Tag Archives: Summer

Summer Time… and the Living is Easy

So far our summer has meant pinatas, fun with friends, water park fun, pedicures with besties, backyard fun and dinners on the porch.


Can’t wait for the rest of what summer has in store. So far, 2014 is shaping up to put 2013 to shame! :)

The Last of the Summer Posts [Take 7]

A little late, but the last of our summer adventures was Finn going the the Arizona Museum for Youth with Dad and Grandma back in August. They had a great time just like the last time Finn went.


It was a fun summer. A trying summer, but fun. We did a lot of things and tried to make the best of our circumstances and I think we managed pretty well. And now it’s fall. The weather is just perfect. We actually went to the zoo last weekend, only our second time using our membership and it was such an easy, quick, fun, morning and one that we’ll be repeating throughout the season and beyond.

P.S. We just bought a membership to Arizona Museum for Youth so we can go back lots. :)

P.P.S. It also makes me a little sad to look back on these pics and think about my mom’s heart, that it was probably struggling here and we didn’t realize it yet, but just about 2 weeks later she would be having a heart attack. /sigh

More Summer Adventures

Some other fun things we did this summer:

Finn went to the horse ranch with Grandma Jayne…


We went to the park in Grandma Jayne’s neighborhood…


Got his first black eye…


Had a great time with Dada, Grandpa, and Great Grandpa up in Prescott on Father’s Day…


Gardened with Mama…


Went to Prescott and played in his first mud puddle…


Is still learning to eat with a fork…


And that almost does it for Finn’s first summer as a toddler (I do have one more museum post). It was one fun, adventurous summer for our busy, on-the-go-all-the-time little guy and we sure hope we provided him some good experiences.

Summer Adventures [Take 8]

We tried to end Finn’s summer on a high note. We took him to the Phoenix Children’s Museum one Sunday on the brief weekend Dan had off between his summer and fall session. It was a really, really cool museum and Finn had a blast and of course we had a blast watching him.

The top floor had a place just for the little guys where everyone had to take their shoes off to get in since there were a lot of real little ones crawling around and putting their mouths on a lot of the toys. Finn really had fun in there and could have probably spent the whole day up there but we certainly wanted him to see the rest of the place!


That same floor also had this really cool maze made out of pool noodle like things that we ran through. He wasn’t too interested in it as he just wanted to find a way out of it and run around the rest of the place! There was also a grocery store where he could push a cart around and put things in it but that was a little bit too old for him, but he still briefly enjoyed it. There were beans and things for pouring into cups that older kids could really enjoy but Finn would have probably just wanted to eat and swallow. And he didn’t understand not to push the cart into other people so we had to be very diligent in guiding him! There was a race car and music section up there, too.


And then the the grand finale was climbing the 3 story tall industrial jungle gym. Finn was just a wee-bit too young for this as well, so really, his sweet spot was probably the youngin’s place on the 3rd floor but Dan still enjoyed following him around while he attempted to climb around as best he could. There were definitely places he was too little to climb on his own and it would have been too arduous for Dan to attempt to carry him in his arms and then think about trying to get back down, but Finn didn’t know any better and he still had an utter and complete blast. And I enjoyed watching them and taking pictures!


Afterwards we went to lunch at one of my favorite BBQ places, Honeybear’s where Finn entertained himself (and us) by pretending to talk on the phone. :)


Follow-Up to My Summer List

desertI don’t know what it is about September. I realize it isn’t actually fall and that it technically is still summer for 22 more days, but there’s something about the end of August, school starting, the end of pool weather, but yet no where near the end of our heat and yet something about September starting that signifies the end of summer to me. Our Septembers (above) look much like our August’s, July’s, or even October’s, as much as I hate that since October is really the kick off for the holiday season in our household.

So, I figure with today being September 1st it was a good time for me to look back at my summer list and see how I did.

  1. finish a book – nope. didn’t have time for any books this summer. don’t think I will as long as Dan is in school. :(
  2. get a pedicure – this is still on my “hope to accomplish in the next 22 days” even if I do it myself. I badly need some color on these toes!
  3. snuggle with Finn and Dan – sort of. I definitely snuggled with Finn. Dan and I had a rough summer and I wish I snuggled with him more.
  4. barbecue
  5. go camping
  6. see the beach
  7. eat corn on the cob
  8. go for a bike ride – we never fixed my bike. :(
  9. drink a margarita – I don’t think I had one this summer actually! Need to rectify ASAP.
  10. blog more
  11. nap
  12. go on a date
  13. watch the new season of Arrested Development – bummer.
  14. think more about redoing the stairs
  15. get a job for Dan – still in the works…
  16. clean out the garage – definitely in the works.
  17. shred paperwork – see above.
  18. visit Grandpa
  19. go on a hike – I’m not sure what I was thinking with the heat. hike where?
  20. dream about doing something with the backyard
  21. see a summer blockbuster
  22. eat melon
  23. go out for breakfast – just the 3 of us – we have breakfast just the 3 of us all the time, but we didn’t go anywhere like I wanted. :(
  24. try more Pinterest recipes
  25. eat healthier – I’m still eating fast food for lunch almost everyday.
  26. be nicer – I definitely wasn’t nice this summer.
  27. get Bahama Bucks
  28. go off-roading – there was no time for off-roading this summer unfortunately.
  29. pamper myself – still have the same horse hair I had in May, my eye brows desperately need to be done and I could use a bikini wax and a pedicure! :P
  30. be happier – I really wish I could say I was happier. I wanted to be. but we had some major circumstances change this summer that I haven’t gone into yet and it’s really bringing down the happiness meter. :(

So that, my friends, was my summer list.14/30.

San Diego [Day 3]


Finally. A month late, but here it is. San Diego/Day 3.

Saturday morning we were teetering back and forth between going to the zoo with Jason and Julie or not, but finally decided not to due to all of our sunburns. We didn’t want to spend another day out in the sun when we were hurting so badly, especially when we didn’t know exactly how bad Finn may or may not have felt.

So, we opted for the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institute. It was our second time going together (my third) and we thought Finn would like seeing the fishies. He actually was more interested in all the people which made me more glad that we didn’t spend $88 on the zoo plus $12 on a stroller rental (since we forgot ours in our crazy evening packing and trying to remember everything- FAIL). The aquarium was only $24. :) We did end up buying a cheap umbrella stroller at Target because Dan’s arms got really tired carrying Finn around, so the stroller saved us a few times this day. If Finn wasn’t in it, his heavy ass diaper bag was, which helped our severely sunburned shoulders! Anyways, he got to see sharks, sting rays, jelly fish, kelp, and tons and tons of different types of fish. He even tried to touch a starfish and anemone in the “petting” tide pool but couldn’t figure it out and he just kept trying to put his head in the water. He also loved the part when he got to get down and run around and of course we had to chase after him (see below about halfway down)…


We left about noon and got lunch near our hotel- Mexican for Dan and Greek for me. Finn had his leftover chicken strips, french fries, and a can of corn we bought him our first day. We relaxed in the hotel for a bit and then went to our friends’ Dean and Alissa’s house for a little bit who live in San Diego and who we always try to see when we are in town. It was a short visit but we were glad to see them, next time we’ll definitely have to make it longer!

Afterwards we went back to the hotel to meet Jason and Julie where we all left for dinner at Seaport Village. Brayden and Finn got to run around this little area like little wild men and had to be courted by all the adults as they did not understand the boundaries AT ALL. My friend Crystal who also lives in San Diego joined us as well, so that was good to see her before she moves to Japan. We went to Buster’s and it was pretty good. There was a band and the babies got to dance and listen to the music at the end. After dinner we said our goodbyes, went back to the hotel, packed up and went to bed. Exhausting day and sleep was much appreciated!


Sunday we woke about 7, finished packing, ate some bagels, and then left about 9:30. We stopped in Yuma at Carl’s Jr. for lunch and finally got home about 4:45. Long day, Finn was perfect. I made a yummy spaghetti dinner with a fresh salad because I was sick of eating out even though I did NOT feel like cooking. I had to. And I didn’t regret it.

It was a great trip. I know Finn won’t remember it, but the pictures we took will be lasting digital memories for him and I will always remember his first trip to the beach and how much he truly loved it. :) And I got to check another item off my summer list. W00t!

This is [Take 6] of our Summer Adventures series. You can read our other parts hereherehereherehere and here.

San Diego [Day 2]

San Diego/Day 2.

breakfast snuggles

The next morning we woke when Finn woke about 8am, snuggled as a family over a sippy cup of milk and then had waffles and avocados in the hotel room together while we waited for the rest of the crew. I was surprised how well Finn slept through the night with being in such close proximity to us and Dan’s snoring! We left by about 10am to head for Coronado Island to spend the day. We decided that would be a much more quiet, family-friendly beach than Mission Beach was. And we weren’t disappointed. Wide open and beautiful white sand just waiting for us to pick a spot! It was a little bit of a haul with Nutty being on crutches, the poor guy, but we made it to a great spot where the babies spent the day digging in the sand, running along the waves, chasing seagulls, snacking, saying hello to other beach-goers, watching planes and helicopters soar above, and having a truly fantastic time. Same went for us!

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Seeing them have the time of their lives was pure joy and there’s no better way I could have spent my day. Except as it turns out, if I had remembered to wear sunblock! We put it on Finn, except we missed 2 spots; a little spot on his nose and cheek and along his hair line. He got slightly burned there, and we got burned on our back and shoulders pretty badly. We’re still hurting! Finn had a great time walking in the waves. He had a little incident where he fell down on his butt and the cold water all over his body came as an extreme shock (see photo) so for a while he clung to us and did not want anything to do with the ocean. But that only lasted so long, later on in the day he was back at it. We packed sandwich makings for lunch and finally left about 2:45 to head back to the hotel to shower up and rest. Finn passed out in the car so we let him nap in the running car for about an hour and a half after the day he had.

We all showered and decided to go to one of our favorites for dinner, Dick’s Last Resort in downtown. After finally finding parking we got a table and had a great time there and the food was much better than we remembered it being. We had napkins and straws thrown at us by the servers, hats put on us with inappropriate sayings, and we loved every second of it. Alexis especially enjoyed it, I think. ;) After dinner we said goodbye to Tiffany, Nutty, Alexis, and Charlotte who headed back home to Phoenix and we met Jason, Julie, and Brayden at Balboa Park where we followed the kids around as they played on a playground and had a blast. We finally were all tired enough we headed back to our temporary home, Finn fell asleep in the car and actually stayed asleep through a diaper change and transfer to the pack n’ play! He was tuckered out!

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And that was Day 2. And what a fun day it was!

This is [Take 6] of our Summer Adventures series. You can read our other parts herehereherehere, and here.

San Diego [Day 1]

[I’ll have to split this post up into separate days so this isn’t too much of photo overload city. Obviously we took a lot of pics on this trip.]

San Diego/Day 1.


We’ve been to San Diego many times over the last ten years, but this was by far the best trip. Finn made it so. We got to spend four full days together as a family soaking up the California sun air, clouds, and sea and get in a short little trip to end our summer of quite a few misfortunes, which fortunately Finn knows nothing about. It was much, much needed and Dan and I are feeling really good about all the time we got to spend together as well as with Finn from sun up to sun down… well, there wasn’t much sun, but we weren’t complaining!


Wednesday night before we left was a mad panic to get everything packed. I got home from work after 5 and my sweet mom offered to keep Finn a little later so that I could get a few things done without him. I went home and did some laundry like crazy, took out bags and started packing and making lists trying not to forget anything which of course I failed at (more later). Dan was at school taking a Calculus 2 test until 10 so I was all on my own. I went to Target to get a few last minute things I thought Finn would need on my way to pick him up from my parents’ at about 7:30 and then realized out of all things I didn’t have his car seat. So, of course I had to tell Dan that he had to pick Finn up on his way home from school. Dan got home that night and we did as much as we could but we were seriously exhausted after our day. Mentally and physically. We just decided that we’d finish the rest in the morning and if we didn’t make our 7:30 call time to meet our friends, well that was that. We didn’t have all day to pack like them and we didn’t want to start our trip all stressed out about making them late or not!

The next morning we woke up at 6:30, finished packing, and waited for the little dude to wake up. And waited. We ended up having to wake him up ourselves at 7:30! We made him breakfast, let our friends know we were running behind and to go ahead and go without us. Dan did the dishes, Finn finished breakfast, I watered the plants, we packed the car up (including Penny), and then we left by 8:10! I was shocked. Only 40 minutes behind schedule. We dropped my mom’s car off at my parents’ (which I was borrowing since my car is in the shop after my accident – ah hum yeah, more on that later) and then headed to Dan’s mom’s and dropped off Penny. And then we were almost off. We got breakfast at Jack in the Box for us, gassed up and then really hit the road. By then it was 9. Yay, San Diego here we come. We were about 20 miles behind our friends until we stopped in Yuma for gas and then we caught up and all caravan-ed together the rest of the trip.


Finn did really good on the ride there, we were very surprised because we’ve had some pretty rough drives to Prescott before and that’s only 2-2.5 hours away! He slept the first half and then the second half I sat in the back and watched a DVD with him to keep him busy. He cried maybe 5 minutes tops. Yay for technology. The ride home was much the same, only better, no tears.


We got to San Diego about 3 o’clock. We checked in and then went to a Mexican restaurant that we’ve been to a couple times in Old Town (which Dan took me to on my 21st birthda)y called Cafe Coyote. It was fun with the 6 of us adults, 3 babies and 1 kid. I had a margarita which was refreshing after that drive!


After dinner we decided to head over to Mission Beach to take the kids to see the ocean for the first time. That alone was worth the 6 hour drive. Seeing Finn’s smile and his relentless need to want to run into the ocean afterwards, all I could do was tell myself, “be still my heart.” We hung out there for over an hour I’d guess until the kids were wet and shivering and we had had enough chasing them around and then we all went back to the hotel for the night. Finn and Charlotte were pretty wound up so we hung out in their hotel room for a little bit until Finn showed signs of sleepiness and then we retired for the night.


This is [Take 6] of our Summer Adventures series. You can read our other parts here, here, here, and here.

Summer Food

This summer has been the summer of delicious food for Dan and I. We’ve been trying all kinds of delicious recipes on Pinterest and also making up our own. Here’s a few so far:


BBQ Ranch Pork Sliders a la crockpot.


Dan’s Father’s Day Meal: bratwurst, veggie “fries”, and corn on the cob (something I was able to cross off my summer list!)

pb cups

Dan, my dad, and grandpa’s Father’s Day dessert: peanut butter cup cookie cups!

carne asada

And Dan’s second Father’s Day dinner (well actually third since we also went to Prescott and had a Father’s Day BBQ in between there): carne asada tacos a la Trader Joe’s

chix sweet potato

We were really taking advantage of our fresh propane tank by now… grilled chicken and I love nothing better than a baked sweet potato.

pollo asada

Last night’s meal while we endured record breaking heat of 119 degrees: Trader Joe’s pollo asada tacos and pineapple beer. Yum!

pasta salad

And today I made a refreshing pasta salad with sauteed zucchini, red peppers, heirloom tomatoes, some leftover bacon from breakfast, some basil from my pot outside, and green onions tossed with olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon.

What are you cooking?  Happy Sunday!

Summer Adventures [Take 5]

We just got home from a short but much needed camping trip up north. It was just what we needed to rejuvenate ourselves. Me from work and Dan going into his last week of this first summer session. The temps were, in my opinion just fine, it would get cold enough at night that I wouldn’t want to stick an arm out of my sleeping bag except, of course, when I had to make sure Finn was bundled up throughout the night as it must’ve dropped to the upper 40’s at the lowest part of the night. I got some sleep, had great conversation with my friends and family, and got to watch Finn enjoy his little heart out being outdoors in the sunshine and trees.

We left Friday after I got off of work in the early afternoon and went to our usual camping spot north of Payson near Forest Lakes, only to find that they were all full which has never happened! So, we drove a little further up the rim and found another spot which was just as well. The only downside to the whole weekend was that there were fire restrictions and so we had to cook everything over the stove and couldn’t roast marshmallows over the fire, but we found that it was still doable. I must say though, camping without a fire just isn’t the same!

Finn loved camping. He had a great time playing in the dirt with his buddy, Brayden and being with all of his favorite people. We enjoyed spending time with my parents, brother, and of course our friends, Jason and Julie. It was a nice, enjoyable, and relaxing weekend and I got to cross something off of my summer list! Next time we’ll make sure that I am actually able to take the whole day off of work so that we can leave early in the morning and make sure to get our old trusty camping spot, though, as this one just wasn’t quite as good. ;)

Some things that we were so glad to have brought camping with a toddler: the giant play yard/baby gate which was awesome for putting the kids in when we needed to set camp up and get things done around camp, shovels & buckets for digging, lots and lots of change of clothes, sunblock & vaseline lip therapy (see pics below), lots of snacks including tons of fruit, and various toys for playing including bubble machines! Camping with a 15 month old was much, much different than the last time we went with Finn when he was only 4 months – definitely harder, but definitely way more fun! I’m so glad we went and I sincerely hope that camping is a huge part of Finn’s life every summer as it was for Dan and I’s growing up.

There’s a lot of pictures of the kiddos, because let’s be honest here, they are the stars of everything we do. We’ve been on a million camping trips and this was their second. I did try to take some pics of other people, however with me being the one taking many of the pics, there are hardly any of me!

campsitecamp collagedog kissbrayden collageeating rockseating bookswater jug playguysbucketsthe whitesbraydenbubble collagekeys collagewood playfood collagefinn collageeinstein hairtent exploringfathers sons 

*Side note: All pics taken by Dan or I except for the 6th from the bottom on the right hand side, Julie took that one of her son. Isn’t it fantastic? Oh and the last one. I had to include it. :)

Also, as another side note: here’s a pic of Finn on his first camping trip last year. It was much much easier but definitely not as fun. Oh look, and he actually wore hats then! :P

one year ago