Tips For A Fun Day At The Beach w. Your Toddler

We have been spending all our long Summer days together at the beach and it has been so beautiful. By beautiful I mean not just the gorgeous scenery, but watching Mila and her fearless demeanor when running into the waves is out of this world amazing to see. Going to the beach was one of Ryan’s favorite Summer activities. He has that same fearless attitude when it came to water and pouncing into the shoreline. Seeing Mila resemble her big brother in that way nearly takes the breath out of me. I feel so lucky. Of course, remembering Ryan always brings on a bit of bitter to the otherwise sweet scene. Though thinking about him, talking about him is worth the pain … simply because it always ends up reminding me of the great he was. The great he still is within us all. Especially his little sister.

Heading the beach with Ryan those first few times as he at the peak of his toddlerhood was daunting. At first I really wasn’t expecting the struggle and down right cardio it took to rangle a toddler on the sand. The beach really must seem like a giant open play area equipped with water and a never ending sandbox. Both kids run wild the second their feet sink into the sand, they either run straight into the waves which gives me a heart attack or head straight into another families beach set up to check things out. Because who believes in personal boundaries when your two years old? Now, I realize that all little ones are different. But all I know is wild, which I am grateful for. So beach going with Ryan proved to be interesting, hard at first but I soon got the hang of it. Last year taking Mila to the beach was quite easy because she wasn’t crawling or really interested in the water. We sat under the umbrella and enjoyed the sound of the waves. This year we spending the majority of our time holding on to her as thinks she can swim right into the crashing shoreline. We build sandcastles so she can demolish them. And we eat a hefty amount of re-fueling snacks. Gone are the days where heading to the beach meant laying out on a towel, reading a book or falling asleep while listening to my iPod. Now we head to the beach for a full day of sandy fun and try to keep up with our ever curious kid. (I’ll enjoy the later every day if I could)

Since we are heavy beach goers I have developed a few tricks I like to do that make my life a bit easier. I am no pro and honestly I am pretty casual compared to most. I love letting my kids get dirty and explore on their own. But if you are heading to the beach with a toddler here are few things to possibly keep in mind …

Applying sunblock to a squirmy child could be a sport. Of course both my kids are redhead and fair skinned and both my kids loath putting on sunblock. Especially when I put it on their face. If someone wanted to rub lotion all over my body I’d lay still and enjoy it, but I’m not a toddler I guess. You might already to do this, but try applying a nice full coat of sunblock before heading down to the beach. I like to do this to so getting sandy isn’t an issue. I also apply a layer of sunblock while my kids are just in a swim diaper. This way I can get every inch of their body in case their bathing suit or rash guard moves. Try and use a sunblock that contains zinc, I love Supergoop Play Mineral Mist sunblock and their new Super Power Mousse. I’ve been using Supergoop ever since Ryan was little and just love the products. The consistency and texture is smooth and goes on really easy. I also love that it rubs in and absorbs quickly. Which helps a ton when your kid is screaming their head off. I’ve also found that offering Mila a snack while applying that second layer of sunblock mid-day is helpful. It keeps her occupied and still. For me I think you can never have too much sunblock on!

I love love love a baby in a bikini! But truthfully full coverage is key and kids in bathing suits are downright adorable … keeping them covered and free from sunburn is better. Both of my kids wear rash guards which I have found to be the easiest way to have peace of mind when playing in the sun for hours. I buy them big at the start of summer so they can wear them all season long. I will say, having kids in just a rash guard and bathing suit bottoms is easier. Last week Mila wore a one piece and the rash guard over, which was fine at first. But it made diaper changes a little more difficult because I had to completely undress her. O’niel makes great rash guards for kids!

Nap time at the beach is touch and go. Mila has never been a great napper and I typically follow her lead when it comes to day time sleep. If she seems overly crabby and keeps rubbing her eyes I know its time for a little rest. I always undress her completely, rinse her off and put a fresh swim diaper on. I wrap her in her towel and she’ll go down (in my arms). With Ryan we were able to lay him down under an umbrella, but Mila is a bit more high maintenance. We rinse off her bathing suit and lay it out to dry so when she wakes up we put sunblock on again, her semi-dry suit and she is off to the races again. Recently a friend on Instagram mentioned baby powder as a way to get sand off. I tried it and it definitely works. I bought a travel size and keep it in my beach bag now! This works great if you have to get sand out of their diaper area ;) or their face and hands before snack time.

Ok so snacks at the beach are a huge highlight for my kids. Scaring me as they charge the water is their favorite, eating comes in as their second favorite. I have found that keeping a stash of healthy snacks that are unique to the beach has been helpful. This way anytime Mila begs for a “nack” I can offer her a variety healthy options like; fruits, granola bars and cheese. I also try and offer snacks that she doesn’t normally get at home. For example, nectarines she gets excited for at the beach because she doesn’t eat them at home. I switch up her normal cheese sticks and give her new granola bars. I don’t know really why I started to do that, maybe because I thought it would keep her attention longer so she would sit still and eat rather than roam around and eat. Which always leads to her tripping and getting the snack covered in sand. But I do always remember getting special treats when on vacation as a little kid, so this is probably an extension of that. Some snacks we enjoy are; That’s It bars, Annie’s Fruit Bunnies, Natures Bakery Fig Bars, mini boxes of raisins and stone fruits (which travel well to the beach). We keep a small cooler lunchpail and only drink water. We use Klean Kanteen water bottles which keep our water ice cold all day!

You know, you can only play in the sand and get pummeled by waves for only so long. One thing we like to do is go for a walk. We’ll take our personals, but otherwise leave our stuff and take a nice walk down the beach and back. It is a nice way to break up the day and get Mila’s wiggles out. Right now she is obsessed with birds and loves chasing them down the shoreline. Taking a walk always seems to ground us in a way, Dan and I end up talking about upcoming Summer plans or stay quite and soak in Mila. I think a lot of the time we both end up thinking about Ryan and have our own way of embracing our life as it was and as it is now. Honestly, if all else fails. Go for a walk to clear your head, get your wiggles out and remember why life is so damn good. Even in the midst of dark times you can seek goodness to be had. Promise.

Sand games are a huge hit in our family! Right now Mila is all about destructing sand castles, but soon she’ll grasp a few games and beg to play them. Here are few ideas you can do with your little ones; Set up 8-10 bucket sand castles and race to destruct them all. Outline 6 different shapes in the sand a few feet from each other, then have your child jump into the shape you call out. Dig 3 holes at various lengths away from you and toss a ball into the holes. Designate points for each hole and who ever has the most points in the end wins. (Winner gets to dump a bucket of water on their opponent!)

In all honestly I think the main thing to remember is, sand everywhere is inevitable. Embrace it. A full beach day with your toddler will be messy, but great fun. Follow their lead and soak in every moment (even the hard ones). Take a ton of photos that also include YOU in them (don't worry about your body). You and your children will love to look back at the fun you had together! Cheers to Summer and the gift of beach days with our little ones!


A Trip To The Museum Of Ice Cream

Last week we finally made it to the Museum Of Ice Cream. I had heard about this museum last year when it was in New York City and fell in love with the bright colors and promise of massive amounts of ice cream. I love a good museum trip! In fact, it is one of my favorite things to do with my kids. Ryan and I would frequent the LACMA and La Brea Tar Pits monthly. Though the Griffith Observatory isn’t quite a museum it has that quality of traipsing in between exhibits and interesting facts. Mila has come to love our museum trips as her big brother did. Which I am thankful for! Both my kids are champion stroller nappers which is my favorite because it I can then walk forever and enjoy the museum a bit on my own terms. (But don’t tell them that ;) Bottom line, when I heard about this Museum Of Ice Cream I couldn’t wait to experience it! Honestly the only thing missing from all museums is free ice cream samples handed out through out.

The Museum Of Ice Cream was very exciting and not exactly what I had been expecting. It was very fun, but mostly because I enjoyed watching Mila have a great time. The museum is compiled of a bunch of different themed rooms with fun artwork, interactive displays and sweet treat tastings. The only bummer was that it was so hot inside the museum Mila and I were sweating the entire time. Which was ironic, I thought it would have been cool in there to keep the ice cream cold? Typical to every kid it seems, Mila was wasn’t phased by the heat. She romped through each room and thought it was great!

My favorite rooms were the Chocolate Mint room because it smelled so delicious in there. They were growing actual mint plants in chocolate spiked soil and they handed out mint chip mochi. Mochi ice cream is a family favorite, Mila and I devoured ours. If you’ve never tasted mochi ice cream it is creamy ice cream stuffed inside a sweet gummy dough. My other favorite room was the Gummy Bear room simply because I loved watching Mila run in-between the giant bears giving them each a hug. We stayed in that room for a while and asked for thirds from the girl handing out scoops of gummy bears. Now that I think about it, this wasn’t so much a museum as it was a fun house for kids and adults alike.

Mila’s favorite room by far was the Sprinkle Pool and she cried when it was time to get out. Visitors only get two minutes to splash around the sprinkle pool and that wasn’t enough time for Mila I guess. We ended up bringing handfuls of sprinkles home with us on accident; in my pockets, my shirt and a bunch in Mila’s diaper. I snapped a quick pic of her sprinkle bottom and sent it to my family.

Over all the Museum of Ice Cream was a blast! I do wish they handed out more ice cream, but thats just me …

Below are a few photos from our visit. Thank you Molly for coming along, what a fun girls afternoon!


Beach Bums

"The beach house!" That's what Ryan used to call the beach. Dan's family owns a beach house in Laguna and we typically spend our lazy Summer days there. Ryan always heard us say "the beach house" and just associated all beach going as such. When he said he wanted to go to "the beach house" he meant the actual beach. Naturally, it's a fond memory, Ryan at the beach. Spending time there with out him just isn't the same. Though now as Mila is at the age to truly begin enjoying the beach, this past weekend was pure bliss. Her tiny sand footprints following the lead of her big brother. Of course Mila taking her own route from time to time, trailblazing her own beach style!

Last year she didn't care for the beach one bit. While she loved being in the pool and the warm beach water in Hawaii. Laguna proved to be too cold for her liking. She was so unsure about the crashing waves barreling toward her. She spent her time sitting in my lap or laying on a towel. Those days are clearly over now, which I'm happy about!

Last weekend we headed to the beach or the "the beach house" rather for our first official beach day of the Summer! Even though the weather was a bit cloudy, the days were perfection. In fact, it ended up being great days wherein the sun was hidden but the wind was warm. The water was indeed cold, yet Mila wasn’t phased. As most kids aren’t! I remember Ryan shivering while having the time of his life. Totally not noticing the chill, just focusing on the fun of things. Mila went head first into the sand and stood with zero fear by the ocean. It is funny how much can change in a year!

We figured out Mila has a serious knack for playing in the sand. We’ll definitely have to invest in some more sand toys this season! Her favorite was having me or Dan build a sand tower to have her knock down. We also dug up a giant hole she enjoyed playing in. Until she accidentally took a spill within the hole and got stuck. It was awful, but kinda hilarious.

Seeing Dan hold Mila’s hand down by the shoreline made my heart sing. Sometimes during those moments time seems to stand still. My heart throbs with gratitude and I am able to take a step back and just take a good hard look at my family. Does this happen to any of you? It happens at the most random times, but all of them seem to have this raw memorable quality. I never want to forget this day however, I’m certain our beach days this Summer will bleed together. I am positive though that watching my husband and daughter holding hands while dipping their feet within the water is a memory that will be imprinted within my memory.

This past weekend got all three of us excited for Summer and long beach days. Days where no matter how many showers you take, sand just seems to pop up in every nook and cranny. The scent of sunscreen lingers on our sun kissed skin. And let’s not forget the joys of having redheads … freckles are starting to pop up and I can’t help but kiss each and everyone. Mila has acquired a few, the one behind her right ear is my favorite.

Cheers to family beach days! Below are a few photos from our weekend …


A Day At Disneyland + Our Top 3 Disney Tips

If you have been with me from the beginning, as in nearly seven years go when I started my blog and social media, you know I love Disneyland! I started taking Ryan when he turned a year old (why did I wait a whole year?!) and never stopped since. While Ryan was with me, our Disney trips quickly turned into ‘our thing’. We frequented the park at least once a week and had our route and favorites down pat. Even on his last day here on Earth was spent at the “Happiest Place On Earth”. Disneyland will forever be a place where I feel and remember every ounce of my wild boy.

Now, once Mila was born I was jumping at the chance to visit Disneyland again with a child of mine. We took Mila when she was just two months and it was perfection. We haven’t stopped going since. If you see us on Instagram we head to the Disney parks once (and sometimes more) a week. Over the past year Mila has seriously grown to love the place and she even has a few favorites now. It has been such a joy to watch her grow, laugh and love a place that was close to her big brother and I. I’m proud to say, Disneyland is now a place I go with BOTH my children. Though anything Cars was Ryan’s favorite, Mila is more fond of Minnie Mouse and Small World. I am more partial to Haunted Mansion and Pirates. The three of us enjoy churros, churros and more churros.

This week my family had a fun opportunity to stay at the Disneyland Hotel and play inside Disneyland for two whole days back to back. Which is pretty much my dream! The best was that Dan took a few days off work to join us! It was his first time back at the park since Mila was just a baby! When we arrived at the park on Tuesday I fully cried because it really did feel like the four of us were together roaming around, having fun. I think the best though was watching Dan’s face while he watched Mila and her reactions to everything. I always come home bursting with stories from our Disney adventures, but he got to see her first hand this time around which was really special. We will be heading back again as a family soon, I’ll be sure to share a bit more on my Instagram stories!

Since we do go to Disneyland a lot and typically always share our fun on Instagram and Facebook, I receive a ton of questions. A lot of you ask how we do certain things, what rides are good for little ones like Mila and what foods we like to enjoy. Now, I’m no expert. Though, we do go a ton and I’ve nailed down a few tricks that make our life easier. I will say first that each and every time we go to Disneyland I arrive with zero expectations. The only game plan I have is to have fun. I have found that keeping expectations low at overwhelming places like Disneyland takes the pressure off. What will happen will happen and above all else, you are at Disneyland! Even grabbing a snack and sitting for 30 minutes while your kid gets their wiggles out is more fun than not! Below I’ve shared my top 3 Disney tips for you all, hope they are helpful! If I didn’t answer something you are curious about, just ask and I will either answer you in comments.

How We Survive Line & Parade Wait Times

Mila and I typically head to the park early to avoid long wait times. Hitting Disney early is a must with little ones simply because you can hit a lot of rides without waiting in long lines AND get a ton done before lunch + nap time! Usually Mila and I get the park at open ride her favorites in Fantasyland, hit up New Orleans square for Pirates and Haunted Mansion then take a breather for lunch. If we do find ourselves in a longer wait time I let Mila just hang out for as long as she can. Meaning she just waits alongside with me. I either wear her/hold her or hold her hand. We people watch, talk, sing songs. If she gets antsy I have a small snack on hand. A good rule of thumb for us is, if the line is longer than 30 minutes we don’t ride that ride. Mila can hang for more than 30 minutes with out losing her mind (can you blame her). My advice is find a few things you can bank on keeping your child’s attention with and don’t make them wait longer than what they can handle.

Parades are a beast that has literally taken a year to master. I am not kidding. Snagging a front row spot for a parade is a must in my book, but that means you have to wait a good 1.5 - 2 hours beforehand. I bring a blanket to sit on and plan it around meal times. I pack snacks, bubbles and a few toys that keep Mila happy. Like clockwork about 30 minutes before showtime Mila gets fed up. So at that point I just hold her hand and we walk up and down the parade route near our spot. She watches other kids play and toddles around. When the parade starts I will tell you, I’ve cried at the way my daughter reacts to seeing the magic up close. There are times while waiting when I think “Am I a F-ing nut bag for doing this?” but once that parade beat drops and I see my daughter perk up and start dancing … it makes the waiting worth it.

Must Do Rides For Mila (Baby +Toddler)

This is an easy question! Any ride with out a height requirement is a must do! Both my children loved all the rides. Get the park early and hit Fantasyland before it gets busy, those line queues can get a little hairy with little ones. Do the classics like; Small World, Pirates and Haunted Mansion. Over at Disney California we always ride Littler Mermaid, Monsters Inc. and watch the World Of Color show. You’ll find that your little one can go on just about anything, except the roller coasters and any ride with the word ‘mountain’ in it. Once your child hits 42 inches though they can literally go on anything. There are a few rides that call for 32 inches which Mila just hit! So now we can ride Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree in Cars Land which I’m pretty excited about. I'd also say any parade is worth the wait so check parade times as soon as you enter the park and work your day around those!

Favorite Foods Within The Park & What We Bring From Home

If you know me, you know I love sweets. At Disneyland I always get a churro. Sometimes (like this week) I go a bit overboard and indulge in a caramel apple or beignets, which are fried donuts covered in powdered sugar. Guys come on! So good! But in real life, for as much as we go to Disney we can’t eat like that every time. I always pack a tiny lunch box with food for Mila and a few snacks for me like string cheese, protein bars etc. Disneyland is pretty accommodating and even has a microwave in their baby center, so you can pretty much bring anything from home! I say, bring a ton of snacks and packed lunches from home, but indulge in a few treats from the park too!

Photos by Morgan Pansing


Family Time At The Flower Fields

This past weekend was spent with family amongst the friendliest flowers. How dreamy! My dad lives in San Diego and we drove to spend some quality time with him, my step mom and my little sister. It is always nice to have family weekends because of the fun and laughs we have. But also because Dan and I get a break! Upon arrival, the grandparents rush past the parents and scoop up the grandkids. Right?! Which is fine by me, this weekend was just as much fun as it was relaxing.

Fun Fact! I grew up in Carlsbad, CA and every time I go back I find myself within a thick nostalgic cloud. It is a yummy feeling being back and seeing what still stands and what is new. We took a day to traipse around Carlsbad Village Drive and the beach. We woke up early and waited the worthwhile wait for a seat at Beach Break Cafe. Which by the way, has the best coffee cake in the world! I remember when my siblings and I were younger, begging my mom to take us there. Sometimes we’d just order a few pieces of coffee cake to share. The whole time we were there I kept reminiscing to Dan and I’m sure he was {insert the rolling eyes emoji}. We’ve been back to Carlsbad a few times since being together, so I’ve told him the same stories a 100 times I'm sure. There is just something so beautiful about re-told memories. I feel so thankful for them. Almost as if I know there will come a time when these memories will feel a thousands years away, nearly too far to re-tell anymore. I want to re-live memories for as long as I can recount them!

You know me, always finding ways to make memories, re-live memories. Living in the now is mandatory, though its when you take the time to look through your past is when the magic of life ignites. At least for me, I feel more alive when I recount the ways it took to get me to the place I am right at this moment.

While down in San Diego I knew I wanted to take Mila to the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch. During the Spring they are in full bloom and you can walk within them. The day we went really couldn’t have been better. It was warm sunny with a swish of light wind. The flowers honestly were just brilliant. I’ve seen them a bunch of times, but it is a sight that takes your breath away every time. Especially with Mila in tow, things just seems to take on a more vibrant tone. Watching her take in all the beauty was awesome! Of course, trying to keep her from picking the flowers was a feat. Similar to that of keeping her from eating sand at the beach.

We took so many photos, most of them look similar. Just endless flower blooms. One photo though, I took on my iPhone on a whim as my dad was tossing Mila up in the air. Her laugh was hearty and infectious, I quickly snapped and it wasn’t until later that evening at dinner I really took a look. Shortly after my son Ryan passed away, my dad got a portrait of Ryan tattooed on his arm. In the photo I took you can so clearly see his tattoo, Mila and my dad locked eyes smiling and a bright sunny sky. A little “Hi guys, I’m here!” message from Ryan.

You can’t leave the Flower Fields with out strawberry shortcake or a fresh strawberry shake. We opted for the strawberry shake and it was too good. They basically take vanilla soft serve, a pint of fresh strawberries and blend it up. Topped with whipped cream, we walked out of there with such full hearts and bellies! After the Flower Fields we made the trek to Ocean Beach for hamburgers at Hodad’s. If you haven’t been, go! It is an experience and honestly the onion rings are worth it. Yes, we basically ate the entire weekend and it was pretty great!

In short, if you are local visit the Flower Fields and the aforementioned food establishments. If you are not local, visit family at an equally enchanting and delicious location. And always make memories, re-live memories and just live friends! Sending you all my love this week and always!


A Lazy + Reminiscent Weekend

There is something quite delicious about a weekend away with old friends. The stories and fun memories re-told are pure nostalgia. Plus, with the added bonus of our children toddling around things seemed to be a bit surreal. Like, wait. It feels like we just graduated college. We are still kids and now we have kids?! I'm such a fan of looking back at life. I tend to over think things of course. Though, going through my past gives me the emotional jollies. If I look deep enough, I can see God's plan hard at work. His directions and paths I set out on have taken me to where I am today. All the bad, tragic and downright greatness swirled together to make up my life thus far. I'm breathlessly grateful.

This past weekend we met up with college friends to

A. meet their new baby.

B. to traipse around our college campus.

We've actually been planning this trip for a few months now and though it seems we frequent Northern California often ... visiting where we went to college hasn't happened ever! This was our first time back since graduation! Our first time back since I snagged a kiss from Dan before snagging my diploma. I love that memory. While waiting to head out for the ceremony most of us were loud and obnoxious. Hanging with friends and cheering each other on. I found Dan and gave him a quick kiss before jumping in line with the other students graduating with my major.

We walked in and out of our old lecture halls. Jealously crept in when we walked into the new student union. So many memories flooded my brain, a few tears fell. I'd love to experience that time of my life again. Working at the Copy Corner, showing up late to class and concerned only about sorority happenings. It was a pretty stressful time with trying to graduate in four years, plus trying to figure out who you were and what you wanted to with your life. (Nothing followed the plan I made, except of course Dan ;) Though stressful, I only really remember the laughs and abundance of fun! Walking around the campus we kept saying things like "Remember when ..." or "This is where we ..." I think if Mila knew how to roll her eyes she would have.

The rest of the weekend was spent hiking up near the Golden Gate Bridge. Which is actually one of my favorite things to do. We also found this seriously yummy restaurant in Mill Valley called Playa. If you love tacos go there immediately. We lounged around in the sunshine and watched the Oscar mix up finale! Haha!

Below are a few photos from our remarkably lazy, yet heavily reminiscent weekend!


Happy Campers, A Video

I love taking videos on my phone of everything we do and sometimes I get inspired to put them together into a little video. I am actually terrible at making these little videos, but I love them! I've watched this video from our recent camping trip a few times. We had such a great time and Mila was a camp baby rock star. I still can't believe she turned seven months while we were up there! Here are a few peeks at our time up in Humboldt County while camping in the redwoods ...

Happy Campers

Last week we took a long drive up to Humboldt County for a fun camping vacation. When Ryan was about Mila's age we took him beach camping near Malibu and it was honestly one of my favorite family adventures. Both Dan and I have been camping since we were our children's age. Camping is just one of those things that brings on a thousand incredible memories for us. I knew for Mila's first Summer we had to make a memorable camping voyage and we really hit this one out of the park! We packed all the essentials, warm clothes, s'mores ingredients and enough diapers to get through a week. I actually received a lot of questions on how we managed camping with a little one. Honestly, it was pretty simple. I'll put together a little must have list that helped me and post it soon. I definitely recommend camping though starting at Mila's age and on!

We spent our days hiking within redwood tree groves and having picnic lunches with the best Mother Earth scenery. The beautiful trees almost made up for when Mila kicked my salami sandwich into the dirt while sitting on my lap ;) I had never been up to see the redwood trees and they are truly beautiful. So big, when you take a look up it takes your breath away. This world is a pretty amazing one. We ended up using a lot of Ryan's belongings and on the first day I had a minor panic attack about using it all. I felt for a quick moment guilty and didn't want him to be looking down on us thinking we are moving on with out him. I have these thoughts from time to time. We were using Ryan's hiking backpack and Mila wore his blue jacket ... I guess I just came to the thought that Ryan was clearly with us in some way. Some how. If Ryan were physically here with us Mila would still be using his things, because that is typically want second siblings do right?

You know how I usually do things, I do everything with Ryan on my mind. So seeing his belongings in action once again was hard at first. Though the pain wore off and it felt really great to see us being us again. With Ryan present in his own vibrant way. I made sure our son was all over place and we even spelled his name out with these smooth beach pebbles. I also felt so inclined to give Mila her first taste of Nutella which I am sure her big brother approved of. Oh and she had her first roasted marshmallow too!

My favorite day of camping was when we took a long drive up to Samoa Island to eat at the Samoa Cookhouse. We ate so much and the whole family was with us. We explored all around that day and ended up at an old train station with refurbished trains from 1916, a beautiful beach lined with huge sandy dunes and the cutest town filled with weird knick knacks. Of course, it was the day we didn't bring the camera along. But we will be back, because there is a tiny bakery that apparently sells the best cinnamon rolls. We didn't have any cash on us to get one ... next time!

I was smart enough to bring along our Gathre mats which were such lifesaver! I laid them out on the ground and put toys on them for Mila to play with while we made breakfast or just hanging out at the camp site. Those mats come in handy and I love taking them with us everywhere. Now that Mila is so close to crawling, her curiosity gets the best of her sometimes. She played with her toys for a few moments, then wanted to take a taste of nature. She escaped the mats to eat a leaf or two ...

The four of us truly had the best time and are already planning another camping trip for the fall. Below are a few of my favorite photos from our time spent within the redwoods. Thanks for coming along with us on our journey!


Little Swimmer & Life Latley

As April is coming to a close, I sit here in awe of how incredibly quick it blew by. At the start of the month I felt optimistic, on top of all the things that had to be done, all the things that we had planned. I love that powerful feeling that washes over you when you have a handle on life and its surroundings for once. I wish I had a handle on it all for longer periods of time. The times I feel OK and productive are fleeting lately. Does anyone else feel like that?

We had two family weddings this month, both in Arizona back to back. Plus a laundry list of work to do for Baby Boy Bakery Shop and a few other partnerships. April was proving to be a busy few weeks. In the middle of it all Mila and I came down with the flu which we are still trying to ward off. It all happens like that though. When you have plans and just the slightest thing derails it, then somehow things are snowballing out of control. I recently was on a panel and a woman asked me, "Out of children, husband, family, work and fun which do you let go of the most?" I immediately said work. I am not sure if that is a great quality, but I tend to let any sort of work go when things get a little overwhelming for me. I turn into homebody who just wants to spend with my family. I ignore emails, text messages, all of it. I tune it all out and try to focus on my children and husband to help bring me back to life. Those two wedding weekends were good for my soul. I was able to relax both weekends in Arizona and really hone in on what I love most. Of course now I am in drowning with all the catching up I have to do. I guess the moral of this rant is...I am not exactly sure. I am working on not shutting down when things get overwhelming. I am open to any tips you may have. Question: Out of children, husband, family, work and fun - Which do you let go of the most?

The upside though was spending quality time with family. Re-connecting with family we haven't seen for months! The best part? Was taking Mila down to the hotel pool for her first "swim". These firsts are so exciting and emotional. It seems that with each day she grows up ten times more than she is supposed to! I can't believe this little sweetheart will be four months soon. We took Mila to the pool first to just put her feet in, but I mean she seemed like she loved it. Haha! So I ran upstairs to get her swim suit. Her tiny swim suit that I bought for ONE DOLLAR!! Of course we forgot swim diapers though...

I loved her little face as she warmed up within the water. She was definitely unsure at first. But afterwards she told me she was ready for swim lessons ;)


She Is Beautiful 5K

A few years ago when Baby Boy Bakery was in its infant stages, I decided it would be a great idea to make 1000 cupcakes and serve them to 800 women after a 5k race. I volunteered myself as a ‘She Is Beautiful’ race sponsor to help get my name out there. It ended up turning into a family event. I hustled 1000 cupcakes, ran the 5k and passed out cupcakes to all the women who raced . . . all with Ryan in tow. He was just 13 months at the time. He wasn’t walking just yet and while I passed out cupcakes he crawled all over the beach with my husband and his cousins. My step dad built my booth and cupcake display. My grandpa helped me at my cupcake booth, passing out cupcakes and making friends with all the people. My mom and sister in law ran the race with me. My entire family was there cheering on Baby Boy Bakery. It was the first time I felt like my family understood my blog and why I had one. To share my story, my baking and to meet new friends.

I’ll be forever grateful for that day.

The ‘She Is Beautiful’ race has since morphed into this epic event that takes place in Santa Cruz (in other locations as well I believe). This race is for women, which I adore. There is something quite breathtaking when surrounded by strong women. I feel at home. Within my tribe. The ‘She Is Beautiful’ race combines women from all walks of life and places us all on the same track. We are faced with the fact that we are not alone, which is comforting. We are shown that we are more sisters than strangers.

This year I jumped back on the 'She Is Beautiful' bandwagon and decided to run the 5K with both my children this time. Standing at the start line I truly felt both my children with me. Through out the entire race Ryan was warm on my back. I felt and saw so much of him as I ran. Mila wore her big brother's blue jacket and slept soundly the whole time cuddle inside the stroller. The day of the race was a bit emotional, but by the end I was flying so high I felt I could run another 3 miles. I just kept repeating "Wow! That was so awesome! That was so much fun!" . I am now planning on running in the next 'She Is Beautiful' race next year...If you are interested, I will see you at the start line!

Mila and I were lucky enough to partner with a stroller company called Bumbleride right before the 5K. We got to test out Bumbleride's new stroller - Speed. I absolutely fell in love with it and will post more about that on Friday!

A few photos from my race below...