Viva Mexico!

A few weeks after the 4th of July and just before Amelia turned 6 months old we headed to Riviera Maya, Mexico! Not only was this our first family vacation with Amelia in tow, it was also her first flight (insert cringing emoji). The trip was wonderful, but traveling with a 6 month old is not easy…or lightweight. So. Much. Stuff.

Pack Mule
This is ONLY our carry on baby stuff…

Thank you Robert for doubling as a pack mule. Love the many talents of my super husband.

C's and A

My biggest anxiety leading up to the trip was making sure I packed everything we may possibly need (this involved lots of list making and double checking) and traveling with breast milk (this turned out to be super easy and no big deal, win!). The flights on the other hand…well, I wouldn’t call them ‘easy’. We had 4 flights total and 2 went OK and 2 involved lots of crying despite my best efforts at nursing/distraction/handing the baby off to family members. I’m not sure if flying will get easier or harder the older she gets. Being a parent on a plane definitely gives you a whole new threshold for tolerating other babies and young children on planes (sorry anyone I ever side-eyed in the past!).


Once we arrived in Mexico Amelia settled into a schedule pretty quickly and did well, despite some very late bedtimes. Our resort, the Vidanta Grand Luxxe, was beautiful and HUGE. The size made getting around slightly difficult since we had to travel everywhere with baby gear, but the variety of restaurants, pools and activities was wonderful.

My model niece.. first ones at the pool every morning!

We never lacked for something new and fun to do on the resort and spent one day away at a zip line park, complete with ATV’s and cenote swimming, which was a lot of fun despite my fear of heights.

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Amelia Grace

It’s been a little over a month since my last post. And in just a few days I’ll have a baby girl that is one month old. Hard to believe is an understatement. People always say the time goes so quickly when you have children, boy is that ever true. It seems like both yesterday and a lifetime ago that I was making lactation cookies and wondering if I’d be pregnant forever.

Fresh 48-©Cassie Clayshulte Photography - Rivers-1

As my OB told me many times, no one is pregnant forever. Amelia Grace came right on her due date, my friends laughed that she was so punctual, unlike her mother who habitually runs a few minutes (or more than a few) late. I won’t bore you with a birth story but we arrived at the hospital around 8:30 and at 8:03 that evening, there was our baby girl.

Fresh 48-©Cassie Clayshulte Photography - Rivers-2

She is pretty perfect, although I am definitely biased.

Fresh 48-©Cassie Clayshulte Photography - Rivers-3

And if you asked me that during one of her inconsolable, rough periods (luckily we only have about one of these a day) I might change my tune just slightly.

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Post Holiday Update! A Christmas Card Craft and a Detox Side Dish: Roasted Winter Salad

Happy New Year! Well technically happy January 4th but close enough! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Ours was fabulous, full of family and joy and FOOD. My parents and sister came to town to spend Christmas with us and having them here along with Robert’s whole family was really a special treat!

They got to experience some of the fun Christmas traditions we do with Robert’s family like his mom’s fun Christmas Eve Birthday Lunch where everyone wears Santa hats.

And the most beautiful Christmas day dinner hosted by our Aunt Vanessa.

V's Table

Her place settings included a special ornament for everyone which was so creative and thoughtful!

After being told at my 36 week Dr’s appointment the Friday before Christmas that I was already 2 cm dilated and 70% effaced and that they wouldn’t be surprised if the baby came within the week…we are still waiting and not much appears to have changed :/

On the bright side, it did cause us to hurry up and get all of our baby gear assembled and hospital bags (half way) packed. So we are “ready”, and now we wait…and wait…and wait. Luckily I have found plenty of ‘nesting’ activities to keep me busy. Besides the usual laundering and cleaning, I put all of our Christmas decor away and completed an easy Christmas card craft!

Card Tree
My card tree

I LOVE getting Christmas cards from family and friends, especially photo cards! I also hate the thought of tossing them out post holiday, it seems like such a waste! So a few years ago I came up with this idea to save my cards…just in case I ever get extra nostalgic and want to flip through them all (which I do every year!).

All you need for this craft is a hole punch and a set of loose leaf rings. I bought mine in a pack from Michaels but I’m sure you can find them at Staples or on Amazon.


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Cool Summer Treat: Snicker Bar Salad

Wow, the last few weeks have FLOWN by! Mid May already? How did that happen? The end of the school year is quickly approaching which means work has been crazy (and jam packed with state testing..ugh) and summer is in the air! I am counting down the days because the end of school means it’s time for Thailand!!

Crazy to think that my dream trip is only a few weeks away! Craziest of all is that after the initial planning was completed, I’ve barely had time to think about it with everything else going on in our lives! In the last few weeks Robert and I have been out of town, had friends and family in town, bought a new house (ahh) and started down the road of a career change for me next year (more on that later). All very exciting but nonetheless, BIG life changes in less than a month! In the midst of all of that I am also the proud new owner of a very pricey mouth guard since my stressful  err “busy” schedule has caused me to start clenching my teeth in my sleep. Thank you anxious brain.

Last weekend we had some extended family in town to watch my darling niece perform in her school musical and to celebrate Mother’s Day. My niece and nephew are both incredibly well rounded, amazing kiddos. They are both part of a language immersion program at their school which means that 80% of their school day is taught in a foreign language… Chinese! I struggled all the way through my high school and college Spanish courses so I can’t even imagine!

On top of being geniuses, they are also very talented little performers. My niece had a solo in her school musical, “Dear Edwina”. It was about a little girl who gives her neighborhood friends and family advice in a live musical show from her garage. It was really cute and the kids did a great job! Especially my niece who played a fairy godmother who sang about how to properly set the table. Adorable.

With the star of the show!

Notice that she is taller than me in the above picture. She was a toddler in diapers when Robert and I first met and now she is going to be giving me her hand me down clothes instead of vice versa! Crazy how fast they grow!

After the show we all went back to my sister in law’s house to have a family cookout. I was tasked with bringing dessert, typically my least favorite thing to make since I am not a baker. Luckily, I remembered this Snicker Bar Salad recipe and thought it would be perfect. The combination of diced apples, snicker bars, pudding and cool whip basically tastes like a candy apple that is 1 trillion times easier to eat. It has been in the 80’s around here lately so this is one dessert that fits the categories of ‘refreshing’ and ‘light’ and is perfect for summer!  It also could not be any easier and there is zero hot oven involvement, win win!

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A Trip Back: Las Vegas Engagement

Happy Friday! And a happy two year engagement anniversary to me Smile As I stated a few posts ago, Robert and I got engaged two years ago today in the one and only Las Vegas and it was hands down the most fun few days of my entire life!  Getting engaged is exciting enough on its own, but a surprise engagement in sin city surrounded by loved ones took it to another level. I’m excited to share it here with all of you and have it all in writing to re-live indefinitely!

 After dinner

My parents had been planning a mini family vacation to Las Vegas for about a year before we ever actually went, so it never even occurred to me that this would be where we got engaged.

I should mention that this would be my second time in Las Vegas. I had already been once when I went with 3 girlfriends for my 21st birthday. At that time, Robert and I had been dating for a few months and when we arrived at our hotel the concierge informed me that a spa day had been booked for me for the next morning. Sneaky Robert had gotten the name of our hotel from one of my girlfriends and decided to surprise me. It was such a thoughtful gesture and I will never forget my mom telling me he was “a keeper” when I called to tell her Smile She was right about that!

So it seemed fitting that Robert and I has just started dating during my first time in Vegas, and here we were five years later planning to go back together! We used points to book our plane tickets and Robert told me that it was going to take less points for us to fly in a day ahead of my family. Since the trip was right before my birthday, he said that we would get a nice room and go out to a nice dinner to celebrate early before my parents and sister arrived the following day. He picked out a much nicer than necessary room at the Aria (the newest hotel/casino at the time) and made reservations at an expensive restaurant. I am definitely the more conservative spender in our relationship and I told him we really didn’t need to do either of those things, but he insisted that since it was his first time in Las Vegas he wanted to splurge for one night and get the whole experience. Couldn’t argue with that!

                        Airplane Selfie

Our flight got delayed twice on the way, so we pushed back our dinner reservations as soon as we got to the Aria so we wouldn’t be rushed. This was very stressful for Robert, more on that in a minute, but he played it very cool and I had no idea. The Aria was gorgeous and our room was incredible, everything was automatic, including the TV which turned on when we walked in the room and flashed a welcome message with our names across the screen. Fancy.

Aria 1  Aria 2

Aria 3 After dinner

Robert had made us dinner reservations at the Top of the World Restaurant which is located on the 106th floor of the Stratosphere Tower. The restaurant revolves which gives you 360 degree views of the Las Vegas Strip. It was certainly a blessing in disguise that we were eating so late, because the view of all the lights along the strip at night was incredible.

TOTW View 2 TOTW view

The food and service were both impeccable (and expensive) and we witnessed a few daring sky jumpers falling flying by the window as we revolved.

Robert dinner Jumpers

Robert got a little quiet towards the end of dinner but I attributed this to the fact that it was after midnight our time and he had been up since 4 A.M. When we were half way through dessert (and fresh out of wine) Robert stood up, put his hand on the table and said “Well Laurin….” and THAT is the exact moment I knew he was going to propose. I figured the only other alternative was that he was going to say “Well Laurin….I’m going to the bathroom” and that seemed like an unlikely announcement. He got down on one knee (duh) and said a lot of sweet wonderful things and of course the answer was yes Smile

 the proposal

This is where it got fun.

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