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The Final Stretch

Sharing the mental and physical growing pains of the final stages of pregnancy. This post is sponsored by Palmer’s but all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help support this site.

When I look back at this past summer, where I spent my days outside in the hot and humid Connecticut sun, watching the kids run around in the yard jumping in and out of the kiddie pool it seems like forever ago. They’ve grown several inches now, grown shaggy hair and are already thinking about their summer plans. I think having a new baby and starting over overwhelms you with nostalgia of the younger days and brings a certain sadness of days past and an uncertain future. The kids are growing up and seem so old now. I miss their baby stage- when they needed me for survival and friendship. The emotional hormones are obviously overtaking this post as I reminisce about my babies no longer being babies. As I write this I’m seeing the literal growing pains that come with having a new little person enter into the family.

39 weeks. 39 weeks of several nightly bathroom visits, daily naps, swollen feet and ankles, back aches and stretching skin. At least half of those weeks were plagued with all day “morning sickness.” As I look down at my body and see how so much has changed the last 39 weeks I am both astonished at how quickly, yet how slowly time has passed. Does that make any sense to you? I found out I was pregnant pretty early on so it has really seemed that I have been pregnant forever. What started out as a little pooch that seemed like I just ate a little too much is now a full blown beach ball sticking out from under my shirt. It is the perfect size for my kids to reach out and caress their new baby sibling. It is the perfect height for my littles one to run up to me and kiss my belly button- where baby is “sweeping” (or sleeping) according to her.

I look down at my still changing body and see that this body has grown 5 little humans. This skin has been stretched to its capacity 5 different times and made room for little babies to grow. This body for the past 10 years has protected and nourished 5 little humans. It is a miracle. Plain and simple. And while my bones have proven themselves weaker, my skin has received extra elasticity: when my skin starts to itch from being stretched to its limit, I rub some of Palmer’s Massage Cream for Stretch Marks to improve my skin’s elasticity. Baby responds to the touch: a moving body part that unnaturally protrudes for a few seconds. It’s how we connect. And my kids get in on it as well as Palmer’s Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks provide an opportunity for them to connect with and feel the baby move.

It may be tomorrow or it might be 3 weeks from now, but the changes continue. We’ve been stretched both physically and emotionally as more responsibilities have fallen on my husband and children as I’ve dealt with many physical ailments brought on by pregnancy. We’ve been stretched emotionally as we’ve dealt with fears of the change in family dynamics and the logistics of adding another child to our family. We’ve been stretched and have seen the marks of our struggles. But, since we’ve done our stretching together, we’ve also learned how to embrace the marks of growth and learned to minimize unnecessary worries and patch them with solutions everyone is happy with. I hope my next post will be announcing the birth of our new baby (like tomorrow! Haha!).

For mamas that are currently pregnant and looking for a product to help you feel more confident in your changing body, I recommend Palmer’s. For over forty years, Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula has been the trusted brand for fighting stretch marks, smoothing skin and helping pregnant women feel more confident and beautiful with their changing bodies. I look at my belly and see that it is smooth and beautiful. And yes, large and uncomfortable, but beautiful and miraculous. I love that it is not greasy- trust me- I hate putting lotion on and usually apply it with my forearms. But this affordable cream is not greasy and leaves your belly feeling elastic (not tight like its ripping apart and itches like crazy) and moisturized. Not only do I use it on my belly, because let’s be honest, that isn’t the only place that is growing. I use it on my chest, inner thighs and lower back. I love using Massage Cream for Stretch Marks and Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks. The smell of the Tummy Butter is perfect to relax you at bedtime. Better yet, get your partner to help you relax by using these products while he rubs your back. It’s the least he can do, right?

Make sure to check out Palmer’s on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest and Instagram!

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How to Find and Build Your Dream Community

Make your own “dream” community wherever you are with these tips. This post is sponsored by Tehaleh by Newland Communities but all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help support this site.

I looked out from the tiny window plane and saw the mountains I had become very fond of shrinking as we flew further away. I wept silently for the life I had created there and for the fear and anxiety I felt having to start my life over. As an introvert it took me a long time to really make connections with people and to build a community of friends that supported each other. Having to start over felt exhausting. I knew the kind of “community” I was moving into and I already felt defeated as the physical attributes of this “community” was working against me: corner of a busy road, bottom of the hill, hidden side entrance, etc.
My dream community would be a cul-de-sac with neighbors close – but not close enough to hear or see what goes on in the house, kids playing on the street, block parties, neighbors looking out for neighbors, kids roaming freely to and from each other’s homes or to the park, flat streets so they can ride their bikes and scooters…. Am I dreaming? I’m sure this exists. While we have been searching for this “dream community” I found out about the Tehaleh community in Bonney Lake, Washington. Parks and trails, flat streets, beautiful homes, lots of kids and family friendly, neighborly, community activities, on-site elementary school, etc. This kind of community exists!

photo: courtesy of Tehaleh

Tehaleh invited my family to visit the community and see what they offered. We joined in on Reading Circle, which they hold weekly, and then they did a craft for Presidents’ Day. The kids had a great time and met some other children there while the parents chatted – some good old adult time. The Post, the Visitor HQ and Caffé D’arte café, is where these activities are held and offer some great time to relax and get some delicious food. I’m sure we would be regulars there and while the kids played, the parents could get to know each other. One thing I’ve learned from all of our moving around (6 times in 12 years) is that while a community can already exist, it will do nothing for you (or you for them) if you aren’t involved. It’s like a gym pass. Will you automatically be in shape if you join a gym and not go

photo: courtesy of Tehaleh 

photo: courtesy of Tehaleh

Most of my kids are pretty proactive and will often go up to children and ask them to play. They’ve made many friends this way. I think we could take a lesson in that: be proactive. If you want to be a part of a community then you actually have to be an active part. When we first moved to our home in Saratoga Springs (we lived there for 5 years) it took me about 2 years to feel like I was a part of that community. It probably didn’t help that I had just had a baby and moved in around the same time. On the other hand, when we moved to Provo (we lived there for a year) I felt like I was a part of that community within months. I studied the differences and this is what I found: I didn’t have a newborn, I had older kids that made friends with neighbors and I was asked to serve in a position where I had to know everyone. Yes, my introverted-self screamed with fear as I had to put my shyness aside and actually go up to people and be their friend. In other words, I had to be proactive. It helped me grow in so many ways and the “community” I have always longed for became a reality. But I had to be a part of it.
For those of you that want to find a community or build that kind of community (disregard the physical aspect of it) here are some ways to be an active part and create it. Note that a community doesn’t necessarily mean your neighborhood but could mean your school, church, street, sports team, etc.

 

  1. Service: I have met so many people through this mean. Bringing a meal or shoveling their driveway can go so far. There is a tie that is made that can only be strengthened. If you see someone that has their hands full while trying to get their kids in the car, offer to help carry something. It shows that you are watching and that you care.
  2. Introduce yourself to neighbors: I know, I know. It can be so awkward. I’ve found the best way to break the ice is just to bring something: flowers, treats, plants, a card with your phone number on it. Again, it shows that you SEE them in a non-creepy way.
  3. Organize something: A small get together, mother’s group, kids’ party, educational class, etc. You’ll meet many people and the parents will appreciate something to do with their kiddos. It also helps you know what people are interested in and in turn they can learn a little about you.
  4. Set up playdates: I’ve found that this has helped my kids and my social life, A LOT. Not only do the kids know me and feel comfortable asking me for help at school, their parents have gained trust in me. Trust is a big deal with parents. It doesn’t have to be a big production, the kids honestly just love playing with toys, eating snacks and running around outside. Plus, it helps the kids develop a closer relationship than what they just get at school.
  5. Pick-up kids from school. Even on occasion: This one is a hard one for me now. 36 weeks pregnant during the rainiest and cold season really didn’t make me want to step outside. My kids take the bus so it’s been easy for me this year. BUT, when they went to a different school I dropped and picked them up every day. This is where I made my friends. I would see them daily after school at the park and we would talk about everything while the kids ran around. It did take a few months of seeing each other, then smiling at each other, and then finally chatting but it happened naturally and we are still friends.
  6. Volunteer at school: You’ll get to meet people and develop relationships with them. I know it’s hard to volunteer when you have little ones but some teachers didn’t mind that I brought my little one with me. I got to know my kids’ teachers really well and were able to talk freely about concerns and life in general. The kids saw me around a lot so that also helped with the community building.
  7. Be friendly and approachable: This means that sometimes you have to put down the phone. Sometimes I use it as a crutch so I don’t have to talk to anyone. And that’s fine but don’t do it all the time. Look around. You may see someone that also needs a friend. Being aware of your surroundings and not placing a wall in front of you can offer many opportunities to become a friend to someone. Sometimes I would sit at the bench next to someone and want to say hello but it looked like they were busy. An old friend also told me that he felt so annoyed with me for a while because I would always have my headphones on when I was walking to class that it never gave him a chance to talk to me. Eventually we did when I forgot my iPod in my dorm room. Give people a chance to talk to you!
  8. Be consistent: Don’t do something and disappear for weeks/months. People have to know you are reliable. Of course, sometimes there are circumstances like mental or health issues but being a consistent friend, even if it is just texts, can create stability.
  9. Don’t be overbearing/too eager: Some people like to keep to themselves but will open up at their own time. Recognize cues. I can sometimes be a little eager to make friends and maybe that scares people off? So just be normal and things will form naturally.
  10. Welcome people to your home: There is a certain level of intimacy and trust when going in to someone’s home. We’ve found that we could be acquaintances with someone for a while, then will have them over for dinner and suddenly we crossed into friend zone and not acquaintances. This also doesn’t have to be a production. We’ve had people over for just dessert, games, pizza and a movie, etc.

As I talked with residents at The Post in the Tehaleh community, many shared similar experiences like the ones above. Neighbors introduced themselves, mom’s fitness and other groups were started, block parties were held and so much more. Having a physical community that enables these kinds of activities really does help but it isn’t all of it. Luckily, the residents in Tehaleh seem to have both the spirit and body of a community. And it doesn’t hurt to have some of the most beautiful and open homes I’ve seen here in Washington. You can see for yourself by following Tehaleh on Instagram and on Facebook!

What is your favorite thing about your community? What could you do differently? Please share in the comments!

 

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The Best Time to Be a Kid with Gymboree

This post is sponsored by Gymboree. All thoughts and opinions are solely my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

Gymboree Holiday Girl Boy Toddler Style

As I put the plaid jacket on my baby I got all the fuzzy feelings a new mother gets. This was his first time meeting Santa. Of course he won’t remember it, but a mother doesn’t usually forget these “firsts.” And while it probably wasn’t magical for him that first time, I know it was magical for us as parents. And I know that once he got older, along with his siblings, meeting Santa was a surreal moment. That was the start of our holiday traditions. Well we didn’t really think of them as traditions at first but it was something we did as a family. Looking back, these were the early days of our traditions as a family of 3 and now we are a family of 6, soon to be 7.Gymboree Holiday Girl Boy Toddler Style

Now, as a family, we have a lot of things we love to do for the holiday: skiing, driving to see the Christmas lights on homes, sipping Peruvian hot chocolate with Panettone, handing out gifts to the homeless downtown. Whatever it is that we are doing, we love doing it together.  And we love being outside. Well, the kids love being outside. I prefer to stay warm but since it is family time I sacrifice- haha!Gymboree Holiday Girl Boy Toddler StyleMadeleine: bird long sleeve | puffy jacket  (she’s pretty petite but the 2T fit her a little too snug- maybe size up?) | pink knee socks | duck boots | cupcake purse | bunny hat (not pictured)

One of our favorite holiday traditions is going to Breakfast with Santa. We’ve done it every year since we had a tiny baby and wherever we’ve lived we’ve visited with Santa while eating delicious food (can you tell I love food?) We like to walk around afterwards because…well…all the food we’ve eaten. Our kids love meeting Santa. We’ve only had a couple of meltdowns due to “stranger danger” but for the most part my kids are so excited to tell Santa what they’d like for Christmas. I like to tell my kids that they may ask for things for themselves but they should also think about what others may like and request it on their behalf (like in this printable letter to Santa). We love to see their little faces light up as they see Santa and he tells them about his North Pole friends. Even though we just witnessed the whole thing, they then love to tell us all about their experience, through their innocent and wondrous eyes. How magical is it to be a kid? And aren’t the holidays the best time to be a kid?Gymboree Holiday Girl Boy Toddler Style Gymboree Holiday Girl Boy Toddler Style

While our oldest is getting to the age where he will soon find out about Santa, we are trying to keep the magic and the spirit of Santa alive: the love, generosity, goodwill, miracles, service and selflessness. So when our kids think of Christmas and the holidays, I hope they think of these times we spent as a family and the bonds they’ve created with each other. They they remember the magic they felt as kids and pass those on to their own children. I remember the magic my parents created for us. And believe me it is even more magical to create these memories for our kids. It adds the flurries to my heart and I can’t help but feel this genuine love for them that is sometimes clouded by busy schedules and the chaos of parenthood.Gymboree Holiday Girl Boy Toddler Style

Included in the chaos of parenthood: finding clothes for 4 kids…..a daunting task. I turn to good quality stores like Gymboree that offer sturdy and fashionable clothes for all my kids. It’s a one stop shop that I can visit from the comfort of my own home at my own time. Because I really would rather be shopping late at night while my kids are sleeping than take time away during the holiday season. A bonus is that they have nice clothes (win for me) and fun designs like sharks, dinosaurs, unicorns, etc. (win for the kids) done in a non-kitschy manner (win for humanity).

Gymboree Holiday Girl Boy Toddler StyleAdelle: flamingo long sleeve | jeweled jeans | knit cardigan | pink knee socks | duck boots | puffy polka dot jacket | underwear | unicorn headband (not pictured) | bunny gloves (meant for toddler but fit Adelle!) Gymboree Holiday Girl Boy Toddler Style

Oliver: navy puffer vest | brown high topsbriefsshark socksolive lined pantswaffle teedino pull over | striped beanie Gymboree Holiday Girl Boy Toddler Style

Ashton: fuzzy camo vest | geo bear pullover | striped waffle tee | olive lined pants | octopus socksbrown high topscamo beanie | briefs

Do you have a favorite Christmas/Holiday Tradition you did with your family growing up or have one now with your own children? Make sure whatever you do, whether it’s taking a stroll outside to making cookies and watching holiday movies, to check out Gymboree’s holiday collection where they have cool and casual outfits or darling dress up outfits like this so you can jump on the bed…Gymboree Holiday Girl Boy Toddler Styleor look nice for a holiday picture!  Gymboree Holiday Girl Boy Toddler Style

rose print dress

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Connecting Through Fashion

This post was sponsored by Reebok through Activate Bloglovin’  
All opinions are all my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog!

Is it shallow of me to think that fashion is more than just superficial- but that it can serve as a way to connect? When I see someone wearing a beautiful piece of clothing, I usually tell them. It often starts with a compliment and then leads to a conversation. And then sometimes friendship:
I remember one of the first times meeting my sister in law and she was wearing a hoodie with gorgeous pearl earrings after an evening at a bonfire. My husband, her brother, later told me that she knew we’d get along because we were both wearing the same thing. Silly? Yes. But, it’s true! Continue reading Connecting Through Fashion

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Crafting with Kids: Father’s Day Card


Doesn’t it seem like every time you see your kids they look a little older, their pants are a little shorter and you have to buy them sneakers for the 3rd time this year?! And I see them all the time. To our dismay, we don’t see the grandparents very often. We used to but now that our family has grown and flight prices have been increasing it is much harder to fly across the country. So I thought that sending the grandads pictures, actual tangible pictures, of the kids as their Father’s Day card so they could see them every time they walked by the fridge. Let’s be honest, the grandparents really just want you to bring the grandkids but not to see you, they want to see the kids! Continue reading Crafting with Kids: Father’s Day Card

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Tips to Coordinating Kid’s Easter Outfits

This post is sponsored by Carter’s; however, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

baby easter dress | baby sandals (sold out but linked to similar)

toddler easter dress | sandals | headbands (similar)

I think there are only a handful of times when I am actively trying to get my kids to wear coordinating/matching outfits: Christmas, Easter and when we take family pictures. Any more and I’d drive myself mad! Running from store to store trying to pick out something that matches the other store’s outfit and the one in the closet…..ahhh it’s just too much. I rarely go to store anymore. I prefer to online shop and that makes things easier but after having to plan for multiple of these events for years already, I’ve learned a few things when trying to coordinate outfits for my kids for special days like Easter.

  1. Try to shop from one store. Stores, like Carter’s, usually have a unifying color palette throughout their departments from babies to kids. I got shirts, shoes, bowties (the ones I got sold out but linked to similar one) and dress shorts for my boys that coordinate perfectly with the girls’ cute spring dresses. And if you can find shoes, bonus!
  2. Pick a statement piece (like a bold floral pattern) for one or two people to wear. Then pick subtler (like light stripes or even a solid color) coordinating pieces for everyone else. For those wearing the subtler main piece, try to sneak in a little oomph with texture (like a crochet dress), a patterned shirt layered under, a patterned bow tie or embroidered bottoms. Alternating the patterns (within patterns and from top to bottom pieces) is important so doesn’t look cluttered and overloaded.
  3. Know before you go. If you are planning on going to the physical store, then I say you have to do your research and check their online store. See what they have and see if it matches your criteria. It saves you from having to go from store to store to see what they have. When shopping for multiple kids I also look for coupons or promo codes because…ouch! Kids grow out of their stuff quickly (goodbye baby clothes) and it hurts to spend all that money! So if I can save some money I will look for it! Lucky for you I have a special 25% off Carter’s coupon promo code that you can use online or in-store when you spend $40. My kids just steal the show, huh? I can’t wait to take pictures of them all dressed up for Easter before we head to church…or maybe after because church is too early we are always rushing to get there on time.

It is still a little cool here but my kids are anxious for spring weather so they can stock up on some more cute and stylish tees and knit shorts so they can play in the sun comfortably and alllll dayyyy long! And can’t forget the swimwear….. my little fishies live in the water in the summer time.

I wish you well on your journey to dress your kids this coming Easter. Seriously, I know it can be a pain but it’s only a couple of times a year. Can’t wait to see all the kiddos in their darling Easter outfits. Tag me on Instagram so I can see!

 

 

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Family Travel: Vancouver Part 2 Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

On our second day of our trip to Vancouver we took it easy in the morning. We had cereal and fruit for breakfast and Madeleine napped while the kids swam in the pool. Honestly, they would be happy to go anywhere as long as it has a pool! After we packed up our car, we drove to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park which was about an hour from our timeshare in Blaine, WA.

We couldn’t decide whether to go to Grouse Mountain or Capilano and since it was already so cold and we hadn’t brought our snow clothes we decided to stay off the mountain. Cost wise it would have been almost the same but I really didn’t want to be cold and miserable. The Suspension Bridge Park is pretty much a park with suspension bridges to cross around the beautiful green surroundings. You get beautiful views and they have these Treetop Adventures for kids which is just a series of small suspension bridges that are attached to the trees, hence the name. When we pulled into the parking area I started getting a little nervous about the suspension bridges. I have crossed high bridges before when we went to ____ and it was terrifying so I expected it to be the same in this place. It really wasn’t bad at all- I just didn’t look straight down. The place where it was terrifying though was the Cliffwalk. My kids were unphased, especially Madeleine as she crossed all by herself. I was holding on to the railings for dear life. The bridge is hooked onto the side of the cliff and the walking area is so narrow. They, of course, have netting on the side so you can’t fall off but you can clearly see down and how high you really are. It was beautiful but I just cruised on by because you know, I thought I was going to die. Then we crossed the main suspension bridge which you really should take a photo at the beginning off. It is so beautiful and just take a moment to stand in the middle and look out. As much as I complain about the Pacific Northwest, it really is incredibly beautiful. And that is due to the crazy amount of rain we get. Once we crossed we treated ourselves to some delicious hot cocoa to warm up our bodies. Dress warmly because Canada is cold even when it is sunny outside. And wear comfy shoes because you do walk around for hours there. It’s funny, my kids see the sun and put on shorts and I have to remind them that it isn’t summer time. They just associate sun with summer because it rarely comes out during the rest of the year. Then we headed to the Treetop Adventures. When you get there the kids can get a scavenger hunt booklet as part of the Kids’ Rainforest Explorers Program and learn a lot about the things in nature you can find there. My younger kids, since they can’t read, weren’t too interested in the booklet but they did help their brother find some things. And when you complete it you get a pin in the color of your choice. Our other option was to go to Raptor Ridge but the best time to go there is the summer when the birds, like bald eagles, are out. We wouldn’t have seen hardly anything at that time (February). 

I would highly recommend coming here when it is sunny because you get to enjoy the beautiful nature that this part of the continent offers. I don’t think it would have been as enjoyable if it were raining since you are outside the whole time but our kids are explorers and so they wouldn’t have minded. I think if you give yourself a good 3-4 hours you are able to do everything. We obviously are slower walkers since our kids like to explore and Lorin likes to read every single dang sign in the whole park.

Right before we left we stopped by the shop there. We usually don’t get trapped in places like that but it had some really unique items. I bought an art print and the kids bought some uniquely flavored marshmallows. The lemon meringue one was delicious but we didn’t like the salted caramel chocolate one. On our way home we stopped at this Thai place in downtown Vancouver called Krung Thep Thai Cuisine. Even the mild red curry has a bit of a kick to it so the kids preferred the chicken satay and crab rangoon. Lorin and I gobbled ours up. I always prefer what Lorin orders better- haha!

. It was so so good however they lacked a good dessert option for kids. We ended up going to a little candy shop around the corner so they could get a treat for the 3.5 hour ride home.

I think when we go back we will go to Grouse Mountain and ski for a day. I know it pained my skier and snow loving husband to not go there this time. When I would really like to go back is in the summer time so I can see more bald eagles! Have you ever seen one in the wild? They are amazing!

If you missed Part 1 of our Vancouver BC trip, you can find it here.

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Family Travel: Vancouver Canada

We love our weekend getaways. We live for them. If someone could please sponsor our lives so we could travel the world forever that would be grrrreeeat. Thanks.

We went to Vancouver a couple of weekends ago and I wish we could have stayed longer! We only went for 2 days and both those days were sunny. SUNNY! It was a miracle because the weather there is similar to Seattle and all we’ve had is rain. I am so over you, Seattle. Anyway, on our drive up was short (about 3 hours) but we managed to watch 2 movies and the husband and I managed to get into a heated discussion. Awesome. And then the hotel we were staying in Vancouver (part of our timeshare program) called to tell us we wouldn’t all fit in the room we booked. Usually the rooms we’ve booked are a 1 bedroom but it has a living area and kitchen and a pull out sofa so we can all fit. However this one really was just a one bedroom with a single bed so there was no way we could stay there. We managed to snag a room in the US at the last minute but we’d have to cross to and from Canada. It wasn’t too bad but just took away time from our adventures!

Just as a warning, this is going to be a picture filled post. My kids are just too cute to not photograph. And I may as well tell you what we did there sooo here goes:

We asked Facebook friends what their favorite things to do in Vancouver, Canada so we broke it into 2 days.

Day 1:

Stanley Park: When we got there we went straight there. It is a huge park. Take a look at a map before you go so you know where you want to stop because it is one big loop and if you miss your stop you’ll have to go all the way around again. We were starving so we headed to the restaurant and of course it was closed. So we walked around the trails and saw the beautiful view at Prospect Point which overlooks Lions Gate Bridge, North Shore Mountains and Burrard Inlet. We also saw what we thought was the Hollow Tree on our walk which was pretty cool and a little spooky for the kids- only because they were afraid to go inside. Except it wasn’t the true one, just one that looked just like it but smaller. The Totem Poles were really cool and our oldest son was in awe because they had just learned about them in school. He began to tell us his own versions of the stories the totem poles represented. Kids and their imaginations! 

A-Maze-Ing Laughter Statues: These are a bunch of giant statue people laughing with silly poses that are right by the bay. The kids loved running around and through them. We ate a late lunch while we walked around the bay and looked at the statues.

We finished the day at a nearby playground- Madeleine loved the swings while the kids loved the playground and kicking the soccer and football around. Then we got to our timeshare apartment, swam in the pool and had dinner. We stayed in a 2 bedroom place. The older kids slept in one bedroom, we put Madeleine in a pack n play in our bathroom and we took the other room.

Where to eat:

For food we went outside of Stanley Park and found this yummy Greek/Persian place, Mediterranean Grill, and a hotdog stand right by the Laughing Statues for my picky eaters. I know, hot dogs right? The food was really delicious. I got the Chicken Shawarma pita, Lorin got the Lamb pita and Ashton got the Chicken Souvlaki. The Pistachio Baklava was quite tasty.

Then on our way home, we just stopped by a Whole Foods type store and I picked up some fruit and milk for breakfast the next day. We had packed Annie’s Macaroni and Cheese that the kids gladly ate with some grapes and popcorn. Simple. And very little effort on my part. I don’t want to cook when I am on vacation, am I right?!

I will post about Day 2 soon! While we could have used an extra day to do the one thing my husband wanted to do (Grouse Mountain) we saw what we wanted to there in 2. Granted us driving into Canada did take some time that could have been used to sight see some more but we couldn’t really help that. I won’t say no to another trip to Vancouver! Ohhh also, it is freakin’ cold. The sun may be out but it is cold. We went in February (winter) and puffy coats, hats and gloves are a must. My kids obviously don’t think it is as cold as I think it is but we carried them around and they always ended up asking for their coats and hats.

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Fun Pokemon 6th Birthday Party

My sweet Oliver turned 6. Every day I am amazed at how quickly they are growing up. It seems they grow overnight as their pants get a little shorter, their hair a little shaggier and their conversations a little more coherent.

It seems Pokemon has taken over this household for the past 3 years. This was my oldest son’s Pokemon party almost 3 years ago. The post went somewhat viral and yet I only posted a letter to my son on his birthday and not so much about the actual party. So on this post I will do both. I can’t remember the games we played at his party thouggh…ahhh. Mom brain. Continue reading Fun Pokemon 6th Birthday Party

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Tips to Prevent Lice

Lice. Anyone else get the chills just thinking about it? While my kids have never had lice (knock on wood times a billion) there have been cases at school of kids having lice. When I hear that my mind starts to go wild and my heart starts to race. Why why why are they just so creepy???? I’ve never had to deal with lice and I hope with these tips we won’t have to. Prevention doesn’t mean it is 100% effective but it is better than nothing. And no… you won’t have to resort to this:

This post was done in partnership with BrandBacker but all opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

  1. Keep hair up or braided. Lice don’t jump. They crawl and when hair is accessible they will crawl up and try to get as close to warmth (scalp). Lice don’t prefer short, long, oily, clean hair. They will just find a way to crawl onto their food source. Keeping hair tied just limits accessibility.
  2. Resist sharing hats, helmets, jackets, hair brushes or accessories. Lice can live up to 2 days on objects so if you use or have contact with those items then you may contract lice as well. Store hats and such in backpacks or jacket pockets for having less chance of contact.
  3. Avoid close contact. Like wrestling, head butting….should I have to say that? Haha my kids often engage in rough and tumble play so it has to be said. Say you are rubbing shoulders with someone who has lice, it crawls from his sweater to yours. And then up your hair. And then it all begins….. ahhhh.
  4. Use tea tree oil sprays, shampoos or conditioners. For some reason, lice don’t like the smell. We have been using SoCozy Boo! We love it because it is non-toxic and free of alcohol, gluten, wheat, peanuts and tree nuts. It smells amazing and doesn’t really require any extra steps. We use the shampoo and conditioner at bath time and use the spray on days when their hair hasn’t been washed. Both my boys and girls use this product and it is easy enough for them to use on their own….sometimes Mom and Dad forget. And if you buy this look below for an awesome sweepstakes! **
  5. Regular check ups. Regular hair and scalp check ups may not prevent lice but you’ll catch it sooner. Check for eggs near the scalp- I think those are better than finding full grown infestation. Cue the heebee jeebees.
  6. This isn’t a tip on how to prevent it but more of a “breathe in breath out” tip. If your child gets lice don’t feel like you need to burn the house down. I know I’d want to but it is treatable just incredibly annoying. There are lots of treatments available, even hair salons dedicated to treating lice for you! I read about using Coke to douse your head. And why not take a sip or two to take the edge off, haha!

Do you guys have any tips or tried and true ways to get rid of lice? I am seriously hoping that I won’t have to ever have to smear mayo on anyone’s head. 

**SoCozy is also hosting a Family Vacation Sweepstake! Anyone who purchases any SoCozy products at Target, CVS & Walgreens from Jan 9th – Feb 13th save your receipt. Log onto: http://socozy.com/sweepstakes and upload a picture of your receipt to be entered into the sweepstakes. No limit on spend. *IN-STORE PURCHASES ONLY.

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