5 On Friday

I always love reading “5 on Friday” posts, so I thought I would join in  this week! Hopefully I can make it a weekly thing. I definitely have a very random list of things this week!

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1. We went to the Mariners game on May 4th (Star Wars day), and we had so much fun. Robbie got to meet a bunch of Star Wars characters, which he loved.

We also stopped by the Moose Den, where he got to meet the Mariner Moose! He LOVES any costumed character, so he was in heaven.

 

2. I am loving my Bravo tv lately. Real Housewives of NYC (probably my favorite franchise), Real Housewives of Potomac, Southern Charm, and Below Deck: Mediterranean coming soon! I’m in heaven! I know it is far from quality programming, but I love me some good reality tv….and Bravo is the best.

3. I have read SO MANY good books lately (and I definitely plan on writing about some of them because they were THAT amazing). I have been reading the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny. SO good! I just finished the series (there are 12 books in total currently), and I liked all of them. I had heard books 2-4 were slow, but I enjoyed them. Highly recommend these books if you love a good old-fashioned mystery. The hard part now is finding something to read next that is just as good! The good news is, the 13th book comes out in August. I’m looking forward to that!

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4. I’m a Seattleite, so of course I love my Starbucks. However I haven’t really been drinking Starbucks lately….I kind of go through spurts. After seeing many Instagram posts featuring the iced almond milk cinnamon macchiato, I knew I needed to try it (the iced caramel macchiato is by far my favorite starbucks drink). It was SO good. I have also had the caramel macchiato with Almond milk. Yum.

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5. I was never the kind of person who had a million different beauty products, and I would usually try all different things. There are a couple beauty items that I am LOVING. The first is the Tarte Amazonian clay foundation. I LOVE this stuff. I love how it feels, looks, smells, everything. It’s expensive, but it lasts a long time.

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I also picked up the Tarte Gifted mascara at the same time that I bought the foundation….I LOVE it. I have had such a hard time lately finding mascara that I like. In fact, I pretty much hate everything. This stuff is awesome. The brush doesn’t get all clumpy, and it makes my lashes look great. I’ll be honest, the packaging is what drew me to it in the first place. The tube is made out of wood and I just love it. Also expensive (at least to me it’s on the expensive side), but totally worth it.

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Happy weekend!

It Has Been a Year.

A year ago (on May 1st) we lost my 22 year old cousin Alex, very unexpectedly. He drowned in a swimming accident at Palouse Falls, while he was on a camping trip with his girlfriend and good friends.

To say that we were all heartbroken would be an understatement. Alex was such an amazing young man. He may have only been on earth for 22 years, but he made SUCH a difference in so many lives in that short time. His memorial service was amazing. Testimony after testimony of how he inspired people. He was a youth leader and was so devoted to his boys.  He was a volunteer firefighter, and his good friend (also a firefighter) arranged for a firefighters funeral. Oh my word, it was amazing. I couldn’t stop crying (and neither could anyone else). they arranged for firetrucks to be stationed outside the church, and at a designated moment at the end of the service, they sounded “final tones” (the sirens) and everyone completely LOST IT.

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My youngest sister (who was less than a year older than Alex) wrote a song for him that she sang at the funeral….it was amazing. She also sang “It is Well” by Bethel Church. Not a dry eye, I tell you. She did such a good job.

He loved the outdoors and always seemed to be on some kind of adventure. He has inspired David and I specifically, to get out and explore more….and we have been. I have a whole list of outdoorsy type things I want to do this summer.

I think the hardest part was having to explain to Robbie what happened. Explaining death to my then four year old son, was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Robbie LOVED Alex and they had come to be buddies. Alex was SO good with him and let Robbie follow him around, and played the same things with him over and OVER. I happen to have SO many pictures of Alex and Robbie together, and I’m so thankful for that.

Events like this change you and honestly none of us are the same. Tragedies like this have a way of making you realize what’s important….and what isn’t.

I have watched my aunt, uncle, and cousin go through hell….and they are my heroes. They have shown such strength and faith….in the darkest of times. Alex would be so proud of them,of that I have no doubt.

We miss you, James Alexander Elisar, and I can’t believe it has been a year since you left us. I know you are having a blast in heaven, but our hearts are still heavy and it still, somehow, doesn’t feel real that you are truly gone. You have inspired all of us to be better people, and reminded all of us not to take anything for granted and not to wait to tell people what they mean to you. I’m proud of you, little cousin, and will miss you always. there was something special about you….and I’m sorry I never told you that.

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Legoland!

After spending our last day at Disneyland, we hopped in our rental car, and headed for Legoland, in Carlsbad…but not before stopping for some In N Out. 🙂

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Robbie was especially excited for Legoland….I think almost more than Disneyland!

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Upon arriving, we checked into the Legoland hotel, and it was absolutely amazing. We had a “pirate” room, and it was totally themed. Robbie had his own pirate bunk beds and his own tv in an area that was separate from the “parent sleeping area”. The hotel also had treasure hunts each day you stay, where the kids have to find clues around the hotel which gives them a code to the “treasure chest” in each room that was filled with legos you could keep. It was seriously amazing….such a fun experience for kids. The restaurants at the hotel were really good, there were huge play areas in the lobby of the hotel, and even a bar with alcohol and coffee for parents to drink while they watch their kids play.

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The entrance to the park is right out the back door of the hotel, so we headed out there the following morning. In fact, the view from our hotel room’s window was the entrance to the park.

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Robbie was in heaven and had such a great time. The rides were definitely more for the children only, unlike Disneyland. Robbie loved all the roller coasters….he has no fear when it comes to rides!

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There is a whole section of huge Lego models, called “mini-land”. It was quite amazing.

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Robbie met quite a few giant “mini-figs” as well, which was a lot of fun for him. He LOVES any sort of costumed character.

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Legoland also has an aquarium that we visited as well.

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There are gift shops (basically lego stores) in every “land”, so he was begging us all day to buy legos. We let him pick a set at the end of the day, as well as some Legos for his cousins. He was happy with that. (As if we needed MORE Legos!)

We went back to the hotel and ate dinner at one of the restaurants, and we were shocked by how good the food was! We weren’t expecting that at a hotel catered to kids.

The next day we spend some time in the park, before we headed out to drive back to LA and the airport to head home.

I would highly recommend Legoland, it was so much fun. Robbie had a blast. In fact, he says he wants to MOVE to Legoland. They also have a huge waterpark that wasn’t open for the season yet (it is now), so we want to go back again so we can do that. It looks very cool.

Definitely a successful trip. Now I want to go back (especially with the non-stop rainy weather we have been having)!

The Happiest Place on Earth…Disneyland!!!

A couple months ago we went on a trip to Disneyland and Legoland, and it was AMAZING. David was going to surprise me, but he wanted my input, so he told me ahead of time. We didn’t tell Robbie until Christmas morning.

I’ve always loved Disney, and we went a couple times when I was a kid, but I hadn’t been since I was 15 years old! Needless to say, A LOT had changed since then! For example, California Adventure wasn’t even in existence yet! I was SO excited to be able to take Robbie. He had been talking about wanting to go for ages, and was so excited. There’s nothing like watching a young kid experience Disney for the first time. 🙂

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We left on January 30th-my birthday-and arrived at our hotel in the evening. We didn’t stay in a Disney resort hotel, but it was across the street from the entrance to the park. We literally did not use our rental car the whole time we were there. We were able to just walk across to Disney. I would definitely stay there again….I really liked our hotel.

We headed to the park for a few hours, after we arrived. Peter Pan’s Flight was the first ride we went on….such a classic ride. We rode the teacups and Dumbo as well. It was a Monday, so the park was only open until 8pm. We stayed until the park closed and then headed next door to downtown Disney (where the restaurants and stores stay open until 2am), and we had dinner at Tortilla Joe’s, which is a Mexican restaurant with AMAZING food.  They make homemade guacamole right at your table (it was SOOOO good) and I had the best peach blended margarita….it was seriously delicious. I don’t normally drink, but it WAS my birthday after all.

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Our first full day, we spent in Disneyland.

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Robbie loved Toon Town. It is totally geared toward younger children, and is very whimsical and a lot of fun.

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This is also where you can find the most “famous” characters at Disneyland (Mickey, Minnie, etc.). Goofy was the first character we met. We also went to Mickey and Minnie’s houses and met them. We saw Donald and Pluto in Toon Town as well.

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Robbie went on every ride and had a blast. He’s pretty daring. We went on Pirates of the Caribbean and Splash Mountain, and even the Haunted Mansion (though he closed his eyes the whole time).

One of my favorite moments, had to be when Robbie got to meet Darth Vader in Tomorrowland. We kind of stumbled upon it by accident, and I am so glad we did. Robbie LOVES Star Wars (and Darth Vader….that’s his cat’s name in fact) and he is still at an age where he thinks everything is real. It was so fun to see him get to do that. I almost cried. Darth Vader was totally in character (and quite intimidating) and Robbie loved it.

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He also got to meet Chewbacca (who was HUGE) and Boba Fett.

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He LOVED the Buzz Lightyear ride in Tomorrowland as well….we had to go on that more than once.

He was very excited to go on the Finding Nemo Submarine ride, and it was very cool. That was definitely a hit.

To say that I love Disneyland would be an understatement. I felt like I smiled the entire day. It’s such a nostalgic, special place.

Our second full day, we spent in California Adventure, which was really amazing. The first thing we did was go to Disney Jr. Live on stage.

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It was SO cute and Robbie loved seeing his favorite characters from Disney Jr. SUCH a cute show. From there we headed to Radiator Springs…..AMAZING.

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It’s literally like you are in the movie. It is so well done. And, as with everything in Disneyland, the attention to detail is incredible. We got to meet Mater and Lightning McQueen, which was another highlight.

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Radiator Springs Racers was definitely one of our absolute favorite rides. It was SO Much fun.

In Hollywoodland, Robbie got to meet Captain America and Spiderman, which was really fun. I love how amazing the cast members are at staying in character and making each kid feel special. It was another highlight for me, and we got some amazing pictures.

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Paradise Pier was a lot of fun as well. Robbie enjoyed all the carnival type rides. This was the main area that I would have liked to spend more time at. Next time we go, I definitely would want to spend two full days in California Adventure. We saw a lot of it, but there were definitely things we didn’t get to do. I would have liked more time there.

Our last day at Disney, we spent at Disneyland again. We also stayed to watch the Main Street Electrical Parade, which they brought back for a limited time….I remember it from when I was a kid. It was AMAZING, and so much fun to watch.

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I love Disneyland so much….I already want to go back. I think I could go once a year and never get tired of it.

Next up, we headed to Legoland!

Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds

First things first….I am now (finally!) a married woman. David and I have been together for 8 years now (since April of 2009), and we do have a 5 year old. We have talked about getting married forever, but we were apparently not in a rush. 😉  We have always been committed to each other and functioned very much like a married couple, even before we were actually married. Still, I longed for it to be “official”. Marriage is important….it’s not just a piece of paper to me. I come from a very conservative, religious family, so it really bothered me that we weren’t married yet. I also hated calling David my “boyfriend”. I always felt like he was so much more than that, but there wasn’t really a better term to use. We very much ACTED like we were married, made decisions together, and we of course have a son together. We were in every way a family, except for the fact that we weren’t married to each other.

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Finally, we decided to just go for it. We were never really technically engaged. We picked a date, and I made an appointment at the Seattle Municipal Courthouse. I picked that one because of the amazing views of the city during the ceremony. We picked up our marriage license on July 18th (which is also our son’s birthday), and then got married on Friday, July 22nd. We wanted to keep it simple, so we opted to only invite our siblings (and of course our son Robbie was there). It was PERFECT for us. Neither David nor I enjoying being the center of attention….the thought of a hundred people staring at us during a big wedding is a nightmare to me. I’ve never wanted a wedding, even before I met David. I simply didn’t care about all the details and it sounded totally stressful. I have absolutely no regrets.

My sister (who lived in Eastern Washington at the time…she since has moved to Arizona) was able to come a few days before the wedding to help me prepare, and it was such a special time. I will always treasure those days.

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I found a dress I liked on Macy’s website, so we headed to Tacoma to check it out in person. It ended up being PERFECT and exactly what I wanted. It was a simple lacy creme dress, and it seriously ended up being around $20 (it was on crazy clearance)!! It was the first dress I tried on, and I loved it. It was sleeveless, so I found a cardigan to wear over it.

We went shopping for shoes and even found a special outfit for Robbie to wear.

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For some reason, we decided that it would be a good idea for Lindsey to cut my hair herself, the day before the wedding. I just wanted a trim, and she cuts her husband’s hair all the time, so she was confident she could do it. It was a DISASTER. We immediately made an emergency appointment at the Gene Juarez near our house. Lindsey felt horrible and was freaking out and practically in tears. She was taking it MUCH harder than me, in fact I was comforting her. I knew that it would be fine….I’ve had shorter hair many times over the years, so I knew it would be fine in the end. It actually all worked out for the best. It was fun to go to such a nice salon and get my hair done and feel pampered a little bit. The stylist was super sweet and spent a lot of time on my hair, and it ended up looking great. Crisis averted! 🙂 And I found a good salon, that I will definitely keep going to (not an easy feat!).

Lindsey helped me get ready the day of the wedding. David worked the day we got married, so he didn’t see me until we got to the courthouse around 4:30 that afternoon. Lindsey painted my nails, did my makeup, and even styled my hair. I was happy with how it all turned out.

We made it downtown and then headed to the courthouse, where David and his brother were waiting.

We checked in and then waited with all the other couples who were there to get married. All weddings take place after 4:30 (when court is over for the day), and each judge (there were several) took a couple to a different section of the courthouse, so there could be multiple weddings going on at once. We were bummed that we didn’t have time to go to Pike Place and pick up some flowers from me to hold. To our surprise, my sister Kelsey showed up with flowers for me! That was really special, and meant a lot to me. Kelsey doesn’t always think about things like that, so it was special that she thought of me.

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Once our judge came to get us, we headed to her chambers, where we did the paperwork. She also got to know us a little bit and gave us options for vows and such. She then put on her robe and we headed up to the room we got married in. We stood in front of floor to ceiling windows that overlooked the Seattle skyline….it was an amazing view….and looked cool in pictures. 🙂 The ceremony itself was actually a lot more meaningful than I thought it would be….she did a really good job.

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After the ceremony we took some pictures (my brother in law was taking pictures for us the whole day) and then headed back to her chambers to sign the marriage license. David’s brother Tony and my sister Kelsey also signed as our witnesses.

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After the wedding, we headed to the waterfront, where we had dinner at Anthony’s. My mom met us there. We didn’t go on a honeymoon….we plan to go somewhere for our first anniversary in a few months. Robbie’s 5th birthday party was the next day, so we were able to tell our relatives about the wedding.  The following picture is four generations on both sides of the family….my family on the right (Robbie, me, my mom, and my grandma) and David’s on the left (his grandpa, dad, him, and Robbie). It was taken the day after the wedding, at Robbie’s birthday party. We thought it would be a special picture to take since we were married and all officially family. 🙂 I have to say, it’s fun to have even more family. David’s family has always treated me  like a daughter in law, but it’s nice that it’s official now. 🙂

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It was all very surreal….I couldn’t BELIEVE we were FINALLY married. It felt SO good. It’s hard to explain, but it felt like everything was finally as it should be. Words cannot express how much I love that husband of mine. We were also surprised by how different we felt. Nothing changed in our day to day lives (except for my name…), but it just felt “different”….complete somehow. Like we were finally REALLY family. Such an amazing feeling. I still have to pinch myself sometimes, because I can’t believe this is my life.

It was a simple day, but absolutely perfect for us, and I will cherish the memories forever.

New Name, New Blog

New name. New blog. I wanted to start fresh in a new space. I really miss writing, and enjoyed blogging in the past. I got out of the habit, and rather than try to “catch up”, I thought I’d start over. Too many people in my “real life” discovered my blog, and I felt like I couldn’t be as honest or as candid as I wanted to be.

I finally got married and feel more settled and content than I’ve ever felt. I’m looking forward to sharing things I’m learning and enjoying, and also our adventures as a family. We also bought a house relatively recently, and I am having a lot of fun decorating, organizing, and even cleaning (funny how even CLEANING is so much more fun when you’re not renting. Pride of ownership, I suppose). I plan to share a lot of that process as well. I feel like I have so much to talk about.

Here’s hoping I can make this a regular thing! 🙂