Wonder Awaits | Westin Hotels


The very first time that Luella laughed, we were staying in a hotel in Virginia Beach. She was four months old and I was swinging her in the air gently, staring into her baby blue eyes and out bursted the most beautiful sound my ears have ever heard. My eyes filled with tears and I swear there was some sort of magical imprint that was left that day on Max and I, far from home, that we will never forget. When I think of travel sometimes, to be honest it overwhelms me. How to coordinate it all with an infant and toddler and still manage to enjoy the process along the way!. So many of our friends have traveled all around the world and for us it so far hasn't been something we have longed for in this stage of our life quite yet. We have really enjoyed being home, but lately, more and more of our evening conversations have been imagining and planning new areas we want to explore with our girls. Travel can be an incredible way to learn more about each other as parents and also as a family. It's so exciting! 

We have a few out of the country dreams and many different states we'd love to experience with our girls over the next years! Some favorites on our list are British Columbia, Canada, Smoky Mountain National Park, Alaska, Norway/Sweden for as long as possible, and parts of Washington and California and I've always wanted to visit Mackinac Island which is an island off the coast of Michigan where there are no cars and just a ton of bikes and horse buggies! It sounds like the most peaceful island.

When Westin contacted me to let me know about their new family program, it was truly a joy to hear about what they are doing for families who want to eat well, play well, and move well while traveling. At their resort locations, they've incorporated small things that make a big difference like an actually healthy menu specifically designed for kids, a juice bar, and a lot of ways to keep kids engaged and welcomed. Westin doesn’t just want to make travel with kids easier, but also more inspiring, educational, engaging, and simply fun, no matter the destination. They sent us this amazing kit for homemade pizza making and we sat and chatted about what it means to travel. Lue loves talking about different cities and states and it was fun to incorporate talking to her about new countries too and things she might see there.

No matter how much travel we get in this year, it's so amazing to imagine all the ways we can incorporate wonder in the lives of our girls, new experiences, and new surroundings to flourish their world over the span of their lives. We imagine them being older where we can sit over tea at a hole in the wall cafe downtown somewhere, read books together, and connect over a new environment. It just sounds so dreamy. We finally made a little travel fund that we are excited about and cannot wait to explore more new areas! 

Thank you so much to Westin for sponsoring this post and sharing your new family program with me. It means so much you have families in mind! 

Momentarily Calm


Week before Christmas. Momentarily calm and not exactly the brightest week. Don't get me wrong, this season is legit the absolute best. The time watching your daughter explore the first snowfall of the year in her bare feet. The way she lights up when you bring out the pink sparkly bulbs for the tree. She is *so* over earthy palettes and I am embracing her pink more and more. Picking out the perfect skinny and awkward Christmas tree. Eucalyptus and pine garlands. The holiday tunes on close to the entire duration of one's day. Guilty. The hunt for the most special gifts to give. Finding toddler ski's for Luie and soaking in all of the moments and memories staring at sweet Minoux, here on this earth at three months old. So teeny and tender and glued to Max or my body for the most parts of each day. Seriously so much wonder and excitement. 

But what if there's also piles of laundry. And past hurts that creep up. Or rejection and sadness. Or tears. Or discord with family.  Or three year olds peeing their cute pants in the city with no backups. Or outburst of emotions. Or lots of questions. Or thoughts of friends who lost their parents and would want nothing more than to celebrate the wonder with them. I guess I just wanted to write a note and say that it's ok if this season isn't always sugar cookies and perfect pine and overflowing stockings. It's okay to feel all of the feelings. They are real and important. They mean something. You have worth. You have value. With so much magic and wonder and meaning this time of year, there can also be hurt and burnt cookies and feelings of uncertainty. And that's okay. It's a beautiful season of ins and outs. Ups and downs like the transitions of breath in a yoga class. Joy and sorrow. But they are all real feelings that deserve to be felt. 

I found this vintage tissue paper four years ago and for some reason, it felt right to use it this year. 
I hid two small paper crowns in the tree this year to surprise Min and Lue with. 

Pink silk ribbons to drape in the tree. I decided I didn't want to wake up one day and realize I forced my earthy palette on Lue. I even bought a pink sweater for myself so she might think I'm cool. 

Most favorite view. I swear she is absolutely in love with her Dad and smiles more at him than me. It's darling. 
This precious girl has my whole heart. So impressed with her tenderness and care for Minoux, her imagination, and beautiful heart. 
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Peaceful Solstice to you. May you find brief moments of peace and joy and may you fill your stockings with grace for yourself this year. These photos were from my momentarily calm happenings this week and the rest was all just piles of laundry. 

Nature Paint Brush Date


There's a lot that I still don't know about raising two little ones, but I do know that quality time with the older one goes a long, long way. Lue and I had an afternoon just the two of us and we spent it making Nature Paint Brushes. This was simple and I had all the materials in my backyard minus the paint and yarn which was also readily available. We connected so beautifully during the making of this and it was the biggest breath of fresh air to be able to spend time just staring at her work and soaking in her words and presence. It is definitely not always easy doing that with two littles and I want to be so intentional about speaking to her and letting her know her value to me. Something Max and I have been really intentional about throughout Lue's little life has been taking time as often as we can think of it, to get down to her level and actually look into her eyes and tell her: 

do you know how much I love you? 
you are so treasured by us. 
we love you when you're sad, we love you when you're mad, we love you when you're happy. 
nothing you do will change our love for you. 
we are so proud of you. 
we love spending time with you. 
we love you for who you are, not what you do. 

We now know most of them have been said often enough, because when Minoux cries, she will often go to her and say, "Minoux it's okay, Luella is here. I love you when you're sad or when you're happy. Just be yourself." It melts my heart like I can't explain. Her care and tenderness is so sweet. 
The other thing was that she has been obsessed with me wearing my old prom dresses (and my younger sister's which are glittery and sparkly) while we play "princesses" together. I rocked them for as long as I could pregnant until they could no longer contain that rounded out belly and she was patient until Minoux arrived. I think a day or two after Minoux was born, Lue said with a bursting smile, "Now you can wear your princess dress again Mom! Ah!" It's very sweet. I don't always feel like putting it on, but there is literally nothing greater than seeing her joy from our experiences of being "princesses" together. Trying to remember I won't want to look back when she is all grown up and realize I should've taken every opportunity to dress up with her when she wanted it. 
Nature Paint Brushes you need sticks preferably twelve inches long, herbs (we used lavender+rosemary+silver mist), yarn, paint paper. Easiest little project ever! 
Lue loved the strokes it made. It feels so magical. 

I kept all of ours for re-using and they've lasted through a few more projects since then. Plus they smell so good! 
Hello Lue. I love you. 

Happy painting! Please tell me if you try sometime! 

State Park Togetherness


Last week, we woke up at 6am per Lue's sunshiney awakening. It's almost always a "It's mooooorning Mama!" as she rolls over and wakes me up, hugs my belly although some mornings she is not the happiest and our morning transitions are long getting out of bed. We really wanted to remember this time before the next babe comes while it's just us three and these images are just so special to me. It felt like equal parts a celebration of the last three years with Lue combined with a great anticipation for this next little girl to be here. 

I haven't felt beautiful everyday in this pregnancy. While there were many magical days, there were also some really tough ones too.  These last three weeks I would weirdly say has been the time I have felt the best in my changing body. I love, love being pregnant and seeing this sweet girl grow and move inside. I love having her with me throughout the day, singing to her and talking to her and it was a beautiful early morning to wake up, throw on lace and my most favorite hat and head to our favorite State Park together. 

Most favorite image of our family, in my book. We didn't plan out anything and just kinda gathered around each other. I am obsessed with the looks on their face and the way Max scooped us three in close. How can one feel safe and protected in a photo shoot, I don't know, but I felt it here. Words can't describe my love for this man. He has been such an intensely calm rock and support throughout this pregnancy. The words he has spoken to me during my transitions with my body, spirit, and heart have truly carried me through the months. 

Her face watching the "fairy light" flight up to the sky was just so sweet. It sums up the epitome of her spirit on most days, just lit up by the world and ready for an adventure. (Tiniest note: these lanterns were completely biodegradable and without the wires. Would totally recommend them!) 

My sweet darling Luella Beane. Love her forever. She teaches me about the magic in this world and I simply cannot wait for her little sister to meet her and be engulfed into our world. 

Outdoor Floral Teepee


Tuesday was weird. There was so much going on inside my head and it felt full to the brim of processing, to do lists, anticipations and a dash of living in the past. It didn't make for the best recipe and one of my favorite things to do when I'm feeling this funk, is to create something or do something for someone else. I've been thinking of Fall quite a bit lately and anticipating this new sweet baby to be here, the crisp fall air, denim jackets and jeans and hot chai's. Lue and I chose florals that matched our feel for Fall and decided to decorate the teepee in the backyard. I've been gathering fallen sticks in our yard for about three years and it all started when I didn't really know what to do with all the extra branches. It felt like, "oh yes.. make a teepee and just begin." It's grown quite a bit and love how it gives a sweet little meeting area for us in the backyard, especially when we lay down blankets or bring back books or snacks. Each week a new branch is added whether small or big. 

Lue immediately chose sunflowers at the store and I couldn't have been more on board. They seem to scream the perfect transition between summer and fall somehow. 

Her face. I love it too much. 

She tucked in a lot of the flowers and purposely left quite a few draped on the ground. I intentionally didn't correct any of her floral work and let her be free as she created. We talked about how she could be a florist when she grows up, if she wants to. 

This photo is the epitome of Luella. Soaking in this beautiful life. This summer has been her first magical summer for sure learning so many names of flowers and herbs and I am shocked at her memory. She remembers people's favorite flowers and tells me about them at least every other day. Breathe it all in girl, sometime's people take this life way too seriously. 

Kitty of course, joined us just after we finished created the space as she is very drawn to new outdoor areas. You're always welcome to our teepee Zoe. We love you. 

From The Weekend


It was a beautiful, hot, (thick air kind of hot) weekend! Favorite moments included the Farmers Market, the most magical estate sale that I am genuinely positive brought me into a different realm of appreciation and excitement, and some wonderful time spent with family. Sweet baby moves inside EVERY time she hears music. Her rolls are getting stronger although still so smooth and much less punchy than her sister Luie's movements were. Lue still asks every morning if she has arrived yet, and has the sweetest anticipation for her. Lue is very connected with her so far and asks to hug her and kiss her at least five times a day. We have a song we made up for her that we sing to her and last week Lue was literally singing it in her sleep. It was so ridiculously sweet. She asks if she can buy her a milk at the store and saves a spot for her at restaurants. 

We added more items to her nature corner this weekend and it's filling in nicely. Can't wait to see the collection transition into Fall and I can already picture that Lue will be collecting all of the gorgeous (probably pink) fallen leaves. I think we are all anticipating Fall for a lot of reasons, mostly baby, but this weekend I made roasted cinnamon sweet potatoes and lots of maple syrup coffee for Max. I am excited to welcome in warm crock pot meals. 

Officially 32 weeks along. I had a fall this weekend due to running excitedly down a hill in Birkenstocks (not the best idea I've ever had) and it was equal parts embarrassing and painful. I'm still sore literally from head to toe but thinking a few days of low key rest will do the trick. Yikes, times like this where my excitement gets the best of me and if I wasn't pregnant, it probably would've been pretty hilarious on tape. 

We spent Sunday with my brother Jeremy, who Lue is utterly obsessed with. We kind of all are, too. 

Unicorn-turkey feather horn. 

Sweet weekends filled with falls and anticipation and estate sales and cute little thoughts pouring out from Lue. Now onto the week, we head! 
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