the endless charm of snow white and her dwarves

Having had a girl first, our movie collection is pretty much ruled by your usual little girl choices.


Luckily, we have a really awesome aunt that hooks us up with her copies of the classics. Ones like Sleepy Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Jungle Book, Pinocchio and Snow White. And as much you want to fight it (don’t act like you don’t get really overwhelmed by princess mania), there is no pointing in trying to win this battle. They love what they love. You can try all live long day to make them super cool tiny hipsters that have a wardrobe that is totally on point (go ahead and pretend like you don’t do it), and you know what happens? They go bananas whenever Let It Go or anything ever sung by Taylor Swift comes on the radio, and they will draw blood if you even attempt to get them to change out their outfit that consists of yesterdays dirty pants, a shirt that fit them 2 years ago and has what I can only imagine to be spaghetti stains, and a hat that can loosely be labeled a hat because it’s missing half the yarn it was made with.

They will be what they want to be and do what they want to do. I’ve learned my lesson and I simply let her be.

So we are amidst princess mania. Rora, as Hayden calls her, is sooooo beautiful and we absolutely need a gown JUST like hers. I spent a good 20 minutes last week curling Hayden’s hair to be exactly like Merida’s from Brave, for her to only tell me I forgot to make it really long. And red. Oh, and a lot curlier.

We dance and spin like Ariel, once she gets her legs, and my kitchen rugs keep disappearing and used in the hallway as magic carpets because, duh, she’s Jasmine.

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Lately, Snow White has been on repeat. Repeat as in we watch it 3 times in a row before I shut it off because I get stuck whistling like the dwarves all day long! But then I remember Snow White was one of my very favorite movies as a little girl and I used to play outside for hours and reenact the movie all afternoon, just like she does. I giggle to myself when I watch her run and gasp around the living room as the scene plays out where Snow White gets stuck in the scary forest. She remembers all the names of the dwarves and her very favorite is Dokey, as she calls him. It’s innocent and it’s sweet and keeps her imagination in gear all day long.

I guess soon enough she’ll be interested in abstract art, wearing cardigans and extra clunky boots and whatever musician that will inevitably have colored hair and not nearly enough clothing. She should be free, and wild and be able to go to the grocery store in that tattered princess dress and crocs (cringe). And she can dance and spin her little heart out while this happy mama watches.

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PS- Anyone that wants to part with Aladdin or Beauty and The Beast, it will surely be put to good use.

that one time we took a vacation without any kids and it was totally awesome: part 4


At the beginning of the week Andy and I had run through ideas of things we wanted to do on this trip that we normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to. Skydiving being on the top of that list. We read reviews and found a place close to where we were staying, and called to make a reservation for our jump. Friday was the day.

Our jump was set for 1:30 and we woke up to breeze and rain. That wasn’t uncommon at some point each day and the tropical storms were always quick and mostly involved rain showers for 15 minutes and on it went. So we didn’t let it discourage us and decided we would meet up with the group for a snorkeling venture before we needed to leave to catch our plane.

Ted’s Bakery was a favorite spot we visited several times since it was only a few minutes from our condo and had the most delicious pastries. I ate a lot of these bad boys on our trip.


It was raining when we got to the beach but the great part about Hawaii is regardless of the gloomy weather, the water is still warm and inviting. We snorkeled around for a bit waiting for the rest of the group and they showed up just as the sun was making its way out.


I’ll be honest, when we first tried out snorkeling, I wasn’t a fan. I don’t like a lot of stuff on my face and once you get underwater I get really claustrophobic. Add that to the always present fear that a shark is seconds from eating me for lunch, and I don’t make a very good snorkeler. But I faced my fears, ditched the snorkel and just used a mask, and swam out to join the other people who didn’t seem to getting eaten. At the moment.

Not to sound completely honky donky small town, but the fish were incredible! Like fish you only see in fish tanks at Petco. Angel fish are the only ones I actually knew the name of, but swarms of fluorescent blue ones were everywhere and in every size. Teeny tiny bright ones with stripes. Countless colors of coral. A few of the ladies swam by eels (creepy!) I would come up for a breath and when I dove back down I would be in the middle of what could only a family of at least 100 fish. It was surreal. The closest I’ve ever been to feeling like a mermaid. Which I know totally exist. Duh.

While we were swimming with the fishes, the skydiving company called to let us know our jump got cancelled due to weather. We rescheduled for the next morning and swam for a bit longer before we headed back to the condo for a snooze. Beach life really takes it out of a person. Especially when you’re a ways out from the shore, and you panic because the current is stronger than you thought, and you dive under and think you are totally going to get caught in coral and most likely drown and never see your kids again, so you frantically hold your breath and swim faster than you knew possible and make it back to the shore and nearly pass out and feel like your going to throw up at any moment. That MIGHT have happened. Might.

We had also made plans earlier in the week to drive into Honolulu and meet up with my old high school friend and enjoy a night out in Waikiki. While I personally wouldn’t choose a big bustling city as my first choice to live in, visiting one is always a thrill. Honolulu is beautiful.



Katie and I went to high school together and were good acquaintances. While we didn’t stay in touch after school, we lived in the same city a few years later and rekindled our friendship. Life happened and we now have families and distant lives from each other, but when I saw that she had moved to Oahu, where we would be traveling to, I quickly got in touch and we planned on definitely meeting up. We got to meet her amazing kids and husband and they were so kind and hospitable in taking us out on the town. We had a scrumptious dinner at a restaurant right on the beach, where half way through dinner we enjoyed a fireworks show.

We walked down to Duke’s afterwards where we indulged in several tasty cocktails. We laughed and reminisced and caught each other up on the near decade since we had last seen each other. It was one of the funnest nights I’ve had in a long time. Both of us are now wives and mamas and have an entire world of things in common now.


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We stayed way longer than we had planned for since we still had about another 45 minute drive and needed to be up early for our rescheduled jump. It was totally worth it. Special friendships are hard to come by and ones that can wait for years and be as if no time had passed are just that. Special. It was our last night in Hawaii and even better than I could have expected. Cheers to you sweet friend!

that one time we took a vacation without any kids and it was totally awesome: part 3


The much awaited day of the trip. *cue wedding bells*  Andy and I didn’t need to be at the ranch until 12:30 and since we were up at the crack of dawn every day of our trip, we had plenty of time to burn before we headed down the highway. (sleeping in on our vacation didn’t happen at all since it was hot as hell and being a hot sweaty mess didn’t bode well for comfort)

We tried to visit as many beaches as we could on our trip. I had come to really love and anticipate those quick stops.





Those quiet peaceful moments filled with just our thoughts and sand between our toes was exactly what we came on this trip for. A lot of just “us” time.



Our beach visit was short lived and we headed to the venue to meet up with the bridal party to get ready. The rest of the day was filled with lots of laughter and anticipation for what would seem like the fastest afternoon in time. Speaking from experience, your wedding day goes by so quickly and is filled with endless amounts of love and joy. This day was no different.

The venue was filled with beautiful plant life and views and the cottage we got ready in was a spot I wouldn’t think twice about moving in to.






All the ladies got ready and prepped while the guys headed over with the guests to the private beach.




The rest of the afternoon became one sweeping fast moment. We had pictures and last minute jitters on our way to the ceremony. Tears were shed by proud papa’s and we were given the last run down of our instructions. The ceremony was short and sweet. It was blissfully quiet with waves crashing in the background. Eternal love and faithfulness was promised and kisses exchanged. It was simple and perfect.




The bride and groom took pictures afterwards before we all loaded up on the boat and set sail back to the reception.


The camera got packed up once it was time to celebrate and the rest of the evening involved a beautifully golden and colorful sunset, a gourmet dinner, wedding cake and toasts, dancing and a room filled with glowing happy people.

It was truly an honor to be a part of my friend’s special day and I’m blessed to have been able to stand along side of her as she married her best friend. It was an experience unlike any other, and I’ll just throw it out there. If any of the rest of you are thinking of doing a tropical wedding, I’m totally there.

oh, go take a hike

While most lawns are still green, and the weather is still favorable, it’s hard to see the white topped mountains and not be thinking about winter that’s at our heels. Sooner than later our days are going to be a whole lot shorter and a whole lot colder.

So when you get a dry sunny day you make the most of it and get some fresh air. Which is exactly what we’ve been up to this week. With two toddlers whose neighborhood friends are now back in school, we start to get stir crazy being inside all the time. We can all benefit from going out to explore the great outdoors.

We invited grandma and grandpa to tag along and loaded up the kids and the dog and headed to Reflection Lake. Which is only about 20 minutes from our house and right off the main highway, making it an easy and convenient hiking spot.

IMG_1169Sharky especially loves adventures. Where he can run and jump and swim. There was other dogs to sniff and people to check out. Puddles to jump in and sticks to chew. Even a tiny princess found her way to the trail that day.


IMG_1177The main trail loop is short with a few pit stops to enjoy. Like this wildlife viewing tower. Which the kids had a blast on. It came with some pretty spectacular views on top of being a massive jungle gym.





The rest of the trail the kids and the dog ran free. Sharky made an attempt to swim out to catch a beaver (yeah right dog), and the kids played in and out of the trees as if this very spot was our own backyard.






It’s not often enough we take the kids and the dog out to be wild, and crazy and loud. Away from cartoons and nap times. Inside voices and household rules. To explore and not have limits and just be, kids.

We had such a good time, this morning when we realized we were lucky enough to have another sunshine filled day, we ate breakfast and finished up our coffee and packed everyone up again to run errands and stop for a hike on the way. We live right above a nice golf course that is host to several trails perfect for a quick getaway.


It was a crispy 32 degrees when we started out and the small ones weren’t to keen on that. Luckily they have a really sweet daddy who packed them until it warmed up a bit. A hike in freezing temps isn’t the most appealing when you could be at home in your sweats all cozy with a fresh cup of coffee. But it’s almost indescribable when the sun gets higher and hits you just right and warms you right down to your toes. Add that to a dog who couldn’t be running any faster in and out of the brush and a little girl whose toes are toasty and she’s ready to skip and sing along the trail.



Our destination was just a couple miles from where we parked the Jeep, and it was worth the chilly walk.



Reid took a snooze in the backpack while Hayden and Sharky jumped in mud puddles. We sat and basked in the sunshine knowing we should be enjoying every moment we can in this beautiful weather. We made our way back to the Jeep with hot soup and sandwiches on our minds. Oh, and hot chocolate with lots and lots of marshmallows.


The rest of the afternoon was spent doing yard work and finishing touches on Halloween costumes. Oh, and making the Pioneer Woman’s perfect pot roast. You guys, it was SO GOOD. And easy. And delicious and tender. And made the house smell fab. Is that convincing enough?


Our day was simple. But perfect. The rest of our week has gymnastics, and bunco and Halloween parties, and baking and pumpkins to carve. But you better believe that when we need to wind down and get some fresh air, you’ll find us here.


that one time we took a vacation without any kids and it was totally awesome: part 2


Other than needing a vacation desperately, we had a purpose for this trip. I was part of a wedding. So Wednesday and Thursday were devoted to whatever the beautiful bride needed. Our rehearsal was actually a day spent on the beach where the wedding was taking place. It was pretty exhausting but we managed.

IMG_0583The wedding was being held on a private beach that’s part of Kualoa Ranch. We met up with the group at 9 to catch the ferry over to the beach and the guides ran through the do’s and the don’ts. We had paddle boards and kayaks at our disposal. Volleyball and badminton. Scuba gear and beach mats. And a couple boats trips you could choose to go on. We had packed a lunch and drinks and had the afternoon to “rehearse”.

IMG_0584We as a group decided to take a ride on the glass bottom boat and try our luck at seeing some turtles.

IMG_0577Round trip it was only about a 30 minute venture but the water was gorgeous and we were fortunate enough to see a handful of turtles. Not the best picture but you get the idea.

IMG_0823After countless paddle board trips and kayaking, lunch and volleyball, we got down to business. The bride and groom gave us the deets on the next day’s excursion, which took all of 15 minutes and then it was back to the ferry to head to the parking lot.

The wedding location itself was beautiful. But so was the driveway to get to it!

It was a small winding road that was surrounded with fruit trees. Banana, guava, starfruit, papaya and mango. Sugar cane and coffee trees. There was no way we could leave without snagging some.

IMG_0834Kualoa Ranch is home to where several movies were filmed, most notably Jurassic Park. You can take a tour on horseback or ATV, even zip lining. We missed the cutoff for the tours so we just walked part it to get the jist.


We had hours to spare and more island to explore. We had been given a few suggestions on places to eat and we found one quickly once we hit the coastal highway.

IMG_0609Turns out it’s fancier than it used to be because it was featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. Which I’m wondering if it was a ‘dive’ because it now has a hand washing station. Getting classy. It really was delicious though and hit the spot.


We pin pointed a route to take us the rest of the way around the island and got back on the road. My favorite part? The tunnels.

IMG_0617IMG_0622We took a few pit stops and hurried our way back to the North Shore in order to catch the sunset.

Waimea Beach. Without a doubt, my favorite place on our trip where we enjoyed the sunset. The sand was super soft and the water was perfectly warm and inviting.

We found a deserted spot and sat down to gaze at people as they enjoyed the day coming to an end.



Now for the exciting part. Waimea Beach is home to a very popular spot for rock jumping. Most of our people watching was done on this side. We watched countless people climb up and take the epic leap.


IMG_0642And the award for best jump goes to:

IMG_0828Hysterical. Probably not for him but definitely for those that watched. The sunset was just as you would imagine a sunset on a tropical island would be. Breathtaking. It simply got better as it got later.


IMG_0640IMG_0826Before we lost all light we walked back towards the car, rinsed our feet off at the faucet and took one last glimpse at that amazing view and packed in for the night. This trip was proving to be more than I could have imagined.


that one time we took a vacation without any kids and it was totally awesome: part 1

Andy and I just got back from an amazing trip to Oahu, Hawaii. It was


That’s putting it lightly. This was our first vacation with just us. Our first real vacation ever really. I was pregnant when we dated and after Hayden was born our time alone wasn’t any longer than one night. Once we got married our honeymoon got put on hiatus when I got pregnant with Reid. Kids ruin everything.


So being in my friend’s wedding in Hawaii was the perfect reason for this kid free vacation to really happen. My sister in law is the and took a week off work to stay at our house and watch the two little terrors.

We were there for 5 days and 5 nights of total bliss.


Our flight left at 2:45 which gave us plenty of time to sleep in, finish packing our bags and hug and kiss on the kids for a bit longer. Then it was game time.


We arrived in Honolulu just before sundown so we could get one quick glimpse of the city.

It was dark on our drive to the North Shore where we were staying so we didn’t get the full effect until morning. It was worth waiting for…




We hurried and showered and threw our beach bag in the car and began our ventures on the island. We stayed on Turtle Bay Resort’s property but not at the actual resort. They have several buildings of condos that are available to rent. It saved us a few hundred dollars and we had so much more space and privacy. Plus, it was only a short walk to the resort itself and it’s beach. Which was our first pit stop.






I found that people watching was soooo easy and entertaining on this trip.



We were in serious need of coffee and food so our beach visit was cut short and we found a coffee shop and local fruit stand to load up on goods. If someone ever offers you a fried banana, get one. Or 6 like we ended up with.

After cruising the highway a bit, we couldn’t take it any longer and pulled off to jump in. Even with rain showers and wind, the beach was heavenly.




This spot too proved to be a fantastic people watching spot.




The wonderful part of a vacation with no kids is we have no schedule. No naps to worry about, bottles to plan for or meltdowns to deal with. We could lay in the sand, drink cocktails and relax without a care in the world.



We spent the afternoon exploring beaches and food trucks. Anything served in a fruit vessel has my name on it.

After lunch we found a sunnier spot to plant our beach bums. The colors were almost surreal.


After completely frying our bodies, we headed back to clean up and change and walked down to the resort for drinks and a Hawaiian sunset. It was the perfect ending to our first day in paradise.

Stay tuned for more..