Hayes sprained his ankle the day before Disneyland and woke up literally crying, wouldn't stand on it, was having a full blown panic attack about the whole ordeal. I looked up the disability info for the park and we just hoped we could get some help seeing as how he couldn't even walk. Luckily they gave us a pass to skip the lines and use his stroller as a wheelchair! Since Disney is older lots of their rides aren't wheelchair accessible so we skipped A LOT of lines. We rode everything we wanted in every land and it was awesome and all our cousins got to skip the lines too. Such an amazing thing!

Julep and Beignets!

Bored on Pooh Bear

Cotton candy kings. Just after a Dole Whip.

Cal slept through that treat station so we grabbed him a mickey bar when he woke up.

Buzz Astroblasters!

So cute.

 Looking so old!
the new parade! so cute. and everyone was freaking out excited! Brinly!!
Next day we were all beat. 12 hours at Disney was crazy! So we got to California Adventure pretty late at noon and left at like 8. We took it way easy. Stood in the nuts Radiator Racers line while they napped. It's still their favorite!

Cal fell asleep in line and we tried so hard to wake him up before it started. He was beat, but finally snapped out of it right before we took off.

We rode a ton of rides on the pier. They loved them all! So fun to try out the bigger rides and see them have a good time.

Disney you wear me out, but we still love you!

california adventure

We finally planned a trip for me and my siblings to all meet up for some fun! We missed Bethany, Collin and Casey but hoping we can keep it up. It's crazy how a parents divorce even as an adult makes everyone have to sort of figure things out as siblings. Who is gonna plan things, how are we going to spend time together even if there's hard feelings between siblings and parents, how to take charge of our unit even though it's changed. Parents are usually the ones who plan and produce and as siblings we're all rusty but hopefully we'll get better at it!

We had two days at a Beach House with Charity and Tim in Newport to enjoy before we headed into Disneyland. Chad and his family came down for one day too which was a blast. 

Saw seals and ate lunch at Ruby's

 I think I've said this before but Max and Hayes are inseparable each time we visit. I wish for that reason alone they lived closer. Max is so cute and fun and energetic but still a really good kid.

Cal hates pictures. What can I say?

Breakfast at Anita's on the Island - walked through the islands cutest houses all in a row.

Ferry ride!

With fresh market berries.

We all live for the beach!
Next stop Disneyland!

hayes' ghetto bday party

It's all he ever wanted this year for his party. Against my better judgement we went with it and it was actually super fun and super easy. Go Chuck E. Cheese!

Chuck leading a dance party.
Hayes, stoked.
Some of the twenty kids. Even with a huge guest list it was still super affordable - way less than I would've paid had I put it all together on my own.  Rune, Monroe, Myles, Avery, Quincey, Owen, Brooklyn, Hudson, Eli, Arden, Collier.
Poor Hayes is pretty used to having a little brother in his biz all the time. too funny.

He had the best time! Always so happy to make my kids birthdays feel special!
Cal is talking about his everyday since - "When its warm and the sun's out then its my birthday" (July)



So I had always told Russ I wanted to get to Paris before I turned 30. We made our anniversary trip sort of centered around that (sadly he's probably used to our lives revolving around my craziness) so of course I always lumped my 30th in with that excursion. I told everyone I didn't want or need a thing. But he still pulled strings with all my friends to make one more special surprise to ring in the next decade! Vegas! I can't really think about how much effort it took collectively for so many of my friends to come to another state with and without kids, getting sitters, husbands staying home, etc etc. So kind and gracious and we had the best time! Here's some pics!

One amazing serendipity was Lindsay being in Vegas all the way from Florida the same weekend! We spent a day with her and it was so fun. We've been friends for 15 years and getting to see her a couple times a year is always so great.

Breakfast at Bouchon. HOLY COW. It was incredible. We also at at BabyStacks (hole in the wall in the middle of nowhere) and it was I swear just as good. But Bouchon has that French vibe and that Benedict and dang.
A night to Nobu. So good. I'll be back to get the Tempura Rock Shrimp and I'm sticking to rolls next time and skipping the sashimi - I just can't help it - the ROLLS!! I wish we had more to go around! 

Cosmo Pool. Total meat market and hilarious to watch all the drunken fools. We love staying at the Cosmo because the food is amazing so you never really have to leave, but the Bellagio pool is more my speed.

We discovered Face Swapping and had a whole lot of fun with that. Also paper face masks one night. Frightening!

A night to STK and then Marquee night club. HILARIOUS. A promoter stopped us and gave us VIP passes. So we said why not. Walking passed the line of people with my big pregnant belly literally changed into my nightgown dress and flip flops got some looks. We had a blast dancing the night away. We had a couple urchins, one was a married woman who wanted us to protect her while her husband got her a drink. She kissed me a couple times on the cheek and loved showing me pics of her boys and making me hold onto her hand and spin under it. Oh jessica! 

A day at the Bellagio pool. So beautiful and serene. Amazing sandwiches and virgin mojitos poolside. 
They had this multigrain croissant ham sandwich thing that was killer.
22 week belly! I am so happy I have this pic I know it will be a treasure for years to come. Stretch marks and all. It commemorates my favorite job and all that comes with it.

I told my friends my plans ahead of time - for my 30th I wanted to buy myself something special to commemorate. Something I would never normally splurge on but could wear until I was 87. Something to remind me of hard work and dreams and that unquenchable side of me that loves a good outfit. I sort of always knew it would be Louboutins. But, I didn't think I would be in a pool coverup with a trucker hat. I had much classier images in my head, but it was still so fun to do with my buddies. They made it extra special with all their ooh-ing and ahh-ing. I still haven't worn them, but they make me smile sitting in their box. Also, I was shocked that I went down two sizes from what I thought I would wear. The guy behind me was so helpful and made me so glad I had the experience in person and didn't just click "buy" online.

 More eating - Shake Shack! I got a peanut butter + chocolate shake that will never leave me. I tried to recreate the experience at Holstein's with their (virgin) Drunken Monkey shake which was also amazing. Russ is a gambling man, but we always joke I am not cut out for it. Every time he's up even $5 I'm like "Pull your money, let's go!" But this time I totally gambled. Being still nauseated and sick and staying up super late eating super rich meals at all hours of the day. So I had a couple rough nights and actually threw up the two most expensive meals of the trip. I gambled and I definitely lost! Too funny. We also ate at China Poblano and loved it which I have no pics of. But KILLER guacamole.

Also I don't want to forget my epic friends - Nicole who planned the trip, coordinated all the meals, took charge when 5 girls were distracted. I loved seeing her cut loose and have a good time on the dance floor. She's always a blast to travel with and makes the experience so fun and so much easier, takes a million pictures without anyone really even noticing. She is such a generous and nurturing soul.

Shelly who literally was not coming until the morning of. She pulled out all the stops and patchwork sitters together the entire time. Must've been so stressful but everything is better with her around. Her impersonations and stories are my favorite. Her heart is so close to the surface and she loves deeply and isn't afraid to show it.

Bri who brought Posey, Posey who was a rockstar that we hardly even knew was there. Bri who was the most chill laid back and easy going human when she had every right to be otherwise with a baby in tow. She's so supportive and loving and always there for me. She teaches me something new every interaction I have but I am sure she was never trying to. She just bubbles with good ideas.

Kim who I could spend every minute of the rest of my life with and not grow tired. Quietly hilarious, chill as a freaking cucumber, not showy but everything she says and does is worth watching. 

Kayti who builds us all up, who makes you feel like the most beautiful girl in the world. Who has such a beautiful heart and always shows me a better way without even realizing it. We have so much in common but seeing how she handles some of the same trials is always so comforting and inspiring to me.

We all loved that we could talk about literally anything, surface on down to the deepest parts of our hearts. Spritual, political, fashion or our digestion. Doesn't matter. Such a good crew! 



Here we are again another birthday where I scroll through photos, read through little iPhone notes and try and compile a year's worth of growth and memories. Hayes in nearly all ways is at his core, the same. He is good. He is kind. He is gentle. He wants to do the right thing, to please others, to make you laugh. Some of those iPhone notes for instance:
How he still calls a smoothie a smoovie.
While chewing gum naked (he is naked often at home),  "I need pants, I don't want the gum to fall out and hit my weenie."
Asked him what he believe, so if he ever wanted to bear his testimony he would know what to say -- "I don't believe in anything, I believe in toys."
Talking about the first day of Kindergarten introductions and what he would say "My name is Hayes and my favorite color is red. Because its the color of blood and I like blood. It tastes like metal." (put a quick stop to that one!)
 When he came out a hundred times one night and then exasperatedly said "My brain won't stop moving. Sometimes I want it to stop and it won't."

Which brings me to some new attributes this past year. Newly,  he is a tease! He loves to tease Cal mostly because Cal gives the most outrageous reactions. He wants to be with his friends all the time! To not miss out. And then also not to be seen. Maybe a new feature of starting kindergarten. But to go under the radar, to not be noticed or called out or teased or be laughed at. Honestly, this it the first year I've written this letter feeling like I failed him. Feeling a lot of guilt and regret that I took a wrong turn somewhere that lead him another step closer, well, to me. 

Let me explain...
Last week there was spirit week at school, each day had a dress-up theme and parameters and rules. 
Hayes was excited but also sort of paralyzed by this. "What if no one else remembers?" "What if I'm the only one?" Wanting to participate but not so much so where he would be the wackiest hair, the most backwards outfit, the most decked out superhero. Just enough. Enough to fit in, not enough to  stand out. 

So much of my mother heart wants him to shine and sparkle for who he is. To be so comfortable and confident that nothing can shake him. To not let what others think or say or do effect what he truly desires and wants to do or be in this life.
But then there's this part of me that hears his words more like an echo. I remember thinking similar things when I was little, just like him. "What if no one comes to my party" (I still think that at 30 years old.) What if I have the wrong day and no one else is dressed up for ____." 
That is the anxious side of me. The duality of two sides. Of feeling confident, original, an individual, someone who doesn't care what others think or say or do. Someone who can live and let live. And then the anxious side of me who worries about the worst case scenarios, ruffling the wrong feathers, a confrontation, letting someone down. That little girl who tiptoed and walked on egg shells at home and everywhere else.

I feel heartbroken that he somehow inherited that from me. I tried so hard to hide that anxious person from him, but it seems to have spilled out. And I watch those little glimpses and want to hug him and tell him it will be okay, and also run and hide because I know, sometimes, it won't. Sometimes it will feel like too much. Or like he's broken. Or like his body is a runaway train and he can't always control how he feels or reacts. To know that I don't have my anxiety all figured out makes me feel like the blind leading the blind. Like I am all wrong for the job, thank goodness for calm and peaceful Russ! 

So if anything this is a letter to myself. To keep trying, for him. To find a way to make it okay for both of you. Whatever book, or method, or way, we'll find it. 

Heaviest birthday letter of all time! So now for some pics from the last year or so to encapsulate the best of times with our Hayesie. You are such a light in our life. You make me want to be better in all ways and how blessed we are to have you!

A rare moment when Cal allows you to be sweet with him.
Monster Truck Rally:

Pumpkin Patch with that long hair that grows like a weed:

Face paint after a meltdown:

SO excited for Mexico! You make everything more fun and more exciting. You're such an easy adventurer.


Ikea silliness. taking a picture is your absolute least favorite thing lately.

Still taking and needing naps! I can't get you to take one everyday but we try a few times a week.

You're the king of being silly. Naughty jokes, bathroom words, wrestling, and vying for all of your dad's attention. Doing homework and math, reading like a a champ, working on projects, baking and cooking. Making lists (oh boy another one of my traits) making lists about lists ("Let's write down all the things we like about Christmas") Riding bikes and scooters and making "icky stew" with dirt and twigs from the yard. 

I love you so much Hayes. More than I know how to show. The world is absolutely yours.
Love, Mom.