Getaway: 4th of July in Wisconsin

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If you follow me on Instagram (@MrsKansasMommy) you were probably bombarded with 4th of July posts from me! At least once a year we do a trip with two of my sorority sisters (Katie and Regan) and our families. We all live in different cities so we take turns going to different locations. This year, we all met up in Wisconsin at a lake house for 4th of July weekend.

Couple of things about these people:

  1. Highly educated, successful, and responsible.
  2. Career-driven, well-respected professionals.
  3. Expert SNL-quoters who enjoy drinking on boats and general shenanigans. (Reason #3 is how I fit into this group. Obviously.)

Here are some fun pictures from our Independence Day Weekend 2016:

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Getaway: Omni Scottsdale at Montelucia

If you follow me on IG (@MrsKansasMommy) you probably know I recently tagged along with my husband last minute on a business trip to Scottsdale.

We got up at 4:30am to make it to the airport. Safely on board, we pulled away from the gate, only to have the captain come out (he had a Mike Ditka mustache and was wearing a huge wedding band full of diamonds, which I found noteworthy) to tell us that the plane is “broken” so we are going back, deplaning, and getting on another plane. However, the delivery was infused with a lot of jokes and was unnecessarily lengthy. You could tell that in his head he was like, “pause for laughter…these people are loving me!” Ugh.

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Finally in the air on the way to Phoenix, Kevin worked  while I drank 2 bloody Mary’s and had pleasant xanax-laced dreams for three hours while I listened to the Hamilton soundtrack. (OBSESSED!!!)

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Disney and San Antonio Pictures (Part 2)

More pictures from our Disney trip and several days spent in San Antonio this summer. It was just the right combo of commercialism, education, history and family fun.

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“The sky’s awake! So I’m awake! Do you wanna built a snowman?”

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Special shout out to the Grand Hyatt San Antonio Riverwalk for treating my kids like celebrities. They gave them cowboy hats upon arrival, turned on cartoons in the concierge suite where we had breakfast each morning, and sent up cookies and milk in a champagne bucket. They thought it was THE FANCIEST. (And so did I!)

Disney Pictures (Part 1)

Happy LAST SUMMER WEEKEND friends! We just got back from a long vacation to Orlando and San Antonio. I am brimming with ideas for posts with tips I figured out on packing, traveling, and doing Disney with toddlers so keep sending me your questions!

We went to my sorority sister Amanda’s new house. Did you see the gorgeous spread she had that I posted on Instagram? It was beyond amazing. The Pesto Gouda cheese was the best thing I’ve ever eaten. As everyone knows, when you have a bunch of toddlers around and it suddenly gets quiet, that’s when you worry. Avery alerted us to the fact that Savvy and Mira were in Amanda’s bathroom getting into the lotion. Savvy was eating it, which is why it’s all over her mouth. I love how busted they look. It’s probably exactly how Amanda and I looked many times in college. (Also how cute and perfect is the shower mat!)

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As soon as I walked into her beautiful new place I just felt so relaxed. It was gorgeous, airy and as always, she’s the hostess with the mostess. She had sparkling white wine for me, beer for Kevin AND a fancy cup for him to use…

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“I will out-drink all you bitches.”

We ended up letting the kids stay up super late because I didn’t want to leave. Look at these cute future Deltas expertly posing:DISNEY 2015 047

The next morning when we got up, we wanted to go to the beach but with Hurricane Ericka looming, we thought it would be better to stay near the hotel so we went to the Magic Kingdom. Kevin and I were super dorky/giddy/excited and took great pleasure in leading the girls to believe we were going somewhere low-key and they would need to “make the most of it.”

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This is them when they realized they were at “Rella’s Castle!”DISNEY 2015 052

It took a few minutes to sink in, but it was such an awesome moment when they realized we were at Disney World. If they were any older we wouldn’t have been able to surprise them.DISNEY 2015 054

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Obligatory Disney meltdown before passing out in the stroller.

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Parade time! I actually got teary-eyed it was so wonderful.

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Unfortunately they had to cancel the light parade because of rain. We got back to the car SOAKING wet, but super happy!

Can’t wait to share more pictures with you after the weekend. Hope you all have a fantastic labor day planned.

Getaway: Scottsdale Kuhlmans

It’s been FOREVER since I posted a Getaway! Okay since February, but that seems like ages ago.

This is the first time Kevin and I have ever gone back to a place we’ve been before. Not because we’re banned, but it’s probably not that far-fetched. You may remember that we spent our Babymoon in Scottsdale when I was pregnant with Savvy a couple years ago so it was a different sort of trip for me this time around.

Do you guys remember that jerk #NaplesEmily? Well enter the #ScottsdaleKuhlmans.

 Scottsdale Kuhlmans

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The #ScottsdaleKuhlmans have no schedule, no jobs, no responsibilities. They are accustomed to a certain lifestyle, a certain level of service, like extra chips. They dine al fresco and go to the spa and read Town and Country magazine.

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Breakfast the first day at Il Terrazzo

On our last trip I was pregnant, but with no excuse this time, I agreed to hike Camelback Mountain. My prep consisted of buying a cute olive green hiking jacket which I accented with a silver scarf, giving me what I felt was a sort of European backpacker vibe.

We got up with the sunrise and were some of the first people to Camelback Mountain. When we got on the trail I knew I had made a huge mistake.

When I hear the word “trail” I think unpaved, minimal landscaping, possibly bikes. This was not so much a trail as a rock climbing exercise. There were points when it got so narrow I didn’t dare look down. Sporty people passed us with their high-tech water carriers and fanny packs full of granola; they all smelled of patchouli lip balm and SPF-a-thousand. Some even wore those mullet hats with fabric on the back to protect them from the blistering sun. With my scarf and jacket I might as well have been wearing a bathrobe.

This is literally about 7 minutes into our hike:

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When I saw the other hikers in their gear I began to get intimidated by what was to come. As we scaled higher up the mountain it became apparent to me that Kevin was, against all odds, enjoying it. I knew if we stopped to take photos I could rest. Here I am dying posing on a rock.

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Some men walked up the trail past where I was resting on the rock and Kevin was standing over me, as he had just taken my picture. My husband said “Hello.” The men nodded and said “Hello.” I whispered, “Help me.” Then one of the men said, “Wait, what? Did you just say ‘help me’?” They eyed my husband suspiciously like he was Nick in Gone Girl. He gave a panicked/embarrassed grin like, “Eh, what are you gonna do about this one!” and they kept walking. (Fun tip: Ladies, this is the sort of charming thing I do ALL the time to keep my man on his toes. He LOVES it when I make strangers think he’s a terrible person. It’s like, SO hilarious to BOTH of us!!!!!)

Finally, I admitted that I just wasn’t up to continuing our hike. I told my husband I was intimidated by these professional athlete climbers and that I just wasn’t prepared enough with the right apparel and equipment. I told him I didn’t want something dangerous to happen and my children be motherless on Mother’s Day and he agreed that we could head back down the mountain.

This, in the movie business, would be called comedic timing, because as we headed down the trail it was apparently hiking rush hour with throngs of people breezing up the hill with ease. There were elderly women, fat guys in sandals, and three-legged dogs. I swear I actually saw a little girl wearing heart sunglasses talking on her cell phone as she traipsed by me with her tan, athletic family. I guess my real question is, what are these desperate people trying to prove? I just feel sorry for them.

We went to brunch where I felt comfortable back in my natural habitat drinking champagne on a balcony eating one bite of everything on a fancy brunch buffet, using 5 unnecessary plates and pretending to read the complimentary newspaper.

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As we do on every vacation, we had a dance party in our hotel room and I made us take what I affectionately refer to as “Senior Pictures.”

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The Phoenician has a waterslide and yes, we are totally that couple that takes turns standing in line with all the kids while the other one waits to get the perfect shot. Kevin is obviously better at this than I am.

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Each day the resort Sommelier has a complimentary tasting so the first day we had champagne and the second day we learned to make Mojitos. I’m not going to say it’s “frowned upon” to take over the class and start mixing your own drinks, but by the third one I felt we should probably go…

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We took some cinnamon infused tequila for the “road.”

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This is the picture Kevin snapped when we got back to our hotel room for our siesta.

I call it: Ding Dong the Witch is Dead.

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After lounging pool-side in this idyllic setting for days, it was time to go home. We stopped to get some crappy nachos in the airport and when we got our change it’s as if the universe was saying to us, “Back to the real world, A-holes.”

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#ScottsdaleKuhlmans out.

Getaway: Galentine’s Weekend in Naples

If you follow me on Instagram (@MrsKansasMommy if ya don’t) you know that my Valentine’s weekend was full of true love, long heartfelt talks, cuddles and sunsets…with my three best girlfriends Lauren, Jess and Amanda.

Flashback: Tri Delta Spring Break 2006 in the Bahamas

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We all ditched our fams and went for a Galentine’s Retreat at Lauren’s parents’ home in Naples, Florida. If you want to feel young, go to Naples. I was actually denied an après-lunch glass of Prosecco because I didn’t have my ID on me. Being carded: flattering. Being unable to get drink: infuriating.

When I’m with my besties it’s like being reunited with my tribe. With Lauren’s parents there, we were treated like princesses. They have hosting down to a science. There was an endless supply of lobster dip, a gorgeous cake with our sorority letters, and countless other goodies. Our Margaritas and Moscow Mules were made with fresh limes from the tree and served to us by the pool. We had French press coffee in the mornings and at night we feasted on steaks in their poolside outdoor dining room. It could not have been more lovely. The downside of this is how quickly I became accustomed to this lifestyle. Enter Naples Emily. Naples Emily has full-time childcare so she is usually seen with a cocktail in hand, no matter the hour. Naples Emily eats bacon for breakfast in the swimming pool. She drinks key lime martinis at lunch and cruises in the Maserati before watching the sunset on the beach with a glass of fine Chardonnay. Naples Emily spends the day boating and bar hopping. She has no bedtime, no cellulite, and no obligations. Also, Naples Emily is in denial about her age. We had an impromptu dance party in the kitchen and I actually got so carried away during the song Uptown Funk that I spontaneously did the splits. At 30, I’m lucky I didn’t require hospitalization.

Upon my return home, my family was surprisingly unwilling to let me lounge around while they waited on me. I was actually kind of taken aback when I was expected to wipe butts all day… “Hey Savannah, newsflash, I’m Mrs. Naples Mommy now. Change your own diaper. Avery, go get mommy a glass of champagne…it’s nearly 10am already.”

The trip reminded me how truly, unusually, profoundly lucky I am in the friendship department. I hope that my daughters will someday have these kind of relationships so when life gets tough or weird or dull or sad, they will be able to turn to their most honest and loving girlfriends to make them feel young, fun and carefree.

On that note, SPRING BREAK RULZ! (*attempts the splits, gets half way down and flops to the side. Awkwardly tries to roll into standing position completely out of breath. Chugs chardonnay…*)

Galentine’s Day Weekend 2015 (aka Spring Break: Episode 12)

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I felt like I had stepped into a page from Architectural Digest.

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Real Housewives of Naples

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The best besties a girl could ask for.

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So fancy.

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L-O-V-E (see what we did there?)

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Photo Credit: the amazing Amanda Clark

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I just want to stop and point out that Lauren’s mom and dad literally served us our breakfast so we could eat our bacon in the pool. If you’ve never eaten bacon in a pool you are missing out on the height of luxury, friends.

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Not Penny’s Boat.

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Bloody Mary’s and Dolphin Watching on the boat.

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Poolside Moscow Mules

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10 Years of Fabulous Friendship

 

Getaway: Ocatilla at the Arizona Biltmore

My husband had a conference in Arizona, so the baby girls and I tagged along for some fun in the sun. We stayed at a boutique hotel called Ocatilla within the Arizona Biltmore and from the moment I looked it up online, I was excited about all of it. The architecture is inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, we had a 500 sq. ft. deluxe room with 300 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, a bathroom made up of stunning marble, granite and mosaic tiles, mineral baths every night, a 24 hour on-call concierge in the executive lounge that featured a daily happy hour, and a private pool exclusively for guests of Ocatilla. This all sounded great. But the TRUE GEM of this property is the juice bikes. What’s a juice bike? It’s literally a bike with a huge table on the front that men in suits ride around the property to deliver room service. This is the picture from the website:

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Needless to say, my ONE AND ONLY goal for this trip was to ride one of these juice bikes. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. For one thing, they just whiz by you at warp speeds around the resort. After two full days of searching, we happened upon this lone, unattended juice cart just waiting for a photo op. I felt kind of bad about it and wasn’t going to get on, but my husband was like, “Come on! This is your dream!” and I was like, “You’re right. I’m not gonna look back on my life and have regrets. I’m gonna LIVE!” Okay, not really, but I am glad that we got this picture. I wanted to put the baby on the front but Kevin said no.

One more quick anecdote from the trip. Only Ocatilla guests had access to the executive concierge lounge and it all seemed very formal, so when we walked in the first couple times we swiped our card and Kevin gave our name to the concierge that sits by the door who politely smiled. The third time it was a different concierge and as we casually strolled past the desk with our kids, Kevin said gallantly, “Kevin Kuhlman and company!” and the concierge was like, “Um, you don’t need to say your name, sir.” So then I shouted to the people, “DENNIS QUAID IS HERE!”

And no one laughed. Not one person.

If you aren’t laughing either, you need to watch this clip immediately.

On to the pictures from our trip!

Don’t all parents fly like this? It wouldn’t have been so bad but the guy next to me brought his two kids and expected me to hold one of them the entire time. Talk about rude!

Fun fashion find: Hat from Target in the $1 section!

Quick travel tip: On a short trip, take 1 versatile statement necklace like the white Sutton. Worn in my vacation pictures with Cleopatra studs and Amelie sparkle bracelet.

It’s probably not a good parenting technique but I always let Avery jump on the bed in hotels. It’s fun!

Gorgeous bathroom with relaxing mineral baths every night.

Mosaic Tile Pouf from Stella and Dot

I loved the hotel decor and the backlit glass on the headboard. We also had a little portable crib for Savvy and we all slept peacefully.

The grounds were so very beautiful and we took long walks every day. It’s kind of impossible not to take long walks at this resort because everything is very spaced out but you don’t feel like you’re in Arizona, it feels more like California because of all the lush landscaping.

I have always had an affinity for Southwestern style so I really loved the architectural detail throughout the property. It was sophisticated with indoor water features everywhere and beautiful caged birds in the lobby but still had a nod to native american tribal style.

I need this Delta end table! Please tell me where to get one!

It’s a Delta made of Pansies…Deltas galore!

Savvy’s like, “Ooh! Breakfast buffet! I shall eat, in one meal, more than I would normally eat in one day.” Like mother like daughter.

The girls and I had the best time just hanging out at the Ocatilla pool every day. Avery is a little fish. She just gets in her little puddle jumper and motors all over the place! Savvy had one of those little innertubes for babies but in a quick second of leaning too far forward to look at the water she ended up upside down (for like a millisecond because I was standing right there, but to me it feld like an eternity because there’s something about seeing those chubby legs kicking out of water that can cause a mother to, I don’t know, panic and scream? We certainly got the attention of the people trying to relax by the pool. In true Savvy fashion as soon as I got her upright she was smiling again like, “What a rush!” I’m still recovering.

Trying to take a sexy outfit pic is not as sexy with your child jumping around in the background. #ModelFail #MommyWin

Cheers by the fire pit on the terrace of the hospitality lounge.

Trying to get high enough to pick the oranges off the tree.

Got the whole world in my hands.

A big vacation for such a little girl.

Dining al fresco by the fire pit at one of the restaurants.

Savvy broke a plate so we yelled “Opa!” Again, like mother like daughter.

Ready for pool time! Normally I go a little more sporty but on vacation I love to dress for the pool! Getaway Bag by Stella and Dot. Swimsuit by Victoria’s Secret (my first non-Target, grown up lady swim suit) Necklace is the detachable piece from  my Stella and Dot White Sutton and the hat is from the Target Dollar Section (they have pink too!) Shoes are Marc Fisher from Macy’s. Similar

Avery’s kitten hat is from H&M Kids. She loved it and it kept the sun off her precious little face!

Exclusive pool and spa for Ocatilla guests.

Yummy Happy Hour appetizers in the lounge! Double Clutch in Geranium by Stella and Dot 

My pink hat is from Apricot Lane. It had a bow on it but I took it off.

The whole resort has an historical theme highlighting the famous people who stayed there in years past as well as the renovations over the years. All the halls are lined with black and white pictures which I adored.

With Jackie and Jack!

Good thing I recently learned to play chess! I knew it was a completely practical skill.

Vacation agenda: More Pool Time! My cover up is “vintage” Old Navy and I love it so much that sometimes I pretend it’s a shirt and wear it with jeans.

What is it about Palm Trees?

Poolside naps are the greatest.

Living ‘La Vida Roba’ wearing a “coat made from a towel. It can have a belt and you can dunk it in the toilet.” (Extra cool points if you know and  love Jim Gaffigan.) Also I apologize if Roba means something offensive in Spanish. This may come as a shock to all my amigos out there but no habla the espanol. I wish I did though. My best friend Lauren does and it’s the coolest. Lauren, what does Roba mean?

Sneaky Avery using a photo op to steal her sister’s cracker!

Daddy daughter memories.

Taking our final walk through the gorgeous grounds.

Panoramic picture of the main grounds

This was the greatest and best mocha in the world. (Tribute.) No seriously, it was the best ever.

My family!

Heading back to the airport where Daddy was off to New Orleans for a bachelor party! I don’t know if it was for an actual friend or if he was just hoping to join up with one after all this family time.

Survived TWO flights home by myself with these angels (it took a lot of DumDums and new toys!) A super nice stranger took a picture of us, probably while internally praying he wouldn’t have to sit by us.

MKM Word of the day: Bribery: brahy-buh-ree, noun: A desparate parenting technique involving the exchange of candy for silence.

Shout out to our travel agent Rob Merlin at Smartflyer!

Getaway: Peppermill Resort Reno, NV

“The Biggest Little City in the World”

This week Avery and I tagged along with Kevin on a business trip to “the biggest little city in the world” also known as Reno, Nevada. One of the things we discussed when I was debating whether or not to quit my job and stay at home full-time was the fact that I would be more available to Kevin so we could fit more family time in around his job. For us, family and career are major priorities. The success of one directly affects the success of the other so we figure out ways to make it work despite his demanding schedule.

 

We stayed at a resort called The Peppermill, which, as I’m sure everyone knows, is Reno’s premier Four Diamond Resort Hotel. It has three pools, ten restaurants, a casino, spa, wedding chapel, and two gelato places. Seeing as Avery and I were on our own while my hubby worked, the casino, spa, restaurants, and wedding chapel were all pretty much a bust. Luckily the pools and gelato places kept us occupied.

 

Avery had no trouble settling in

The first thing we did was head out to the pool, where Avery rocked her new PuddleJumper like a boss.

 

She also got to wear her new ladybug ruffle swimsuit.

 

There was a time in my life when I would not have been so comfortable lounging around in my bikini, but ever since I discovered the baby belly effect in Phoenix (that thing where everyone tells you how amazing you look, despite the fact that you have a giant pot belly) I intend to lie around the pool eating chips every chance I get for the next 6 weeks.

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The next morning Avery and I ordered room-service and shared breakfast in bed. As kids that both took long family car trips and stayed in a lot of Super 8 motels when we were little, Kevin and I are slightly concerned about the precedent we are setting for our not-quite 2 year old. However, the bacon was exquisite. (Looking more closely at this picture, I now realize how insensitive it was to make Piglet watch us eat…)

 

Tuesday was another lovely day of mommy-daughter bonding at the pool while my husband worked.

 

We headed home bright and early Wednesday morning. We had the same completely full three-hour flight home from Vegas that we had a few weeks ago and Avery slept the whole time again. (Collective sigh of relief from the passengers and crew on Southwest Flight 985.)

 

 

A business trip to Reno may not be everyone’s idea of a vacation destination, but between the pools, the gelato, and the room service, Avery had the time of her life. I just don’t know how we will top it next May when she turns 3…

 

Getaway: Mendocino, CA

“I have these pictures and I keep these photographs to remind me of a time…”
– Willie Nelson, Mendocino County Line

 

 
 
 

For the last few years we have been taking an annual westbound trip with my parents, always to visit old friends and family. Two years ago we went to Colorado and Utah; last year we went out to Oregon for my friend Grace’s wedding. This year we flew out to California, where we lived for a few years when I was young. 

 

Mendocino is a gorgeous Victorian village on the coast of northern California. It is so non-commercialized it feels like entering a foreign land. The quaint little town is known for being a backdrop for movies and a secluded vacation destination for celebrities and writers.

 

 
 
 

The thing about going to northern California in the spring is that it’s always a challenge to know what to pack. It gets hot during the day, but as the sun sets, the cool wind blows in off the Pacific and you find yourself wishing you had more layers. Add to that a toddler in diapers and a baggage weight limit and you have to be pretty well-prepared. One of my favorite Mommy tricks for traveling with Avery is using freezer bags to separate everything. Each bag gets a complete outfit including a diaper, socks, and PJs. I pack one for each day of the trip plus two extras. You can just open one bag to get the little one dressed and toss another in your day bag in case you have a major spill or soak through. I also pack all of our toiletries in one freezer bag to save space and prevent anything leaking out into the suitcase.

 

Type A Personality Packing 101

Since we had a 4am wake up time, I dressed Avery in her clothes the night before and laid out everything my husband would need to get dressed in the morning. My two loves aren’t exactly “morning people” so I try to make it easier on them.

Too bad Avery can’t have Starbucks yet!

 

We flew into San Francisco and rented a Jeep to drive up the coast through wine country and the Redwood forest. (Talk about a scenic drive!)When we arrived in Mendocino, we met my parents and my friend Grace and her parents at the historic McCallum House for dinner. I had pan seared scallops with steamed clams, green coconut curry sauce, and cilantro rice. Kevin had the grilled Niman Ranch steak with sautéed mushrooms, bacon & chive mashed potatoes, and sherry butter sauce. The food was incredible!

 

GORGEOUS McCallum House

 

The next morning Avery popped her sweet little head up at 6am (8am our time) and said “Hi Daddy! Hi Mommy!” So we headed down to a coffee shop and walked around the town to take pictures. Mendocino culture has a very “live and let live” laid back attitude and they are very environmentally friendly. (The coffee shop assumes you would like a ceramic mug rather than a to-go cup. The little market only has paper bags and they ask you if you would like one. All the diapers they sell are organic and dye-free. There are recycle bins on every corner, etc.) 

 

 

Don’t talk to these two until they have had their coffee and milk

 
 

My favorite picture from the trip!

 

Daddy/Daughter bonding time

 

We stopped at my school where I went to Kindergarten. Same girl, same school, but a lot has changed!

Mid-morning we went to the Little River Inn for brunch with a fun crew of people including my friends Grace and Claire and our parents. I met both of them in kindergarten, so we had a blast catching up. The views in the back of the main dining room are of the lush, tropical looking landscape and reminded me of Hawaii. The view from the front of the dining room is a full ocean view.

 

 

Beautiful view at Little River Inn

So I realize the quality of this next picture is terrible but I am a sucker for nostalgia and couldn’t resist digging out an old photo of the three of us for comparison. I had a blast shopping in downtown Mendocino with these girls, then heading over to the GoodLife Bakery for a late lunch/cookie break. I ordered a big, fat square slice of pizza and it was exactly like I remembered it from childhood!

Top: Me, Claire, Grace / Bottom: Claire, Me, Grace

Downtown Mendocino

 

That evening we headed over to Mike and Julie’s house in Fort Bragg for dinner. Mike has been friends with my dad for 40+ years and he and his wife Julie have lived in the same wonderful house for 30 years. They are practically like an Aunt and Uncle to me. Avery got to meet their chicken Henny Penny and even got a freshly laid egg. She also ate peas straight from the garden. Since it was Cinco De Mayo, Mike made some festive Brazilian Rum/Lime drinks for my Dad and Kevin and we had an amazing meal of homegrown salad with made-from-scratch vinaigrette, roasted potatoes, and grilled ginger/garlic salmon that Mike caught two days earlier. For dessert we had homemade cookies and hand-made ice cream from a local shop. These people do not skimp on the quality fixin’s, folks!

“Mikey and JuJu’s” house, as Avery referred to them

 

The next day we went to breakfast at the home of my mom’s friend Renee. She has an acre of land out in the country that she has cultivated into some gorgeous grounds with exotic trees and flowers everywhere. Everything is so beautiful and fragrant, it’s hard to imagine all the work she must have put into it! (Meanwhile I am trying desperately to keep two flower pots alive on my doorstep. It’s not looking good, people.) She even had homemade jam for our toast and we had fresh-squeezed orange juice. (Homemade jam and fresh squeezed juice are the pinnacle of good living, in my opinion.)

Kevin and Avery walking the meditation circle in the garden

My mommy

My baby

 

Next stop was the beach so Avery could dip her little toes in the ocean. We took her out to Mackerricher State Park, which is a special place for our family. Top left: Mom and me, Top right: Mom and Avery. The bottom left photo is me feeding the seagulls there as a child. Years ago, when Kevin called my mom to ask her permission to ask my Dad’s permission to propose to me (smart man), she was sitting on this beach. She drew our initials in the sand (bottom right) and had the picture framed for us as an engagement present. It now hangs in our home.

 

We went into Fort Bragg and made a stop at the North Coast Brewing Company

We had dinner at the Mendocino Cafe with Grace and her parents. Kevin ordered the Pasta Florentine with Chicken and I ordered the Thai Burrito. Then when the food came I decided I wanted the pasta so he gladly switched with me. (Pregnancy perks!)

We drove around to see the sunset after dinner

Tuesday morning we headed back down the coast and made a stop for breakfast. Della Fattoria is a cute little place in Downtown Petaluma that we found on TripAdvisor and we had the best food. They make all the toast and jams daily. We have never eaten so much bread in our lives as we did on this trip, but everything is fresh and made from scratch so it’s too tempting to pass up!

Flowers everywhere!

Once again, Avery proved to be an excellent traveler. We had a layover in Vegas (no plane change) so we walked up and down the aisle to stretch our legs and the awesome pilots invited Avery to come into the cockpit. She got to sit in the pilot seat and grab the steering wheel (or whatever you call it.) Buttons galore! It was major excitement for both of us! She even showed the co pilot how she “flies” by flapping her arms wildly like a crazed hummingbird. He got a kick out of it. I think I took about 37 pictures.

And the Husband of the Year Award goes to…KEVIN for snuggling this 35 lb. space heater for three hours in a tiny airplane seat while she slept peacefully. I think he may have permanent nerve damage in his right arm, but the sight of a sleeping toddler on an airplane is a rare and beautiful thing and not to be disturbed. Plus he got to sneak in a few smooches on that puckered little pout so I think he got the good out of the quality time.

No need for Benadryl when you have been carb-loading your child on homemade bread for three days straight

Another destination to scratch off our bucket list! I feel so blessed to have such a close family and I know we will cherish these adventures together forever. 

Travel.

 
 
 

Getaway: Babymoon at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, AZ

Vacation time!

My husband had the idea to take me on a Babymoon a few months ago. We talked about a few different locations: DC for touring (we both love American history), San Antonio for the Riverwalk (we both love Mexican food) and eventually settled on The Phoenician in Scottsdale. We both love lying around a pool in the sun doing nothing. (I know, it’s uncanny how much we have in common.)

A few things I learned on this trip:

1. I immediately regretted not bringing Avery. Within the first five minutes, we saw the sweetest little toddler with her mommy and daddy and we were so jealous. I had to stop myself from asking if I could just give her a quick squeeze to get my baby fix.

2. I got over that. About ten minutes after we checked in and headed to the pool, we proceeded to spend a full day reading and napping in the sun. Of course we missed Avery, looked at her pictures, and probably talked about her way too much, but since we were only away from KC for one full day we embraced the freedom and relaxation. And Avery got some good bonding time with her grandparents. Win-win.

My pool read. Highly recommend for light summer time reading. Basically a Nora Ephron movie in a book.

3. Being 6 months pregnant made me feel ridiculously confident in a bikini. I have never been too excited about showing my midsection, but there is something about a pregnant gal in a swimsuit that makes strangers smile approvingly and comment on your body directly to your face. I got so many sweet compliments on my lil belly that I started thinking I should wear more tube tops in my day-to-day life. Then again…maybe that was the virgin Pina Colada talking.

Kuhlman, Party of 2.5 checking in!

This picture does not do the resort justice. We had a huge room with a nice big bathroom, coffee bar, and balcony.

 

Morning view from the balcony overlooking Camelback Mountain and the golf course

Pool time!

The first night we had a late dinner at Il Terrazzo. Like any normal adults, we had a photo shoot/dance party in our hotel room before going out for the evening. Doesn’t everyone do this?

Didn’t actually need to bring any maternity clothes on this trip. I found this dress at Nordstrom Rack which is the greatest place on earth to shop for cute vacation stuff. I thought it warranted more than one pose.

My husband is from St. Louis and therefore feels he must rap and dance whenever a Nelly song comes on Pandora.

Dinner was wonderful. We got a half order of the Spaghetti with Meatballs, San Marzano Tomato Sauce, and Black Garlic as well as a half order of the Fettuccine Carbonara with House Cured Pancetta and Farm Egg. The REAL treat was dessert: Chocolate Pudding served in a little silver pot, topped with caramel and whipped cream. Everything was made from scratch and well worth the calories!

We dined al fresco overlooking the pool

The next morning we got our Starbucks and walked around the resort. Kevin beat me at two games of Bocce ball. Or so he says. I don’t know the rules so he could have been making them up. (Note to self: google Bocce ball rules.)

I caught this picture of Kevin just a second too late, making it appear as if he is either gesturing rudely at an innocent passerby or taking the game way too seriously.

Notice the lizard in the bottom left square

Kevin dropped me off at the spa for my Mommy-to-Be massage and headed on a 2.5 hour hike to conquer Camelback Mountain. 

My rugged outdoorsman

Ever since our honeymoon in Maui, I always make us take what we now refer to as “Senior Pictures” on vacation. I thought these turned out well!

Spent the afternoon at the pool and went to happy hour at Relish Burger Bistro

View of the golf course from our table at Relish and the Koi pond at feeding time

 

On our way to dinner, we stopped at the Thirsty Camel Lounge where we sat outside overlooking the Phoenix lights. The terrace is covered with cozy outdoor furniture, fire pits, a sushi bar, and palm trees and it smells faintly of cigar smoke and tequila (ah, vacation). So relaxing. We had dinner at J&G Steakhouse which is an Asian/French fusion Steakhouse with fantastic live music. The musician sang everything from Billy Joel to Coldplay to Eric Clapton. He even made Eddie Money’s “Two Tickets to Paradise” sound classy and mellow somehow. We started with the Peekytoe Crab Cake because who could resist ordering that? It came on a bed of avocado and was served with pink grapefruit and a ginger lime broth. Loved it. Kevin ordered a wedge salad and a filet with roasted mushrooms and I had the Steamed Shrimp salad with avocado and Champagne dressing. We went back to the other restaurant for the Chocolate Pudding for dessert and took a stroll through the Cactus Garden which was surprisingly creepy at night.

Sunday was brunch day! We scheduled a later flight home so we could enjoy one more day of the amenities, including the water slide. One of the many reasons I adore my husband…he is a brilliant attorney, husband and father, but he is still a kid at heart!

PRICELESS!

Excited to get home to our Princess!

 Unfortunately we flew home right as the thunderstorms hit Kansas City. They actually closed the airport right as we were supposed to land and we ended up having to make an emergency stop in Tulsa to refuel before we could head back to KCI. Luckily we arrived safely at home in time to get a pretty good night of sleep after sneaking into Avery’s room to kiss her chubby little cheeks while she slept, of course.

I can’t say enough wonderful things about The Phoenician. It is the perfect place for a babymoon or couples getaway. I think the only thing we would do differently is that next time my husband would bring his golf clubs. We definitely want to return, maybe even with kids. Then again, maybe not…