• American Samoa (Tutuila),  Travel

    Our Return To Samoa 2019 — The First Days

      Well, we’ve been off the communications grid for the past few days, including internet access, social media, etc. Man, traveling internationally with our 7 year old, 4.5 year old, and 1 year old twins is no joke! In a 4 day span, we’ve passed through three times zones and spent 17 hours on a plane—2 of which were 6+ hour non-stop flights. We’ve been getting settled here in American Samoa and dealing with some emotional outbursts from the kids (which is to be expected, but doesn’t mean it’s easy!). Thankfully we’re finally catching up on some severe lack of sleep and getting onto the Samoan schedule…just in time to…

  • Family,  Parenting

    Progress in Parenting

    I haven’t listened to the latest parenting podcast. I haven’t read the most recent hit how-to book on “being the best mom ever”. And I haven’t scrolled through the numerous posts on social media about why moms do (or don’t) have “mom guilt”, although I have certainly seen them before. And none of these are bad, in fact I’m sure many are really encouraging and insightful and I would like to catch up on it someday. But see, that’s the thing. I just don’t have time for that right now. All I know is that I’m on this rollercoaster called Motherhood that has it’s highs and lows (honestly mostly highs…

  • Food

    Best {healthy} Frozen Pizza

    So you’re craving pizza (or your family is craving pizza), but you don’t want to order something OR make something from scratch. AND you don’t want to buy something in a box from the store that has a gazillllllion ingredients. Well, I compromised and bought something in a box from the store that DOESN’T have a gazillion ingredients and it’s healthy and delicious. And I know the phrase “healthy and delicious” is not always true when buying something pre-made from the store, but you guys….this is actually HEALTHY AND DELICIOUS. The crust is unlike any other “healthy” crust I’ve tried…and trust me, I’ve tried my fair share, including cauliflower crusts,…

  • American Samoa (Tutuila),  One Year in Samoa,  Travel

    Pola Island & Tuafauna Trail

    American Samoa is probably one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Not even probably…definitely. I may be biased since I was privileged to live there for a year and take in the full cultural experience and witness tropical beauty on a daily basis…..buuut you’d be crazy to agree that it’s not gorgeous, right?? Here you can see Pola Island, a great natural nesting area for sea birds. It lies across Vatia Bay, where the snorkeling was always on point with something exciting to see. We had friends who always saw rays, while I always seemed to miss them, darn! It’s hit or miss with the snorkeling….you never know…

  • New Zealand,  Travel,  Utah

    New Zealand Countryside

    “The land of the long white cloud” is the nearest translation of “Aotearoa”, the Māori name for New Zealand. I took hundreds of breathtaking photos during our vacation 18 months ago and I’m dreaming of the day we can return to the land of the long white cloud. Scenes like this, or “The Shire” as I liked to call every single hillside while I busily snapping away photos during our cross country drives, definitely add to the numerous reasons of why I will be returning someday. And the cows! The cows are everywhere. It’s no wonder “New Zealand Grass-Fed Beef” is desirable stuff because it’s wild and free all over…

  • Family,  Parenting

    Baby Wearing – Ring Sling & Twingo Carrier Reviews

    The twins are 11 weeks old! Woohoo! So, I finally gave my Maya Wrap Ring Sling a try….and it’s kind of amazing. I watched a couple of YouTube videos and learned how to thread the ring, put on the sling, and place the baby. It was magical to be holding my baby hands-free!  Now I just need to figure out how to wear it with twins…  Update: I never wore the ring sling with 2 babies. I just felt like it was too experimental with precious little bodies to keep snug and secure!   So instead….behold the TWINGO carrier. It’s seriously a lifesaver! The twins are nearly 14 months old…

  • Family,  Parenting

    Twin Birth Story

    Well, it’s a month later, but the details on the birth of my 2 girls are as clear as ever, due to one main reason: C-section. The day had come and labor had not…I was at 38 weeks. The doctors did not want to wait any longer to get these babies out (just the protocol for twins at Duke University Hospital), and so the date had been set for December 11, 2018 for either induction of natural delivery if baby ‘A’ on bottom was in a head-down position OR Cesarean section if she was still breech or transverse. The frustrating part for me up until that point was that she…