Dear 3 1/2 year old Eloise

Our sweet Eloise,

You are such an entertainer. You love when we show you our undivided attention, clap, and making us laugh. This last weekend, your “cousins”, Hadley & Karsyn, showed you their gymnastics skills. You got on their mat and bent your back backwards and popped your neck back. We clapped and laughed. You loved it so much that you kept doing it waiting for our applause.

You are so talkative. You actually said, “I talk a lot” lol. You love to tell us stories especially bedtime stories. You always start it with “once upon a time” and end it with “amen”.

You are pretty independent. You can pick out your own clothes and put it on yourself. You can put your own socks and shoes on. You can open child-proof doors! You were so proud of yourself for that one, “Mom, I did it!”. Over the Summer you told me, “I want to wear panties like you to sleep”. So from that day on, you did. We returned our big box of pull-ups back to Costco. We told you how proud we are of you, you replied, “So is Jesus? And Goofy?”.

You have high emotional intelligence. You are so kind and thoughtful. When you found out you were going to be a big sister, you were so excited. “Like real? I’ve been wishing and praying”, you said with glee. When we told you that you will have a little sister, you replied “Jesus gave me a sister!”. We can’t wait to see you blossom to be the best big sister.

You love to travel. This last year, you went to Disney World, Canada, and North Carolina. Some people say you won’t remember these days, but to this day, you still talk about your adventures. You remember you got your first hair cut at Disney World and that you made snow angels in Canada. You, also, remember about our time at Hyatt Lost Pines, “I love that adventure hotel. Can we take sister there?” When we were in North Carolina, you asked your friend, “Will you married me, Landon?” lol. You had so much fun vacationing with friends.

You have great understanding and comprehension. Once we were at Target, you really wanted a singing Minnie Mouse. You really wanted to take it home and play with it right away. I can see you wanted to throw a fit and cry because I said “no”, but then I added, “you can put it on your birthday list” you were able to comprehend that maybe not now, but another time I can have this toy. You thought about what I said and replied, “Okay, I’ll put it on my birthday list!”. When we go to the store and when you want something, now you say, “I’ll just put it on my birthday list”.

I would ask time to slow down, but I love watching you grow and learn. You have quite the personality and I love it.

Mommy and Daddy love you very much. We are so proud of the little person you are becoming. We hope you will always remember to be yourself because you are more than enough.



Hyatt Lost Pines

We decided to have a little staycation for my birthday/Mother’s Day weekend. We always passed by Hyatt Lost Pines when we head back to Louisiana, but this was our first time to actually stop and stay.

We absolutely loved our stay here. I described being here like a cruise. There are plenty of actives for everyone and anyone. If you just want to hang by the pool, go for it! If you want to do crafts, you can! If you want to watch movies all day and night, here’s the schedule! If you want to just chill and read a book on your balcony, by all means do it!

When you exit to their driveway, you are welcomed with a beautiful stone sign and a winding road before even seeing the resort. My daughter described it as a “road slide”. Big trees surrounded both sides of the road and our car would go uphill and downhill. “Weee! Road slide”, Sweet Eloise said.

We were greeted by the valet and bellhop. While my husband checked us in, Eloise and I looked around the lobby and front lawn area. It was a beautiful evening. We were experiencing not a typical Texas May. It was a 57 degrees and breezy. We saw people enjoying riding bikes, walking around, and sitting by the fire pit. We were starved so we headed to the Firewheel Cafe, which served a buffet. It was so delicious! My favorite was the pasta station and Eloise’s the desert table. LOL!

After stuffing ourselves, we decided to burn some calories by walking around the resort. We saw people enjoying sitting by the lake, playing corn hole and horseshoe, and my favorite making s’mores! A staffer already placed marshmallows on a long pitch-fork, then when your mallows were roasted how you wanted them, you bring it to another staffer that places them between 2 graham crackers and a chocolate bar. Talk about service!

In our hotel room, they gave us a schedule of the weekend’s festivities. We met the mascot (longhorn), said “Hi” to the alpacas, road bikes (free!), swam in the pool, did the arts & crafts, watched parts of a movie, enjoyed their restaurants and room service.

Our last night we ate on the patio at Sheller’s. I reflected on another year around the sun and really soaked in our time as a family.

I highly recommend staying here. Our weekend here was so much fun.  We can’t wait to make this a yearly staycation!

Scroll all to the end to check out our video.





Dear Eloise

Dear Eloise,

You’re already 2 1/2 years old! Time really does fly. I still remember when you were 2 1/2 weeks old. We were still living in Raleigh, and we explored the Duke gardens. You had no problems adventuring out and about. You still have no problems going on an adventure. You are so much more independent, active and hard to keep up with sometimes. We love your soul. You are so kind and compassionate. When you saw a little girl sad, you said “Aw,  she crying. Are you okay?” and went to to rub her back to comfort her. You are so funny. You were ringing your bells that your cousins got you for Christmas, you said “Too loud?” and I replied, “Yes, too loud.”, so you barely rang it and you said, “like this?”, I said “much better”. Another time, I asked you where Jesus lived, you said “heart”, but pointed at your belly. I said, “That’s your belly, not your heart”, you laughed and laughed, “my belly” you giggled rubbing your belly. We have so much fun with you. This morning, you saw mama blowing her nose and you asked me, “Are you sick? Need to go to doctor?” then you went to your playroom and came back with your Doc McStuffins stethoscope to give me a check-up. Then, you got your otoscope to check my ears. You looked at my right ear, then left, all while doing the bird chirping sound just like Dr. Shannon did at your check-up, last week. “Birds in your ear” you said with a big smile.

March- you turned the wild 2. We had so much fun celebrating you at Little Land with our family and friends. You were a busy body, barely posing for pictures. Daddy, me and you went to the Waco zoo on your actual birthday. You love pointing out all the animals now. “Rawr” you said when you saw the lions, “chirp chip” when you saw the birds. For your final birthday celebration, we went to Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, TX. You loved to swim, wanting to go back even though the pool area was closed already. You enjoyed story time at the pajama jamboree, well, you liked trying to steal other kids’ snack more LOL. You met your cousin, Roman, for the first time. Y’all both had the same wild hair.

April- we met sweet baby Logan. “Ogan!” you would say, “Aww, he cute”.

May- You spent some time with your Lolo, Lola, Mawmaw and Pawpaw. You loved helping bake shakoy and pan de sol with Lola. You, also, love to watch those cupcake baking shows- maybe you will be the next great baker. You went to Louisiana to spend quality time with maw maw and pawpaw and our family there. They enjoyed giving you donuts for breakfast 🙂 You still ask, “Where maw maw? Where pawpaw? Where Max? Where Ryan?”.

June- You had your first dance recital! You danced with daddy on stage. We were worried that you were just going to run around like you did at the rehearsal and fall off the stage, but when the big day arrived, you were a rockstar! You hit your mark and knew your moves, you even did a cute wave good-bye; maybe you just needed the stage and lights!

July- we have been spending time enjoying the summer: going to splash pads, baseball games, Blues on the Green, day trips to Gruene and Wimberly, and hanging out with our friends. Mommy started work and you started daycare. We were both messes at first, but now we are settled and enjoying ourselves.

August- We went to Port Aransas with your cousin, Sammy. We all had fun swimming, relaxing, and eating. You liked to build sandcastles, swim in the pool, and splish splash in the beach. You didn’t want to go in any further than knee deep, “baby shark in the ocean” you said scared.

September- Sweet Eloise, you are starting another year of dance and school. No tears at school this time around, barely a sad good-bye. You love your friends and toys over there. You say, “I had fun” when I pick you up.

We always pray for you. Pray that you know how loved you are, that you know you will always be enough, and that one day, you will choose Jesus as your Savior.

Daddy and mommy are working hard to change our family tree so we can help you and your children, one day.

Love you BIG!

10 Things to do in San Francisco with a toddler

We went to San Francisco for my birthday and Mother’s day weekend. We were only there for four days, but we did so much that I had to make 2 travel videos. You can find them here.

  1. Alcatraz– This is a must for history buffs. The tour takes you on the island where criminals, like Al Capone, were imprisoned. Also, start a National Park Service passport for your little one (get it stamped at guest services). Eloise was a trooper until we got into the cells. Our little miss independent didn’t want to be in the stroller anymore and was running into people. If we tried to pick her up, she would cry. Since I’ve already been on the tour, I brought her to the gardens for her to run around and hubs continued the tour.
  2. Golden Gate Bay Cruise– Take a tour under the Golden Gate bridge, loop by Alcatraz island, and check out the beautiful skyline from the bay. It was a little windy, so we stayed inside drinking hot coco and saw the views through the window. When the boat went under bridge, we went outside to soak in the beauty.
  3. Pier 39– This place is a must! There’s cool shops, good restaurants, a fun 2 story carrousel, and the cute sea lions. We ate at Fog Harbor for lunch and it was so yummy. We ordered the clam chowder and the seafood tower. One of our neighbors recommended this place, and I’m glad she did!
  4. Muir Woods– Only 16 miles north of the hustle and bustle of the city, is this majestic place. Our little babe received another stamp on her National Park passport. Dedicated to the founder of National Parks, John Muir, this park is perfect to soak in the glory of Jesus. Look up to be in awe of the redwoods that are over 150 years old and tower over the trails.
  5. Twin Peaks- At 925 feet elevation, it is the 2nd highest point in the city with only a 3 feet difference to Mount Davidson. There was construction when we arrived which made parking a little confusing. We ended up parking next to a fence blocking the road. Since there was construction, part of the road was closed so we were able to walk on the street and take in the skyline undisturbed.
  6. Painted Ladies– The famous, colorful Victorian houses known as the Painted Ladies are a must. Bring a picnic and watch the sunset hide behind the houses from Alamo Square. Despite what people think, the Full House house is not one of these ladies.
  7. Full House house– A few blocks away is the infamous Full House house, ya know the show, cue the Tanners. If you’re in the area, check it out to feel a little nostalgic 😉
  8. Ghirardelli Square– There are fun shops, a pub, restaurants, and of course, Ghirardelli chocolates. We got a cute souvenir shirt for Eloise; can’t wait for it to fit her.
  9. Golden Gate bridge– Walking across the bridge should be on your bucket list! It was super windy when we walked across. I’m so glad we were dressed in layers (always my brother’s advice when we visit). You can see a beautiful view of the skyline, Alcatraz Island, Angel Island, and the Marin Headlands.
  10. Sue Bierman Park– Our little babe needed a break from the stroller and this was a good place to run free. We stumbled upon this playground across the street from the Ferry building. We love hanging out at the local parks. We met a few families there; one wanted to have a play date, but unfortunately, we were leaving later that day.

*Bonus*Kirby Cove– we were unable to make it here due to construction. We could not figure out a place to park then how to get down there. I was super bummed and I definitely would make a trip back to SF just to experience swinging while overlooking at the magnificent Golden Gate bridge- and why not, take a pic for insta, too 😉



13 Things to do in Seattle with a toddler

Seattle is so pretty, even when it rains. They have SO many family friendly activities for both the indoors and outdoors.

  1. Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)– This is a fun museum for all ages. Currently, their exhibits include: David Bowie, Jim Henson, Jimi Hendrix, Star Trek, Seattle Seahawks (We  are 12). They also have a fun sound lab on the top level to get hands on experience. You can play drums, guitar, keyboard, and even sing in your own “studio”. Really cool!
  2. Artists at Play playground- Perfectly located right in front of MoPOP & the Space Needle in the Seattle center. If your kiddos need a break, let them run around and explore at this super fun park. There was a nice toddler area that our sweet little babe loved to climb and slide by herself. She also loved this rock chime nearby. You throw rocks and it would hit these chimes that make music sounds.
  3. Space Needle– You can’t not go to Seattle without seeing the Space needle! The views from the top look amazing, too!
  4. Kerry Park– For a classic Seattle view, check out Kerry park! Parking can be a little chaotic, but most people don’t stay too long so if you wait, someone will be leaving soon! There is also a cute park below Kerry park. Our little babe loved sliding down and meeting new friends there.
  5. Pike’s Place Market– This place is a must! Not only is the first ever Starbucks here, but they have best flowers for cheap! We bought a dozen sunflowers to give to our hosts for $10! What a deal! They were fun for props to take pictures around, too 😉 They also have the “flying” fish here, but we never saw it. We came multiple times, too, maybe we just missed it. There will be a line at the Starbucks, but if you order a pour over or drip coffee, you’ll get it way faster than ordering a latte. After you get your coffee, stop over at Piroshky Piroshky and order their popular smoked salmon pate and beef and onion piroshky. It won’t disappoint!
  6. Aliki Beach– For another beautiful view of the skyline, come check out Aliki beach. You can walk, jog, rollerblade, have bonfires, have a picnic, or just sit and listen to the waves crash in.
  7. Snoqualmie Falls– About 45 minutes from the Sea-Tac airport, and a short hike down. Our little babe didn’t want to be in an Ergo (roll eye emoji); she’s quite an independent little lady, as many are at her age. She walked down to the bottom of the falls with minimal distractions and only 1 fall when she ran too fast and tripped on a rock. The hike back is a different story! It’s steep, and she did not want to cooperate. She wanted to keep throwing rocks and go off trail. So, we waited at the lower parking lot while hubs hiked back up to get the car to come get us.
  8. Fremont Street– Cool neighborhood! Check out the troll that lives under the bridge & the Sunday farmer’s market.
  9. Gum Wall– Be sure to have some super bubbly gum to add to the wall and take some cool pics for Instagram 😉
  10. Museum of Flight– Check out all the different planes, Boeing field tours, pilot experiences- fun for all ages.
  11. Starbucks Reserve Roastery– First ever Starbucks roastery (currently will open 6 more with only 2 more in the U.S.A.). Pretty cool experience especially if you are a coffee lover. You can order a cold brew flight or a pour-over. While you wait, you can watch them sort the beans. You can also purchase beans from different parts of the world.
  12. Harbor Cruise– We went around Elliot Bay which was really nice. I thought we were gonna see the ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ houseboats, but we were on the wrong body of water- lol! Check out their tour on Lake Union and the Ballard locks.
  13. Gas Works Park– A former gas plant, it contains the remnants of the sole remaining coal gasification plant in the United States. Bring a kite, a blanket for a picnic, or read a book and enjoy the Seattle skyline.

We loved Seattle so much; we looked into the housing market- lol I’ve listed just a few things to do, but there really is something for everyone there.

Hope you enjoy!





18 months update

Sweet little Eloise is 18 months today! I feel like at 18 months she is no longer a baby. She is exploring, climbing, and developing a little personality. She knows where her ears, eyes, belly button, head, and nose are. She can sign milk, crackers, all done, and banana. She can say mama, ma, dada, daddy, dog, aysha, nana, doll, dog, slide, outside, bubbles, want help, all done, what you doing, here you go, and there are more that I should’ve written down! She currently loves to put on shoes… doesn’t matter if they fit her or if even they are hers! She can go down the slide by herself, climb the stairs up and go down, and takes good care of all her dolls by feeding, changing, & putting them to sleep. She can drink from a cup and feed herself with a fork and spoon. She loves crackers- demanding them at times. She shows empathy. She sees someone sad and gives them a hug- pretty amazing how early on they learn this emotion! She loves to give hugs and kisses. She’s been hitting all her milestones, and I really don’t know how she is learning all of these things!

This month, she will have many firsts including going to school and taking dance class! I feel now she will only grow and learn even faster. I’m holding on tight to these moments, even when she throws herself on the floor because she wants to put on another pair of shoes.

To mark the special milestone, we did a photoshoot in the garage 😉




Motherhood has been great- not easy, but great. The most important thing that I have learned in these 18 months is to give myself grace. I may not be perfect or have it all together, but by God’s grace I am living the life He has called me to. 

“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her world praise her in the gates.”

-Proverbs 31:28-31




5 Tips When Traveling Internationally

I am by no means an expert, but these are some tips we apply when traveling internationally. I hope you find them as helpful as we did.

1. Be a SMART traveler. Before we left for Europe, my siblings advised me on enrolling in STEP. STEP stands for Smart Travel Enrollment Program. It allows the US Embassy of that country to know you are there. A terrorist attack happened just 2 days in our London trip (2 miles away from us!). We received an e-mail about the attacks stating where to locate the nearest US Embassy and how to contact them. It was a scary situation, but knowing what was going on helped us determine on how to go about our day. Just a few days later, we flew to Paris and there was a terrorist attack upon our arrival (1 mile away from our Airbnb!). We received a similar notification with US Embassy information. You can sign up here. It’s free!

2. Hide cash. A robbery can happen anywhere, even in your own city. We like to keep our cash separate. Just in case we get robbed, we don’t want all our cash to be gone in an instant with no way to get back to our hotel or call for help. Hubs usually wears a money belt and a waist belt that you put under your clothes. Click //“>here to buy the money belt he used. Click //“>here to buy the waist belt he used. I used a RFID money clip that can be tucked in and a RFID backpack. RFID stands for radio-frequency identification, which blocks material protecting against unwanted scans- meaning someone just can’t stand behind you and get all your credit card information without even touching you (pretty crazy, right?!). Click //“>here for a similar RDID backpack I used. Click //“>here for the RFID money clip I used.

3. Tattoo your kiddo. We were traveling with our very active 15 month old and we were afraid we might lose her! My sister suggested to get a temporary tattoo or ID band for her just in case we lose her. We got both. The temporary tattoo uses a special marker that is designed to last 2 weeks. You write your info on it, and pray a good samaritan contacts you if you do lose your kiddo! Click //“>here for the tattoo. The ID band is also waterproof, and it says “If I’m lost: please look inside” in English, Spanish and French. When opened, it has all your information written on it. You can put on a new one when you switch locations or hotels. Click //“>here for the ID band. Also, I bought a leash backpacks so she couldn’t stray far at the Louvre, but we never used it. She mainly stayed by us in the crowded places or sitting in her stroller.

4. Check your credit card. We checked our credit card for possible international fees, travel benefits and travel insurance. We have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and we absolutely love it for the travel benefits. Reasons why we love it: There are no international fees, we get extra points when we book our travel with it, we have travel insurance when we booked our flights with it (but there are criteria for cancellations & a possible terrorist attack isn’t one of them- we checked!). I highly recommend calling your credit card company to ask about these benefits and to notify them you will be traveling. Also, let your bank know you will be traveling, as well, so they don’t cut you off and get yourself in a bind.

5. Be aware of your surroundings. This seems like a no-brainer, but especially when traveling with your kiddo! Sometimes it’s a sweet old lady complimenting your child that pulls one over on you. In Paris, there were several groups that would try to get you to sign a piece of paper- they would literally surround you. After you sign the paper, they would ask demand money from you. I read this prior so we both were aware to just firmly tell them “NO” from the get-go. We never had a problem with them, but did witness some tourist get trapped into giving money. This one lady flat out refused to give them money and a group of them surrounded her and her family on a bridge, shouting for money. Thank goodness a man yelled for “Police” and they scattered. We were also very cautious in not walking with a large crowd, but not by ourselves either. With the recent attacks in London being a vehicle striking a crowd, we were extra vigilant on the bridges. On their bridges, it’s a very short step from road to sidewalk- very easy for a car to come over. Click here to check out the video that helped us be more aware.

My husband’s motto is “Keep your head on a swivel”- we said that throughout our trip. But he is right, we have to keep our eyes and ears open. We never know when something will happen, but I hope these few tips will help keep you safe.



If you have any tips to add, please leave a comment 🙂

Safe travels,