blogging · family · mom life · parenthood · personal blog · photography

Family Photos

Trying to take family photos with toddlers and babies is not easy. Brock and I have been taking “Family Photos” since we started dating with one of my closest friends Michelle. We have loved not having the studio look but a more natural feel. These were from our engagement shoot. It was a crazy windy day and we were being sandblasted but you would never know that from looking at our pictures.

So that shoot was a little easier without any children . . . once we added them into the mix it got a little harder trying to find ways to keep them from melting down, after all those are not really the pictures I want to go on my walls.

We did a shoot with Emerald when she was a little over a week old. I definitely did not feel great about myself but I wanted to have a few nice pictures of Emerald. I know that is is becoming more common now to have a photographer in the delivery room, but that is not for me, I actually only have my husband and obviously the doctor anyway getting side tracked. These are a couple of my favorites from that little session of Emeralds baby pictures. I loved this sweet picture of Brock holding Emerald’s tiny little feet and remembering how content she was in Brock’s arms. The other one I loved the lighting that Michelle captured in this although again not really feeling much like myself, but this picture makes me feel empowered some how.

We try to take photos at least once a year and the next time was for Emerald’s first birthday we did another small shoot nothing to fancy just a few pictures at a local park. This session went actually pretty well I even had a few wardrobe changes for Emerald. We are very lucky with Emerald even as a baby she was so sweet and happy most of the time.

The following year we did a session while I was pregnant with Violet. I remember it being a little chilly that day and I was so frustrated trying to find something that “matched” for all of us to wear and clothing options that we all felt good in . . . this seems to be one of our biggest problems especially as the girls are getting older and are more opinionated, anyway again Emerald was so easy, but we made sure the photos were right after her nap so that she was not tired for the photos and we brought snack.

The following session again just a small shoot was when Violet was a little baby again a little after a week it might have been closer to two weeks. We did this one in our house just like Emerald’s and we just threw a sheet over everything to try to cover up the mess of a house I had after just having a baby and having a two year old running around.


This shoot we tried to make Emerald feel included but still had a few of just Violet. It helped having this done at our house and made everyone a little more comfortable plus we had been having Michelle take our pictures for a few years now. I love the silly shots that capture our family dynamic. Pictures that show our love for each other make my heart melt. We decided to do another session about eight mother later (mostly because I love sending out photo christmas cards) I loved this session of the girls Emerald loves being a big sister and I think this captured that so well. This is the shoot when things started to get a little bit more challenging . . . two kiddos that you are trying to coral and they were not always on the same nap schedule which made it harder to schedule a good time, luckily we have an amazing photographer who works so well with keeping the kids interested in taking pictures, but of course these are pictures that happen and you just learn to roll with it and know that they are kids and yes they sometimes eat leaves.

_DSC1453Of course you still get a few good shots and photographers know that it just takes a lot of snaps before you end up with a few wonderful pictures. The one of the two girls I actually made into my mouse pad and the family picture is enlarged on my office wall.

The next year got even more interesting as now both girls were on the move and harder to keep in one area. Incase you can’t tell Violet has a million marshmallows shoved in her mouth. She was so not into taking pictures that day and made sure we all knew it. I brought a ziplock bag of marshmallows that Brock kept in his pocket and would toss at her when she did well, yes I know it was like she was an animal performing for rewards, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do and with Violet we have realized there is no correct way to do anything we just have to adjust and keep going. _DSC5456-84This session is the one I currently have up in my living room and I love seeing these everyday (yes I know I am behind on updating my pictures in the frames and hopefully I will do that soon)

This is the last shoot we just did and we had so much fun with it. I let the girls pick their own outfits and accessories and they told me how they wanted their hair. I have been working on being silly with the girls and wanting them to remember their childhood being something they loved and wanting them to feel loved.

Yes I think Brock missed the act crazy memo poor guys surrounded by crazy girls. And the second just shows the sass of Violet and the sweet playfulness of Emerald.

These next ones I love looking at together they were taken with in a few seconds of each other one was us walking together and the other Brock yelled run and well Michelle captured it.DSC_2363DSC_2529-Copy1Yes adding children into the mix has made it interesting but just like with life you find things that work (or don’t work) we adjust and continue to love living this life together as a family with photos as proof (lol)

All photos were taken by Michelle Tachet. You can visit her link and check out her other photos or schedule a session.

blogging · family · mom life · parenthood · personal blog · Uncategorized · vacation

Family weekend trip to Solvang CA

Family time is so important to us. The girls are growing up so fast and I want to make sure that they have the best childhood we can give them. So we try to do little trips or family days just the four of us to make sure the girls know that we love and care about them and want to spend time with them. This time we did a weekend trip to Solvang. It was a quick trip we only stayed one night at a hotel. We ended up staying in Buellton which is five minuets away from Solvang, but the hotels are half the price, we stayed at Pea Soup Anderson’s Inn and it was only $100 for a Saturday night, felt like a steal.

We headed up Saturday morning leaving our house at 930am and we only hit traffic in Montecito since they had only reopened the freeway there a few days ago after the mudslide that happened. It saddened me driving through there seeing the aftermath of what the residence had been thru, I can’t even imagine.

We reached the first winery, Lincourt (if you have read my other posts we are member here and we love it!) We had a picnic on the grass area right in front of the tasting room where there is plenty of room for the girls to run around. We had not been in a little while so we had two shipments of wine to pick up. 🙂 The girls had so much fun, they love picnics! Emerald especially loved it since it was all food she had picked out the day before at Trader Joes.

The picnic was followed by dancing and rolling down the grassy hill (Brock and I did not participate in I think it might have been frowned upon if Brock and I rolled down the hill lol)

Next we went to Quicksilver Ranch which is right next to the winery. This place has so many mini ponies! This is another one of our go to places (even when we don’t have the girls with us when we go to Solvang) this time the girls got to walk with one of the mini horses while it was being brought over to a pin to be groomed. The girls were so excited they got to pet the horse for a little while although Violet kept asking the man if she could brush the pony 🙂

After the mini ponies we went to another winery, Firestone Vineyards. Here we got a table outside and let the girls run around again while we tasted wine. This is another one of favorite places, it sits up on a little hill that overlooks the vineyard and is beautiful (although January is not the most beautiful time for vineyards) I unfortunately did not take many pictures at this place . . . sometimes I need a break from picture taking and I try to just enjoy the moments, but we did take pictures inside the wine tasting room on the huge chair they had.

After this winery we went to our hotel, Pea Soup Anderson’s Inn, for a nap the girls were very tired from all of the running around and lets face it Brock and I were pretty tired too. The hotel is pretty clean and a nice enough room for one night plus we don’t spend a ton of time in our room anyway. After naps it was too late for the Ostrich farm so we walked around Solvang for a few minutes before heading to dinner at Hadsten House Restaurant.IMG_20180127_190029618 I have been going to this restaurant for years . . . it has definitely changed through out the years and I miss the large ravioli that they used to have, but we made it for happy hour (early dinner when you have kiddos) The girls were completely wild the whole dinner . . . Emerald making hats out of her napkin and Violet singing her heart out. Brock took the girls on a couple of walks during dinner so they could get their wiggles out. After dinner we headed back to the hotel because the girls really wanted to go swimming, we mostly stayed in the hot tub since it was pretty cold out plus Emerald can stand up in it on her own which makes her so happy. Then it was bed time, it was a long day and we had more to do the next day. We had breakfast at the hotel which was just pastries and juice from one of the bakeries in Solvang.

Our first stop for the day was the Ostrichland USA we got there right when they opened which was pretty nice there were only a couple of other people there. The girls had so much fun feeding the Ostrich and Emu. Brock was having the girls pet them and sure enough first Emerald got bit on her arm and she thought it was funny because Brock told her they were trying to eat the butterfly on her jacket and then a few minutes later Violet got bit on the finger and she screamed her head off. There was no calming her down so her and I went and washed off her hands and she was done but Emerald went and got more food to keep feeding these crazy birds. When we left Violet said she had fun but did not want to go next to one again. Next we headed to the Folded Hills Farmstead, but they were not open. Their website said they opened at 11am, but no such luck. So instead we had a picnic in the back of our car and let the girls pet the animals that are there. This is one of Emerald’s favorite things, if animals are there she loves it. Violet was over the animals pretty quickly and just wanted to eat. Emerald told us the only way she will move from our house is if we move to a farm were she can pick all the animals we will have lol.

We stayed at the farm for awhile before hitting the road. We headed to Ventura for in-n-out lunch and a bathroom break. Then back to our little home we went. It was a short trip, but we packed it as full as possible. I love doing life with my family.

Christmas · family · mom life · parenthood · personal blog

Christmas, New Years and Winter break

Colds, Flu and Pneumonia . . . such a fun holiday season in our little house. We were hit with the cold/flu bug hard over the winter break which was not so fun especially since Brock got a week off of work and he spent most of the time having to care for the rest of us. Emerald’s last day of school was December 22 and she loved it because she got to wear pajamas to school that day and thought it was the best thing ever. IMG_20171222_090447_287The following day we tried to rest a little so that we all would have energy for all of the Christmas activities we had planned. We met up with  Brock’s family on Christmas Eve which was pretty low key, just hanging out at the house together which was so nice since I was not feeling amazing and I just kept thinking it was because I was tired.

For Christmas and we tried to limit how many gift we gave the girls this year, so Emerald got a Bike from Santa and Violet asked for a tablet from Santa, (I mean she is two years old and she wanted a tablet), anyway they also got a five other things from us nothing crazy, (because we gave them a kitty, Jazz a few weeks prior). Brock worked with Emerald riding her bike while I finished up breakfast which was cinnamon rolls that I make from scratch (I made extra to take to Brock’s family)

After Breakfast we headed over to Brock’s family where we stayed for a few hours and the girls got a few little gift and we had lunch then we left so that the girls could nap in the car while we drove to my parents house (yes we are crazy and do two places on Christmas) we are pretty lucky that our families are only about a 30 minute drive away from each other. Anyway it was more gifts there too but was so happy my parents this year did a trip for the girls instead of a million gifts that they really don’t need. So they gave them a vacation to Sea World which the girls LOVED they each got their own vacation with Grandma and Papa which they already cashed in on. My parents ended up taking Emerald the following week since she was on winter break from school.

By the time we finished gifts and dinner it was time to head home and I was completely exhausted. The following day I kept telling Brock I was having a hard time breathing he thought I was being overdramatic well I went with my instinct and went to urgent care, they did an X-ray and sure enough I had pneumonia! So I started antibiotics in hopes of winter break not being completely wasted at home I rested the following day and was so glad that Brock was home to help with the girls but was so bummed we did not get to do everything I would have liked, but such is life. Well that week was a bit of a blur for me being so sick. Brock took the girls places with his mom and I stayed home dead to the world. During that time the girls got to go see the horses that were going to be in the Rose Parade and Emerald even got to help with the City of Burbank float and glue on some flowers, she was so proud of herself, so cute.

I made it to my cousin’s and her families going away party, they are moving out of state and we are sad to see them go but are so excited for them and the new adventures they get to have doing such a big move. Next was New Years and we decided on New Years Eve to stay at Brock’s families beach house in Oxnard and the rest of his family came too I still was not a hundred percent but did my best to hang in there plus a little wine and champagne never hurts 🙂 This meant we got to spend New Years at the beach and it was a beautiful day and even though it is crowded staying at the house I was glad we got to have a wonderful day at the beach.

Well Brock was back to work the next day and I had to fend for myself with the girls so we had one day of resting and a zoo day to fill the time before my parents came to pick up Emerald for her Sea World trip, they took her thursday thru Sunday and originally my mother in law was going to take Violet for a couple days but she came down with the stomach flu so I did my best to fill the time with pony rides and ice cream.

Thank goodness after that Brock was back to being off for the weekend and I was gradually getting better (this sickness lasted forever!) While Emerald was having the time of her life with my parents in San Diego we tried to make our time with Violet really special we let her pick everything to do and she of course picked the zoo and getting ice cream at Costco (yes my kid loves Costco and trader joes, mostly because both those places give kiddos treats while you shop)

And the next day was Sunday and we picked up Emerald from my parents and celebrated my sisters birthday at the same time. The next day was back to a regular routine of school for Emerald, although that of course proved to be soooo difficult and it is now thursday and we finally made it to school in the morning with out yelling, crying and fit throwing . .. waiting for the days to get easier and for me to feel completely like myself again. As a mom I have learned I am way stronger than I ever thought and can handle more than I ever wanted too lol.

blogging · family · mom life · parenthood · personal blog

Yes, I am just now writing about our Halloween

We have had so much going on lately that I am just now writing about Halloween. I was going to skip it, but . . .  Anyway, the morning started with pumpkin waffles from Trader Joes which makes for an easy breakfast since Emerald had school that day. img_20171031_075150351.jpgIn the past I “try” to do a fancy holiday breakfast but this year we were in a rush. Although I did make homemade whipped cream to put on the waffles and drizzeled chocolate syrup and what breakfast would be complete with out a glass of milk (we do raw organic)The girls loved it and that is all that matters they don’t really appreciate all the hard work that goes into anything over the top and I am gradually learning this and doing my best to put time into other things that matter more to them so with all that said after breakfast I let the girls get in their costumes.

Emerald picked Rapunzel which was amazing since she already has two of those costumes to choose from, but I ordered a wig for her because that is really why she wanted Rapunzel because she wanted the long princess hair. Next was Violet and she picked Snow-white which is her favorite princess right now and has been for a little while so we already had that costume too . . . how did my life get so easy no running around trying to find costumes and no arguing about what they wanted to wear I never thought that day would come.


After getting ready we walked Emerald to school. The girls and I had made salted caramel dip the night before for her teacher and teacher aid and we gave an apple with it. Then back to home to pack up and head to Violet’s Parent and Me class. Violet loved that she got to wear a costume all day and was so excited to have a party in her class she also gave the same gift to her teacher. Violet loved that another little girl in the class also was dressed in snowwhite and she decided that they were best friends for the day (that is what happens when you are two)


It was a busy day after her class we raced back home to meet up with Brock and his mom to walk over to Emerald’s school for the TK and Kindergarden costume parade which was so cute! There was around 100 little five year olds all dressed up for Halloween and they walked around following their teaches in a big circle around the court yard at school and it was the sweetest thing. Emerald’s wig was slidding off during the whole parade but she loved it. Once the parade was done we got to take pictures with the kiddos and then we had to leave Emerald at school for another hour and a half so the rest of us headed back home for lunch and Violet was so tired so she went down for a nap (which is way earlier than normal but again a long day) IMG_20171031_132848_331Brocks mom went back to the school to get Emerald. While she is gone I get a call from her she forgot her ID and the school does not release children to people they dont know and no ID. I at first was really annoyed that she forgot but why not add to a long day. . . a few minutes later I was laughing about it after I spoke to the teacher and they let Emerald leave with her, such is life. After Emerald got home I was busy getting ready for Brock’s family and a few friends to come over for dinner . We did a simple dinner of of shredded crockpot chicken because again I am trying to make my life a little easier and not put such high expectations on myself. After dinner it was trick-or-treating time!img_20171031_185947688.jpgThis picture of the girls kills me! They really did have a great time. Violet kept saying she just wants all the candy and she loved getting to go door to door and she would say “mockmock happy halloween” she was convinced that you had to say knock knock and not just actually knock on the door (crazy kid) and of course this little lady had to be ran back to the house to go potty in the middle of trick or treating. We only did a few blocks of houses beacause really they are five and two and how much candy do these kiddos need. (We still have a ton of candy especially because I only let them have one piece a day) Well once back at the house I promised Emerald a fire and hot coco, Violet did not make it thru that she wanted to go to bed (she is a sleepy little kid and will put herself to sleep if she is tired) It ened up being such a fun day a full day but fun! I love getting to do life with my little family.

disneyland · family · mom life · parenthood

Turning FIVE

We celebrated Emerald over the weekend. My baby girl turned five! We kept her home from school on Friday so that we could go to Disneyland . . . yes I know terrible parents :)We gave Emerald a choice of a party with the kids in her class or going to disneyland and having a princess makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Well I am sure you can only imagine what this disney loving little girl decided on A PRINCESS MAKEOVER. So on Friday my parents came and picked us up on their way and Brock’s mom too and my sister and her family met us there. We let Emerald pick what rides to do and where to eat. We got to Disney around noon so headed to lunch first at Rancho Del Zocalo Restaurante, the girls love getting the chicken platter and I make little burritos for them. After we were fueled up we were off to the rides and of course got a fast pass for Haunted Mansion which is one of Emerald’s favorite rides right now since they switched it over to the holidays and it smells like gingerbread.

Her Bibbidi Bobbidi appointment was at 3pm and while we were waiting at the Boutique Merida came over and talked to the girls for like ten minutes it was so amazing and the girls were so excited. After the makeover we headed to the Princesses at Royal Hall where we got to meet Ariel, Cinderella and Snowhite, basically anytime these kiddos meet princesses it is the best day of their lives and they never get tired of meeting them.

This was followed by more rides and Emerald getting a churro as a snack which we never do, but it was her day to pick everything. We ended at Disneyland with dinner at Plaza Inn and then headed over to California Adventure for the Little Mermaid ride, Bugs land and ice-cream and birthday singing at Ghirardelli Ice-cream shop (which totally embarrassed Emerald all her family singing to her) followed by Cars land and ending the night with the World of Color Show.

Somehow Emerald stayed up the entire time although Violet could not stay awake for the show. It was such a wonderful day and made Emerald so happy which I love seeing her so excited all day. Saturday the girls were so tired that we only ran a few errands and had them take a nap which they ended up sleeping for almost three hours eek it as so nice. I was able to work on setting up for a little unicorn pizza party we were having at the house with family on Sunday (her actual birthday) The party was such a hit Emerald was so excited we let her go crazy at the 99Cent Store and she picked everything  unicorn she even found a piñata. I ended up making a unicorn birthday cake and we had pizza and smores per Emerald’s request. It was another late night for the girls by the time we got them calmed down and bathed and in bed it was 9pm.

Needless to say this morning the girls slept in and Emerald was not feeling up to school . . . I think we are starting a bad habit here. Although poor thing went to bed with a headache last night (I’m guessing from all the sugar her little body is not used to having) and a cough this morning. Hoping she recovers soon so we can be off on our next little family adventure.

blogging · family · mom life · parenthood

Mommy and me

Violet started Mommy and Me and her first dance class. She loved every minute of it. I was a little nervous since she is our little wild and free spirit, but this was probably one of the best things for her. The classes kept her moving and getting all her wiggles out. Violet even said after class she was ready for a nap . . . I’m so glad we found something that fits her personality so well. It is with the same teacher we had for Emerald when she was two. Violet is so proud that she gets to go to “school” like her big sister (so cute) she even packed her backpack with snacks and toys for school. She is really growing up so fast and communicates so well now she is no longer my baby.



Emerald is still loving school I even have been using -not going to school- as a threat when she is misbehaving and it has been working wonderfully she never wants to miss class.

She was invited to her first school birthday party at Chuck E Cheese and she absolutely loved it. I took just her and Brock stayed home with Violet which made it even more special for her plus the invitation said to dress like a princess which made Emerald so happy. She picked Belle, a costume she got two years ago . . . even tho that kid has a dozen princess dresses. It was strange for me not knowing what to do at the party at first I stayed playing the games with her, but after pizza she wanted to go off with her friends. One of the other moms was telling not to worry they can’t leave by themselves or with anyone else which did make me feel a little better, I mean come on I do leave her at school all day you would think I could handle this. It is a strange thing when your kids don’t need you anymore and want to just play with their friends, I thought it would be a few more years before getting to this point. After all this little lady will be 5 in just two short weeks. It is crazy to think that we moved into our little house almost five years ago it feels like only yesterday we were moving in and I was going into labor. . .

Well we finished off the weekend with visiting Grandma and Papa and having a little summer rain. Violet does not look too happy in all the pictures but I promise she was having the best time running around in the rain.



blogging · disneyland · family · mom life · parenthood

Disneyland and the beach for the long weekend


Brock took a half day at work and we picked Emerald up from school and headed to Disneyland. It was 110 outside but we decided to go in the heat hoping it kept the crowds away . . . nope not so much. We had a lot of dole whip which of course the girls did not complain about. We brought a spay bottle to mist the girls so they would not overheat and we tried waiting in lines that were inside or super short. We braved the heat and stayed at disneyland until around 10pm we even made it thru Fantasmic. The girls absolutely loved the show, they were exhausted and could barely keep their eyes open but it was a hit. After the show we walked thru Downtown Disney for our favorite, some steaming hot beignets at the Jazz Kitchen.


After leaving D-land we headed to the beach house in Huntington to stay at for the next three nights. The girls woke up so excited to go play in the ocean and build sand castles. It was in the 80s and there is no a/c where we were staying but we made the most of it and stayed on the beach playing in the water. Emerald and Brock even found lots of baby clams while Violet and I played in the sand. (We used Alba Botanics sunscreen no one got a sunburn, it is amazing stuff, probably one of the best we have found and we have tried so many.)


Again we kept cool by eating lots of ice-cream the girls picked cotton candy flavored (oh the food coloring) But it is vacation and Brock and I let them pick their own flavors, no organic to be found. IMG_20170902_163328_03After spending a couple of relaxing days at the beach we were headed back for another day at Disneyland and this time we went to California Adventure too. At least this time it was only in the 80s although it was twice as packed as it was on Friday. We even waited 70 minutes in line to ride Midway Mania and half way thru waiting Violet started saying she wanted to go home . . . and it was only noon! We made it past the little tantrum and she was so happy to go on the ride. We only had to wait around ten minutes to see the princesses which is one of the girls favorite things, they love talking to the princesses and Violet even sang a song for them. Although she was sad that “Jamins” was not there.

The girls started melting down around 7pm so we headed back to the car of course stopping for our favorite treat of hot sugary beignets. We made it home around 9pm and unloaded the car. I spent all of today doing laundry and sorting thru the crazy amount of crap we had brought with us. Well now it is back to a regular schedule with the girls and hopefully some more fun adventures soon.