mothers day.


Being a mom is the best thing that's ever happened to me. It's hard, it's exhausting, it's occasionally brain frying - BUT it's the most rewarding job I've ever had. Daisy is full of energy, personality, and she's so funny. She still looks exactly like her dad but she has a lot of my mannerisms so she's the perfect mix between the two of us. 

weekend guide to palm springs.

We just got back from our annual girls trip and we had so much fun! (In previous years we've been to the Czech Republic, India, and New York City). Palm Springs has a lot of offer and there are several spots off the "beaten path" that you have to visit. 

If you're driving from Las Vegas, your first stop should be Joshua Tree National Park: 
The drive from Las Vegas to Joshua Tree is about 3 hours if you take the back roads. Driving off the beaten path was actually pretty fun - we escaped the Nevada/California traffic and enjoyed the view of Joshua Trees. Once we arrived at the park we entered through the 28 Palms entrance and drove through. Daisy was with us (my busy 9 month old baby) so we only did one "hike" that's not actually marked on the park map. 

Arch Rock Trail is a .5 mile (round trip) hike that offers beautiful views and a scenic arch at the end of the hike. Find parking at the White Tank campground, and begin the quick yonder through the rocks: 
We drove through the rest of the park and exited to the town, Joshua Tree. We ate lunch at the Crossroads Cafe (very good, but super busy during lunch time) then started making our way to Palm Springs. 
On our way out we stopped at a famous cactus/plant nursery called Cactus-Mart and obliged in a few photos: 

Palm Springs was only about a 45 minute drive to our hotel, the Saguaro in Palm Springs. You've probably seen this hotel on Instagram and it's even more colorful in person. The accommodation was nice (not anything fancy) but the hotel is very family oriented which I appreciated with a baby under one. 
^^My SIL @robynmalia took this photo of our hotel
We drove to the Parker Hotel to snap a few pics: 
The next morning we woke up early and drove to Salvation Mountain in Niland, CA. It's about 1.5 hours away:
Salvation Mountain was created by a local resident, Leonard Knight. He created a mountain out of hay and hundreds of thousands of gallons of paint with messages about God, salvation, and love. It's unlike anything else, really. A must see. It's out of the way but well worth the drive along the Salton Sea.
While you're in Palm Springs you have to visit the famous #thatpinkdoor. It's less than a mile from the Saguaro Hotel, but if you want to find it you'll need to search online because this is a private residence (and the homeowners have asked that no one takes pictures... wah). Driving through the neighborhood of Palm Springs is fun too because the architecture is very mid-century modern. There are *many* doors that I wanted to take pictures in front of.
On our drive back to Las Vegas we stopped in Cabazon, CA (20 minutes outside of Palm Springs) to see the giant dinosaurs: 
Photo credit: Robyn Briggs

I think there's an actual outdoor dinosaur museum here, but it was so windy that we're saving this place for "next time" ;) If you have any questions regarding our itinerary don't hesitate to ask. Palm Springs  has a lot to offer and I'm looking forward to going back sometime. 

Bye for now, Palm Springs! 

sunsets at aitutaki.

On the last night in Aitutaki we kept Daisy up a bit later than normal to take one last dip in the lagoon. We were swimming while the sun was setting and it was absolutely magical. The sunset was unlike anything I've ever seen!
I know Daisy won't remember this night (or even this vacation at all) but I'm so grateful for these pictures that we took during our time here. We left a bit of our hearts in Aitutaki and I can't settle the thought of that being our only time in the Cook Islands. While we were there we kept talking about how fun it'd be to bring more babies there and stay in the same Village. Aitutaki, we will be back! Thanks for the fun memories.

moments in aitutaki.

Tate and his dad would come back from fishing in the afternoon so we'd go out and explore the lagoon. We'd pick up paddle boards and explore:
^^I can't remember what this resort was called, but the bungalows over the water were really pretty. We looked at staying here before coming to Aitutaki but they don't allow children under the age of 13, I believe. 
^^Aitutaki Village (the place we stayed at) is along this beach, the Ootu Beach. The white roof is the restaurant of the Village where we'd eat a couple of times a day.
^^My happy family. Daisy loved the chickens in the island and she was comfortable swimming when Tate would hold her.

Boat Cruise in Aitutaki.

We took a catamaran boat lagoon cruise with Bishop's Cruises for the day. Our first stop was Akaimi Island. In the 1950's seaplanes would land on this island to refuel before flying to Tahiti. 
^^Cruising past one of the several uninhabited islands in the lagoon.
^^Snorkeling around giant fish and clams. 
^^The locals leave the giant clams where they are because the muscle inside is so big and tough that it wouldn't be good to eat.
^^We walked on a sandbar called Heaven and that's literally what it felt like. I never been anywhere more peaceful. The sandbar led us to One Foot Island, where we ate lunch and snorkeled more.
^^We made it to One Foot Island!
^Grandma and Daisy having fun in the water.

This was probably my favorite day in Aitutaki because we were able to snorkel and see giant fish and clam. The water in the lagoon is so warm so you can swim in the morning, night, day and the water will always be the same temperature. 
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