Take them out to the ballgame

Brent and Tessa have gone to many sporting events…mostly in the womb however since their bedtime is at 8, ha, ha! Tessa’s sleep schedule changed over the summer (no more naps) and we’ve been able to take them more places like the Nationals at Dodgers game a few weeks ago. I loved going to Padres’ games with my family when I was younger and since we’ve been married we’ve gone to 20 of the 30 MLB ballparks together. This game the kids were more interested in the hot dogs and catching Pokemon but maybe one day hopefully they’ll develop a similar love of baseball!

nationals at dodgers game

nationals at dodgers game

nationals at dodgers game

 nationals at dodgers game

Put a curly W in the books!

The Perfect Day

What would your perfect day look like? Mine would definitely involve family, food and relaxing! Here’s what I would potentially plan:

8 am – wake up! Luckily for me, the kids usually get up around 8 to 8:30, I usually get up a little earlier so I can be ready for the day before they get up. Tessa also hasn’t really slept through the night since our Utah/Idaho trip 3 months ago so I would be thrilled if we all slept until 8!

8:30 – gym!  Dave and I have always enjoyed working out together (cycling, running, indoor soccer, lifting weights, circuit training, etc.) and usually don’t get to anymore besides Saturdays.

Beach – now that we’re close to the ocean again, any perfect day would definitely include playing and relaxing at the beach. I would also love some authentic hole in the wall Mexican restaurant to get take out to eat at the beach 🙂

 perfect day proverb band

perfect day proverb band

2 pm – this has been nap time for the last basically 5 years! Tessa recently stopped napping so now I would use this time for errands, shopping, or maybe a baseball game!

5:30 pm-dinner and dessert – I would probably pick Mexican or Thai food followed by dessert at Salt & Straw or Donut Friend. After driving back we’d go for a nice long walk in our neighborhood with Bruce to enjoy the sunset.

perfect day proverb band

perfect day proverb band salt and straw

8 pm- bedtime for the kids and Dave and I (and Bruce!) watch a movie, Netflix, catch up on our TV shows or read while listening to music.

10 pm- my bedtime! I love my sleep and enjoy being well rested every morning.

These are my favorite beach items and I have my favorite work out clothes on a later post. These photos are some things I would wear on a perfect day, a comfortable outfit for sunny CA.

Pocket T Shirt (old from gap) // Skirt from Target in store //  Sandals (they’re cork and SO comfortable!) // gold bracelets c/o Proverb Band (minimal and perfect, also promoting values I love: love and peace)

perfect day proverb band

perfect day proverb band

perfect day proverb band

7 Tips for Summer Sun Safety

We’ve been enjoying our first summer in Southern California, and especially the days the kids and I spend at the beach! Newport is the closest beach to us and we usually go about once a week for a few hours. I’m excited to share this guest post about sun safety. My favorite tip is the first one, which may seem obvious, but I’m always sure to slather sunscreen on myself and the kids with a combination of both lotion and spray sunscreen.

By Christine H.

It’s summer! And that means it’s time to get outside and enjoy the wonderful weather. However, as you spend time splashing in the public pool, picnicking at the beach, and hiking through the mountains, take precautions to protect yourself and your family from the sun.

Here are 7 suggestions that will keep you sun-smart this summer:

  1. Wear sunscreen… daily! If you simply slather on some sunscreen when you go to the beach, you’re not doing enough to protect yourself from the sun. Sun has a major effect on your skin. In the short term, it can lead to heat rash and sunburn. But it has more severe effects over time, and it’s cumulative, as this article warns. Sun exposure leads to prematurely aging skin – wrinkles, and sunspots, and loss of elasticity. Even more dangerous, sun exposure can lead to skin cancer. Some melanoma will be minor and simply require removal. Others can spread to the rest of your body and become life-threatening. Wear sunscreen every day, not just when you’re planning a big event outside and you’re worried about sunburn. You should have a daily face cream that protects against UV rays.
  2. Cover up. Sunscreen can’t do everything. Sometimes the best technique for protecting yourself from the sun is the old-fashioned one. Wear a hat to protect your eyes and face from direct light and glare. Wear longer sleeves to limit your sun exposure. Also remember to seek out shade and bring umbrellas with you for outdoor events. It might seem counterproductive to cover up more when you’re hot, but it can actually protect you from heat stroke and exhaustion.
  3. Guard your eyes. Wearing a hat helps protect your eyes from UV rays, but you’re better off wearing sunglasses to keep your eyes healthy. Much like your skin, your eyes can age prematurely with exposure to sun. UV rays can lead to a higher chance of cataracts and AMD. Not all sunglasses are created equal, so take a close look at your purchases. Do they say that they protect from UVA and UVB rays? If not, they might be even more harmful than not wearing glasses at all, since they encourage your eyes to keep the pupils dilated, which lets in more harmful UV light.
  4. Take precautions when you go camping and hiking too. If you’re in the woods or up in the mountains, you might not feel as hot and so you won’t think as much about how much sun you’re being exposed to. However, you’ll probably get more sun through the day than you usually do during just an hour or two at the pool. So bring sunscreen with you, and be realistic about the effects that the sun is having on you. Seek shade when possible, and drink lots of water. Sun exposure can also create fatigue in your body, which you’ve probably noticed if you’ve ever slept really well the night after a day spent sunbathing. This might be caused by dehydration, and your body working overtime to regulate chemicals and temperature.
  5. Think outdoor events through. Often, fairs, music festivals, and things like amusement parks can cause a lot of health problems because people aren’t thinking about how much sun and heat they’re getting. The crowds can make things even worse, especially if you’re at a music festival or other event where people are in close quarters. So, as you walk into an event, look around and see where the medical tent is. Plan your time under shade. This link has some great suggestions for being safe at an outdoor event.
  6. Be aware of signs of overexposure. Sometimes, exposure to sun isn’t just about your skin and your eyes. Sun exposure can lead to fainting, or heat stroke. So recognize the symptoms and take care of yourself if you start exhibiting some of these problems:
    1. Dizziness
    2. Faintness
    3. Blackout
    4. Headache
    5. Trouble focusing
    6. Spots in your vision
  7. Hydrate more than you think you have to. You may not feel dehydrated while you’re out and about and being busy. But if you’re spending time in direct sunlight, you will get dehydrated. Make a conscious effort to drink water before, during, and after your time outside.

 

Sun safety is important, but so is making the most of your summer. It’s a great season to meet new people, try new things, and have some fun! This article has some great suggestions for things to do to get the most out of your time, whether it’s in the sun or not. So don’t let the warnings scare you away from doing what you want to this summer. Just be smart!7 summer sun safety tips

My favorite beach products here

My favorite way to stay hydrated here

Staycation: Newport Beach

We went on our first staycation a few weeks ago! We really enjoyed it because it was nice to have time away, relax while not having to travel far. We are blessed to live in an area where there is so much to do relatively close to us. Even though the kids are I go to Newport Beach every week, it was great to have Dave with us on our trip.

Dave’s parents let us stay in their Marriott timeshare which is an amazing location and gorgeous property. There are 3 pools, kid play areas with toys and crafts, a movie theater and game area. newport beach staycation

newport beach staycation

newport beach staycation

We also went to Balboa Island which is so gorgeous! We had frozen bananas at the banana stand and walked around to admire all the cute homes and boats in the harbor.

balboa island staycation banana stand

balboa island staycation banana stand

balboa island CA staycation

balboa island CA staycationThe next day we went to Crystal Cove beach. The beach sand area is small, down a flight of wooden stairs on the cliff and it’s so gorgeous! We had a section of the beach almost all to ourselves and had fun with the kids playing in the waves.

newport beach staycation

newport beach staycation

newport beach staycation

Our last day before heading back to Chino Hills, we stopped by the Santa Monica Pier for a churro and to ride the carousel.

newport beach staycation santa monica pier

newport beach staycation santa monica pier

I would definitely go on another staycation especially when there are so many cool places close to LA area – Santa Barbara, San Diego, Mexico, Joshua Tree, Palm Springs, La Vegas and Phoenix are all places we’ve thought about for our next staycation!

A dog’s life

If you know me, it’s no secret I love our corgi, Bruce. I’ve written about when we got Bruce in Virginia, our favorite dog products and ways to keep your living space clean with a dog. Since we got Bruce when he was just 6 weeks old, it was a lot of work house training, crate training, training not to chew, not to go in certain areas, etc but it’s definitely worth it and great preparation for kids, ha, ha! corgi bruce WISP broomcorgi bruce WISP broom

Bruce’s life consists of eating, sleeping a ton, hoping for us to throw his toys or give him bones, going on an evening walk and his favorite thing, ‘guarding’ the house – ha, ha! Corgi’s are small with a big bark and like to protect their home and family.

My favorite thing is how loyal dogs are and always want to cheer their owners up. Whenever we come home, it always makes us happy to be greeted by Bruce who is beyond excited to see us! Who wouldn’t want to come home and 100% of the time there is a cute dog eagerly waiting for them!?

Having a dog is also a great way to get in some exercise and move more! Dogs love to play and go on walks and we’ve loved our evening walks and occasional hikes with Bruce. They are great for our health and his health! I also love at night after the kids go to bed, Bruce will jump up on my lap while we relax for the night, usually by reading or catching up on our DVR or Netflix. He’s not only a great lap warmer in the winter but also very snuggly which I love! corgi bruce WISP broom

corgi bruce WISP broom

As I’ve mentioned before, corgis shed quite a bit, basically all year around! We love the FURminator deShedding Brush and now we have another awesome product that helps immensely with keeping our floors clean.. Like everyone, we’ve had a basic broom that does a mediocre job collecting crumbs, dirt, dust, pet hair, etc. Now enter the WISP broom. The broom head is angled and designed to collect and gather instead of sweep. It is great for cleaning under tables, cabinets, edges, etc. The bristles act more like a squeegee to trap the dust and debris. They are still soft and don’t scratch wood or tile floors.

Another thing I love is that the dustpan is designed to be used with your foot, which makes it much easier to put the debris into the dustpan. The dustpan also has ridges where you can scrape the bristles to remove any particles stuck in the bristles. It doesn’t take out 100% of the debris but definitely pulls out a lot and makes it easier to clean the broom bristles. Traditional broom bristles are much harder to clean unless you manually pull out the debris and hairs. With a dog and 2 little kids, the WISP broom is an awesome tool that doesn’t cost a hand and a leg (like the robotic vacuums I’ve previously posted about!) The classic WISP broom cost $29.95.

wisp broom pet hair

wisp broom pet hair

wisp broom brush pet hair

This post brought to you by WISP – thanks for helping us maintain a clean home! All opinions on this product review are obviously my own 🙂

Road Trip

This last week we took a long, long road trip up the 15 to Idaho Falls to visit my sister, Emily, for her daughter’s baptism. While I’ve driven the stretch between Utah and San Diego countless times, there was something new to see: the Seven Magic Mountains! It’s a temporary (free!) public art exhibit between Jean, Nevada and Las Vegas. I love rocks and these brightly colored rock stacks in the middle of nowhere were gorgeous!

road trip with kids

road trip with kids

road trip with kids

road trip with kids

road trip with kids

We spent two days in Salt Lake City catching up with friends, Dave’s family, seeing Melinda’s adorable baby for the first time, and eating a ton of food at places we loved when we lived in Utah (like Royal India, Moochies, Originial House of Pancakes, Park Cafe). We stayed in an AirBnB in Holladay that was a good experience. I sometimes prefer an AirBnB over a hotel because you have more kitchen amenities and often more space. This trip we stayed in a fully furnished basement apartment and when we moved to Texas we ‘rented’ out a townhouse for 2 weeks while waiting to close on our house.

It was fun to be with my entire family for the weekend! Now that we’re kind of all spread out, it’s rare that we’re all together. I loved seeing Brent and Tessa play with their little cousins and the opportunity we had to tour the Idaho Falls temple which was recently renovated.

road trip with kids

road trip with kids

road trip with kids

We felt like we were on the road driving most of the time and the kids were pretty good considering the 4 days of travel and Tessa missed her nap almost everyday. We drove to Salt Lake, stayed for 2 days, then drove to Idaho. On the way back, we drove from Idaho Falls to St. George and spend the night before finishing the last stretch of the drive back to Chino Hills. This was Tessa on the drive, ha, ha:

We tried to pack new snacks for the kids, like treats they usually don’t get. We also planned a few ‘surprises’ to give them during the trip, new small toys and boogie boards (LCD e-writers) that were a hit with them!

road trip with kids

road trip with kids

St. George temple grounds ^

 

Vintage American Fashion

This dress is a true vintage piece, it was my mom’s dress when she was younger! I loved that she saved it so I could wear it. It’s polyester and a unique color for my wardrobe. I tend to gravitate towards black, white and grays. I like the fit and rust color of this dress.

Tessa’s dress is also second hand and I loved the navy and rust color combination we happened to be wearing this past Sunday, It reminded me on an old American flag 😉

vintage american fashion rust dress jen holtkamp

vintage american fashion rust dress jen holtkamp

vintage american fashion rust dress jen holtkamp

vintage american fashion rust dress jen holtkamp

What to pack: favorite beach products

Since Brent isn’t in kindergarten yet and most kids are still in school, Wednesdays have become our beach days. We’re lucky to be able to take advantage of this time before the beaches get more crowded. Newport Beach is the easiest beach to get to from our house and the kids and I have been loving playing in the sand, wading and running in the waves and finding seashells.

what to pack to the beach

what to pack to the beach

We usually try to get there a little before 11 to beat most of the crowd and find close parking. We pack peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, snacks and water bottles in this insulated lunch tote and bring our towels and sand toys in mesh beach bags which are perfect for collecting all the sandy toys and quickly dunking the entire bag in the water to rinse off. Mesh bags are also nice since they don’t hold sand and are easy to clean.

One of my most favorite items is our over-sized beach blanket that comes with stakes and fold up into a pocket sized pouch. This blanket is awesome because it’s easy to clean, folds up super small, lightweight, is huge so we can all sit on it and is also soft so you still feel like you’re laying on the sand. It comes with 6 plastic stakes to hold it down from the wind. It’s quite perfect!  best beach blanket compact with stakes lightweight zomakebest beach blanket compact with stakes lightweight zomake

I also always carry a cell phone waterproof pouch. This is the same pouch I took on our river tubing trip in Texas and found out it’s really waterproof!

We usually only stay about 2-3 hours and feel very lucky to live within an hour of the beach.

My swimsuits and coverups are from DownEast Outfitters and Target, my flip flops are super old rainbows (my long time favorite brand), the kids’ suits and flip flops from Ross and Old Navy. Sand toys from Target or the dollar store. And of course, we always wear and pack sunscreen (lotion and spray)!

what to pack to the beachwhat to pack to the beach

what to pack to the beach

what to pack to the beach

what to pack to the beach

what to pack to the beach for families and kids

Take me out to the ballgame

Some of my favorite childhood memories came at the ballpark. Growing up a Padres fan wasn’t anything glorious since they’re not a super wealthy or winning team ha, ha but it was always very fun to go as a family, eat a hot dog, learn about the game, and watch talented players come (and go).

Since then, Dave and I have loved going to baseball games together. We made a goal to see a game at every MLB ballpark. So far we’ve been to 19 out of 30 ballparks! Luckily we were able to see a lot when we drove to the east coast in 2009 and again in 2010. When we lived in DC in 2009, we adopted the Washington Nationals as our team together. They were a fairly new team to the area (having moved and re-branded from Montreal in 2005). This was before they had many big name players so tickets were pretty cheap and we were able to see a lot of games.

We haven’t been to a new ballpark basically since that time but we have plans to go to Seattle and see a Mariners’ game this summer for our 11th anniversary!

Dave found the website where I got this shirt (below) and I love it because it’s soft cotton, has Bryce Harper on it, and isn’t super girly. I kind of hate sports team apparel that is pink or glittery just because it’s marketed towards women. Many times I’d much rather have the same design as a men’s store just in a women’s size and fit!

take me out to the ballgame outfit

take me out to the ballgame outfit

shirt from Level500 / Old Navy flannel / Converse a million years old 😉

 

Current thoughts on being a mother

Every phase of Brent and Tessa’s lives have been so fun. When they were newborns, they were cuddly, adorable, growing and just so cute even if we were all sleep deprived the first few months. I loved the newborn baby stage. I loved seeing them learn to communicate, crawl, walk, laugh, explore the world, show interest in certain things, etc.

I love their closeness in age (a few days short of 2 years), when they talk and play together and that they get to do new things together. I know I’ll miss these days when they’re not in school full time and we get to spend most all day together.

Brent started preschool when we lived in Texas and it was fun watching him make friends, learn his letters etc. His current preschool is more of a Pre-K and his learning has really skyrocketed in this last few months. He’s doing so great with letters, sounds, numbers, writing, spelling, sounding out words, and basic addition.

Both the kids are at the age when they’re starting sports. As sports lovers, this has been so awesome for me and Dave to watch them learn the basics of various sports and play! They are currently participating in pee wee sports ‘camps’ through the city of Chino Hills. Brent did soccer last session and just started basketball and Tessa just started soccer. The camp is just 6 Saturdays but it’s one of the highlights of my week to watch them learn new skills.

^ gorgeous backdrop for basketball ^ one thing I really love about Chino Hills are, the hills! There are lots of hiking trails and open areas left undeveloped. The park (also the same park I play soccer at) is at the top of a hill and it’s hard to beat the view!