daphne {newborn and family photos}

Happy Friday! I will at some point get back to my standard Friday I’m in Love posts but today I wanted to share Daphne’s newborn photoshoot! {I wanted to wait until I knew which photos we were using for Daphne’s birth announcement before sharing here. Our good (and very talented) friend Brenda designed the announcements – she did Eloise’s too! – and I just sent them to the printer so I hope to have them in the mail by the end of the month or sooner!}

Daphne was almost a week old when these photos were taken, and in lieu of doing a traditional newborn one (like I did with Eloise), I opted for a family shoot that was at our house so that we could get professional photos of our new family of four and I wouldn’t have to leave the house (HUGE bonus since with Eloise I trekked way down south to Tacoma!). And while I do love the look of Eloise’s posed newborn shots, I really am loving the more relaxed (non-staged) feel of our shoot this time around.

A few random notes: Daphne looks so different in some of the pictures here, almost like an entirely different baby (which is totally true with all newborns!); even though the last thing you want to do is drag yourself and your brand-new baby to a photoshoot, you should do it, even if it isn’t a professional and just someone with a nice (not a phone) camera take a few pictures (you will cherish them later!); and (related) if you are ever on the fence about getting professional photos taken (we usually get ours done for Christmas cards each year), do it (it’s expensive, but I have never, ever regretted it!).

If you are in the Seattle area and are looking for a professional photographer (for babies, weddings, etc.) I highly recommend Meg! She was so sweet, and amazingly talented, and I am so IN LOVE with these photos.

{Prepare for photo overload since I definitely could not choose just a few to share! Deciding which ones to have printed is agonizing…}

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Wearing: {Eloise: jeans: Gap Kids // bow: A Little Lady Shop} {Daphne: grey swaddle blanket: Lou Lou & Co // silver swaddle blanket: Aden & Anais} {Misha: chambray dress: Madewell (similar)} {Aaron: shirt: J.Crew (old) // jeans: Bonobos}

Have a great weekend!

M

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family pictures {2016}

Like last year, we had The Happy Film Company shoot for our family Christmas cards. I chose Gas Works Park this year since I thought it would be a fun backdrop with an active toddler and wouldn’t be a repeat of our Greenlake shoot last year.

We ended up getting rained out on our original shoot date, but the day we rescheduled was nice and sunny (albeit a little windy)! And since I didn’t want to do another round of professional pictures for a maternity shoot, we did a few bump pictures too (even though I was not showing very much!).

My favorites ended up in our Christmas card, but here are a few others from the shoot!

{My dress: Zara // E’s dress: GapKids (similar) // E’s vest: Old Navy (similar) // E’s boots: Old Navy (similar) // E’s tights: GapKids // E’s bow: A Little Lady Shop // Aaron’s shirt: Nordstrom (old) // Aaron’s sweater: Banana Republic (old) // gold moccasins: Freshly Picked}

Do you do family pictures every year?

M

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my thanksgiving week in pictures.

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{On Monday afternoon, we picked up Eloise from school and headed out of town for the week. Eloise made this adorable Thanksgiving turkey and also had a killer owie on her nose from falling on the concrete stairs at school… It looked worse than it was and she was so tough about it!}

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{Eloise in-flight. This was her first time having her own (paid for) seat and she wasn’t so sure. She kept saying that she wanted to be on Mama’s lap, but we made it thru the flight without too much hassle! Thanks to Amanda for letting us borrow this awesome CARES harness; we will definitely be getting one!}

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{My happy six month bump! I celebrated by getting my hair done and manis with girlfriends!}

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{Grammie got out my old dollhouse for Eloise to play with and she was in love. It was so crazy to see her playing with it since I have so many memories of this house!}

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{Eloise decided she needed to carry around my new sweater… yep, there were two holes in that bag by the time we got to the car!}

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{We got to have a reunion dinner with all of these mamas and their babies (& their husbands!) which makes my heart so happy. My very best friends since we were all teenagers. Love you girls!}

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{My mama’s beautiful Thanksgiving table!}

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{Eloise insisted on wearing her turkey costume all Thursday morning (but then refused to once company came in the afternoon!) and loved all of the attention from Paga (Grandpa).}

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{I celebrated my first Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday with The Petite Flag Shop with a sale! If you haven’t shopped already, there’s still time. Sale ends Monday night – 15% off with code SHOPSMALL16, plus, I will randomly select orders to receive free shipping!}

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{Eloise loved painting with Grammie all week long! Look at that smile.}

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{When Grammie and Paga offer to watch Eloise, you take them up on a date night! We headed out to see the new Harry Potter movie Fantastic Beasts and it was pretty good. Especially since it has probably been a year since we have seen a movie in a theater. So were the Raisinets. I would have taken a selfie, but Aaron hates them, so here’s me, the bump, and my candy!}

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{We flew home on Saturday morning and were excited to see a Husky plane! We didn’t get to fly on it, but were still on a high from the big win in the Apple Cup!}

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{Eloise did so much better on our flight home. She didn’t mind the seatbelt and harness, loved the safety information card, and even used the lavatory. Plus, she got her own cup of ice water and pretzels – a dream for a two year old!}

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{Even though Thanksgiving is over, I am still loving all things pumpkin. So pumpkin bread it is!}

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{Amazingly, the Christmas cards I ordered from Minted came at lightning speed! I am so excited about our cards this year and thankful for a few weeks to get them together before they go out early next month! Hooray for Christmas!}

We had such a fun and memorable Thanksgiving week with my parents in Boise. We had time to catch up with some friends and family, and enjoyed so much delicious food! It doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving is over (or that we are at the end of November) but I know Christmas is just a few short weeks away! Ahh!

How was your Thanksgiving week?

M

a happy announcement!

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{big sister tee: Thug Life Kids // letter board: Letter Folk // moccasins: Freshly Picked // hair bow: Hello Hadley Girl (similar)}

Happy Wednesday! If you missed it over on my Instagram & Facebook, we have (officially) announced the impending arrival of Baby Lower who is due in February!

While we pretty widely shared the news this time around, waiting until the end of the first trimester felt right to make everything social media official. With pregnancy tests being able to detect pregnancies so early these days, you can find out when you are just about a month or so pregnant. That was true with me – I was about 4.5 weeks – when I took a test on Father’s Day morning. My cycles were non-existent at that point but I had been testing my ovulation which actually seemed to have some pattern. I fully expected a negative test, but was SHOCKED when it was positive! Since Aaron didn’t know I had taken it that morning, I wrapped it up & gave it to him as a Father’s Day present. I still wish I had taken a video of his face when he saw it – haha! It was the greatest!

I am just into my second trimester & starting to feel so much better, tired, but not nearly as much nausea as previous weeks. This pregnancy feels pretty similar to my first one which is comforting, though I know there will be some curveball! We have been taking weekly pictures which I will do a big post on sometime soon to catch you all up! A fair warning that there is no bump yet… EVERYONE told me/has been telling me that you start showing earlier with second (third, fourth) kiddos, but I really think I have a few more weeks before I am going to start showing. I can tell but it really isn’t obvious that I am sporting a bump yet. Le sigh. I am in the awkward phase where my pants feel too tight & I look like I need to give up dessert, so stretchy pants & rubber bands on my pants buttons for now!

Hopefully your Wednesday is a little happier & I will be back with bump updates soon!

xo M

our week in indiana & chicago.

As many of you know from my weekend in pictures post at the end of June, we were in Indiana visiting Aaron’s family. We just got home a few days ago last week & I wanted to be sure to share (lots of) photos from the trip!

We spent the first part of our trip in Indiana where we got to see lots of Aaron’s immediate family.

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{Papaw Sam, Charlotte, & Eloise played “ring around the rosy” & Eloise loved it!}

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{The two youngest granddaughters! Eloise & Charlotte are 10 months apart.}

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{Eloise likes to wear her (sun) glasses when it is bright outside (the sun is out)! We headed to the Indy Children’s Museum with Aaron’s sister Cari & her two youngest kiddos.}

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{All the kiddos in the race car.}

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{Eloise was not happy about leaving, however.}

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{Eloise enjoyed the wooden blocks. Some of them were the magnetic ones which sort of threw her off a bit, but she picked it up soon!}

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{Charlotte & Eloise loved this wind tunnel. It had a stream of air where you could put the scarves & they would blow all around!}

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{We caught music time & made a soundtrack to Goldilocks & The Three Bears. The kids really liked the instruments.}

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{An Aaron & Eloise selfie.}

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{She was patiently waiting for Aaron to build a really big tower & then she knocked the whole thing down, Godzilla-style.}

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{Eloise’s second time on a merry-go-round. This was taken before the ride started. By the time I saw them again (one lap), she was off the horse & in Aaron’s arms! Maybe we need a little more time before the merry-go-round is fun…}

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{Eloise had a good time playing in the make-believe soda shop!}

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{When you are Indiana in the summer, you have to eat corn on the cob. Eloise got the hang of it pretty quickly!}

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{One evening while Aaron & Sam were walking a few of the greens, a hot air balloon landed! We could hear other ones flying over & around the house too.}

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{We made it on a playdate to the Indy Zoo with the Garner-Ballard clan!}

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{The kiddos were so good & this aquarium window was perfect for the trio of littles!}

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{Shark watching.}

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{The whole crew of us. So amazing to see you Garner-Ballard family!}

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{Saying our good-byes. Silas was so sweet with Eloise.}

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{We made sure to stop in & see Eloise’s great-grandma Eileen.}

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{And we lunched with Kait & Oliver. Despite her face, Eloise really loved them both. So good to see them too!}

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{We had a fun evening with “Uncle” Colt & went out on the houseboat for some swimming & shenanigans. Eloise wanted to drive!}

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{Oh man, these three. I also realize that Eloise was not wearing a life jacket. She was safe, I promise!}

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{Eloise looking like her doll Louise – overalls and pigtails! The overalls E is wearing were passed down from Aaron’s oldest brother & to the rest of the three siblings which makes them almost 40 years old! I love this tradition!}

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{We headed to Maggi’s house one morning for a Lower family get-together. Family generational photos were a must.}

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{Neither of us take a lot of selfies, but this is Eloise taking a selfie (she’s saying “cheese!”) so she must have learned it from someone!}

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{An attempt to get a picture of these kiddos.}

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{This was the result. Thanks Eloise & Crosby!}

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{And look who happened to be in town – Kendra! It’s like we planned it… Thanks for being an amazing host Maggi!}

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{Eloise in deep conversation with her great Aunt Sharon.}

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 {After lunch & headed to the car. Maggi gave all of the kids a bucket full of goodies & Eloise held onto that bucket all weekend long!}

We headed up to Aaron’s grandfather’s lake house for the holiday weekend!

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 {Welcome to the lake!}

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{Being at the lake house means being on a boat. So here’s a boat selfie.}

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{Aaron pre-backflip!}

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{Nearly all of Aaron’s (maternal) cousins & Aunts & Uncles were up at the lake for the weekend. That is one BIG family!}

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{Aunt Molly with her youngest nieces & nephew!}

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{Eloise being a ham.}

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{Happy Fourth of July from the Lower/Cambridge kids! These are all of Eloise’s cousins.}

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{Eloise, Maddie, & Charlotte doing Sudoku. Maddie was so patient with the little ones.}

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{Selfie with Aunt Jodi & Landon!}

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{Yes, s’mores! Worth the bug bites & smelling like a camp fire.}

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 {Testing out the selfie-stick!}

And then we headed to Chicago for a mini -vacation (just the three of us)!

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{We ended up in this great little Airbnb in Logan Square & it was super kid friendly! Eloise is obsessed with rocking horses.}

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{And even though we didn’t have a car in Chicago, we still had the car seat & Eloise took full advantage of being able to play in it. She loved to be buckled in!}

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{We stopped into the Longman & Eagle for apps & drinks. It did not disappoint!}

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{A homemade pretzel, meatballs with polenta, & a cherry soda. Amazingly good!}

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{Mama & Eloise twinning. The best! And this is pretty much the best picture we could get. The other ones are of Eloise holding her dress up to show her belly…}

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{Family photo in the park. Eloise was happy despite her stoic look.}

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{For breakfast on the way to downtown we stopped in at Bang Bang! for biscuits. It was mind-blowing! If you ever are in Chicago, please go. There are pot pies & regular pies on the menu as well. We were able to chat with the owner Michael who gave us a sampling of pies after breakfast – SO delish! – & he was super cool. He gave us some tips about where to dine for the rest of our trip.}

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{We took the L downtown. Even though we live in a big city, I am still in awe when we visit a big city!}

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{Papa & Eloise. I think she was ready to get out & run around!}

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{Cloud Gate – aka The Bean – did not disappoint!}

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{Mama & Eloise!}

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{Love this little family of ours.}

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{After Cloud Gate & Millenium Park, we stumbled into the Chicago Symphony playing the musical accompaniment to this silent movie. It was really cool! I wish we could have stayed for the entire film.}

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{Across this really cool footbridge from Millenium Park is Maggie Daley Park. It is this enormous playground that has all of these little play areas for kiddos. We could have spent hours & days at this park, but it was so, so hot (100 degrees with the heat index!) so we got just a sampling. The water features were nice for cooling off!}

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{Down the slide!}

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{She often goes feet first down the slide.}

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{Just one of the many play structures at the park. Do you spot Aaron & Eloise down there by the slide? They climbed all the way to the top of the tower & came down the tube slide.}

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{Eloise really liked this dribbling fountain.}

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{Aaron got us tickets to the Cubs game at Wrigley Field. Luckily our seats were in the shade! What a cool stadium!}

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{It was just before nap time, but Eloise would yell “Go Cubs!” & put her finger up in the air when she heard the crowd cheering.}

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{And she was out. For about 40 minutes.}

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{Obligatory picture with the marquee sign. It was so packed with people after the game!}

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{At Michael’s suggestion, we went to Parson’s for dinner in Logan Square to celebrate National Fried Chicken Day. I don’t know if this was an actual made-up holiday or not, but we went with it.}

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{Eloise & I breakfasting before we left for the airport.}

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{After many, many hours of travelling by train & plane, we were happy to be on the light rail headed home. Eloise & Aaron did pull-ups to pass the time.}

Phew! What a trip! It was hard to be gone for so long, but it was nice to see so much family since we have only been getting back about once a year these days. This was also our last hoorah trip since we didn’t have to pay for a seat for Eloise. Though, I am sort of looking forward to the extra space when we have it!

Eloise was such a good little traveler &, even though we set our expectations really low, she far exceeded them. She was really good on both plane rides & took a short nap. We snacked a lot, drew on her new doodle pad, & played with her mermaid stickers. We had Sesame Street downloaded just in case, but we didn’t even need to bust that out, which is good because we were assuming it would completely occupy her but we don’t know since she doesn’t get official screen time yet!

Where are your family travels taking you to this summer?

M

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our trip to maui!

three weeks ago, we packed up our bags, boarded a plane, & landed in Maui! it was so, so fun to be there & my mama came along which was so tremendously helpful with Eloise & helped it feel like we were (at times) on an actual vacation! {because, let’s be honest, when you travel with kids, it is a family trip, NOT a vacation}!

this was Aaron’s first trip to Maui, & my mama & I haven’t been since I was 5 or 6, so it was basically new to all of us. we had heard that West Maui as a good location & decided to stay just north of Lahaina town. this was an excellent choice! while we didn’t visit much outside of West Maui, it was perfect for this trip & gave us a really good taste of what Maui had to offer.

before the trip, I did some due diligence & checked out the guidebook Maui Revealed. I am usually not one for guidebooks, but this one came highly recommended by more than one person, so we gave it a shot. it was really comprehensive & helpful with tons of tips. I took a lot of notes & we ended up using quite a few of the tips, so I would recommend it for anyone who is thinking about traveling to Maui. we also got lots of tips from our friends & family about things to do or places to see/eat/visit – thanks everyone!

we have really quickly learned that it is SO much easier to be away from home with Eloise if we have a house, meaning a separate bedroom for her & a kitchen. so we found this pretty great condo on Airbnb which had amazing ocean views, a great lanai, was super quiet, & was within a short driving distance to town.

okay, enough words. here are some lots of pictures from the trip, & then below I have some of our favorite spots!

{we took the light rail to the airport from Husky Stadium & that is Aaron with the car seat on his back!* // WA is insanely beautiful from the air // Eloise had a backpack full of new travel toys & we even got lucky enough to have the middle seat empty so she had her own seat! // but bedtime did not go as planned as Eloise did not want to sleep… two hours later Aaron finally got her to sleep}

*we rented all of the “baby gear” except for the car seat & I would highly recommend that if you are traveling with little ones. we used the Ergo for the airport which allowed us more hands to pull/carry our luggage, & then rented a Pack N Play, an umbrella stroller, a booster seat, & a beach tent. see below for more info on the rentals!

{the biggest banyan tree in the US is in Lahaina & it is awesome! // the ocean views from our condo were breathtaking // there were nice amenities on-site at our condo including a shuffleboard court. Eloise loved it!}

{our condo was just up the hill from Kaanapali Beach so we ventured down there one afternoon // Eloise mostly loved all of the fresh (& expensive!) fruit // ahh, those sunsets!}

{we hit up Kapalua Beach which was just north of our condo a few minutes & it was perfect! it was a pretty small beach, but we were able to set up our little tent & enjoy the beach in the shade. my mama & aaron went snorkeling, & saw some fish & a turtle, though it was a great snorkeling beach. Eloise had only ever been to the beach on the Oregon coast & was obsessed with it! she loved the sand & the waves & kept saying “more more” whenever a wave went out.}

{we had lots of food recommendations, but tried to eat out either just lunch or dinner each day. Local Boys Shave Ice in Lahaina (down by the banyan tree) was super good the first time we had it, & okay the second time. it’s actual shave ice (the ice, not the flavoring) was my favorite! // we also tried Ululani’s Shave Ice which was amazing. the syrups are all handmade from scratch & the mocha add-on on top was terrific! there are a few locations around the island, but the one in Lahaina was super convenient for us, though super packed! // and finally, Star Noodle came highly recommended & it did not disappoint! we went for lunch & ordered family style & everything was delish! we even got our malasada fix (which is a Portuguese donut) with caramel & chocolate dipping sauces.}

{Aaron & I were able to get out early one morning & go on a surfing date. it was SO fun! it was Aaron’s first time, & I hadn’t been surfing in years, so we took a lesson. the breaks were perfect on the south end of Lahaina town (Break Wall, I believe) for us rookies. we were SUPER sore for the next few days though!}

{one day we took a day trip east // we visited Baldwin Beach, had lunch in Paia, & drove thru Makawao (it was super cute, but Eloise had fallen asleep!)}

{Eloise & I got to wear our matching dresses & Salt Water sandals! // we had lots of shave ice on the trip. I had this genius idea on the trip: we still don’t let Eloise have any sugar, sweets, or juice, so whenever we ordered shave ice, we would also order the smallest size for Eloise with just the ice (no flavoring) & a spoon & she LOVED it! it was nice to feel like she was still a part of it without feeling like we were breaking our own rule. // there was this super low chair out on the lanai that Eloise liked to read in & play on. she loves being outside!}

{we did one short hike to the Nakalele Blowhole & it was pretty cool. the terrain down to the ocean was this crazy lava rock that looked like it was hit with acid. and the ocean was so beautiful!}

{we hit up Kapalua Beach for a second time & even though it was raining, we couldn’t complain! there was a gorgeous rainbow that appeared when we first got there, & it was warm rain that came in very short showers. plus, our awesome rental beach tent kept us dry & was the envy of the other beachgoers!}

{we hit up the swimming pool at the condo one afternoon & Eloise is pretty much a fan of the pool. she likes to sit on the steps & splash, & also spin around in the water & play “motor boat, motor boat” which she learned in swim lessons last year // Eloise had a great time with lots of the non-toys at the condo, including this wine box! // we had a few rough nights of sleeping where Eloise would just not go back to sleep & while we don’t ever bring her into our bed during the night at home, we make an exception on vacation. she spent a lot of time tossing & turning around, but finally would go to sleep with us, usually laying right on me!}

{on one of our last days we ventured to the Maui Ocean Center which is the local aquarium & it also did not disappoint! the exhibits were pretty good, especially the big shark tank & tube. we were able to catch the information show with the local diver in the tank with the sharks & the fish which was really, really cool!}

we had the absolute BEST time & it was so lovely to be on Maui. we tried not to be too “scheduled” & found a good balance between relaxing & hanging out, & playing tourist. Eloise really loved the time we were there & was a super good little traveler, despite the difficult plane ride over. she was up super early (4:30 AM) the first morning, but considering the three hour time change, it wasn’t too much of a surprise. the rest of the time she was up slightly earlier than her normal wake-up time, but she napped really well & slept decently at night. the biggest headache about being in a warm, tropical, & sunny place was making sure she was covered in enough sunscreen (yep, first world problems!) but she is pretty good about letting me smear white sunscreen all over her every two hours!

if you are planning on visiting Maui, this is what we LOVED (slash would recommend):

  • Lahaina town
  • Goofy Foot Surf School: even though it was just the two of us surfing, we opted not to do a private lesson. it was cheaper that way, plus we ended up being the only two in the lesson anyways!
  • Nakalele Blowhole hike: do the hike in from mile marker 38 and wear good shoes!
  • shave ice (yep, SHAVE ice – no “d”!): Local Boys Shave Ice (better ice) & Ululani’s Shave Ice (better flavorings)
  • Star Noodle: super good food, order family style, make a reservation, try the malasadas (hot!)!
  • baby rental gear: there are lots of rental companies on the island, but we used Nokaoi Baby Rentals and were really pleased. I would highly recommend getting the big family beach tent!
  • Kapalua Beach: a pretty small, family friendly beach. go early to get parking & avoid the crowd, or plan on parking on the side of the road & walking in.
  • Coconuts Fish Café in Kihei: we lunched here after the Aquarium and it was super delish!
  • Maui Ocean Center
  • drive to Paia and Makawao
  • Baldwin Beach
  • if you need a good pair of rubber flip-flops (called slippahs in Hawaii), go to Long’s Drugs (or Walgreen’s) and get a pair of Locals for less than $5
  • food is incredibly expensive on Maui (even in comparison to the other islands). eating in can sometimes cost as much as eating out, so keep that in mind, and we had trouble finding much organic produce. there is a Costco near the airport, but it’s still expensive and a lot of food! I would recommend packing snacks from home for the kids, & plan on spending $10 for a half gallon of organic whole milk!

Aloha Maui & a hui hou!

M

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photobooth fun.

Last Friday I got my haircut, which was sort of a big deal since I have been having the same person cut my hair since I was 15!, and Aaron and Eloise joined me. We had a fun evening down in South Lake Union (or SLU) after a gorgeous, sunny, and warm afternoon, and had dinner at an old favorite Cactus!

Anyways, Gary Manuel had a photobooth set up where Eloise and Aaron spent some time taking selfies, and I joined in on the fun afterwards! {And, you can’t really tell, but I cut off about 4 inches of hair – it feels SO much better!}

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So those pigtails, seriously, the best! And that is my old backpack from when I was a kid and Eloise is obsessed with it (I think it is the zipper)! It goes everywhere with us.

Happy Wednesday!

M