Summertime arrived in full swing. This year, Brian and I decided to go to San Diego again for our anniversary weekend, leaving Edison home with Grandma. He didn’t mind, especially when he got some special treats – donuts on his morning walks.
Brian and I started our trip off right – we were heading to the beach, so pirate cake pops seemed fitting.
When the Airbnb condo described itself as “steps away from the beach,” it wasn’t lying.
It was also a short walk from Belmont park, where we played mini-golf one night, and rode the rides, including the old wooden roller coaster, another. I almost lost my glasses on the roller coaster, we felt a little sick after eating a funnel cake, Brian got ice cream as big as his head, and the whole thing was wonderful.
I also discovered Acai bowls, and took dozens of foodies that I will spare you.
After searching with faulty directions last year, this year we found Balboa Park! We could have spent a couple days here, but we only had time for the art museum and the automotive museum, and the rose garden.
We briefly ventured into the historical area of San Diego for breakfast on our last day, and checking out some amazing architecture.
It seemed like no time at all, and then we were road-tripping again to California, this time to LA for the fourth of July weekend.
Edison is pretty chill on road trips.
A burger with gluten-free bread and dairy-free cheese – I thought I died and went to heaven.
Edison takes after me and loves the beach, but boy, was it a lot harder to take him to the beach than I expected. Just trying to keep the sand out of his mouth was pretty impossible, much less off the beach towel and out of the food. Next time, I’m going to search for all the Pinterest beach hacks.
Besides our trips, we had some great down time and just fun moments.
He had a great time playing on these, until some other kids came and he found out they could move. That did not end well!
How does this even happen???
I posted on Instagram that I was beginning to understand why parents of two-year-olds sigh deeply. He does the cutest, sweetest things, and then the next second melts into a raging monster I barely recognize. These days are hard.
The sanity-draining whining, the fits, problems resurfacing at daycare, behavior issues that I just don’t know if I’m dealing with it in the right way, and others I don’t know where to even begin dealing with … parenting is just hard!
Lots of ice cream (after he goes to bed) and a sense of humor are essential, I think.
But after a particularly bad day of fits, Edison got sick at daycare and so he had to stay home the day after. He helped me decorate his birthday cakes, which you can see in this post, by finishing off the frosting.
Since it was a sick day, we also got to watch lots of Thomas the Train.
Edison also tried to be a train – scooting across the top of the back of the couch. Unfortunately, he kind of derailed…
I already posted about Edison’s birthday, but one of the presents Brian was especially excited about was getting Edison his first bike. He hasn’t quite figured out how to ride it yet, but he definitely loves it.
Some days it’s still hard to believe we’re parents of a two-year-old. Each day, he learns more words and makes more connections between ideas, and it’s really a joy to see. There’s still plenty of fit-throwing days, and I know there’s many more in our future, but someday we’ll turn around and he’ll be eighteen. My prayer is that we’re developing his character now, with that day in mind. And making great memories in the process!
For Mother’s Day, we tried a new restaurant in Downtown Mesa that’s become a new favorite – Worth Takeaway. It’s going to be a new favorite brunch and lunch spot!
My Mother’s Day present from Brian and Edison was new plants! So far, they’re all still alive a month later, so this is good.
Not pictured above is my fiddle leaf fig, which we named Newt. Short for Fig Newton, and also, Newt Scamander from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. That gives him basically pet status, and keeps the Harry Potter pet name theme going. Newt is the only plant I’m concerned about – some of his leaves have started turning brown and many have brown spots. I’ve done a lot of googling on the subject, but it seems like it could be over-watering, under-watering, a bacteria, too much light, too little light … it seems that no one really knows what causes fiddle leaf figs distress. Any tips would be great, if someone out there has experience with them!
Poor Edison. He LOVES helping us get ready for work or church in the morning by bringing us our shoes – unfortunately in this case, Brian really didn’t need his shoes while he was in the shower, which Edison could not understand. It’s also heartbreaking when he wants me to wear my tennis shoes with my dresses and skirts to work, and just doesn’t understand why I pick other shoes. I have once worn the tennis shoes to the grocery store, just to make him happy!
One evening, I’d decided to take Edison on a quick walk, more for me than for him, to clear my head a bit in hopes of not tossing and turning all night. He was fascinated by the water flowing through the gutter, and I picked up a few pebbles and tossed them in. He was delighted, and I realized I’d made a terrible mistake – now we were going to be here all night, and we’d barely walked a few feet from the house! As I was trying to hurry him along without success, a lady came jogging past. “I miss those days when they were so small and so content to play with rocks!” She said.
I took a deep breath. The days are long, but the years are short.
I planned a Memorial Day Stay-cation exploring our city of Mesa, specifically, downtown. First up, we discovered a coffee shop that has lavender syrup! I’ve only ever had a lavender latte in Cannon Beach, Oregon, several years ago, so I was beyond excited to discover this a few miles away from my house, all this time! Second stop was a “Sculpture Tour,” a loosely structured scavenger hunt of the 38 some statues downtown.
Also, cool murals.
We closed out the weekend with swimming, some shopping, and taking Edison to a splash pad. He was quite content to watch the other kids, the water, and throw rocks in the puddles.
I see so much of myself in him in social situations like this. While the other kids are running around screaming, making fast friends, I relate so much to his desire to just watch the unfamiliar people from the sideline, observe, talk to the kids that come by and initiate conversation, but for the most part, just do his own thing.
I took a few photos and a video of Edison in the tub, being entertained by his Aunt Andrea playing peekaboo around the doorway. His giggle is just the best.
And now we’re halfway through June! Brian and I will celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary this month with a weekend trip to San Diego – can you believe we’ve been married seven years? And Edison’s second birthday is just around the corner!
I hope, friends, that you’re making summer bucket lists and finding fun ways to relax and enjoy the days. The days are long, especially in summer, but the years are short!
When I text Brian, “Can we just run away?” And he texts back, “Yes,” it’s time to take a vacation. In March, we didn’t really have time to take an actual vacation, but we did squeeze in a day trip to Payson, AZ. That day, it happened to be 90 degrees in Phoenix and a balmy 78 in Payson, so we picked the perfect time for our mini spring break!
After a visit to the Rim County Museum (not recommended for toddlers, but if you do go, FYI there’s a bunch of toys UPSTAIRS. Just go up there first, instead of at the end!) We found the perfect place for lunch. We were still on our Whole 30 Challenge for the month of March, and we found great options at the Mongollon Moose!
We stopped at a bike shop (as always) and Edison was quite taken with the rocks he found outside. Then we took a short drive up to a lake, and did a little “hiking”… aka, walking in the woods, ate some snacks, and taught Edison how to throw rocks in the water.
We had just enough time to stop at an Antique shop before it closed – Granny’s Attic Antiques. They gave Edison the baby, and then when I found the carved candlelabra and vintage Mickey Mouse book, they were close to closing, so they gave those to me for free also. That’s the best kind of antiquing! Note to self: take a cute kid with you to get good deals.
Very last minute, Brian and I decided to do the Walk for Life. It’s a short walk – 2.5 miles – and it doesn’t cost anything to participate, but you can raise funds by having people sponsor you, and the funding goes to our local crisis pregnancy centers. In one week, we were able to raise $375!
As part of the 2.5 mile walk, we got to tour the Tempe center. I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but I was so impressed by the facility and the staff. The ultrasound and exam rooms were comfortable, welcoming, peaceful, and professional. The center’s licensed medical and volunteer staff provides free pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, abortion information and risks counseling, low-cost STD testing and treatment, childbirth and parenting classes, men’s mentoring, post-abortive recovery groups, and abuse recovery groups. All without ANY government funding – it’s completely funded through donations.
At the end of March, we renewed our Zoo membership, which reminded us that this is the perfect time of year to take advantage of it!
We’ve gone almost every weekend – and it’s so fun to see Edison picking up the animal names. The mammal (camel) and monkeys are favorites.
This is how I did my Lent Bible study on weekends – with the company of a little cuddler.
My sister-in-law Andrea visited us for a weekend on her spring break from teaching! Of course that would be the weekend Edison had major allergy issues, which made playing outside a little challenging. All the more cuddles for her, though! Edison missed her when she left – he asked about where “Anya” went.
A few other great #toddlerlife moments:
When mama doesn’t want to wear the shoes you picked out for her to church.
When you ask for a banana, then get so mad when mama peels it before giving it to you that you throw it on the floor, and then immediately regret that decision.
We try to keep a sense of humor about the toddler meltdowns! Overall, this stage has been really fun. Watching him sleep stretched out in his crib, he seems so big, and yet still so small. He’s so quickly becoming a boy and not a baby anymore.
This weekend, the temps are supposed to climb to 100 degrees, meaning it’s the end of our spring and the start of summer. I’ll miss having the doors and windows open all day, and letting the cool breeze fill the house. But I’m happy to say goodbye to spring allergies, and hello to pool time!
Just like each season brings it’s own joys and challenges, I’m learning that parenting really goes in seasons too. Nothing stays the same for long, and just when you think you’ve got things figured out, there’s new growth and change. But the new joys and discoveries make up for the things we leave behind.
What season of the year is your favorite? Do you have a favorite parenting season as well? Let me know in the comments below.
It’s beginning to look a lot like springtime – the weather has fluctuated from the upper 80’s back down to 60’s, and back up again. We’ve had storms and rain, which means puddles!
Edison is practically a little fish – the bath tub is his happy place! He amazes us each week with the new words he tackles and just how much he understands!
My grandparents drove across the country for a visit! We sent them home with several bags of our oranges.
Grandma came to visit! We celebrated Brian’s birthday, cheered on Brian and my sister-in-law when they ran a half-marathon, and Brian and I got to go on TWO child-free dates in one week! Edison and Sirius loved walks to the park every day.
Lent started on March 1st, and with it, we began our second Whole 30 challenge.
I’m doing a Lent Bible study also, and as part of it, I’m supposed to practice the “Sabbath,” or day of rest, once a week. This is harder for me than giving up added sugar, grains, dairy, etc. and also giving up sleeping with my phone – all challenges I’ve undertaken. I don’t even know where to start with “resting.” There’s just so much to do! Being “still” feels impossible.
But when I took that photo of the (clean side of the) kitchen, complete with Edison’s art on the chalkboard, it invokes “still” to me – trusting the Holy Spirit to work in me, as I go about everyday life, and wait for him.
Coming down with a sinus and ear infection is definitely enforcing the “rest” aspect now – but I’m hopeful that I don’t have to make myself sick every time before I learn to rest. Maybe this Lent study will help me grow in this area.
Easter is coming! 🙂 What does your life look like lately?
Friday, I left work a little early to try to do some cleaning at home before Brian got off work and picked up Edison from daycare. I turned up the Christmas worship music, and starting from the living room, began mopping my way to the other end of the house. It was slow work, since we haven’t mopped for, oh, a few months? It’s bad when you can’t remember the last time you mopped.
But when I made it to Edison’s room, as I flipped on the light, I felt that the light switch was all sticky. And I couldn’t help but smile.
Sticky light switches make me think of our nightly bedtime routine. After Edison has his pajamas on and his teeth brushed, while I hold him up, he switches off the bathroom light, then the hallway light, and then his bedroom light last of all.
I never would have thought there’d be a day that sticky light switches made me happy. Or the puppies, trucks, books, and blocks I see scattered all over the living room floor from where I sit typing.
But when I see toys all over the floor, or touch a sticky light switch, I’m struck by that feeling. The one all mothers know, the feelings of overwhelming love, joy in this moment, fear that life is going by too fast, sadness of knowing how fleeting it is, sheer happiness in the present. All mingled and combined into the emotion that is motherhood.
So, I’m trying to take each day slowly. My house isn’t decorated as much or as well as I’d like, like the photos I can’t stop pinning on Pinterest, but Edison loves the Christmas tree (and especially the switch that turns the lights on and off) just as it is.
We haven’t made any cute Christmas crafts. I probably won’t have time to put together clever gifts for his teachers at daycare. I forgot to get the mailman anything. I’ve fallen behind on my Advent calendar and devotional, but the scripture and lessons for the days I have done has been a blessing. I might not get all the gifts for all the people I’d like, or send enough Christmas cards, or bake anything at all.
After all, people, I’ve just mopped my floor for the first time in … a very long while, so that should tell you where to set your expectations.
We probably won’t go do all the fun Christmas activities, or fit in all of the Christmas movies, or see all the people we’d like to see while we’re in Iowa for Christmas. But I don’t want this Christmas to go by wishing I’d done more, or seen more, or had more. I just want to be truly present in each moment.
Photo books, notebooks, Happily Ever After, and knights and dragons – this week’s finds have a theme!
1. Chat Books and Prints: I’ve listed these in my Friday Finds before, but did you see the hilarious commercial they came out with recently? I think all mom’s can appreciate it! #ScrapbookingMutiny.
In addition to the books, which really do take 30 seconds to set up and arrive like mini Christmas presents each month, I also get five prints with each book for an extra $2. I never remember to print photos, so this works perfectly for me. When I get the notification that a book is going to go to print soon, I go into the app and select which photos I’d like to get as prints also. Super easy!
2. Rifle Paper Co. Notebooks: I could no sooner chose a favorite Rifle Paper Co. notebook than I could a favorite star in the heavens, so I’m really excited about this three pack of mini notebooks! These are destined to be prayer journals, but in the meantime, they also make great desk decor.
3. Happily Ever After Sign: I picked this up in Flagstaff, and my favorite store with a terrible name: P.J. ChilCottage. (Love you guys, your customer service is great and your store is full of all things beautiful, but someone really should re-think that). They had several great options, but this one is perfect for our office book shelf next to some family photos.
4. Storytime Socks: Aren’t these too cute?! I bought Edison the pair of knight and dragon socks also at P.J’s in Flagstaff, but you can buy them on Amazon! The ones I bought cost $12, but they are $8 on Amazon, although some of the other designs are far more expensive.
Those are my finds for this week! Do you have any new discoveries to share?This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!
I used to be ambitious with my fall bucket lists, and my summer bucket lists for that matter. The last fall bucket list I could find had ten items on it, with little doodles illustrating the items. This year I focused on our top priorities: food, travel, and, you know … overpriced pumpkins.
The memories are priceless, right?
1. Eat all the Pumpkin Things
Hooray for Trader Joe’s! But I hear Aldi’s has a great selection also.
2. Visit a Pumpkin Patch
The most popular pumpkin patch in our area costs $18 a person. So… we found a cheaper option that ended up being just as much fun for Edison, I’m sure, considering that his favorite things were the corn maze, seeing a tractor, and looking at all the pumpkins.
3. Take a Day Trip to See Fall Foliage
Our #3 item started as a day trip to Sedona, but we ended up going past Sedona to Flagstaff, because more than anything, we wanted to feel cold. When the sun was setting, we rolled the windows down as we drove through the mountains, and shivered happily for as long as we could, before putting on sweaters.
We went for a “hike,” more of a walk, in Munds’ Park to enjoy the orange and yellow oak and aspens.
4. Explore a New Place
Google “best small towns,” “scenic drives,” “best diners,” “historic landmarks,” in your state and see where it takes you!
We’d been to Flagstaff before, but we discovered new places this trip. We had turkey ruben sandwiches and deviled eggs at Aspen Deli, and spent the afternoon going to shops downtown and watching trains. And we found this incredible mural on Orpheum Theater!
5. Organize Closets
I started with Edison’s closet, and took a Saturday to sort through the pile of clothes Edison has outgrown that I’d been shoving into totes in his closet without any organization. I now have a trash bag full of stuff to donate, and one big tote full of all my favorite baby items, and one more tote full of clothes for Edison to grown into.
Making a capsule wardrobe for yourself, or your kids, is another great way to spend a Saturday and organize your closet.
6. Run a Turket Trot
The evenings are cooler, so after work I’ve been loading Edison into the stroller and taking Sirius along for a mile run. My goal is to run every night, but some nights Brian comes along and we’ll go for a longer walk. Other nights, it just doesn’t happen. Progress, not perfection. I’m just looking forward to that pumpkin pie at the end of the race!
7. Paint a Pumpkin
Easier and less messy than carving, plus, it’s great for little ones to get involved! Check out 30 painted pumpkin ideas!
Last year, we bought a jug of apple cider from a grocery store that will remain nameless, only to discover that it was indistinguishable from apple juice. This year, we tasted samples of cider at Trader Joe’s before purchasing, and then we found a new brand of apple cider at our Fry’s grocery store that’s also pretty decent. We still haven’t found any as good as the stuff made by the apple orchard in our hometown, so the search continues.
This is our own family tradition – usually in October, we begin the series with little Harry in the Sorcerer’s Stone, and by January, usually we’re finishing with the Battle of Hogwarts. If you’re not into Harry Potter, that’s ok (I guess), but you can start a different series you like, like Anne of Green Gables, Gilmore Girls, Star Wars, etc.
What’s on your bucket list? Share your ideas below, or on social media!
After a jam packed September, we’re savoring the slower days of October.
Three of the four weekends in September, we were traveling or Brian was racing. He started with a open water swimming race in Canyon Lake. I dreaded waking up before the sunrise, but as it turned out, the little monkey decided to wake up at 3 am and not go back to sleep, so we were already up! The views were worth the early morning.
The weekend after that, Brian swam/biked/ran an Olympic distance triathalon!
I shopped at the Junk in the Trunk Vintage Market that weekend, thanks to my sister-in-law’s help keeping Edison occupied.
Then we took off for Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Brian had a business trip there, and since his parents were in the area, we took the whole family and make a weekend of it. We went to the art museum, boated around the lake and the river, and visited the public market. Edison loved the boat … once he got over having to wear the life jacket.
We loved the city’s mix of historic and new. The architecture was incredible. If you visit, I recommend a day at the Historic 3rd Ward, including a visit to the Public Market, a trip to the art museum, and breakfast at Collectivo.
And a boat. I highly recommend you make friends with someone who owns one, or marry into a family that has one. If it comes with in-laws who watch your baby for you for the night so you and your husband can spend the night on the boat all by yourselves, count yourself extremely fortunate! But I might have taken the only ones that fit that description 🙂
We agreed that even with the added challenge of flying with a toddler, it was one of the most fun family trips we’ve ever taken!
This month, we’ve just had little adventures, and lovely slow Saturdays.
One of our little adventures was getting a little pumpkin spice crazed, and shopping at Trader Joe’s for the sole purpose of buying everything pumpkin flavored. We came home with pumpkin cereal, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin tea, pumpkin pancake mix, pumpkin butter, pumpkin cookies, and pumpkin spiced chai loaf. And some apple cider and frozen orange chicken for good measure.
Because, Trader Joe’s.
On our trip to Milwaukee, Edison learned the function of his backpack, and now he loves playing with it. I’m having visions of sending him off to school, and I’m so not ready for that yet! I’m glad I have a few more years!
And that brings us up to this weekend! Brian volunteered at the Half-Iron Man race, and we were a little glad that he wasn’t doing it this year. We went to a pumpkin patch, and even though it was annoyingly hot, we had a great time walking through the corn maze, looking at the animals (especially the chickens, still Edison’s favorite. How is he my son?) and picking out some pumpkins to take home. After that, we had dinner with friends we hadn’t seen in forever and got to catch up a bit.
Here’s the story of Edison’s first meeting with a tractor. He sees the tractor…
Love at first sight.
Yes, he waved good-bye to the tractor as it drove away. Our Iowa pride was at an all time high.
This week, Edison will turn 15 months! He’s such a little chatterbox now, in the last couple months he added to “Mama” and “Dada” “Uh oh,” “bye-bye,” “Hi,” “light,” “dog,” “all done,” “up,” “thank you,” and most recently, “walk,” since we started going on walks in the evenings.
He’s also started holding our phones (or the TV remote) up to his ear and saying “Hewwooo?” and trying to carry on conversations with the TV. He loves waving to everyone, including passing cars on our walks, and of course, tractors.
And that’s life lately! Thanks for following along on our little adventures!
By far, the biggest excitement lately was Edison’s first birthday. We flew back to Iowa for a week to celebrate it with family and friends. I was planning on a low key affair, just grilling in the backyard, but it sort of spiraled into something bigger with a lot more people and decorations. But, the more the merrier!
Since we weren’t sure how Edison would react to cake, we did a practice run on his actual birthday. He thoroughly enjoyed it!
On the day of the party, of course, Edison refused to nap. That stressed me out considerably, but somehow, he made it through the day. We also narrowly missed being rained out. Instead, the weather was perfect!
The decorations were a mix of nautical themes, naturally. I bought plain cupcakes, and decorated them myself. I also made Edison’s smash cake!
Unfortunately, Edison was not a big fan of his party hat.
Once the hat was off, I cheered him up from the trauma we’d put him through by distracting him with his cake. Pro-parenting tip there – sugar rights a multitude of wrongs.
It took him a little bit to get into it, but once he did, he had a blast.
He put on a great show, laughing and giggling for the paparazzi.
Helped unwrap a few presents, but by then, the lack of a nap was starting to kick in.
He preferred to play with his new trucks and his cousin and leave the presents to his parents.
A few more photos from the day:
Edison and Addyson’s stuffed bunnies are from Cuddle + Kind. Each one provides 10 meals!
All the birthday photos above were taken by friends and family. Thanks so much everyone!
In all the business of getting home, trying to get Edison back on schedule, unpacking (it took me a full week!) and the house appraisal, I almost forgot about my birthday! Thankfully, other people didn’t!
We went out for dinner to Joe’s Farm Grill, one of my favorites.
After all the birthday festivities, we had a really rough week – Edison got a cold, that turned into a double ear infection, pink-eye, sore throat, cough, really high fever, and then after the fever, a rash. I stayed home from work with him a lot, which meant of course that work that week was really busy, and I started getting sick too. Then on Friday, I had two teeth pulled in preparation for getting braces. And Brian stubbed his toe, and thinks it’s broken. So, not a good week.
Lots of sleepy cuddling though.
But today I got braces! I’ve needed them for a long time, and we finally just bit the bullet. I have three baby teeth still that are wrecking havoc, so the two on the bottom were pulled, and the rest of my super crowded teeth will eventually fill in the space. On the top, that baby tooth will eventually be pulled, and I’ll need an oral surgery to fix a bracket to the permanent canine tooth and pull it down. It’s only two years, but sometimes, two years feels like forever. At least, I have clear braces on the top, so they’re less noticeable. And lots of people get braces as an adult, and everyone I’ve talked to has said that it’s been totally worth it.
But really, they do blend in pretty well.
That’s life lately! Soon I’ll post about what we’ve been doing in our kitchen, which I’m pretty excited about. Here’s to a better week!
The tricky thing about Mother’s Day is that you’re really not supposed to buy things for yourself – it’s up to your husband and children to deliver on showing you their appreciation. But what do you do when the child in question is too young to put their hand-prints in cement, color a picture, or “help” make breakfast in bed?
Plus, I think we can all agree that moms need to be recognized year round. So maybe this time, treat yourself to one of these tees. All of them support other mom-run companies!
Keeping it real people! New moms run on prayers and caffeine. I own this shirt, and not only is it super soft, but it’s also not super thin. It’s one of my go-to tees for the weekend. Plus, this is from a mom-run business that gives back – a portion of all proceeds go to feeding malnourished children.
Here’s the heart behind this tee: “For those mommas who put their own health on hold to bring your child into this world, for those mommas who fought hard and kept believing even when all logic said to give up, for you mommas who couldn’t carry your own babies and had to ask for help, for you mommas who know deep in your bones how priceless this gift of motherhood is…this one is for you. Don’t waste your motherhood.” Also, $5 from every tee sold is donated to the Cystinosis Research Foundation.
“Here at Sweet T’s, we are passionate about women. We are passionate about Moms. And we are passionate about sharing what we have with others. Our goal with this tee is to have Moms wear it and be reminded to embrace the hard days, the good days, and all the in-between. Mommyhood is a huge calling and though it’s not always easy, it’s what we were created for and we can do it!! With each “Embracing Mommyhood” tee purchased, we are going to donate 10% of the proceeds to Young Lives. This organization brings hope to teen Moms and gives them a safe place to feel loved. They share the gospel with these sweet girls, they love on them without judgement, and they accept them … All Mamas, young and old, deserve this love and acceptance and we want to help spread this message.”
It doesn’t get better than that!
And even though it’s not a tee, just for fun, I think every new mom in your life needs one of Honeycomb Baby Good’s super cute teething necklaces!
Edison greats me every day when I get home from work and pick him up by promptly chewing on my necklace. These beads are made from silicone and are soft and chewy, perfect for little sore gums.
Of course, these tees don’t just make great gifts for new moms – moms of all stages would probably love one of these great tees.
So there you go! Treat yourself, support other moms, and give back to great causes! Happy Mother’s Day!