Apple Picking near Hood River, Oregon

Finally feeling like fall and there’s nothing like sharing that feeling with family. 

Today we went and picked apples with our kiddos and their wonderful aunt and cousin. (And her little guy is only 8 weeks younger than Theodore, such perfect, sweet cousin-ness).

She normally lives stationed in Nashville with her husband, a Captain of the US Army, but while he’s away on deployment she’ll be staying here at home with all of us! We feel so very lucky to have her, though I wish it was under different circumstances, and we are thankful for his service. 

Here is one of hopefully many adventures to come. And next, time to make some applesauce! 

Traveling with your Little Ones

I had always wanted to travel. I can remember being 12, and dreaming that my perfect life would be to get away and visit Japan, Greece, Hawaii, anywhere I could get to. I didn't come from a wealthy family. I didn't think it was something I would ever be able to do. 

4 years ago, my husband and I made a huge decision. We decided that instead of traveling the world like I had always wanted, we would have kids. (Seriously the best decision I’ve ever made!) But basically thanks to television/movies and social media, we believed that we were 'ending our social lives and giving up all ability of travel'. No one travels with kids, right? You can't possibly take children on your adventures, it's too much of a burden. Everyone will hate you for bringing your kids places and they will only scream nonstop. Blah, blah, blah. I figured we went to Hawaii already for our honeymoon, we were good right? 

Well lucky for me I am stubborn as all hell. 

And on a side note, people can get over themselves. Children are a part of being human and people that don't want to see children should reside themselves places where children aren't allowed or just become spinsters. You don't have to have children, but sometimes you will have to deal with them. Move on. *rant over*

We had a best friend stationed in Hawaii, on Oahu, and that was our first big adventure with Oliver when he was 15 months. It was a perfect way to start! Very relaxing, loose itinerary, and a great comfortable place to stay and rest between daily adventures. Since then we've also taken them to Japan, Nashville, and several road trips to the Oregon coast and up to Bellingham, WA and Great Wolf Lodge. These were mostly places we had friends or family residing which does help a lot when traveling with little ones. 

If traveling with your children is something you want to do, I have some tips to share from my own experiences. 

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Oliver at 15 months at Hanauma Bay, Oahu

1. Be Flexible. 

Make a very flexible itinerary and know that you may not see everything you want to. We tend to really not make much of an itinerary at all (sounds crazy right?!) except for hotels and moving city locations. I make a list of things to do in each area that we stay in and depending on how the kiddos feel that morning we pick one or two off the list to do. If the kiddos aren't feeling well, we stay closer to the hotel so we can return as needed. Heck, I get sick on vacation more often than not so sometimes I need the relaxing for myself!

2. Have a good discipline strategy worked out. 

Obviously this doesn't apply much to infants, but with your order kids make sure you're communicating well with them at home before you take them abroad. I have SEVERAL positive parenting books I love and I strive daily to communicate with my son. (No Drama Discipline is an excellent choice). It's one of my biggest priorities in parenthood. If your child feels safe with you and knows they can express themselves, you'll have a much easier time with hiccups along the way during your adventures!

3. Don't travel at the expense of your children, travel with and for your children. 

Seriously, know your child's limits. Don't let them get too hungry, pack a lot of snacks or take a lot of nursing breaks. When they're tired be prepared for that. Some destinations are great for strollers, others like Tokyo, I prefer an Ergo or Poco carrier. I can still carry my 4 year old on my back. Your kids will get tired. If your trip allows, take breaks at your hotel room. In Tokyo we were honestly just going nonstop, but having the carriers and a ton of snacks really saved us. Find and plan things your child will like. I was sure to have a few things in mind for at least one day dedicated all to my kiddos enjoyment. 

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A two day adventure at the aquarium, LEGO, & arcades for Ollie

4. Keep a single routine if possible. 

Some sort of anchor for your child. Sing or read books at night, a bath time, whatever you can keep while you're out. We would be out all day so we would usually return to our hotel or accommodations pretty early in the evening to unwind and relax.

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Unwinding after a long day

5. Book a seat at the back of a plane. 

Not only are mortality rates better in the back (hahaha, I'm a nervous flier) but the noise from the engine helps lull your kiddos to sleep. And honestly don't be afraid to find some age appropriate decongestant. I take one before I go or else my ears just won't pop and my kiddo is the same way. When their ears are clogged, they get grumpy, cry, or scream. Juice boxes for take off help too! Have lots of little activities packed and honestly I feel like there's no such thing as too much screen time on a flight. 

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Sleepy traveler.

6. Child carriers are your best friend for children up to 5 or 6. 

Oliver suffered from major jet lag on our first trip to Japan, so we were carrying him so much since he spent much of his time sleeping. Rides on the train or buses put him to sleep quickly and having him on the carrier didn't crowd the trains or give him a chance to get lost in a sea of people. He was nearly 3 in Japan, so walking long distances wasn't going to work for him either. Pop the ergo on and continue your sightseeing, shopping, etc. When you get somewhere they would love, give them some time to run around and let out their energy. 

This ergo seriously saved us.

7. Seize every opportunity to travel. 

If you have willing friends or family living elsewhere, seize it. We visited Hawaii, Japan, and Nashville because we had friends/family living there. We will soon plan adventures to lands where we know no one, but for our first travels knowing someone in the area was a saving grace!  

If you minimize the things you buy, and prioritize experiences, you may just find you have the funds to do so. Having a travel rewards credit card that you pay off each month (think using it only to pay bills that you have the money for), you can rack up the rewards for your airline tickets! Don't be afraid to travel with your children, as long as you are communicating and listening to their needs you'll do great! 

8. Be organized, be organized, be organized! 

Have all your paperwork with you and neatly organized in a travel wallet if you have one. I prepare for months in advance so I don't have to worry about everything super last minute. We did our passports around 8 months in advance! I exchanged currency a month or so before and tried to capitalize on the best rate possible. I also made sure I had emergency credit cards that would work in Japan. Everything had its own labeled pocket so I could access it without fuss. Last thing you want to be doing is holding a melting toddler, digging through a never-ending abyss of a purse just looking for your ID/Passport. I had separate money envelopes for each budget (such as food, spending, hotels), each with a different pattern to make it easily identifiable. I love to be organized though, so maybe I go a little overboard. But being organized will definitely decrease the time you spend in the stress zone! 

 

 

*I am just an average mom offering up what I've learned in my own adventures. I mean no offense or shame to anyone. :) 

 

 

Ft. Stevens Camping 2018

Every year for almost 50 years our family has camped at Ft. Stevens State Park. It's glamping really -- complete with showers, bathrooms, electricity, the works. We all enjoy breakfast and dinner together in our group site where we all gather around the fire for warmth. Of course even in August, near the coast is always so much cooler than the city. This year I honestly didn't get as many pictures as I wanted, but with tiny guy in tow that comes as no surprise. (I just want to stare at him all day really <3). It's a tradition I hope our kids will someday do with their own kiddos. 

Got a few phone uploads as well for the days we went crabbing and to the aquatic center in Astoria. :) 

No trip is complete without a group photo! Of course we took it on Margarita Wednesday, which is totally a thing at our camp. It'll be even cooler with our cousin's hand lettering! 

Theo is 6 Months!

6 months. Half a year. 4,380 hours. How is it my sweet tiny babe has already been with us this long? I remember how quickly it went by with my first (it still does, but that first year is crazy), and I try to soak up every moment with both of them. Poor little guy has been teething hard and been fussy, but even in those moments I try to find joy in comforting him because it won't last forever, every parent learns that. Thanks for brining us 6 months of Theo-dorable so far, can't wait to experience so much more! 

I shot too shallow with this first image, but I don't care because his face is toooo cute. 

Cherry's Discovery Flight

It was a gorgeous day; the sky an amazing cerulean blue with little white puffs of clouds to give it character and 80 degrees outside with cool breezes. An awesome day to accomplish a goal. A long time ago, Cherry told me she wanted to fly a plane, perhaps even get her pilots license. Today she took that first step and flew an airplane! I feel like when people close to us accomplish their goals, we all win, especially when we get to share in the fun. I love you girl, thanks for letting us cheer you on!

Some photos from behind the scenes as well.  

Paint Gun Fun

Was at first questioning why I had bought these paint guns, I had stared at them for a while sitting on the shelf, just wondering how much of a mess they would make. I know it's silly. But my goodness this was so much fun! Who cares how messy something is if it's this enjoyable! Just be ready to shower afterward because the paint is honestly sticky and messy but it's awesome. 

Oliver's Ice Cream Social (4th birthday party)

It's hard to believe that the one that made me a mommy just turned 4! 

We are beyond lucky and counting our stars that we have so many great people to share in our lives and celebrate with us. I regret that I didn't get photos of every lovely person that attended, but here are some of the ones that I did get! <3 For his actual birthday we took him out to Great Wolf Lodge, as we are trying to live in a way that values our experiences over items. (Although some items hold great value and give us joy, which I believe is an experience itself). 

Beach House Trip for 30th Birthday!

Growing up my husband often got to stay with his cousins at their beach cabin in Rockaway Beach. For my 30th birthday he finally got to share those wonderful memories with me and his children, and make new ones! Sightseeing, hiking, playing board games, snuggling to the sounds of the pouring rain, watching movies, so many of my favorite things crammed into one weekend. I had always dreaded 30, but thanks to my family I'm sure it'll be an amazing year. 

Baby Henry

Some of my favorites from this sweet newborn shoot! Henry is so adorable, and he was so content and sweet during the whole session. Congratulations Noelle and Jacob! <3 

Novella & Evan - Wedding

I had the pleasure of capturing the special day for these two amazing people. She is a winemaker and he is a chef, what a perfect combo! I loved listening to the stories from their loved ones, seeing them smile and glow at one another, and watching them enjoy the company of their friends and family many of which came up from California and elsewhere! 


Congratulations to you guys, yet another amazing journey for you to embark upon! 

Baby Elijah

This little guy is just so sweet and was full of the cutest smiles! <3 Congratulations to Amanda and Rich, he is absolutely perfect! 

 

Camping at Fort Stevens 2016

Every year our family goes on a camping trip to Fort Stevens. And when I say family, I don't just mean Oliver, Robert, and I. I mean my husband's, maternal grandmother's whole side of the family (just about all of them at least). An amazing bunch of cousins, aunts, and uncles. This is the 47th year that the family has done this trip! And now that we all have little ones, we really see how important this trip really is! We couldn't have done it without our awesome cousins Shannon and Juliann taking the reigns and organizing the trip for our families. 

 

Juniper Ann

This little darling gave me a run for my money. ;) But she is so adorably sweet in every way! 
I am so happy for you Brooke and Shane, you guys are already amazing parents!
 

Amanda & Rich Maternity

These two beautiful souls are completely overjoyed and eager to meet the baby that they prayed for.
Getting to photograph them was so much fun, they were full of love, laughter, and excitement. I know that they will share their wealth of love with their little bundle of joy. 

 

 

Brooke & Shane Maternity

These two have been good friends of ours for long time. The love between them is so apparent whenever you're with them, and I know they'll share that love and more with their baby girl. We are overjoyed that they are on the path to becoming parents and can't wait to meet her! 

Baby Landon

I got the pleasure of photographing baby Landon at barely a week old. His parents are humble, amazing people who prayed and worked so hard for Landon to come into this world. He is lucky to have such wonderful people to guide him through his journey of life, and they are such lucky parents to get to learn from him and love him unconditionally.