Friday, October 21, 2016


I'm particularly thrilled to see this weekend.  Not much planned other than football, costume making, & I'm hosting my book club.  Plus, a quick visit from the in-laws.  I'm also thinking we'll need to fit in a little movie night to all snuggle up & watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  So perhaps we'll have a busy little weekend after all, ha!  Here's the usual bit of randomness that you all can expect from a Friday post...
So book club... the book is Macgruder's Curiosity Cabinet.  I haven't quite finished it yet (gasp), but I'm not loving it.  If you do need an awesome book though, read A Man Called Ove.  Since I'm hosting, I've been menu planning all week.  I'm going with a Fall/October vibe.  Pumpkin soup & chicken, brie, apple sandwiches.  Along with Dark & Stormies and caramel apples.  I seriously can't wait for the kid-free/girl time!

I've been looking for booties for a good two years now.  It took awhile to find a pair I liked, and finally thanks to Vanessa, I found the perfect pair.  These are perfectly neutral, go with everything, and probably won't leave my feet until the first snowfall.

Another good find this week was thanks to Katie.  She posted about these coasters that I couldn't get into my cart fast enough.  They are so my style!

A little PSA: Hanna Anderson's Christmas jammies are currently 20% off.  So buy them now!  It never gets cheaper than this.  I didn't love the boy options this year and was so torn on what to get, but I ultimately decided on the blue gnomes.  But the girl options are amazing, and I'm particularly crushing on these!

After I wrote this post, I think many people were expecting/waiting for an announcement.  So just to clear the air, I am not currently pregnant.  But we are hoping to grow our family!  No need for a bump watch yet, but any positive thoughts our way would be appreciated!
TGIF friends; enjoy the weekend!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Thanksgiving Hostess

I know I'm bypassing Halloween temporarily, but don't for one moment think that I'm not pumped to celebrate that holiday first!  But in the land of shopping, you have to plan way ahead.  Waaaaay ahead.  As in, we should really be talking Christmas right now (because if you don't snatch up what you want now, it will surely be gone when the actual holiday rolls around), but I'm not quite ready for that.  Instead, today I bring you a little bit of Thanksgiving goodness.  These are all some fun things that I'm eyeing right now.  You better bet, those turkey candle holders are already mine!  And the impulse buys have been out of control every time I step into Crate & Barrel lately.  I imagine I may be adding a few more things to my home to make Thanksgiving dinner extra special.  And can we talk about how copper is taking over the kitchen?!  It's everywhere, and I'm actually really loving it.

So while you all should be a tad selfish and pick up some goodies for yourself, I really put together these items with the thought of hostess gifts in mind.  I am firm believer in manners & old traditions.  If you are having dinner at someone's house, and especially if you have going for a holiday dinner, you best have a hostess gift in hand!  And what host doesn't love getting something festive for that particular holiday or season?

1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6
So... who's coming to my house for dinner?!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Pumpkin Patch 2016

This is one of those evening that I look forward to all year long!  We aren't one of those families that stops at every pumpkin patch they see over the course of the month of October.  We have just that one that we love, and we make one big grand night of it!  I feel that keeps the whole experience that much more special for the boys.  Liam obviously knew exactly what fun was going to be had, but it was brand new to our little Finn.  Reading Duck & Goose Find A Pumpkin numerous times a day had everyone ready to get out there and find each of our perfect one!

The thing is...  I was a having a real rough day that morning.  Little things had been getting to me more, throwing me into the dreaded funk.  Nothing had been going to plan.  Naptime was cut short.  I just wasn't feeling like my usual chipper and excited self.  Conor & I talked about rescheduling our pumpkin patch visit, but it was really the only day in the near future that worked with both of our schedules.  I called my mom on the long drive out to vent.  Hoping that letting it all out, would help me let the little things go.  And thank goodness, the moment we pulled up to the farm, I was excited & filled with joy.  It is one of my happy places, and I was finally there with my little family!

We always go on a weeknight, because the place is practically empty.  No lines.  No crazy people to navigate around.  And you all know how much I love going places at Sunset, but even more so in the Fall.  Harvest sunsets are stunning.  The deep rich colors & warm glow don't even seem real.  And this particular night & particular sunset may have been one of my favorites.

Finn was much more timid than I would have expected.  While he loves slides at playgrounds, he was not fond of the big haystack slides or the potato sack one.  Liam practically ran laps doing the slides on repeat, but Finn was content to watch from my lap for the better half of them.  And then he refused to ride the little train, so again he watched from the sidelines.  His reluctance to join in completely surprised me and doesn't seem to fit with the rest of his personality, but I enjoyed the snuggles while we watched big brother have the time of his life.  He did however love the corn box and could have stayed there all night!

So often throughout this night, I found myself just taking in the moment.  Noticing the wild smiles & giggles from my boys.  Watching Conor with them.  Even though it's been a year and a half since Finny as born, I still so often find myself in awe of the fact that I'm surrounded by boys.  My boys.  And at times, I think that I'm just destined for boys.  That it will always be this way, just with parhaps another thrown in the mix (not an announcement).  I watched them play, noticing all the families all around us and remembering special memories from my own childhood.  For our past is the foundation that we use to develop our own traditions & memories.  Apparently, I was feeling all sorts of nostalgic and warm & fuzzy.

As sunset was nearing, we jumped on the tractor for a ride out to the actual pumpkin patch.  Finn was nonstop smiles throughout the entire bumpy ride.  All the boys wanted was more & more bumps!  He could not have been holding onto Conor any tighter, but he loved everything about it!

Pumpking choosing is serious business.  I'm such a sucker for the tall & skinny; yet, every year I plan on mixing it up.  And then I never do.  Liam was adamant that we need two big pumpkins and two small pumpkins, so the search was on.  Picking pumpkins straight from the vine is of extreme importance to me, which is why I love this particular farm.  I love that the boys get to see how exactly how the pumpkins are grown, and that they literally have hundreds to choose from.  I think we picked some rather perfect ones, with Liam being able to barely, just barely, carry his own!

Another night that will not soon be forgotten.  Liam had such a hard time leaving, knowing that we won't be back again 'til next year.  And he will grow impatient as we wait until closer to Halloween to carve them.  But gosh, it was a good night.  And these photos are some of my favorites.  They will help hold our memories to enjoy in all the years to come!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Small Shop Love

I love love love supporting small businesses.  I love the whole idea of shopping small & supporting someone's family directly.  Lately, I have been making more of an effort to collaborate with smaller shops to help share the love, bringing more attention to them.  So today I bring you a few of my favorites.  This post is in no way sponsored; no affiliate links.  I just want to give some shout outs to some small businesses that are killing it on the creative end, as well as offering some amazing quality.  People often ask where I shop for the boys, so all these shops are perfect for little boys & some even offer stuff for the mamas & papas as well.

Childhoods Clothing
Seriously well made.  Seriously cozy.  My favorites are their shorties, beach hoodies, rompers, & slouch beanies.  But I guarantee that if I had a girl, I would be all about their dresses & peplum tops as well!  So really, all their stuff is so so good.  And if you shop out of season, you can often find stuff on sale!

elSage Designs
This is a Seattle company.  I especially love them for the PNW inspired designs as well as unique Seahawks apparel.  Also, this shop has stuff for everyone!

Alpine Baby Co.
I mostly love them for their leggings, but occasionally I love their t-shirt designs too.  The knee patches are my favorite.  This tends to be a shop more for the babies, but they recently added rompers and have pretty dresses for the girls too.  I love the seasonal prints & mountain feel.  They are a Montana company that often does fun collaborations.  Look for their holiday line dropping on Monday.  Also, they typically have an awesome Black Friday sale, and you can always find deals on past season collections.

Modern Burlap
They are mostly known for their swaddles, changing pad covers, & crib sheets.  I'm seriously swooning over some of their new prints... the snowflakes and the mountains!

Made of Mountains
Another Montana company (and can you tell I kinda have a mountain theme going?).  This shop has adult stuff as well.  I love all their designs; perfect for all the adventurous ones in your lives.  I just bought Liam the "ski bum" shirt, and he just cannot believe his shirt says "bum!"  Boys!!!

Please please please share your favorite small shops with me!  Even better if you tag me on one of their posts on Instagram, since that is my favorite way to follow small shops!  And tell me, do you like me sharing these types of favorites?  Because honestly, I could have shared about 20+ more!  Which may be fun with all the holiday shopping coming up.  Yep... I went there!

Monday, October 10, 2016


About a year ago, my parents asked if we wanted to join them on a trip to Moab, which despite living only a few hours away from, we had never been.  I've mentioned this before, but the desert really isn't my thing.  Perhaps I was still scarred from our time living in Arizona, but I really didn't find much beauty in rocks.  Even red rocks.  So yeah, I wasn't itching to go to Moab.  But I'm always on board for a vacation with my parents!  So of course we joined them!  As I mentioned in this post a week ago, I have really come to love Utah; so I went into this trip with an open mind.  I was rather excited for the hiking and the exploring, just hoping to be blown away by it all.

We decided to rent an amazing house (of which I took no pictures) and stay for a whole week, so that we weren't rushed through anything.  If your plan is only to visit Arches National Park, you could easily do it in two days.  But after talking with lots of friends who had visited many times, we knew there much outside of the park to explore.  We wanted to make a real vacation of it, so a week it was!  Our house was just a few minutes south of downtown Moab.  We hiked each day, sometimes twice.  We tailgated afterwards, as a sweet reward.  We hit the pool & the hot tub in the evenings.  Cocktail hours followed by big feasts, sometimes after the kids were put to bed.  I meal planned out our whole week & then made one big Costco run the day before our trip.  My mom brought the booze; it was a good partnership.     

I apologize in advance for the picture & information overload.  I'll try to share all our hikes (and what were our favorites), in hopes that this will be a helpful reference.  If you are thinking about going to Moab, just do it!  We went the very last week of September, and the weather was absolutely perfect.  I can't imagine doing this trip in the heat of summer, so I suggest Spring or Fall.  So what we did:

Night One: Moonflower Canyon (Moab)
You walk through a campsite (which is small & adorable; I would totally camp here) before taking a small trail to a tiny water hole.  Super short hike, but a beautiful little spot.  The drive to the canyon takes you along the Colorado river and was stunning in itself, especially at sunset.  This wasn't a huge destination, but perfecting for stretching our legs after our drive down to Moab and getting everyone excited for what was to come that week.

Day 2: Sand Dune Arch Trail (Arches)
This was a roughly 3.5 mile hike that starts at the super popular Sand Dune Arch.  Just as you would expect, tons of sand.  We brought shovels & pails for the boys to play with here.  I'm sure they could have spent a good hour or so right at this arch, but we were all excited to hike instead.  The trail also takes you to Broken Arch as well as Tapestry Arch.  The trail was mostly empty which we loved.  Liam learned how to follow cairns (stacks of rocks that help you stay on the trail; especially over slick rock where it isn't obvious).  This was our favorite "hike" within Arches National Park.

Day 3: Negro Bill Canyon (Moab)
Everyone's favorite hike!  5 miles round trip and enjoyable and stunning the whole way!  You slowly climb up to Morning Glory bridge which is breathtaking & massive.  You cross over a stream at least 9 times, which adds a bit of fun to the trek.  While most of us managed to keep our shoes dry, Liam wasn't as lucky.  But I'm fairly certain he didn't mind the jumping & splashing and try to do it all by himself.  We did this hike at sunset, which made it particularly stunning.  The rocks are lit up by the sun that slowly drops. 

 Day 4 Morning: Mesa Arch & White Rim Overlook (Canyonlands)
Canyonlands was relatively unexciting.  Definitely worth a look & a drive if you have lots of time in the Moab area, but not a favorite by any means.  The Mesa Arch "hike" (1 mile round trip) was super busy.  Even a tour bus was there.  We took this opportunity to let Finn hike the whole thing, since he always wanted to hike.  The White Rim Overlook was 3 miles (I believe) and gave some stunning views.  Also some scary views due to massive drop offs!  If I were to go back to Canyonlands, I would want to check out the southern part of the park where there were slot canyons, but we didn't want to drive that far.

Day 4 Afternoon: Dead Horse Point (Dead Horse State Park)
We hit Dead Horse only because it is literally on the way back from Canyonlands.  There really isn't any hiking to be done here.  It's more of a stop, look, take picture, leave kind of place.  Not worth the effort at all.  It's the "grand canyon" of Utah, but again, not worth it.  I'm sure it's something special at sunset though; so if I were going to go, that would be the time.

 Day 5 Morning: Corona Arch (Moab)
Everyone's second favorite hike!  It's about 3 miles roundtrip, but it's a tad difficult.  There are safety cables at two separate spots to help you climb the slick rock, as well as a ladder.  Those little elements made the hike exciting, and it just so happens to be one of the most stunning arches. Liam handled the whole hike just fine!  I was constantly proud of his efforts & determination, such a good little hiker!  You really earn your view of this hike!

Day 5 Evening: Mill Creek Canyon (Moab)
Our third favorite hike!  Mill Creek is the local swimming hole, with beautiful waterfalls.  Also super slippery rocks that almost make the whole thing feel like a waterslide.  Why yes, I did fall in.  And yes, I had my camera on me.  But luckily, I somehow kept it inches above water before being able to hand it off to Conor!  But first the hike in... You have to cross the stream twice, and when I say cross, I mean that the water will be nearly up to your waist.  Fun, yet chilly; and obviously, the little ones needed to be carried over.  We packed in beers, champagne, and meats & cheeses to make a whole little evening of it.  And then of course, Conor had to start chatting it up with some guy who convinced him to climb up the waterfall and jump in.  In the one small spot that is actually deep enough for that kind of jump.  I did not approve, was getting somewhat angry, but he survived.  So yay for adventuring!

 Day 6: Delicate Arch (Arches)
This is the big one. The one arch that you always see in photographs.  And it is pretty spectacular!  But it's also super super busy, and the hike is relatively uneventful until the last few minutes.  Again we had to deal with a tour bus, which made us all a tad grumpy.  Lots of ledges & drop offs, so we had to keep the boys super close to us.  It was probably their least favorite hike for that exact reason.  Worth it for sure, but somewhat underwhelming; especially after all the other amazing things we had already seen!

Day 7: Windows & Double Arch (Arches)
We made these quick stops before leaving Moab on our last day.  There is no real hiking involved, mostly just a get out and walk around it type thing.  Super super busy & touristy.  The windows were relatively unexciting in my opinion.  Double Arch was actually a gorgeous, but it just doesn't have the same awe & beauty when you don't have to work for it.  It's one thing to have hiked for over an hour, and then come around a corner to some stunning sight.  It's quite different to just step out of your car and give a little "wow."  But again, totally worth the stop!

The trip as whole exceed all of our expectations. It was more beautiful & adventurous than we could have imagined.  And I must say, that I was so impressed with my parents.  They let me do much of the planning and were on board for it all.  We are keeping them young for sure.  They conquered the safety cables, stream crossings, & ladders just as swiftly as us.  They were helpful with both boys, who had to have been exhausting enough in themselves.  In between all the hiking was numerous book readings & bunny finding (so many little bunnies lived just outside our house).  Toy referee-ing & nose wiping.  Hand holding & scrape kissing.  Having my parents along made our trip that much more relaxing.  If I could always vacation with them, I would!  I'm already trying to convince them that we need to visit Jackson Hole next!

Another thing I wanted to mention is how doable this was with young kids.  I think they were at the perfect ages to enjoy this adventure.  Obviously Finn won't remember it, but that's not to say that he didn't love it.  The only difficult part about having him along, is that he did not want to ride in the pack.  At all.  We could often distract him, but for the most part he wanted to hike just like everyone else.  We often let him, but on our longer hikes we didn't have the time to go at such a slow pace.  He moved as quickly as his little legs could go, but he was also often distracted by things like rocks, sand, & ants.  He also desperately wanted to hold Liam's hand at all times, and while this was absolutely adorable for a day (and Liam was into it), he quickly realized how much Finn slowed him down.  So Liam grew tired of it, and Finn was devastated when Liam refused to walk with him.  Eventually he would accept Nana's hand as a consolation.

And Liam!  He was a hiking champ.  Very few complaints from him, and mostly they came on the last couple of days when his legs were legitimately tired and sore.  He hiked, he climbed, he guided the way.  The cairns often kept him busy and always wanting to be in front to spot the next one.  But one of the most amazing things about this boy was his true & honest appreciation for all the beauty.  He loved it.  He was in awe of the mountains, the rocks, the arches. He was always excited about what was to come next and never wanted our hikes to end.

By now, I'm sure you are all dying to come to Utah.  And you should.  And I could seriously talk Moab all day and go into far more detail.  So if/when you plan a trip, please shoot me an email.  I feel like I just barely skimmed the service of this trip!  Not to plan our next adventure!

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