Happy Father’s Day, Big T

Shortly after Little T was born, I told Big T that I was thinking of starting my own business. He said if anyone could do it, he knew I could. Since the moment the idea popped into my head, he’s been my biggest supporter. 

Anyone who has started their own business knows it’s kind of like having another child. You put so much of your heart, energy, and life into it. The first two years were a blur. I don’t remember much, but I do know that somehow Big T took  care of our little family, even with a full time job of his own. Big T never complained about having to pick up the slack when I worked 60+ hour weeks, and has been cheering me on since day 1. While I dont remember a lot from those two years, I do have a vivid memory of Little T watching the movie Brave with Big T. There’s this part where Merida is being shown potential suitors. One of them was a big burly man who turned out to be standing in front of a thin skinny guy who was her real suitor.

 When Little T saw this burly hunky man, he looked at Big T and with the utmost sincerity said, “Daddy, that man looks just like you!” In Little T’s mind, Big T was/is nothing short of a superhero. 🙂 Big T and I have our fair share of highs and lows, but he’s a super hero in my eyes too, always there supporting us in everything we do. I’ve loved discovering what wonderful dad he is, and I know that he will always have a beautiful and strong bond with Little T. 

I guess what I’m trying to say is, Happy Father’s Day Big T! Thank you for steaming my rice every week, thank you for always making sure I don’t fall asleep on the couch, and thank you for making pancakes for Little T every Saturday, and doing all those amazing little things that Dads just do. You really are a super dad, and I’m so grateful to be going through life with you at my side. ❤️


Escape Rooms – What’s all the fuss about?

Hey friends! Big T and I have been playing a lot of Escape Rooms lately. We’ve  had such a great time playing and a few people have asked us about them, so I thought I’d share! 🙂

I really do think Escape Rooms are the next big thing in family entertainment. It’s not enough to ride attractions anymore- people are looking for immersive environments that require them to be active players. In Harry Potter World, we have wands that let you cast spells around the park, and I’ve heard the new Star Wars area at Disneyland is also going to be very immersive. People are getting out and playing Pokémon Go in their environment, and virtual reality glasses are becoming a thing. Escape rooms are falling right in line, and are offering a unique experience that requires guests to be the main players in the show.

What is an Escape Room?

An escape room is a puzzle room. Each room has a theme and a problem to solve, and it’s your job to solve it within an hour. In the rooms we’ve played; we’ve stopped a nuclear bomb from being launched in Cold War Bunker, broken into a lab to find an antidote in Sector 13, attempted to escape during a prison riot, and found the treasured Crimson Heart pirate jewel in Crimson Storm.

How do Escape Rooms Work?
Each room has a series of puzzles that you are required to complete. When you arrive at the room, your Game Host will go over the rules and give you your mission. After that, she will bring you into the room where the countdown will begin. The better rooms will have a wide variety of clues that are themed and interactive, with a few exciting high tech clues involved. We’ve been to a few rooms where the theming has left a lot to be desired, and we’ve been to a few where we felt like we were right there in a cold laboratory, racing to find the zombie cure before zombies took over the world! It’s important to do a little research and make sure the room is a great one.

The rooms are timed with an hour to escape (they aren’t really locked and you can leave at any time). They have a game host watching, so if you need help, you can ask for a hint. They are such a great experience, and I strongly suggest going out for coffee or drinks afterwards, because chances are you will have a lot to talk about once the room is done!

Common Escape Room Questions:

  1. Are you actually trapped in the room? No, you are never be locked in a room. You can leave at any time and the person running the room will go over the exits before the room starts.
  2. Do you have to be good at puzzles? I think it’s more important to have a good team. A lot of puzzles I’ve encountered are hands on and require multiple people to solve. For example, a few times we’ve experienced puzzles that have had one person in one room directing a person in a second room, with a third person passing items back and forth between them. I’m personally not very fast with solving puzzles, but I am great at finding the next puzzle that needs to be solved.
  3. Is it scary and do people jump out at you? The cool thing about escape rooms is that the rooms are all very different. Some are “scary” and others are not scary at all. When you are looking for a room, make sure you do a little research and find a theme with the experience you are looking for. 60out has a room I’ve been wanting to try called the Zen Room, where you work together to fill a white room with color. On the other side of the spectrum, you’ll find rooms like The Basement that are known to be thrillers.
  4. If we don’t get through the room, does it feel like a waste of time? One of our favorite escape rooms that we always talk about, is Prison Break- a room we never solved. Sure, we were sad that we didn’t “get out”, but it was such a great experience that it’s listed as one of our top 3 rooms. On the other hand, we’ve had rooms that were easy and we wouldn’t consider them our favorites. If you are looking for a great room, look for one that offers a great experience and theming. I’d suggest reading the Yelp reviews or checking out reviews on Escape Authority.

Escape Room Tips:

  1. Look for a room with great theming and production quality. I’ve listed some great Escape Room companies below.
  2. Ask about the escape percentage. If you’re going for the first time, you might want to find a room that is easier while you figure out how the rooms work. The hardest part about your first escape room is not knowing what to expect!
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for hints! If you’re stuck on a puzzle or not sure what to do for ten minutes, it’s time to ask for help.
  4. Don’t feel bad if you ask for help at the start. Sometimes the hardest thing about room is figuring out where to begin. Once you get started, you find a clear path.
  5. Leave keys in locks. If you use a key, make sure to keep it in the lock so you don’t get confused.
  6. Put the items you’ve used in one place. That way you aren’t getting confused about what has been used and what hasn’t.
  7. Have a team leader! Put someone in charge of keeping the group on task.

And my final tip is to have a great time, of course! 🙂

Here are a few of the rooms we have done that I recommend:

Fox in A Box: Cold War Bunker or Central Bank

Trapped: Sector 13 and Puzzlemaster (Usually I recommend 6 people for a room, but Trapped! has a lot to it, so you would be fine bringing more).

Room Escape Live:  You’ll love any of their rooms

Clovis Escape Room: Crimson Tide or PipeWorks

And here is a great website to help you find a fun room:

Escape Authority

Upcoming Venues we are About to Try:

60Out: Titanic

The Cromwell Estate: The Den

Good luck! If you give it a try, I hope you Escape!

Back from Italy

So many things happening in our household, it’s really been a great couple of weeks!

Big T and I went to Italy, it was an amazing trip and traveling definitely gave us a sense of what a small part of this big planet we are. It’s always interesting to see how other people live, and I can’t say enough good things about all the people we met on our Italy adventure. It was an incredible experience from beginning to end. When I walked into the Sistine Chapel, I looked up and tears started rolling down my face. I couldn’t believe I was actually in such a magical place where art is everywhere.

The only hard part of the trip, was that we missed Little T a lot. Every time I would see something amazing I’d wish he was there next to me. He really would have loved it. I would call him and my mom through Facebook every day, and every day I felt like I was counting down the hours until I’d get to say hi to him and tell him about everything that we did. 🙂

When we got home, he was so happy. I came in after Big T, and heard him run up to Big T and say, “Daddy! It’s really you! It’s not a dream!” 🙂 He wanted to know everything about our trip. Big T and I had travelled for over 24 hours straight without any sleep, so we were having a hard time staying awake. Little T was so excited to see us that he couldn’t sleep, so my mom gave him the Italy books we brought home for him and gave him a flashlight, so he could stay up and look at the books until he fell asleep.

Every once in a while- I catch myself walking on our sidewalks and thinking about those cobblestone steps in Italy and how they felt on my feet as I walked. It all feels so far away from here.

Big T and I have started planning another trip, a little further down the line so we can be sure to take Little T next time. But for now, we’ll always have Italy. 🙂

OC Fair Family Ticket Giveaway


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The winner of our OC Fair Giveaway was Kelly G! She had a wonderful time with her family at the fair. 🙂 Thanks for entering, everyone!

Hello everyone!

Anyone who knows us, knows how much our family loves the OC Fair. It’s a family tradition for us to enjoy a vegan hot dog from Pink’s and a lovely bowl of fresh fruit from Terri’s Berries.

So when the OC Fair contacted me about hosting a giveaway, I jumped at the chance.

This week I will be giving away an OC Fair Family Packet, which includes:  

  • 4 General Admission Tickets
  • 2 Carnival Ride Cards (3 Free Rides Per Card)

Here are some additional details: 

  • The OC Fair will provide the prize packet directly to the winner.
  • Parking is $10 (cash only) and is not included with the giveaway.
  • Each carnival ride card is valid for three rides or games in either the Main or Kiddie Carnivals. Ride Cards are not valid for food or drinks.
  • Admission and/or ride cards do not have to be used on the same day. Prize must be redeemed during the 2016 OC Fair.

And Some additional OC Fair Information: 

  • Dates: July 15-August 14, 2016
  • Public Hours: Wednesday-Friday Noon-Midnight, Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m.-Midnight, Monday-Tuesday Closed
  • Theme: “Get Your Fair Face On!”
  • Website: www.ocfair.com
  • Admission: General $10, Senior (6+) $7, Youth (6-12) $7, Children 5 & younger are free every day
  • Parking: $10
  • Special Days: Kids Days (Thursdays, 12 & younger are free all day). Visit www.ocfair.com/promotions for more ways to save.

To Enter: 

  • Comment on this post with your name and favorite thing to do at the fair.
  • Or comment on my Facebook Post with your favorite thing to do at the fair.
  • The winner will be drawn by Little T on Monday June 20th
  • I will contact the winner directly and gather their information to email to the OC fair

And just for fun, here are some new food additions to the fair this year, for all you foodies out there (I’m looking at you, Jenny and Anthony). 😉

  • Chicken in a Waffle On a Stick: Chicken Charlie’s making the popular chicken-and-waffles combo portable by cooking fried chicken tenders in a waffle and serving it all on a stick, with a side of maple syrup.
  • French Toast Bacon Bombs: Bacon A-Fair’s new breakfast-inspired offering will make French toast desirable any time of the day as sweet dough stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon is deep-fried and rolled in cinnamon sugar.
  • S’moreo Texas Donut: Bigger is better when it’s a soft, Texas-sized doughnut topped with chocolate drizzle, Oreo cookie crumble, graham cracker crumbs and marshmallow cream.
  • Bacon Nutella Pickle: Pickle O’ Pete’s takes the popular hazelnut cocoa spread Nutella and fills a dill pickle that gets wrapped in bacon, dipped in a funnel cake batter and deep fried.
  • Pork Belly Bacon Dog: At Biggy’s, two feet of bacon are wrapped around a slow-smoked pork belly that is dipped into a corn dog batter and deep fried.
  • Deep-Fried Pizza Log: Mozzarella cheese and pepperoni are wrapped inside of thin pizza dough which is deep fried until crispy and flaky. Served with marinara sauce on the side from the Apple Fries booth.
  • Diabilito Sundae: Fruit Caboose is going loco and adding to their creamy ice cream the Latin-inspired flavor of tangy Tamarindo and hot chili chamoy sauce.
  • Kool-Aid Hot Wings: Chicken Charlie’s taking his breaded wings and tossing them up with his new, slightly-spicy Kool-Aid sauce. He will serve the orange flavor exclusively at the OC Fair.
  • Dole Whip: Fairgoers can cool down with this refreshing, pineapple-flavored soft serve dessert available for the first time inside the OC Fair at Crutchee’s Ice Cream.
  • Bacon-Wrapped Baked Potato: At Bacon A-Fair, a giant one-pound potato is wrapped in a half pound of bacon and slow cooked in a wood-fired smoker oven. Served with butter, the Bacon A-Fair signature bacon-infused sour cream, grilled veggies, blue cheese and choice of hot buffalo sauce or nacho cheese and jalapenos.
  • Bacon Cheddar Brat Burger: Grant’s Tasti Burger is taking burgers and brats to the next level with this massive burger that combines a bratwurst and an Angus beef patty with cheddar, chopped candied pecans, Applewood smoked bacon, Sriracha Bourbon and chipotle sauces, lettuce and tomatoes and served inside a pretzel bun.
  • Pink’s Hollywood-Inspired Dogs: The Daenerys Mother of Doggies pays homage to the Game of Thrones’ queen of the dragons with a spicy Polish dog topped with sour cream, sauerkraut, onions, radish sprouts and Sriracha sauce. The Lord of the Rings Dog highlights the mystical movie with an all-beef hot dog encircled by fried onion rings and topped with barbecue sauce.
  • Juicys: New this year, OC Fair mainstay Juicys is serving up organic meat and nitrate-free hot dogs and sausages.
  • More Offerings: All American Reuben Burger (Grant’s Tasti Burger), Pickle Fries and Pickled Cheese on a Stick (Pickle O’ Pete’s), Shrimp Fried Rice on a Stick (Chicken Charlie’s), Som-Mor-Bacon (Fruit Caboose), Bison Burger (Juicy’s), Lasagna Sandwich (Pignotti’s Pasta), Oreo Churro (Dutchmen’s Funnel Cake).

Best of luck to you all, and I hope to see you at the fair! 🙂


Campfires, Trains, and Grandparents


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This weekend we took the Moonlight Train on the Sugar Pine Railroad. I have wanted to go for years, but I’m never organized enough to get tickets ahead of time, and they’re always sold out. Luckily, we were finally able to get seats. 🙂

I think there might be a strange creature in our house who likes to gobble holes in the knees of all of Little T’s pants, because no matter how new they are, the holes quickly appear.

We arrived at 6:30, all the shops were still open and we had fun wandering around. There were plenty of seats and things to do. They served everyone bbq, and had veggie patties on the grill for vegetarians.

After dinner, we boarded the train and rode it to our camp ground. Little T was so excited, he loved looking out the window.

The train took us to a campfire where we sat around and sang songs. Little T also made a friend and found a lot of great sticks for an imaginary fire. 😉 The campfire singers did a great job and even convinced Big T to sing along.

My favorite part though, was when we all howled like crazy people.

The way home was really fun, riding in the train in darkness. 🙂 So if you’re ever near Bass Lake and looking for something to do, check it out! We had a great time. 🙂

This week: not as expected

You know how sometimes the world tilts a bit and disrupts the balance of your already-kind-of-topsy-turvy- life? We had one of those weeks over here. But we’re at the end of it now and hope is on the horizon (as in, a grandparent is visiting tomorrow-hooray) and when all is said and done, I’m feeling thankful that it happened.

Last week my little man was sick, but I wasn’t worried because I like to think of myself as the kind of person who never gets sick. He crawled into my lap with a fever and I comforted him, and I turned on his favorite movies, and made him soup, and I helped him get better.

By Friday night, I knew something was wrong. Kind of like the calm before the storm. Like any wedding photographer would, even though I didn’t feel well-I worked a ten hour wedding shift that pushed me a bit over the edge the next day. I got really sick after that with what turned out to be bronchitis and couldn’t move. But the wedding turned out really beautiful and I wouldn’t have done it any differently.

Now that I’m on the mend, I’m feeling grateful today for the people I work with who helped make my job easier when I wasn’t feeling well. I’m glad for my parents, in laws, step sister, M and my meow town friends for keeping my spirits high. And for my work friend in FL who knew I was sick and took the time to brighten my day with a phone call. And for Big T, who I’m now indebted to for life for taking such good care of me and getting me Hot and Sour Soup from One World Vegetarian every day because it’s the only thing that I felt like eating.

I discovered that the things I usually think are important weren’t so important this week. I was so sick that I couldn’t say anything to Big T about the mix matched outfits he sent Little T to school in, or what he packed for his lunches, or that he didn’t go over his sight words, or that the house was kind of messy. I just watched it all unfold and was grateful that someone was taking care of me and Little T.  The room mom at Theo’s school and I had planned a lot of things for teacher appreciation week, and Big T had to do all of them for us because she also had an emergency. It may not have been what we’d planned, but it happened and everyone was happy. Little T was happy and Big T was happy and Little T’s teacher was happy, and maybe certain things don’t matter as much as I think they do sometimes. It just made me so glad to have Big T by my side.

And today, I woke up feeling better like I’d survived, and I went and picked out an outfit that matched for Little T. Little T held my hand all morning because he was glad I was up and feeling better and he had missed me. I helped pack lunch and discovered there was nothing to pack because we needed to go to the grocery store, but we made it work anyway. Big T gave me a hug and said it was easier when I’m feeling well and he’s glad I’m back, and that made me happy too.

But also, Little T and Big T took the extra time this week to build this incredible tower. Pretty impressive, my two T’s. Imagine if I’d been sick a little longer, we could have had a theme park in our living room. 😉

So that’s the update from over here. Be well, my friends! So glad we’re all feeling better.

This and That

Please excuse my typos, I write this all from my iPhone. 🙂 Have I mentioned how much I love Little T’s school? Yesterday the principal and his teacher came up to me to let me know how great Little T is doing. I’m so proud of that kid, and grateful that the school has been so encouraging and supportive of our little guy.

Here’s a few of our spring break adventures.

Little T and I went to see the pirate show by Knotts Berry Farm. We wound up parking too far and had to walk by Medieval Times. I don’t really have a lot of photos of the Pirate Show, because Little T was terrified. Sometimes I forget how little he is, but the Pirates came out and they were loud and his sensory stuff was acting up, and tears started streaming down his eyes, poor little guy. I asked if he wanted to leave and he insisted on staying, but let’s just say we probably won’t go back soon. So, here is a photo of Little T before the terrifying pirate show! 🙂 

We also made it to the Harry Potter Wizarding World preview! It was a sun kissed day full of magic, friends, and butterbeer. ❤️

We ran into this Gryffindor Head Boy, who made Little T a prefect. It kind of made Little T’s day. :p Watch out, Hogwarts students, these two aren’t going to let anything slide. 😉

And we had a great time running around with Mindy!

By the end of the day, this kid was worn out!

We also got to see a gym friend perform in the stunt show, Little T was nervous but excited to see him afterward. I was amused because little T started telling him all about how awesome Big T was. he’s so proud of his dad, lol.

We also went to an indoor skydiving party for M. We weren’t sure if Little T would do it because he doesn’t like loud noises, but we got him so good ear plugs and he actually did it! He could have gone twice but said it was too loud to go again, but I was proud of him for going in at all. I was so excited he picked out the astronaut uniform, so cute. 🙂


I also had the honor of photographing the wedding reception for Little T’s occupational therapist. It was the best night, so much love.

And M had her baby shower! I can’t wait for M’s baby to come into the world, I feel like her pregnancy has gone by so fast!

We also got to spend a lot of time with The grandparents over the break, it’s always great when Big T’s mom comes to visit. And Papa G took this crew to Lego Land. Super brave, Papa G! :p

Big T and I went to DL without Little T for our anniversary. We wore disguises so Little T wouldn’t know anything was up. I don’t think he suspected anything. 😉

And that’s about it, it was a great break! Now it’s back to school. 🙂 see you later, friends!

The end of the Season

Little T’s basketball season came to an end.

What have we learned this season? Well, for one thing, Little T is quite the entertainer. Not in the way that you might expect for a basketball team, but in a “oh wow, he just turned into a robot in the middle of an intense game” kind of way.

Boss move, Little T. Trying to distract the other team like that.

What have we learned this season? For one thing, Big T is a nervous wreck when he watches Little T play sports. Just wait until they actually start keeping score, Big T! :p We’ve also learned that our community is great, and so incredibly supportive. I’ll never forget the time Little T dribbled and attempted a basket for the first time. You would have thought he’d made a winning goal, with how much they cheered for him. 🙂 Weve also learned that Little T’s best moves come out on the basketball court-heehee.

Little T was sweet when he got his trophy, he really wanted to give a trophy to his coach, who had to be the most patient person I’ve ever met. He did deserve a trophy!

Great season, Little T! Your robot moves are legendary. 🙂

A Fancy Date with my Little Man

Wedding season is wrapping up over here, which means I have a few months where life returns to normal, I see my family and friends again (you all remember me, right?), and spend some quality time with the two guys in my life. ❤️When I wrapped up a few huge projects last week, on Saturday morning-I decided to celebrate by having a fancy date with Little T. Big T helped Little T get all dressed up, and Little T was super excited when it came time for the big reveal.  😂

I know, we’re the dorkiest. :p

We went to dinner theater at the Candlelight Pavilion to see Guys and Dolls together because he loves watching musicals. I didn’t know how he’d do, so we sat in the back by the door just in case it was too long for Little T and we needed to make a quick exit, but he absolutely loved it. He was so quiet, that at one point the ladies sitting at our table thought we left, because they couldn’t believe how quiet he was for the whole show.

The thing he loved the most though, was lunch.

The Candlelight Pavilion is beautiful, and his eyes grew wide when we walked in the doors. He was fascinated with how pretty the butter looked in the butter tray, and he loved that they gave him juice in a goblet. It made a big impression on him, and he’s mentioned the butter and the cups a few times since then. I had to laugh, because the server listed off the drinks and Little T confidently said that he wanted the champagne. It must have sounded the fanciest to him, sweet little guy. When he couldn’t have champagne, he ordered the next fanciest sounding thing-cranberry juice. 😉 they made us both a great vegan meal (baked potato, black beans, veggies, and they even added a side of rice for Little T. It was a great way to spend the day. 🙂

This and That

My favorite little basketball player. ❤️ He may not be the best player, but his dance skills on the court would give Troy Bolton a run for his money. 😉 

Holy Moly, a date night for real!!!!! 

Future Little Big T:

Dads are the best, amiright?

Boba dates with my little man.  
When you try to take a photo and they’re like…..just let us eat our ice cream….. 😉

When your phone gets stolen at pub trivia.  
So proud of this kid. Did I mention he moved up a level in reading this week? I know, he’s totally a genius. I blame the parents. ;p
Piggy Play Date!  
And some beautiful decor. 💖