Love your summer skin | Tips for keeping it healthy & beautiful

Thursday, July 30, 2015

If you're anything like me, you've probably been spending a lot of time in the sun and water this summer. Between our vacation to California, trips to the water park, play dates at the splash pad, and lazy days spent by the kiddie pool, my skin has just been soaking up the sunshine. I love it! And while I don't lay out in the sun like I used to (back in my younger days), with 3 active kids, I still spend a good amount of time in the sun and water during summer break. Those UV rays and chlorinated pools sure do take a toll on your skin, so I put together a fun little list of tips for keeping your summer skin beautiful and healthy looking.

Protect. Always, always, always wear sunscreen, even if you're only going to be outside for a few minutes, and especially if you're trying to get a tan. When we head to the water park I slather myself in sunscreen and I still come home with a tan. Don't forget to reapply every hour! And don't forget to get your ears, lips (with SPF lip balm), tops of your feet, and, if you have them, tattoos. 

Hydrate. Water is your best friend! Drink at least 8 glasses of water each day, and you can just about double that if you're outside in the hot sun, and even more if you're active. When we're playing and running around at the water park I end up drinking 3 or 4 bottles of water and still feel thirsty. Drink it up! When you're lounging by the pool or playing with the kids in the sprinkler, make sure to guzzle that water. The first step to healthy skin is staying hydrated from the inside.

Cover up. If I'm hanging out in the water or  know that I'm going to be in the full sun for a while, I have to have my sunglasses and I try to remember a hat. I used to love getting my face nice and tan, but now I hide it as much as I can from UV rays. When the sun hits my face I can just feel my skin aging, and I'll start to get brown spots on my cheeks and forehead. Also, I swear the big sunglasses are the reason I don't have a lot of wrinkles around my eyes (yet). In addition to protecting my eyes, these huge sunglasses are great for hiding the fact that I'm not wearing eye makeup (and I can even skip filling in my brows!) Win-win.

Exfoliate. Removing those dead skin cells in the shower will help keep your skin looking and feeling healthy. Especially after swimming in a chlorinated pool, make sure to shower and exfoliate- I recommend these exfoliating gloves.

Moisturize. Vaseline Intensive Care Aloe Soothe Spray Moisturizer is a great post-sun moisturizer. I love this stuff! It's a continuous spray lotion and it absorbs in seconds to heal dry skin without feeling sticky or greasy. I love that this one contains pure aloe and micro-droplets of Vaseline jelly in it to help soothe sun-ravaged skin. I spray this on and it keeps my legs from drying out, and it feels so cool and soothing after a long day in the sun. I also love that the contoured aluminum can uses compressed air for 360 spray delivery- not aerosols or harmful propellants. Check out to learn more- retails for $7.99 at mass retailers.

Giveaway is now closed! Congrats to the winner :) 
One lucky person is going to win a bottle of Vaseline Intensive Care Spray Moisturizer!
Enter on the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!
{don't see the giveaway widget? Try refreshing the page}

Terms & Conditions: No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Must be 18 or older to enter. Prize retail value: approximately $7.99. Giveaway is open to US residents only. All entries will be verified The number of entries determines the odds of winning. Winner will be chosen by and will be notified via email. Winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize before a new winner is chosen. This sweepstakes is in no way associated with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest. Please note that Lulu & Sweet Pea is not responsible for "lost" emails that get sent to the wrong folder, such as a spam box. By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to me and me alone. I do not share or sell information and will use your information only for the purpose of contacting the winner.

What are some of your favorite summer skincare tips that I need to try?
Leave a comment & let me know!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Vaseline. The opinions and text are all mine.

Recent Beauty Favorites {July edition}

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hey dolls! It's been a while since I've shared some of my recent beauty favorites. These aren't necessarily new products, but they are new to me, and I've pretty much fallen in love with each and every one of them. Somehow they've made their way into my beauty routine, and I'll tell you exactly why and how I use them.

Before I get to the products, I wanted to let you know that this post does contain affiliate links, which means that if you happen to purchase said item through the link, I get compensation for it. I've also included regular links to the brand websites too, but in cases where the item can be found cheaper somewhere else (like on Amazon) I let you know and linked you to the better deal (where I purchased it from). I'm just sharing a good deal when I see one!

Alright, now for the fun stuff!

e.l.f Studio Contour Palette | $6

Hallelujah! Finally, an inexpensive contour palette that really delivers and that doesn't cost and arm and a leg. I can't tell you how much I love this palette, and the fact that it's only $6 is crazy. The matte colors are perfect for highlighting and contouring the face, and there's one shimmery highlight color that I love to use on my brow bones and on the tops of my cheek bones for a bit of a pop. I use a combination of the two darkest colors to contour, shade, and sculpt my cheekbones, around my forehead, along my jawline, and on the sides of my nose. Love, love, love. I hope they keep this item forever! *Side note- this one is actually a brand new product to the e.l.f. line, and I think it's only available online right now. I haven't found it in stores (yet). 

Here's a little highlighting & contouring cheat sheet I found on Pinterest.

Biore Self Heating One Minute Mask | $5.99 {$4.54 on Amazon}

I actually did a sponsored post for this mask a few weeks ago and it's become one of my absolute favorites. I promise, I'd never write a review (especially a paid-for one) for a product I didn't actually like or use. Seriously, just read the post on why I dig this mask.

Loreal Youth Code Serum Intense | $24.99 {$9.09 on Amazon}

OK, this one isn't really new to me, but I just started using it again after going without it for a long time. I love the way this serum makes my skin feel- it's velvety soft, my skin tone looks more even, and my foundation goes on so much more smoothly when I've prepped my clean skin with this (followed up with my day moisturizer or night cream/oil). I noticed a difference in the texture of my skin by day 3 of using this Youth Code serum. Here's the other thing- this serum is almost identical to an amazing Lancome product called Genifique When I worked for Lancome (who is owned my Loreal) I used Genifique, and I can tell you that both serums look and feel almost identical, and I had virtually the same results from each of them. I'm convinced that Youth Code and Genifique are basically the same thing, except 1 oz of the Lancome version is $78. 

Covergirl LashBlast Super Sizer mascara | $5.99

Since my last experience with Covergirl mascara went so well, I decided to try out another new one that I've seen everyone raving about online. Plus, I was already at Target again and I think there's some kind of rule that says you can't leave Target without buying another tube of mascara. Anyway, I picked up The Super Sizer in from their LashBlast line, which boasts "400% more corner-to-corner volume for full, fanned out lashes." The instructions said something about twirling the wand, but I couldn't really get my hand to cooperate, so the first application was a bit gloppy. When I tried the next day I ended up with some pretty amazing looking lashes. I'm not sure if they were 400% bigger or what, but they definitely looked longer and fuller than with my other 6 or 7 mascaras that are floating around in my cosmetic drawer right now. I've been using The Super Sizer pretty much every day now, alternating with my other new favorite, CG's Full Lash Bloom

Veet Ready-to-Use Wax Strips | $9.99 {$6.25 on Amazon}

I have to admit, I bought these wax strips as a last ditch effort and thought for sure that they were going to suck and leave me having to shave every single day of my vacation. Wrong! My laziness and failure to make it to the beauty supply for more wax actually worked out perfectly, because I ended up really liking these cool little strips. Plus, they were so much faster, easier, and way less messy than my regular pot of wax! All you do is rub the strip between your hands a few times to warm up the wax, then place them on your leg, rub down over it firmly, and pull it off while holding the skin taught. Easy-peasy! The hair comes out and there's no messy, dripping wax or dipping sticks to worry about. You can even re-use the strips a 2nd, 3rd, and sometimes even a 4th time, depending on how sticky it remains. I waxed both of my lower legs in about 15 minutes and only used 10 or 12 strips. I really didn't think these would work, but I'm pretty sure I'm never going to buy another pot of wax again for home use. These are the way to go and anyone can figure it out- no experience required! (But do make sure to read the instructions and safety precautions in their entirety first, of course). 

PFB Vanish + Chromabright | $29.00 {$22.36 on Amazon}

Again with the shaving. Ugh. Along with it usually comes razor burn and ingrown hairs for me, which is why I try to wax when I can. But I still end up shaving a lot, I need something that really works for ingrown hairs and the scars that they leave behind (especially if they've been picked at). I read a lot of Amazon reviews before deciding on this stuff, and I'm glad I did my research because I'm really pretty happy with it. I just roll this on the sensitive skin areas as soon as I dry off after a shower, and then sometimes (when I remember) again right before I go to bed. I had some pretty dark looking spots around my bikini line that I wanted gone, and after about a month of using this they are much, much less noticeable. I'm going to keep using this for the rest of the summer and will have to see if there's anymore improvement, but it's definitely prevented me from getting any more new ingrown hairs since using it, which is pretty awesome in itself. 

Those are six of my latest favorites, and I've already got a whole slew of new stuff to try next! Have you used or heard of these ones? Or do you know of something I've just got to try out? Let me know in the comment section below- I'd love to discuss it from one beauty junkie to another.

Don't forget to enter the $25 Paypal/Visa gift card giveaway I have going on right now. Hop over to that post and check out how you can earn extra box tops for your local schools and get your entries in because one lucky person is going to have a little extra spending cash :)

Support local schools while back to school shopping

Friday, July 24, 2015

Raise your hand if you're a procrastinator!

I confess that I tend to put things off and wait until the last minute a lot, especially when it comes to things like back to school shopping. First of all, here in Washington, we start late- like usually the first week of September. So while all of my other mama friends all over the country are stocking up and getting their kids' supplies in July and August, I'm sitting back thinking "Suckers! I've got until September." Well, that plan always fails when the back to school sales come and go, everything has been picked over, and I'm left scrambling on Labor Day trying to find all of these very specific classroom items on my children's school shopping list. It happens pretty much every year. Not this time! This year I vowed to get things done early, and I even saved money and helped out my local school in one easy stop at Walmart, where I did back to school shopping like a boss.

OK, I already mentioned what a slacker I am when it comes to all things back to school. This year I've got two kids to shop for, plus a very needy, active 1 year old at home, so I pretty much need the easiest and least painful way as possible. That means getting everything in one place and not spending a fortune, and I know exactly where to go for that kind of thing: Walmart. It really is the place to go for one-stop shopping. Plus, you can't beat their prices, especially on school supplies.

I zipped down to my local Walmart store and thankfully, they had some very well-stocked aisles! That's the key to successful back to school shopping: go early. Sounds simple enough, but trust me, you don't want to have to play tug-of-war with another mom over the last gold-dipped 3 ring binder the teacher is requesting this year (kidding). In all seriousness though, you don't want to drive all over town looking for what they need, or up the first day and grimace while you explain to the teacher why you don't have everything on the list. Been there, done that. Sorry teachers- I know, I suck at this.

Did I mention that I helped out my local schools while doing my back to school shopping? You might be asking how I did this, and I'll explain: box tops. Box tops for education- have you heard of them? We've been collecting them for years in my household, ever since my oldest child was in kindergarten and we first heard of the program. Basically, you see them in the store on items, clip the box tops from select brands, and turn them into your school, where they trade them in for cash. The school gets $.10 for each box top. 10 box tops = $1.00, which adds up really quickly! We have grandparents, aunts, uncles, and family friends who clip box tops for us, so every few months we'll get a little bag full of a hundred or so extras to turn in along with the 100 or so that we have. 100 box tops is $10 for the school! It's such an amazing program and such a simple way to raise funds for local schools, which we all know could use some extra cash.

Walmart has specially marked Kimberly Clark products with bonus box tops on them so you can shop back to school like a boss and stock up on your family's household paper needs. I already use and love these paper towels- the Viva Vantage ones really are my favorite brand, so those were a no-brainer. The rest is all stuff we needed and I opted for these brands simply because of the bonus box tops. I do that a lot! If I'm looking at a certain product and I see one similar with box tops, I almost always grab the one with the box tops on it. Check out the bonus box tops on these!

Just with these 3 products I got 20 box tops, which equals $2.00 for the school just in one quick shopping trip. If every kid turned in 20 box tops just one time during the school year that would be around $1200 (our elementary school has roughly 600 kids). Now imagine if more people donated 20 box tops each month!

Don't have any kids in school? Don't worry, I'm sure there is someone in your life that you can clip box tops for. Please don't throw them away! It's like throwing away money, and it doesn't take much effort. Clip them and save them for your niece, nephew, grandchildren, cousins, neighbors, kids from church, etc. Or, just give them directly to the school. I'm sure they would appreciate it. It's like giving them cash! I wish I could say I had some fancy-shmancy box top holder, but I just use a zip top baggy held onto the fridge with a magnet. It works.

So that's what I call back to school shopping like a boss! I got the school supplies early (in one stop), stocked up my house on paper supplies, and I earned bonus box tops for my kids' school.

Giveaway is now closed! Congrats to the winner :) 
To help kick off your back to school shopping and start your box top collection I'm giving away $25 paypal cash -OR- a 25 Visa gift card (winner's choice). Enter on the Rafflecopter widget below!

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Must be 18 or older to enter. Giveaway is open to US residents only. Winner will be chosen by and will be notified via email. Winner will have 24 hours to claim their prize before a new winner is chosen.

What are your tips for going back to school? I'd love to hear them! You can join in the conversation on social media- just use the hashtag #BSTLikeABoss, and make sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I'll be looking for your tips :)

Life lately + some crafty stuff

Monday, July 20, 2015

We've been having a pretty low-key summer since we got home from vacation. The temps here in Washington state have been  hovering around the 100 degree mark for weeks now, so staying inside with the icy chill of the AC has been a must. Unless you're in water, it's too dang hot to be outside, and venturing out to our favorite summer spot sounds like a lot of work nowadays with Harper around. The big kids and I were able to hit up the lake for a few hours one day while Harper hung out with Grandma. I wanted to take her with us but the secluded spot we frequent doesn't offer a lot of shade, so my blonde, fair-skinned sweetie would have fried out there!

Obligatory beach selfie for Instagram.

This is what they looked like at the end of the day.

We also enjoyed a beautiful day outside at our friends' house for a little play date. My pregnancy/mommy buddy invited us over and had a kiddie pool and slip n' slide set up for the little ones. Now, normally us moms try to get together on a school day and just let the babies play and nap so we can have our "bitch session" on a somewhat regular basis. However, summer has kind of put a damper on our mommy-friendly visits, and we spent more time hollering at the kids, applying sunscreen on wriggling, squirmy bodies, and cleaning up spilled drinks (thanks Harper) than we actually spent talkingwith each other. It was still fun and I managed to scarf down a fair amount of yummy chips and salsa for the afternoon.

I tried my best to get all 5 kiddos in the picture, but you can't really see Harper under her giant hat!

I finally broke out of my crafting rut and started working on a quilt. I've had this fabric forever but wasn't sure what to do with it until now. Doesn't it make the sweetest little baby quilt? 

This was a fun way to quilt it together! I love that it's all random spacing.

Machine binding- my favorite part.

It took me 2 nights to finish this one. More pictures to come later on!

 Up next...

Just as I started getting in my quilting groove, I broke my last machine needle and had to take a break. I hate when that happens! 

That's all for now! I'm working on a new gel polish tutorial for you all very soon :)

What to Expect- even the third time around!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

As a three time mom, you might think I'd be an expert at all things pregnancy and baby related. Yeah...I may have been through it three times, but most days I feel just as clueless as a new, first-time mom. Every pregnancy is different, and every baby/child is unique! I'm the type of person who has to have all of the information possible on any given topic, so as soon as the big fat positive sign popped up on that first pregnancy test, I was out the door and on my way to pick up the "pregnancy bible": What to Expect® When You're Expecting.

I think everyone has heard of this book- it's spent over 600+ record breaking weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and is recommended by moms and doctors all over the world! I read this book with each one of my pregnancies and loved following along during those 9 long and exciting months while preparing for baby. Like I said, every pregnancy is different, plus when you consider the age gaps between your pregnancies and "mommy brain" (it's a real thing) you definitely need a little refresher course each time around. I loved curling up with What to Expect® every night and check in on what was going on with my body and the tiny, precious little baby that was miraculously growing inside of me. I couldn't get enough! It was all I could think about. It was fascinating to see how that little guy grew every month and the amazing changes my body was going through (and how to prepare and cope with some of those big changes). There's also a special section devoted to eating well, which really helped me keep my weight right on track and stay healthy throughout my pregnancies.

What to Expect® really helped put my mind at ease while pregnant, all three times. You really do forget what things are like and especially with this last pregnancy, I had a hard time remembering if certain symptoms were "normal" or not. Luckily, I had a pregnant buddy who I could compare with and we both would refer to What to Expect® for the real answer. I'd text her something like "OK, is it normal to have shortness of breath, leg cramps, and Braxton Hicks contractions this early? I " And she'd reply with "I haven't had any contractions or cramps, but yeah, it's getting harder to breathe. What to Expect® says it's normal! Stop worrying and put your feet up mama!" 

The best part is that What to Expect® doesn't just end when the baby is born. The end of the book focuses on labor & delivery, postpartum (the first 6 weeks), a section on illnesses, sickness, and complications, and a chapter completely devoted to the dads. The postpartum section is awesome and includes everything you could ever want to know about recovering from labor (all types), breastfeeding, diapering and cleaning your baby, and more. 

Beyond that, there are three other books in the What to Expect® series to help guide you through the first few years of parenting. They are each set up in the same style as the first book, and go through each month in great detail. 

I've read and love What to Expect® the First Year. This book helped me so much as a new mom, and I read it from cover to cover probably a dozen times. It has so much helpful information in there about anything and everything baby related. I actually just consulted it a few days ago when I had a question about weaning and breastfeeding. It also has a section in the back that talks about keeping your baby safe, which includes CPR and first aid information- this is great information that every parent should read! I made my husband go over and familiarize himself with it just in case. I'm so excited to now have What to Expect® the Second Year too so that I have a great reference for beyond the first birthday (which is quickly approaching!)

I recommend this book to all of my expecting mom (and dad) friends! Since I love them so much, I'm offering a giveaway for all four books in the What to Expect® series for one lucky Lulu & Sweet Pea reader.

Enter on the Rafflecopter widget below. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Must be 18 or older to enter. Giveaway is open to US residents only. Winner will be chosen by and will be notified via email. Winner will have 24 hours to claim their prize before a new winner is chosen.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Kids movie date: Minions {Plus a Fandango giveaway!}

Monday, July 13, 2015

Happy Monday!
Sounds weird, doesn't it?

I've actually been looking forward to this Monday because the kids and I have a special "mom & me" date planned. We've kind of already hit our summer slump and everyone is getting bored and irritated with each other, so we needed to do something different. Today we are going to see Minions! You know, the little yellow guys from Despicable Me- my kids love those movies. Now the Minions are back with their very own movie, and the people are General Mills were kind enough to send my kids and I this fun little Minions movie care package. Guess what? I also have one to share with someone, which means I have a giveaway for you!

General Mills is bringing Minions to your favorite cereals! Hidden inside each box, you will find one of six select Minions Buddies about to hit the big screen. You can collect all six Minion buddies in specially marked boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios, Banana Nut Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Reese’s Puffs, Trix and Golden Grahams, and more. The specially marked boxes of Big G cereals hit store shelves this month, for a limited time only. General Mills has additionally released specially marked packing of participating Betty Crocker fruit flavored snacks, including Fruit Roll-Ups, Fruit by the Foot and Gushers. The six little Minion buddies are so cute and can be used as key chains, danglers, action figures, and more. My kids love the ones they got and can't wait to collect the rest of them.

The highly-anticipated Minions movie just opened up this weekend on July 10th, and one lucky Lulu & Sweet Pea reader is going to win a $25 Fandango gift card so you can see Minions too! In addition to the gift card, you'll also get a box of a participating General Mills cereal, a box of a participating Betty Crocker fruit flavored snack, an exclusive Minions Buddy.

Enter on the Rafflecopter widget below! 
No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Must be 18 or older to enter. Giveaway is open to US residents only. Winner will be chosen by and will be notified via email. Winner will have 24 hours to claim their prize before a new winner is chosen.

This little Minions movie care package was the perfect pick-me-up for summer! My kids cannot wait to go to the movie tonight! I'll make sure to report back with how many fits of hysterical laughter they have.

*Update 7/14/15- My two oldest kids (ages 10 & 7) went with me last night and they loved it! It was cute, silly, and even made me giggle a few times. It's a super family-friendly movie that kids of all ages and even parents can enjoy (I saw a lot of adults there without children, too!) We had a great time and finished off our entire bucket of popcorn. 

*I was given these promotional items in exchange for this blog post & giveaway.

California vacation recap

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Whew! I've been home from our family vacation for over a week now and I feel like things have finally died down enough that I can sit and blog about it. Being gone for a week was great, but coming home and trying to get back into the swing of things can be a little challenging when you have kids. We came home to a stinky house (thanks to the half full garbage left in the kitchen), an empty fridge, a stack of bills, and a very lonely, scared kitty cat. Poor Muffin probably thought we had abandoned her for good. After the initial airing out the house and restocking of the food was done, it was time to unpack, catch up on laundry, coddle the cat, and settle back into reality. Easier said than done!

Vacation was great, and it was our first real family vacation to visit my extended family in southern California. So while our goal was to have fun and get out of the house and our state, we also wanted to keep the focus of the trip on the importance of family and spending time together. The last time I visited California was 7 years ago, when Ayden was only 3 1/2 and I was pregnant with Lily. In the past, trips like that were always just Ayden and myself flying with my parents, and my husband Shayne always had to stay home and work. As a self-employed tattooer, taking time off work isn't easy, and back then money was a lot tighter than it is now. Simply put: we could never afford a vacation until now. This time around, it was just us- our little family of five, vacationing together. It was amazing that we were able to work it out to where daddy got to come with us all and take a much needed break from work. It was also Lily and Harper's first time flying, and they were meeting their great-grandparents for the very first time.

Just being in California at my grandparent's house was enough of a vacation for us. After all, they do have a pool. Sunshine and a pool...what more could you need? We didn't even consider doing Disneyland- that would have been at least another $500 for all of us, plus the crowds and waiting around in the heat just didn't sound like much of a fun time (and we have a baby). My kids didn't even ask about Disneyland, and I wasn't too sad about it. Amusement parks are fun, but my kids aren't crazy about them, so it wasn't an issue at all. Needless to say, we spent a ton of time swimming, and in the span of just one week my kids turned into quite the little swimmers. It's amazing the difference having an entire pool to ourselves made, and how they were able to gain confidence in the water without being in a crowded public pool, lake, or water park. I've got some cute little fishies now!

Notice that Lily is swimming with a shirt & sandals on- by day 2 she was a little sunburned and her toes were blistering from rubbing on the bottom of the pool.

In between spending time with the rest of the family, we headed to Huntington Beach, just the 5 of us. Lily had never seen the ocean before. (Neither had Harper, though she really wasn't into it). We didn't swim, since the water was freezing and the waves were too powerful, but just walking in up to our knees and letting the waves hit us and almost knock us over was so fun! Ayden got hit with a pretty big wave and went completely under one time and that was enough ocean for him. The day started off pretty cloudy and windy, but then it cleared up and started getting hot. We didn't have a ton of beach stuff with us and I didn't want to buy a bunch of crap that we couldn't fit in our suitcases to take back home, so we stayed for a couple of hours and then headed back to the house for some relief from the heat (yay, pool!) The sand was scorching hot and Harper had had enough of the scary waves.

 Looking too cute in her little sun hat. She hates it, but finally let me keep it on her head.

After the beach, we were starving, so we hit up In-N-Out on the way back to the house. You can't visit California without a couple of obligatory trips to In-N-Out! I had forgotten how good it was, and you better believe I finished every single bite. Even Lily, my little bird who pecks at her food, ate all of her burger. I lost a bet with her on that one, which meant mama had to do a cannonball into the pool. I can't believe I lost the bet, but I have to admit that it was pretty fun, since I normally don't get my hair wet in the pool. 

All of the swimming and beaching was fun, but we also wanted to check out a museum or something educational of sorts. One day, we jetted down to my uncle's town of San Pedro with him and hit up a fun little aquarium. The kids love learning about fish, whales, and other sea creatures!

After the aquarium, we picnicked in the park. This was a pretty chilly day and we actually had to buy the kids some hoodies, since I didn't bother to pack any with us for the day. I forgot how windy it gets when you're that close to the ocean (It was literally just beyond the houses in the background).

We also wandered over to this awesome museum and historical site called Fort MacArthur, which is an old US Army post. I remembered going there once as a kid and I wanted to take Ayden and Lily this time because I knew they'd be fascinated by it. There are tons of tunnels and galleries you can walk through and look at that are full of historical exhibits and displays- it's really quite amazing to see all of it. If you're interested in wars and American history, you should check out this place. Unfortunately, I left my purse in the car, so I don't have any pictures from that part of the trip, but you can check it out on their website

This pic was straight up stolen from my husband's Facebook page :) 

On our last night in California, we all climbed up on the roof of my grandparents house to watch the Disneyland fireworks. There's a balcony on the back of the house, so you just have to step over a little ledge and you can easily climb up on the roof- something that got my dad and his siblings into a lot of trouble as kids, haha. The fireworks go off every single night around 9:30pm, and you can see them perfectly from the rooftop. I remember watching them as a child up on that same spot on the roof, so I just had to go up there as an adult to see the view again. It was absolutely terrifying for me! I guess my anxiety is much worse than it used to be, because I could not wait to get down from that damn roof just as soon as the firework show was over. The kids loved it though, and of course they were being closely supervised by adults the entire time. I'm glad they have that memory ingrained in their minds now too. This is the house my dad grew up in, so I have such wonderful memories of being there in my childhood, and now my children do as well. 

Our first family vacation was a good one, and while it was so great seeing all of our extended family, it was also so nice to come back home. 

You can read a little about our trip home here where I shared my fear of flying. Traveling is fun, but it's also exhausting when you're the mom! Am I right? 

That's all for now :) 

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