from maui we jumped islands & went to oahu to spend a few days at the aulani. austin, my mom & the kids & i had been to the aulani a couple of years before but the rest of my family hadn't & really wanted to go.

going back with the boys being older was a lot of fun. neither of my kids have ever cared about character meet & greets when we've gone to disneyland & the last time we went to aulani cedar couldn't have cared less about them, but this trip was an entirely different experience. they were both so excited about the characters & it was soooo cute. i seriously loved seeing how excited they both were about the characters, especially milo. he literally hugged minnie mouse for a solid 3 minutes at the character breakfast without letting go. she kept opening her arms for him to let go & he just wouldn't, haha.

we spent the days jumping from pool to pool, lazing down the lazy river, going to the hot tub & playing at the beach. it was so relaxing & so much fun. the kids were constantly entertained either by the pools, the character sightings or boy the toys that were available for rent. we had a lot of fun while we were there.

on our last day we went out on a catamaran boat which was a big hit for everyone. the kids loved being on the boat & my kids were pumped to see the side of the island that jurassic park was filmed dole plantation, teds bakery & ended with dinner at seven brothers at the mill. it was basically the perfect ending to the trip.

on! we even saw spinner dolphins swimming in the water which was really exciting. the older kids & adults all went snorkeling & saw all kinds of fish & turtles while my sister-in-law kristen & i stayed behind with our kids who weren't into the idea of snorkeling. after the boat ride we drove over to the north shore & did a little eating tour. we went to the


my family normally goes on a trip every first week of july as sort of a remembrance of my fathers life because it marks his birthday & anniversary of when he died. so it's our way of being together & remembering him. it's one of my favorite traditions we have, not only do we get to go to cool places with each other but we always take time to talk about him & tell the grandkids stories about their grandpa so that they feel they had a chance to know him, it's pretty special. this years vacation was to Hawaii.

a couple days ago my friend said "a vacation with kids isn't a vacation, it's a trip" & i couldn't agree more. haha. totally true. there are few moments you have to relax while on a trip with your kids, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth it or that it isn't fun, it's just different. but, hawaii was a dream trip. the trip started off in maui where we stayed at the fairmont kea lani. while we were in maui we played hard at the pool & the beach, the kids went wild giving temporary tattoos to everyone, playing games with each other & swimming to the point of exhaustion (many meltdowns occurred). this trip was like a whole new experience. the kids are all at a point where they just run around & play with each other & besides the two little ones that were there, the parents were sort of left a lone. it was pretty nice. my sisters kids are 13, 11 & 9 so they totally entertained the 4, 5 & 2 year olds.

we took a day to drive part of the road to hana & hike in to a few waterfalls for swimming. the drive was gorgeous & gave me small anxiety. a lot of it are really tight switchbacks on one way bridges, which are not overly fun when driving a big car that you're not used to. but overall, it was fun & definitely worth it. the side of the island with the road to hana is like a rainforest & is so lush & green. we saw twin falls & then pulled over at some random falls later in our drive & went swimming in their pools.

a lot of times when we have gone to hawaii, we have just lounged & relaxed at the resort rarely leaving. but as i've gotten older i have loved taking time in a new place to just go & explore, it is so much fun & gives you a totally different view of the island.

most nights we would be too tired to venture out with all the kids for dinner, but for the nights that we did make it out of the hotel, here is where we ate!

1. stewz maui burgers
2. fat daddy's smoke house
3. cheeseburger grille & tap room
4. jaws country store (along the road to Hana)
5. ululani's hawaiian shave ice


we had the opportunity to spend the month of june in california. the month was sort of a whirlwind, the first week was insanely busy but it was all fun. the reason i stayed for the entire month was because of a bachelorette party the first weekend & then the wedding to follow was the last week of august, so it just made so much more sense for me to stay rather than drive/fly back & forth so many times in a short period!

austin & i drove down at the end of may & kicked off the trip with a james taylor concert with my family. it was honestly one of the best concerts. i love james taylor, he reminds me so much off my childhood & seeing him live was seriously amazing & i maaaay have cried just a tiny bit. while we were there we celebrated our 6 year anniversary on june first by spending a day at the beach, just the two of us, went to a movie & got dessert. it was mellow & just what i was hoping for after feeling so busy for the weeks leading up to it.

the next day i went on a bachelorette weekend to the Madonna Inn that was so much fun! if you haven't been, the madonna inn is definitely worth a visit. the hotel is in san luis obispo & is so unique. each room is decorated differently with different themes & the details are unreal. we stayed in the pink rose room & it was adorable, everything was perfect from the rose chandeliers to the pink couches & carpet, it was amazing. we stayed for one night & spent the day lounging by the pool before going out to dinner. it was the perfect girls weekend.

i got home from the bachelorette weekend the night before cedar's 5th birthday (still in denial that i have a 5 year old). we woke up on his birthday & made his favorite breakfast, opened presents & then austin & I took him for a special day allllllllll about him to disneyland while my mom kindly watched milo. it was really cute & fun doing a day with just him, the last time we did that was my due date with milo! we let him literally pick everything we did. our first stop once inside the park was for a bag of jelly beans & from there we zig zagged our way around the park while he picked what rides we went on, where we ate lunch & dinner, snacks & everything else. we even got him to agree on going on guardians of the galaxy for the first time with slight bribery of a toy at the end of the ride. gotta do what ya gotta do. the next day we had a little party with a couple of his friends in california. the kids played in the backyard, had a dinosaur scavenger hunt & did a little dinosaur painting craft (all cedar's idea).

after the first week back (we did so much in that week!) austin had to head home while the littles & i stayed behind. we filled our days with friends, swimming, & a lot of the beach. it was so much fun. i think we all missed the beach & milo definitely missed the sand. the first few of our beach days he would just sit & play with the sand right in front of me without moving, it was the funniest thing! i started to think about it & realized that none of the parks we play at in utah have sand so he literally hasn't played in sand since moving away from california, how weird is that!?

austin came back for the last leg of the trip so he could be at my friends wedding with me. the wedding went beautifully to every last detail & it was so nice to have austin there with me after so long of being apart! we also celebrated my sisters 40th birthday with a surprise party at a bowling alley. her husband managed to convince her that they were taking the kids to see the new incredibles movie which led to her wanting to embarrass her kids by wearing a mrs. incredible costume (which she had on hand, btw), so she showed up to her party dressed as mrs. incredible which was pretty funny.

such a fun & busy trip, the time went by so fast even though we had so much of it. watch the video below for condensed look at the trip :).


song: man on fire by edward sharpe & the magnetic zeroes


last weekend we took the kids on a much over-due camping trip. cedar has talked about camping for as long as i can remember & honestly, he & milo had become way too obsessed with tv (my fault cause i let them keep watching it) & i decided they needed a technology break asap. so with that, we loaded up the truck & headed out to torrey, utah & it was just what our family needed.

i had been to torrey once before but just stopped through, so camping there was pretty fun. i love the tiny town charm it has. we got there in the afternoon, set up camp & went out exploring what the tiny town had to offer us. we had promised cedar to make hot dogs & s'mores, but i was really feeling pizza so we stopped at a local pizza spot & ate dinner there while the kids played outside & then went back for our s'mores & cedars hotdog he wanted so badly (even though he already ate pizza).

we stayed up late making s'mores, telling camping stories & then wrestling the kids to sleep. when cedar was a baby we took him camping all the time & he was really great at it, still is! milo on the other hand is a whole different story. that kid is wild in all elements of his life. we tried him out first just in a sleeping bag & that wasn't working, so then we set up the mini crib we used to use for cedar when we camped & that definitely didn't work. we put him in the crib & cedar in his sleeping bag & left the tent to get them to go to sleep & milo just cried & cried while cedar sweetly tried singing him songs to make him happy. i think my heart would have literally melted if i wasn't so flustered with all of milos crying. after about 10 minutes of that nonsense austin & i threw the towel in & got in the tent with them & i held milo while he slooooooooowly fell asleep on my belly & cedars head somehow ended up on my legs. once milo was a sleep i was able to slide him into his crib & get a couple semi-decent hours of sleep in before he woke up crying because he was cold. the kid will not sleep with a blanket on him, so he kept waking up cold & i'd put the blanket on him & he'd be happy then all of a sudden it would be off. the boy is wild. eventually i just pulled him back with us where cedar had squeezed his way between austin & i on the air mattress that completely deflated during the night. sleep was not out strong point on this trip, that is for sure.

but the awake parts were worth it.

the next day we woke up, made pancakes, packed up camp & took a little drive around the area while we waited for winds to die down & temperatures to rise. once it was a little warmer we went into capitol reef national park. we stopped by the visitors center & decided to hike to the natural bridge. i was really proud of all the boys on the hike, aus carried milo in the pack which is no easy feat since he is the heaviest 2 year old, milo was happy as a clam the entire way & cedar walked the entire 2.6 miles. it was really impressive! i learned that as long as i kept asking him dinosaur questions he wouldn't think about how far we had gone or how tired he was, that & singing queen songs with him kept him going.

after the hike we had a picnic lunch & the kids ran around collecting more dirt. we also went to the gifford homestead for homemade pie & to hang with the horses. it was really so fun, the boys loved the whole experience.