Thursday, December 24, 2009

the LIGHT of the WORLD

tears well up in my eyes as i think about all that Christmas means to me and what a joy it is to now share it with my boys. more than jingle bells and mom's cheese danish, new pajamas on christmas eve and cookies for santa, more than evergreen trees and pretty packages, Christmas is Christ.
strolling the grounds of temple square in salt lake with every limb and branch aglow took my breath away. though i have been there many times at Christmas, it was the first time i'd seen the magic of millions of lights through new eyes as a wife and as a mother. the illumination impressed me greatly. not only was it breathtaking and enough to make one giddy and drunk in the christmas spirit, its' symbolism has been burned into my heart.
Light in the darkness. He marked the path and led the way. your Light in the wilderness. He is the Light which lights every man. Light which cannot be hid. my Light and my salvation. let your light so shine before men. bring up your children in light and truth. I am come to light the world.
i love the knowledge that we can always have a beautifully lit path even through times of terrible darkness if we will but rely on He who is the true LIGHT of the WORLD. and teaching my children that will be my greatest endeavor on this earth.
may we all remember that His birth and His life gives us all a reason to celebrate every day of our lives.
wishing His love and His peace to you and yours this christmas.
xoxo, jess and fam.

"Christmas is more than trees and twinkling lights, more than toys and gifts and baubles of a hundred varieties. It is love. It is the love of the Son of God for all mankind. It reaches out beyond our power to comprehend. It is magnificent and beautiful. It is peace. It is the peace which comforts, which sustains, which blesses all who accept it. It is faith. It is faith in God and His Eternal Son. It is faith in His wondrous ways and message. It is faith in Him as our Redeemer and our Lord. We testify of His living reality. We testify of the divinity of His nature. In our times of grateful meditation, we acknowledge His priceless gift to us and pledge our love and faith. This is what Christmas is really about. " Gordon B. Hinckley

Friday, December 18, 2009

god is not dead, nor doth he sleep!

soooo good. please take a minute to watch!

thanks to michelle for the link.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

i'm dreaming... of a DIY christmas

so, i know most of you dear readers aren't poor college students like we are, but we could all use a little extra cash around the holidays, right?
so, i present to you our grand-felted-diy-extravaganza-christmas!

we got rid of our disgustingly cheap fake christmas tree in the big move and don't ever get real ones because we are never actually home for christmas. that and the fact that my boys stick EVERYTHING in their mouths. i know henry would be pooping pine needles for weeks! what's that? too much information? sorry 'bout that.
so, we went with something a little different this year:
do you see it? over there in the right hand corner? (yes, i know the glider is covering it up) oh, you need a closer look? oh, alright:
that would be 2 dead(ish) trees from our back yard cemented into 2 large galvanized pots we had lying around. leftover lights, a few PLASTIC yet festive ornaments, and a few diy felt and rik-rak ornaments (tutorial here) and voila... a fun and festive (and CHEAP) tree alternative. total cost? about $8.

and the stockings? oh the stockings. i'm in love. must admit, i saw them on etsy and while i am totally a proponent of buying things on etsy (obviously) i knew that a) i didn't have enough time to order them and get them here in time to enjoy them and b) i have mounds and mounds of beautiful bright felt that was begging to be used up for such a project. so easy, so simple, so funky. and that's how i like it. total cost? $0

owey loves them too. see his hand waving madly at the o? yep. he's pretty excited that the green one is just for him.

after i finished the tree and the stockings something was missing. aaaah yes, another easy way to use up that felt. a re-usable christmas chain. i love the way it looks, and i can use it over and over again. and my sis even pointed out that since it isn't made out of traditional christmas colors i could use it to countdown for ANY holiday! brilliant!
just cut strips of felt and ironed on some velcro i had in my stash. total cost? $0.

and of course we had to complete the mantle with a nativity. this is actually one of the few nativities we could find in CA when we were first married (it's embarrassing how difficult it is to find christ centered christmas items there). it isn't anything fancy, not an heirloom for sure. but does it remind us what this holiday is really about? yes indeedy. and i love seeing owey learn about baby jesus and his miraculous birth.

and don't forget about diego...

and there you have it. a diy christmas. owey approves!

and mom, if you're wondering why i am not in bed at this insane hour... henry is cutting yet another tooth. yup, 3 at once. i have a feeling i won't be sleeping much this week.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

jingle bells, batman smells.

image found here
am sending out this year's christmas cheer complete with lovely picture of the erickson 4 (though getting o & h to both look at the camera AND smile, didn't happen this year. oh well. they're still cute.)
if you'd like to be on the nice list, send me your address asap to jessicamerickson(at) and i'll be sure your mailman delivers it with hot cocoa and candy canes. ok, maybe not the last part, but wouldn't that be nice?
don't you love december mail? me too! (hint, hint:)

Monday, December 07, 2009

in loving memory of fall... may she rest in peace.

these pictures are old, but when i woke up to 2 inches of snow this morning, i had to pull them out to remind me of happier times...

so long fall. we'll miss you. desperately.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

poor henry.

i don't know how many times i've said that in the last 8 months. poor henry. yes, you heard that right - henry is 8 months today. can you believe it?
poor henry.
i was so diligent in posting all of owen's milestones back when i was a mom of one, wasn't trying to run a business and make sure no one dies before dad gets home. but if blogging was all you had to know of henry's sweet little life (which for some of you, it is!), you would think henry was only 4 months old. because that's the last time i did a henry post.
poor henry.
i have had good intentions. i have the pictures, and at one point or another i've composed each of those other 3 month's posts in my head. oh well. you win some, you lose some.
but oh dear henry.
want to see what a love he is these days?

couldn't you just eat him up? though things were certainly a bit less chaotic before he entered our world, i just can't imagine life without that smile.

or those big blue eyes.

henry is anxious to be a big boy like his brother- and as a result the poor guy falls so many times a day i just can't help but say "poor little henry" over and over again. he crawls like a mad man, but would be walking if he had his way. he climbs over and onto everything, pulls himself up onto anything (stable or not -- he has a war wound right now from trying to climb up a little empty trash can by my desk) and is about as determined as they come.

henry is our little bouncer- and this is how i find him every morning and at the end of every nap - bounce, bounce, bouncing away with that big ol' grin on his face.

henry is seriously growing out of 6-12 month clothes. yeah, we grow 'em big around here.

i love this stage. it is one of so much exploration and figuring things out. it is a social stage, and henry is the most social baby i have ever seen. in a room full of adoring people, he is happy as a clam. and though he rarely gets upset, it is usually because he just wants someone to stare at him and smile. oh henry, how i would love to be able to stare at you and smile all day every day!

i mean, wouldn't you!?

my dear henry, you are a gift. i love to imagine all the things you will accomplish in your life and all the joy you will bring to ours. you brighten my day in an instant and help remind me to stop and soak in the world around me. you bring me around to what is most important and you make me so grateful to have the privilege of being a mother. i love you with all that i am.

i survived.

clint made my ice cream sandwich cake. sweet, huh? there were 30 of them...
so, i survived my 30th birthday. and to be honest, 30 feels no different than 29. guess i made a big fuss for no reason. sorry 'bout that.
thank you for all the bday wishes and advice, and i truly was spoiled this year (and am still celebrating actually!)
it was great to spend the weekend with family. festivities for clint's mom's 50th, halloween, and my 30th all in one weekend! squeeze in a little trip to the er in the middle of the night, and the weekend was complete. (owen wasn't breathing... nasty croup scared us half to death, but he was fine after a few hours.) anyhow... all in all, a good time.

the other night as we were lying in bed getting ready to fall asleep, clint cranked up this little tune on his ipod and let me soak it in for a minute:

think I’ll take a moment, celebrate my age
The ending of an era and the turning of a page
Now it’s time to focus in on where I go from here
Lord have mercy on my next thirty years

Hey my next thirty years I’m gonna have some fun
Try to forget about all the crazy things I’ve done
Maybe now I’ve conquered all my adolescent fears
And I’ll do it better in my next thirty years

My next thirty years I’m gonna settle all the scores
Cry a little less, laugh a little more
Find a world of happiness without the hate and fear
Figure out just what I’m doing here
In my next thirty years

Oh my next thirty years, I’m gonna watch my weight
Eat a few more salads and not stay up so late
Drink a little lemonade and not so many (root)beers
Maybe I’ll remember my next thirty years

My next thirty years will be the best years of my life
Raise a little family and hang out with my wife
Spend precious moments with the ones that I hold dear
Make up for lost time here ,In my next thirty years

gotta love timmy mcgraw. got me thinking. what about my next 30 years? i think i have accomplished much and learned a lot in my first 30 years. but what next? i haven't finished my list yet, but i'm working on it.

what about you?
what do you want to do in your next 30 years?

Sunday, November 01, 2009 this author's husband

My Thirty Loves... (in no particular order)

your brown eyes, brown skin, and brown guts
your selflessness
your creativity
your efforts to cook, clean and (wo)man the home fort
your christlike love
your ever-enlarging heart
your ever-lasting patience with me
your bravery on our adventure so far
your ability to teach and engage with O and H
your tender mother-ly-ness
your california-ness
your incredible belief in me (crazy)
your concern for our family's health
your mad spelling skills
your intuition
your friendship magnetism
your loyalty
your entrepreneurial savvy-ness
your fashion sense and lack of bumped hair
your opinion
your hyperactive tear ducts
your consistent pursuit to be better
your (our) goal - all the way home
your forever forgiveness
your attempts to like what i like
your common sense
your help in EVERYTHING i do
your taste in husbands
the memory of our day in the sealing room


- Love your Loverly

Saturday, October 31, 2009

the best thing

by far the best thing i ever did in my twenties (and in all of my 30 years i guess) was this:

and this:

and this:

what an amazing season of life.

the answers.

want to know why sometimes i seem a little insane?

1. how many countries did i visit in my 20's? 8
(england, france, italy, spain, argentina, tahiti, mexico, cayman islands. other fun trips in the good ole' usa - kauai, lake powell, key west, jackson hole)
2. what year did i graduate from byu? 2003
yes, i know that is 6 years after i graduated from high school, but with a mission in the middle and being in no rush to leave, that's the way it worked out.

3. how many roommates did i have? 30 (not including clint and the boys of course)
yes, 30. that includes 7 premish, 13 on the mission, 3 after at byu, and 7 in huntington beach. nuts.

4. how old was i when i got married? 25

5. how many cars did i drive in my 20's? 7
a few of which i wish i'd never laid eyes on. like this and this.

6. what was the longest i was in one place, and where was it? carmel valley
in the last 10 years, the longest i've been in one place was carmel valley. a whopping 15 months. i'm just a regular gypsy i tell you.

7. how many times did i move? 22
seriously. now you might understand why i hate moving so much.

8. how many full time jobs did i have?3
or 5 if you include being a mom and allora (believe me, they are both full time.!)

9. how long did clint and i date? 1 year

10. how many states did i live in?4
california, utah, wyoming, idaho (plus 3 provinces in argentina: mendoza, san juan and san luis)

yes, it's been quite a ride.

Friday, October 30, 2009

there was once a time when walmart was the staff of life.

i once remember a friend in college saying that walmart was the staff of life. i thought she was nuts. having grown up a target kind of girl, you may as well have tried to convince me that the earth was flat rather than try and tell me that walmart could be anything close to the staff of life.
and then, there was argentina.
i served a mission for a year and a half in mendoza, argentina and for the first 9 months of that mission i was in an area where there was a walmart. and rare commodities such as peanut butter, maple syrup, and even tortillas were only found at walmart and i was lucky enough to not have to go without. though in the 21 years of my life before my mission i had never cared for the place, there was something about those wide open aisles that felt like home.

(can you find me?)

the walmart in mendoza really has nothing to do with anything i experienced or learned in argentina, except for the fact that my desire to venture there weekly illustrates how completely upside down my world was at the time. everything was different, uncomfortable, hard, and new. yet, it was incredible, rewarding, happy, and life-changing. that year and a half in argentina has largely shaped me as a person. it is what i remember most about the first half of my twenties, even though now it seems like a dream. it is there that i learned that with change comes growth, with hardship comes joy, and that success usually lies just outside of your comfort zone. it is there that i learned the kind of wife and mother i want to be, the kind of man i want to marry, and the kind of instrument i want to be in god's hands.
it is there that i learned that walmart is not THAT bad. (don't get me wrong - would choose target over walmart any day of the week!)

did you know i lived in 2 more places that only had a walmart? any guesses?

a quizzle fo shizzle (again)

let's just see how well you know me, or how much of my twenties you were a part of.
take a guess, I dare you:

1. how many countries did i visit in my 20's?
2. what year did i graduate from byu?
3. how many roommates did i have?
4. how old was i when i got married?
5. how many cars did i drive in my 20's?
6. what was the longest i was in one place, and where was it?
7. how many times did i move?
8. how many full time jobs did i have?
9. how long did clint and i date?
10. how many states did i live in?

this may just give you an idea of how crazy the past ten years have been...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

real quick.

sorry, no funny anecdote here.
just wanted to make sure that you, my beloved family and friends are in on the action.
would love it to go to you....

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

i once lived out of my car.

yep. you read that right.
actually, it probably should say "more than once, i've lived out of my car."

aaahhh, the life of a 20 year old college vagabond.

you want the story? well, ok.
i started working as an efy counselor in the summers when i was 18. the summer of my 2oth year i decided that it would be silly to pay rent all summer if i was going to be in the dorms all week. all i needed was somewhere to crash for the weekend. oh, and somewhere to store all of my junk. hence, i lived out of my car.
i usually crashed on brooke's couch (thanks brookie!) or whoever else would take me in, and since efy was 5 days of hyper teenage girls that didn't sleep, i use the term "crash" rather literally. man i used to be able to survive on so little sleep back when i was a spring chick.
so, the living out of the car thing would not have been that bad really, except that i happened to drive what i referred to as "white trash" (an old white jeep cherokee) that may or may not have started every time i wanted it to. which meant that my portable closet/house/ was not so portable. the battery died so often (and yes, i replaced it more than once, and the alternator, and...) that i was on a first name basis with the AAA tow truck guys. once i asked the guy what i should do and his response? classic: "honestly? drive it off a cliff." perfect.
anyhow, being an efy counselor was such an incredibly rewarding experience and so much fun - definitely one of the highlights of my early twenties. living out of my car? not so much. apparently i didn't learn my lesson because i did it not once, but twice. glutton for punishment i suppose. but it makes for a good story, right?

wish i had pics for all these things... who knows where they are.

tune in to find out:
1. how many roommates i had from age 20-29
2. how many times i moved from age 20-29
3. how many cars i drove from age 20-29
and so, so, so much more. (more than you care to know- i guarantee it!)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

so long, farewell

(what is it with the sound of music these days?)
soooo... sunday marked the first day of the last week of my twenties.
how's that for dramatic?
don't get me wrong, birthdays are fun and all, but there have been certain milestones that i have not exactly appreciated - you know, when it comes to growing up.
like when i cried at the byu freshman ward halloween dance when they coincidentally played dancing queen (only 17...) because i was just about to turn 18. and i didn't want to be an adult. and like when i stressed out on my 25th birthday when my parents kindly reminded me that at 25, they were already done having kids. and i wasn't even married yet. (ok, i was ALMOST engaged, but still. not words you like to hear when you see your youth slipping through your fingers and you are sure your womb is shriveling by the day.) and so 30?
haven't been too excited about that one either.
sure, by now, i am married, have a degree, have 2 beautiful boys, and an exciting business. but i remember when my mom turned 30. and i remember my dad joking about her being "over the hill." he had to explain what that meant to me, and it made sense at the time. "oh yeah- like her life is half over and it's all down hill from here..." you know. because she was my mom. and because i was 5. and she was 30. but me? no way.
i mean, i haven't even gotten started yet!!
in preparation for this life-altering birthday milestone (did i mention i'm feeling dramatic today?) i thought i would spend this week reminiscing on my twenties. don't say i didn't warn ya.
and to all of you "older and wiser"s - any advice to ward off a mid-life crisis?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

as if i didn't have enough to do

i just started a new blog dedicated to allora handmade. you can find it here. check in to see what's new, what i do with my "spare" time (is there really such a thing?), and when and where to enter giveaways - including the one i'll be doing any day now to mark my 100th etsy sale! (91 as of right now... can't even believe it.)

Friday, October 23, 2009


hop on over to joy's hope for a giveaway by yours truly!! don't miss out :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

thanks girls.

i really do appreciate your kind and thoughtful words. and though my whiney post was not written with the intention of boosting my ego, i thank you for giving me a bit to smile about and remember all that i have to be grateful for. and today i have a bit of a kick in my step. could be from my awesome friends. or it could be from these little devils:

which, by the way, if you lived closer i would totally be bringing over to your house right about now for being such a great friend. but you don't (dang it!) and i already ate all of the ones without chocolate chips. now what?
well, if i can't bring them over to you, i can at least give you the super duper easy deluxe recipe.
spice cake mix
can of pumpkin (15 oz)
3 eggs
1/3 c. water
1/3 cup oil (i used applesauce - cuz i'm soooo healthy like that)
and feel free to add your chocolate of choice - or don't

then top it off with some cream cheese frosting and there goes the idea of being healthy. but it's soooo much yummier.

that's it. 350 degrees- 20 ish minutes - wham bam thank you maa'm.
and if you want to get all fancy, try it in a mug. i did. and i feel like martha.

now go make them for yourselves since i can't... i insist!

and thank you. again.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

a little off balance.

you know that feeling? the one where you have a book report due in 2 days and you haven't even started the book and you just can't even comprehend catching up to the point of being able to write anything slightly coherent and so you put it off a little more because you don't know where to begin? (though the obvious answer from frauline maria is to "start at the very beginning... a very good place to start!)
that's me. that's my blog.
i have fallen off the horse and can't seem to get back on. so many things to catch up on, so many emotions to spill, but somehow whenever i click on the magic little "new post" button i come up empty.
sure, time has a lot to do with it. most days i'm lucky if i even get a shower. (i know, gross. just be glad you don't live closer.) between 2 busy little boys, a busy husband, and a busy little business, i have fallen last on the list of priorities, and this little outlet has been left in the dust. but more than that, i have been fighting off my inner little wendy whiner, and instead of trying desperately to censor her words here in my little corner of the blogosphere, i have just stopped blogging altogether.
but that is problematic as well.
i miss it. i miss documenting my life. the good and the bad. i miss searching for meaning in the mundane. i miss the stewing of words and thoughts in my mind at all times and the melodic composition of them all. i miss the connection with friends and hearing every once in a while that i'm not the only one who has a bad day. i miss taking pictures and capturing my boys at this very stage that is so fleeting. i just miss it.
so, i will try again. though most of my life i have tried really hard to be optimistic and sunshine-y about all the details, i'm not really feeling it. maybe it is the bleak winter months ahead hanging over me like eeyore's little rain cloud, or maybe it is the stress that comes from trying to keep it all together and put on a happy face. i am hoping that as i again open up my thoughts and my heart here that i will be able to sort through and find more balance in motherhood, and in life in general.
some day i'll get my groove back.
i'm sure of it.

Friday, September 25, 2009

how am i so lucky?

well, let me tell you a story.
a few months ago, one of my favorite local photographers put an ad out on her blog. i'd never met her, just admired her work from the safety of my computer monitor. she blogged saying that she was looking for models in the area to practice lighting on. i read the post, but didn't think twice about it. you know, 'cause i'm not a model.
my sister, however, emailed me the same day and said 'check this out! you have to do this!' and i thought - 'you're crazy. i'm not a model.'
well, my crazy sister didn't stop there - she contacted becky without my knowledge and volunteered me to be her model. she didn't tell me about it until after the fact when they'd already formed a plan to convince me to do this. miq assured me it would be great exposure formy shop and i reluctantly agreed to do it.
fast forward to wednesday. i was nauseous driving up the canyon just thinking about being in front of a camera by myself. but then, out jumped little becky earl - with the cutest little pregnant belly and a big hug. my fears and insecurities melted away as we started chatting and became fast friends.
a few hours later, i hopped into my car feeling like i had been blessed to be able to witness a seriously talented young photographer in her element. i couldn't believe how natural she was and how easy she made it for me. and really, i forgot all about the camera - and i think that is the key to why becky is just so dang good at what she does. i came home giddy to have found a new friend here in the area. one that is spunky, funny, creative, genuine, soooo nice, and a great mom. her pictures capture the essence of her subjects and i don't know what it is - she just has the golden touch.
so , i knew she was good, and then i found out she was also this super cool chick that i totally plan on hanging out with, but just imagine my awe when i saw this on my computer screen today:

seriously - who is that girl? she totally resembles the girl i see in the mirror every day (you know, when i actually shower and put makeup on)- EXCEPT WAAAAAY BETTER!
wow. now i know becky is a freaking genius. i refuse to post a bajillion pictures of myself on my blog, but if you want to see more of her amazing work, go here.
and please, if you are looking for a photographer for ANY occasion, look no further. except she's having a baby soon, so don't bug her. but after that, you know who to call.


in hawaii striking his best model pose

pardon the interruption. we break the regularly scheduled lack of blogging for an important announcement:
my. baby. is. two. TWO!

at farm country - thanksgiving point

ok, so technically he isn't THE baby anymore. but, he's my baby nonetheless, and today he crosses the line over into full-blown-toddlerhood.
his favorite toy after riding on a plane for 8 hours

i don't know how i went from feeling like i was holding the tiniest little human on the planet one day to wrestling and giggling with this crazy little wild-haired boy, but sure enough, it has happened. some days i just wish time would speed up - to be past the tantrums and out of diapers and able to communicate 100%. but then i realize this little boy will only be this little today. even tomorrow he will be a little bigger, a little older, a little smarter. and before i know it he'll be bigger than me (hopefully!!) and even less into snuggling than he is now.
wearing grammy's glasses

2 is a rough age. so much struggle for independence. so much lack of control. so much frustration. at the same time, it is so fun to see his eyes wide open to the world around him. owey is always pointing out the most ordinary things that are absolutely incredible and exciting in his little world. pulling up next to a trash truck or a school bus (which for some reason he calls goose-us even though he can say school and he can say bus, but put them together and it's goose-us) and you'd think he'd won the lottery. and a motorcycle? forget about it. the kid dies and goes to heaven. ants are the coolest thing ever (though many of them have died as a direct result of his curiosity) and give that kid a hose and he could entertain himself all day and all night.

in the crib with henry

as busy and stressed out as i sometimes am, i don't always cut owen enough slack. i hope that this year i can be better about relishing in the joys of being a child with him instead of begrudging the mess i am going to have to clean up. i want to learn together and explore and laugh! i want to be a better mother because, man, he deserves it!

helping mom with laundry - he got himself in there!

truth is, i simply can not imagine my life without this firecracker of a little boy i call my son. his smile is completely contagious, his energy is enviable, and his kisses are to die for.
happy birthday my dear sweet owen. i love you to the moon.

having a little too much fun with henry's toys

some favorites at 2:
cars, cars, big trucks, and more cars.
trains, helicopters, airplanes, well... anything that moves really.
animals and dinosaurs (and the sounds they make)
being tickled, thrown up in the air, wrestled, etc. i think we're going to have a thrill seeker on our hands.
lullabies at night (especially silent night) and the "goodnight eyes, goodnight nose..." book
giving mom kisses through the crib slats
beans, yogurt, craisins, cheese, blueberries, bananas, pancakes, spaghetti (or snakes as we call them)
any dr. seuss book
when dad comes home
yo gabba gabba and the backyardigans - oh, and recently sesame street
going to nursery
grandparents and cousins, aunts and uncles
dancing! particularly to "i've got a feeling," "shooting stars," and "rock island line"
coloring and puzzles
yelling "mom, mommy, mama," all day long
climbing into henry's crib

Friday, September 04, 2009

summer summary, parte dos

since i am one of those terrible people that tends to skip through the recaps of other people's vacations, i will spare you all the details. no travelogue here! not only do i not have the energy (as sorting through the 1200+ pictures was draining enough), but i just don't care (which means you care even less!) what day we did what. all i care about is that this was absolutely one of the best trips i've ever been on.

and so, that is what i care to record.
KAUAI 2009, mendioroz family vacation
i love to travel. everything about it. from anticipating and packing to the hustle and bustle of the airport - the hotels, the food, i love it all. there is something so rich and liberating about immersing yourself in another world, even if for a short time. i feel very blessed that my parents have always seen the value in a good family vacation. i think some of my most vivid memories of my family are set in a cramped little car in some foreign country or playing cards until the late hours of the night on a cruise ship. it seems like through these trips we get the opportunity to get to know one another as friends instead of just family. and i love that.
sure, family trips aren't always perfect. there is sure to be some drama - someone is cranky, someone is sunburnt, someone wants to relax while someone else wants to be adventurous. but in the end, the smiles and laughter always outweigh any grumbles along the way.
when my parents set out to plan another trip, i was both really excited and really reluctant at the same time. sure, we want to go to Hawaii! but, with 2 little kids? that makes things a little more complicated. would i still love traveling as much as i had before i had to bring along diapers and bottles and toys and had to worry about naptimes and snacks and diaper rashes? but, having every intention of someday being able to show my kids the world like my parents have shown me , we jumped at the opportunity to spend a week in paradise with my family.
and. it.was.heaven.
here is why:

1) can you say g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s??!?!!
i have been to oahu and maui before, but kauai is a different world. i was absolutely smitten from day one and i fell more and more in love with th e island each day. there was something beautifully breathtaking around every corner and we could not get enough of it.
since clint just finished a nature photography cours e and had borrowed his dad's amazing camera for the trip, he was on cloud 9 with some of the most picturesque spots in the world. clint had never been to hawaii, and i pretty much told him he hit the jackpot on the first shot. kauai is completely stunning.

2) the island life
one of my favorite things about this trip was that we never really felt like tourists. sometimes you go on trips and there are a million people everywhere y ou go and swarms of cameras, and it just takes away the charm a little bit. but in princeville it just felt like i was one of the islanders. it is such a quaint town with the real old hawaii feel that made me want to never leave. really, i think i said a hundred times "let's just stay" or "can we live here?"
add to that the awesome time share location with the perfect amenities for our bunch and we really felt at home.

3) the company
though we've been married 4 1/2 years, clint and i have not been able to travel much. between penny pinching, school, and babies- we just don't get out much. so, it was a real treat to be in such an amazing place with my amazing man. i was excited to see his reaction to this side of the world and was even more excited that he was as taken with it as i was. that means we'll be back. right, babe?

i loved even more to be able to have my little ones there with me. sure, a vacation with kids isn't exactly a vacation. there are still diapers to change and mouths to feed, tantrums and middle of the night wake-ups and laundry, etc. but these little boys were in heaven.
owen could have been a local. the boy was black after the first day and i don't know if he ever really dried off the whole time. he just wanted water, water, sand, water, and more sand and water 24 hours a day. and lucky us, there was plenty of it to go around.
henry, good little henry, was a dream. always happy and smiley, content to be wherever we decided to venture- and so excited to spend time with my family - he was just so easy. and really, could he get any cuter?

and the rest of the fam? the cherry on top.
i almost get sick when i think of how much i miss being so close to them all. (don't get me started!) so, it was so much fun to watch them with my kids and to have some much needed family bonding time. i absolutely loved watching owen run to my parents squealing with delight every time he spotted them like he was seeing them for the first time in years. i loved watching miq's kids with mine and wished the cousins lived closer. i loved seeing owen get attached to my brother and realize that "unk t" and "auntie e" are pretty cool. i am so grateful we had this time to spend together!

ok. can we go back now?

if you ever go to kauai, be sure not to miss:
puka dogs (yummy, yummy island style hotdogs)
the na pali coast (by zodiac boat - bring your dramamine!)
ke e beach (great snorkeling)
hanalei bay and pier (beautiful views, kayaking and paddleboarding)
lappert's ice cream (the best in the world. i'm not joking.)
the lighthouse bistro (mmm... macadamian crusted chicken and bananas foster. need i say more?)
*** post edit*** Jessy reminded me... Bubba's burgers (must try the teryaki burger with pineapple. mmmm...)