautiful (I didn’t take any photos there because I was busy paying attention to all of the details). But, I will say this. The second they were ready to say their vows, Colton turns to me and says, “I have to go to the bathroom!” Ahhh … I looked toward my mother-in-law who quickly took him to do his business so I wouldn’t miss the vows. I’m telling you, my mother-in-law is a saint.

Here are some photos from the reception.

us grant - san diego wedding

san diego wedding reception

us grant - san diego wedding

The sweetheart table and the favors! The cookies were shaped like Texas and there was a little frosting heart over Austin – it’s where the bride & groom live. I ate three of these cookies. Shhh!

san diego wedding reception - first dance
At one point in the evening, Shaun came up to me and pointed to Sabrina dancing on the dance floor. With such endearment he said, “How beautiful does Sabrina look tonight?” To say this man was smitten with his new bride would be an understatement. We couldn’t agree more. She looked like she stepped out of a fairytale.

us grant - san diego wedding

us grant - san diego wedding

family san diego wedding

us grant hotel

family san diego wedding

san diego wedding at the us grant hotel

These three. My husband and my baby brothers. Love them all more than words in a blog could explain.

wedding day in san diego

san diego wedding

san diego wedding

And that’s a wrap! These two are now in Anguilla enjoying the time of their lives. We wish them a lifetime of happily ever after’s.

*Let’s take one last look at the GORGEOUS bride and that beautiful wedding dress!

gorgeous wedding dress

Dinner with an (Ocean) View

Anthony’s Fish Grotto

I made so many new memories with my family and in-laws this weekend. I’m not sure how to express my emotions through this blog, but I will try.

There were so many times throughout this weekend where I had to stop and ask myself: Am I really this lucky? Do I really have this remarkable group of people around me? Are my kids really this amazing is that handsome husband over there really all mine? Sure, there were tantrums and hard moments – as you can imagine when you travel with two small children – but the memories we made cancelled all the hard times out. Travel does that to you, doesn’t it. It gives you a renewed perspective on everything.

On night one, we went to Anthony’s Fish Grotto for seafood by the ocean. We really wanted a touristy experience and someplace the kids could see the ocean (and get a little loud without anyone noticing). This was the perfect place. Dinner service was a bit slow – and with kids, you know every minute counts – but other than that, it was great.

Anthony’s Fish Grotto

Kelsey requested that she sit “next to Uncle Shaun” at dinner so I didn’t stand in her way. In fact, the entire weekend, all she wanted to do was be with him. I think she has a crush on her uncles.

Anthony’s Fish Grotto

At the beginning of dinner, Colton was being a little stinker. He literally tried to take his shirt off at dinner (why? because I told him not to) and kept giving me this evil stare. That is … until I found his weakness: lemons!

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

Anthony’s Fish Grotto

Yes, lemons! It was the only way to pull him out of his tantrum state of mind. He loves how tart they are. Want a tip when dining out with kids? Order their food first. Trust me, this way you can get them fed first, then get your food (you can actually eat this way) then go back to finding things to entertain and distract them. More lemons? We actually switched to limes after his dinner to mix things up.

Anthony’s Fish Grotto

I tried to steer clear of the camera all weekend. At 8 months pregnant who really wants a snapshot of themselves. But, my mother-in-law looked so great that I couldn’t help myself.

Anthony’s Fish Grotto

Anthony’s Fish Grotto

After dinner, we watched the sunset while walking to the car. Kelsey immediately grabbed Shaun’s hand (I was clearly chopped liver at this point) and I was able to snap a few images before the kids got too rowdy and I got too paranoid that they were going to fall into the water.

san diego vacation - mom blog san diego vacation - mom blog

San Diego Sunset - Mom Blogger

san diego vacation - mom blog

After dinner, we went over to the lounge at Grant Grill to listen to live music, enjoy some cocktails (them, not me … boo) and eat desert (that was all me!). It was truly a great kick-start to a memorable wedding weekend in San Diego

We Arrived in San Diego!

THE US GRANT San Diego Hotel

After a quick airplane ride on Thursday, we landed in sunny San Diego for my brother’s wedding. As we were waiting to check into The US GRANT Hotel, we met up with my brother and his fiancé in the hotel lobby. We were the first wedding guests to arrive so we were able to have these two love birds all to ourselves for a few hours. I soaked in every moment of that!

celestial ballroom at THE US GRANT HOTEL

Before heading out to grab lunch with these two, we took a quick sneak peek at the Crystal Ballroom where they were going to be getting married a few days later, and the black/white bridal room where the wedding party would hang out in between pictures. My pictures do not do this room justice – its gorgeous and “so Shaun” as my friends & family would say.

Crystal Ballroom at THE US GRANT Hotel - San Diego Wedding

THE US GRANT Hotel San Diego - Details

Just look at those chandeliers! They were on the ceiling, hanging from the walls, everywhere. It made for such a dramatic effect. During the ceremony, they placed a gorgeous white runner down the aisle with rose pedals. The room illuminated “love” and was truly perfect. Let’s make that PERFECT (all caps!).

The bride, Sabrina, just glowed. First off, her hair was perfect (and it’s real!) and she looked like she was shining from the inside out. You could tell she was ready to marry this man. Kelsey & Colton were so excited to see their Uncle Shaun and I was really excited to have made it to San Diego without having a baby on the plane. <insert sigh of relief>

More photos to come.

The Best Resort (and drinks) in Coronado

Hotel Del Coronado

Hotel Del Coronado

Hotel Del Coronado

Hotel Del Coronado

I had a business meeting at the Hotel del Coronado last week. It was my first time at this historic resort. At first glance, I kind of felt like I was on a Disney cruise – with all of the kids running around, but then I got the reason why: The Del is a safe and beautiful place, steps from the beach. The amount of activities for kids (and adults) is unreal.

Hotel Del coronado

They have somewhere between six different restaurants, a comedy club (Laugh Factory), spa and a ton of little shops. Plus, it’s a true Southern California staple. The resort was beautiful, charming and exuded so much character. I will definitely be back to the resort … only next time, I’ll ditch the laptop back for a diaper bag and bring my family along for the ride.

hotel del hotel

We had dinner at Eno Pizza & Wine bar at the Del and I had some of the best gluten-free pizza to-date. It was topped with fennel  sausage and charred broccoli and was the perfect compliment to a cool glass of wine, great conversation and a beachside sunset. I introduced Kelly to the art of taking a picture of everything you see. It’s true. I’m guilty.

Hotel Del Coronado Hotel Hotel Del Coronado Hotel Hotel Del 12
I wish I had more time because their Sheerwater restaurant looked pretty cute too. Prior to dinner we had cocktails at Sunset Bar. The group and I sipped on lavender lemonade, blackberry margaritas and white wine before calling it a night at the Laugh Factory (where we saw Biff from Back to the Future perform). I vote for all business meetings to end this way.

Hotel Del Coronado Hotel