A Snail Named Georgie

Well, we finally got a lake day in.

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I love spending the afternoon watching the them kayak around. I mentioned them on Instagram as well, but if you haven’t purchased these kids kayaks from Costco yet, they are a must for next summer! Seriously, even your little 3 year olds can maneuver them! Major win with this purchase!

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As I was loading our stuff into the vehicle, Jonah was sitting at the shore just playing in the water. And of course, he found a little friend.

And of course he begged to bring her home.

these are your days making memories be a yes mom pets georgie the snail lake life

And OF COURSE, I said no.

*But she has a mommy she needs to stay with*

*She’s going to die*

*You aren’t bringing her into the house*

*Please don’t bring the snail home*

*She’ll miss her friends*

But of course, in the end, none of that really mattered {unless she really is missing her mom now…and I suppose if she dies as a result….oops} and I decided to simply #beayesmom. And now we have a pet snail named Georgie.

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Jonah’s heart couldn’t be happier.

I love hearing your #beayesmom moments, so don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @theseareyourdays

 

Brooklyn’s Cookies are Better than Mine

I love having my kids help in the kitchen so any time they ask if they can make something or help me, I do everything I can to make it happen. Brooklyn wanted to make cookies this weekend so we pulled the margarine squares out Friday night to soften and when she woke up Saturday {AFTERNOON!! 115pm…haha}, it was the first thing she did.

Kids who bake these are your days making memories kitchenaid presidents choice chocolate chip cookies

I grabbed the bag of chocolate chips and figured she would just follow the recipe on the back, but I had no idea she had found a recipe herself and had it saved on her ipod – {Extraordinary Chocolate Chip Cookies from Life Made Delicious}. I gave her some tips {getting out all the ingredients first, mixing the margarine fully with each ingredient before adding the next, etc.} and then I left her to it, wanting to see how she’d do.

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My heart melted seeing her buzzing around the kitchen, doing her thing…AND wearing the dish towel over her shoulder just like I do.

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The dough looked {and tasted} delicious, but we all know that can sometimes be deceiving.

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Though not in the case because Brooklyn totally rocked it and the resulting cookies look better than any I’ve ever made. #truestory

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She’s hired.

I’m Glad My Kids Went Away For the Week #notwhatyouthink #18summers #theseareyourdays #makingmemories

Last Friday my cousin texted to see if I was willing to have her 4 kids for the night. {Obviously I said yes – I honestly love her kids and having extra kids over in general}. Then she even sweetened the deal, offering to take my kids back home with her for the week. #partyofsix

Say what?!

It’s usually difficult for me to accept help so my first reaction was to turn down the offer, but something stopped me. I knew I needed it….not a break from them. Not that at all. I needed them to have a fun week.

For the first time since going back to work 3 years ago, I’m hating that I’m working during their summer break. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE my job {seriously} and it’s only part time so I will still get time and lots of fun with them, but I want my stay at home mom time freedom back again. I hate that the bulk of their day is spent at the mercy of my working. The ability to get out and do fun things always has to wait until I’m off.

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18 Summers, my friends.

We only get 18 summers with our kids {if we’re lucky}….and I’m spending half of this one in the office, NOT with my kids. *cue tears* ~ I know I’m being dramatic, but let me. I know where my heart is and where it wants to be, and that’s making memories with my kids. I believe in living in the now…and feeling like I’m missing out on some of that is hitting me hard this year and simply making me feel the feels.

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BUT, knowing they were making memories with cousins and being sent daily photo updates plus nightly texts from my kids was the very next best thing. Because even though I may have been missing out, knowing they weren’t fills my cup in more ways than I can count.

Quite frankly, I have the best cousins. And so do my kids!

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{Haha…my cousin has never known a child to sleep like Brooklyn. She text me the third photo and said, *Should I be worried? Do you think she’s dead?* Bahahahahaha}

**A HUGE thank you to my amazing cousin, Laura of Laura Taylor Photography for taking my kids and providing me with these fabulous {iPhone} photo memories**

 

 

The Magic of Trying to #beayesmom ~ #theseareyourdays

It’s not the first time I’ve talked about this great piece of parenting advice I heard years ago, and it likely isn’t the last. It’s amazing the opportunities that present themselves, yes of course, usually during the times you are the most tired and worn out…but that’s also when the magic happens.

Case in point: My weeding day.

Do you remember these photos from my Instagram?

these are your days be a yes mom parenting making memories gardening

Let’s just first take a minute to consider not only the transformation, but how absolutely brutal this flower bed was to start. *covers eyes*

Now let me tell you what was going on behind the scenes and how this turned into a magical #beayesmom experience.

As I started to weed, Jonah asked if he could bring his cars out to play. I know, it sounds so simple and I have no issues with him playing outside or even, in some cases, bringing toys outside, The problem was, I didn’t want those toys to come outside, get dirty and then find their way back into the house.

So I tried to convince him not to.

For several minutes we went back and forth until it occurred to me…if they got dirty, he could always add a follow-up activity and bath {wash} them in the sink. Problem solved.

Of course, Jonah – bring out the toys!

And as a result, this was my view while I did the weeding. *cue heart swoon*

theseareyourdays making memories be a yes mom gardening

Happy to be outside playing, happy to be making memories and happy to be together.

Just like that it became one of those magical parenting moments and easily one of my favourite memories from that week. And to think, I just about missed it.

*I want to hear about your #beayesmom moments – tag me @theseareyourdays*

 

I Rented a Car for the First Time EVER! #enterprise #santabarbara #theseareyourdays #yearofme #madetoholiday

Shortly before my trip, I decided to look into renting a car instead of relying on cabs and my pretty little feet. Am I ever glad I did because for just $18/day my cousin and I had the freedom to go where our little hearts desired. It was easily the best decision of the trip – and going through Enterprise {car rental at the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport} was a brilliant choice.

First, booking online was EASY! And second, the staff were amazing and so accommodating!

The only trouble I had was trying to decide which size of vehicle to book. I ended up going for a full size which I quickly realized was not the best choice for me. I’m little so long cars are just awkward.

First up – The Buick Lacrosse, a beautiful car but just a bit too big for me. And, we’d soon find out, a little too big for the driveway cove we had to park in at our rental.

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Making me laugh about being old ladies with our Giant Buick. Hahaha

So, the next day we zipped back to the airport to see if there was something smaller that might work better. I wish I remembered the name of who helped me {same each time} because he was so great and got me set up right away with this smaller and also beautiful Chrysler 200.

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Totally more my jam {though truly I’m a small SUV girl through and through} – and $16 to fill from empty. SIXTEEN! Boy did I feel like a fool pre-authorizing for $40. hahaha

**Funny story: I went into the gas station to pre-pay and the gas attendant took my credit card and said, “So go fill up and then when you come back in we’ll charge your card.” – I sort of scoffed and said, “Oh, I’m not leaving my credit card with you! ~ Can’t you just pre-authorize it?”

His response, “Um yeah, I can.” **

Hahahahaha…Be careful people…I’m not saying he would have done anything, I’m just saying don’t take any unnecessary chances.

Final thought – Use Enterprise! {And don’t leave your credit card with random people} lol

I Got Propositioned at LAX #truestory #makesmelaugh #theseareyourdays #yearofme

Standing in the security line at LAX, anxious to make it through to my connecting flight, I started chatting with the lady in front of me, who was probably not much older than I am {mid-late 30’s}. Nothing unusual as I tend to make friends at every pit stop along the way any time I travel. She was beautiful so I told her {a habit I’ve resurrected from my younger years} and then we got chatting about where our travels were taking us.

She was heading to Costa Rica to spend a week with a friend of hers who lives there 6 months of the year and the other 6 somewhere here in Canada. She couldn’t remember where he worked/lived here which I thought was funny and a bit odd.

She told me I should go to Costa Rica and I agreed that it was on my list of places to see. Then she suggested trading personal information after getting through the line. Again, I agreed because it’s always fun to make new friends.

Then she suggested she give me her friend’s information as well so I’d have a contact if I ever made it there. Okay so I thought that was odd because I assumed they were a couple of sorts, but she put all the pieces together for me when she said,

“He’s so nice, a really nice man. He’s retired…”

And it all made sense.

We did not exchange information, though honestly I had zero time to even look for her after as I had to figure out how the heck to get to my connecting flight. But I couldn’t stop giggling about it.

Looks like this girl’s still got it 😉

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ME-OW

4am Travelling Isn’t My Jam #palmtoforehead #makesmelaugh #theseareyourdays #santabarbara #yearofme

My instagram post during my day of travel to Santa Barbara:

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4am travelling is clearly not my jam:

Shuttle driver asks what airline I’m flying 

Kiosk won’t read my passport 🙄

Typing error makes for a flight not found 

Goes to wrong line 

Drops passport 

Half trips over suitcase trying to pull luggage and turn phone off at the same time 

Buuuut I made it to my gate and now I wait! Also, I realize I look freakishly alien like but dude, 4am and just 2 hours of sleep *zz*

**Also, to add insult to injury, I banged my head on the overhead luggage getting off the place in Santa Barbara. Ha! You know the plane is tiny when….**

But it was all worth it to arrive to these:

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My First Experience With United Airlines Wasn’t Terrible… #united #santabarbara #theseareyourdays #yearofme

Of course most of you know how my return trip went, but for the purpose of this post, I’ll just tell you about my initial flight with United Airlines – heading to Santa Barbara.

It was completely uneventful. haha

Shortest post ever.

But seriously, took off from Calgary on time, caught my connecting flight {barely but that’s because LAX is the worst airport on the planet to navigate and it knows I think that so it does everything it can to ruin my life. I know I’m not the only one}, and landed in Santa Barbara without any issues at all. None.

In fact, I think we even landed a bit early. Gotta love that.

And within a short half hour, after getting off the plane and picking up my rental car, I was sitting at Goleta Park Beach {right by the airport} enjoying this view:

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And I knew Santa Barbara and I were going to get along just fine.

 

I Live for the Applause {Applause, Applause} #yyc #theseareyourdays #applausehotel #yearofme #hotwire

Hotwire got my cousin and I through a 3 week road trip in California about 6 years ago, and I know we’ve both used it several times since then. So when I decided to stay over in Calgary the night before my flight, it was the only place I checked.

I searched for hotels near the Calgary airport and, finding one under $100, booked right away. I had never heard of the Applause hotel but from what I could tell in my google search, it seemed nice.

The truth is, while I’m an easy sell for my hotel wins, I was blown away. It was stunning!

applause hotel calgary airport these are your days made to holiday year of me santa barbara eternal reflections photography travel blogger

Photo from website

The outside is new and modern looking, but really it was the inside that got me all smitten.

From the fun carpets {I told you I’m an easy sell haha}:

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To the Gorgeous Room {complete with bedside tic tacs!}:

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You can see a bit of it in the photo above, plus the LED light control remote for the

GLOWING BEDS!

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Seriously – glowing beds! How cool is that!?

And then the luxury bathroom *swoon*:

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Yes I should have removed the white towel from the shower door {covers eyes}, but check it out….luxury shower, complimentary toiletries {two toothbrushes, two loofas, makeup remover wipe, shower cap, etc} ~ I can honestly say I’ve never before taken so many things from a hotel haha,  fluffy white oversized bath towels, a ridiculously comfortable bath robe that I slept in, and a fabulous tv to watch whilst in the shower.

Sigh.

And then the gym ~ I absolutely love a hotel workout and this was no different:

applause hotel gym yyc airport these are your days santa barbara hotwire

Considering I haven’t been to the gym since {gasps}, I am sure glad I took the opportunity while there!

**My son is really wanting to stay at this hotel because of the glowing beds, but for those also considering the same, it’s worth noting there are just two hot tubs and no pool. I really think it’s intended to be more of an adults only hotel**

 

Planning My Santa Barbara Vacation #santabarbara #theseareyourdays #yearofme #madetoholiday

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Photo Credit: EF Santa Barbara on YouTube

Planning a trip is half the fun – I love figuring out not just where to go but what to do when I’m there, along with finding a place to stay, etc. I know for some this process can be stressful and even prevent trips from happening, so I thought I’d share what I did in the hopes of helping ease some of that stress and burden. You don’t have to think it’s as fun as I do, but it really doesn’t have to be complicated. 🙂

Here are the steps I took – posts dedicated to each topic are on their way!

Flights

Google Flights these are your days united airlines santa barbara made to holiday discover

This was the deciding factor for choosing Santa Barbara over LA or San Francisco. The flights weren’t cheaper but were comparable so I didn’t feel like there was a reason not to choose it {except with American and Alaska – *gasps*}. Using Google Flights was so easy, and for those of you who are leery of online purchases, the final booking and payment is done through the actual airline’s site. So awesome!

Accomodations

This was the tricky part. Hotels in Santa Barbara run an average of $300/night which for this trip was completely out of my budget. I wasn’t wanting a splurgy getaway but rather an affordable and stress free one. So I knew I was going to have to think of something else….and thank goodness I did because I discovered my new love, airbnb.

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Photo credit to

Radelle of Eternal Reflections Photography

Seriously, check it out. I was immediately sold and within just a few days had places saved all over the world for future getaways and family holidays. To save costs, I chose the least expensive place which was a guest room in a couples’ home. Because my cousin decided 4 days before to come along, I ended up cancelling my first booking to book a place with two beds instead. Still it was a guest room in a couples’ home and honestly, it was awesome! I will not hesitate to book that way again for solo (or duo lol) getaways.

Part II

applause hotel calgary airport these are your days made to holiday year of me santa barbara eternal reflections photography travel blogger

Photo from website

When I booked my flights, I chose the earliest one which meant I was leaving Calgary at 6am. It made the most sense to stay over in Calgary the night before and because of the early time, I did not want to rely on family or friends in the area. So I did a search on  {another fave site of mine} and was quite pleased to discover a lovely little treasure close to the airport that I can’t wait to tell  you about.

Parking

Again, because my flight was so early and I was staying the night before, I decided to try out the park and fly options around the airport {Park2Go is the one I chose}. It was absolutely the best and most convenient decision and also incredibly affordable.

Transportation

Because Santa Barbara is a pretty small city and easy to stay somewhere within walking distance to both the beach and downtown, I originally planned to just rely on that to get anywhere. But about 6 days before my trip, I decided to look into car rentals and within half an hour had one booked through Enterprise. haha

Activities

I really didn’t want my time to be jam packed with booked activities. This was not that kind of getaway, but I also didn’t want to go without any idea of what Santa Barbara had to offer. So I took to my friend Google and found my way to Trip Advisor, a fabulous resource no matter where you are heading {In fact it’s what I used to make my ridiculously long list for New Orleans}.

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Photo from Website

Aside from the beaches of course {oh so many amazing beaches}, I found The Condor Express, a whale watching tour company that had excellent reviews. It’s an item that’s been on my bucket list since I was a teenager and I was so excited to be able to finally do it. I decided it would be my one planned activity and spent the rest of the time focussing on where I wanted to eat. haha

Food

I had so much fun with this – Santa Barbara has SO many options for food, including 4 restaurants featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. I can’t be the only one who dreams of trying out all the wonderful places and food seen on that mouth-watering show!

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Logo photo from website

As it was, I tried just one of the four and the rest of the time my cousin and I googled and just made a random selection from the choices that came up. Seriously, also a really fun way to do it. Meals were enjoyed at Savoy Café and Deli {featured on DDD}, FisHouse, Garrett’s Old Fashioned Restaurant, Finch and Fork {in The Canary Hotel}, a local grocery store for on the go items {that I can’t remember the name of waaaa}, Opal, and the Santa Barbara Public Market.

Be prepared for Santa Barbara to take over my blog posts for the next while…there is so much to share!