Maui | Ka’anapali with kids

We headed to Maui to kick off summer vacation. Gorgeous weather, so much swimming, a 5:30am beach walk because the kids were too excited to sleep, free volleyball finding, parrot holding kind of vacation. A shave ice, boat ride to the best snorkeling spots with sea turtles, cleaning up Holly barf in the car to get to remote bamboo forests and waterfalls kind of vacation. A burritos at sunset on the beach, night swimming at the resort splashing in moon pools, starlight “magic” (little blue glowing dots found in the sand at night) hunting on the beach that I remember from childhood, pineapple eating, mango picking, trespass hiking, blow hole watching kind of wonderful, beautiful Hawaiian vacation.

We stayed at the Westin (thanks to my generous Mother for allowing us to use her points) at Ka’anapali, and I 100% recommend it as one of the best places in Hawaii to stay with kids right on the beach. Safe waters steps from your hotel, beautiful beach, incredible pools/watersides. If you’re visiting Maui, check out Aloha Mixed Plate for dinner, Ululani’s for shave ice, and Ono Tacos togo for the perfect beach picnic. We also had a great and personal experience on our boat/snorkeling trip to Molokini with Sail Trilogy. Aloha!

To see Aaron’s version click here.

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Redefining Marriage

I wasn’t sure I’d ever get married again. If not forever, then what was the point? Maybe I felt like I didn’t deserve to be married again, or maybe I was just terrified I would fail at it. I’m not sure, but what I’ve come to learn these past 4 years is that forever, though always the intention, was not and is not the point of marriage. Just because it didn’t last forever does not invalidate all the years it did matter. The lessons learned, the time paid, the love shared, the memories made. The point of marriage is to share your life with the person you choose. To be a family together, and to learn from and support each other as much as you possibly can without losing yourself. Marriage is a choice to make every day, not a promise for forever on one. Everyday you choose each other is a successful day and significant marriage, regardless if it lasts or not.

Today, Aaron, I choose you, and I hope with everything I have that we continue to choose each other… forever.

We got married on a cliff in the Gorge, had a sunset picnic, danced to an iPad slow song, and laid on a blanket together and watched the stars appear. It was every kind of lovely I can imagine.

Thank you to the incredibly giving and loving friends in our life for making our wedding so beautiful and special to us.

My talented friend Karina made my dress for me out of old curtains she bought at the Goodwill for $4.

Our incredibly gifted friend Bailey made our beautiful flowers out of locally foraged plants.

My sweet, sweet amazingly crafty and talented sister Mindy, armed with her hot glue gun, made the gorgeous flower sash for Holly’s flower girl dress.

Our friend and my soul-sister Yasmin got her license and stood as our witness to marry us with her lovely words.

And of course, one of our most favorite photographers and friend Jay Eads captured our memories for us so beautifully. These photos kill me. They mean so much. I am so happy to hold these images that embody the love and happiness I felt on that day and I can’t wait to look at them as a family years from now. I’m so grateful for Jay’s talent. Wedding photographers really do have such an important job.

Thank you all for the support and love we’ve felt coming our way. Mwah. Love rules.

Here are my favorites from Mr. Jay Eads:

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Little Photographers

Aaron got the new Fuji X-T1. I lova-lova-love it. Fresh out of the box we took it on a little walk around the block. The kids were really excited to set up and take their own pictures. This is what they came up with and shot.

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Los Angeles | Hike to the Hollywood Sign

Aaron and I headed to Los Angeles for the weekend for a photo shoot. There are a lot of memories packed into Southern California for me from my time living there. It’s always a little bitter sweet to go back. Sure, there are things I really hate about it now, but I also got to experience a lot of beauty and California ideals during my years there. Sometimes life in LA really was like a overly romanticized song, and when it was… you felt special to be a part of it. Sometimes I miss feeling special, or young and carefree, or whatever that feeling was. The weather helped too.

Chris, my ex-husband, had been on my mind a lot as I drove around our old town. When we returned to Portland I was greeted with nicest most graceful email from him about my engagement. Our relationship didn’t work out, but I’m so glad I married him when I did. For the experiences we share together, for who he made me, and for what he still has to teach me about forgiveness and kindness. I’m equally as grateful for fresh starts, and for new memories and lessons with someone who also makes me better. I just want to say the men I’ve chosen in my life have been the best versions of men I could have ever hoped for.

On your next trip to Los Angeles be sure to hike up to the Hollywood sign at sunset. There are a few ways to get there, we went this route:

The hike begins at the corner of Lake Hollywood Drive and Wonder View Drive. From the 134 Freeway, take the Forest Lawn exit. Go southwest on Forest Lawn for 2.3 miles and turn left on Barham Blvd. Go 0.8 miles and turn left on Lake Hollywood Drive. Follow Lake Hollywood Drive for 0.5 miles and park on the corner of Wonder View Drive. From Highway 101, take the Barham Blvd. exit and head north for 0.3 miles. Turn right on Lake Hollywood Drive and follow it half a mile to the corner of Wonder View Drive and park there.

The hike begins with a quarter-mile climb up Wonder View Drive, a private paved road. On the way, you get great views of the Hollywood Reservoir and the L.A. skyline. At the end of Wonder View, look for a single-track trail branching off to the right, and get ready for a steep climb. The trail gains 700 feet in three quarters of a mile, and you’ll be huffing and puffing by the time you reach the ridge that connects Burbank Peak (to the west) with Cahuenga Peak (the highest point in the Hollywood Hills) and finally Mt. Lee.

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Bonnie’s Bluebarb Pie

Well I switched my blog over today to this fancy new layout. I was really proud of myself for figuring out how to do it all on my own. Customizing the code, moving a domain name. Transferring hosting and all this complicated internet mumbo jumbo was confusing and took me a million times longer than it should have. Also, way too many YouTube tutorials. Anyway, once I had it all transferred over it looked great and I thought I was golden. Then I made the rookie mistake of thinking I could delete the old blog…. you know, the one that hosted all the images from the past 3 years of my life. Sigh. So yes, all my archives are currently broken… So, it’s still a work in progress, I suppose. Don’t cry over spilt milk, right? Let’s eat pie.

Bonnie, my soon-to-be Mother-in-law, makes the best Bluebarb pie ever. I’m a huge pie lover, and this one does not disappoint. Do yourself a favor and make it. Also, try to make your family eat raw rhubarb before you bathe it in sugar and bake it, it’s hilarious, and awful (for them).

grandma's bluebard pie

Perfect Pie Crust

From Simply Recipes. This is my go to crust for everything. Easy and delicious.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
8 Tbsp ice water

Bonnie’s Bluebarb Pie

1 1/2 cups sugar
3 T quick cooking Tapioca
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups sliced rhubarb
2 cups blueberries

Combine and let stand for 15 mins. Put in pie crust. Dot with butter. Cover with pie crust. Brush top with milk.

Bake at 400′ for 40-45 mins.

You might want to bake two considering this was mostly gone in a day.

pie and ice cream blueberry rhubarb

Hand Buddies

Ever since we told him the big news Jonathan has been acting differently towards me. Maybe the fact that I’m going to be his Step-Mom gave him the confidence he needed to feel like I really am part of his family. Maybe he’s just going through growing-up stuff and it would have happened anyway. Either way, it feels important and special that he’s been grabbing for my hand, snuggling up, writing me notes, etc. Mostly though I just feel really scared. I know it’s taken a lot for him to trust me, and I just don’t want to fuck it up. I’ve been telling him for years that I love him, and this week, for the first time ever he randomly said it out loud to me. They say it take 8 years to establish a step-family, I feel like we are on the right track.

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Roseburg

Aaron’s family lives in Roseburg, Oregon. We got to take a back-of-the-truck ride through the country on their neighbor’s massive property. Lots of goats, cows, sheep, horses, and a protective dog that followed us all the way out. It was one of my favorite things we’ve ever done while visiting. City living is great, but there’s nothing quite like being out on a farm.

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Cape Kiwanda Beach Day

There was no school on Friday so we decided to hit the road to the coast. We checked out Cape Kiwanda because the kids requested massive sand dunes to run down. Mission accomplished. Just down the road you can also drive your car on the beach, which has been a dream of mine FOREVER. Miles of flat open road meant the kids got their first turn sitting on Dad’s lap behind the wheel.

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