Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday Strolling

It's that time of the year again here in "Arizona's Christmas City," where front yards are decorated, houses are lit up, and everything seems just a little more magical. This year's holiday season has flown by way too fast, so we've been trying to soak it up a little more in this last week leading up to Christmas. One of our favorite things to do is take a walk downtown right around dusk. The lights are just beginning to come on, and although it's absolutely freezing, it really does feel like a holiday wonderland!

When Happy Family contacted me about putting together a post for the holidays I immediately said "yes!" We have been enjoying their products for years- both Henry and Charlie love their stuff, so it was a no brainer to want to work with them. On any given day (or any given stroll!) there's a good chance you will find a pouch or some sort of Happy Family snack in one of the boys' hands.
And on this particular day we headed out about an hour or so before dinner, so I grabbed some yougurt bites and rice cakes and we were good to go. One of the biggest things I've found about being a mama of two is that I have to plan. And snacks are a must! If you were to take a peek in my bag right now you'd find a million different snack options...and sippy cups and board books and probably a rogue sock or two also. hah.

So I bundled my babies up, we snacked and strolled and took in all of the lights. The look on Charlie's face as we walked past some of the bright displays was the coolest- all wonder and awe and pure happiness. Even though this is technically his second Christmas it kind of feels like his first as I watch him discover everything as if it's new again. I feel lucky I get to experience all of this through my childrens' fresh perspective, and I feel extra grateful I have these two boys to remind me that sometimes the simplest things- a walk with the people you love and some yummy snacks- make up the best kind of nights.


A couple of things: Visit the Happy Family website to learn about organic baby and toddler food with the added benefits of DHA and probiotics, and join Happy Family on Facebook and enter to win during December’s #TistheSqueezin giveaways! Also be sure to click here to Enjoy a $1 off coupon for Happy Family baby food pouches. Happy snacking!

Visit Sponsor's Site

*This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Happy Family Products for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Card Photos 2014

I've been sharing these here and there on Instagram, but I wanted to post the rest of our favorites from last month's shoot with our dear friend Lauren Ristow. She has such a knack for capturing the sweetest moments, even when I leave the session wondering how on earth anyone could capture anything with all of the chaos that went on. And if you've ever done a family session with two (or more!) children you know what I mean by chaos. But every time we get our photos back, she's somehow managed to work her Lauren magic and pull out smiles and genuine happiness and that glowy beauty that can be found in everything she touches. I just love her.

We wanted to do a session for our Christmas cards, so we headed out to one of Lauren's secret spots and she snapped away for a good hour or so. She gave me back so many lovely images that it was hard to pick one for the card. I went back and forth on whether to do a fold-out one with numerous photos, or keep it simple with one, and in the end simple won out. And to see which one made the card, scroll to the bottom! We went with Tiny Prints for the fourth year in a row and as always I'm SO happy with how the cards turned out. A little plug for them too- it's not too late to get your holiday cards by Christmas Eve either- just order in the next two days! A few years back I ended up missing that window and ordered New Year's cards instead, and I almost like that idea better, since people can keep them up throughout the entire next year! Pretty neat.

Anyway, thanks for taking a trip back through these photos with me. I tried to narrow it down the best I could, but Lauren is so good I would actually love to share them all, but I think you'd get pretty sick of our faces by then. ;)

p.s. I always get a lot of questions about this dress- you can find it here.


cards c/o Tiny Prints

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

On Parenting.

Sometimes I feel like I'm doing it all wrong. Do you ever feel this way? I know as parents no one ever really knows what they're doing, but sometimes I lay awake at night and worry and over think and wonder if I'm doing an okay job. And then other times I think to myself "I've got this! I'm doing it!" and feel like maybe I've cracked some sort of Mommy code. Rarely, but it happens. Parenting is crazy, right? But like I've said before, just as Henry is learning to be a four-year-old, I am learning to be a mama of a four-year-old. We're both learning. And the funny thing about Henry and me, is that we will always, always be the trailblazers of our family. Everything will always be new to us, but especially to me, as I navigate every obstacle, age, and milestone with him, for the very first time. This is both the blessing and the curse of a first child. You experience these things together but with those initial hurdles there are lessons (so many lessons!) and you learn by trial and error as you move through your days, weeks, months, years.

It is a truly fascinating thing, parenting yourself. Henry is me and everyday I feel in awe that I created this little person who has inherited so many of my qualities. And sometimes it hurts so badly so see him hurt in the ways I remember hurting as a child, having such an open heart, wearing emotions on his sleeve, feeling things so very deeply. I worry at times about the things I see in him, that are in me- a quick temper, so many emotions, always thinking, thinking, thinking. But at the same time I look at these things and they have been such a gift for me, in so many amazing ways. But that's what parenting is all about right? We see ourselves in the children we raise, we have a chance to do better, be better, and in the best case, we do that.

It's funny to feel as if I've been a parent all of my life. I look back to "before," and it feels like a past life, a time before this that maybe existed in a different world. These four years feel like a million, but in the same breath I will tell you its gone by in an instant. The struggles of raising small humans to be grown up humans is universal. We all have hard days, we all have wonderful days. And those wonderful days, oh, they are magic! They're what keep me going, the days when we end it snuggled up reading in bed, talking about the happiest and best parts of the past 24 hours. Or with a baby cheek resting on my shoulder, little sighs in the dark, our tiny bubble of us, where everything is perfect and wonderful and right in the world. You have to have the hard days to get to the magic, you know? So we keep going, we keep learning. We stumble, we get back up. We adjust our sails, we continue on. And here they are, these little people, my biggest teachers, reminding me everyday that we are all here for the first time, figuring it out. And that if we just do all things with love, everything will most likely be a-okay.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Disneyland 2014

It's hard to write about Disney without using the word magical, and for good reason. The place IS magical. I swear, I spent a good portion of our time with tears in my eyes, looking around at all the happy, smiling faces having the time of their lives. Hank and I remarked a few times just how rad Disneyland is- you can be a little kid, or a very old person, and it's totally cool to throw on a pair of mouse ears (or floppy Goofy ears or a pink princess crown or a big furry monster hat) and just have FUN. No judgment, no one making fun of you for totally nerding out. It's awesome.

The sights, the smells, the little details around every corner....everything about Disneyland makes me happy. And walking around for a few days with having fun being the only major thing on our to-do list was really wonderful. It was a wild few days too, as I'm sure you can imagine it would be in a totally over-stimulating place with a four-year old. The first two days were great, but the third day was a lot more challenging. More meltdowns, more bad behavior- a culmination of so much sugar and fun that I had a feeling day three might be a little funky. But we got through it and ended our last night watching the fireworks, Charlie strapped to Hank in the Ergo, Henry snuggled up in the stroller, taking it all in.

I'll write another post that will include some details of what worked for us on this trip from the hotel to the parks (let me know if you have any specific questions or requests too!), but for now here are some (more like a million) photos from all three days, thanks to my trusty iPhone. xoxo

Blogging tips