If you’ve been following along my Instagram, you would know that I struggled hard with mom guilt about leaving Wyatt behind for our trip to Tulum, Mexico this past weekend. It was a heavy feeling as we made the decision to leave Wyatt home from Mexico because we weren’t sure how safe it would be and with all the activities planned around my brothers wedding, we thought it would be best for everyone that he stay safe at Gavin’s parents house back home. The thought of having him safe in their home, playing with his Gma and Poppy top his list of things he loves, however as parents we struggled. Hard.

It was three days before we left that Gavin and I sat down, for the first time totally unsure if we were making the right decision. After prayer and a decision to call our moms, we laughed that both Maile (Gavin’s mom) and Dana (mine) said that if bringing him felt right in our hearts then we should follow it. I swear just when I think I’m grown enough to make big decisions I realize nothing is more valuable than a mother’s advice and boy am I grateful both our moms came through with the same advice!  Mutually agreeing that leaving him and bringing Rosie was far too emotional and simply not worth it, so we last minute packed his bags and took him with us on what proved to be an unforgettable, beautiful vacation for our family.

Five hours of flights, two hours driving and a million bags, we surely had our work cut out for us, thankfully we were far from alone. The flight there might as well have been a private plane because a total of 13 family members with us, filling what felt like the entire plane up. We arrived at the beautiful Papaya Playa Hotel in Tulum to the rest of our big family. Perched up on the beach sat our little oasis of a room, two queen beds with mosquito nets to sleep in, rock floors, and big windows with cracks just big enough to let the ocean breeze come through. It was the perfect amount of rustic and luxury.

 

Love brought us to Tulum as my older brother, my favorite superhero, married his longtime girlfriend, my newest sister, Samantha. What I love about my new sister is she brings so much to our family in terms of culture and family, she is from a huge Moroccan Jewish family and boy do they know how to have a good time. We danced the night away at the Henna party, dressed in Kaftans and ended the night with a Henna ceremony. The wedding day felt like it was out of a movie, and watching my sweet brother as he broke the glass and we yelled “Mazeltov” gives me chills to think about, it was so different and familiar all at once.

 

Wyatt did wonderful, and Ro spent the entire weekend smiling at anything and everything that looked her way. As always, my family pulled through and helped Gavin and I like crazy. At one point, I was about 5 miles away getting ready for the wedding with my sisters when a crazy storm came rolling through, thunder lighting the whole bit yet my sweet Rosie needed to be fed. So my uncle Robin and cousin Grace literally took a taxi just to bring her to me for a feeding with her in a towel in the pouring rain. Thats family.

We spent the majority of the time at the bigger house where my grandparents were staying, and often spent hours just sitting and talking the day away. I was so proud of my grandparents,  all six of them 80+ years old, in Mexico, pushing through their comfort zones to support my brother. One morning I was enjoying coffee with both of my grandpa’s while they held Rosie and we chatted as I couldn’t help but feel emotional at how good I knew that moment was. I know having all my grandparents alive is a gift, and its a gift I cherish deeply.

The weekend was wonderful, surrounded by family and college friends I haven’t seen in years. It was so fun to introduce my husband and my children to them! Bringing Wyatt was the best decision we could have made, and in this instance I’m proud to say mom guilt got the best of me. I would rather have my chaos over anything else.

 

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I feel like I’m still riding the high of Easter Sunday, its certainly  competing for my favorite holiday after seeing Wyatt and all the little kids go crazy over the eggs! Last year he was a little too young but this year he was all about it, literally picking up egg after egg and had no idea there was anything even in them until we sat down!

Gavin’s family did a hunt on Saturday so we were able to have two full days of family fun, and the combination of our two families had us surrounded by TONS of cousins, aunts, uncles and friends. Sunday morning we woke up early and went to church with my parents an what I loved most was that 4 out of 5 siblings in my family were there, I swear my mom was floating the entire day surrounded by so many of her kids! After Church we headed to Donuts because as you may know, its our tradition and the only way we can get Wyatt to sit still for church haha! Before our family gathering, we headed over to our best family friends, the Ikeda’s house for a HUGE community gathering. Wyatt went crazy over the eggs and we enjoyed spending time with families from all the phases of our life. It’s so magical to build friendships and have babies with friends you grew up with. At 5:30 our family came over and we did our annual Easter Egg Roll, which is basically two people at the ends of either table, rolling two eggs together. Somehow only one egg cracks when two collide so the one whose egg doesn’t crack continues onto the next round. Doesn’t sound very interesting when I type it but my whole family gets SO into it, literally at one point the entire room was cheering. As usual I was out the first round, and my Uncle Craig took the trophy after a defeat over my Papa!

The day was full of love, family, and good friends, the best recipe for an amazing holiday. These crazy times of life have me more and more grateful for the community and people we are surrounded by. Good people are not hard to find where we live and I’m more than grateful for that.

 

Also, been struggling with  some serious mom guilt lately because we have actually decided to not take him to Tulum with us in April. We are going to have him stay with Gavin’s parents who are SO wonderful, and he will be so much happier but the thought of five days away from him is actually killing me, and Gavin. When did you guys first leave your little ones? Would love to hear advice from you all about combating this mom guilt I have!

 

 

 

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We got back from Texas on Sunday and I feel like I’ve finally stopped sweating. I don’t know how y’all do it but that heat and humidity is one vicious combo. I’m going to keep todays post short and sweet because Wyatt is outside attempting to move all garden tools onto the lawn, the only tool left to be moved is the lawnmower so its about to go downhill since he will try to move it himself haha.

We went to Texas to visit my little sister Jenna who is a senior at Baylor University and ended up doing about a million things! We ate Chick Fil A four times in four days, had my cousins Madi, Jordan and Macy visit from Dallas, my longtime friend Kady and Uncle Lucas drive in from Austin,! (hi Lucas!)  We visited the worlds most adorable trinket store and possibly the worst place to bring a toddler, The Spice Market. We  walked to Magnolia from our hotel 4 times because the place is dremier than I imagined and the perfect place to go pick up some food, watched the Baylor Bears play football, saw my ultra talented sister dance in her Sing performance two times and visited the school where she is teaching! All of this, in three days. It was constant moving and going and safe to say it was a crazy, crazy weekend that wasn’t easy despite the ridiculous amount of help I had from my entire family!

Our kids? They were rockstars and considering how much we did, they hung in like champs! My mom, sister and I laugh now at the realization that sometimes you just can’t do it all with two kids and I really learned that weekend that I need to set my limits/boundaries as a mama for what I can and can’t do. Being from a big family has me constantly loving and living in movement and chaos so I’m used to it…but with Rosie just shy of three months and a crazy toddler in tow I have to learn to stop and re-prioritize my plans! Live and learn is my motto and I did just that!

Here are a few pictures that capture a weekend full of amazing humans I’m so grateful to have in my life!

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Below is the Spice Market! Literally the worst place ever to take a 2 year old because I think there were over a million trinket items at toddler eye height!

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My adorable sister is the brunette on the right! She was nominated as a Baylor Beauty!LRG_DSC05795

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Hope you all have an amazing Halloween! Grateful for all of you, really am!

 

Stephanie

Early flights are never easy for me. Add in my first time traveling with two kids and no morning coffee and we’ve got a recipe for failure. That failure came in the form of my lovely computer left in the hotel room! Thankfully, the kind folks at the Edgewater sent it our way and about five minutes ago Fed Ex delivered it.  Now I’m sitting down writing, life is good.

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So much has been happening in this world lately that has made me want to keep my little family tucked in my home and away from the rest of the evil in this world. While I sat sipping my warm coffee last week, I saw a little girl talk about her mother on national tv who had passed. She explained that although she wanted to fold and mourn she was going to get out and honor her mother by living with the intention of love and happiness. Well, after I watched that I thought the world needs us to spread kindness, happiness, and love more than ever. So instead of hiding in my house, I’ve been trying to honor those lives lost by living with intention to spread love, kindness and happiness. I challenge to do the same.

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Our trip to Seattle was amazing. We traveled there because I was the Matron of Honor in my best friend from College’s wedding! It was so wonderful seeing her marry the love of her life and I’m already ready for them to make some babies!  We spent part of the weekend exploring the city and the other participating in wedding activities.. all full of happiness and excitement. As you can see by pictures, Rosie never left my side and was a total rockstar. Reuniting with my old roomies Anna, Chelsea, Hannah, Lesley and Becca was such a highlight for me and it was so fun to show them what my life as a mom is like! None of them have kids so we shared many good laughs about the truth  of motherhood, birth and breastfeeding. They had so many questions and I was certain not to sugar-coat any of the answers because the looks on their faces was straight comedy. (see below)

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We stayed at an amazing hotel called the Edgewater where our room was directly over the ocean and although that was somewhat terrifying, it made the perfect live storybook for Wyatt. Boats, Cruise Ships, Birds and Paddle Boarders went by as Wyatt sat in excitement and awe over this new experience. I’ve said it a million times but being there to watch your children experience new places  in this world is one of the very best feelings.

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We took advantage of the little time we had to explore and with wet hair, a warm cup of coffee, and a bundled up baby in a front pack we rushed down to Pike’s Place. Wyatt was obsessed with the fish market while I couldn’t take my eyes of the beautiful flowers! Bouquets that would be 40-50 dollars here in California are $5 at Pike’s Market and  I’m still jealous of anyone who lives there for that sole reason. We sat down for breakfast at a tiny little spot overlooking the water and enjoyed hot pancakes and a view of the busy city!

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My Mom and Dad were with us and as always, were the BEST. My parents are unreal… so helpful, fun and spontaneous which Gavin and I love and appreciate. My mom always pushes me to live a little more, attempt what I think is the impossible, and she had 5 babies in 7 years so she is a total rockstar grandma with my babies who love her. My dad is a dreamer, always focusing on the bigger picture so our time together was spent talking about dreams, visions, and how to make this world a little better. Having my parents with us on this trip was such a treat!

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Spending time with my little family is priceless, getting to explore the world with them is even better. If there is anything I’ve learned lately it’s that life is a precious gift… in a single moment it can all be taken away. Every minute I get to live this life with those I love is a gift and this trip was one of the best. Talk to you guys soon

Love,

Stephanie

 

Good morning! Hope this post reaches you at a happy time in your day! As many of you know, we embarked on our trip to Kauai and frankly,  I wish I was writing this post with some coffee on the amazing balcony we spent so much of our time on! Life can get so crazy, Gavin has seriously worked his butt off the past 8 months with a new job that has us all working like a team to support one another, so to have some time off to just relax and enjoy life was such a blessing. Can I get an Amen for all those awesome hardworking men in our lives?! Sometimes as a culture we get way to caught up in working and making money and “the grind” we often forget why we are even doing it. Vacation had a nice way of reminding us why we work so hard, to enjoy life with our loved ones, and we did just that!  From the travel, to our activities, to our very simple schedule I feel like we hit the jackpot.

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We flew out of LAX at 9am and with an overstuffed carry-on I was certain we had it all covered, we could have landed on an island and have had enough to survive for a minute, or so I thought. I made a big mistake of packing tons of yummy junk food, practically nothing substantial and we paid for it. The highs of the Cheese-its and Chex Mix lasted a short while then left us feeling depleted and in need of a meal after a 6 hour flight. Won’t be making that mistake again. Aside from the shortage of nutrient rich food Wyatt did pretty dang good. Six hour flights are daunting with a boy his age but he brought his A game, along with a crying minute or two which I have come to accept is bound to happen. An iPad, tons of tractors and books had us constantly playing, then napping hard until we landed and sighed a deep sigh of relief…we actually made it!

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Many of you asked where we stayed, my over generous grandparents own a vacation home there that we have been blessed to stay at since I was a tiny girl, so we stayed for free for 8 days. Their house is along a cliff overlooking the Lihue Marriot, so we are able to get guest passes for the hotel and use all their amenities! Kiddie pool, beach towels and a large amazing resort was perfect for our family. Being a young married couple with one baby and another on the way we are always conscious of our spending and taking away the cost of a house enabled us to do so much more on the island than we normally would have!

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First thing we did we hop in the car and head to Costco, where we stocked up on lots of good food, fish and lunch food. The BEST part about going somewhere is being able to stay with a kitchen to make your own food so you best bet Gavin was out BBQing something delicious every night for us! We ate lots of peanut butter sandwiches and packed healthy goodies which was such a key in being able to travel and explore the island without spending a ton of mula!

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Aside from the hours of relaxing chatting about our passions and blessings, our adventures were the best part of our trip. We wanted to show Wyatt the Island because the last time I was here I was 32 weeks pregnant and the only adventure I did was a casual down to the pool and back up each day! Here are just a few highlights of the things we did as a family:

Paddle Boarding We paddle boarded with little man on the front at Kalapaki Beach and rented two boards $25 and hour and the Kalapaki Beach Boys Rental. This bay was a wonderful place to Paddle Board because it was calm enough to feel extra stable with Wyatt on the Front in his blue Camo Puddle Jumper Life Vest!

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Hanakapi’ai Trail:  We knew we wanted to get some exercise in each day so we decided to head to Hanalei and tackle a beautiful 4 mile hike along the Na Pali Coast. (Directions here)  It wasn’t easy, challenging in fact. Gavin had Wyatt on his shoulders the entire time while my pregnant self followed behind for a good two-mile hike into a beautiful beach. We have done this hike each year we’ve visited, but when you add in a 1 1/2 year old and a 21 week pregnant belly, our steps were much slower and water breaks came often. We ended the hike at this stunning beach where we munched our peanut butter jelly sandwiches and played in the fresh river before putting on our shoes and heading back to the car. We ended with THE best nachos on the Island at Kalypso, a nice treat after a long day on the mountain!

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Hanalei Bay Kayaking:  We took the kayak and paddle boarded the Hanalei River with rentals from Dock Dynasty which is located right off the road with easy parking and good prices! When we got on the river we decided it was best to begin downstream to the beach, with little consideration that we would soon be headed upstream after our time at Hanalei Bay. We got the beach, and Wyatt was able to swim around with Gavin. Hanalei Bay is the perfect spot for little kids because the water is super clear and shallow, with minimal waves. We splashed around then embarked back upstream for the worst experience of the trip! I had Wyatt aggressively trying to get comfortable on my chest to sleep while kayaking upstream with heavy winds. Gavin had to paddle board his up so he watched and said at one point he saw me paddling hard and moving nowhere for at least 30 seconds. Not going to lie it was miserable but once we arrived at the car and treated ourselves to Wishing Well Shave Ice, we were happy we did it.

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We are always reminding ourselves that doing things and showing our kids this amazing earth is vital to their growth as little humans. We have tons of chats about how we will always make an effort to show them different people and cultures and Hawaiians are by far some of our favorite people. Their kind demeanor, gentle spirits and traditions are something I want Wyatt to know and admire just as we do.

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Thanks for following along!

xoxo,

Stephanie