September 29, 2015

Solomon turns one!!












We celebrated Solomon Mack's first birthday with a party in the park. Cake, ice cream, "monster poop," presents, friends & family made for the perfect celebration for our littlest guy. 

Happiest FIRST birthday, sweet bud. We love you to the moon & back! You are one very special and loved little boy. We love watching you grow and can't wait to know and see more of your personality. Keep growing big and strong, Solly Mack!

September 26, 2015

counting down...

counting down ...

our 6 year anniversary: 6 days
our anniversary trip: 13 days
the Tuna 200: 26 days
Amos' 3rd birthday: 47 days
Thanksgiving: 60 days
baby Sadie's due date: 61 days
Christmas: 90 days
my 29th birthday: 91 days 

September 22, 2015

celebrate | birthday breakfast

Birthday donuts for Solomon's FIRST birthday! 


|*this is my life: a 2 year old saying "totian" (one of his made up words) / being unimpressed with having his picture taken, a 1 year old not happy about being "held down" and me - no make up, 6 day unwashed hair & apparently looking like I need more sleep) 




I love this tradition & I loved celebrating our Solomon Mack on his very FIRST birthday with donuts! More birthday festivities & celebrations coming right up! 

September 21, 2015

T R A V E L | Glacier National Park, Montana

The last guest writer in my TRAVEL series is my sweet friend, Kayla, from Two Plus Bink. Check out her favorite place (and her blog!) and thing things she and her family did while there!

It is no secret that my husband, Michael, and I love the West. We have been collecting many favorite places and experiences over the years…

  • Crested Butte, Colorado - our first Western adventure together thanks to an off-hand invite from the Martins even before they were the Martins and before we were the Andersons
  • Playing on top of Star Dune at Great Sand Dunes National Park just outside of Alamosa, Colorado
  • Ouray, Colorado also known as (and lived up to) “The Switzerland of America”
  • Moab, Utah along the Colorado River
  • Mt. Bierstadt - our first 14er outside of Denver, Colorado
  • Estes Park, Colorado and camping below Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Fly fishing the Gallatin inside Yellowstone National Park
  • Hiking around Leigh Lake and watching the sunset from Shadow Valley Road at Grand Teton National Park
  • Kayaking throughout the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington
Really, feel free to put all of the above on your list! But then there’s Montana. Coined “The Last Best Place,” I’m certain there has never been another to as adequately live up to it’s nickname. 

We traveled to Montana in July of 2013 with Mike’s family - the whole gang. We rented a house right on the North Fork of the Flathead River in West Glacier right out side of Glacier National Park. It was the perfect location just minutes from the park gates and right on the river to fly fish!

What you may not anticipate when visiting Glacier National Park, really most of the National Parks, is that once your are inside the gates it requires some serious driving time to cover their vast expanse. Glacier is unique in that, when coming from the Western side as we were (which is the easiest access from the Kalispell airport), you have to travel the park’s main artery, the Going-to-the-Sun Road, and then exit the park just to re-enter the park’s Eastern entrances to access some areas of interest. Or you have to travel along the edge of the park’s southern boundary to get around to additional entrances as well. Because of this, it helps to do a little planning in order to give some structure to your stay so you can maximize your time and see all there is to see. Also, since our tribe for this trip was 8 members strong we tried to check a lot of boxes off for everyone. And for the sake of shortening this post I’ll focus on my own and a few of my favorite highlights from the trip. 

I have always loved to hike so that was first priority for me and most often makes up my favorite memories from any trip we go on. One of our first days in the park we drove all along the Going-to-the-Sun Road through the park towards the Eastern edge of the park’s boundaries, through Babb, Montana (which has nothing to do and is basically just a big Indian reservation town) and back into the park’s Many Glacier area. The Many Glacier Hotel sits at the edge of the beautiful Swiftcurrent Lake and you can’t help but to stop to take in the view. From here we took to the trail towards Grinnell Glacier and Grinnell Lake roughly 3 miles away.



Even though Swiftcurrent Lake where we started was breathtaking, Grinnell Lake offered zero disappointment. This was a moment for us, the one where you feel like you’re finally in full on vacation mode.


Another bonus of kicking off a trip to Glacier with this specific hike is that you can elect to take boat rides on the way back. So that we did on Josephine Lake and across Swiftcurrent Lake back to the dock at the Many Glacier Hotel, keeping our legs fresh for more adventure.

My personal plan included a 15 mile all-day backcountry hike so we checked out the weather and opted to tentatively schedule it for our 5th or 6th day of the trip, so in the meantime we had much fun hiking and hanging with the family. We hiked to Hidden Lake near Logan Pass which is the park’s main central location. From here you can take the iconic Highline Trail along the Garden Wall which can be seen from the Going-to-the-Sun Road. We opted out of this hike because the gang had done this a day prior to Michael and I flying into town so we didn’t want them to have to repeat, but it sure looks fun! I did snap a few pictures of it - you can see the trail along the rock wall and we even heard of people running into bears along that narrow footpath too! Not sure what I would do since there’s hardly room for more than single-file line hiking in some parts. 


We also hiked into Avalanche Lake along Avalanche Creek one day. This is an easily accessible stop near the the Lake McDonald area of the park and definitely worth the effort if you can get up early and get there before it gets busy and parking gets to be a hassle. And if you are like Michael’s younger brother you can take it one step further and dive in glacial runoff water for an extra thrill.



We also spent time at Lake McDonald, did some trout fishing on the Flat Head River near our house, drove up to the north western side of the park to Polebridge, Montana just to see it and watched a lot of wildlife - all of which I can recommend.





Then it finally came time for our backcountry hike I had picked out while researching for our trip. Yes - I am that person. Though not everyone had any interest in hiking 15 miles in grizzly country, just me, Mike, Meryl and Stuart. So before the sun came up our our 5th day of the trip we hitched a long ride from Bonnie and Lloyd into the park’s Two Medicine area on it’s south eastern border. After a few pictures and a safety pep talk we were off! We probably should have paid closer attention to the thick blanket of fog above us warning us of potential dangerous weather, but we were determined and it all thankfully turned out fine. This is probably still my all time favorite hike I’ve ever done to this day. If I lived nearby I’d be tempted to do it every weekend if I could. And it should be said - people hike for different reasons, with different ideals in mind. I love being near water, on top of summits, following ridgelines, high alpine views and basically being somewhere with a view that was difficult and strenuous to get to. The Pitamakan-Dawson Pass Loop in Glacier National Park delivered. If you feel like putting your hamstrings to work on vacation this is a scenic way to do so.

[Two Medicine Lake at the trailhead]

[Backcountry views]

9[Old Man Lake before our ascent to the fog covered ridgeline]

[Stuart checking out things up ahead on the trail to make a decision about potential bad weather]

[Backcountry hiking at it’s finest]

2[A view hard to get to and impossible to forget! An adjoining valley of the two we trekked through on our loop]
When you aren’t wanting to put your hammies, or anything else to work - because it is vacation after all - I’d recommend driving into Whitefish, Montana for a date night. Eat and Loula’s Cafe right downtown and order the Huckleberry JalapeƱo Baked Brie as your appetizer. We may or may not have ordered a second round! Take a stroll around town afterwards because like everywhere else under “The Big Sky” it’s easy on the eyes.

Kalispell also has anything you may need and is a convenient car ride away from the park.

I hope Montana can hold on to remaining “The Last Best Place” because I’d love to go back over and over again!

September 11, 2015

celebrate | Sammie turns ONE

Happy 1st Birthday, sweet Sammie! 








We had so much fun celebrating Sammie's first birthday last month with a tea party at her house! French macaroons, pink + white cupcakes (by Cakes to Dye For), doily banners, beautiful flowers and fun tea cups & pots .... and rides for the kids (of course my boys wanted to ride the RED fire truck) made the tea party absolutely perfect! 

We love you sweet Sam! 

September 7, 2015

29 / 52

29 / 52 
Martin / Johnsen family beach week



Amos (2.75): daddy snuggles after playing on the beach all day 
Solomon (10 months): sunscreen head at the beach

celebrate | Labor Day

Hoping your Labor Day is relaxing & fun filled like ours! 






September 3, 2015

T R A V E L | Santorini, Greece

Y'all!!! This week's T R A V E L post is from my sweet friend, Katie, who has been living in Germany (and traveling Europe) for the past 4ish months (for work). After reading about and dreaming over these pictures, Santorini, Greece is DEFINITELY on my list of future vacation spots! (Can we say 10 year anni, please!?!?) 

Santorini, Greece


This sunset. 
Do I need to make any further arguments to convince you to visit this paradise? I didn’t think so (:
My sweet travel-buddy, Jamie, & I decided to hop on over to Greece to see Santorini for ourselves while we are living & working in Germany. It turned out to be a little “treat yo-self” trip for our birthdays, which both land in August. Quite the celebration for years 25 & 26!


Where exactly is this little slice of heaven?‘ you ask? Well, Santorini (‘Thera’) is located just a bit north of Crete, between Greece and Turkey. The little cluster of islands was formed from the breakup of one large island after a huge volcano eruption, which left the volcanic caldera in the middle of the pack of islands. Now we know the main island of Santorini as 35 square miles of breathtaking, blue-and-white beauty!


(I mean, seriously!)
So…now that you are already planning your next vacation, here are just a few tips you need to know before you go:
We chose to stay in one of the smaller towns on the island, Firostefani. This was a great location for two reasons: 1. it is located along the caldera (unbelievable views) & 2. it is close to the capital, Fira. Being close to the capital is important because means being close to lots of shops, restaurants, & the bus station. (Staying in Fira would also be a great option if you are interested in restaurants & night life.) For us, Firostefani was close enough to all the commotion (you can easily walk to Fira), but had the peace & quiet of a small, secluded town. We stayed in the Mill Houses, & would highly recommend considering it as an option if you plan a visit!
If you choose not to stay in Fira or Firostefani, Oia would be another wonderful place to stay. It is located on the northernmost part of the island & also offers a great view of the caldera. Oia has cute little shops & more delicious restaurants. These three cities all offer luxury hotels with private balconies overlooking the caldera so you can wake up to this every morning:


**Wherever you stay, make sure to stay along the caldera side to get this view! It is worth a little extra money…& if you’re going all the way to Greece, just go big, right?**
  • Snorkeling or diving – We snorkeled with Santorini Dive Center at Nea Kameni (a small island in the caldera) – lots of fun to get your feet wet in that salty, salty blue water!
  • Colored beaches – Santorini is home to white, red, & black beaches formed from lava. We spent an afternoon at Perissa, a black-sanded beach. I would highly recommend visiting Perissa since it is so different from the beaches in the US, but make sure to bring good beach shoes & pay the extra money to rent a beach chair – that sand gets H-O-T!

  • Hike – We didn’t get the chance to do this, but there is a 6ish mile trail from Fira to Oia. The view is supposed to be incredible…this one is for sure on the bucket list for next time!
  • Dinner – Pyrgos is located at the highest point on the island & has yummy apps (most of them are cheese-filled something). We watched the sunset in Oia at Pelekanos- unbelievable food with an even better view! We didn’t get to try Selene, but heard good things & I would try my best to get there next time. (There WILL be a next time!)
  • Greek Night – Dimitri’s Tavern. Really fun night filled with authentic food & Greek dancing. (And, you get to meet & dance with all of the other tourists on the island!)
  • Wine Tasting – There are several wineries located on the island, but we chose Sigalas to go have apps & taste wines. 


  • Gelato – Whatever you do, GO EAT AT LOLITA’S GELATO in Oia. Order the large. Worth. Every. Calorie.
  • Shopping – Fira & Oia have streets & streets lined with shops. Tons of jewelry (watch out for fake stuff – make sure to ask for a certificate of quality) & art & other souvenirs. Personally, I preferred Oia shopping because it felt a little more authentic & less touristy. 
There’s a lot more to do & see on the island, but these cover the “must-sees”. Of course, whatever you are doing, it’s time well-spent when you are looking at this:




Until next time, Santorini!