Meet a Small Fry: Aiden

So honored to have Michelle Gilbert, mother of Aiden here talking about Angelman’s Syndrome! Salt Lake City has a walk this next month check it out here:  Angelman Syndrome Foundation’s National Walk. Welcome, Michelle!

My husband and I started a family in 1997 with the birth of my oldest son, Shawn. Working in Kansas City, I balanced my time between work and family. But when my youngest son, Aiden, was born in 2004, I had to put everything on hold due to his unexpected medical obstacles.

During the first year of Aiden’s life, he was always sick and was frequently hospitalized for lung infections. He also missed several developmental milestones and NEVER slept. When he was a year old, my husband and I decided to leave our life in Kansas City for a fresh start in Salt Lake City. Not long after we moved, he developed viral pneumonia and was hospitalized on Christmas Day. He spent three days in an oxygen tent and hardly moved. I was terrified he was going to die. Angelmans Syndrome

Aiden was almost 2 years old and he continued to miss major developmental milestones like sitting up, rolling over, talking, crawling and walking. He had been ill most of his life with lung infections and he rarely slept more than 3 hours a night. When we finally met with a geneticist, it took him all of 10 minutes to recognize the symptoms and give us a diagnosis, Angelman syndrome (AS). When Aiden was diagnosed with AS, I was devastated. I had never heard of this syndrome and had no idea what to expect. However, we were blessed with an amazing physician who has and continues to help our family through some tough times.

I was told not to look on the Internet because the information could be discouraging. Of course, the first thing I did was look online. Luckily, in my search, I found the Angelman Syndrome Foundation website. There were answers, support and an entire community of families just like mine. The next year, we attended our first Angelman Syndrome Foundation National Walk and felt so fortunate to meet other individuals with AS and their families. Having a community of other families that understand exactly what we are going through has been so important.Angelmans SyndromeServing as a Walk coordinator for the Angelman Syndrome Foundation National Walk has become an important annual volunteer commitment for me. This event raises awareness for AS and funding for research that we hope will ultimately lead to a treatment and cure. It brings me so much joy to see the other individuals with AS grow and surpass the milestones we thought they would never come close to reaching.

Six years ago I didn’t think we would see a cure for AS in my son’s lifetime. There just didn’t seem to be much interest in research for AS. Aiden is now 11-years-old and although he requires constant care and supervision, he walks with assistance, understands directions, and communicates with sign language, gestures and is learning to use a communication app on his iPad. Aiden is a remarkably happy kid with an infectious laugh, and our connection with the Angelman Syndrome Foundation has given us hope that one day, Aiden will see a cure. Angelmans Syndrome

Q:  Tell us about your background?

I was raised on a farm in rural Missouri and graduated from Missouri State University with a degree in Cell and Molecular Biology, with the hope of becoming a medical researcher. Instead, I discovered my passion in the field of organ donation and transplantation. I spent the first 10 years of my career procuring donated tissues like corneas, heart valves, musculoskeletal tissue and skin which were instrumental in saving the lives of so many people. In the last 10 years, I’ve worked to advance electronic documentation and data sharing for donated organs and tissues. Being able to help save and heal the lives of others has been rewarding for me and enhanced my outlook on life as a whole.

Q: What was the most unexpected surprise (hard or wonderful or both) about motherhood?

A:  From the first time I held Shawn and even when I think about him and Aiden, I am still surprised at how much love I have for them. I thought I knew about love before – but I discovered a whole new level of love that you have for your children that I don’t think you can have for anyone else.

Q: What’s a typical day like for you?

A: I hit snooze at least twice, then get the kids off to school and go to work. When I come home I workout, have dinner, and then have family time. After I tuck in Aiden, I try to have me time for hobbies, movies, or reading and then get ready to do it again the next day.

Q: How do you balance motherhood, family life and work? 

A: That’s tricky and I can’t say that I am always successful. Maximizing productivity while at work is key so that I don’t have to take work home. I set boundaries for my work hours and keep talk about work to a minimum during family time.  Planning time with my husband can be difficult with all of life’s demands but it is important for maintaining our relationship.

Q: In fifty years what do you want your kids to remember you for? 

A: I want my kids to remember me for my faith. My faith is how I find the strength to continue day after day.

whole wheat pancakes

Lisa Samuel is a full-time mama and non-practicing Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She writes about marriage, motherhood, food, travel and design on her blog, Simmstown.

Whole Grain Pancake Mix

As a new mama, breakfast seems to be the hardest meal of the day to prepare. There’s so much going on in the morning, I joke that I should rename breakfast “things on toast.” Egg, avocado, almond butter…But sometimes, especially on the weekend, I crave a real breakfast, and pancakes have always been a favorite.

Whole Grain Pancake MixIf you like fluffy pancakes with crispy edges and a tender center, you will love these! It took me a full year of experimenting with the ingredients to get the ratios exactly right. Now, I keep this pancake mix in my pantry so I can have pancakes any day of the week, in a matter of minutes. I can make a small batch, just enough for me, or a large batch, enough to feed a crowd. Even better, these pancakes are filled with fiber and protein from the whole grains, yogurt, milk and eggs, so you won’t feel like you need a nap afterwards.Whole Grain Pancake Mix

One batch makes four medium-sized pancakes, but if you want to make breakfast even easier, make your own toaster pancakes. Make a large batch of pancakes (use three cups of the mix and adjust the other ingredients accordingly). When the pancakes have cooled, layer them between pieces of parchment paper and place them in an airtight plastic bag and store them in the freezer. Then, any time you want a pancake, just take one out of the freezer and pop it in the toaster until it is hot all the way through. These make a great afterschool snack for the kids!Whole Grain Pancake Mix-6

My little one is only four months old, but one of the things I am most looking forward to as he gets older is being able to cook with him. In fact, I already have a little apron ready for the day he’s old enough to stand at the counter with me and pour and stir. These pancakes will be one of the first things we make together.


new baby favorites

By Emily.

Now that I am about a month in with Raleigh – and hindsight as they say is 20/20 – I wanted to share the items that are actually saving my bacon on a day to day basis. It can be so different for every baby, and that is what I love about reading these types of posts! I think as parents we learn very quickly to adapt. It’s a survival method, right? We adapt so well that we often forget that certain aspects of taking care of a baby don’t need to be so hard. So many times reading what works for other mothers gives me ideas for ways to make my life easier and to make my baby more comfortable and happy. I hope this post does that for one of you, too!new baby favorites

  1. Baby Nes: who sponsored this post – pulled through in an amazing way for me the past month. I will go in depth on this later as it needs a little back story first, but sponsored or not, I have been so glad to have this system on hand. Raleigh happily takes a bottle when needed and it’s such a weight off my shoulders! Not even factoring all the amazing time-saving features – perfect temperature every time! A capsule for every stage and age! All things that you can do easily one-handed (huge selling feature for me!) but it actually helped me get back a couple weeks with Raleigh that I didn’t have with my other two boys due to the worst word in the english language in my opinion: jaundice. More on this later!
  2. Mustela Dermo-Soothing Wipes: Between the handful of days Raleigh was on the bili-bed and waiting for his umbilical cord to detach, traditional baths were off the table. (Lotions of any kind aren’t allowed while they are under the UV lights so I hate to dry his skin out anymore than I have to with soap!) These wipes are amazing. You can get them nice and clean in a pinch and they have that yummy Mustela smell.
  3. MAM: True to Frame form, Raleigh loves his Mam binky. I love that they have a newborn size that is perfect for their tiny mouths. My boys have never had trouble keeping their pacifier in and I think thats due to having the right size from the get-go. I love these soft braided pacifier clips from Braided Lovelies on Etsy. The slip right over the pacifier and are so minimal, so much better than the plastic ones!IMG_9369
  4. Bloom Wipes: I love these wipes for being sensitive on skin, hypoallergenic, 98% natural ingredients, but what I really go for is the size. They’re huge and one wipe does the job of 3-4 regular ones.
  5. Windi: I can’t get over this genius little invention. Raleigh is pretty gassy and it of course only irritates him in the middle of the night. The Windi literally takes the wind out of him. Everyone needs a box of these on hand, absolutely amazing! In tandem with this we use our local pharmacy’s freshly compounded Gripe Water (something about them making it in house recently versus in a warehouse years ago feels like it works better? In my head?) Gripe Water comforts him a lot as well!
  6. Newman’s Ointment: Nicole got this for me when I delivered Hayes and it is an absolute STAPLE. It’s a prescription and you need to find a pharmacy that compounds it on site (get some fresh made Gripe Water while you’re at it), so make sure and ask your doctor for it the second you deliver! It is a life saver for breastfeeding. It has an antibiotic in it to prevent mastitis, it has an anti-inflammatory which lessens pain and swelling, anti-fungal which prevents candida which causes thrush and then a little more ibuprophen powder for good measure. Even my third kid in, I needed this stuff and never cracked or bled which is all due to Newman’s.
  7. Kickee Sheets: Raleigh is basically a baby prince because all I put him in is Kickee Pants pajamas. They’re so soft and comfortable and when I learned they made crib sheets I stocked up on those, too!
  8. Uppa Vista: One element of a stroller system I hadn’t tried thus far is the bassinet attachment. I am using Uppa’s whole system that comes with a bassinet and LOVING it. I love that he can chill out by the pool with us, in the shade while we garden or BBQ, and it easily comes off so I can carry him in the house without disturbing his nap. He looks so comfortable and peaceful in it!
  9. Ergo’s Nursing Pillow has been another awesome addition to my arsenal this time. I get the worst posture while I am nursing, especially in the middle of the night. The pillow helps keep him in the right spot and takes the pressure of my back so I can keep things aligned. Find it here!
  10. Tap-On Light: This might seem silly but Russ thought of it and I wish I had before my third kid! We are getting better everyday but I still need to see what I am doing during  night feedings. Turning on a whole lamp, shining that crazy bright phone light, or turning the room light on is a little aggressive. I want to wake myself and Raleigh (okay, you too Russ) up as little as possible. Feed, burp and get back to bed is the motto, so disturbing with the least amount of light necessary became the solution and this light is so nice! I tap it on and tap it off and I can move it around easily but it’s not so crazy bright! Find them here or in any hardware store.
  11. Mamaroo! I have been looking forward to using this for years. I love that its compact, can’t tip over, that the rocking is so natural and smooth, that I can use my own music or a white noise they provide. I love that its minimal and well-designed. Buy it here!

Chocolate Almond Protein Shake

My friend Jess posted a recipe like this and I thought it was a GENIUS one to recreate in our partnership with Similac.  There’s TONS of flexibility with a recipe like this so use what you have and let’s trick these kiddos in to eating something healthy 😉kellyfondots_jennasimilac1-5182

You’ll need:

1 pouch Similac Go & Grow

1/4 c Almond Milk

1/2 c Vanilla Yoghurt

1 spoonful Chocolate Protejn Powder (I’m most comfortable using a Paleo, Vegan version with my children)

1 T Coconut Cream, Whipped



In your Yoghurt mix Almond Milk and Protein Powder.kellyfondots_jennasimilac1-5204

Then add your packet of flavorless Similac Go & Grow. Top your shake with whipped cream and sprinkles of course!kellyfondots_jennasimilac1-5215 kellyfondots_jennasimilac1-5217

I love finding new ways to make old time children favorites, healthier! And this definitely succeeded!kellyfondots_jennasimilac1-5231

You can find out more about Similac Go & Grow here.

Similac partnered with influencers such as us for its Go & Grow by Similac Food Mix-Ins Launch Program. As part of this Program, we received compensation for our time. Similac believes that consumers and influencers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Similac policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

share: 0

First Forty Days

I have had this book recommended to me several times since being pregnant and so I am so happy to have them here sharing their tips for nurturing your post-partum self.

They open the conversation about important the first 40 days are. I know of so many cultures that truly take care of the mother like you would the newborn. I don’t know if its just the culture here, or maybe a pressure I put on myself but it seems like life just goes on when you have a baby and I love all this book’s concepts of truly taking care of yourself!

Welcome to them! xo – Emily

FullSizeRender-6 5 things pregnant moms can do now to prepare for the First Forty Days postpartum:Bone Broth | Postpartum RecipeAn easeful, restorative postpartum period begins before the baby even arrives. Taking some simple steps in the third trimester will give you the space and assurance to sink into The First Forty Days with a light heart and a calm mind.

Here are five easy things you can do to prepare before you’re swept into a vortex of baby bliss and sleep deprivation. Bone Broth | Postpartum Recipe

1) Ask four relationship-saving questions
A new baby is one of the greatest stressors on a relationship. Beat the statistics—two-thirds of couples experience a negative shift in their relationship within three years of having a child—by asking some key questions before your new addition joins the family.

1. How will we divvy up baby-caring responsibilities?
2. How will our finances be influenced by baby’s arrival? (This includes the time, if any, that the mother will be taking off from work and any professionals that will be hired to help.)
3. How will our sex life be affected by the addition of a newborn?
4. How will our social lives change once baby is here?

Bone Broth | Postpartum Recipe2) Create a System of Help
Whether you receive assistance in the form of food dropped off to your door, or have someone take your older child to and from school, or get regular help with laundry, dishes and general housecleaning, asking folks to commit to supporting you and your family during the First Forty Days is essential postpartum preparation. You can pass a sign up sheet around at your Blessingway (see #4, below) or email friends and family a spreadsheet with the areas of your life that will need attention while you’re busy recovering from birth and bonding with your baby. Don’t be shy to ask for help! People want to support you. Help them help you.

3) Design Your Postpartum Nest
Spend less time worrying about the color of the nursery and more time considering your postpartum landing pad. You will be spending the majority of the First Forty Days lying or sitting down, resting and breastfeeding, so be sure that you’ve got a super comfy, incredibly supportive spot in which to do so. Your arms and breasts are a newborn’s entire universe so turn your nesting attention to the pillows that will be holding you up and the view that you’ll be taking in while you remain perched for hours. If you don’t have a pretty vista to take in consider hanging an inspiring piece of art or bringing in a striking plant. Lighting’s important, too. You should be able to reach a lamp without getting up and ideally it will have a dimmer to keep things nice and cozy when baby is dozing.

Bone Broth | Postpartum Recipe

4) Honor Yourself with a Blessingway
In most cultures, the transition to motherhood is a significant rite of passage in a woman’s life. Taking some time to honor your own journey to motherhood—or motherhood again—influences the ease you will experience on the other side. Tell a close friend that you’d like to have a small ceremony or gathering (it doesn’t have to be a big party) or simply take some time to consider all your body has accomplished in pregnancy, pampering yourself with a prenatal massage. It doesn’t matter how you choose to do it, just be sure to honor yourself in some way.

5) Make and Freeze Rejuvenating Broth
In China soup is revered as a preventative and curative elixir. During the First Forty Days new mothers are encouraged to sip healing bone broths to enhance warmth throughout the body, a key step in rebuilding the blood that was lost during childbirth. During the third trimester make vats of broth and freeze for easy cooking after baby arrives. Revitalizing broth can be sipped alone (try it instead of coffee or tea in the morning) or used in soups and stews. Get a simple, delicious bone broth recipe at the Mother Bees site!Bone Broth | Postpartum Recipe




I’m back from the new baby bliss bubble! Still fully immersed in it but excited to share some finds this week with you all! Thank you all for your kind words about Raleigh, he’s the best and we’re enjoying him so much!!


Wearing: All aboard the nursing train! It’s so funny how quickly your needs shift, now while we’re getting the hang of newborn nursing, if it doesn’t have buttons or a supplice top I don’t even try. I got this dress in both colors and love that it’s oversized and hides everything in the mid-section too! I bought size small and love the fit.

Reading: Finished Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. I thought it was super sweet and funny and reassuring about aging and also super poignant about good girl friends. Now I am onto The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing and am obsessed. Love the author’s writing style, it’s super funny and I love how each story connects to the last in a way you might not expect. Unless it takes a turn for the worse it might be one of my favorite reads this year!

Listening: I bought Russ a new record player for Father’s Day since our boys broke the needle on his other one. It has great sound for the cost! I’ve been listening to classical records because I can’t handle any more noise or chaos then necessary these days.

Decorating: Realized I didn’t have a hamper for the baby’s room – Prime to the rescue! This copper basket is so pretty and will serve many purposes I’m sure. Hoping to share his nursery with you all soon! http:

Feeling: I feel so good, I am for sure tired, but recovery has been smooth sailing otherwise. Usually I am super emotional and hormonal, but I feel so peaceful this time around. Not sure what the difference is!

Eating: Thinking about eliminating some things from my diet, poor Raleigh’s tummy gets torn up every night around 3 am. I’ve read so many conflicting things but would love to hear from actual people. What has worked for you guys diet-wise and your gassy babies? In related news, God bless the Windi. It is truly a miracle.




WEARING: Okay I guess I make it pretty clear that I’m on a mission to lose baby weight and get fit. MAN it takes forever you guys!! Trying not to get discouraged as I hit a plateau! But that’s neither here nor there. The point is I’ve found I’m LIVING in my workout clothes and so I like them to look somewhat acceptable for after gym errands. Obviously I love my Lulu Lemon (I recommend the Wunder Under high times or Align Pant) but I’ve been branching out too!

Tracksmith. YOU GUYS I am obsessed with this brand. We featured them on our Father’s Day Guide a couple weeks ago so I got some pants and a tank and am just so pleased. Their New England style workout clothes just kill me. This tank top I’ve worn for 3 days straight (and somehow magically doesn’t smell) and has the cutest cut on the shoulders. As well as these pants. So comfortable, flattering and sweat wicks off them. Cool. Love this brand.

I love all Target’s Racerback tanks. They’re so inexpensive, light and the fit is great!

EATING: I have been “counting macros” for four weeks now and I really like it. I can eat what I want just not whenever I want. It keeps me in check and I’ve only had a couple licorice binge sessions since I started so relatively keeps me balanced 🙂 I’ve been loving good finds like this protein shake which has way low carbs and fat but high protein is good on the run. I also really love these bars.

READING: I’ve had some disappointment in relationships recently and I am trying to overcome those feelings. I am a person of faith but this book applies to all. Broken Things to Mend always leaves me feeling at peace with a quiet understanding of my self worth despite what happens in relationships. I really recommend it for everyone.



Decorating: (this is all I’ve been thinking about lately. Ive been in CA for an entire month with the kiddos visiting the boy we are dating. Yes, we. This is a family affair. While I’ve been away, the only thing I’ve missed is buying things for my home. Intact, I miss it so much, I keep buying things and having them sent home to wait for me. I blogged about this coffee table a while back and have seen in in SO MANY of your homes which thrills me. I have found another that I’m loving just as much.

Also, this one! It is out of stock but ill keep my eye on it for you and let you know when its available, because its perfect!

I have never found an Assouline book I didnt love, this new discovery is no exception.

Its been SO HOT that gym clothes are starting to be even too much. I have fallen for all these Nike Running Shorts. I have a white pair and a black pair and if you know me, you know it wont stop there.

These pretty sandals come in 3 different colors, but this blue is my love. Steve Madden prices are always fair and these look far more expensive than they are.

share: 1

summer favorites

This post is brought to you by Zappos.

This month’s challenge with Zappos is all about Summer vacation! Pieces that help us have more adventures, feel polished at the pool and more! Here’s our picks:


I love to find a bathing suit that I can dress up with pretty shorts or jewelry and have it be a great pool side look! This Vince Camuto swimsuit is a dream! Zappos Summer StyleIt’s classy but still fun and sexy. I love it! Also the first one I ordered had a tiny manufacturing defect on it, I called Zappos and they expedited a new one to me as well as gave me a $25 credit for my trouble!! Zappos Summer StyleI’ve loved that through this partnership with Zappos I’ve learned so much about their dedication to customer service and I seriously don’t want to shop anywhere else. They’re truly the best!! Zappos Summer Style


While browsing Zappos I spotted this modern take on the clog trend and had to scoop them up. I love that they’re Summery but will also transition into Fall too. Untitled-2Zappos has such an awesome collection of Free People, which we love, but with that amazing Zappos return policy, speedy shipping, if I have the choice I will always pick them.Zappos Summer Style


Since having Raleigh, on the off chance I make it out of the house, I am not clear to swim, so here’s my favorite pool side picks. Where I can stay cool, dip my toes, easily nurse and watch the big boys from the sidelines. I am actually really loving this slow pace Summer.poolside

Off the Shoulder Romper  // Suplice neck romper // Tie-Dye Caftan // Denim Button Down Dress /// Co-ord tunic and shorts // Striped Romper //

And my favorite trend this Summer – over the top embellished sandals! They spice up any old outfit and Zappos has a bunch of affordable options!

tassel sandals

  1. Soldudos with Tassels 2. Pom Pom and Seed Bead Gladiators 3. Beaded Gladiator 4. Loeffler Randall 5. Royal Blue Thong 6. Woven Rope 7. Rainbow Rope 8. Snake Skin Tassel


Tiny Tourist: Scottsdale

Guys it’s been SO long since we’ve done a Tiny Tourist!! This is one of our VERY favorite features and since we do a lot of traveling we want to be better about bringing it back! If you’re an expert on kid things to do, see, eat in your city – give us a holler we’d love to have you contribute! Jenna recently visited Scottsdale, AZ with her family so she’s taken it away today!

OMG I love that we are doing this again!! I STILL want to do a Tiny Tourist about our time in Istanbul this Christmas, I promise to get around to that 🙂 We recently took a family vacation to Scottsdale, AZ. We visited there in March for Spring Training and absolutely loved it. My Dad is from Mesa, AZ but we haven’t spent too much time in Scottsdale…and now we’re pretty obsessed with it.


We decided on the Four Seasons Scottsdale for our stay this time and omg we did NOT regret it. Here are my reasons WHY you should consider a 5 star hotel when traveling with kids.

  1. Even though it seems like a nice place wouldn’t welcome children, I’ve found the opposite to be true. The customer service and hospitality of a nice hotel is extended to it’s tiniest patrons too! We were greeted with tiny stuffed animals for the kids and cookies and milk in the room. Since they knew we had small children (they ask when you book) they had ALL the room child proofed. Every corner had a protector on it so no one got bumps, bruises, accidents. They also had Lollys crib up and running the second we got there and if you’ve ever tried to call up a crib in a hotel room, you know how LONG it can take and how frustrated it can be with a sad, sleepy baby.Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 9.58.16 PM
  2. KIDS CLUB. I can’t say it enough but the freaking kids club. Guys I love having my kids on vacation with me, but guess what? I also like having the option of eating dinner alone with my man. The Four Seasons (and possibly other 5 star resorts but I know for sure all Four Seasons) have complimentary kids club with your stay. That means from 9-5 there are activities for your kids to enjoy. And trust me when I tell you my boys would rather be at kids club then with me and I’m not even mad about it 😉 The staff is insanely kind, tons of crafts for kids, more cookies, more milk, must more is more! If you factor this amenity in to the higher cost of a nice resort – I’d say it’s WELL worth the cost.IMG_6147 IMG_6150 IMG_6151
  3. Food. F O O D. I truly had one of the best culinary experiences of my life this weekend. Every single item was more than I could have ever hoped for. Good food excites me so I was on cloud 9 the entire time. What I love about staying on a nice property is that the food matters to them – so you really never have to leave. The luxury of not loading your kids out of car seats a thousand times a day is vacation enough. Everything at the Four Seasons was ethically grown, organic and local if possible. They make truly everything from scratch and I think that’s just a beautiful aspect of a restaurant experience.
  4. Amenities. Obviously this matters but seriously – forgot a diaper? That’s okay they’ve got you. Sunscreen? Swim Diapers? Baby Lotion? Ya they’ve got you too. Packing is tough enough but a nice resort will make it possible for you not to have to leave or be in a bind. I really love this aspect of it.

Tip: You can find AWESOME deals on 5 star hotels if you pick a location and watch it. Be flexible on your timing and consider going in their “off season” as well as mid-week. The Four Seasons Scottsdale is less busy in the Summer Months considering it’s 300000 degrees but even though it was the surface of the sun we had such a blast being in the pool and lounging in a misted cabana, there was nothing “off” about it. I looked it up and I found it some nights as low as $149 which is a STEAL for such a stunning hotel.

We hardly left the property but the two things we did do I highly recommend.

Butterfly Wonderland

IMG_6213 IMG_6218 IMG_6220 IMG_6235This place was recommended to us by several people so we gave it a shot. First off it’s kind of expensive. We spent $73 on passes for our entire family which was definitely worth the experience but just be aware cause I initially felt like that was kind of high. I did later find $3 off coupons at the hotel (of course) so know that there ARE coupons available to give you some dollars off. But regardless of the cost, we were just enchanted by this place. It was such a fun, educational and unique thing to do…and indoors with air conditioning 🙂 It is the largest enclosed atrium for butterflies and is truly majestic. You can walk among the butterflies and even occasionally they will land on you. We LOVED this, except Lolly if you happened to catch it on my snap chat 😉 We totally think this was worth it and a definitely one time experience.


IMG_2271My boys LOVE to Golf (Andrew especially) so this was their paradise! Topgolf is such a unique place and there are several all over the country so you’ll have to check to see if there is one in your area. Basically it’s a golf simulation game and you hit golf balls off the building… what do I know I was just eating their killer good pretzel bites and gabbing with my cousins the entire time 🙂 Jude had a grin from ear to ear and Andrew was sweating at night’s end from all the competitive fun he had. While it’s outdoors the ‘bay” as they call it is air conditioned so it’s comfortable as you lounge on sectionals and order food! And at $50 for an hour (split between 6 people) it’s a really inexpensive and unique experience. I would do this time and time again if it was close to me. One tip I do have is not to bring an infant. We were on the top floor and the drop off was high and gave me anxiety! I was really glad I didn’t have Lolly there who I would have been trying to protect the entire night. The bigger kids were totally fine. Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 9.56.06 PM

If  you can’t tell by the pics we obviously had a killer time and can’t wait to go back – we’d love make Scottsdale a yearly tradition for our family. Have you been there? Leave any suggestions you might have for the area in the comments!

share: 0


All photos by Hayley Kaze.

Here is the story of how Raleigh Rex Frame finally joined our family on June 10, 2016 at 12:54 pm. He weighed 7 pounds 5 ounces and was 20 inches long. Raleigh Rex  | Birth Story Besides some jaundice, gratefully he is healthy as can be even though he was technically 1 day premature. So, onto the delivery! Is there an echo in here? Now that I am on the other side  I can say, yes, yes there is. After a few weeks of basically the same events, false alarms, contraction history, things were looking like they might be a verbatim copy of my other deliveries. Strep B positive – check! Dilated to a 6 at 36 weeks – check!Raleigh Rex  | Birth StoryNo one can really tell me why, but my body dilates (with Callum I was dialed to an 8 at 37 weeks and not in active labor) quickly and not necessarily in tandem with any contractions.  So the fear of delivering at home or in the car is overwhelming for both Russ and I, and as much as I love him that’s one adventure I don’t need to experience. Luckily the team of doctors and midwives discussed my situation and just one day before I would hit 37 weeks they finally sent me to the hospital. With lots of pre-labor contractions that week, I was so grateful to finally get admitted! Raleigh Rex  | Birth StorySo! As what has now become a routine in my deliveries, they admitted me, started a round of antibiotics for the Strep B (healthy but dangerous bacteria that a baby can pick-up in the birth canal that I apparently carry all the time and really, in combination with dilating, the only case they can make for inducing someone at 36/37 weeks.)Raleigh Rex  | Birth Story Then similarly my midwife told me once the antibiotics were administered she’d break my water and we’d get the show on the road. Something must’ve changed since my last delivery 5 years ago, because what was a 4-hour round with both Hayes and Cal’s delivery was only 1 hour with Raleigh’s. I had told everyone that the baby would likely be coming at 4-ish – my sister watching my kids, our birth photographer, my family, etc. etc. We had decided that since it might be our last baby we’d do the delivery just us two. No one else in the room, but Hayley who would be taking pictures. We thought we had time and honestly hadn’t even texted everyone we should have (whoops, Russ’ mom!) Then, at 12:30pm my midwife comes in and says “Okay, ready to do this?”

Exsqueeze me?Raleigh Rex  | Birth StoryI immediately got butterflies and luckily we had warned Hayley so she was already on her way. They broke my water and then literally everyone just stared at me. Waiting for something to happen. A contraction? For that dumb smile to be wiped off my face? I was still feeling great so my midwife went to get a soda or something, presumably. I rolled to my side since Raleigh was posterior and was told that might help with his descent, and then WA-BAM. Hey actual labor contractions, nice to see you again.Raleigh Rex  | Birth Story Russ coached me through two sets while I breathed like my life depended on it and asked him for an update on our girl Hayley. On that third set I looked at my nurse and said sort of incredulously “I think I need to push.” She ran out to the hall and I heard her yelling at my midwife, “Get in here now or you’re gonna miss this.”Raleigh Rex | Birth StoryMy midwife checked me and she said “Okay, if you’re ready, push on your next contraction!” I felt like I was on a runaway train watching nurses all run around setting everything up. I looked at Russ and said “Where’s Hayley now?” then we looked out the window and saw her full-on sprinting with her camera bag into the hospital. It was hilarious. So I opted to wait out one more contraction and the second I saw her face through the door, put my feet up in the stirrups and got to town. This is the actual first picture she took of the event (so intense, I wouldn’t normally post such a thing but it illustrates the speed perfectly!)Raleigh Rex  | Birth StoryNow for all of you who say (and I agree) my deliveries are too easy and it’s just not fair… I do not get out of any pain when it comes to pushing. As soon as I started I was not a happy camper and really just half-heartedly into it. Can I back out now? They kept telling me to pull my legs up closer to my chest, but I just didn’t wanna. Don’t make me do it! Raleigh Rex | Birth StoryLuckily it only took 5 (3 rounds of total wuss-fest pushing and a couple of actual okay, you’re not going to get a baby here by being a baby, Emily) rounds of pushing to get him here and that sweet relief washed over me. I couldn’t stop crying, and I have that same feeling wash over me often ever since. Just absolute gratitude. I am so grateful he’s here. Raleigh Rex | Birth StoryThe long wait, a miscarriage, the 36 weeks of nausea, throwing up, hip pains, what-have-you. So grateful to hold his tiny face in my hands. Raleigh Rex | Birth StoryThe anxiety and anticipation, the wondering and hoping, the praying. He is a miracle to me and he is absolutely everything to me and to my boys and to Russ. We have stars in our eyes for our Raleigh Rex.Raleigh Rex | Birth Story From every face he pulls to burp he rips it is cheered on by a family who loves him. (This was taken right before Hayes and Cal walked in to meet him!)Raleigh Rex  | Birth StorySometimes when I am in a big crowd of people I think to myself – Every. single. person. here had someone carry them for 9+ months. Every single person here had a mother who shared their body, felt the pain and worry, and I’d say (and hope) the majority of which did it with love in their hearts, honored at the chance. It blows my mind! Raleigh was born the same day as the shooting in Orlando, and I thought about how scary of world I was bringing him into. Panicked for a moment. And then I thought about that crowd of people – each one with a mother who lovingly carried them, delivered them, cared for them. There will never be as much hate or fear as there is love in this world. It is just statistically impossible. Mothers alone ensure that the scales will never be tipped.Raleigh Rex | Birth Story


share: 8