Big Sky, Montana

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Has anyone been to Big Sky, Montana?!?  This was a first for us and it was incredible!  And cold!!  The highs never got above 30 and it snowed almost every day we were there which was pretty chilly for these Floridians.

The trip was dedicated to skiing with our friends, we stayed in a ski in/ ski out home that was absolutely fabulous, but unfortunately Bennett (who was allowed to start ski school because he is 3 and potty trained) did NOT enjoy it.  Not surprising… it takes him a while to warm up to new things, but he didn’t even give it a second chance.  I’m hoping we can do another ski trip next year and try again, that way Remy will be able to join in on the fun and hopefully encourage Bennett to try.  Although, I must say, Remy HATED being cold.  Every time we went out and played he cried the entire time (see solo picture above ha ha ha!).

I took a lesson since I haven’t skied in over 15 years.  I learned so much in that three hour private lesson than I ever did as a teenager.  I feel like as adults we appreciate the time and energy it takes to do activities like skiing, so we pay attention better as to really avoid hurting ourselves ;).  I didn’t want to go home with two very energetic little boys and a broken leg or hip!  So, I was very attentive and felt like I got the hang of it fairly quickly.  Now… I’m very slowwwwwww.  This mama won’t be going down a black diamond any time soon.  But, I did enjoy myself every day that I got to ski and cannot wait for the next time!  Husband grew up going on ski trips with his family and friends, so he is a fantastic skier.  He picked right back up where he left off and was feeling pretty sore after the first day going down blacks.  He was super sweet and went skiing with me a couple of times and was super patient while coaching me down the mountains.  Love him.

When we weren’t on the mountain shredding powder ;) we were hanging with our kiddos.  We got to experience authentic dog sledding which was an interesting adventure.  It was like a blizzard that day and the kiddos were freezing, so just getting them into the sled was a complete sh*t show.  Everyone was staring at us like, get your kids under control and wipe the snot please.  But once the doggies started running and as long as they were at full speed, my boys were silent and enjoyed the moment and scenery.  It was so beautiful.  I don’t think I will ever need to go dog sledding ever again, but at least I can check that off the bucket list.

Another day was spent traveling over to West Yellowstone where we actually got to drive through the outer side of the national park (gorgeous, would love to go back in the summer) and visited the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center.  The boys loved it!  The wolves were stunning and so interactive.  We only saw one bear and he seemed a bit old… but still entertaining for a few minutes while he moved logs around and ate.  Highly recommend if you are visiting the area with small children, it’s nothing fancy but it was interesting.

Most of all, what made the trip so fun was going with some of our great friends and their kiddos.  We spent many nights making dinner at home, warming up in the hot tub, and cuddling up enjoying the log burning fireplace with a nice glass of wine.  We had a great time and hope to visit again real soon!

 

 


Alaska on the Disney Wonder

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If you are considering taking a cruise through Alaska,  if you are dreaming of taking a cruise through Alaska, if taking a cruise through Alaska is a top bucket list item, if you have heard about cruises through Alaska and you thought to yourself, “hmmm… that might be something I want to do some day”… Stop whatever planning you have for your next family vacation (you know it’s probably somewhere Caribbean…), and book a freaking cruise through Alaska!!

We decided, on a whim, to make the trek to the opposite coast to catch the Disney Wonder for a 7 night cruise out of Vancouver, B.C. and I can’t even begin to describe how great it was!  We stayed in a hotel that was connected to the boat terminal called Pan Pacific and they all but carried us to the boat.  They brought our Disney luggage tags, transported our luggage to the boat so we didn’t have to hassle with them, and we just went down the elevator the morning of departure, checked in, and got right on!  Not one issue whatsoever!  Here is a view from our room of the boat:

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Now, I did not have the highest expectations for this cruise even though everything I had heard about Disney Cruise Line was extremely positive.  To be honest, I’m just not a cruise person.  I like to plan my own trips, be able to rent a car and just go.  I don’t like the idea of being confined on a big ol’ boat, around thousands of people I don’t know, in a shoebox sized room, with germs everywhere… ewww…. but y’all, this Disney cruise exceeded every single expectation… by a lot!

From the moment we set foot on the boat and they introduced our family to the whole entire boat our experience started.  We went and ate fine dining, which you would think with kids would be a complete sh*t show, but for some reason it was like a dream.  Disney sure knows how to pick their employees, they all seemed to LOVE my children!  I mean, my kids are no angels, and I don’t even pretend that they are.  They can be real a**holes sometimes.  But the staff, literally every single one, pretended to LOVE my kids.  It was a little weird at first, but you get used to it.

Next, we explored the ship.  First things first, the kids club and nursery. This is where you can drop your kids pretty much any time of day (if not all day ;)) and they can play and be entertained with children their own ages!  DREAM!!!!  So if you and your hunny want to frolic around like teenagers, go see a movie, get drunk… kids club is what’s up!  If you scroll up to where you see Bennett in a area that looks like “Andy’s Room” from Toy Story, he literally would wake up wanting to go to kids club.  And surprisingly, Remy didn’t mind the nursery!  Again, all of the workers were super friendly, always knew my kids names, the check in and check out was super secure, and if the kids were ever not 100% happy and wanted us, they would call us on our portable ship phone which is in every stateroom.

Speaking of stateroom, they were cleaned twice a day, spotless.  One night we ordered room service (because it doesn’t cost anything on the boat- yeah, you heard that correctly) and Bennett accidentally spilled BBQ sauce on the carpet.   I quickly cleaned it up and thought no one could see where it was, well, I have no idea how they knew, but our carpets were professionally cleaned the next morning while we were out on an excursion.  CRAZY!!!  We had a veranda were we had plenty of whale sightings.  We even witnessed a baby Orka learning life strategies from it’s mama!  It was amazing!  We also saw icebergs, up close and personal, going through the Tracy Arm Fjord to Sawyer Glacier (pictured above).  Just stunning!

We did plenty of excursions, I cannot even remember them all.  One of our favorites was the train ride via White Pass and Yukon Railway (starting from Skagway) which takes you across the U.S./ Canadian boarder.  The views from the train cars are incredible. Bennett especially enjoyed this!  Remy participated, but chose to take a nap instead of enjoy the scenery.

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  Another thing we really loved was the seaplane!  It was about an hour long ride in and out of the misty fjords.  It was stunning!  We couldn’t get out (which was the plan) because of the rain, but it was still a great experience.  It’s all Bennett could talk about for weeks!

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Again, Remy participated, but chose to sleep instead of enjoy the views.

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For the seaplane excursion, we got to ride in this trolley to the Docks!

The other excursion we really loved was whale watching in Juneau! Unfortunately, it was a longer excursion, I think it was about 6 hours total, and Remy was not able to participate (age) so he had to stay in the nursery.  Which, again, he didn’t mind ;).  So it was just  husband, Bennett, & I!

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We also got to hike a little bit to see Mendenhall Glacier!

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But every day we would get back on the boat, have a fun dinner, see something entertaining, and enjoyed it to the fullest!  I hope this post inspires some of you to take the adventure to Alaska.  Even with small children, it was truly remarkable!

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Los Cabos, Mexico

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I wish I had all the time in the world to write the most detailed blog post about our trip to Cabo right now, but to be honest, I have two boys who are still awake (it’s 10PM on a school night) and just keeping it real… the pictures tell the story. BUT I’ll say a few words anyway ;)

It was a glorious week in paradise with our family!  The boys enjoyed being transferred from the pool to the beach, then back to the pool again just to want to go back to the beach once more.  This was pretty much the daily routine :) We did rent a car one of the days and drove into San Jose del Cabo where we walked around the cute historic district filled with restaurants and shops.  Every morning when we would wake up, Husband & I would make our coffee and we would sit out on the balcony and watch the whales.  One morning there were at least 15-20 whales way out in the distance blowing their air holes and breaching.  It was absolutely amazing!  Seriously made my day every morning.  On Thursday we chartered a sailboat out of Cabo San Lucas where we enjoyed some light snorkeling (my brother in law says he saw a white tipped reef shark- no… just, no.), did some more whale watching (this time it was much more up close and personal), saw a huge pod of dolphins, and then sailed the Sea of Cortez/ Pacific Ocean.

We ate so many tacos, quesadillas, skirt steak, chips and guac, and ceviche- I swear I gained 10 lbs in a week.  Not to mention all the margaritas that were heavily flowing ;)

It was a beautiful vacation, much needed for this hard working husband of mine.  I’m so thankful for my in laws and their generosity and for inviting us to tag along with our energetic, slightly bi-polar boys!  We love y’all!

P.S. take note of the incredible sunsets!!


Sullivan’s Island, SC

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Just wanted to hurry up and get this post up before things start getting crazy around here… well, crazier around here, as Hurricane Irma is approaching this weekend and we are still watching it closely to see what our plan is going to be.  As of right now we plan to stay put and ride it out, but as the satellite images are starting to shift the storm westward, I’m getting a little more anxious.

For Labor Day weekend, my sweet friend Courtney planned this awesome getaway for us and a couple other families to stay on Sullivan’s Island in South Carolina.  It was just a hop, skip, and a jump from Charleston, which we had the pleasure of being tourists in for a day.  We drove into the charming city, where we had brunch with my cousin Eddie and his sweet wife, Maryann, and their beautiful daughter, Emilia.  They were so hospitable showing us around their city, we cruised down King Street, saw the theater that was featured in The Notebook (I didn’t link it, but if you don’t know what that is, we shouldn’t be friends), walked around Waterfront Park and even did a horse and carriage tour!  It is such a gorgeous town!  I plan to visit again soon, even if it’s just for food!

Anyway, Sullivan’s Island was so quaint and just what I expected.  We stayed in a great house right on the beach, the babies got to pretty much roam free, ate at some super cute restaurants, and cruised around on golf carts.  The lighthouse was definitely one of the main highlights.  And all of the barges hauling goods up and down the coast… the boys were in heaven!

Hope you enjoy the pictures!

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My gorgeous friend, Laura, captured the following picture of Bennett & I on the beach, and I’m obsessed.  He was being abnormally cuddly that morning which I just ate up… I really need to cherish these snuggly moments, because they will soon be few and far between…IMG_5648

 


Maui, Hawaii

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Seriously… I cannot get over the beauty of Maui!  Looking at these pictures from our trip make me so eager to go back!  Although, I think I will wait until I can control my kiddos a little bit better ;) That flight home was pretty brutal, not gonna lie.  Also, I need to go back when Husband can come with us.  Unfortunately he had to work this time, but there was NO WAY I would have ever missed the incredibly romantic wedding of my sweet cousin, Kelly.  It was held at the Four Seasons Wailea where they set up on a bluff overlooking the Pacific.  My little man, Bennett, was the ring bearer, and he did not disappoint… just kidding, he had a meltdown and had to be removed from the wedding completely, but no one will remember that because there was so much other awesome stuff going on during the ceremony such as a gentleman blowing a conch shell, a ukulele playing some authentic Hawaiian tunes, then the bride and groom exchanging their written vows.  It was seriously amazing!  I was so honored, she chose me as her Matron of Honor, it truly was so special.IMG_4577

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I cannot take credit for the some of the beautiful pictures that follow, but I wanted to share them!

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FullSizeRenderIMG_5085Obviously, we couldn’t go all the way to Maui and not do the Road to Hana!  I really should have done some research before I went, of course I did not wear a bathing suit to get in the waterfalls or the water at Black Sand Beach :( And I’m not sure why I thought Tory Burch sandals were the perfect shoe attire…  but I made it!  And so did my shoes!  It was stunning, just stunning.  Every curve brought excitement to keep going and see more!  But it was a VERY long day in the car, so if you plan to do this… be prepared for at least 9 hours of winding, cliffy, driving.FullSizeRenderIMG_4095

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That night we checked out a Hawaiian luau, the drinks were flowing and plenty of boomerangs were taken.  It was a good time!  The next morning a small group of us crawled out of bed at 3 AM to see the sunrise above the clouds at Haleakala.  This was probably one of the top 3 most amazing things I have ever done in my life.  The view was  heavenly, that’s the best way to describe it…IMG_4868

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I have to thank my mother in law, Debbie.  She flew all the way out to Maui to help me with my boys, and when I say she went above and beyond for me, she did!  I got to experience the whole wedding and all of the fun events that Kelly had planned without having to worry about my babies at all.  That was priceless for me, and I appreciate you so much, Debbie!

{Random Thought :: I also want to highly recommend Mama’s Fish House for lunch or dinner , it was fantastic!}

Scrolling through these pictures, I’m feeling so blessed to have been able to experience this with Kelly and her new hubby, Randy!  They are seriously the cutest couple and they totally complete each other!  I love them both so much…

Hey Kel, we should try to go back every couple of years ;)  wouldn’t that be a fun tradition??

 


Colorado

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Colorado was a whirlwind.  Silverthorne, Breckenridge, and Denver, all in about a six day period was a bit overwhelming considering the babies were not feeling well, but we made it!  And we conquered!  We were in Silverthorne for a wedding for a high school friend of Husband’s, that he was a groomsman for.  Wow, what a beautiful setting, nestled in the Rockies!  It was a very sweet occasion, no detail was overlooked, the bride was stunning… it was perfect!

The very next day we were able to hike up to Lily Pad Lake with the kiddos.  I had googled some trails that were “kid friendly” which I assumed to mean that us carrying them on our backs would be a breeze if the hike was as searched, “kid friendly”… but I was wrong… VERY wrong.  This was a pretty tough hike with almost 35 pounds on Husbands back and 20 on mine.  But we made it!  All the way to Lily Pad Lake!  And it was worth it!  Minus the fact that Remy’s little cheeks got wind burned :( poor guy… but it cleared up fast :)

The following day, we trekked to Breckenridge where we had lunch at The Canteen Tap House and Tavern (super yummy!), then we caught the gondola up to the top of the mountain where we thought Bennett would be able to ride the Alpine Slide but unfortunately he was still too young (must be 3, gahhhhhh!!!) so we settled for Dippin Dots (Bennett was a first timer) and some cocktails and just enjoyed the view!

Finally, we made our way to Denver for the Independence Day festivities.  We stayed at a beautiful hotel (Oxford) that was within a block of Union Station.  Husband & I got to sample beers at the original brewery of Denver, Wynkoop, and that evening the Rockies had their Fireworks game which was conveniently seen from our hotel window! Bennett really loved it, he kept saying “Oooooohhh!!
and “Wooooow!!!”. Husband had to leave the next day, but Mama Olson & I got to explore and try some eateries by ourself with the kids.  There was a fun little splash pad close by that we spent lots of time at since the weather was quite warm.  Overall, it was another successful trip with the babies!

** I wanted to tag the Colorado post from a few years ago because it’s cute to see how much Bennett has grown :) **


A Remington First :: The Beach

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Short and sweet, Remy’s first beach experience was a huge success!  Lots of sunscreen was lathered, fists full of sand was ingested, and never ending facial expressions telling his exact feelings… perfect!  We had a lovely time just relaxing and appreciating our time in the sun.  Hope you enjoy the pics!

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Also!  One of my dearest friends, Sarah, came to visit from Ohio with her husband and kiddos!   So thankful for her and our friendship which has stayed strong even while being far apart!  Her kids are so well behaved and got along great with Bennett!  They are so lucky to have her as their mama- she’s truly the best!

Love you, Sarah- I know you are reading this ;)