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The Wouters Family - A fun in the sun family session in Dana Point

The Wouters Family - A fun in the sun family session in Dana Point

Dear Blog... We are sorry we have neglected you for a MONTH. It's not you, it was us. We were having too much fun playing at the beach, being lazy and eating too many cookies. We knew we needed some family time. Time to regroup. Time to refresh our minds and our souls. So we took it. And it was awesome. We are so thankful for time together to make memories, to think, to pray and to get ready for the fall! It's going to be a great rest of the year filled with new experiences, new joys, new trials and, thanks to our month off, we are pumped and ready!

 But enough about that, we want you to feast your eyes on this beautiful family! We might be biased about these guys because, well, we've known them for 10 YEARS, but we think the Wouters are pretty awesome. When we first met them we were all young married couples learning the ropes of marriage and adulting. Shortly after we met, both Sherri and I bonded over pregnancy, coffee and eventually babies. Then as the years went on, we had more kids, life got crazy, we didn't hang out as much but we always stayed close. Now that we live closer, our kids are growing up together, we drink wine together, we workout together and we cannot imagine it any other way! In fact thats how we planned their session! They wanted something different, something fun, so we packed up and went to the beach! Their whole family embraced us and allowed us to join in on their vacation and it was awesome. 

We had a blast finding new places, laughing and getting honked at! Yeah, jumping into the middle of a busy intersection to get the shot wasn't the brightest thing Megan has ever done but hey we got the shot! Although we learned that next year we should do the photo shoot at the BEGINNING of the week so we're not all sunburned and tired! 

Thank you guys for a fun week, for allowing us to capture you and your family, and for letting us be a part of your tribe! We couldn't imagine life without you! 

 

5 Tips to Make Your Trip to Disneyland More Magical

5 Tips to Make Your Trip to Disneyland More Magical

This week is the last week of school for many of the schools here in AZ, which means one thing... summer vacations! We know many of you will be escaping the heat to have a great time at one of the happiest places on earth, Disneyland! We LOVE Disneyland, it has been a huge part of our lives and story. Some of our first dates were spent at Disney. It's where we got to know each other, laughed, people watched, Megan had her bachelorette party, and celebrated our 1st anniversary. We couldn't wait to finally take the kids two years ago and while we were there, we learned ALOT about bringing kids. So we have loads of advice on what to do as a couple and what to do with kids! So here you go, 5 fun tips for a fantastic trip to Disneyland! 

1.  Get a 3 day multi-park pass. We know not everyone can afford it, but if you can, dooooo it! It enables you to see more and get a nap or two in (moms and dads included) if you need it. We ended up spending most of our time at the Magic Kingdom because our kids were younger, but we can see how you could easily spend more time at California Adventure! If you get the 3 day pass you also get the opportunity to get in the park 1 hour before official opening one morning, which is awesome! Thats when you can get into the park and maybe visit some of the smaller rides that don't have fast pass. You can also get some good photos on Main Street and in front  of the castle because there are less people around! Also, if there's a character you absolutely HAVE TO meet, this is also a great chance to see them without a long line! Although, be warned, you have to get there RIGHT ON TIME and plan your route to your favorite character in advance since everyone else has a similar idea! Going for three days is a little exhausting but it is so worth it! 

2. Learn to use those Fast Pass to your advantage! For those of you who don't know, Fast Passes are when you get a time to come back to a ride and then you get to walk right past the line and get on real quick. You can only hold a couple at a time so its good to have a plan! We recommend grabbing a couple Fast Passes on some of the bigger attractions first thing in the morning right when you enter the park (ahem...Space Mountain). They only pass out a limited number of Fast Passes per hour, and they can fill up quick. But if you're a crazy, type-A planner like Megan you can manage your whole day and only stand in a few long lines! Bonus!

A lesser known, kid-friendly feature they have is called Rider Switch. This is especially beneficial for families with smaller kids who can't ride some of the bigger rides. It allows one parent to stand in line with the big kids and one to wait with the little ones (usually near the ride exit) and then "switch" after the first parent rides. This usually means the kids get the chance to ride TWICE but only have to wait in line ONCE! We used the Fast Pass and Rider Switch technique perfectly when we used it for the new Cars ride in the California Adventure Park. We had been warned that it was a long wait but so worth it, so on day two we went straight into California adventure and got our Fast Pass for later that day.  Then we walked around did a few other rides ate lunch and returned to the Cars ride and didn't have to wait long at all! James went with the big kids first while Megan waited with Titus then we switched and the kids got to ride again with Megan! It was so fun for the kids to be able to go twice and they LOVED knowing what was going to happen before Mom did! 

3. If your bringing a baby do your best to get to the baby nursery room! It was so cool,  clean and quiet. It is located on Main Street and has quiet places to feed, rest and change your baby. The ladies in there are so nice and helpful, they keep it clean and ready for the next baby. When we went, Titus was 9 months and it was so nice to know that it was there to use when we were both done with crowds and heat! They also sell baby food and diapers so if you run out or your child gets crazy hungry (the struggle is real), you know you can resupply in there! It may cost a little extra $$, but your baby won't starve and everyone can stay in the park and have fun. 

4. If you're going without kids (Yes, Please!) you HAVE To stop by California Adventures and get wine at Mendocino Terrace or wine Country Trattoria. It's a little taste of Napa Valley, Disney style! Both restaurants have great selections of wine and yummy cheese boards which after a long day of lines and walking is amazing. Make sure you can sit outside and people watch because that is one of the top 10 reasons to go to Disneyland! 

5. Finally the last "tip" we can give is to remember to just have fun. Trust us, we know how hard and silly that sounds but there were plenty of times where Disneyland was just NOT fun. It can be crowded, hot and everyone wants to do their "favorite" thing. But in the end, its quality time with your kids or (significant other!) and you get to see that Disney magic in real life. They know what they're doing and even when we were all tired and hot we still tried to have fun and we can't wait to go back! We know it can be hard for some people (ahem, Megan...did we mention she's kind of type-A?) to relax but once you do, you will be thankful for it. You may not see all the characters, or go on all the rides, or get those "Magical" Instagram-worthy photos you had hoped for, but that's ok. You will remember spending time with your family, kids, and loved ones, and that's the best memory there is! For us we remember Olivia with her hands in the air, loving every second of Big Thunder Mountain. We remember both kids laughing and screaming on the Cars ride, or getting soaked on Splash Moutian.  We remember Olivia in her Elsa dress waiting to see Elsa (but not getting in...remember...be there EARLY) but totally fine with riding Peter Pan instead.  It was good for us all to be together, see new things  and unplug for a few days.

So if you're planning on going to Disneyland this summer don't forget our tips, but mostly remember to have fun and just enjoy being with your family!  You won't forget putting your family first and just enjoying time together. This post reminds us that time really does fly by, our babies are bigger, older, and that adorable toothless grin is gone! So get out there, smile and give Mickey a high five because really we're all kids at heart! 

Fri-yay! Weekly Recap #6!

Fri-yay! Weekly Recap #6!

It's Friday! And we're back to share another recap with all of you lovely people! We've been getting some good feedback from our Friday Recaps so as long as you're reading, we'll keep writing! So without further ado... 

James had a birthday (or two...more on that in a bit) this week! It was the 12th anniversary of his 22nd birthday! Woot! Seriously though, he's 34 now....where does the time go?!?!? It feels like just yesterday we were 22 and tying the knot back in San Diego! We had a great night on Saturday night, spending some time with friends at Chelsea's Kitchen in celebration. Their sangria is to die for and they have some awesome patio seating right by a canal! If you're looking for a bit of romance, you have to check it out!

James had his actual birthday on Monday and then his second birthday on Tuesday! Second birthday?? Say what?! See here's the thing...for the first 12 years we've been married, James has HATED birthdays. Doesn't ever want to do anything. Doesn't really ask for anything. You see, he just kind of pretends they don't exist. Which is funny because he keeps getting older and keeps wondering why all the hair on his head is migrating to his face...but that's another story for another time. So every year we do this funny little charade where he says he doesn't want anything and then I (Megan) go behind his back and get him something and try and make his birthday a little bit special. Well you see, this year, for a variety of different reasons, I decided to take him at his word. We had a great time Saturday night with friends, as you already know, so I figured, "What the heck, dinner with friends is enough of a celebration! He always says he doesn't want anything anyway, so we'll do dinner and then I can check that little item off my mental checklist. James' birthday...CHECK."

Here's where things started to go south. It seems that for 12 years he's kind of been lying...errrr...I mean "pretending" that he HATES birthdays. APPARENTLY, he really does like to have cake and presents and cards on his birthday. Coulda fooled me!! So Monday comes and goes, and he wakes up on Tuesday all mopey and doing his best Eeyore impression. I think the exact words out of his mouth were, "That was the worst birthday ever." If you can't tell he's not usually the type to "soften the blow." As Eeyore would say, "Oh brother..." 

So what did I do? Did I sit back and say, "Well there's always next year!" or "Suck it up, and quit yer whining!"? Heck no!!! We tried again on Tuesday because I am a full grown adult and, doggone it, no one can stop me (not to mention, I kinda love the guy)! So the kids and I piled into the minivan, drove over to the local Target and picked up all the birthday fixings. Presents...CHECK. Candles...CHECK. Wrapping paper...CHECK. Bathroom humor birthday card...YOU BETCHA! And when his 34 year old self walked in the door on Tuesday, we all pretended he was still 33 and sang him Happy Birthday (again)! He sure was surprised, and although he didn't quite turn into Tigger after his second birthday, he wasn't quite as Eeyore-ish after that either. In all seriousness, we love our 34 year old husband, daddy, photography partner, blog writer, social media guru, and iPhone repairman. If we could celebrate him every day of the year, we would because we love him and all he does and all the sacrifices he makes to always be there for us! He's also assured us that going forward, he will be very forthcoming with his birthday wishes. Teaching James that birthdays DO exist...CHECK!

It's starting to get hot here in Phoenix which means two things. First, it's time for swimming. Second, I hate laundry. Well that second point really has nothing to do with it being hot, but I just figured I'd throw it in because, seriously....I HATE IT...and you deserve to know. I share this, not because I want my dirty laundry (see what I did there?) plastered all over the internet, but to just give a little encouragement to all the other mothers out there. WARNING! REAL LIFE AHEAD: Sometimes, our laundry doesn't get done, and sometimes I start to think I'm failing as a wife and mother. What I'm learning, however, is that my worth as a wife and mother should not be equated with how big or small my pile of laundry is. We are worth so much more than the tasks we do on a daily basis. We also can't trust everything we see on the internet, Facebook, and Instagram. I wanted to post this picture of Mt. Laundry to prove that, despite what we usually see online, there are real people, with real struggles, and real lives behind all those perfect images we normally see on social media. We just wanted you to know, that behind the blog, we are real people too. So next time the laundry monster is about to destroy your joy, just remember we're right there with you. If you need us to come over and throw you a pretend-birthday party to cheer you up, we can do that! After this week, we've had plenty of practice!

Finally, in case you missed it, we are heading to San Diego this summer for some summer fun on the beach! We'd love to do your pictures while we're there! If you're interested, shoot us an email via our contact page or send us a message on Facebook or Instagram. We have limited spots available, so make sure you reserve your spot before it's too late! We can't wait to catch up with old friends and hopefully make some new ones while we're there!

Have a safe and wonderful weekend!