6/23/18

ICELAND 2018


A few months back we scored cheap stop-over tickets to Iceland and we couldn't pass them up! We were able to see so many breathtaking places all in a matter of a few days and it left me so grateful we were able to cross it off our bucket list. Enjoy a long mash-up of our short time spent there, set to some Sigur Ros, of course. :) 


6/15/18

NYC 2018




Our New York minute. ­čŹĽ No matter how many miles they made us hold them for, no matter how many unclean surfaces they insisted on sprawling out onto, and no matter how much bickering they did in between— these girls did a good job of making a magic place even more magic for us. (And when they didn’t... there was always pizza.) 

3/23/18

Visiting AZ with kids?

FOR THE FOODIES

If Arizona has one thing to offer, it’s amazing food. (Because what else are you supposed to do in 110 degree heat?;) We’ve listed our favorite restaurants in the valley below, but with how many there are, I’m positive we left out some notable ones. Let us know who else we forgot to mention in the comments!
La Grande Orange Pizzeria : Make sure you go for dinner so you can get their pizza! Share the Roasted Corn (seasonal) and a Gladiator pizza with a friend— and make sure to get the chips + pimento dip appetizer. If you’re into vegetables, get the kale salad beforehand, but then go next door for gelato afterwards! If you bring your kids, take advantage of the outdoor picnic table and stroll through the cute surrounding neighborhoods after dinner.
Cibo: The most charming Pizza spot in PHX. Best to visit when the weather is good and you can eat outside under the lights. Some people say they like it better than Pizzeria Bianco, but we’ll let you be the judge of that.
Pizzeria Bianco: Voted the best pizza in the UNITED STATES, you can’t really come to Arizona and not try it. If you bring your kids, hit the Arizona Science Center next door afterwards, or the PHX Children’s Museum is close by as well.
HopDoddy: Fast-casual burger bar with yummy shakes (caramel and sea salt!) and really good burgers. This spot isn’t special to Arizona, but it’s a great place for big groups and/or kids if you’re staying with family.
ChopShop: A quick salad/juice bar stop to chase down all the hamburgers and pizza. Our favorite is the BBQ steak salad with corn nuts. There are a couple locations, but the one right by Scottsdale Mall tastes the best after a long day of shopping. ;)
Liberty Market: This is a Gilbert favorite, and you’ll likely find our family here most Friday nights. Our go-to is any of the pizzas, the farmer sandwich (my favorite vegetarian option!), or the chopped kale salad. Afterwards get a salt-river bar and a slice of death ray chocolate cake. (Order that with a scoop of ice cream and side of caramel sauce if you’re feeling crazy.) This place feels like a second home to our girls, and they love running through the nearby splash pad after eating dinner on the patio.
Gadzooks: This is a super quick and casual enchilada joint— but it’s one we never miss when we’re in the area. The first time I went there I was overwhelmed with the options, so I’m putting down my perfected enchilada order for those who either a) go there or b) ever happen to be gifting me my favorite enchiladas. ;) If you’re not into enchiladas, get the Festival Chicken Tacos. Or go crazy and get both.
 1/2 corn +1/2 flour tortillas, 1/2 tomatillo chicken and 1/2 green chili cornbread filling, covered in mild green sauce, both cheeses, then cotija, pico, sour cream, jalape├▒o ranch, and a side of mashed potatoes. (Throw a fried egg on it if you’re into that!)
Barrio Queen: Another delicious Mexican option with locations in PHX, Scottsdale, and Gilbert. The chicken chorizo tacos and tableside guacamole is a good place to start on the menu.
Worth Takeaway: This is in downtown Mesa if you’re ever cruising through— come get any of the sandwiches and top it off with the very best banana pudding— better than Magnolias Bakery! (I said it!) Close to our favorite Mesa Children’s Museum or the newly remodeled Pioneer Park.
Churn: Best ice cream in the valley—order a Fat Elvis! If you haven’t eaten dinner yet, walk across the street to Federal pizzaPostino, Joyride Tacos, or Windsor.
 

FOR THE OUTDOORSY

If you’re visiting anywhere from late October - early May, this list applies to you. If you’re visiting between late May - early October-- just cancel your trip, skip this portion, and jump ahead.
Wind Caves: I grew up going on this hike regularly, so maybe it’s just nostalgic, but this is a great hike for small kids at Usery Mountain. Other great places for young ones would be Hieroglyphics Trail, Tonto Natural Bridge, Slide Rock, or Papago Park.
If your kids aren’t big hikers, I’d have them stay home for the following: CamelbackPiestewa Peak, or Flat Iron.
 If no one in your family is into hiking, but you want to take advantage of being outside, check out Riverview Park, Tempe Town Lake, Scottsdale Railroad Park, Schnepf Farms, the Desert Botanical Garden, or the PHX Zoo. If you're up for a short but worth-it road trip.. head to Payson, Flagstaff, or Sedona for the day for cooler weather and lots to do.

FOR THE INDOORSY

 If you’re here in the Summer with your kids, have no fear! There’s plenty to do inside.

FOR THE SHOPPERS

 Along with good food in AZ, we’ve got some great shopping. If you’re towing your kids along, I’ve included places with nearby kid-friendly stops to break up the day.
Scottsdale Fashion Square: If you’re a shopper, you could spend all day here. If you’re packing a stroller, break up the time with a stop at Shake Shack, Build-a-bear, or the children’s play area, conveniently located by Wetzels Pretzels. ;)  
Kierland Commons: An outdoor mall with tons of great stores, restaurants, and a splash pad in the center to reward the kiddos.
SanTan Village Mall: By far the most family-centered, this is an outdoor mall surrounded by a playground, splash pad, and lots of kid-friendly stores and restaurants within. If you’re looking for more to do with the kids, there’s a nearby TopGolf, movie theatre, Main Event, or Discovery Park down the street.
PLACES TO STAY
There’s a ton of amazing resorts you can stay at while you’re here, with amazing pools and swanky rooms, but if you’re looking for a more affordable spot, be sure to peruse AirBNB. (And we're a little biased, but if you're wanting a place in the East Valley-- check out our friends rentals The Palm house and The Park Haus!)
Other fun stays are Hotel Valley HoThe Saguaro, or the Clarendon
And that's a wrap! Enjoy your AZ visit, chances are you'll bump into us while you're here! High five if you do? 

2/13/18

Frankie turns 3!

I don't know where the time is going, but I'm sure glad for these goofy birthday interviews to help me remember my babies when they were babies. Can't believe this little love turns 3 tomorrow! (Though she'll tell you she's turning 4, just go with it.)


12/17/17

Our 2017 highlight reel.

Every December I try to sift through old video clips we've taken throughout the year and throw them together to make a little "family highlight reel" if you will. As I was doing this today I was feeling extra grateful for my family and all the laughter and happiness they've brought me this last year. We all know 2017 was jam-packed full of natural disasters, heartbreaking news, tragedies, and setbacks, so my wish for 2018 is for more good in the world and for more goofy dance moves in our family room. :)

7/29/17

SUMMER 2017




Best summer yet.

6/9/17

PARIS WITH THE GIRLS / 2017

A couple months ago we stumbled upon insanely cheap tickets to Paris and we couldn't say no. I mean, we could have.. but that would have been dumb. Who needs savings anyway!? ;)  The first 10 days of our Summer were spent exploring a brand new place, pushing our family outside of our comfort zone and routines, Geoff and I taking a little step back from work, and removing the girls from all their friends and toys and having them all to ourselves. It was hands down the best way to kick off our Summer together. This video is super long but we went hard this trip-- I feel like we really didn't waste a single minute. Eating on the go, napping on the go, and so much walking and sight-seeing, my girls were total champions and hardly ever complained. I was so proud! They say Paris is the most romantic city in the world, and I have to agree. I fell even more in love with my crazy crew and fell pretty hard for the city as well. Au revoir Paris, we love you!




I wrote up a little guide of places we visited and loved over on the Alice + Ames blog here, in case any of you have plans of traveling to France with your family soon. People were so helpful to offer tips and suggestions before we left, I figured it'd be nice to pay it forward. :)

5/11/17

Lantern Fest 2017



Most magical night ever. (And hi! Still alive over here!)

12/17/16

Polar Express, 2016







Some snapshots from our time at the Polar Express this weekend. It's so fun to look back at photos from the last time we rode on the Polar Express and see all that's changed. One extra baby, two older girls, and even more holiday magic felt! It made me so happy to see Ivy break out of her shell and let the Christmas joy take over. She couldn't refrain from dancing in the aisles and belting out along with the carols. Lola spent most the time sipping hot chocolate and peering out the freezing cold window. When Frances wasn't dancing up and down the aisles with two cookies in hand, she was holding tightly to us, wide-eyed and a little nervous waiting for Santa's debut. It was such a good night, and ended with a sleepy and quiet drive home. Ahh, Christmas time. The best time. 

4/25/16

14 month franny



This girl is officially 14 months old and is as cuddly, curious, and busy as they come. She's into everything and you really can't take your eyes off her for a second. (Which is hard when you're #3!) She cracks us up and is definitely the baby. The girls are so protective over her and are always making sure she's set. She's happiest on someone's hip or elbow deep in a garbage can/toilet/pack of markers. There's no in between with this one. I predict she'll be worn in her Ergo till she's 14 to avoid her burning down the house or something. Thanks for keeping us on our toes, Frances girl.