8/16/17

DEAR CEDAR


Dear Cedar,

I love watching you learn & grow on the daily. The way you play with Milo truly melts my heart, you are always so concerned about his happiness, you worry when he cries & are always trying to make him happy. Watching your relationship is one of the absolute best things in the entire world. The sweetest memories are always going to be at bedtime when the two of you roll around giggling & hugging in your bed, Milo adores you so much & you do him. You are a boy with so many questions, always wanting to learn more & more & more, sometimes I worry I won't be able to keep up with all of the questions. I'm always getting surprised by you & all that you know, you know so many random little facts about animals & dinosaurs, it always impresses me how much you remember & sometimes it scares me just a little. You remember so much more than I do that sometimes I worry I'm going to lose the upper hand!

You are my sweet, little, tentative boy. I hope one day you realize you are bigger than your fears, that you can do anything you want & you don't limit yourself. More often than not I hear you say "I can't", but I want you know that you can, you can do anything. I understand how nervous you are & how scary trying new things can be but, don't let it hold you back. It's hard for me to hear you doubt yourself, it makes my heart ache hearing that you don't think you can do something because it scares you. My hope is for you to be the bravest boy in the world, not to let your fears limit you from doing the things you really want because that is how you will learn to grow & trust yourself. Another reason it's hard for me is because I was the same way when I was your age. I was scared of everything & it took me a long time to learn to face my fears but once I did, life became fuller. It's ok to fall, to get hurt, to scrape up your hands & knees, that is how you will learn. Sometimes we need to fall, don't let it stop you from trying again. I know that when you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything you want love bug, now you just need to believe that.

While you may be a little tentative, you are always on the hunt for your next adventure & I hope that you don't lose that. I love all the adventures you go on, whether they're just to the backyard, hunting rocks & sea glass at the beach, pushing your limits trying to climb a tree, or swimming in the pool. I love how you make everything we do into an adventure & while it does drive me crazy at some times, I sort of like how you always have to pack a bag full of snacks even if we aren't going far or just ate.

Oooooh Cedar bug, there are so many things I can write about you at this exact moment in life. I'll be honest, you are either completely & utterly adorable & funny, or you are the hardest kid on earth. No in-between but, I wouldn't change this time for the world because those adorable moments are worth all of the hard ones. Keep being you Cedar Bug. I hope you can become confident as you grow older, know that you can achieve anything & that you never lose your sense of wonder. I love you.

8/7/17

PARIS, YOU HAVE MY HEART

















Ooooooooh Paris, how I love you. The first time I ever went to Europe I was 11 & we went to London & Paris & I immediately fell in love, especially with Paris. I mean, what's not to love? It is a beautiful city, the croissants & baguettes are delicious, there are flower stands all over the place, the history, the museums, the architecture & people playing music all around.. I truly love it. walking around the city is one of my most favorite things to do, which is totally lucky because with kids you get to walk around a lot.

After our time in Iceland we went to Paris for three days, 2 of which I was totally sick but I still loved every minute. I would rather be sick in Paris than at home, that's for sure :). We went to the Louvre, the Sacre-Coeur, the Tuileries gardens multiple times, the Eiffel Tower, Musèe de l'orangerie, arch de triumph... we tried our best to hit it all. One of the absolute highlights of our time in Paris was when Cedar saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time. We were walking from our hotel to the tuileries & he caught of glimpse of it & soooo excitedly he pointed & said "mom! I can see the Eiffel Tower!!!!" I was surprised that he even knew what it was called to be honest, I hadn't prepped him on what was in Paris & for a second I thought he remembered it from our previous trips to Paris, haha, but I asked where he learned about the Eiffel Tower from & he said Little Einsteins! So thank you, Little Einsteins, for giving my 4 year old some culture, haha. He was also really excited when I told him that we were going to go up the Eiffel tower, it was the total highlight of his trip. We bought him a little Eiffel tower off the side of the road & he has been playing "paris" ever since & I think it is so cute!

One day the entire family went to Disney Paris but I was sick & had to lay in bed all day, but at least they all had fun, hah. I had the sweetest concierge though who took great care of me. I called down asking if they had a dr. & he took it upon himself to make sure I was ok. He walked me to the pharmacy & to the market so that he could explain to the pharmacist what my symptoms were, get me some medicine & then some food & drink to keep me nourished, so sweet! The next day he checked up on me a couple of times & kept telling me he was better than a dr. haha, it was great & I did get better pretty quick! A couple of months before our trip I was looking up where different artworks are located that I wanted to see (super nerdy of me, I know) & I looked up Monet's Water Lilies & was pretty happy to learn that they are at the Musèe de L'Orangerie. I had no idea that they were in Paris, so when I found out we were going I made sure to have a chance to go see them in person & am so happy I did. It was one of the best parts of the entire trip for me. I'm a really big fan of Monet & seeing these paintings in real life was seriously stunning, I totally got teary eyed which is so not like me. They made me so emotional, but it was a good thing. If you go to Paris, make sure to go! It's pretty close to the Louvre in the Tuileries, you won't regret it.

I don't think I will ever get tired of Paris, it is such a magical city. It's a life long goal of mine to live there at some point.

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CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE TEST


Cedar has been really interested in cooking & baking lately, specifically when we make cookies or pancakes, & every time we make cookies I google a cookie recipe. I don't have a "go-to" recipe for pretty much anything, google is my cooking best friend, I find recipes that I love & I save them & others I never, ever make again. Since he has been so into it though, I've decided to start testing/tasting/reviewing the different recipes we use for  cookies & letting you know how they go! Lately we have been making only chocolate chip cookies, but we're open to branch into different cookies :) First up is the chocolate chip cookie recipe on the back of the Tollhouse Chocolate Chip package.


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt (i like to use sea salt)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups nestle tollhouse chocolate chips

1// Preheat oven to 375 f.
2// Combine flour, baking soda, & salt - set aside. 
3// Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar & vanilla in a mixer until creamy. Add eggs one at a time. Once combined, add in flour mixture & chocolate chips & beat together. *TIP* grating the butter makes it soften & easier to beat in if you don't have time or forget (like me, every time) to soften butter beforehand!
4// bake 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. 

These cookies were so easy to make & Cedar loved being apart of the action, however they weren't my favorite. Maybe it's just me, but every time I make the Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies they come out totally flat & it always disappoints me! The cookie dough was totally delicious & lets be honest, that's 1/2 the reason I make cookies, haha, but the baked cookies just aren't a favorite of mine. What do you think? What are your favorite cookies to make? I would love to try some new recipes! 

7/30/17

ICELAND // PART TWO



My photos of Iceland are a mashup of two separate trips, one with my mom, both my brothers & their families & Austin, & then one with my mom, my sisters family & no Austin! My sister, mom & I went to Iceland after France before coming home.

After the Glaciers we headed towards our hotel for the night & stopped at Skofgoss, one of the (many) waterfalls on the side of the road. This was is HUGE & had stairs to the top of it. & then we stopped in Vik to see the cutest little church on the hillside that was surrounded by fields of little yellow flowers & lupin. The kids loved running through all of the fields & getting their wiggles out after driving for so long. While we were with my sister we stopped in Vik & went to the Black Sand Beach which is known for gigantic waves & these crazy rock formations. It was sooo pretty but also insanely windy while we were there, so we didn't last that long but I'm so glad we were able to go.

We stopped by the Kerid Crater before heading to the Geysir area in the Golden Circle where we stayed in a hostel that we absolutely loved! We stayed at the most magical hostel for kids that had so many horses, sheep & cats that they let all of the kids play with. They had a baby lamb that Milo & Cedar looved being able to feed & Milo kept chasing it trying to hug it, it was adorable. While we were there the cousins all had a sleepover (minus the babies!), it was so cute to see how excited Cedar was to have a sleepover with his cousins.

I feel like we could accomplish so much in one day in Iceland because it literally never got dark, haha. It was pretty confusing because the light was never a morning or evening light, it just seemed to stay a constant mid-day light, & I was never positive what time it was. I'm not sure how people can handle living with constant light because my 4 days was pretty hard, but also really cool because I had never been anywhere like that.