tee | shorts | flip flops | hat

We did it. Another trip to Cali is in the books.

Fun? Yes. But I begin this post with ‘we did it,’ because.. holy crap.

1. We lived through the turbulence between Seattle and OC. The flight attendants weren’t allowed to leave their seats the entire trip and I don’t think I’ve ever loved, appreciated or wanted to keep my life more than when trapped inside a shaking metal tube in the sky. My anxiety accelerates thoughts of the Titanic and the impossibility of sinking. And speaking of ocean landings, both kids were, for NO reason, doodling sharks in their little notepads. Nope.

2. We just spent 9 days with the equivalent of two drunk roommates (but in the form of children). Most overused phrases on this trip include: “I caaaan’t walk anymore,” the very similar, “Hold me,” and my personal favorite, “What? What? What did you say? What?” Funny how kids have no idea what you’re saying when you’re giving instructions, but if sugar or fun is involved, you never have to repeat yourself.

3. If you have never traveled through an airport with little kids, you should make it a point to club your own face until you feel like passing out, then go run a triathlon in jeans and a sweatshirt. And don’t eat at any point during the process. Now you have a solid idea of what my Friday morning looked like.

Onto vacation!

Vacations with kids are so yin + yang. It’s so fun to watch their eyes light up when they see a sparkly swimming pool, match gazes with Mickey Mouse or watch fireworks explode over Cinderella’s castle, but it’s so draining to get them there.

The sibling fights.
The heat.
The mental fatigue of staying organized.
The aforementioned walking + carrying of the children.

5 days around Disney = 842 bathroom stops, 92 dizzying rides + 893,684 verbal denials of swords, stuffies, balloons and candy being requested by the kids.

All of that being said, it was so good. The best thing about spending a week+ of solid time with your kids is realizing how their personalities have grown in such a short time. Addison is almost 7. Since our last trip, she has gone from a Halloween loving, thrill-seeking, terror lover to a sweet girl that loves fun roller coasters and Eeyore, but covers her eyes going through parts of the Haunted Mansion. She was even pointing out misbehavior she noticed in other kids. It’s almost like she’s mellowed out and finally learned how humans act. 😉

Breckin is 4.5 and barely resembles his 3-year-old self. This trip will always be remembered as ‘the one where he didn’t need a life jacket anymore.’ He’s cruising right through these small milestones wiu ease. He is also tall and qualifies for almost every ride. He has gone from terrified of anything dark, loud or fast, to requesting the Haunted Mansion that his sister now hates so much. #lifestory Our rule is always to try something before you can love it or hate it. Hyperspace Mountain is a fast roller coaster in complete darkness and a tall, but tiny Breckin was terrified after trying it the first time. This trip he got on it scared and came off smiling ear-to-ear. He has also developed a love for girls and informed us he’s going to marry Minnie Mouse. Addison called him out on choosing Minnie over his original love (a girl from preschool), and he quickly reacted with, “I pick TWO!” It’s a fun, never dull, progression to watch.

I’d be sad if these were experiences we missed on trips we never took.

I’m currently eating no gluten + no dairy + very little sugar, but when I get back to normal food, you will see my own personal growth via churros and dole whips.

Outside of Disney, we ate our weight in delish breakfasts we didn’t have to cook ourselves + sought out some good Mexican food and even snuck in well-deserved beach + pool time.

Fred’s in Huntington Beach has a loud, fun atmosphere and their salsa is some of my favorite. Always good food there. 👌🏼 BJ’s in HB was our favorite dessert spot. The kids had fudge sundaes and I tasted this delicious creation Zac ordered. A skillet peanut butter cookie topped with Ghiradelli chocolate chunk ice cream. I need to stop writing about this now or I’m going to cheat on my diet.

Huntington Beach, Newport and Laguna are our 3 fave spots. HB is just a good area all-around. Newport has gooood shopping, clean eating restaurants and beaches that pelt you with sand when you’re there on the wrong, very windy day. Laguna is beautiful with good restaurants, but has limited parking and not a lot of shade if that’s your thing. We’re hoping to make it as far as Santa Monica next trip.

We got ambitious and, on top of beaches and Mickey, even hit the last Lakers game of the season. It started at 7:30p, so we had one very tired 4 year old by the end and one very enthused + disappointed 6 year old. Addison could care less about her own recreational basketball games, but when those purple jerseys miss a shot or two and lose the game, it’s a tearful and moody ride home. Notables here are: 1. We got free hats that made the kids look like safari tour guides. 2. Breckin would also like to marry each of the Laker Girls.

Overall, lots of fun times and new memories with my 3 favorite people. Here are some more fun times.

Hope you all had an equally as fun spring break!

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romper | lace-up flats (similar) | halo

Well, first off, you can probably guess what’s not on my list of New Year’s goals: promptness. Happy 15th day of January, everybody.

That aside, I debated whether to even come up with goals for 2018. Most of the time our ambitions to hit the gym + eat more green stuff end up in the garbage alongside our pizza boxes and broken dreams.

We are creatures of habit. I certainly am. More structure and less change make me a happy girl. Also, grilled cheese + tomato soup, but that’s for another day. I like to do what I know.

The natural progression after the holiday season is to climb back into our routines and find ourselves more productive. I think feeling productive is one of the great challenges of motherhood. We accomplish a whole-heck-of-a-lot in one day, the problem is that we usually don’t have more than unwashed hair and a dirty house to show for it. For me, this year is all about balance and growth. I’m ditching the productivity mindset that I can’t measure up to, because productivity is relative anyway.

Here are my 4 goals to make 2018 a good one, full of balance + growth:

Exercise. Oh snap. I just became the epitome of a goal-setting resolution-maker. Well, you won’t find any broken dreams here. 2016-2017 consisted of about 40 total minutes of cardio, so this is my year of moving. I’m going to take baby steps and set attainable goals, like 30 mins 3 days/week. It’s amazing how growing your physical strength can also build you up mentally. Also, I’d like to convince my heart that I’m not a 50 year old couch potato. I need to earn my quality time on the couch because you know I spend every Tuesday with the Pearson family.

Quality kid time. This one is about making a conscious effort to go out and make one-on-one time with each of my babies. I also need to find the energy to spend more time at their level playing. My first goal is bound to give me the energy to reach my second.

Do more things that scare me. I have a hard time stepping outside my comfort zone. This one is all about putting myself out there and I’m actually doing pretty well so far! I joined a church group this month that requires me to eat dinner with half a room full of strangers. #itsgettingserious Also, I was accepted by a modeling agency after I forced myself into a casting call on Friday afternoon. Scary things can pay off, so don’t hold back! There’s much more bravery on the horizon over the next 11.5 months + I can’t wait to see the growth because of my efforts.

Me time. This one is good and I’m probably the most excited about it. I finally began to get good at “me time” last year and I’m going to stay on trend by making sure there are lots of coffees/lunches/dinners with friends, lots of bubble baths, a few vacations, continued blogging and even regular massages. Also, good tv. I love nothing more than watching “This is Us” while crying into my bag of Doritos (as mentioned in my first goal) + yelling at the girls on “The Bachelor” from my couch. I told you this was a good one. You probably need this goal too.

There you have it! My goal setting is merely to be intentional about where my time goes and making space for the new stuff.

Quick shoutout to Joe of Katchmoments Photography for my photo. If you’re ever in Huntington Beach, pics with Joe are a must!

 

Cheers to better bodies, happy families, new friends, new ventures + all the good stuff we already know. Be nice. Love others. Happy 2018, friends!

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..continued.

(better late than never, right?!)

Fact: Mickey Mouse has to be sick of us by now. Who even goes to Disneyland 3 times in 2 years? I’ll tell you who: spoiled children and their stressed out parents.

We have a 5-year-old with a “good girl” chart and once she earns 10 stickers, she fills a row and she gets a reward. We initially let her choose whatever she wanted, which turned out to be 100% toys. On Mother’s Day this year she brought me home a special paper that said her favorite thing to do together was to go look at toys, sooo ever since we’ve let her choose experiences vs things. I guess we’re getting carried away with going places instead of buying toys, because we keep finding ourselves in this themepark! But forever memories are made amongst these characters and some of our favorite scenery is along these beaches. And you can’t put a price on your kid fighting Darth Vader. For real.

Little guy can’t fight the force just yet, but he stayed perfectly content watching. We will probably take him back in the fall, as a big 4 year old. We’ll do prettymuch anything for these big brown eyes.

Also, Darth is legit scary when he’s 7′ tall and he’s, in the flesh, deep mask breathing into your face. I freaked slightly while the boys protected me observed and Addison just obliviously smiled for the picture. I hope I’m never in real danger with this group. 😉 Our matching mermaid leggings are a little more compatible with Disney than sci-fi, but they’re still my favorite part of this picture. 🙂 Mine are under $8 and Addison’s are under $10! We also hit the neighboring ride Autopia and Buzz’s Astroblasters ride about 6 times. I expected myself to earn more points by ride 7.. nope.

 

This happy girl just rode Thunder Mountain Railroad + the Matterhorn at least 5x each (and still wanted more). Picky doesn’t even begin to describe her when it comes to clothing, but this shirt completed one of her favorite Disneyland outfits. I got Breckin’s sweet little Flounder shirt, by special request, here. We also did some serious hat shopping. 😉

 

Space Mountain was closed while we were there this trip (I know!), so we soaked up the characters and shows with our Star-Wars-obsessed 5 year old and Toy Story-loving 3 year old. One of the cutest memories we walked away with: mini Jesse + pint-sized Woody meeting Jesse! Purely by accident, we walked up as the last family in line to take pictures with Jesse. This is one of those moments where we were just a little bit less stupid for spending $$ on 3-day park tix. The kids were in twinning Toy Story heaven.

 

If you do nothing else inside the walls of the happiest place on earth, do the parades! They are legitimately impressive + the kids jump around wide-eyed, full of pure joy (which is probably why my pictures are blurry).

 

Here are a few more costume changes + famous faces. Why they wanted Batman/Batgirl costumes in Disney, I will never know.

 

Now, onto beachin’! Life is always next-level good at the beach. We accomplished nothing but time together + tan lines. Long Beach was our last excursion before changing and catching our ride back to rainy (but sometimes beautiful) Seattle.

 

Just good times.. Cali never disappoints. Now take me back to the beach! 😉

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img_9602I can sum up this trip in 8 words: sunshine, Mickey, beaches, palm trees, Camaros + gangster rap (ICYMI on Insta).

With these elements, you cannot keep me away. I’d even be happy subbing chocolate (or grilled cheese) for the Camaro. 🙂 And maybe swapping Mickey for silence. But, I can’t complain..

As you probably know by now, I’m not from Cali, but I’d like to think I do an ok job posing. You won’t find this Seattleite wearing a beanie and rainboots through LAX. That being said, I won’t promise to leave the Seahawks garb at home either. 🙂

A plane ride with two kids isn’t exactly the recipe for awesome. So, as I was bracing for that falling-into-a-pile-of-nails feeling, I geared up with my favorite motos and carried-on my favorite bag. You know, to look just a smidge less crazy in the midst of chaos. The trip from SEA-LAX felt short and kids kept reasonably quiet. We also made it without any potty-related incidents. Miracles do happen, folks!

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From the airport, we grabbed our cherry red Camaro and headed straight to our most important stop. In-N-Out. Animal style.

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Our next stop has been part of my bucket list since about the age of 12: Hollywood Boulevard. And only because, in my head, it was a clean, celebrity-filled eutopia. Nope. I had this famous boulevard pictured as something like the Zack Morris of SBTB, but it was more like Minkus from Boy Meets World. Lots of gift shops, lots of asking for handouts and lots of spidermen walking around in 20-year-old tennis shoes. But don’t get me wrong, the place has a ton of broken dreams history. We walked the celeb squares and saw signatures by everyone from Michael Jackson to Frank Sinatra and everything in between. We even spotted Jimmy Kimmel’s studio just a few blocks from the walk, so I guess I got my celebrity fix. And the kids took a pic with Bumblebee (they call him “Honeyman”), which had them pretty stoked. So, it was a walk worthwhile, but we probably won’t throw any birthday parties there.

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Next up was a bucket list item that did live up to expectation: Beverly Hills. It was everything I pictured – fast cars, class, and high end everything. But most importantly, the home of Josh Flagg from MDLLA. And I didn’t stalk him, I merely located his office entrance. 😉 And took an eyes-half-shut picture in front of it. There’s no time for re-takes with two antsy kids in tow. Not unless you want a meltdown with millionaire spectators.

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It’s nice to check some items off the ol’ bucket list and I especially loved experiencing it with my family. We all soaked up every second of time together in some new scenery. Next up: beachin’ and a whole lotta Disney.

 

to be continued..

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IMG_0351I was born and raised in Seattle, but my heart has always been a little California-shaped. Per my initial post, I mostly lack the ability to speak in completely sentences 😉, but my writing comes out presentable. So, let’s talk California!

A long year calls for a trip, so we rolled the kids out of bed at 6am and jetted off to what I call, “the best place on earth.” We made it through the flight with only one poop incident and we kept the kids mostly occupied with some cool activites. We have only been on a plane a few times as a family and we usually paint the perfect picture of parenthood at it’s worst. I’ll take any break to be caught. As soon as we landed we headed straight to Huntington Beach, or as I mentioned above, the best place on earth.  #CoffeeBeforeTalkie

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Without ever having been to HB, I knew it would be the chocolate cake to my fat kid. And not just box mix chocolate cake, I’m talking the stuff your mom made from scratch with fudge oozing from the center. But, you know, with sand in it. It was so good, we spent 3 of our 6 days there.  Being from Seattle, I know what a cool pier looks like, but there’s something about palm trees + surfers that trumps rain + tourists. We spent time jumping in the ocean, building sandcastles, chasing our kids as they chased birds, watching a volleyball tournament, walking the pier, taking in the shops + restaurants and doing all things made of pure happy.

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As it so happens, the best place on earth and the happiest place on earth sit in a juxtaposition of perfection. You already know where this is headed.. Disney. If you ever want to sweat off 7lbs in 3 days, you only have to pay $1,000 to go walk this park. We spent too much on small portions of non-nutritious food that didn’t taste good and on souvenirs that quickly broke + we waited in some very long lines with some very tired children. But, our kids walked away with big eyes and full hearts. You can’t put a price on that.

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These are my top tips:
Fastpasses! Grab some on your top pick as soon as you get to the park.
The Cars ride is worth the wait (picture joy riding but without cops or insurance to worry about).
We stayed for the nightly “Paint the Night” parade two days in a row because it was that good + the song is one you won’t mind getting stuck in your head (♫ “When can we do this again” ♫).
Baby swap passes are available upon request when you have a rider that’s too small and it = even more fun for the bigger kids.
Utilize the app to check wait times in line.

We spent time with Buzz, Pluto, Lightning McQueen, Spiderman, Captain America and my daughter’s favorites: Chewbacca & Darth.

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Really, what 5 year old’s life is complete without having swung a light saber to ward off evil forces? We got her name on a wait list to become a Jedi and she was the very last name called for the day. We barely squeaked in and she’ll never forget it.

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If you or anyone you know can tell me how they operate those cars that drive around Radiator Springs, it would solve one of the world’s mysteries for me.

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Disney is always a win, and I know we will do it again and again. Next up: Coronado Island.

 

to be continued..

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