The Answers: Traveling and Food

Jul 31, 2015

Are you so sick of these posts yet? I mean, at least the subjects are different each week right? Makes the sting a little less painful? Anyway, lets talk two of my very favorite things today. Food and traveling! 

Best place you have traveled to and why?

Hands down the best place I have ever traveled to, and I think Chris would agree, is Tahiti! I wrote a whole post on our "honeymoon" right here.  I am not sure if another vaca can top this one. Not to mention, I'm not sure how we would afford such a thing. Before we went on this vacation I remember Chris and I sitting in Washington calling our parents like "should we really be spending this much money on a vacation?" I mean we have school to pay for, Chris is getting out of the Army in a couple months we will need money in savings. But every parent we consulted said "GO! You guys need this, and trust me once you have kids you won't get opportunities like this!" I mean....could they have been more right? It costs a small fortune, like more than my car at the time. But Chris came home with all his deployment money. It was my goal while he was deployed to not have him spend a penny. So I worked two jobs, got a roommate to help out with rent, and let Chris and his paychecks pile up. When he got home we had money upfront to pay for this. Otherwise we would have needed a hefty loan. The flights and hotel stay weren't that insane for it being Bora Bora! It was the cost of food that was crazy. You figure three meals a day for ten days for two people.....ching ching! Our travel agent warned us about that little fact...but again. Once-in-a-lifetime. 

So it was amazing! From the water, to the sand, to the mountains. Everything was stunning. One day, hopefully we can reward ourselves for making it through raising four kids, and go back. 

Favorite city you have lived in so far?

My favorite city is Seattle. Now, we didn't live right in the city. Chris was stationed at Ft. Lewis, and I went to school at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. But when he got home from his deployment, we got an apartment closer to Seattle so we could spend more time around the city. We did all our grocery shopping at the Whole Foods downtown. Every weekend was spent at the market. We would even sometimes get a hotel room for the night just so we didn't have to drive home. 

Also Seattle holds a huge place in my heart considering that is were we got married. When you run off and elope, all you really have is the memories of where you decided to do that. Seattle is our memory. 

Still to this day I love that city vibe. You get the feelings of a city, but not as crazy. It is a little slower paced from growing up in Vegas. Not to mention, it is just beautiful!! I cannot wait to stop there for a few days on our way back down to the lower 48!

Food! My favorite of all favorites!! 

What is your quick go-to weeknight dinner recipe?

I probably utilize this one far too often, but my go-to easy dinner recipe that I can make with one hand (other arm holding Odette) is, lemon garlic chicken.

We always have thin sliced chicken breasts handy for purposes such as this. With this recipe you and your kids really have to like lemon and garlic, like a lot!

I just heat the oven to 375, get out a baking dish and lay all the chicken at the bottom. Usually 5-6 pieces. Then in a food processor, or small blender I juice one lemon, add 1/4 cup of olive oil, and throw in 4-6 garlic cloves. Salt and pepper your chicken, then pour the lemon mixture on top. Bake for 25 minutes and you are good to go.

We have a large salad just about every night, but I will throw in some green beans, or broccoli to go along with this one as well.

How was your experience with whole 30?

So, I will come right out and say that we loved whole30. I didn't like the first two weeks of whole30 because my body felt like it wanted to kill me, and I also felt like I would kill someone for a kit-kat. But after finishing our first round of it back in January, I can say that we have altered the entire way that we eat in this house. If you haven't heard of whole30 there are so many people that have blogged about it. Chris initially read the book It Starts With Food, which changed his whole mindset on eating. He passed along all his word vomit to me and we embarked on this whole new way of eating. Now I am totally someone who is the kale chips....sneak a handful of m&ms. I'm a work in progress. Chris has willpower like I have never seen. He just stays on the whole30 train day in and day out until he decides to have a cheat meal. But he knows he will feel like crap afterwards. The amount of energy I have seen within myself, and watching Chris go from drinking 5-6 cups of coffee a day, down to one maybeeee two, is amazing. Chris has seen a lot of health benefits from eating this way since he was having problems with inflammation, and joint pain before. I would totally suggest to anyone to just try it out. But you have to do your first 30 days by the book or you won't learn the effects. I now know that gluten gives me major headaches, which was something I have battled since I was younger. Dairy makes me so stuffed up, which before doing whole30 I thought was just due to chronic allergies.

This isn't all to say that I don't go grab a burger or a pizza. I just know that my body will "feel" different after I do it. So we have tried to make healthy choices. We cleaned out the cabinets and fridge of just about everything and started over. I now make a ton of things homemade as to cut out the preservative and added sugars, such as dressing, mayo, ketchup, bbq sauce, etc.

We still let our kids be kids as well. We made the choice to let them pick out one "special" snack to eat when we go to the store. Other than that they can just eat fruits and veggies. It was a battle I had to deal with for months, but now I see them even changing their taste buds. Until we pass a McDonalds and then they go ape shit! ha.

But overall, we came away really enjoying whole30. I know it is not for everyone. And I am sure I sound like one of those super annoying "eat healthy eat healthy eat healthy" people. I'm totally not that person, to each their own in all avenues of life is the way I see it. But, for purposes of answering this question, there ya go!

Bonus: I have seen a huge difference in Odette while doing whole30. Cutting out added sugar and dairy especially has been amazing. All the other kids I had a problem with dairy being too hard on their little tummies. They were fussy and gassy. I always ended up just limiting my dairy consumption. But now the only thing that I eat with dairy in it is creamer in my coffee. Other than that, no sugar, dairy, or bread. We have tested it out with her to see if it was actually having an impact, and I did a week with introducing dairy back in, she was constipated for four days, and I felt so sick. Now I'm no doctor...this is just what seems to work for me!

Favorite healthy meal?

My favorite healthy meal is so so basic! And it didn't become my favortie healthy meal until I did whole30, and realized that I bascially can't eat anything that I used to eat. Except a burger! A burger with no bun....but a freaking burger nonetheless!
So, I make my burger patties with just a ton of spices and a healthy squeeze of dijon mustard thrown in. Grill them up!

Top them with a spoonful of homemade mayo, some avocado, and a sunny side up egg. And hot sauce, of course hot sauce! And that's it. It seems so boring, but I can promise you the flavors are all there. And bonus, it is so filling you don't even miss the bun. We probably eat this with a large salad more times a week than we should. It is a nice alternative to fish, which I feel like we are always eating either salmon or halibut since the deep freezer is full of it, just this little burger concoction is super yummy!

So there it is! I hope I got to everyone's questions. I tried to stick them into the best categories I could, so if I didn't answer your directly, it was probably just similar to the others. I totally had fun doing this, so thanks for humoring me!!

And now back to our regular scheduled mom crap! Holla!

chasing kids, chasing waterfalls

Jul 29, 2015

We couldn't very well call it a weekend around here if we didn't throw in a hike. Kids have a lot of energy, it is a parents duty to expel all that energy. For us, hiking is the best way to do that where Chris and I get some enjoyment out of it as well. Now, lets throw in a beautiful waterfall and you have a recipe for a..... parents of toddlers anxiety filled soap opera. 
We heard about this waterfall hike a while ago, but everyone that talked about it said that it wasn't very "kid friendly". Then I saw that someone posted on instagram that they had taken their kids there. Their children were a little older than mine, but I happen to think we have some pretty good hikers on our hands, so we said what the hell? Lets go! 

Virgin Falls is a waterfall tucked away in a little town south of Anchorage. We drive down and around Girdwood all the time, so this gave us a chance to explore something that we have clearly missed each time we go. After reading a little bit about the trail I was so excited that it was described as more rain forest like than anything! I mean mixing the Alaskan woods with a little rain forest flare? Can it get better? 
The hike to the waterfall was so quick! Like we walked right passed it because we were thinking, this can't be it, we haven't even hiked half a mile yet. We got on the trail pretty early in the day so there weren't any people around. Instead of stopping we just kept climbing higher and higher. The trail went from somewhat noticeable, to almost non existent. We were just climbing over fallen down trees, jumping over huge holes. Hoisting one child after another over some pretty sketchy terrain. Chris kept saying, "I guess this is what they meant by not kid friendly". So true, we were sweating buckets. Not only was the hike working us out, but the sheer anxiety we had while climbing with the kids, was exhausting!
We hiked for about a mile and stumbled upon this site! I mean, amazing!! The water was so cool, the mist coming down from the water hitting the rocks was so refreshing. The kids loved how loud the water was, and the fact that they could yell so loudly and barely hear each other. We kept a very firm grip on Pierce because well....he's crazy. Avalon was in the backpack at this point because her legs were getting tired from trying to climb over all the exposed tree roots. 

By now we were thinking, yep, back there when we saw that waterfall.....that was probably THE waterfall. So we decided to turn around. If it were just Chris and I hiking we would have probably kept going up the mountain, because eventually it connects with another cool trail. But with kids, it was just getting a little too scary. 
We hiked right back down to the spot we passed from the get go. Only this time there were some red flower petals sprinkled all around, and a bunch of  girls running away in towels???? photo shoot location though! 

We let the kids play down by the waterfall for a bit. It was nice to take a break as well. I would have liked to take more pictures during the hike, but I was too panicky watching all the kids, while trying not to trip with Odette on me. I did document as best I could on snapchat. 
Afterwards we picked up a pizza down in Girdwood and headed to Moose Meadow to let the kids run around a bit more before we headed home. 

I would totally recommend this hike to my fellow Alaskan dwellers. If you don't have kids and want an amazing hike with great views, take the trail or lack thereof, to the top of the mountain! If you have small children, put them on a leash! Or just walk to the falls, which is super short and easy! 

These are my confessions

Jul 27, 2015

Oh Usher, you and your catchy songs that will now remain in so many people's heads. If you're still singing it by Friday, I apologize.

But, have you ever just had thoughts that you felt like you needed to share? Like, clearly someone else can relate. Or maybe it will just feel good to get it off your chest? That is this post.

-I confess that last week was probably not my best parenting week. One of the days, and I can't remember which one, but the boys were non.stop.fighting. I am talking nothing was working, they just wouldn't stop. One thing they kept fighting over was some stupid map that one of them picked up on a trail. Which one? We will never know, they both claim to have brought it home. No matter how many, "please share", "okay let's just take turns", "seriously? It's just a piece of paper", I threw out there. It wasn't stopping. So finally after about the fifth attempt of sitting down to feed the baby uninterrupted, yet being interrupted by the sounds of an attempted body slam, I got up, grabbed that map, ripped it in half and threw it away! The boys went from being at each others throats to sobbing together on the floor. Like some Band of Brothers, deep in the trenches type shit. "How could she do that?" "Ahhhh such a mean mommy!" It went on and on. Truth be told, I felt bad. Like really bad. But....they stopped fighting. 

-I confess that Avalon has taken to climbing in our bed every night at the strike of 3:00 am, and I have done nothing to stop it. Girl is like clockwork. Her door opens at three on the dot, and she is in my bed and asleep by 3:05. I have no idea what is going on all of a sudden. She normally sleeps like a rock. Maybe last week with Chris gone she just wants to keep me company? Like Odette in the bed isn't enough, we need more. I truly don't mind it. I know I should get up and put her back in her bed but I don't. I am pretty sure Chris was feeling a little crowded over the weekend. Welcome home! You now get all of five inches to sleep on. You're welcome, try not to roll off the bed. 

-I confess that when we head out to the park and we pull up to too many cars in the parking lot, I go find another park. I just can't deal with too many park moms. Yes me and my brood are about to take up a whole lot of real estate at the park. We outnumber your one child three to one. Pierce is a massive three year old, with a full arm cast, so just don't mess with him when he wants to go down the slide. We are SO loud people probably think that an abduction of some kind is happening. Moms look at me like, "isn't she going to quiet them down?". To that I say, nope! We are at the park, not the library, so if my child's vocal range is interrupting your super important conversation about the latest and greatest tupperware....take it to the coffee house folks. This is a park...where children PLAY! LOUDLY! 

-I confess that I have made three hair appointments, and cancelled them all. Well, one was Chris' fault because he got called into work. But, the other two were all me. I have never been this indesisive in my whole life. is just hair. Why am I being picky? Not only that though, but I have yet to find a great hairdresser here. Truth be told, I usually cut and color my own hair in the downstairs bathroom. But, it needs a professional run through. I just know that I will probably only get one shot at an appointment, so in the event that they screw up, I will be left to correcting it myself. No bueno!

-We have three, THREE doctors appointments this week. Pierce will be re-casted tomorrow. Odette has her four month check up, and Pierce has a physical for school. I have already warned Chris that we are going to need wine! Lots and lots of wine! I am probably going to need to drowned out the public display of bipolar parenting that I'm sure will haunt me for all of five minutes. It's not even that I care about what the rest of the world thinks, it is that my own mind can only handle so much. And in all my attempts to space out these appointments, the receptionists just laughed at me. So, light a candle for me. Or just follow me on snapchat (kelsey_pardonmf) because I have no sham when it comes to showing off my mad child wrangling skills!

Do you have anything to confess? Did I scare you away from this blog forever?

I hope not.....

A few of my favorite things, right now.

Jul 24, 2015

We made it to Friday! Everyone pat themselves on the back, because this week was a doozy! I mean down right coo coo for cocoa puffs kind of crazy in this house! I have never been so excited for Chris to come home from a week in the field as I am today! That's probably an exaggeration...but you can feel my desperation I'm sure. 

I have a few things I would like to share with the class though, just a couple things that are on heavy repeat and I can't keep secrets. 
First up, this beach waves spray! I saw it first in this post on Emily's blog and I knew I had to try it out. I love a good beach spray. Even though my hair is too long and too heavy to get the all natural beach wave look, this spray is great as a leave in texturizing spray. Lately I have been spraying it in my hair after I get out of the shower, letting my hair air dry a bit, then wrapping it in a bun. By the time I take it out it has a nice little wave to it which is great! Not to mention the smell is off the hook! Coconut milk and peaches, let's all take a moment to think about what that smells like (even though I already know).

Did you think about it? Heavenly!

Next on the list, sticking with hair, is this Wet brush. Have you heard of it? I originally got it for Avalon because she has the most tender head ev-er! Like if she even sees a brush she flinches. But once I saw how easy it was on her hair I went and got one for myself, because god-forbid we share. Ugh! Foreshadowing to the future with her clearly. It has soft flexible bristles which makes it glide through your hair. I need to keep all the strands I can, because I am still losing handfuls by the day. Thank you hormones.

And last on the beauty line up is this Cushion Blusher. So funky but effective! It is a liquid blush that you just squeeze into the sponge applicator and dab on. Quick, amazing, and affordable! Go get it.

Moving right along to the clothing department...

This coat is one of my Nordstrom sale purchases. I am so very excited to wear it all winter long, so don't judge me if you see it everyday on instagram! Not to mention it is under $50 with the sale still going strong.

Then there is this wide striped sweater I got from J Crew. I love sweaters!! As in the entire top section of my closet is sweaters. It is a strange addiction for someone who grew up in the desert. Maybe I feel like I need to make up for all the sweater wearing I missed out on as a child. But, this one has the perfect amount of slouch to it, while still being fitted. Plus navy and white is just a classic combo.

What are you loving? What are your plans this weekend? Anything fun going on?

The Answers: Fashion and Blogging

Jul 22, 2015

Lets continue on this answer train shall we? The bulk of the questions kind of fell into two categories, fashion and blogging. So this post might be a little long, but these two things pretty much intertwine themselves in my life.

What did you do in fashion before becoming a stay at home mom?

So, I started working in retail when I needed a second job after getting married and Chris was deployed. I worked at a horse tack and feed store, and then worked at Marciano by Guess as well. I had always had a huge obsession with clothes, and getting other people dressed. But I went to private school my whole life, so that didn't lend me very much creative freedom. Once I started working in retail I really liked working with the visual team more than I liked sales. So that is where my primary focus went. I worked my way up with Marciano to a store co-manager and a visual manager. I got to work early mornings and do floor changes, and also work more with the district and regional managers on incoming products for our store. I absolutely loved it!! When Chris got home from deployment I quit working to spend all my time with him and figure out our next move in life. We ended up in Scottsdale, AZ and I started working for Anthropologie as a visual manager. Working for Anthro was an amazing experience. Every store is unique because they give their visual teams creative freedom on concepts. My goal was to move into store merchandising and buying and as I was making my way on that path, Ace come along and spending all my time with him was too good to pass up!

Do you have a budget (monthly) for clothes, makeup, etc.? 

I'll give you the real deal holyfield answer. No, I do not have a budget set in stone. I do all the bills and everything in the house, so the bill chart is filled in and checked off by yours truly. Chris can always be overheard saying "happy wife..happy life" so he has never side-eyed me on the shopping. He trusts I won't spend all the kid's college funds, maybe just half (I kid I kid). Then I started blogging, from that I started making a little bit of money for myself. It didn't feel right to take any money out of our joint account for purchases when I could easily buy myself things. So that is where we find ourselves now. If I make money from the blog, I use it to sponsor other blogs, pay for blogging related things, and then on buying new clothes, makeup, what have you. What I spend changes month to month depending on what I have going on. Some months there is more, others there is less or maybe none. But for me it keeps me accountable to spend what I make, since this blogging is really "my" thing. Even though Chris is 100% supportive. 

Favorite makeup line?

Oh man, this is sooo hard to narrow down because I feel like I use so many different products. But right now I am really loving a lot of products from Lorac, from their bronzers to lipsticks, just great quality! I will forever be in love with Loreal mascaras. MAC brushes, and Urban Decay eye shadows. 

How do you get ready with four kids?

This is where I create my own chaos. If I know we have to go somewhere or we have errands to run that day, I do things in many many stages. I will get up before everyone so that I can do my hair, whether that be curling, braiding, or whatever. Usually by the time the kids gets up I will have their clothes laid out for the day, and breakfast options for them. While they eat I will put my makeup on. Once they are done I will get them ready, feed the baby, and get myself dressed last. I try to always have my diaper bag stocked at all times so I can just grab it and go. If not, I keep a small stash of things in my trunk. The kids are pretty used to the fact that I take time to get ready. So most of the time they hang out in my room with me as I do it. Not to say there aren't days where everyone is just over it, and I end up running out in jeans and a sweatshirt. beauty routine step at a time. 

I feel like there were so many questions about blogging! Let me just be sooooo clear, I am NO expert in this. I genuinely have no idea what I'm doing. I just take it as it comes. I have been such a fan, and reader of blogs for so long that I feel like I know what I like and don't like. The takeaways, and whatnot. 

What category would you put your blog in?

Great question! I have no idea. I mean I guess it could lean toward lifestyle? But maybe not even that. Possibly, life & style? Can that be a category? When I first started thinking about a blog I thought I would go full on fashion blogging. But I remember telling Chris that that is just not realistic to my life. I started blogging right after having Avalon. Three kids, and stay at home mom shenanigans does not equal everyday glamour. So busting out outfit posts would just be a lie. I always felt that fashion would work it's way in somehow, but it had to be organic. I am a mom first and foremost, and an admirer of style and fashion. 

How do your find time to blog? What is your routine?

Again....not real sure. (Don't I suck at this?) I mean, I do have a calendar that keeps me on track with sponsored posts, and I build from there. I always kind of have an idea of what I want to talk about. Usually three out of five posts during the week are planned out. The others are just kind of what is going on in our lives. I blog at night when the kids are asleep, or early morning before they are all up. When Chris is home on the weekends, he usually takes the reins while I edit pictures. I try not to sit at my computer during the day. I do all the social media shiz while breastfeeding, since I'm sitting there for a little bit anyway. 

How do you increase viewership? 

I am a very very small blog in the big bad blogging world. Like I'm tiny! Some days I'm pretty sure that my mom is the only one clicking over here. So I have no get quick click answer. I feel like you have to stay true to what you know, and people with either relate or not. But for the most part, if you are putting yourself out there and trying to connect with people, they will do the same. Find linkups to be apart of, that is a great way to bring people to your blog. Find your favorite blogs, big or small and sponsor them. Guest post! If you really like a blog and feel like you connect with the author of that blog, shoot them an email about working together on a post. There are no rules when it comes to blogging, but there is a fine line between liking another bloggers post, and then mirroring that post on your blog. Give credit where credit is due. That could be finding a great beauty product from a blog you read, link it. If you like a post idea that you saw on a blog, say that and give that blog credit. I feel like blogging is about the community, so build one of your own. One thing I have found is that bloggers are pretty badass when it comes to helping one another out. Leave comments. Genuine comments, not just "great post!". Engage with people, socialize on different social media outlets. Everyone and their mom has a blog these days. so you have to let yours be known. Be your own cheerleader!

Get on social media! If you have personal accounts think of starting an account for your blog on twitter, instagram, facebook....the list goes on. Also pinterest is a great way to drive traffic to your blog. Try and pin your images along with others everyday. 

How do you get sponsorship opportunities? 

Okay, again I have no true blue insight. And many times I sit and think...these people don't really want to work with my little mommy blog do they? But, you really have to find your voice when it comes to blogging. Be YOURself, what works for me, or for another blogger may not work for you. Carve out your own niche. And I feel like you have to be authentic. People can see right through the blogs that just throw up a post for the sake of doing it. Be specific, take the time to edit pictures. Whether you are doing fashion and beauty, food blogging, travel, then really hone in on your skills. Throw out your best features, your favorite products, build a post around your beauty routine. Whatever it is, quality over quantity. If you can commit to two or three really great posts a week, then do that! Don't throw out five half assed posts because you feel like you have to post everyday.

I am a super small blog, but I feel like I have had some great opportunities to work with some really amazing brands. BUT, don't say yes to the first opportunity that comes your way, as exciting as it may be. Make sure it fits your blog and your brand. Learn to say no, and then the right fit will come along. Look for brand partnership companies, Tap Influence is a great one, Collectively, Weave Media, Pollinate Media Group, Collective Bias. Many of these companies have a minimum page view requirement, so if you don't have google analytic's hooked up to your blog yet, do that. You will more than likely be asked about your monthly page views, and sometimes your payment is based off of that as well. 

I want to say also that, I know all the sites out there on blogging say numbers numbers numbers!! And while numbers play a big role I'm sure, I feel like they aren't everything. Your content is key! And I totally get that many people blog as an outlet and have no interest in it turning into anything more. I too think that is great! I happen to read many many blogs that have zero interest in monetizing. But if you do want something more, then treat your blog like something you would want to read as well. 

Who takes all your pictures?

My wonderfully hilarious photographer is none other than my husband Chris. He has zero experience, but he loves taking pictures. I have taken some online photography classes, so I usually know what settings I want my pictures done in, what lens I want to use, and then he just points and snaps snaps snaps, while saying things like, you look mad, you look constipated, you're really pale, there is a biker behind you move to the left! 

What kind of camera do you use?

I use a Canon Rebel SL1. Not anything high speed. What I have found is that my camera has the functions that I want, it is then up to the type of lens to deliver. So I went from using the kit lens it came with, to a 50mm f/1.2 lens for my portrait shots, and an 85mm f/1.8 for outfit posts. I still use the lens my camera came with when we travel. I am not a camera expert by any means! I am just starting to get comfortable with all the manual settings on my camera. I know I will outgrown it as I love taking pictures, but for now, it is good. 

I am not sure if that was at all helpful, or even answered those questions entirely. Or if it just created more questions in people's minds. Haha! And if you even made it through this whole post I am sending you a virtual high five!!

fresh veggies and muddy kids

Jul 20, 2015

The plan over the weekend was to head back out to the farm to pick ourselves a nice big helping of fresh veggies. But since we are trying to limit the dirty factor for our one armed wonder Pierce, we decided to postpone another round of farming. So in honor of our last adventure, and to a cast-less hand for Pierce, lets throwback Tuesday to last weekend and bombard you with a ton of pictures!
The last time we went out to the farm was almost two years ago!! Which is crazy to me when I went to link that post, because Avalon was only a few months old, and here I am wearing Odette while she is only four months old!! Time is seriously flying by with these kids. And seeing how little Ace and Pierce looked is mind blowing. Nonetheless we are here at the farm making more memories.
This farm is honestly the most gorgeous place. I don't think any picture could do it justice. For weeks leading up to last weekend I had been stalking Pyrah's website to see when they would be opening up for the picking. Once I saw lettuce and kale go up, I was rounding up the rain boots and ready to go. Produce is oddly hard to come by in Alaska. The commissary has a decent selection, but the prices aren't great. Costco is a weekly thing for us to stock up on, but I always feel like we have to eat things so quickly because their fridge life is slim. But going to Pyrah's farm you really are getting the freshest veggies, and since you are plucking them straight from the dirt they last a little longer. And the prices cannot be beat! Not to mention it is just down right fun to be out there. 
We got there right when they opened on a Saturday, and the place was empty! I cannot tell you the joy my mama heart feels when we roll up to a place and it is vacant. It's like when you pull up to the park and there is no one there. I imagine it is the same feeling you get if you win the lottery, minus of course the fact that you could then diminish your car payments. But, anyway, seeing that no one was there I gave the kids the green light to play in the mud, jump around, get dirty because we wouldn't be disturbing anyone else. 
Avalon is a novice mud player, and got stuck just about every time she would walk through it. If I walked away from her for a second she would just scream as if she was sinking in the mud. I guess she kind of was since she couldn't move. Never one to back down from a challenge, she tried and tried again to walk all the way through the mud puddle and not get stuck......better luck next time girlfriend. 
We picked and picked until the stroller was no longer available for its intended purpose. And I guess I should say Chris picked and picked, considering I just walked around and took pictures. Someone has to capture these memories!
Once we spent a few hours, and the kids were caked with mud we decided to go home and cook some kale chips (don't knock em till you try them, trust me!). We have all been eating salads multiple times a day in order to not waste an ounce of Chris' hard work. We still have some lettuce to eat, and a bag of kale to go through, so $12 well spent. 

I hope we get out there again in the next couple weeks before the back to school craziness begins. Since this is our last summer in Alaska I want to try and do all the things the kids want to do. I am glad they enjoy a little farming because I will do just about anything for food. 

jumpsuit love

jumpsuit: forever 21 // denim jacket: zara (similar
shoes: steve madden (old, obsessed with these) // lipstick: lorac in centerfold

The perfect jumpsuit is hard to find, especially for a mom. Then a mom that is breastfeeding on command is a whole other jumpsuit debacle. But this one is a good one! Lightweight, straps that easily come down and allow breastfeeding with ease, and a little peek-a-boo detail to give it a little flare. Not to mention the shorter cut giving it the appearance of a culotte without being a full on coooool-otte, ya know? 

I wish I could say it withstood the wrinkle test, but woven linen fabrics will never lend that kind of magic. Nevertheless, this is the perfect summer jumpsuit! And the price really can't be beat! Chris of course thinks my jumpsuit obsession is a little out of control, considering I promptly change back into spill appropriate clothing once back inside the house. 

Hashtag mom who is obsessed with fashion.

Here are some other jumpsuits I would happily add to the collection:

The Answers : Kids and Military Life

Jul 17, 2015

So, you guys were pretty awesome about sending in some questions! I am being honest when I say that, I thought I might get one or two questions and be able to throw a post together with some answers. But there were many more questions, on all different topics, so as annoying as it may be I'm going to break it up into sections. I want to be able to answer the questions honestly, and not give one word answers in order to fit everything into one post. So I thought why not start off with kids and military things. 

What is my rant on a soapbox topic? 

This was a good question, and I'm throwing it in with kids because it has to do with them. Something I could go on and on about (even though I really try to refrain) is what the hell do I do all day? If I had a dollar for every time I heard "so what do you do at home all day?" I could send all four of my children to college. I mean yes, I was naive before I had kids and thought, oh the stay at home mom route is just the lazy one. But then I became a stay at home mom, which for me was a choice and I feel incredibly grateful that I was able to make that choice. When I was home with Ace I was also a full time student, now with four kids I am lucky if I can read a news story on an app. The thing about being a stay at home mom is that you are constantly on someone else's schedule. They all have a routine that is carefully orchestrated. That routine is also based around Chris's schedule. If there are breaks in that time then I can squeeze in a dentist appointment. The list of to-do's is a mile long, and ever changing. So while it may seem to some that stay at home moms just sit at home and watch the latest and greatest housewives episodes.....that is rarely the case. Okay okay rant over. 

Best and worst thing about having kids?

Best and worst things about having kids.....Well I don't really think there is a "worst" thing about it all, but lets start with the best. The best thing about having kids is this new found sense of love that you never had before. You may think you know what love is, you love your husband, you love your parents, you love your dog. But then they set that brand new baby on your chest and your world turns upside down. Your mind and your heart are blown! And really it only gets better from there (harder, a hell of a lot harder) but so much better. Kids are hilarious! Watching them learn and explore the world is amazing. It is the best feeling when your child gets a boo boo and truly believes that with one kiss from mom they are magically healed. Which probably brings me to the worst part about having kids. When they do get hurt, or another person makes them sad, you feel that pain ten times over. There is nothing more horrible than watching your child be sick, you feel completely helpless, when in your head all you want to do is make them better. When they get hurt and your magic kisses can't heal them, you feel so vulnerable. And when you become a mom you have completely out there paranoid thoughts. Your mission in life is to keep them safe and happy, but then you think of something happening to them, and you fall down a dark rabbit hole. Your whole life is wrapped up in your children, so obviously there are some ups and downs.

How do you go grocery shopping with four kids?

Got this questions a lot! So I will put it out there, I do not do the grocery shopping on the regular in this house. Chris does it. He always has, and he really enjoys it. I hate grocery shopping. Like I will do anything to avoid it. I love to cook, but I hate the grocery store. So we have a pretty good system down. Chris does the bulk of the shopping on Friday after work, or first thing Saturday morning. Then I will do the Costco run on Sunday. Costco isn't like grocery shopping....that place is amazingly fun. But, when Chris is in the field or we need only a few things from the store I will go. With four kids I can't really focus, so I have to go in knowing the exact few items I need. So, I wear Odette in her carrier, Avalon goes in the cart, Pierce usually starts in the cart until he screams bloody murder to get out and walk, and Ace is awesome and is the biggest help with grabbing things and helping unload the cart. It is always a race to get in and out before someone takes off their shoes, or an article of clothing for that matter. ALWAYS park by the cart corral, the sooner you get them strapped in the cart the better! And always have lollipops!

Can you share the birth stories of the other kids?

Another question multiple people asked. I can surely share their birth stories if you would like. I will have to consult with the other people involved to get a good recount of details, like my mother and Chris. But it is doable. I will warn you, they were quick just like Odette's.

Are you guys going to have more kids?

Never say never.....

Will you be in Alaska for the duration of Chris's assignment?

So, we will be in Alaska through the winter and possibly the spring as we await a locked in date for Chris to go to the Captain Career Course. It has changed multiple times already, so who knows. But as of right now we will be in Alaska for a little bit longer.

Do you see the Military as a life long career?

Umm...we have a plan for both I guess. Chris will have 11 years in service come December, so it's hard to walk away when he is inching very close to retirement. BUT, we do keep civilian options on the table. Chris had a great offer with a civilian company last year and we were really excited about the possibility of having a "normal" life. After weighing our options, adding in the costs of four kids, the grass wasn't as green. So as of this moment Chris will be in a couple more years, and we will reassess. You can read more about our military journey here.

Do you like living on base?

Well, simple answer is no. It just isn't for us. This is our first time living on base, and we didn't really have many other options when our beautiful mountain side house started taking on water. We needed to move fast! And there were plenty of houses open on base. There are good and bad things. The good thing is that Chris is seven minutes from his office. That means we see him so much more than we did when we lived off base. On crazy nights he can come home for dinner, see the kids, and then go back to the office. I enjoy the safety factor, it may be a false sense of security, but I am not as freaked out when Chris is gone for a while and I'm home alone with the kids. Another great thing is that we are super close to the commissary, so taking advantage of that little luxury is awesome. The downside, at least for us, is the no privacy! We share a wall with our neighbors. Our house is three stories and quite big, but we still have the thought in the back of our heads that we need to be respectful of our neighbors. Their children go to bed much earlier than mine, like by a few hours, so we have to tone the noise level down. I know that seems so stupid, but for us we like to have a late night dance party, or watch Jurassic Park with the surround sound turned way up. Basically we are the party animals on the block. I also HATE how much other people do not watch their kids. Just because you live on base, doesn't mean it's a free for all. Your children should never be in my yard without my permission! I get so heated when I pull up to my driveway and there are kids in my backyard! Like what!!??? What the hell are you doing? I don't even know you. And parents don't seem to see the problem with it. Like we are one big happy family, we aren't! I am also a super private person in real life. I know, crazy since I put my life out there on a blog. But, I'm self admittedly the most un-involved military wife ever. I have been to one FRG meeting in 10 years, and it was 8 years ago. I'm not on the up and up with most military happenings. This is not to say I am not supportive of Chris in every way. If he needs something for work, I do it. I just don't show my face very often. I'm a behind the scenes kind of gal. I very much like to separate work and family. This has been hard for the neighboring wives to understand. They think I'm some raging antisocial bitch because I didn't join the wives club, (I didn't even know that existed). I am one of those people that although I might be very social, I like my space, especially at my own house. Having my doorbell rung five minutes after I got four kids unloaded from the car is just not cool for me. I know this is probably not how most people feel. I have plenty of friends that truly enjoy living on base, and to each their own. We are just crazy. No really...we are.

Double Braid Tutorial

Jul 16, 2015

A couple weeks ago I posted this double braid concoction on my instagram, and a couple people asked how to do this thing so I thought a simple tutorial was in order. This really is so simple, and I have no idea how I ended up on it, other than trying to get the appearance of a really thick braid. You will laugh at how simple this is....
I always recommend dirty hair when trying to start a braid at your roots. Also dry shampoo is a life saver if you want to add a little grit to it, I use this one by Batiste. Another product you want to throw in is a little texturizing spray, this will get everything to stick while you're  braiding. I used Redken Windblown.  Just spray all over and brush through before you start.

So, start with your hair parted to the side, you want a pretty deep side part going on here. Then dutch braid to about your ear. Dutch braiding is basically a backwards french braid. Instead of wrapping each strand of hair on top of one another, you want to wrap them behind. This gives it the appearance of a raised braid on top of your head. 

Once you get to your ear, stop adding hair to your braid and just finish it all the way down. 
Once you have secured it with an elastic, go through and pull apart the pieces carefully so the braid is bigger and fuller at the top. 

Next grab the rest of your hair on the bottom and just begin to do a regular braid all the way down. 
Now you should just have two braids hanging from your head. Go ahead and run some errands like this if you would like. 

Or, you can grab the bottom braid and split it apart at the top. Create a nice little hole to fit your top braid through. The braids should then be stacked on top of one another. You can secure them with a new elastic, or just use of the the ones from the braids you have. 
End result should look something like this! Not hard at all. I think the hardest part is figuring out the dutch braid situation. I learned how to dutch braid on my horses many many moons ago. You could also just do a regular french braid to begin with as well. So many options to play around with.

If you have any questions, or want me to do tutorials on other hairstyles, I am always open to it. I'm not sure if it would be easier if I did video tutorials or these step by steps. Let me know your thoughts. Which do you prefer? I know for me sometimes I don't have time to sit through a video....

But you....yes you...lemme know!

life with Pierce

Jul 15, 2015

Safe to say life has been nothing short of insane around here lately. Like one flew over the cuckoo's nest kind of crazy. I feel like the only time I sit down and breathe is while breastfeeding, and even then I usually have to jump up and stop some kind of fight, or stop Pierce from doing something completely unsafe. 
When I found out I was pregnant with another boy after Ace I was so excited!! I thought, two boys close in age, this is going to be so fun. I was excited for Ace to have a built in best friend. I imagined that my older brother would have loved for me to be a boy to have someone to play video games with, play on the same teams growing up, all those fuzzy warm mom thoughts. BUT now I have two boys close in age, and while they are bff's 70% of the time, the other time they are all out brawling. I mean I admire their toughness. I sure as hell pray for anyone that decides to bully either one of them. But you see, there is one fundamental difference between them. Ace is the brains, and Pierce is the brawn. Not to say that Pierce isn't very smart...he is. But he is a clown. He will do anything for attention. He loves to be in the spotlight. So while Ace will think something is a fun idea, he never really executes it. He has Pierce to try all that out. I have had multiple talks with Ace about how Pierce looks up to him, how he needs to set a good example, and not tell him to do stupid things just for his own pleasure. In one ear out the other. If I turn my back for a second, there is some kind of tower being built in the living room with Ace instructing Pierce on how to climb it. There is always some kind of super hero/ villain scenario in the works. Constant wrestling, constant banging into each other, constant me loosing my shit basically. I am always told.... "boys will be boys" and how in the world is that even refreshing to hear? But, it's true. I see none of these things with Avalon. She usually gets out of the way when they start to battle. She always comes and tells me when something questionable is going down. And funny enough....they have no interest in playing like that with her. They will sit and play tea party, and babies if she asks. 
And now we are on the fast track to one broken bone a year. Last year, Ace dislocated and slightly fractured his elbow. As of now, Pierce is in a full arm cast due to two broken bones in his hand. It was just so normal how it happened with him. There we were, all of us, sitting in the living room. Me on the floor with Odette, Avalon sitting with Chris on the couch, Ace on the other end of the couch playing with a tractor. All of a sudden Pierce jumps up from the lovesac, barrels across the ottoman, and jumps like spiderman onto the ground. Only this time there was a large plastic toy that broke his fall. He screamed and jumped around like a monkey holding his hand. When I calmed him down I asked him the normal naive mom questions, "where does it hurt?" points to his whole hand. "Can you move your fingers?" wiggles fingers all around. Then he jumps up and goes to try and attempt THE SAME DAMN THING!! Chris and I stopped him, and I noticed there was a large lump on the back of his hand. I said to Chris, "do you want to take him to the ER or should I? His hand is broken". 

Two hours later he is home with a brace, x-rays in hand, and an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. 

That appointment happened on Monday. Where I had to bring all four children. The woman that checked us in had a look of fear on her face as we walked toward her. A lovely old couple got up and moved across the waiting room when we sat down. A younger couple with their baby whispered not so softly about me "bringing the whole daycare". 
Once we made it into the office we saw the same pediatric specialist we saw with Ace. She remembered how crazy his appointment was with three kids, and....surprise! Another baby. She watched Pierce and how he used his hand for a little bit, and based on his running around, attempting to spin around the chairs, and just non-stop moving. She determined a full arm cast was the best way to restrict movement. Grrrrreat! She knew it was going to be harder for all involved, but the healing of the hand is most important. He has two clean breaks on his second and third metacarpal. Just like with Ace, we were told that kids heal incredibly fast, and that proved to be very true with Ace. We are hoping that when we go back in two weeks, that his bones have callused a little bit and he can be moved into a short cast. Fingers crossed he takes his energy level down a notch because right now he thinks his arm cast is a full body one and he has upped the dare devil antics.

We are all adjusting to a once independent three year old taking it back to a level of infant. It is his right hand, he is right handed. Eating is frustrating, he can't get his pants down to pee so there are accidents. He throws a fit every time he can't correctly pick something up, or unzip his backpack. And rightfully so....I'd be pissed! So there are many many other things NOT getting done because Pierce requires constant attention. I did try and throw a load of laundry in the other night and Ace wound up losing a tooth thanks to the cast formally meeting his mouth.

But like the doctor said....."this isn't the first broken bone and it probably won't be the last".

If that is true, someone send me a recommendation to a psychiatrist and a wine of the month membership! 

Nordstrom Sale Round 2: For the kids

Jul 10, 2015

Yesterday's post was just selfishly all about me....tisk tisk tisk! When a sale comes about the people I should really have in mind are the children, and I do, riiiiight after I fill my cart with my stuff. Ha! Okay, but really, this sale is a great time to stock up on some really cute back to school stuff. I let the boys come over and sit with me on the computer to pick out things that they want, and lets just say they aren't too into shopping. Pierce obvisously wanted the ninja turtles sweatshirt, and Ace said "it's summer why do I need school clothes?" touche' buddy. Avalon asked for princess stuff....... and Odette was asleep. 

Here are the cute things I found:

Sale Spotlight: Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!

Jul 9, 2015

It is here! The day has come. This is better than Christmas folks, well actually it is like Christmas in July. The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale has opened to cardholders. Not a cardholder yet? Have no fear, you can jump on the train right now and still shop these killer deals. You don't have to worry about a credit card, just sign up for the Nordstrom debit card. If the whole card situation is not for you, I get it, the sale will open up July 17th. Can you hold out? 

I would never wish away sunshine and warm temps, but this sale gets me all excited for sweaters, boots, and layers. So if you haven't checked it out yet, you should. Your closet will thank you! I spent a ridiculous amount of time browsing the 33 pages of goodness, and here is what I am loving. 


Jul 8, 2015

Okay, so I thought it might be kind of fun to do a little "ask me anything" post. I mean....I think it might be fun, you might think it is totally lame. But! I figure 98.56% (no real math went into that percentage) of this blog is just me talking about what I want to talk about, and you all are really great sports in leaving awesome comments, but wouldn't it be nice if I actually talked about something that interests you? 

So, let's go for it. Ask me anything, anything you want. But I must warn you though, I will answer honestly, like blunt raw honesty. This has gotten me in some trouble in my 28 years of life, but I was raised in a house full of brutally honest people, and it was actually quite refreshing because we all know the world is full of a lot of bs. This is really open to any topic, kids, military life, fashion, beauty, blogging, whatever you can come up with. So, email me, tweet me, send me a snap, or leave a comment. If you leave a comment I won't publish them so all identities are safe with me. And if you wanna be really discreet leave an anonymous comment...

Or you could just tell me this is stupid and get back to some kind of regular posting. 


monogram me!

Jul 7, 2015

shirt: j crew // pants: loft // shoes: zara (identical here)
bracelets: accessory concierge // rings: forever 21
monogram clutch: mark and graham 

I think this is one of my favorite looks! A simple neutral outfit, with minimal accessories. I am obsessed with this shirt! A crisp white shirt is something everyone should have in their closet. A huge staple in my eyes. This one is super chic with its short sleeves, and raised collar. It does happen to run a little big, I am wearing a size 2. This will definitely be on heavy rotation throughout the next few months. And these pants (!!!!) glorified athletic pants people. I love the white stripe down the side, and they are so soft and flowy. I can totally see me pairing them with a white sneaker, or a killer pair of grey pointed toe pumps! The outfit juices are flowin....

Back to the accessories! I have never had a monogrammed anything, is that cra-zay? I know! Other than our monogrammed coffee mugs, I just have never gotten anything for myself. That is all about to change. I have now started a love affair with Mark and Graham. A sister company to William-Sonoma. They are like thee all be all of monogramming! They have somehow found a stylish way to monogram anything your personalized little heart desires! When I saw this suede clutch I knew that was the piece for me. There are so many different fonts and colors to choose from, and customizing a piece is free! Did you say free Kelsey? I did...I did!

From clothing, accessories, home and bath, and every gift you could ever give, they have it all! Go check them out, you know I would never steer you wrong!

-Thank you to Mark and Graham for partnering on this post 

pass me a glacier

Jul 6, 2015

Hello!!! How was everyone's long weekend? Ours is still in effect, but I couldn't help but look through the pictures from our hike yesterday. And yes, if you follow me on all other social media platforms then you have seen more than enough of the hike already. Please accuse the redundancy, but this might just be my favorite hike since living in Alaska. And that is saying something because I feel like was hike A LOT, and I find myself saying "this one was so good, a new favorite" all the time. But, this one, this one was reallllly good!
Last summer when we went to Whittier we actually set out to do the Portage Pass hike, but after exploring downtown, eating too much, and it starting to drizzle we ended up taking a pass. I am glad we did, because there was no better day to do this hike than yesterday! Absolutely crystal clear skies, warm temps, and not many if any people!

After what seemed like a week filled with bbqs, eating enough to rival Thanksgiving, and a messy house, Chris and I both just needed to get out and explore. The kids could really have cared less if we went to a park or a glacier, but the parental units need to get their fill as well, so hike it was. When I looked up the trail to see if it was suitable for the kids to do, there was one site that said there was a "slight increase in elevation" at the beginning of the hike. Chris and I thought, too easy, the kids are like pros at this point and seem to amaze us each and every time they complete a moderate level hike. 
When they said slight increase I think they meant, a continual increase in elevation! The entire hike was straight up! The kids were doing awesome! Even though they begged to wear their rain boots, despite us telling them that they would be too heavy and get too hot with them on. Pick your battles....

The only thing that was hard for the kids was the fact that once you get higher and higher the rocks on the trail are no longer packed down, and quite loose to step on. We had to go at an incredibly slow pace in order for the kids to be able to watch their footing. The slower you go, the more opportunities for the kids to look around, get slightly distracted by that rock that looks just like all the other rocks, but THAT rock needs to be picked up and taken with us so help me god!

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