Monthly Archives: January 2015

Why I say, “NO!” to Play Dates



I know without a doubt, the best gift I could ever give them is each other.  They are the best of friends.


As time tends to tick on by at an alarming type pace I am working on just taking moments like these to just be.  Just be with my little ones.  Just be present in the moment.  To take the time to watch their faces crinkle as they laugh and roll in the leaves.

When Raymond was younger and before Em was born I would seek out play dates for us.  Play dates were easy.  Looking after just him… with two hands free. Swimming lessons, park dates, and mom meet-ups were part of our weekly plans.  I continued on this tradition when Em was born because at first, she was just along for the ride.  Trying to keep up with Big Brother was impossible until she was mobile.

At six month’s old she willed herself to crawl after him.  And goodness was she a quiet little sneak that loved scaring him with her stealth skills.

Now that they are older.  We are done with play dates. I don’t want to have to “try” to talk to someone while I run after my two munchkins.  They delight in physical acts of bravery that often have me catching them… rescuing would be a more apt term to use.  Coffee dates are MY time with friends.  I don’t need extra time to half-listen-half-watch-half everything on a play date. I want to be hands-on, relishing our days together, and embracing the fact that they want to play together.

They play better together than most kids I know…actually they play nicer than almost all kids I know. That may seem less than humble, but I don’t like watching other kid’s throw epic tantrums, not sharing, or even hitting or being mean to their siblings.  That sort of behavior is not acceptable in our house.

I love to get up each day and figure out what we should do.  I only have a small amount of time with them at this age when they are home from school and I don’t want to waste any of it!  We never plan in advance on our trips… with colds, weather changes, or ahem attitude changes we can go as we please to the park. zoo, and farm. That is one of the sweetest blessings of this life we’re living.  Time is flying right on by and I don’t want to regret anything.


So long play dates, I’m not going to miss you one bit.


Zoo Lights in Phoenix-Family Tradition


Zoo Lights in the desert at the Phoenix Zoo! Perfect clear weather to enjoy a night out with family and friends.  Since I was really little in the Pacific Northwest, we always went to Zoo Lights.  We would bundle up, grab hot cocoa(or a fancy coffee as we got older) and enjoy a night outside with our family.  Ever since Raymond was born we have kept up the tradition, locally, and thoroughly enjoyed taking our family from out of town.




Emma Marie and Raymond thought it was interesting that we were in the car for so long in the dark… they go to bed at 7PM so this was a treat(crazy idea) to go so late.  The camera flash was definitely the evil of the night… every single picture was met with angry glares and or trying to cover one’s face.  The one picture we got of all four of us is a tad blurry from Raymond trying to cover his eyes while yelling, “No”. I definitely agreed with him-hence the solo photo of all four of us.

Aunt Rachel got in quality time with all of the little ones during her break with us.  My beautiful niece Makena-LOVED cuddling up with her. We all loved watching her snuggle our babies.


Sweet Kailani loved being up high with my brother-in-law Bill.  She was such a trooper… both of my little Hawaiian nieces were clad in snow suits and lasted a good two hours of the adventure before we all headed out!

Our Hawaii family flew in on Christmas to celebrate the holidays. Can’t wait for them to move closer so that we can have more family celebrations!

Last year, for Zoo Lights 2013, I carried Em around in the Ergo- fast forward a year and she snuggled in with me for two hours.  I love how versatile the Ergo is AND how she likes being carried still.  She kept me nice and warm.  Baby wearing for the win!


And here is the Cactus… the guy in the suit, wearing a cactus.

Yes, you had to be there.

We decided to take pictures on the way out by the cactus for our Arizona Christmas Holiday.  Loved continuing the Zoo Lights tradition.


Do you have Zoo Lights in your city?  

Is there a holiday tradition that you love continuing from when you were little?


Would LOVE to hear from you!

Preparing for Guests:Bathroom Faucets

With the holidays and hosting for the first time, ever.  It became evidently apparent that we needed to add some things to our guest bathroom.  For one, we need to be able to put up a shower curtain.  This would give our guests an option to take a private shower at their leisure, instead of waiting to use the one in our master.

We took the curtain down because that is where our little ones take a bath every night… and curtains just get in the way.  BUT- goodness do we need a clean-cut one for when we have guests.  I am thinking of this one from Target.  It is simple, white(so hopefully helps keep the room brighter) and it is bleach-able. WIN.

We remove all of the toys and tripping hazards out of the showers and tub before guests arrive but I didn’t identify that our shower head in our guest bathroom has been seriously neglected.  It is covered in lime and calcium deposits… it is anyone’s guess if it still runs.  Notably we did not upgrade the bathroom faucets when we bought our house years ago simply because we haven’t used that part of the bathroom in the past four years.  Now that Raymond can take a shower(by himself-with supervision) I am thinking that perhaps the shower curtain could be brought back permanently.  We will just have to see if Ms. Em thinks it is just too much fun to play with.  Don’t need a toddler taking down the curtain(with rod) right before bedtime.

Since we live in the desert we bought a water conservation shower faucet for our master bedroom after the Black Mold Fiasco of 2011 rendered that bathroom useless and we had to gut it.  Now that we are looking into upgrading I have found a similar style to the one that we currently have in the guest bathroom that uses 20% less than a standard shower head at  The winner? This Hyrdocity 4”Four-Function Showerhead.  My husband’s favorite? Was this 4 1/2” Five Function Showerhead.  But the winning point was that the Hydrocity uses less water and it optimizes water intensity even with low pressure.

Our new shower head is on it’s way to our house and we plan on picking up the shower curtain this weekend from Target.  Last year on Black Friday I loaded up on fabulous bath towels, hand towels, and new bath mats.  Now that everything is coming together I think the bathroom will be a clean haven for guests.

And looking back at what it looked like when we moved in?


We have come a long, long way.

I don’t have a picture of the laminate flooring… but the floors are new tile, cabinets re-finished, and bathroom painted.  The bathroom feels much brighter AND bigger now with all of the small updates and our new bathroom faucets. Can’t wait to add the shower curtain and see what the kids think!


How do you prepare for overnight guests?  Would love to know some sweet touches I could add.



I received free product for the compensation of this post.  As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

Schnepf Farm with the Family



Our family came to Arizona for Christmas this year.  Of course my first though was, “Let’s all go to the farm!”… it totally was, and thankfully was a HUGE hit with all our little ones.  Raymond is three, Makena 2 1/2, Emma 16 Months, and Kailani just turned one! Four kids, three and under at Schnepf Farm.  Our favorite place to go for Fall Festivals and Weekend Trips.

Little side note: Check out adorable Makena below- she realized Raymond was smiling and turned and gave us the beauty above! Love.



There were so many baby goats to see and in the first five minutes of arriving at the bakery this little one came tumbling by chasing after the friendliest golden retriever you’ve ever seen.  Priceless.  Raymond and Makena were immediately smitten and ran right toward the little guy.








The farm sets up bonfires so you can roast marshmallows AND they have Marshmallow Kits with your very own stick to use that you can purchase at the Bakery. DEFINITELY going to do that next time.  Instead the four grand-kids stared into the fiery blaze and just relished in the warmth.


Nana and the Grand-kids


Em CUDDLED with Nana all day.  I was in Mommarrazi Mode and wanted to capture some sweet pictures of my sister’s family for her to enjoy.







Feeding the goats!









It’s like herding feral cats.  Picture three grown adults trying to give artistic direction to four toddlers. Pretty priceless.




Best Friends



My two FAVORITE nieces.


Awe, candid moments.



Beyond thankful that our family traveled from FAR.FAR.AWAY. And we loved every second of hanging out in the chaos that is little kids.  Can’t wait for them to move closer(fingers crossed).  Emma Marie had to be next to Kailani AT.ALL.TIMES.  She lit up whenever the girl’s entered the room and was just so darn happy to play with them.  I see many family birthday parties and trips with them in our future!



LEGO® KidsFest Phoenix{Giveaway!}

I received complimentary tickets to LEGO® KidsFest in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions, as always are 100% mine. #LEGOKidsFest #ad

 LEGO® KidsFest features dozens of new activities and popular favorites on the three-acre show floor. The tickets sold out too fast for us to get a ticket last year and I am OVER THE MOON excited that we will be attending!

I grew up playing with LEGO bricks with my two younger sisters.  There wasn’t anything we couldn’t create.  To my mother’s dismay, we may have made mazes for our pet gerbils to run through… and there may have been some that escaped(Goldie I’m looking right at you) and were found hiding behind our couch.  Note to self: build BIGGER and BETTER walls.  Now that I’m a mom I love watching my two little ones use their imaginations to create a world of their own.  I can not wait to see their faces on opening night at #LEGOKidsFest! Mom win.


LEGO Mindstorms, LEGO Movie, LEGO Fusion, LEGO Disney Princess, the Mixels, a LEGO Superheroes area and more. Once again, show-goers can enjoy the LEGO Model Museum, Race Ramps, Creation Nation, Construction Zone, LEGO DUPLO®, LEGO Retail store and LEGO KidsFest Marketplace, the Big Brick Pile, LEGO Ninjago and more.

We did a family dance party in the kitchen after scanning some of the activities they’ve lined up for us!

LEGO Mindstorms: play with programmed robots and snakes- Raymond is entranced with anything to do with robotics. LEGO Movie: help Emmet and Lucy conquer the bad guys- Everything is AWESOME! Race Ramps: build a custom car, then race it down the ramp against friends and family- Racing cars as a family? Yes, please. Construction Zone: enjoy a creative build, play, and display area- Free play is perfect for my kid’s ages. LEGO DUPLO®: explore imagination through building for the younger set- We own multiple LEGO DUPLO brick sets and can’t wait to explore and see all of the ones on my children’s wish lists. Big Brick Pile: build and have fun in a gigantic pile full of LEGO bricks for creative play and enjoyment- literally a PILE OF LEGO BRICKS. WIN.


The LEGO KidsFest is a giant traveling LEGO expo coming to the University of Phoenix Stadium from Feb. 27 – March 1; Missouri (St. Louis): March 20–22; Tennessee (Nashville): April 17–19; and Texas (Austin): September 4–6.

This hands-on, educational, all-ages LEGO extravaganza features millions of LEGO bricks, not to mention lots of construction zones, dozens of life-sized LEGO models and displays, LEGO activity areas and so much more, covering three acres of space. Five identical sessions are available. Tickets are $19.50 for kids and $22.50 for adults.

For more information and to purchase tickets, log on to

Now for the GIVEAWAY!

One of MY followers will win (2) tickets to for the opening night session on Friday, February 27,  2015   (4-8:30pm).  I encourage you to LIKE and Follow LEGOKidsFest on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram for all the latest ticketing updates as this event has been selling out in prior cities.    Must be 18 to enter, 1 entry per day allowed, random drawing by USFG!


What event or activity would you love to go to? Did you grow up playing with LEGO bricks?

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