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Who Am I?

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  • January 2, 2018

My husband taught a Bible study recently, and during part of it, he rattled off a huge long list of truths that the Bible states about who I am.

Well, not me specifically, but “me” as in one of God’s children.

And I loved that list so much that I wanted to put it down in writing so that  I can come back and reference it again and again, anytime I need some truth spoken over my life. And I wanted to put that list right here so that you can do the same.

So you ready to see what God says about who YOU are?

  • I am a child of God (John 1:12)
  • I have peace with God (Romans 5:1)
  • The Holy Spirit lives in me (1 Corinthians 3:16)
  • I have access to God’s wisdom (James 1:5)
  • I am helped by God (Hebrews 4:16)
  • I have Christ’s righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21)
  • I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength (Phillipians 4:13)
  • I am the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13)
  • I am the light of the world (Matthew 5:14)
  • I am a member of Christ’s body (1 Corinthians 12:27)
  • I am sanctified (Hebrews 2:11)
  • I am one of God’s living stones, being built up in Christ as a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5)
  • I am a member of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession and created to sing his praises (1 Peter 2:9-10)
  • I have been made complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10)
  • I have been given a spirit of power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7)
  • I have great and precious promises from God (2 Peter 1:4)
  • My needs are met by God (Phillipians 4:19)
  • I am a prince (or princess) in God’s kingdom (1 Timothy 6:15)
  • I have been bought with a price, I belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
  • I am assured all things are working together for my good (Romans 8:28)
  • I am free from any condemning charges against me (Romans 8:1)
  • I cannot be separated from the love of God (Romans 8:35)
  • I am confident the good work God has begun in me will be perfected (Phillipians 1:6)
  • I am a personal witness for Christ (Acts 1:8)

How’s that for some New Year’s affirmations?!?

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The Mentality That Might Be Stunting Your Spiritual Growth

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  • November 8, 2017

For the past month, I’ve been reading a book that has been rocking my world. (And, yes, I said month. I have two small children and I’m basically relegated to reading while I’m sitting in the bathroom with my almost-three-year old, waiting for her to do her business. It’s a glamorous life, y’all.)

The book is called Nothing to Prove and it’s written by Jennie Allen, who is the founder of the IF:Gathering. The book delves into the idea of being “enough”, and how that lines up with Biblical principles. It’s basically a perfectionists 12-step guide to recovery (it’s not exactly 12 steps, but you get the idea). It is exactly what my soul has been needing – each and every word jumps off the page at me and I find myself highlighting the pages furiously, desperate to retain the freedom that it’s speaking into my heart.

But one of the most recent passages I read not only jumped off the page at me, it then proceeded  to slap me in the face and say, “Do you get it now?!” And I do. I do get it. So let me do my best to share it with you.

In this chapter, Jennie is talking about her son, Cooper, whom she adopted from Rwanda. At the time he was adopted, he was the oldest child at the orphanage. He’d spent his entire life there and watched child after child get adopted, all the while being left behind. But Jennie says that when she asked Cooper if he ever thought that he might not get a family he replied, “I knew you were gonna come, Mama.” He always had the vision of being adopted. He always believed that his time would come.

She writes:

“If you and I could hold on to a clear vision and hope of a secure home and a God coming for us, I believe it would rest and still our fearful self-protective hearts. Why do we struggle to believe that Jesus has come for us? Why do we keep checking out with distractions and addictions? Why do we hold back from all that God wants from us? Even if we are doing some of it, why do our hearts so often feel discouraged and downtrodden, worn thin? Why, if we really believe that heaven is coming and it’s not that far away?”

As I read these questions, I found myself answering them all the same: “I don’t know.”

When we look at Jesus’ miracles in the New Testament, they SCREAM the message of abundant life. When he turned water into wine, he made sure there was more than enough for everyone. When he met the woman at the well, he offered her water that would satisfy her thirst FOREVER. When he bid Simon Peter to cast his net into the sea, they caught so many fish that their net was breaking. When he fed the 5,000, there was so much left over that the disciples each had a basket full to themselves.

When Jesus steps in, there is always ENOUGH.

But, unfortunately, we’ve been trained to live with a scarcity mentality. In the natural world, we grow up being told there’s a limited amount of resources: things, money, success. Whatever it may be, we’re told there’s not enough to go around. We have the mindset that “blessing” lives inside a 10-gallon bucket, and if she gets some, that means there’s less that  I can get. Or if I use up all of God’s grace today, there will be none left for tomorrow. It leads to feelings of hopelessness, jealousy, and worst of all, bitterness.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV)

His grace is not only sufficient, it’s unlimited. So instead of focusing on all that we DON’T have, we need to shift our perspective that all that God DOES have. Blessings, grace, mercy, love, abundance. He is the purveyor of all these things and more, so I don’t need to try to obtain them on my own. As a matter of fact, that scripture above tells me that the more I’m willing to admit my shortcomings, the more he can display all his power in my life. I don’t have to try and beat you out for the blessings of God, I just have to beat out my own ego. That part of me that wants to be enough all on my own.

The scarcity mentality is not one that’s meant for a son or daughter of the Most High. He came to bring us – ALL of us – abundant life (John 10:10). He has unlimited blessing buckets for each of us and He’s eagerly awaiting the moment that He can cover our weaknesses with more than enough to go around.

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Traveling With Tiny Humans: Worth It Or No?

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  • September 19, 2017

The last couple of months have been totally helter-skelter. Our family has been walking through a trying time, and we’ve tried our best to take a step back, slow down, and refocus ourselves on what’s important. And quality time with each other is at the top of that list.

So over the past several months, we’ve found ourselves taking several spontaneous road trips. Travel is therapy for my husband and I; we try to take at least one international trip a year, and we rarely travel to the same place twice. Exploring new cites and new cultures is totally exhilirating for us and connects us in such a special way. Our travel memories we’ve created over the past 7 years of marriage are some of the most precious moments that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

But here’s the deal. Up until this past month, we had never taken kids with us on an out-of-the-country trip (or even any of of our longer cross-country trips, for that matter). It’s not that we’re opposed to it, but our kids are young and doing that kind of travel with them just honestly sounded like more hassle than it was worth. But at the beginning of August, we decided to change that – we did our first international trip with both of our kiddos.

We didn’t go anywhere too exotic – we went to Canada – but there were still lots of lessons to be learned. And we actually ended up covering a lot of ground in a pretty short amount of time. We started out in Toronto, travelled over to Montreal, then came down through Vermont, and stopped off at Niagara Falls before heading home. And this was all done in 6 days! It was a whirlwind, to say the least.

When JP and I travel, we’re very used to leaving our hotel in the morning and maybe being gone all day – walking around, seeing the sights, stopping to eat whenever. Ya know, just basically being totally selfish with our time. And it’s awesome. But obviously, when you’re traveling with kids, it’s a different story. We’re on THEIR time and THEIR schedule. We had to plan our days around being able to spend some time back at our hotel in the afternoon so that our youngest could rest. We had to make a more solid plan of what we’d be doing while we were out so we could plan accordingly. Should we pack a change of clothes? Bring snacks? How far will we be walking? Will we need the stroller and will it be a pain to have with us? (Montreal had lots of cobblestone streets. Totally charming, but a big pain to push a stroller.) Are the places we’re going kid-friendly? Overall, there’s just a lot more to consider before walking out the door in the morning.

And obviously, there’s a lot less leisure time for things like reading books or taking luxurious hotel bubble baths. Womp womp.

But if you’re asking me if it’s worth it to expose my kids to something new and different, the answer is yes. One-thousand percent.

We want to foster a love for exploring in our children. We want them to be curious about other cultures and the way other people live. We want their passports filled with stamps and their hearts filled with memories . To us, it’s worth it to struggle through the inconveniences, knowing that we’re expanding their little minds and helping shape them into people that have a genuine fascination and care for the world around them.

And a funny thing happened. I felt like our kids formed a stronger bond with each other through their shared experiences. Our kids have always gotten along pretty well, but I felt like I could see them actually forming a really sweet friendship and it totally melted my heart.

Don’t get me wrong, JP and I will definitely still travel alone because it’s SO good and refreshing for us and our marriage. But I’m also looking ahead excitedly to our next whole-family adventure. <3

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Life Wellness

I Met People From The Internet And I Didn’t Die

This time last month, I was just getting home from a trip I took out to Salt Lake City for the Young Living Convention. It was an amazing 5 days full of education and time spent with incredible friends. But you wanna know the weird thing? For the most part, it was only my first (max, second) time meeting most of these  ‘incredible friends.’ And I know a lot of people probably think it’s strange that you could call someone an ‘incredible friend’ without ever having met them, but I’m here to tell you that the Internet is a magical place and it can absolutely happen.

If you know me IRL, you know that I’m mildly obsessed with my essential oils. And when I say mildly….I mean completely. They’ve transformed the way I think and feel about our family’s health and opened my eyes to a more natural way of living. They’ve done incredible things for us. But that’s not the basis of what I want to talk about. I want to talk about the relationships I’ve formed because of those little bottles.

I had no idea when I bought my starter kit that there was a business to be made from it. (Like, literally…I didn’t know the business side of Young Living even existed.) And I certainly had no idea that I would be thrust into a huge group of some of the most genuine, caring women I’ve ever met. But that’s what happened. I was introduced to a community of other like-minded mommas and women and they became my support system as I started out on my wellness journey and dove into building a business. Over time, I began to forge real relationships with them – friendships that I truly cherish. We encourage one another, celebrate accomplishments together, brainstorm, dream, pray for each other, and share our hearts a lot – both good and bad. And it’s all done over the Internet. Crazy, I know.

In my earlier days of blogging..when I had hundreds of blogs in my RSS feed and followed so many of them religiously…I felt like I ‘knew’ so many of my favorite bloggers just from the daily glimpses they shared into their lives. I remember reading about real friendships that had started through blogging – like two of my favorites, Sherry Petersik and Katie Bower – and I would think, “Wow, that’s so cool. These two women share similar passions and the Internet brought them together!” But I sort of figured that same thing probably wouldn’t happen to me. I mean, how likely is it that you could meet someone on the Internet that could really turn into someone you hang out with in real life?! Turns out it’s more likely than you think.

I’m saying all this to say, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and try something new. Don’t be afraid to pursue your passion relentlessly. And more importantly, be open to the relationships that you might stumble across during your pursuit. Don’t write those relationships off as ‘less valuable’ just because you can’t physically sit down for coffee together or have a play date. Because you might just get lucky enough to turn those social media friendships into something far more valuable than a ‘like’ here and there.


The Phrase That’s Changing The Way I Think

Several weeks ago, I witnessed an exchange that instantly made something click in my brain. It was one of those lightbulb, total epiphany-type moments.

I was at the gym getting my bike setup for spin class. I hopped on and started slowly cycling, getting warmed up for the hour that was ahead of me. (SIDE NOTE: it never fails that 20 minutes into spin class, I think I’m going to die, but then once the hour is over I feel like I could punch through a brick wall. Exercise – go figure.) As I was pedaling, I could hear the ladies in front of me talking to each other. Lady 1 was talking about some kind of triathlon/mud-run thing she was training for – ya know, the kind of thing that makes me want to completely give up on fitness altogether, grab a sleeve of Oreos, and Netflix the rest of my life away.

She was trying her best to convince Lady 2 to start training and do it with her.

LADY 1: You should *totally* start training with me. It would be so fun if we could do it together!
LADY 2: I’m not sure I’d really enjoy it…
LADY 1: Oh, sure you would! We can keep each other accountable and I promise you’ll love it!
LADY 2: Sounds like a big commitment…
LADY 1: But think about how awesome it will be if we can finish together!!
LADY 2: Nah, it’s just not for me.


Wait – maybe you guys didn’t catch that, so let me break it down.

It’s. Not. For. Me.

Holy cow, do you understand the POWER in that statement?!

We live in a world where everyone has an opinion and everyone is right.  How can that be possible, you ask? I’m not really sure, but ask the millions of people on Facebook that feel they need to weigh in on every topic great and small. The social media echo chamber makes us feel like we’re justified in giving people advice they never asked for. Like we’re qualified to weigh in on situations and circumstances that we only know 140 characters about. It’s a dangerous place to be, guys.

And this is coming from someone who LOVES social media. Really, I do. I’ve met some incredible people online – people that I consider close friends – and I love sharing pictures & stories and seeing those same kinds of things from other people I love. It’s wonderful and amazing that I can keep up with all my friends that are literally scattered around the globe.

But the shaming? Oh man. It’s real and it’s ugly. It’s not becoming of us, as humans, and certainly not for me, as a daughter of the King. Just because it’s easy for me to tell someone what I think doesn’t mean that I should. The Internet could stand for a good dose of the Golden Rule.

So when I heard this phrase – “it’s not for me” – somewhere in my brain, there was a tiny person jumping up and down in celebration. It’s not like I haven’t heard it before, but it just clicked in a whole new way. When Lady 2 responded that way, it let Lady 1 know that the answer was “no”, but in the most positive way possible. It didn’t put down Lady 1’s choice in any way or make it seem like Lady 2 was too far above that request. It’s an elegant response that says it’s ok if we’re not the same. If you choose something different than me, it doesn’t make you less than. It makes you YOU.

I think this is especially important for mamas. Parenting choices are deeply personal and there’s not a one-size-fits-all manual for this parenting gig. So being scrutinized by the people around you can be total agony. Especially if it’s on social media, where those people may or may not even actually know you. Raising kids is a tough, often thankless job and a little kindness & encouragement can go a long way towards making someones day – maybe even their whole WEEK.

It’s ok if we’re not the same. It’s ok if we don’t always agree. I will still celebrate you and your triumphs & joys, and I hope you’ll do the same for me. And the next time I see those Internet trolls just baiting me to weigh in with an opinion, I’m gonna roll right on by because, you know what? It’s not for me.

Before & After Home Decor/ Interior Design

Kitchen Updates

Hooray, it’s May!!! (And for all you Star Wars fiends, May the 4th be with you!)

So you guys may remember (but probably not) wayyyyy back in August of 2015 when I talked about us FINALLY getting around to updating our kitchen a little. You can see more about that here.  Well, I’m here (21 months later) to give you an update!!! Better late than never, amirate??!?

As a reminder, here’s where we started when we moved in.

It looks like the blah patrol threw up all over everything.

After we moved in, we did a couple of quick updates – namely paint and a new fridge.

The green definitely spiced things up, but I got tired of it after approximately 3 days. Yet it stayed that color for approximately 4 years. *Oops*

But I am thrilled to say that we have actually made some *real* progress now that I’m super stoked about.

So far, we painted the kitchen in one my favorite shades (Semi Sweet by Valspar), got a new table and chairs, took down a couple of the cabinets to replace them with some open shelving/mug rack, painted the remaining cabinets white, and upgraded the stove, dishwasher, and microwave.

Here’s what left on our checklist: hardware for the cabinets, new countertop, and adding a subway tile backsplash. Can.not.WAIT. until this project is officially checked off the list!

Cooking Domestic Stuff

Head To Head: Meal Delivery Services

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  • April 12, 2017

If I’ve ever cooked a meal for you, then you already know: I’m not a cook. It’s not something that comes naturally to me – most of the time,  I can find a way to screw up even the simplest recipe. But in an effort to not feed my family #allthefastfood, I try my best to cook meals at home when I can. However, there are only so many times you can have spaghetti, chicken tacos, and hamburgers before you start to lose it a little. So when I got a coupon for Blue Apron in the mail, I decided it might be nice to test the waters of the meal delivery service world. We ended up trying out 3 different options, so I thought I’d compare those 3 head to head for anyone that’s looking to spice up their cooking routine!

Blue Apron

  • Price: $59.94
  • Number of Meals: 3
  • Serving Size: 2 people

First up is Blue Apron. This is probably the first company that pops to mind when you think about these kinds of services. Also, I should mention that I had a $30 off coupon for our first delivery, so we actually only paid $29.94. When this box got delivered, we were in the middle of a specific fast so we chose the 3 vegetarian meal options. I am by no means a vegetarian, but I actually really enjoy trying to eat vegetarian for at least a couple meals a week, so this was an awesome way to try out some new recipes. The 3 meals we received were: Mushroom & Spinach Stromboli, Fresh Fettucine, and Creamy Ricotta & Lacinato Kale Strata. Sounds fancy, right??

I started with the Stromboli because it was the least intimidating. The instructions were all spelled out on the back:

The estimated time for this recipe was 15 minutes prep and 35-45 minutes cook time. Seeing as I’m #notachef, prep took me more like 25 minutes. Chopping stuff is hard, guys. But other than that, the recipe went fairly smoothly. Except for the dough part. Working with bread dough is not for amateurs and by the time I had all my filling stuffed in there, it looked like a murder scene. Luckily, that didn’t effect the taste.

It was REALLY yummy. Both hubby and I devoured ours, leaving no shred of that delicious ricotta behind. We had similar experiences with the other two recipes as well. Slightly intensive prep, really delicious, flavorful recipe.

So here’s my breakdown for Blue Apron:

  • Price: With the coupon we had it was a great deal, but $60 for 3 meals is a little extravagant for us on a weekly basis.
  • Portion Size: All of our meals were intended for 2 people, but the portion sizes were generous so you could definitely sneak in a small child or have a little bit leftover for the following day.
  • Difficulty: The prep was labor intensive for these, probably partly due to the fact that they were all vegetarian (lots of veggie chopping, duh). We used lots of ingredients that I wouldn’t use on a normal basis, but that was kind of a nice change-up. The instructions were easy to follow, though, so really my only complaint is prep/cook time. On average, these meals took me 50-60 minutes to cook from start to finish.
  • Taste: I’m not an adventurous eater, so the ‘fanciness’ of these recipes kind of made me give them side eye. But all the recipes we tried were really flavorful and delicious. Even Everly went stinkin’ crazy over the beet fettuccine. So, I’m happy that these recipes pushed me a little outside of my comfort zone!
  • Ingredient Quality: All of our ingredients were very fresh on arrival. We got our box on a Tuesday – I cooked the first meal that night, the second meal on Thursday, and the last meal the following Monday. I will say that the ingredients for the meal I cooked on Monday were starting to look a little rough. It would probably be best if you could cook all meals within the first 3-4 days after receiving the box!
  • Kid-Friendly: The fanciness of these recipes was kind of fun for JP and I, but not so much for the kids. Based on looks alone, the kids pretty much turned up their noses. In my opinion, unless you have non-picky kids (which, if so, please tell me your secrets), these meals probably won’t go over super well with them.
  • Overall Impression: We really enjoyed our meals from Blue Apron, and I’m sure the more I got practice, the easier the prep part would become. I think the things that would keep us from doing this on a regular basis would be the price and the fact that the meals aren’t a huge hit with my kids.

Hello Fresh

  • Price: $59.94
  • Number of Meals: 3
  • Serving Size: 2 people

After Blue Apron, we went to Hello Fresh. Again, I had a coupon code so we ended up paying around $30 for our first shipment. Our first 3 meals from them were: Melty Monterey Jack Burger, Lean Mean Chicken & Greens, and Pork DIY Dumplings.

One thing I really liked about Hello Fresh as compared to Blue Apron was that the ingredients for each meal (aside from the meat) were packaged up in a nice little box that you could easily slide into the fridge. So when it came time to cook, there was no hunting around for the ingredients you needed.

Let’s get right to the breakdown:

  • Price: The pricing was exactly the same as Blue Apron, so no change there.
  • Portion Size: The portion sizing was not as generous as Blue Apron, so don’t count on it serving anymore than 2 people.
  • Difficulty: The directions were easy to follow and, for the most part, prep & cook time were basically what you would expect. The pork dumplings were a bit more labor intensive, but the other two were pretty straight forward. On average, these meals took me 45-50 minutes to cook from start to finish.
  • Taste: The dumplings were really tasty. I had high hopes for the burger, but it just didn’t turn out as great as I had hoped. The chicken meal was pretty bland/basic. 
  • Ingredient Quality: Everything looked pretty good when it arrived. The greens for the chicken meal were a little bit wilted, and by the time I got to cooking that one, there was a large chunk of the greens that I couldn’t use because they had gone bad. I probably should’ve cooked that one first, but I’m a rebel.
  • Kid-Friendly: I would say these were slightly more kid friendly. We were able to get our kids to try the dumplings and some of the chicken/potatoes.
  • Overall Impression: The packaging was convenient and I’m a sucker for good packaging. The recipes were a bit simpler and more straight forward, but I wasn’t as impressed with the taste. And, again, the pricing would keep me from doing this on a regular basis.


  • Price: $72
  • Number of Meals: 3
  • Serving Size: 2 people

The last meal delivery service we tried was Plated. I feel like this one is lesser known, but I had a friend that passed along a promo code for me so I used that to get a discount for our first delivery. The meals we got from them were: Cheesy Baked Rice, Chicken Bruschetta, and Brown Butter Orecchiette.

The packaging for these ingredients was somewhere in between Blue Apron (where the ingredients are basically loose, for the most part) and Hello Fresh. Each meal’s ingredients (aside from any meat) were sealed in a plastic bag. Here’s my breakdown on this one:

  • Price: This is the most expensive of the 3 we tried.
  • Portion Size: With the pasta meals (cheesy baked rice, and the orecchiette), you could probably carve out a small portion for leftovers. Not so much with the chicken since they only sent two breasts.
  • Difficulty: The prep for all these was very simple, and for the most part, I only had to dirty a couple dishes to get them cooked (huge bonus!). On average, these meals took me 35-40 minutes to cook from start to finish. Definitely the simplest prep/cook time of the 3 we tried.
  • Taste: The orecchiette was super delicious, JP loved the cheesy baked rice (I thought it was alright), and the chicken bruschetta was basically what you would expect, but nothing special.
  • Ingredient Quality: The ingredients were really fresh and stayed that way until I was ready to cook!
  • Kid-Friendly: These recipes were probably the most kid-friendly of the 3 service we tried. Our kids loved the cheesy baked rice (probably because the veggies were hidden under cheese, duh), and we even got them to eat a little of the orecchiette.
  • Overall Impression: As far as cooking goes, these were very simple to prepare, and the taste was decent overall. These are they types of meals I could see myself preparing on a regular basis, however, the price leaves a LOT to be desired.

If we were to choose on service to do on a somewhat-regular basis (maybe once a month or something), it would probably be Blue Apron. If you are single, or don’t have kids, I think these would be a nice thing to do on a more regular basis. In my opinion, though, these kinds of services are not practical for a family of four to do on a regular basis based on the cost alone. BUT! It’s definitely something fun to do every once in a while, and it’s great for pushing yourself outside of your cooking comfort zone – I collected all the recipes that we liked in a binder, so I can go back and make them for us later.

I still have some coupon codes for a couple of these services, so if you’re interested in trying them out, you can leave your e-mail in the comments for a free Blue Apron delivery (I have 5) or use the link below to get a discount on your first Hello Fresh delivery!

Hello Fresh


A Day In The Windy City

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  • March 29, 2017

My sweet little Roarke David turned 4 last week. I tried my best to stop it, I told him he wasn’t allowed to get any older, but he went ahead and did it anyway. Rude.

Something that I’m a bit of a firm believer in is giving our kids experiences, rather than gifts. They have SO much stuff – in fact, I’m getting ready to do another purge – and in the end, I’d rather we make fun memories together than give him yet another toy that will be broken or lost in 6 months. For a brief second, we considered surprising him with a quick Disney World trip, but when we really started adding up the costs of said trip, it didn’t make that much sense to spend so much money for only a couple days. We’ll wait on that trip until we can really have the time to enjoy it!

So we settled on somewhere close by – Chicago! Our boy is OBSESSED with Lego’s and, as luck would have it, there’s a Legoland in Chicago so we knew it would be the perfect spot to celebrate him! And rather than just go up for the day, we decided to up the ante and just make a mini vacay of it.

Monday morning we set out on the 2 hour trek north. I know what you’re thinking – “Uhhhh, 2 hours is NOT a long trip, Dacia. It’s hardly a trek.” But with 2 kids and no TV (we took the Prius instead of the van to cut down on gas costs), it might as well have been the Iditarod Trail. And obviously, we had to stop halfway through to feed the little hyenas. We found the cutest little diner called Tyler’s Tender – it was the PERFECT spot for the kids. There was a huge electric train set up that they could watch endlessly, arcade games, and even a mini train that they could take a ride in. We’ll probably make this our permanent stopping point for trips to Chicago with the kiddos!

From there, we set out for Legoland. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the question “Are we there yet?” so much in my life. But eventually (after some rough Chicago traffic) we made it!

It happened to be Spring Break week, so it was fairly crowded. Pro tip: buy your tickets online in advance so you can skip the line. It’s not a huge place, but there’s some fun stuff to see inside. They had a replica of the entire Chicago shoreline built out of Lego’s – so impressive!

They also had a jungle area with life-size Lego animals, a Star Wars room, and several spots where you could just sit and build. I honestly think Roarke could’ve sat at one of those tables for 2 hours! Upstairs, they have a cafe and play area, along with a fun little 4D Lego movie. There are also a couple mini-rides you can do. And obviously, on your way out they have a store where you can buy Lego sets. Overall, it was a really great thing to do, especially with kids on the younger side. It wasn’t so big that we were exhausted by then end, but it was easy to spend a couple hours there and the kids really enjoyed it. They’ve already asked (several times) when we’re going back.

Afterwards, we loaded up and headed back into the city (Legoland is out in one of Chicago’s suburbs, so keep that in mind if you’re planning to travel there!) to our hotel. We stayed right downtown at a place called the Freehand. This place was SUPER cool. It’s basically an upscale hostel – you can rent out a single bed in one of their rooms for pretty cheap. We rented a whole room and the kids thought it was the coolest thing ever that we all had bunk beds!

The vibe at this place was amazing (they had lots of local events and meet-ups happening right in the hotel) and all the decor was totally on point.

That light. #allthehearteyes

The next morning we woke up and hit up one of our favorite donut spots: Stan’s Donuts. A definite must-try if you’re in the area! This activity was definitely kid (and parent) approved.

All in all, it was a successful little trip for us and there were lots of memories made. Believe it or not, this was our first overnight trip with just our little family of 4 (besides visiting family of course), so I was actually kind of anxious about it being a disaster, but JP and I both commented on what a pleasant day it was and how well the kids did for being totally off their schedules. I am SO glad we did this instead of buying Roarke a toy – I think it will be a birthday tradition!

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