Sunday, June 28, 2015

{Travel Diaries} Sun Peaks, BC

Well that was an unexpected break. Totally didn't mean to do that. I had all sorts of plans to get a ton of posts into my drafts folder and thought that I would have loads of time during Ellie's naps to get my blog in order. But I guess that's what happens when you make plans with a toddler! Ha. This post is about to get don't say I didn't warn you. 

We had a relaxing vacation just the three of us this past week up in Sun Peaks, BC. We arrived the week before they opened for the Summer season so it was nice and quiet and laid back. 

We started off having a bit of a lazy morning...I mean considering that Ellie woke up at 5:08am. Instead of trying to put her back down I just decided to get up with her and prayed that it would mean a long nap in the car!  Finally around 8:50am we had everything loaded in the car and started on our journey.  Not long after we started on the road Ellie fell Thomas and I enjoyed our "alone time" and talked, looked on FB and I got to do some reading. 

The directions we had took us through Sumas to go over the border into Canada. It was supposed to be about a 10 min wait but it turned into about 40 minutes and we had to bust out the laptop with some Daniel Tiger for the babe. The reason for the delay at the border was because A) they only had 2 of the 5 lanes open and B) there was some emergency where the patient had to be switched from a U.S. Ambulance to a Canadian one. Once we got through it was smooth sailing. We made a stop at a Jim Hortons (good in a pinch). Oh and Thomas was having some serious dizziness and nausea so the Dramamine would have totally come in handy had I brought it...So I took the next leg of the journe, which meant driving over the pass all the way to Kamloops. I listened to many episodes of Daniel Tiger and Mickey Mouse clubhouse (all on repeat...) while Thomas drifted in and out of sleep. Once we reached Kamloops we stopped for gas and Thomas was feeling better so he drove and I took back my job as the navigator. 

We arrived at The Pinnacle Lodge in Sun Peaks, BC around 4:15 and were ushered in to have tea (but first Ellie needed to have an outfit change thanks to an explosion...) after tea we got checked into our room and got settled.  Then we loaded up Ellie's stroller and made the 8 minute walk into town. Since we arrived during the off season most of the shops were closed or had limited hours but most of the restaurants were open. We learned that for the rest of the week we could take a free horse carriage ride your of the town so we made a note of when to arrive back the following day. Ellie had fun riding in the stroller and seeing the horses; we enjoyed swatting the mosquitoes off our arms.  Our first meal was pizza at Tod Mountain Pizza. We got it to go, brought it back to our room and only Ellie and I partook of the meal as Thomas was feeling nauseous again. But let me tell you it was so good! Then we tried to settle down for the night and Ellie finally decided to fall asleep at around 10:30pm...

Day 2:  I woke up around 5 and decided to stay up checking emails, reading blogs, and getting lost in the vastness of FB. Thomas woke up at about 7:00 and Ellie was awake shortly after. We couldn't go for breakfast until it opened at 8:30 so we just hung out until then. Breakfast was awesome, some of the best bacon I've ever had! Then we went back to our room and and got ready to walk into town. We ventured to a park so Ellie could play and the mosquitoes were out like crazy. We stayed for a while but then decided to head back and see if we couldn't get Ellie down for a nap. We were unsuccessful in that endeavor for about 2 hours...then it was finally time for tea so we went and got some sweet treats (the scones were to die for). After tea we went upstairs to the "library" and I grabbed some DVDs: Star Wars episodes  I II & III since I haven't seen them yet. I also picked up a book "The Two Week Wait". We dropped those off in our room and walked into town so we could take the horse carriage tour around town. Ellie had so much fun meeting the team and petting their noses. The carriage was full with a group of Australians and I enjoyed talking with the lady next to me. After the carriage ride we had dinner at the "Powder Hounds" I got the Wiener schnitzel with spaetzle and Thomas had a burger. Pretty sure this was the best meal we had the whole vacation. After dinner we were stuffed (the portion sizes are huge in that town!) so we went back to the room and started Star Wars. 

Day 3: again I woke up around 5:30am but this time I started to read the book I borrowed. Oh my gosh it spoke so many of my feelings as someone who has been fighting infertility for so long. When Thomas woke up we decided to make the drive into Kamloops to go to the mall after we had breakfast. The drive down the mountain wasn't too bad and we managed to take a wrong turn (I'm the navigator and I didn't bring a map...) but we were able to get back on track and make it to the mall. One of the first things Ellie spotted when we got into the mall was the bus, so we put in a "Loony" and she had a ride. Girlfriend loves herself some buses and would have stayed there all day if we let her!  The only way we got her to come out was to tell her we would go look for another - and we found a car.   Ellie refused to go in the elevator (no surprise there) but we did find some good things at the Gap Factory. She got her first pair of flip flops and a cute Canada shirt and I got a fun tank top! After our mall trip we headed back toward Sun Peaks but I was starving so we stopped at an A&W on the way back...I don't know the last time I ate at one but I'm for sure going to frequent them more often!! After we got back in the car from lunch Ellie finally fell asleep (hallelujah!) but that was a short 45 min nap.... Back at the resort we settled in the room for a bit (I may or may not have read more of my book) and then we went for tea and back into town so Ellie could play on the playground again. And yes the mosquitoes joined us once again. For dinner we chose to grab a slice of pizza again and then returned to the room for more Star Wars. 

Day 4: pretty much the same thing as day 2 including my 5am wake up and Ellie's nap refusal for 2 hours. Except this time I was so into the book I borrowed it consumed my day.  While we were in town we shared a double scoop of ice cream, had some Sushi and a Bento for lunch, and every time we passed the square where the horses were Ellie would shout out "neighs!!" Even though they weren't there. For dinner we went to Bella Italia and once again the portions were huge but the food was so good. Also Ellie has now decided she like spaghetti, so that's good. After dinner we walked back to our room and watched episode III of Star Wars. 

Day 5: I woke up early again and was able to finish my book. I cried reading the last three pages and it was so good. I am so glad that book was available for me to read, if you haven't read it before I highly recommend it whether you've suffered from infertility or not. We had breakfast and went on a long walk then into town and played on the playgrounds, swung on the swings, tried to convince Ellie to ride on the chairlift (no such luck), got bit by mosquitoes and had some gelato. For lunch we had our spaghetti leftovers and then we had tea (oh how I wish that was a thing in the states!) Ellie refused her nap until nearly 5pm and then we walked back into town because I was hoping to take Ellie's 2 year photos by the bridge because it was so beautiful but girlfriend was NOT having it. So we decided to just go get dinner and then head back. We shared a burger from "the best burger in town" and it was pretty good. Then we watched episode IV of Star Wars and now I feel all caught up. 

Day 6: again I woke up early and did some magazine reading and got lost in FB again...when Thomas woke up we talked about maybe leaving a day early since we felt like we had pretty much done everything we could in the town. But then after further discussion we decided to just leave right after breakfast. So we checked out early and got on the road. We were making record time over the pass, Ellie was sleeping away, when there was a sign alerting us to an accident ahead and we were stopped for nearly an hour, an ambulance passed us with its sirens on and that woke Ellie up and it was Daniel Tiger, Mickey Mouse, and Sheriff Callie to the rescue. The accident was horrible on the other direction. It included a tour bus, small vehicle, and a semi truck. They had two triage tents, several ambulances, helicopters and tons of police. It would have been so scary to have been in that accident or to have witnessed it happen. Unbelievable. When we finally passed the accident the cars going that direction were stopped for miles. People were tanning on the side of the road, they were trying to cross the grass median (getting stuck and practically causing several more accidents) and others had turned around and we're driving down the shoulder the wrong way.  It was terrible and they had no hopes of moving anytime soon. Did I mention that it was nearly 95 degrees?? It was so fucking hot and miserable. Once we finally passed hat mess it was smooth sailing and we had decided to cross the border at Lynden though neither one of us have gone that way before and since we were in a different county we couldn't use the data on our phones to check a map...thankfully Canada is almost ad good as the U.S. When it comes to road signage so we were able to find our way. The border crossing seriously took us less than 5 minutes, which we were so grateful for considering the mess on the pass. We stopped at a bakery for a late lunch in Lynden and then we were home by 5:30. 

Ellie got to watch a lot of Sophia, Daniel Tiger and Mickey Mouse but seriously she was an awesome traveler and we couldn't have asked for her to be any better! We had a great time but are so glad to be home!

Friday, June 19, 2015

A Friday in June

Let's keep this short and simple. I was planning a longer post but then on the way in to work Ellie threw up all over herself and her car seat. She's totally fine now, I think it was a combo of moving in the car and drinking milk too fast...?


We are this close to summer and I cannot wait. Today is the last day of school and we are going to take full advantage of this summer with making memories. We have a vacation planned here pretty soon to head up to Canada. I have to admit I love Canada. 

As I was changing Ellie's diaper this morning I asked her if she wanted to start potty training when we get back from our vacation. I mean no sense in starting now when we have an 8 hour road trip ahead of us here in the next couple of weeks. So hopefully if we keep talking about it we will have some success. 

Speaking of Ellie growing up, when is a good age to ditch the pacifier? She really only gets them at bed time but then when I started to think about her being two years old and still using a paci...I think we'll do potty training first. 

I am on the hunt for a big girl bed. I'm just trying to decide if I want to just get the adapter for her crib, get a toddler bed or just get her a twin bed? What are your thoughts? I think a toddler bed is out of the question because she won't be in it for very long and a twin bed os more likely a better investment. If only the Jenny Lind twins weren't so expensive. 

Oh and this was the sunset we were blessed with the other night! No filter all Gods Glory!!

And that's all I've got for today. Happy weekend. We're going to be celebrating our favorite guy this weekend for Father's Day!! I still have to pinch myself that we finally get to celebrate these holidays in this way since our journey to parenthood wash his longer, more challenging and took a few more turns than we ever imagined! 

How are you celebrating the dad's in your life?

In case you missed it this week: 
Monday I posted about our Summer Bucket List
Tuesday I posted our last set of Favorites for Ellie
Wednesday I talked about Ellie's love of the outside

♥ Ashley

Linking up here

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Little Things - fun in the sun

If there is one thing I know about Ellie, it's her love of all things outside!  Now don't get me wrong I love to be out in the garden, but just sitting there with not much to do drives me crazy - I never was a beach bum and that might explain my ghostly legs.... But Ellie always seems to find something to do and she just loves to explore the outdoors. 

Whenever we go to the slider to step outside whether it's to turn on the sprinkler, water the pots, or feed the animals, Ellie is running right after us yelling "I come I come!" and then once she gets to the door it's "I put boots on, I put boots on!" Seriously the cutest thing. We have somehow trained her that she cannot go outside without her boots on and she believes it. And she is always sure to point out the "no-man" on her boots aka Olaf!

Girlfriend gets into lots of mischief while outside. Picking flowers, playing in the dog and goat water, or pulling all out pathway lights out and apart are her favorite activities for being outside. Coming in a close second is swinging on her "bwing" or playing with her water *I hope to do a more detailed post on our $10 DIY water table soon *

She even wears her boots while sitting IN the water table!

I just love seeing her explore and learn in the great outdoors and am grateful that we have a great place for her to play and experience in our own back yard. This is farm living at its best!

♥ Ashley

Linking up here

{Toddler Tuesday} 21-24 month Favorites

Life on the Parsons Farm

I can't believe that my baby is 2 years old already! I was just looking back at pictures as I was making her 2nd year yearbook and it feels like just yesterday she was learning to crawl and walk! Now she is running everywhere and climbing on everything!

Here is the last installment of my baby favorites for my sweet girl.

21-24 month Favorites

21-24 month Favorites by lifeonthefarm on Polyvore

It really is incredible how much our babes change over the course of a year or two and seeing little Miss EF's personality grow is just the best!

If you check out my other favorites lists you will see that several of these items have overlapped throughout the past two years.  But these are items that we use on the daily so I just had to include them.

It finally came time for us to search for a new type of sippy cup since Ellie chewed the spout on the last ones causing them to leak all over.  I would like to say that we did a lot of research but we didn't.  We bought one at a store and almost immediately Ellie stuck her tiny little finger in the hole which caused it to leak all over - so we returned them and these were the next ones we bought!  Not only have we been leak free but they are insulated to help keep her milk cooler for longer.

These have been the only pacifier that Ellie would accept since day one and we really only allow them for bedtime and naptime...although I would be lying if I didn't admit to using them in the car occasionally or when she is feeling really sick (like last week).  She knows where they are kept in the diaper bag and will try to "sneak" it out while we are working - which results in me putting it up on the counter.

Since Ellie and I work outside of the home (as a Nanny and "assistant") I try to bring some of the comforts of home with us to help ease the transition a little bit.  These (similar) blankets have been so great since they are lightweight and don't take up too much room, and of course she loves to carry her bunny or goat around with her and its just the cutest!

On our trip to Disneyland we fell in love with our giant stroller all over again and have used it a bunch of times going on family walks since.  While this thing is a beast it really is a fantastic item.  There is lots of room for Ellie to sit (and play) in the seat and the amount of storage available is so great, it can be found at the front and back of the stroller.  There are also several cup holders that are accessible to baby as well as mama and the snack bar is removable for the babe for when they get older (or you want to sit in it while watching a parade...)

I have to sing praises for this necklace once again. I really truly believe that it has helped Ellie to have such a mellow personality and a tough skin!  I believe that it does have pain relieving properties.

We got this table set for Christmas from my in-laws and we use it practically everyday.  Ellie loves to sit at it and we actually eat dinner here on most is quite the sight to see Thomas sitting at this table but it is probably our most used item!

This train set has been used so much and Ellie loves the "Toot Toot".  She has spent many hours playing with this set and is learning how to put the pieces together - although she would much rather have us help do it.  I love that she is into all sorts of toys and really who can argue with a trip to IKEA??  Not to mention my dad is a huge train fanatic, he has been building a giant train table with mountains, towns, and landscaping galore for the past 15 years, so he too is very happy with Ellie's train addiction!

Moccasins have got to be the best footwear ever.  They are totally cute and super functional.  They really are the best first shoe for baby for a number of reasons.  First because of the elastic ankle they are very hard (near impossible) for baby to get off themselves.  Second due to their soft, malleable sole they mimic bare feet which is the best way for baby to learn to balance but give the protection we prefer when outside or in public.  Thirdly they are extremely durable, I thought that since they had a leather sole that Ellie would wear them out in a matter of days but she has been wearing them for over a year now and all you can see is the adorable footprint on the underside.  There are so many different shops out there that make these shoes and the prices are across the board.  We have quite the collection from several shops and they are all of superb quality.  I don't think that I would be able to tell you which company made which if I didn't know where I got each color!! Although we do have another trip to Disneyland planned for later this Fall and I am goo-goo over these ones oh and these ones too!

What are some of your favorite toddler items?  I would love to know!

♥ Ashley

linking up here

Monday, June 15, 2015

Summer Bucket List

Happy Monday Y'all!! 

We had a fabulous weekend full of family, friends and fun!  

On Saturday, Thomas got to go see Jurassic World and if you know him then you would know he has been looking forward to this movie since the last one came out!! To say he is a Dinosaur fan is... well he is!  Then we headed over to visit with my dad and once again I just love seeing the relationship between him and Ellie bloom, since we don't see him a whole lot these moments are very special to me. 

On Sunday I attended one of my best gal pal's Bridal Shower!! I am so honored to be a bridesmaid in her wedding and I am so looking forward to seeing her tie the knot in August!  

My friend Beth has been doing these seasonal bucket lists since last year and I have wanted to make one since! But then life just happens and I never really get around to posting about it - or really even coming up with a list.  But this summer I am bound and determined to make it memorable, even if Ellie is only 2!!  I figure its better to start now so that when she gets older it will be more of a "norm" if you will.

We have about 12 weeks to accomplish this list and I actually think that it is pretty attainable. 

In no particular order:

What are your plans this Summer?  

♥ Ashley

linking up here

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Garden - an update

Oh I just love spring time!! I think it has something to do with the longer days, increasing heat, farmers market season and how our gardens are bursting with flowers and the beginnings of a season of harvest!!

My whole life I have wanted to live on property (mostly for y love of horses). And then somewhere along the line in my adulthood I have taken a huge interest in homesteading, living green, and organic farming. While we don't have the set up to fully provide for ourselves (although that would be pretty fantastic) I do enjoy our small veg patch. 

The radish are sprouting nicely

We started our vegetable gardening journey our first married spring together back in 2009. Since then our garden has moved location and I have learned more and more each year. Our bounty has increased and served different purposes from feeding our chickens, ourselves and then making Ellie's first solid foods! 

We got a late start this year but with the hot temps we have been having lately I am sure that we will catch right up. 

Our produce selection has changed and we are now growing things we know we love and are easy to grow in the space we have. We will always grow beans and peas (two of Ellie's favorites) along with some broccoli. Tomatoes are so great in our climate and really nothing can beat the flavors of a homegrown fresh tomato right off the vine!  We have also joined the kale craze and are growing that along with spinach and Swiss chard for three years in a row! New additions this year are okra, fennel, and kohlrabi. 

I think the biggest change this year is that I planted my rows going North/South which totally changed the whole layout of the garden. I learned that this is the best direction for rows since the sun is able to get the whole row. Additionally I learned this year that not only are organic foods better for you (since they are free of chemicals) but that actually are more nutritious as well! Since I've never gardened with chemical fertilizers I can't speak to this but I feel that we get more than enough produce with our organic techniques that I don't know why anyone would feel the need to use chemicals!

Do you garden? What are your tips and tricks? What is your favorite thing to grow?

♥ Ashley 

Linking up here

Friday, June 5, 2015

Friday - the one AFTER the party

Y'all I can't believe its already Friday and practically a week since Ellie's Second birthday party!  I'm sure you all have been on pins and needles waiting to see photos and reading all about her special day.

Thomas surprised me by writing a sweet welcome with sidewalk chalk!

I was totally planning on writing the post for Monday but then Ellie woke up with a fever and severe congestion and we have been fighting it ever since.  We have ventured into the land of "no sleep/no nap" and hopefully are coming out of that pretty soon.  She finally slept through the whole night (and in her crib nonetheless) last night and seems to be in much better spirits.  I'm just glad that her sickness waited until after her party to strike!

So here we go.  Prepare for total picture overload sorrynotsorry!

Welcome to Ellie's Enchanted Forest Birthday!!!
(sources can be found at the bottom of the post)
Let's start off with the food because really that is the most important part of any party, amiright?

So on the dining table we had all the "nibs"
It was so much fun searching Pinterest and picking out what to call each of the food items.  I have seen so many parties lately and I love the ingenuity of the "special names" of food and have really wanted to do that too.  Thankfully with a theme this year I had much better direction!

we had:
Wood Chips (potato chips)
Edible Toadstools (pirates booty)
Squirrel Nibbles (mixed nuts)
Bunny Snacks (veg platter with ranch and hummus)
Fairy Berries (strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries)
Gnome Walking Sticks (pretzels)
Tree Stump Cake (homemade strawberry cake with chocolate frosting)

I am in love with how the cake turned out!!  I originally got my inspiration from here and then put my own little spin on it.  It doesn't look exactly like the inspo cake but I'm not Martha Stewart so there you go.  I do love how whimsical it was and I am taking great pride in making it myself!

I love this owl vase I picked up at an antique store years ago - and he was perfect for the party!!

I decided to reuse the favors from last year's party (since I made a sh!t ton) but I got the idea from Erinn.  They were so simple to make and were in a much better location this time around since we put in the new entry table/dresser!

I cannot tell you how blessed we were with beautiful weather!  When I started planning and thinking about Ellie's party I knew I wanted to have it outside (that way we didn't have to deep clean the house as much...) but that brought on a whole'nother round of party prep.  I am so grateful that we had the motivation of the party to get so much of our backyard stuff done! Because now that means we have the whole summer to enjoy it!!  Oh and just in case you were wondering, no we did not complete the swing set prior to the party, but we didn't want to kill each other either so at least there was one win!

I loved the picture ONE I did last year and knew that I wanted to recreate it again this year.  Although this one was on a much smaller scale since I didn't take weekly pictures - monthdates just had to do!

I was so happy to pull out this banner I made last year and to use it again.  Re-purposing is the way to go when throwing parties. Oh and I also just have to point out the stellar paint job the previous owners did on the house!

 Lots of different seating options and let me tell you  - I love that Ellie's slide is finally outside!!

My favorite gardening trick - using an old colander to grow herbs...

 I guess I forgot to share the sips station.  We kept it inside this year since it was going to be so hot outside and this really helped keep the flow going throughout the party!

here's what we drank:
Morning Dew (water)
Pixie Punch (strawberry guava juice)
Tea (I was all out of ideas by then!)

Then we had the guests arrive and Ellie had a blast playing with her cousins and showing off her new independence and skills!

One way of playing with the water table...

My dad brought this little wind up pink butterfly toy and she was mesmerized for a good 20 minutes!!  I just love seeing their relationship grow, we don't see my dad that often so I am glad that she is warming up to him and they can share these special moments!

 And then it was time for cake!!  Apparently I was terrible at taking pictures because I didn't get any of her blowing out the candles (which we actually had this time around!)

I mean these two though, they are my heart!!

Cake with the cousins at the kids table

And then after cake it was time for presents.  Girlfriend was so blessed this year with all the kind, thoughtful, and generous gifts.  I really wanted to make sure that Ellie took the time to read each card, open the gift and show gratitude to the gift giver - so this process was drawn out a little bit but I think its these moments where character is taught!

Lots of the family got the memo that she was getting a handmade custom kitchen for her birthday and stocked her up with some goodies!

Giving hugs to the gift givers after opening the present!

AND then it was time for the big kitchen reveal!!

This thing is awesome you guys! Papa spent so many hours making this thing and I know that it is a gift we will cherish for many years to come.  The attention to detail is the best and really all it needs is some running water and electrical hookup and I am sure this thing would work better than my own kitchen!!  It is a solid piece of wood and Ellie has already gotten so much great use out of it. So far her favorite thing to make is "macancheese" even though I can't get her to eat any of the real stuff!!

I mean seriously how great is this kitchen?  A total labor of love and I love it so much!!  I still can't get over that my FIL made this without any building plans...he did it all himself!! Ellie is #blessed!!

Flowers (local farmers market)
Cake (homemade by me recipe coming soon)
Table Cloth and Paper Plates (Party City - last year similar)
Napkins, Woodland Critters, Poms (Hobby Lobby)
Streamers (Martha Stewart for JCPenney)
Cake Decor (animals, mushrooms, glitter 2, banner - handmade by me)
Toadstool Balloons (Hobby Lobby)
Gold 2 balloon (Party City)
Snack Cups (Party City - here)
Paper Straws (Party City)
Birthday Crown (Sweet T Shoppe)
Cake Stand (Minted)
Food Cards (handmade by me)

If I forgot anything just let me know and I will try to hook you up!!

♥ Ashley

linking up here