All for the City!

Check this out! Recognize anyone? I was super lucky to be invited to be a part of this Sporting KC ad that is now airing on TV here in Kansas City! It’s been really fun hearing from people that have seen it and wanting to know if that was me saying “Olathe”…yes, it’s me! We filmed this a few weeks ago, and I had no idea it was airing, so I was pleasantly surprised to hear it was on during the Royals home opener AND the finale of The Walking Dead.

(And for those of you who have asked…no, I’m not actually from Olathe. TV magic!)

April Fools 2016

Happy April Fools Day! I feel like this is another one of those holidays you either love, or you totally can’t stand. I fall into the “love” category, but I forgot it was April Fools until a bit late, so I threw together some last minute pranks for the kids. But the best part was that Lucy had been looking for prank ideas herself, and had planned the SAME PRANKS to play on Tate that I was going to play on her. Great minds think alike! We froze cereal overnight for a silly breakfast, put googly eyes on the fruit in our fruit bowl, and Lucy also made some “brownies” (ahem…brown, E’s) for her class at school.

April Fools Ideas for Kids

Hope you all have a prank-filled, fun April Fools Day!

Photos + Tips + Tricks : Spring Break 2016

Clearwater Beach Sunset

I’m still in Spring Break Recovery Mode (Defcon 10). There is something to be said about traveling to a different time zone AND traveling on daylight savings time. Yikes. But was it worth it…? Um, yes, it was definitely worth it!

Clearwater Beach 2016

We spent the first few days staying at my parents’ condo in Dunedin, Florida (right outside of Clearwater) and visiting some of our favorite spots. This was a great way to save a little money, and we were so grateful for the option. We hadn’t been to Honeymoon Island in years, probably since Lucy was a baby, so I was really excited to spend the day there. It’s a Florida State National Park, so the wildlife and landscape are gorgeous! The kids loved the big waves and learning to body surf. They also made approximately 1 million sand castles. They are officially sand castle architects, and don’t you tell them otherwise! Sand castle making is apparently serious business. My parents have a yearly membership to the park, but you can get a day pass for $8 per car.

Honeymoon Island

We also spent a day at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, one of my absolute favorite places in Clearwater. If you’re ever in the area, this is a must-see. Before you visit, go watch the movie Dolphin Tale (available on Amazon) which tells the story of one of the aquarium’s stars, Winter the dolphin, who lost her tail in a crab trap incident. The CMA is a full time animal hospital, with a mission to rescue hurt or sick marine life, rehab them, and then release them back into the wild. When the animals are unable to be released due to medical issues, the CMA houses them and the public can enjoy them. I love the CMA because of it’s mission and because of how my daughter lights up whenever we visit. For some extra fun (and shorter ticket lines) try visiting the Winter’s Dolphin Tale Adventure exhibition, which is located just across the water from the aquarium. You can buy your aquarium tickets there, and then take either a trolley or the water ferry to the aquarium (for free!), skipping long lines and traffic. They also have tons of fun artifacts from the movie, and my kids got a kick out of seeing props from the movie in person.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

We decided to get a hotel on the beach for our last few days in the area, and we were so thankful the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach offered to host us! We adore the Hyatt for it’s beautiful amenities and awesome kids programs, and we were so pumped to stay there again. Clearwater Beach is busy this time of year, and buzzing with lots of activity. We had a beautiful room overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, but the kids rarely wanted to stay in the room! We spent most of our time outside, either at the beach or the incredible hotel pool. We also walked down to our favorite mini golf spot, rented a family bike, and spent some time at the Sunset on Pier 60 celebration, where we bought some local art and knick knacks to remember our trip (and if you’re following me on Snapchat, you saw some hilarious video of Tate dancing with a busker dressed as a transformer!). We were also lucky enough to have a kid-free afternoon, thanks to the Camp Hyatt program. We dropped the kids off for a few hours of crafts, pool time and fun, while Trent and I had lunch on the beach, read by the pool, and then topped it off with a massage at the Sandava Spa.

Clearwater Beach 2016

Clearwater Beach 2016

All in all, it was the perfect family vacation! A few random tips…if you’re staying at Clearwater Beach for your entire trip, there is a lot of public transportation, but since we were splitting our trip into two parts, we did end up renting a car. And we flew United for the first time in years, and I can’t say enough good things about them! Usually flying with the whole family can be a bit of a pain, but United did an awesome job. They actually sat us all together (which never happens) and the service was awesome. Yay for easy traveling!

Clearwater Beach 2016

(You can see our past tips and tricks for traveling to Clearwater with younger kids here.)

Clearwater Beach 2016

Clearwater Beach Travel Diary

Travel Diary : Spring Break 2016

We’re back! And we’re only mildly sunburned!

This Spring Break was probably my favorite family vacation yet. As the kids get older and our jobs get busier, I know we don’t always do a great job of spending “quality time” together, and this trip was a chance for us to spend time just being together. This time around I made myself the goal to try and capture more video of our family together. While I will always love still photographs, my background is actually in video production, and I love seeing moving images of our kids at different ages and stages. While I enjoy making these sorts of videos for clients, I haven’t been making them for our family lately, and I missed it!

The whole reason I got into this business in the first place was to document my own family’s lives, and while client work is amazing, this is the kind of stuff that gives me goosebumps and that we all crowd around watching in bed, laughing at our silly moments and remembering our adventures. There was a time not so long ago when my life certainly didn’t feel this joyful, and I feel like it’s my duty to capture these memories because it shows me that no matter how hard things are, life can and does get better. It takes time, patience, and lots of gummy bears, but it’s true. I hope many more of these Travel Diaries are in our future.

Music : La La Love by Animal Island (used with permission)
Filmed With : Canon 60D + Go Pro Hero4
Locations : Honeymoon Island, Florida + Clearwater Marine Aquarium + Clearwater Beach, Florida + Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Sunset 2014

Sunsets, Sand + Spring Break

Can you believe it’s already Spring Break?! Because I think I might be in denial. Scratch that, I’m totally in denial! But the kids are running around the house and there is no homework in sight, so I guess it’s really happening. We are hanging around home for a bit, and then we will be heading down to Florida for a few days to spend some time with parents and soak up some much needed beach time. I’m so excited because the Hyatt Regency in Clearwater Beach is hosting us for a few nights while we are in the area, and we had such a wonderful time the last time we stayed there! It’s perfect for families with kids, with it’s Camp Hyatt program giving the kids tons to do during the day and providing much needed childcare in the evening so mom and dad can go out and enjoy a romantic dinner overlooking the water.

Clearwater Sunset 2014

I’ll be back to blogging as soon as we are back, but while we are away, feel free to check out my Instagram for updates! You can view the my Instagram images below or you can follow me @crazy_bananas over there!

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