Visiting Kauai with a Toddler

Visiting Kauai with a Toddler

Honestly, I had planned to write to you guys while I was on vacation. But then it just didn’t happen. Then we got home and all had to get our first colds of the season. Please forgive my absence. I’m here for you now and ready to share some fun things about Kauai.

We tend to think of Kauai as our place. Yup, just for us. I know that’s not true, but it’s been a perfect vacation destination for us over the years.

  • First Trip: My first time there was way back in 2006 and I went with my back-then-boyfriend-now-husband. We were with my boyfriend’s parents who happened to have a house there. It was also on this trip, that my boyfriend decided he wanted to marry me (by the by, the proposal didn’t happen until 2008 - sheesh, what took so long?).

  • Second Trip: We went for our honeymoon in 2011. It was perfection. (ah, no in-laws on this trip)

  • Third Trip: We took Caleb in 2017 and stayed with my in-laws (they had since sold the house, sad) who were renting a condo there for the month.

  • Fourth Trip: This was our latest trip, so 2018. Again, we stayed with my in-laws who are living there for a year. This time I was pregnant with baby boy #2.

As you can see, it’s a special place for the Brown family! Given, I’ve gone so much, I want to share some of our joyful places from the island with you. I’m going to keep it kid-centric since that’s what I’m all about on this blog. Talk to me if you want no kid recommendations.

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LOL: Lots of Links - Volume 4

LOL: Lots of Links - Volume 4

Well friends, I’m officially in my third trimester. I’m not entirely sure how that happened. The last I checked we were still in August. But apparently it’s almost October now. My mind is now all things baby - and more like, “ahhhhhh, so much to get done before the baby arrives.” I’m sure it’ll all work out, but I’m determined not be packing a hospital bag and putting in the car seat at the first signs of labor. Eh hem, not like that’s happened before or anything. Noooo way.

Since baby is where my mind is at these days, I’m dedicating this LOL volume to just that: baby.

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Indoor Fun: Pump It Up

Indoor Fun: Pump It Up

I feel like the closer I get to my due date with baby #2, the harder it is to get posts written. Life has been busy to say the least especially with an active two and a half year old son. During the daytime, I’m busy keeping him entertained. During nap time and evenings, I’m busy keeping things running at home and preparing for the baby…oh yeah, and some relaxing and sleeping.

That said, here I am! And I today is about a new indoor play space. I’ve been meaning to check out Pump It Up for a long time and I finally got there on Wednesday. Sometimes I get stuck into my routine or set places, and I also get a bit of anxiety when I don’t know anyone that’s gone or know what it’s like. But I gathered up my mama courage and headed over there in hopes of getting some Caleb wiggles out. And my hopes came true: wiggles were definitely gotten out. Caleb LOVED it. I thought he might be more timid, but he dived right into the fun (quite literally).

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Fashion Tips from an Everyday Mom

Fashion Tips from an Everyday Mom

I did a little poll not too long ago to see what you, my lovely blog followers, would be interested in reading. One of my mom friends mentioned she wanted to hear how I maintain my makeup and keep up my style with a young child. My immediate reaction to myself was, "Me, really...for fashion advice?" I never really thought of myself as stylish and definitely not whom someone would think of to ask for fashion advice. (thank you, friend, you give me confidence!)

When I think of myself and fashion, all I can think of was how I was the girl in high school wearing vests and oversized sweatshirts. Although, as an adult looking back now, who actually was totally confident and cool as a teenager? And weren't we all wearing scrunchies?

Perhaps in college, I was slightly improved. Heck, I snagged my husband while there somehow. But, I don't think I really caught on to what fits and looks good on me until some years after college.

One of my best fashion experiences came when I moved to Seattle and got a new job in online marketing. I was in desperate need of clothes to fit the job. I decided to try the Nordstrom Personal Stylist. To say it was life-changing is maybe giving it too much credit, but it was a eye-opener. The stylist really helped me understand what would look good on me and to put some outfits together.

I'm still not going to say I'm uber stylish, but at least I look decent. I feel kind of awkward writing this post, like an imposer, as if I'm some sort of expert on the manner. I am DEFINITELY NOT an expert or really even that stylish. But, ask and you shall receive, my friends. So, I'll stop jabbering on about myself and share some things that I do to keep Stacy and Clinton away (please tell me you know them...hint: What Not to Wear).

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End of Summer Festivals, Fairs, and Fun Events

End of Summer Festivals, Fairs, and Fun Events

I love going out and doing things, especially on the weekends with my family. The "events" on FaceBook are both wonderful and terrible for me because I want to do all the things. Prior to having my son, my hubby and I used to do a lot more outings. Now, we have to work outings around nap time, crankiness, potty training, meal time, and every other baby/toddler thing. Additionally, we have to consider if it's kid-friendly and whether it'll be easy to keep him out of trouble. Sometimes something might be more effort than it's worth, so we have to pick our outings wisely. For instance, we don't do the outdoor concerts. It sounds idyllic: sit on a picnic blanket with some snacks and listen to the band while your toddler dances next to you. However, the reality is I would be running around all the other picnickers chasing my son whom once caught will scream and kick. I'm sure you can picture it, or maybe even experienced it. Power to you if your child isn't a "runner" - enjoy it. I get my daily exercise just chasing him. 

Anyway, overall I do love the events on FaceBook. I have my FaceBook doubts and dislikes, but the events are great. It's fun to see what my friends are interested in (maybe we can go together?!) and I find out about events that I normally would never have known about. It's hard to keep up with things when you have a toddler. 

Where are this magical events on FaceBook? On the main FaceBook page, look to the left navigation. Under "Explore" you should see the "Events" link. Cool, right?

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The Diaper Backpack, aka Best Mom Bag

The Diaper Backpack, aka Best Mom Bag

When I became a mom, I was excited about getting a diaper bag. They make some pretty cute ones these days. Carrying a diaper bag around town is like a badge of honor showing you're a mom. Then I became a mom and realized what a hassle carrying one around can be. There is so much stuff to put in there so it's heavy and bulky. Then your shoulder starts to hurt, and because you wanted a cute one your husband is not a fan of carrying it for you. But, he'll definitely hand you stuff to put in it as well because of that's what you do. 

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Checking it Out: Brewers Row

Checking it Out: Brewers Row

The motivation for my Red Elm and the Antique Sandwich Co. reviews was that they were known in my "mom circles" as places for kids. Brewer's Row, however, isn't widely talked about as a place for kids. However, my experience there with my son, Caleb, have been great. It's casual and fast which make for a fun place to grab a bite to eat if you have little ones. Let's taco (I mean talk) about it. 

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Tacoma Take-Out Favorites

Tacoma Take-Out Favorites

Before having Caleb, Josh and I loved to dine out. Not always fancy, but just for some good grub on the weekends. I guess you could call us foodies. I really do enjoy cooking and baking at home, but I also really enjoy eating out. It is a nice break from the kitchen, it's fun to eat delicious foods (especially things you can't/don't make at home), and it can often inspire your inner chef. A good mix of eating out and eating in would be our style...pre-kids. 

However, now that we have a kid, eating out is way, way, way less frequent. It's hard to work it in with naps and bedtime and can be tough to keep the kiddo entertained and quiet while you eat. I often find myself overly involved with the kid and not really paying attention to what I am eating. This sort of defeats the purpose for me in some ways. I like to savor and enjoy my food. We could take turns, Josh and I, with one managing Caleb while the other chows down; however, then you're not really eating together.  

We still attempted to keep our eating out style while Caleb was a baby, and it worked until he was about five months old, then it just stopped working. He stopped sleeping on-to-go as much and eating out became a challenge. We had to adjust our eating out lifestyle. So, we turned to take-out. I cook all week, so our little treat is to get take-out Friday and/or Saturday. We put Caleb down for bed, and then we enjoy our take-out meal together. Not quite the same, but still enjoyable. 

Top 11 (why stop at 10?) Tacoma Take-out Restaurants…

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Summer Sales! Nordstrom Anniversary

Summer Sales! Nordstrom Anniversary

Another sale! If you didn't have much luck with Amazon Prime Day, then this one is for you. Every year Nordstroms has its Anniversary Sale. Many of the items on sale are for the fall, but you can find some summer stuff in the mix as well. From July 12th to 19th the sale was limited to cardholds, but as of Friday, July 20th the sale runs for everyone. The sale ends and prices go back up August 5th, but things do sell out so act quickly on the popular items!

I already bought the DockATot and anticipating buying something else for myself...but which to pick! If I had all the money in the world, these are the things I would probably purchase. 

What do you have your eye on? 

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Summer Sales! Amazon Prime Sale

Summer Sales! Amazon Prime Sale

I'm a sucker for sales. If I have two shirts in front of me and one is on sale but I like the full-priced shirt better, I feel this odd compulsion to buy the one on sale even when I prefer the other shirt. My logical side knows I should get the one I like best because I'll likely wear it more and get more use out of it. However, the other one is on sale. Then you go through a, "I should just buy both" moment. Then my budget minds reminds me that's a bad idea. 

Sales almost get me anxious and I get some serious FOMO. Is this weird? If I don't buy something, I'm missing out on the greatest deal of my lifetime. Sigh. Life is tough. 

There are two sales happening right now: Amazon Prime and Nordstrom Anniversary. I'm separating them out into two posts since the Amazon Prime Sale is happening right now whereas Nordstrom Anniversary still has some time. 

The Amazon Prime Sale goes from today through Wednesday night.

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Stitch Fix Maternity Box Cuteness

Stitch Fix Maternity Box Cuteness

Fashion, turn to the left
Fashion, turn to the right
Ooh fashion

Does a word ever trigger a song in your head? Well, I often find this happening. And I'm singing the above lyrics to myself. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then check out this David Bowie's Fashion song. The only funny thing is that I only know these three phrases of the song, so those just repeat in my head. Anyhoo....

I want to talk a little bit about fashion with you guys today. I'm by no means a fashionista, and it's for this reason I often find myself seeking help from others who I think are more fashionable. In this case, it's the folks at Stitch Fix

I've gotten Stitch Fix boxes before - probably about six or seven boxes total. My first box was all the way back in April 2014. The first few boxes I received were great, but then I started to see a decline. I think they got popular, and grew too fast, and may have lost some quality control. However, I think it might be back under control since the past two boxes have been better. And more interestingly, the best boxes I've received have been maternity. 

You probably saw my exciting news about a new member of our family that's on his way. I'm currently 19 weeks along and the bump is starting to show. I've been pulling out my maternity wear from last pregnancy, but I needed a few more summery pieces. Maternity clothes that are both cute and affordable can be tough to find, and all stores seem only to sell maternity online these days. I was happy with my previous Stitch Fix maternity box, so I thought I'd give it a whirl again.  

Good news: I was happy with this maternity box as well. Woohoo! 

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Screaming for Ice Cream: Tacoma Ice Cream & Froyo

Screaming for Ice Cream: Tacoma Ice Cream & Froyo

Hey Summer! Welcome to Tacoma! We're happy you're here. Although I have to admit, even if it's not summer, I still eat my ice cream and frozen yogurt (aka froyo). I just eat more of it! It's no joke that I have been nicknamed, "the Froyo Queen" by friends. I can't help it, I love the stuff. 

Whether for good or bad, Caleb has also picked up on my love for frozen goodness. A fine example is how he ate just the strip of ice cream out of the ice cream birthday cake at a friend's birthday the other weekend. While the sugar high aftermath can be crazy, I do enjoy sharing a treat with my little guy. 

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Birthday Parties and Where to Have Them

Birthday Parties and Where to Have Them

June is my birthday month and it got me thinking about birthdays. In some ways, I wish my son's birthday was in the summer since you could bring the party outdoors. His birthday is at the beginning of January and outdoors is just not an option. I spent a lot of time trying to find a place to have his 2nd birthday party. I didn't want it at the house since I just had family over for all the holidays. Having more people in the house and more cleaning just didn't sound like something I wanted to do. So I surfed the internet and racked my brain to come up with some alternatives. We ended up at the Children's Museum of Tacoma. It was great fun!

However, summer birthday friends, I got your back. June birthdays can be hit or miss with the weather. Summer really doesn't seem to hit the Pacific Northwest until July 4th. Yes, that specific. Then in the summer months, it can be uber hot and practically none of us have air conditioning. So, I hear you when you say I don't want it at the house. Or maybe, you'd just like to avoid toddlers destroying every square inch in your house. I get it. This list is also for you.

In fact, this birthday list an everyone and any time of year list of places to have a kid's birthday in and around the Tacoma area. It's indoor and outdoor places. It's places with packages or just places to go. It's for young kids and for older kids. I'm sure there is more out there. I tried to stick mostly to Tacoma although admittedly there are a few outliers (like Gig Harbor and Puyallup). Please comment if you have even more and better ideas! 

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Summer 2018 Books Recommendations

Summer 2018 Books Recommendations

In my mind, summer reading is light and airy fiction that you breeze through while sipping a drink on the beach. My book recommendations are really not that. You'll usually find me picking up a historical fiction or fantasy book instead. That's just how I roll. If you rather have other recommendations, then check out these book recommendations: here, here, or here

One thought that crossed my mind as I considered sharing summer reading was whether I should share books I'm interested in reading or ones that I've read and enjoyed. I landed with the latter. This way I know what I'm recommending is good. However, in order to give you books I would totally recommend reading, I had to go back to some I read a while ago - not like forever ago, but like last year or so.

Plus giving you one I want to read is hard. I generally don't know what I'm going to read next until I'm done with the book I'm currently reading. It's at that point, I go through an antagonizing time of scrolling through Goodreads to see what I want to read. It generally takes me about a week to make a decision. Life is tough. 

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Big News! Coming Soon: Family of Four

Big News! Coming Soon: Family of Four

Many of you already found out about our big news from my personal blog. Now, it's time to share the news here with my Raising Tacoma friends. You probably already pick up the big news from the title, but to make it an official: Soon there will be FOUR Browns in this family!

We are looking forward to a little boy joining our family! Baby Boy Brown #2 is expected sometime late November or early December -- the official due date is December 2nd, 2018 (we'll see!).

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LOL: Lots of Links - Volume 2

LOL: Lots of Links - Volume 2

Did you miss my first LOL and not sure what this is all about? Go check it out! 

What do you think of that donut? This is how Caleb decided to eat this donut over the weekend. We missed getting donuts on National Donut Day (Friday, 6/1), but we enjoyed them on Sunday instead. To no surprise to any mom out there, my son chose the donut with sprinkles. #nationaldonutday

My favorite local magazines, South Sound Magazine, put out it's annual Best of the South Sound last month. I love checking out what people like and seeing if matches my likes. Some did, some didn't. Here's the article and then here's what I had to say about it. And why do I always want to type Sound Sound? Ugh. 

OMG OMG, summer is almost here…..

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Park Love: Puget Park in Proctor

Park Love: Puget Park in Proctor

The first day of summer is June 21st. That's not too far away! Plus, we've been lucky with some summer-like weather already. We've already started adding the playground back into our daily routine (not that it was totally out, but the terrible winter weather made it less appealing). One of my favorite parks is Puget Park in the Proctor area. Maybe it's because it's close to our home, but there are some other great reasons as well. 

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Toddler Flight Survival: Tips and Tricks

Toddler Flight Survival: Tips and Tricks

We are headed to Chicago in just a few short weeks to visit family and go to my cousin's wedding. We're really looking forward to it, except for one thing, the flight. Dun dun dun. Actually, knock on wood, but the last flight with Caleb went pretty smoothly. With more attention span, it seems there are more ways to entertain. More ways to entertain mean a better flight. Can I get an amen?! 

Growing up my mom had a severe fear of flying. In fact, she had to go to a fear of flying class just like Meg Ryan in French Kiss (my family loves this movie). A few weeks before we traveled, my mom always got nervous and weird. In a way, I have a fear of flying like my mom but for a different reason. It's a fear of flying with a toddler. I picture a manic toddler screaming the whole way and me crying. Just like my mom, I get all weird a few weeks before our flights trying to come up with some magical trick that will keep Caleb happy. 

When I get nervous, I tend to go overboard on research. I scour the internet for ideas, I ask friends, and over think as I'm trying to fall asleep. I hope I'm not the only one like this...please tell me I'm not the only one like this.

Luckily, I'm feeling much more confident this time around as I've acquired quite a few tips from all our previous flights. I figured I ought to share! 

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Toddler Hair Cuts: Wild Child Salon

Toddler Hair Cuts: Wild Child Salon

I was worried about how Caleb's first haircut would go down. He's a very active kid and doesn't like to sit still for long, so I pictured myself wrangling an almost-two-year-old for 20 minutes while a desperate haircutter tried to trim his hair. The reality was far different from this nightmarish vision I had conjured up. In fact, the complete opposite. He enjoyed the haircut and he enjoyed it so much that he didn't even want to leave. Yup, you heard me right, he didn't want to leave. Imagine that.  

Caleb was 22 months when he had his first haircut. I tried to wait until he was two, but his hair was just too crazy and wild. I was also delaying it because I was "mom sad" about his first haircut. Those baby curls are just too sweet. However, the ladies at Wild Child made it a wonderful experience for Caleb and me. 

At 28 months, Caleb just had his third haircut at Wild Child. As I was leaving with a smile, I thought I ought to share this experience. So here I am, sharing my positive experience!

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