A Dock for my Tots : The most dreamy twinning you ever did see.

The Dock A Tot is widely known for encouraging longer naps, portable and convenient size and the great aid they have for transitioning from crib to toddler bed.  When we first received our Grand Dock for Ezra, she was over the moon. Instead of setting up pillows every time she watched a show or when she napped in mommy’s bed, she had her own spot dedicated to her!

There was a few times (and still is) where the Dock will somehow turn into a car, an airplane, or most recently a castle – yeah, go figure out that one. (She balanced the Dock A Tot over the ottoman and the edge of the couch.) She has also slowly began to imitate how we put her to bed, the routine she went through at night and how we would greet her when she awoke in the morning. This was also so sweet because she was going to soon be a big sister and watching her care for her dollies and teddy bear just melted our hearts.

You might also like : Cadenshae – Active wear for the pregnant and nursing mother.

The Dock A Tot is available in two different sizes, the Deluxe for Infants (0 – 9 months) and the Grand for toddlers ( 9 – 36 months ) . Our Deluxe Dock A Tot arrived a little bit after Ezra’s arrived and to see the look on her face when she opened up one that was miniature size to hers, was priceless! Instantly she knew it was for the little baby growing in my tummy and that it was something very special for her and her sibling on the way.

Ezra is usually really good with going down for her naps and doesn’t have much of a struggle when going into her crib in the afternoon. The day that her Dock A Tot arrived she asked if she could nap in it and naturally, I said “No”. She then persisted and usually I don’t give in to whining with her, but she promised that she would sleep, so we tried it out. She fell asleep within minutes. I’m not sure if it was the struggle of asking to sleep in the Dock A Tot that tired her out or if there really was some special magic sleepy dust in the Dock. There she was, two hours later, air conditioner on, sun shining through the windows and the serenade of her oh so lady-like snoring.

You may also like : Saying no to the ‘Mom-Bod’

Fast forward 5 months and here we are with our two girls. We use our Dock A Tot DAILY. I might even go ahead to say hourly. It has been such a blessing in our household to be able to lay down Isla when I need to quickly help Ezra with something, or having Ezra nap in her room and Isla nap beside me, giving me a chance to relax. I have even had her in the kitchen with me, on the floor of course on the carpeted hallway, while I was making scones last week!

IMG_3602-2

Our Deluxe Dock has been a lifesaver for myself and helped ME get a couple extra hours of sleep in the mornings! After my husband goes to work, I am usually up nursing Isla, but my toddler isn’t awake yet so I usually try and stay in bed until she wakes up. When I am done nursing Isla, she usually will fall back asleep in the mornings, but she has been showing us that she likes to be held upright when falling asleep so this makes it a little bit more tricky and tiring when it is 6AM. I have found that Isla will also sleep longer if I am near her, therefore I usually sleep with my head rested right beside the Dock, but that’s okay, I sometimes miss my own sleep because I’m stuck staring at her beautiful sleeping face. I am nervous about having her directly on the mattress beside me so I just pop the Dock up on the bed beside me and off the dreamland we go! L I F E  S A V E R. There is just something about the coziness of the Dock that surrounds them and offers that comfort of a mother’s arms.

IMG_8047

Twinkle Stars Newborn Gown : Nixilauroo

Here’s Why I Love The Dock

  • Perfect solution to co-sleeping – as I mentioned above, Isla still has her days and nights mixed up, so we are getting 3 hours sleep on a good night! Having the Dock in bed with us has given us a couple extra Z’s.
  • Washable – At first I was so nervous about ordering their beautiful marble cover, but after the first encounter with BBQ sauce and it came right out, my fears are gone!
  • Portable and functional for travelling families – we plan on taking ours on a few over night trips this spring and are so excited to have both for the girls.
  • Interchangeable Covers with a huge selection to choose from. The perfect addition to any nursery, no matter what the theme, style and colour, there is something for every babe!
  • Eco – Friendly – This is something I haven’t really thought about before, but when I was looking in to the Dock A Tot and what set them apart, this was really something that stood out to me. Unlike regular crib mattresses, the Dock A Tot is hypo-allergenic, all natural 100% cotton.

The dock has been a little piece of heaven for my girls as we transition in to this new chapter of life with two girls, sisters and best friends. Having their matching ‘beds’ has been so fun and created a bond even before Isla was born.

We are looking forward to more bonding while enjoying Saturday morning cartoons and taking our docks on trips with us this Winter and Spring!

XoXo

Cass

The Ultimate Summer Family Bucket List – 5 Local Attractions you don’t want to miss!

Well, it’s here! Mackenzie is off work for the summer and we are in the final stretch until baby #2 arrives. We have been spending a lot of time in the back yard and soaking up family time, but have also been exploring the city and lower mainland, making memories with just the three of us. Over the past few weeks, we have been following along through the Healthy Family Expo’s Summer Family Fun Guide and am sharing 5 awesome attractions to add to your summer bucket list over the next couple months. Enjoy!

BRITANNIA MINE MUSEUM

IMG_5887IMG_5899IMG_5907IMG_5949IMG_5933IMG_5979

1. Britannia Mine Museum

“MUMMY, BIG TUCK” Ezra exclaimed as we came around the corner of the entrance to Britannia Mine Museum – sure to be one of the highlights of the entire trip for her and her cousin. Rewind to when we arrived at the mines, unfortunately because of the long, winding road you take to get there, Ezra fell asleep. Right before we pulled into the parking lot. Great timing kid. We ended up splitting up and my husband took her cousin through the mines and on the awesome tour, including when he was the chosen one to make the whole mine dark by blowing out a candle. He was VERY excited about that! I waited in the car until Ezra woke and then we joined them for some gold panning, train rides and digging.

There was a museum portion that had a huge assortment of stones and gems, gold panning – so much fun, the big yellow truck, and obviously the tour through an actual mine! There was so much to see, the tour itself is about 45 minutes long and then if you really want to find some gold, you’ve got to put your back into it and dedicate some time there! Haha. I would probably recommend putting aside 2 hours of time at least (and that would be without stopping to eat lunch while there).

Britannia Mine Museum was something I don’t think I’ve ever thought of visiting before. Whenever we’ve passed the mine previously, we were always en route to somewhere and it’s usually wrapped up in a time crunch. But when I saw the Healthy Family Media Expo’s Metro Vancouver Family Summer Fun Guide, I knew we wanted to check out each of these 5 attractions.

CULTUS LAKE WATERSLIDES

IMG_5526IMG_2747IMG_2745IMG_5522IMG_5564

2. Cultus Lake Waterslides

When we ventured out to the next attraction in the Summer Family Fun Guide, Cultus Lake Waterslides, I knew right away that I had to bring a couple of my niece’s and nephews along for the ride! What better way to kick off their summer break than with some 60 foot waterslides! (Just kidding, we stuck to tubing, splash park and the kids zone).

I was very impressed with all the different age groups they had designated play spaces for. It really was a full family experience, with something for everyone, from baby to adult! The kids spent most of their time in the wading pool that had a few curvy slides that started from a giant turtle at the top and then ended with a large wide slide to plunk you in to the pool again! The turtle was a favourite of my nephew’s, for at least a good hour he would consistently bring myself and my sister-in-law over to watch him hug, smile and slide down the turtle!

After a full day of sweets, splashing and sunshine, the drive home was the perfect length to have the kids drift off after such a busy day.

MAPLEWOOD FARM

IMG_5668IMG_5715IMG_5746IMG_5706IMG_5770IMG_5794IMG_5643

3. Maplewood Farms

We are so blessed to have my husband working as an EA, this means winter break, spring break and best of all, summer break. As soon as his school year ended, we headed right out to Maplewood Farm in North Vancouver to enjoy some family time. We knew right away that this would be a huge hit for Ezra, as she LOVES animals anywhere we go, playing with her Little People figures at home and watching them on TV.

When we arrived at Maplewood Farms, Ezra could see from the parking lot that there were horses, and she started to shake uncontrollably with excitement in her car seat! When we took her out of the car she hit the ground running, barely being able to stand still to check in. It was so sweet to see her be fearless with each and every animal, fully experiencing what each felt like, sounded like and even on some occasions, smelt like (yuck! lol). She was down on their levels, making the sounds she had heard from books to talk to them and giving each a hug before saying goodbye.

After we saw all the barnyard animals, we took a small path at the back to walk alongside the most adorable little pond. There were little ducks everywhere, willow trees and benches, quite a storybook setting if you ask me! As we walked a little further, all of a sudden my husband called for us to hurry up, there was a mama and her 2 ducklings nestled in beneath a tree by the water. It was the sweetest little thing to watch Ezra inch forward, being so gentle and quiet to not scare them. (Unlike when we saw the peacocks, she was practically one of them and talking their squacks).

WEST COAST RAILWAY HERITAGE PARK

IMG_5435IMG_5486IMG_5319IMG_5293IMG_5333IMG_5373IMG_5448IMG_5462IMG_5476IMG_5505IMG_5400

4.West Coast Railway Heritage Park

I think this trip was by far Ezra’s favourite – although it’s probably hard to judge because she get’s so excited about everything, but this girl LOVES trains. She loves making the sounds, pointing out the sky train on a daily basis, and anytime there’s a train table, you know you can find her there. The West Coast Railway Heritage Park is such a family friendly environment and a great place to take toddlers. There was so much running space between the cars and tracks, the insides were huge and had tables, beds and kitchens which is always fun to explore for little ones.

Throughout the building, tracks and at the waiting stations for the train rides were a number of different train tables for kids. This was a great way to keep the smaller ones occupied while older children or parents explored AND there was an abundance of trains to go around. If you’re a parent and reading this, you know how crucial this is. Haha.

They also offer an awesome train ride for everyone in the family. It’s about 6 cars long and miniature, so you mostly just straddle it with your little one in front of you. It goes around the whole park and is about 20 minutes long. It was another highlight for Ezra because not only was it a fun ride, but placed along the tracks in the forest were little animals and gnomes.

CULTUS LAKE ADVENTURE PARK

IMG_6122IMG_6097IMG_6186IMG_6148IMG_6026IMG_3816IMG_5998IMG_6033

5. Cultus Lake Adventure Park

When we made our way out to Cultus Lake Adventure Park, we knew what we were in for, so we made plans. We would stop at Kindred Clothing along the way, Ezra would nap, we packed the camera, snacks, water bottles and picked up a flat of blueberries on the way home! Most of this happened, in this order, except for the fact that Ez only napped for half an hour in the car, if that.

Before we headed out to the park, we looked up all the height requirements, types of rides and what was available for the shorter crowd. To our surprise and excitement, we were very impressed that Ezra was able to go on about half of the rides! She is tall for two years old which you think would be both a blessing and a curse, that she would be tall enough, but too young and scared of the ‘bigger’ rides, NOPE! For example, when Kenz went on their drop zone ride, Ezra was right behind him in line up to get buckled in.. ayiyiyi.

When we arrived at the park, the entrance has the roller coaster flying by above and Ezra exclaimed, “MOMMY! THAT ONE!” … maybe in a couple years kid. We made our way around the park, through the kids play zone, across the board walk, and around the carousel at least 4 times, on the Zebra obviously. Every. Time. We spent about an hour and a half at the park and it was just perfect for us, we each went on a couple rides with her and she was just so excited the entire time. We will definitely be bringing back our fearless little girl!

Thank you to the Healthy Family Expo for inspiring our adventures with their Summer Family Fun 2018 Guide, and to Jessie Farrell for providing the soundtrack for our adventures! Jessie Farrell’s new album, Sparkle & Shine, is inspired by nature and perfect for a drive to an outdoor adventure.  You can preview & download this album on Apple Music or order the CD online, and also catch Jessie & The Gumboot Kids on CBC Kids! Ezra has been jumping and hoping along to this soundtrack since the day it came out, she is such a bag of beans and continues to gain more awesome dance moves everyday!

These past few weeks have been crazy, preparing for baby #2, getting the house ready and stepping into summer mode – remembering to drink lots of water and always having a hat and sunscreen ready! These special outings with the family are always hectic, but hey, that’s how the best memories are made right?!

If you have any of your own hidden gems that you have as a family tradition, wether it be berry picking, carnivals or your favourite splash park, drop me a line below, I would love to hear about it and have new adventures!

I’ll leave you guys with a short clip of Ezra watching Mackenzie go on their highest ride at the adventure park – make sure to turn up the volume, it’s a good one!

Take Care and have an awesome summer!

XOX

Cass

 

Tofino Touring – BabyMoon for NumberTWO Pt.1

A little more than two years ago, Mackenzie and I packed our bags and camera and headed out on a road trip to Tofino, BC to stay in the Ocean Village Resort. This trip was to be our ‘last hurrah’ to our lives of just the two of us and to welcome the transition of bringing home baby in a few short months. (Here’s a few photos from our trip when I was pregnant with Ezra below!)

Tofino 2018 Highlights

  • Donuts at Rhino Coffeehouse
  • Tofino Soap Company
  • Local shopping at SALT Tofino
  • A toddler who can fly a kite better than you
  • Sleeping in beehive cabins
  • Efficient meal planning with Hello Fresh
  • Beachside BBQ
  • Tacos at Tacofino
  • Cheesy grins and wind swept hair

This year we are awaiting the arrival of our second babe, who is due at the end of August, and thought we take a trip down memory lane, pack our bags once more and head off to the BeeHive cabins of Tofino! We mentioned it to the rest of our family, since it was spring break, most would have vacation time, and low and behold, all 16 of us went! We booked up two and a half cabins and four cars, let the convoy begin!

While packing for the trip, we were discussing food, bringing a cooler, transporting leftovers and travelling to Victoria afterwards. We then came up with the most GENIUS plan I think we’ve ever thought up. We were going to bring our Hello Fresh box with us to Tofino! SO good. The box itself comes insulated and could last the trip there, no left overs (depending if Ez eats her whole meal) because it is made to portion, AND so much cheaper than bringing home all the awkward leftovers from grocery shopping that usually get tossed when you get home anyways! One thing I would recommend if you do decide to bring Hello Fresh along on your next trip would be to bring a couple tupperware containers for while you’re there and to call your accommodations to see what cooking utensils they have to make sure you’ll be able to cook what’s in the box!

When we arrived, our first plan of action (always, wherever we go) is to set up Ezra’s sleeping quarters. There is nothing worse when being away with your toddler, who is already out of sorts with the new room, than having to set up their bed when they’re cranky and half asleep. After that, we unpacked and started our first meal from Hello Fresh, put Ezra to bed and then headed over to the grandparents suite to have a games night! Another best part of staying at Ocean Village Resort was that the cabins are about 3 feet apart from each other, which is ideal for large family getaways. The monitor reaches perfectly!

Our second day there, we headed out to Rhino’s Coffee for some donuts, java, and a selfie with the great rhino itself. Of corse Ezra was all in the entire time and was on cloud nine when Wayne, the owner, came out from the counter and brought over an assortment of donuts for us to take back to the cabin and enjoy. Yummy! We then ventured out to stop in at a couple local shops we wanted to revisit and made sure to stop in one of the gems of Tofino, SALT Tofino. One of the goodies we walked away with was some of the beautiful soaps I just couldn’t keep my eyes off of – Tofino Soap Co. you make one heck of a bar of soap! If you are visiting and are looking for THEE place for one stop shop of all the local and handmade artisans, this is it. I even caught a glimpse of some companies that made their way over from Vancouver!

2PM rolled around and we were exhausted, time for a family nap time. Yup. Family nap time – it’s what vacations were made for! We then spent the afternoon down on the beach, which was 20 feet away from our doorstep, although, you could spot Ezra from a mile away with her ‘hazmat’ suite on. Then tucked away for the rest of the night, prepping our second Hello Fresh meal and then geared up for another games night, and we all know a games night in Tofino isn’t complete without pairing it with a few bottles from Tofino Brewing! Family games nights have always been my favourite, I remember when I was 10 or 11 and staying up with my mom and dad until 11pm some nights while we were camping at Golden Ears Park. The best.

Our last day in Tofino, we spent over at  PROVINCIAL PARK BEACH with the whole family. Building sandcastles, exploring tide pools and flying kites. OH the flying of kites. We discovered that Ezra is a pro kite-flyer and should go in to it as a career. I cannot express how funny and ‘in awe’ everyone was that Ezra was so focused on her kite (that was at least 70ft in the air) but would also run around on the beach, squatting in tide pools and digging in the sand. Amongst all of this she NEVER let the kite dip or out of her hand, and if you we’re going to ask her for it she would run as fast as her little feet and HAZMAT suite would let her. (PS – How ADORABLE is this toque from Wild Child Designs – we are obsessed with it and the only sad part about the sun coming out is that she’ll be done with it for this season.)

One special item on the itinerary while we were in Tofino, was family photos. My father-in-law had gone ahead and found an amazing photographer, Karley from Bracey Photography, to capture our entire family, big and small, on the beach. We are SO thankful both to him for scheduling such a precious time and for Karley for capturing everyone so beautifully that morning. (Click HERE to view the full collection – Link to come)

That evening we celebrated our family and the fun we had in Tofino with a good ol’ beachside BBQ with a few bottles of Tofino Brewing by our side. The resort has firepits set up along the beach for families to access during their stay. That evening as we sat there roasting marshmallows and hotdogs, there was a completely different feeling on the beach. A feeling of closeness, family, and just overflowing joy. Each firepit was full of different families, couples and children were walking and running along the tide, and then there it was, the perfect golden sunset.

The entire family stayed for three nights and after we all parted ways, just the three of us headed over to Victoria to enjoy a little more family time. Head over to – BabyMoon Numba TWO – Pt2 to read about the rest of our trip and more family photos!

Have any of your own family trip secrets? Leave a comment below for something new to try out on our next adventure!

XO – Cass

 

Creeks, Lakes & Rivers, OH MY! 5 places to stop for a quick bite or mountain dip.

This summer we packed up our teeny tiny KIA Spectra and went on a two and a half week road trip through the interior and made some pre-planned stops and some impromptu stops at some amazing lakes, waterfalls and creeks. Here are my top five that we visited and hope you one day have a chance to experience these same beautiful spots!

LillooetLake3

1. Cayoosh Creek – the perfect picnic spot with an amazing view!

When we stopped off at this beautiful spot, we were travelling from Kelowna to Pemberton. We decided to drive through the Pemberton Canyon, merely for site-seeing and having a little bit of change in scenery on this long drive. While we were going down a long windy road I yelled STOP! Kenz was quite confused, but I just said turn around and away we went. We had passed this beautiful opening of the forest with the mountains and the bridge, it was perfect. (When I was going through my photos, I realized the two middle photos matched up completely – how could I not use them? lol)

Tofino Towel – Lightweight – Flores

Ez’ Dress – Geema Sews

_____________________________________

2. Lilooet Lake – Light walk, Family friendly, Camping available

This was the most eery/creepy/horror movie scene lake I have ever been to! Because of the smoke it created a very different look then what I was expecting to see. Either way it was so cool and we will definitely be going back. My poor husband was so excited and kept telling me, ‘If it was cleared you’d be able to see this. this, and this.’ We made the most of it and Ezra tried out her water shoes for the very first time – she is definitely a water baby!

Tofino Towel – Long Beach – Volume 2

_____________________________________

3. Joffre Lake – Family/Dog friendly, hiking/rock climbing, Camping available

A dream come true! and a HUGE parent bucket list checked off! I have always wanted to go to this lake and do the hike, visit all the stops and for some reason it was always in my head that it just wouldn’t happen, or that it would be a HUGE trip to do it. Alas, when we were planning our route and the stops we’d be taking, Kenz turns to me and says, “You know where we can stop?” with a big goofy grin on his face, “Joffre Lake” OH MAN. was I seeing stars I was so excited!! This big blue beautiful lake did not disappoint! Nor did Mackenzie, as we passed other hikers along the way, they almost all cheered him on for carrying Ezra and saying hello to her. Meanwhile Ezra was yelling at every single ‘DOE-DOE’ (Dog) she saw; there was a lot. She was such a champ, she was so happy the whole way up (all 3 Lakes) and then slept the whole way down, all in the hiking carrier! I am very proud to announce that we did the entire three lakes in 1.5 Hours. I couldn’t believe the sense of accomplishment and empowerment I felt as we stood a the bottom of the glacier. We did it. Having a baby does NOT mean you scale back your passions and adventure, it means you adjust your mind and plans to make it work and thrive in parenthood! We will definitely be returning.

Side note: in the first picture below, yes, that is Ez pointing to the sky because we asked her where the birds were. I love her.

Ez Bonnet – Fawn&Lace

Ez Dress – Geema Sews

Ez Mocs – Wild Ones Mocs

Ez Stripped Shortie – Jax&Lennon

Ez long sleeve ‘Mountain Baby’ – LiveLoveNorth

Tofino Towel – The Flores

 

_____________________________________

4. Nairn Falls – Light walk & Family friendly

This has to be one of the coolest waterfalls I’ve been to. The size, the power, the closeness of the viewing landing, it was all so good. It’s a small hike up to the falls and I would suggest wearing closed toed and hiking shoes as there was a lot of debris that would not be good for sandals. There is also a large rock face that you have to climb up to get to the viewing spot, you can definitely walk up it – it is no rock climbing by any means, just be prepared with the proper footwear. (The last picture in the group below is what Ez looked like on every hike! She was so curious and full of wonder, holding tight to her bear and sousou, my brave little bean!)

Ez Bonnet – Fawn&Lace

Ez Dress – Geema Sews

Ez Mocs – Wild Ones Mocs

Ez Teal Shortie – Jax&Lennon

Chew Accessory – Baby Bear Design

Tofino Towel – The Flores

_____________________________________

5. Okanagan Lake – Family Friendly/Boat friendly

This lake has to be the one that we spent the most time at, it is the lake that the camp we worked at visits every year a couple times during the week. Unfortunately, the smoke was very thick so I think we only ended up going once so that we could try and keep Ez indoors. While we were there though, Ez had some fun in the water with daddy and they took out her little flamingo floatie and had some time around the corner on the shore where it was a bit more toddler-friendly.

Ez Bathing Suit – Mosie’s Cozies

Tofino Towel – The Flores

I hope you have a chance to visit each of these refreshing spots and enjoy the views, and the work out it takes to get to some of them!

XO – Cass

You may also like : Beach Ready From Head to Tote

Summertime Sisterhood – up’s&down’s, high’s&low’s and I wouldn’t change a thing.

They say that a sibling is a forever friend. This is a bold statement, especially when you are 9 and your sister is 2, you may be thinking quite the opposite. As time went on, it threw us curve balls and we could do nothing but cling to each other and grow through it. You learn to turn to each other in times of defeat instead of turning your back. You celebrate the small victories and rejoice in the milestones. You start to pull at each other, asking for guidance, for support and sometimes just for a hug. I am so thankful God gave me a sister to go through life with, even if I didn’t realize the blessing in the early years.

Growing up we had a large age gap between us and even though we did get along the odd time, when we got in to mom’s makeup or expressed ourselves artistically with markers on the wall, I don’t think we really ever anticipated what our relationship would one day grow in to. I look back now on the days we spent together, our endless LEGO villages and Sunday morning cartoons, and I can still see that same little 4 year old looking up to her big sis. Waiting for me to make the next move, to tell her if she’s doing a good job or when her pony tail isn’t centered.

You may also like : Beach Ready – From Head to Tote

To this day, this is still our saving grace, our center of gravity, pulling each other in and lifting each other up. A state of glorification and eagerness to help each other. Why? Because we’re sisters. There’s no other way to explain why we’ll go to the ends of the earth and walk the moon for one another. She’s my little and I’m her big, plain and simple, black and white.

Now in to our twenties, that 7 year gap isn’t making quite such a dent anymore. We both have a home life, work life and personal interests, hobbies and loved ones. Tish is such a great auntie to our little Ez, I find myself sometimes tearing up thinking and dreaming of the relationship that they share and will hold so dear to their hearts.

I remember when we were younger and Tish was trying to figure out what she was going to do after high school, having no direction except knowing she loved art, music and personal connections. She followed in her sisters footsteps and took an interest to Makeup Artistry, luckily that soon dwindled and she fell right in to where she was supposed to be, teaching and caring for children. we are now working in the same field and I am so excited to hopefully work along side her in the classroom and share our joy, excitement, and craziness.

Watching Tish grow over the years has given me a variety of feelings. Feelings of joy and excitement, feelings of anticipation and anxiety but mostly an overwhelming feeling of pride and love. I guess having a larger gap between us opens up the door of almost becoming motherly towards her in the teen years. I have to say though, now being older and being able to share the same passions and interests, it’s like a whole new world. As if I was just waiting for her to catch up to me, waiting for my best friend to arrive.

My not-so-little sister has grown in to this beautiful, funny, courageous and multi-talented young woman and I am SO excited to continue on in life with her. Going on trips, discovering new hobbies and just enjoying everyday to the fullest. Each day is a new beginning to start something new, learn something new and be renewed. I hope and pray that one day we can give Ezra the same blessing that God gave me 21 years ago.

Love you Little One

X0X

 

COLLABORATORS // Summer Styled Shoot

STYLED & CAPTURED BY: The Venture Creative

PHOTOGRAPHY: Natalia Reardon Photography

SUNGLASSES: Ollie Quinn

TOWELS: Tofino Towel Co.

SWIMSUIT: Nettle’s Tale

SUNSCREEN: K’Pure Naturals

JEWELRY: Mind the Minimal with Joie De Cristaux

APPAREL: Aloha Kai Apparel

BAG: Hold & Carry

WATER BOTTLE: The Free Reign Life

MODELS & GUEST BLOGGER: Stumbling Grace with Natasha Holt

LOCATION: Spanish Banks

 

 

Van2San Roadtrip 2015 [Pt.1]

Earlier in the year Mackenzie and I signed up and joined a group from Gracepoint Community Church, to travel to Mexico with One Life One Chance Ministries. We started to plan out our trip, what we would bring, where we were going and how we would get there. The entire team itself was flying down to San Diego and then driving in to Mexico. Mackenzie and I were talking about the trip with some friends one night after a dinner date and we ended up planning an entire road trip with them that centered around Mexico with a road trip on either end of it!

 

Highlight’s of Van2San Roadtrip 2016
  • Catching a chicken
  • Notebook doodles – pictures
  • Tilamook Cheese Factory + ice cream
  • The Oregon Coast
  • DIY memory cup
  • Devil’s Punch Bowl
  • Oceanside Murals
  • Redwood Forest
  • An engagement

The group of us definitely made the most of this trip and mapped it out accordingly. I am so thankful for Chelsea’s organization skills; our trip, budget and accommodations were all flawless! We started off planning by thinking about the coast, what hot spots we would like to hit and which ones were actually doable, while sticking to a backpackers budget. After all this was decided, we got together,  compared lists and mapped out the route, planning campgrounds, mealtimes and tourist stops.

We were SO grateful to my friend Melissa for opening up her family’s home in Woodenville, Washington for our first night of rest while on the road. When we arrived we were welcomed with open arms, enjoyed some time in their pool and in the morning, walked right out to the chicken coop and grabbed some fresh eggs for breakfast! What a DREAM.

IMG_1013IMG_0981IMG_0988IMG_1015IMG_1016IMG_1022

IMG_1021

Side project I started at the first starbucks we stopped across the border. I kept all my trinkets I found along the way in here!

We were soon on our way  to the coast, stopping in Washington one more time at a park on the side of the Columbia River, it was so beautiful! Overlooking the Columbia River and Astoria just within arms reach.

IMG_5742DSC_9428DSC_9401DSC_9418

DSC_9438

Finally we made it to Cannon Beach! The long awaited and much anticipated beauty. We set up camp at Wright’s for Camping Campground, grabbed a mug of hot cocoa and headed straight for the beach! After constantly looking up Cannon beach on the internet, hearing friends talk about it and watching the rolling, endless waves out the window, I was here! The way people describe it and cameras capture it truly does not do it justice. My toes were in the sand, the wind was in my hair and I didn’t have a care in the world. What a moment of pure bliss.

DSC_9527IMG_5795DSC_9513

IMG_1106

Keep your eyes peeled for more little doodles of add-ons throughout the trip! There’s quite the collection!

You may also like : Beach Ready From Head to ToteIMG_1029

It also did not disappoint that Ryan is very handy with a camera and took these absolutely breathtaking photos of Kenz and I on the beach!

DSC_9484DSC_9480DSC_9479DSC_9506

Our next stop on the map was the Tilamook Cheese Factory, as per Chelsea’s dream and request, but also to our enjoyment. There was so many different styles, smells and variations of cheese here, I didn’t even know this place existed, but thanks to Chels we got to enjoy cheese, ice cream and even some jerky! (One of these pictures you’ll see the first time ‘Operation Donut’ photographed)

DSC_9644IMG_1137DSC_9645IMG_1141

DSC_9637

WAIT FOR IT…..

DSC_9638

….where’s Ryan?

IMG_5887IMG_1145

IMG_1147

OPERATION DONUT

IMG_1129

Tilamook Country Smoker – The boys dream – After venturing through the cheese factory we started to walk towards to car and then we hear, “JERRKKKY” There was a factory beside the Tilamook Cheese Factory called the Tilamook Country Smoker. It was thoroughly enjoyed.

IMG_1134

Devil’s Punch Bowl is part of a state part just outside Otter Rock, Oregon. This view was breathtaking. I had read about this spot before our trip and it once was two separate caves that gave way and became one. It is centered on a large bowl naturally carved in a rock headland which is partially open to the Pacific Ocean. Waves enter the bowl and often violently churn, swirl, and foam. Definitely a site to see and something not to miss when you’re travelling through next time!

IMG_1171IMG_1158DSC_9681IMG_5985DSC_9703DSC_9717DSC_9730IMG_1346DSC_9759IMG_6187IMG_6170

IMG_6182

Port Orford

Welcome to California! We made it! We finally made it! Now off to find the Redwood Forest & Operation Donut – don’t worry it’s coming, you’ll soon find out! Now this forest specifically was another item to check off that I was excited to see and walk through. With trees reaching to the very tippy top of our atmosphere, it’s hard not to feel small, unless you’re hugging one of the infant trees. (Scroll up and check out Kenz and Chels huggin Redwood’s) We ventured on into the forest, looking up, feeling small and hugging every tree in our path.

IMG_1175IMG_6246IMG_1251IMG_1374IMG_1366IMG_6260

DSC_0006

“LOOK! I’m hugging a Redwood” – Chels *Kenz follows along*

DSC_0157

 

Then there it was, behold, the tree of love. (or as Mackenzie and I knew it; The big ‘O’) time for operation donut to commence. I can’t quite recall who started it but one of the two mentioned climbing up into the tree and taking a picture in it, and Ryan being the gentle-tall-man that he is, offered his hand in marria-err – assitstance to Chelsea. As she was getting settled on her perch, she turned to help Ryan and there he was. Waiting eagerly for her response, Operation Donut was in full bloom, “Will you marry me?” With tear filled eyes, Chelsea says,”GET UP HERE!!”

Now that was intense! Mackenzie and I were set up at different angles to capture the moment for them and there couldn’t have been a better set up because we were already walking through the forest and taking pictures of everything we saw. So climbing up in a big tree was a no-brainer! Excited for these two and their journey together. They are actually to be wed THIS Saturday, we cannot wait to celebrate with them!

DSC_0017DSC_0030DSC_0062IMG_1397IMG_1401

Redwood Forest Campground is where we camped overnight, this is where we enjoyed several card games and left our mark in the table along with many other visitors throughout the years. #VAN2SAN2015

IMG_1445IMG_1412IMG_1414IMG_1418

DSC_0077

Celebrating their engagement with Party Poppers!

IMG_1437DSC_0115DSC_0111

Paul Bunyan & Babe

TRIP CONTINUED ON TO NEXT POST >>> Van2San Roadtrip 2015 [Pt.2]

Saying NO to the “Mom-Bod”

How I chose to say NO to the mom bod.

This is not a work out post, a pity-post or a ‘I’ll make do with what I have’ post. This is an empowering, influencing and inspiring post. I chose not to give in to the ‘mom-bod’ and choose to love my baby-bearing body. 

IMG_0268

From time to time I do feel that tug of insecurity, self-doubt and I do see the marks left from that pull&stretch. But these are our love lines, our war wounds, our life long hopes and dreams. The sign of a mother. 

IMG_4933

Olivia Ann Photography

Though some may be more scarred than others, more discrete than others or even only inwardly marked; we have all joined on this journey and the trials of pregnancy, labour and the fourth trimester together. 

Received our badges of courage, of comfort and became a safe place for our littles.

IMG_7909

How in the WORLD can I look past my beautiful baby girl and focus solely on the body I was left with after her birth. 

It’s hard to move forward, to feel back to normal when you know you’re not. That before-baby-BABE-bod feels so far away. It’s hard to feel glamorous, beautiful or even mediocre sometimes. To have the pure essence and freedom to think or even feel; I am beautiful. 

The rawness of it all; is that we all think this.

IMG_8093

Who’s better? Who’s thinner? Who has the best workout?

STOP. Take a second and stare into your child’s eyes.

There’s your all in all; you’re beauty and your pride. 

View More: http://nataliareardonphotography.pass.us/donutshoot

Natalia Reardon Photography

There lays your heart and your reflection in their eyes, staring right back at you telling you, you are enough. 

You will ALWAYS be enough. 

This is why I am saying no to the ever-so-daunting “mom-bod.” I do not fall short, I will not give in to this lie that I am sub-par, I will stand tall.

I am Ezra’s mom. I take this journey and glorify it. The good, the bad, the discomfort and the beauty in the middle. I am blessed to be her mother and am honoured to rock this ‘MOMBOD.’

-Xox

me and ez