Friday, August 16, 2013

The first family vacation

Brent, Audrey and I took our first family vacation several weeks ago. We went to Boulder to visit my good friend, Elizabeth. We braved a new environment, a new altitude and a 9-hour car ride.

Just based on the 2-hour car rides to visit Brent's parents, I wasn't optimistic. I was terrified and wondering if 4 days of fun was worth 2 days of, well, hell.

But Audrey shocked us both and was quite a delightful road trip companion. The most important distraction tool that I packed was snacks. Other successful things I packed included: the Kindle Fire with a movie downloaded on it, stickers, books, a V-Tech interactive book, her favorite stuffed animal, coloring book and crayons, and a few random things from the dollar section at Target.

Another thing that helped us was researching the drive and figuring out fun places to stop along the way. Because of Brent's upbringing and previous job, he is a Kansas town guru, so I was excited to find 3 attractions to visit that he hadn't heard of.

We visited the largest egg in Wilson, Kansas:

Did an off-roading adventure in Collyer, Kansas to see Castle Rock:

And stopped in Goodland, Kansas to see a very large easel and play in the park:

Once in Boulder, we toured the University of Colorado's campus and then had dinner at the local favorite, The Sink. The burgers were amazing.

The following day, we went to a park in the morning to help wear Audrey out a bit. Then we headed to Pearl Street to walk around and have lunch at Lindsay's Boulder Deli (the Ferris Brieller is so freaking good). Audrey was a huge fan of the splash fountain.

That night, Audrey was such a trooper staying up 90 minutes passed her bedtime. We ate at Tahona Tequila Bistro and then walked Pearl Street a little bit more. And Audrey was feeling like quite the big girl.

The following day, we drove to Estes Park, and took the air tram into the mountain to feed the chipmunks. Audrey was squealing with nonstop delight.

And the view was amazing too:

And you can't go to Estes without visiting the Stanley:

The next day, we went to Rocky Mountain National Park and enjoyed a walk around Sprague Lake.

And we had a moose visitor on our walk!

There was also a terrifying drive up a mountain on a one-way dirt road that happened. At least the view at the top was beautiful...and included a place for lunch.

If you are in the area and like visiting incredible churches – add St. Malo to your list. It was actually visited by the Pope in the late '90s.

On our last day, we went to Denver – and sadly, that's when Audrey and I started catching that lovely summer cold that's going around. I'm assuming this skewed Audrey's opinion of Red Rocks.

After a lunch where Audrey had the biggest meltdown ever, we just drove around Denver while this happened:

And then, of course, there was a trip to IKEA.

Even factoring in the colds (and the slightly rougher 9-hour drive home with a sick toddler), it was still a great trip. Sometimes I forget how much Audrey is actually capable of doing, and this was a nice reminder of all the fun non-baby things we can do with her.

18 month photos

It's a month late, but better late than never, right?

We decided it was time for some more family photos. And well, why not have some pie as well.

Thank you Six Thirty Six Studio for the awesome pictures!

Saturday, March 2, 2013


As you can see, I'm still going strong with my 365 Miller family photo challenge.

In February, Audrey became infatuated with the Little People chicken and parrot. For a week, she took them everywhere with her and didn't do anything without them. Including eating...

Chicken was definitely the favorite. She has since lost interest in parrot, and while she isn't as dependent on chicken anymore – she decided to do a major with chicken – her first step.


It's been very snowy in Kansas City. With two 10" snow storms only days apart, we didn't get out much. We ventured out to the backyard several times, but Audrey was not impressed.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The family-friendly family room

The family room has gone through several post-Audrey changes. And while there are toys in it, I'm happy with its inevitable progress. It's comfy, visually interesting and most importantly, practical.



If I've learned anything about rugs in my house, it's to not spend too much money on them, because the dogs (and now Audrey) will most likely ruin them. I found this rug for less than $100 on Overstock. And since I'm a sucker for pattern, I thought it was perfect.

The next biggest change is the ottoman. As much as I loved our coffee table, with Audrey, it just wasn't working. A storage ottoman allows room for toys and cushion for a clumsy toddler. I found this ottoman also on Overstock. (And with that, I realized I only own 3 items from Overstock and all are in the family room. Fun times).

I also ditched the corner shelf, because I was feeling lazy and didn't want to mount it. I'm currently toying with the concept of some built-ins on the mini wall.

I got rid of the breakables on the TV stand, and replaced them with a few pictures and decorative boxes filled with toys. The toys Audrey plays with the most, I leave out in a basket. The rest of her toys are either in the storage ottoman or downstairs where we now spend most of our time.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

365 photo challenge – January

I decided to join the trend of the 365 photo challenge. So far, I'm going strong.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Audrey's penguin party

First, I would just like to say that I have a new found respect for parents who have little ones with birthdays so close to all the winter holidays. It. Is. Hard.

In December, I was focused on Christmas – the decorating, the shopping, the traditions... Soon it was New Years, and then the frantic rush of getting every Christmas item out of my sight. Before I knew it, Audrey's birthday party was less than 2 weeks away. It seriously came out of nowhere.

Now on to the party.

While I'm sure I'll have difficulty picking birthday themes later on (that is, if Audrey allows me to choose any more), I never had any doubt on this on. It had to be penguin. And for good measure, I added some snowflakes.

In the past, I've always done a welcome sign. But since Kansas winters are iffy (and the weathermen predicted 7" of snow), I went with a wreath instead:

But, don't worry, I had a penguin greeting all the guests in the entry way:

I was worried about spills, so I bought plastic penguin cups with lids for the kiddos. Then there was lemonade, soda and water.

And of course, beer and wine. Seriously, if I could have found a penguin beer, I would have been a happy girl.

The dining room table centerpiece:

(And this is where I get mad at myself and apologize. My food curse continues, and I forgot to take pictures of the table with the food out. A family friend took pictures as well, so I'm hoping he might have some).

But I do have a menu label picture:


Dessert consisted of strawberry, lemon and chocolate cupcakes, cake pops and sugar cookies.

Dessert was a tag-team effort between my mother-in-law (strawberry and chocolate cupcakes), Aunt's Mary's Cakes, Cookies & Cupcakes (lemon cupcakes, sugar cookies, cake pops and smash cake) and Etsy vendor Claudia Cupcake Lady (penguin toppers for the strawberry and chocolate cupcakes).

Audrey loved her cake:

So Brent and I decided to get in on the black-mouth fun:

Some other decorations (yes those are penguin gummies, and yes they are amazing):

In the family room, I did a photo display of the her monthly photos:

Aside from the penguin cup, the kids also got a penguin coloring book and penguin beach ball.

Audrey was a fan of the beach balls:

It really was a fabulous time. And those 2 weeks of constant stressing was worth it.