our Colorado family vacation

Well… I thought I’d check in with my dusty little old blog. As always, there is never the intent to step away for so long, but it’s really nice when I do. We’ve had a great summer so far, and if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen a good bit of what we’ve been up to. Lots of loving on James Walker, lots of swimming, a couple of camps, and we just returned from a family trip to Colorado.

We visited my brother in Vail/Beaver Creek, Colorado last week. Todd and I first visited this beautiful area when we were dating and were invited to go with a few other couples out there. And after that, my brother, Walker, moved out there.

Todd and I wanted to take the boys and meet my parents out there for a week to visit Walker and explore in the summer time. It was a nice escape from our heat and humidity here in South Carolina. I was a little nervous about the flight, but all the kids did great. James Walker fell asleep during take off for all of the flights and Hudson and Hayes played on their new Kindles.

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On the way to Beaver Creek, we stopped and did the Georgetown Loop Railroad. It was a beautiful little train ride and the kids loved it. James Walker, though, completely lost his mind every time the train whistle blew. Poor baby!

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Some friends of ours were very generous and offered for us to stay in their home out there, and it was so nice to have everyone staying in one spot for the week. We flew out on Monday morning and stayed for seven days. My cousin and her girls were also there and my boys loved having playmates for the week!

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I’ll let the pictures do the talking, but we did a lot of fun things all week. I’ll post links to all the places we went and things we did. It was one of our great family experiences together and we just enjoyed every single minute of being there. I keep comparing it to how much fun we all had at Disney World. It was just so much fun to get out and DO stuff together.

This was the day we rode the gondola to the top of Vail mountain and participated in all the fun adventure activities at the top. The boys did the rock wall, the zip line, and the ropes course. While Hudson was on the bunjee trampoline, I was taking video and pictures of him and completely missed a huge rock. I stumbled over the rock and skidded across a bunch of gravel. We laughed about it later, but mercy! How’d I miss that rock?

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We went white water rafting on a really tame part of the Colorado River. All the kids absolutely loved it! I’m excited about when they’re big enough to do a bigger trip!


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We spent the day at Beaver Creek one day, too, just shopping and doing putt putt and the fun adventure stuff there.


It rained one day, so we went to the Avon Recreation Center to the indoor pool with fun waterslides for the kids. It ended up being a ton of fun and they didn’t want to leave! We also had the kids playing games of Still Mouse Quiet Mouse when we were trying to gather up everything to leave the house.

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We went to the Beaver Creek Rodeo one night and we all loved it! I wasn’t sure if the kids would like it or not, but they were completely entertained and just watched in awe! We’d definitely do it again. Even James Walker liked it!


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We went back up to Adventure Ridge for the kids to play, and for Todd, Walker, Carrie, and me to zip-line!

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We all went bowling one night, and then on the last night, we went to see Pixar in Concert in an amphitheater. We packed a picnic and brought the selfie stick for a big group photo! That night was so much fun!

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This family photo just makes me smile so big! I love these people so much! IMG_2119

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We got to spend a lot of time with my brother and his girlfriend, Carrie, and any time we get to spend with my mom and dad is a gift. We came home with recharged batteries (despite missing our flight due to bad traffic and less-than-stellar planning and having to take the red eye home) and full hearts. It sounds corny, but really, it was so much fun.

I’ve linked to almost all of the things that we did while we were there in case you’re planning a trip to the Vail Valley area.

Georgetown Loop Railroad 

Adventure Ridge in Vail

Vail Gondola

Lionshead Village Playground

Timberline Upper Colorado White Water Rafting

Beaver Creek Adventure Center 

Avon Recreation Center 

Beaver Creek Ice Rink

Bravo! Vail at Gerald Ford Amphitheater 

Beaver Creek Rodeo 


Birthday Trip to New York City

I turned 32 last Tuesday, and Todd and I celebrated with a quick 3-day trip to New York City. I was invited by Dr. Smith’s to represent them at the Biggest Baby Shower in NYC and talk to new moms about Dr. Smith’s. I was so excited to be invited, but because I’m pregnant and it was my birthday, I asked if Todd could come with me on this trip.

The night before we left for the trip, I was packing our suitcase and folding some laundry and feeling a little sad that I wouldn’t be with my boys on my birthday. And then they asked me to come to the kitchen where they had cupcakes and homemade cards. It was really my favorite thing about my birthday!



Some sweet friends took care of the boys and Boudreaux, and we felt so great knowing that they were in good, loving hands.

We flew out of Columbia early on November 11 and we were in NYC by 9:00 a.m. It was Veteran’s Day, so we ran into some heavy traffic because of the Veteran’s Day parade, but we also got to enjoy the parade and see most of it. We walked and walked and walked and ended up sitting on the steps at the NY Public Library to watch the parade.


We walked some more and shopped and stopped to eat lunch in Rockefeller Center. Then we took a cab to One World Trade Center to go to the 9/11 Memorial. The building was just beautiful and the memorial was incredibly moving. It still takes my breath away and stuns me that this ever even happened.


We walked back to the hotel after visiting the memorial. The city was just so beautiful on the days we were there!


We had my birthday dinner at The Simone on the Upper East Side. It was one of my all time favorite dining experiences. The restaurant was small– only 11 tables– and charming. The servers were attentive and formal, but friendly. It was very nice, but not at all stuffy. The food was absolutely perfect. Todd and I were both in heaven. I highly recommend it for your next trip to NYC.


The next day, we decided to take a cab to FAO Schwarz to grab some surprises to bring home for the boys. I go to FAO Schwarz almost every time we go to NYC because it just makes me feel so happy and like a kid. And I just love to look!


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Then we went to Central Park to spend the day just enjoying being outside. We walked all over the park and then we made our way to Shake Shack on Columbus for lunch. It was everything we hoped it would be! Maybe the best burger ever. We walked and walked and walked and just loved seeing every day people. Moms pushing strollers. Kids on the playground. Couples meeting for lunch on their lunch break. And when I just didn’t think that James Walker and I could take anymore walking, we walked back.

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I spent that night working at the Biggest Baby Shower for Dr. Smith’s, and then Todd met me (and my friends from Dr. Smith’s) at The Cafeteria for supper. The mac n cheese was amazing!

The next morning we slept in and then had a couple of hours to get some breakfast before catching our flight back to Columbia. We ended up at Markt for French toast and berries. The food was perfection. The atmosphere was super low key. We just kind of stumbled upon it when looking for a great spot for breakfast and the food was worth it. I guess I have a lot of pictures of food. Food and selfies!

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We took a cab to the airport and were ready to get home to see our boys. It was a fast trip and a really fun trip. I love being in New York close to the holidays, and loved a chance to get away before our newest baby boy arrives.

Orange Beach 2014

Even though school doesn’t start for another two weeks, I thought it was time to dust off the computer, upload all of the summer pictures, and record some of our favorite summer memories. I know I’ve had a handful of sponsored posts this summer and very little personal content, and I don’t want any of you to feel like I don’t care anymore. I do care. I’ve just had very little time to myself this summer, so blogging hasn’t been high on my list of things to do.

Back in June, we went to Orange Beach, Alabama with my parents, my cousins and their families. It was the very best week I can remember in a long time.

We had so many helping hands and playmates for the kids and it was such a relaxing week because of it. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw a lot of this trip already.

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We had six kids under six on this trip, and it was so much fun watching them all get to know each other better.

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When we go to the beach, we spend as much time on the beach as we can every day. We usually have a big breakfast, eat sandwiches for lunch on the beach, and stay on the beach until 5:00 p.m. before we cook supper in the condo. The kids nap in the middle of the day between trips to the beach and back to the pool and lazy river, and we all take turns sitting inside with them. It is full relaxation.

We found sand dollars and tons of shells to bring back home. We walked the beach every afternoon and got the kids good and worn out.

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Todd and I went fishing early one morning with my uncle and my cousins’ husbands. I was the only female on that trip, but I really wanted to go. It was the most beautiful day and we saw so many dolphins! Which also meant we didn’t catch very many fish. Just a couple of tiny fish that we just threw back. But it was such a fun morning!

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Hudson’s fifth birthday was on June 5th, so we started the morning with donuts and presents and he got to spend the day on the beach and in the condo watching his favorite movies while playing with his new toys.

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We went out to eat at Sunset Grille in Perdido Key for Hudson’s birthday. We brought our Ninja Turtle cake from Publix and celebrated there. We loved watching the sunset over the intracoastal waterway and the kids loved the playground after supper.

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After cooking for five nights and then going to Sunset Grill, we decided to go to Cobalt the last night, where we also celebrated my cousin’s birthday. We had eaten at Cobalt last year, too, but it was a lot better this year for some reason. We had a great last night there.


It was a fantastic week, and I’m already counting down the days until we go back next year. It’s just our little piece of heaven on earth.

What's in my beach bag?

We are on the Gulf coast this week with my family and extended family. We’re celebrating Hudson’s birthday this week and just having a great time with cousins on the beach and in the pool.

I thought this would be the best time to share what’s in my beach bag this year. And I’d love to know what’s in yours!

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Hayden Reis Diddy Bag- I have a new beach bag this year and it’s this Hayden Reis Diddy bag. I love that it’s made out of sailcloth and can be totally hosed off and wiped out. And it holds four beach towels plus everything you see here. I love that it’s cute and big enough to carry my stuff and the boys’ stuff!

Sunscreen– My two favorites are both by Neutrogena. I love their sunscreens. My cousin is a dermatologist and she’s been with us on our trip this week, and she recommended these two sunscreens to us. The Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby
is what I use on our faces, necks, and shoulders, and the Neutrogena Beach Defense is what I use on arms, legs, and backs.

Aveda Brilliant Damage Control – This is my favorite detangler and it helps me to comb through my curly, tangly hair after I get in the pool or the ocean. And I love that it helps protect my hair from sun damage.

Mophie case for iPhone– I never leave home without my Mophie and I absolutely have to have back-up battery power at the beach. My battery just drains when we’re at the beach.

Aladdin Mason Tumbler– I love these so much and have one with me almost every day. And they’re perfect for the beach or pool.

Beach cover up– I am obsessed with finding the perfect cover up because I practically live in cover ups during the summer. This summer I love my Kelly’s Kids cover up. It’s long enough to wear to the store if you have to make a run before going to the pool, and it’s loose fitting and super flattering.

Beach Read– I finished Emily Giffin’s The One & Only this week and now I’m on to Panic by Lauren Oliver. But every beach bag must have a great book.

Hayden Reis accessory bags– I absolutely adore all of these smaller bags. I use one as a wet bag for wet swimsuits, swimshirts, etc., I use another bag as a dry bag for spare clothes, clean diapers, and sunglass case. I have the wristlet that I use for my cell phone, keys, and credit card. And then I have a sunscreen bag to keep leaky sunscreen separate. I also love the mesh bag for collecting shells. The boys have loved this on the trip.

Not pictured:

Four big towels

Goldfish, fruit snacks, and drinks for the boys

The boys’ water toys

Spare clothes, diapers, and everything we need to survive a day away from home

What’s in your beach bag?

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