phoenix lately

So, I finally caught you up on our new DEN→PHX / PHX→DEN situation and I have even posted in the past about some of our very favorite places here in Phoenix on account of my sister living here for a decade. That list of favorite places to eat and fun stuff to do with little ones remains largely the same with a couple of new additions; making a new post of favorites, at this point, redundant.

But, I would love to share what we have been up to lately here in the desert. Raffa and I have been having fun during the week, and with John on the weekends, exploring Phoenix. We keep pretty busy, but also love hanging around the house reading and building crazy trains.

Obviously, there was no question that we would continue donut Monday. We played around with location a few times, but I think we have found our Phoenix favorite: Rollover Doughnuts. The donuts are made from a brioche dough. They are tasty, the coffee is good, and they have a great indoor or outdoor space. So far it has been only me and Raffa on our donut Monday dates, but we hope to share with John soon, or take anyone who comes to visit.

I have also been taking time to get our house here organized, which I talked about a little here, specifically our living and dining rooms, but a big part of that was getting Raffa's room comfortable and fun. Mission accomplished, I suppose, because when we are at home that is where we spend the majority of our time playing. We are usually in his room building crazy trains (trains out of Legos), but his coffee shop is in the empty guest room and we are also often at the kitchen table working on projects like our Valentine's or painting.

We have also been exploring new places and special events. Raffa and I checkout Ocotillo which has a restaurant and a coffee bar (O to Go). We went for the coffee bar so I could try their Fruity Pebble latte (latte made with cereal infused milk). Well, I got to try that (delicious) and we discovered they also have some yummy overnight oats and breakfast burritos. They also have an amazing lawn (Lucy's Lawn) and outdoor space. The restaurant menu sounds awesome too, so we have to put that on our list to try.

In addition to all that, we have been enjoying the nice weather in Phoenix and also go to a weekly music class and weekly swim lesson. We are always looking for new friends at the park and we joined a Meet Up group so that we could go to some play groups and meet new people. We know a few people here, as well, so connecting/re-connecting with those people has been fun as well. Most of them have children too, some even right around Raffa's age.

We can't wait for some of our favorite people from Colorado to come visit us, though.

Raffa Coffee Roasters // Phoenix, AZ

As you can read here, see here, and see here, Raffa's imagination runs wild when he has an empty cardboard box. Both John and I love to see where Raffa's imagination takes us when we turn a cardboard box into something more. We have a coffee shop in Denver made from a carseat box, and a couple of weeks ago we added a Phoenix location when we received a lamp in a large box here in Phoenix. While Raffa was a little low on energy recuperating from a cold, his activity of choice was coloring with his markers on his "coffee shop" (above). Even once he was well, his passion continued, and John and I are more than happy to pick up some colors and get in on the fun. One afternoon while I was out, John and Raffa put on an addition - a second large box in top of the first - to better accommodate me or John being able to sit inside. Our comfort is a consideration because Raffa loves to request demand our presence inside. So, John or I crawl inside and are asked required to close the door behind us. It's no secret that we love it though; we both relish in this time with Raffa and are in awe of watching him use his imagination to play.

John has a recent interest in video, and he keeps compiling videos of our family excursions and Raffa and turning them in to fun keepsakes.

hello from phoenix

Well, this is a highly belated post but here it is nonetheless. I am going to make a long story short: back in July 2015 John took a job in Phoenix. He moved out to Phoenix and came back to Denver to visit on weekends. In October, Raffa and I came down to Phoenix and stayed through Thanksgiving. We were in Denver for December, through Christmas and New Years, and came back to Phoenix July 12. In essence, John works down here and we live in Phoenix now, but still in Denver, too. We are doing the back and forth thing, going between our little Denver bungalow and a house (classic 1950s Arizona ranch) we are renting here in Phoenix.

We got really lucky, and the place here is just perfect for us. Not our style aesthetically as far as tile, cabinets, etc. goes, but it is a great home, super cute - the perfect place for us to call home in Arizona for now.

It has been fun to have the opportunity to nest here. Since we left all of our furniture in Denver, we had to start fresh here. After one big trip to IKEA (back in July) and then sourcing items here and there (over the past several months), things are coming together. I love starting with a clean slate, and I don't like to fill up rooms. In Denver, our house is so tiny it is impossible not to fill rooms, but my preference is to leave empty space. I have the opportunity to do that here in Phoenix, so although we do have all the essentials, there will be purposefully left blank walls and corners and spaces.

Here is a look at the living and dining space which is completed pending the arrival of the artwork. I am also commissioning a quilt for this space but that is a couple months out.
Silver Floor Lamp // IKEA Ranarp Floor Lamp
Rug to be hung on large open wall as art // Ferm Living Kelim Rug *
Sectional // Gus Modern Atwood Sectional in Urban Ink Tweed
Nesting Side Tables // IKEA Kragsta Nesting Tables
Mirror // CB2 Acacia Wood 40" Mirror *
Rug // Tjareby Rug 
Coffee Table // IKEA Stockholm Coffee Table
Ottomans // IKEA Alseda Banana Fiber Stools
Floor Lamp // Brass Tripod Lamps from Target
Media Stand // IKEA Ramsatra TV unit

* not yet purchased, undecided

Pendant Light // West Elm Pendant
Artwork // Snedker Studio Marble Artwork Limited Edition Print “Taking Shape”
Table // IKEA Melltorp Table
Chairs // IKEA, no longer available
High Chair // IKEA Antilop Highchair
Cowhide // IKEA Koldby Cowhide Rug

The dining room table is darn cheap and is already wobbly. We plan to replace it with something inexpensive but durable (and similar in color/style soon). We will likely move the existing Melltorp table to the guest room for use as a desk.

The living room and dining rooms are connected (one large room), so it was important ALL the furniture work together.

Raffa's room here in Phoenix has been a labor or love. I am really pleased with how it has turned out and I will have to share that some time soon.

And, it is worth recognizing, I obviously post very little here on andchloe lately ... our move and back and forth has been a big part of that. I hope to be posting with a slightly more frequent regularity (once a month, at least - ha!) but I am not nailing myself down to sure plans as far as that goes. Hope you have beared with me and that you are up for reading along when I am up for writing.

this is us December 2015 // Green Chair Stories

We had the pleasure of spending half a day with Rachel of Green Chair Stories. As she spent a typical morning and outing with us, she snapped photos of us in this season of our lives, in our element, doing our thing. It is what she does and she does it so well. I am so excited to have this collection of photos that captures our dynamic, interaction, and essence better than any posed photo session ever could.

Our mornings start with breakfast at home. Raffa has a limited palate to put it politely, but he has a few "favorites" that I make, and he eats his best and biggest meal at breakfast time. Banana pancakes are one of Raffa's favorite breakfasts. I whip them up several mornings a week.

Banana Almond Butter Pancakes for Raffa

1 ripe banana, smashed
1 large egg
3 heaping tablespoons of almond butter
3/4-1 cup Arrowhead Mills Sprouted Grain Pancake Mix (depending on how thick and fluffy you want your batter; more pancake mix = fluffier)
1/4 cup milk or almond milk or enough to balance out the pancake mix

Mix all together and make some pancakes!

Raffa also likes to have some "coffee" (milk in his brown mug). John and I opt for the real thing and prefer one of Allegro Coffee's organic roasts. Our breakfast eating style has evolved into Raffa and his highchair, me moving around the kitchen cooking, eating, cleaning up, and John sitting up on the counter. We have a breakfast nook, it just isn't used for eating breakfast.

Raffa LOVES blueberries but prefers frozen and by far the tasiest frozen blueberries are Stahlbush Island Farms. Their blueberries are always big and beautiful and flavorful and sweet ... and organic and non-GMO.

The blueberries always stain Raffa's hands and lips purple. And, he loves blueberries so much he could eat a whole bag in one sitting if I let him!

Our home is small, but it's size and layout are so conducive to how we live and how Raffa plays. It is so easy to be connected to one another when our living space is consolidated and multi-functional.

Raffa LOVES his Bruder trucks. He now has a crane (2nd birthday gift from Mimi), trash truck (2nd birthday gift from auntie Jonna), dump truck and fire truck (from Mimi - we keep those two in Phoenix), and an animal transporter seen above (Christmas gift from Granny Jill and Auntie Bev). Mimi also gave him a Playmobil red SUV which he really likes too.

Raffa loves climbing in to my and John's bed. I remember liking to play in my parents' king sized bed when I was little - it felt so BIG! Most often our bed becomes Raffa's car and he drives around; obviously he loves us to come drive with him too.

Raffa is SO ticklish. Once he gets tickled you cannot even touch him without the uncontrollable laughter starting. His neck is especiallly (sweet and) ticklish.

Raffa seems no where near ready to potty train. I keep waiting for his interest to show up but so far nothing! I know it'll happen eventually, and I have no desire or plans to rush things, but it is hard to imagine that time coming when he shows absolutely no interest now.

Raffa's new carseat came in the most enormous big box, and that box is now a fixture in his room, fully decorated and operational as Raffa's Coffee shop. He loves to play in his coffee shop in his room in the dark, so he is always turning off the lights in his room and going the coffee shop and closing the "door".

Raffa likes playing in his room in the dark a lot. And we end up in the dark down there (his bedroom is in the basement) quite a bit. John cut a small round hole in the top of the coffee shop; the hole is just big enough for the flashlight on our iPhones. Placing different objects over the iPhone flashlight or a flashlight and seeing how they glow also provides a lot of entertainment.

Raffa's scooter remains an inside toy and he loves riding it up and down the hallway.

Mimi bought Raffa a subscription to BabyBug and Raffa loves every single issue. We read them cover to cover hundreds of times. He is reading a Babybug in the two images above.

These photos of John dressing Raffa make me chuckle. John doesn't end of dressing Raffa very often and I wasn't in the room when these photos were taken. I see Raffa giving John a run for his money! When I dress Raffa, it's all business - WHAM BAM done.

One of my favorite things to do remains to read with Raffa, but he is less into reading lately than he once was. There was a time, starting when he was about 10 months old all the way until he was two, when he would sit and demand that I read book after book after book to him.

One of our favorite areas to go hang out and walk around in Cherry Creek North. There are lots of great stores to look at and some good coffee spots. Raffa loves just walking around and looking at the stores. And, he loves getting coffee (hot chocolate for him).

The baristas at this coffee spot recognize us now and usually make a bit of a show for Raffa, making his hot chocolate and even putting a design in the milk on top.

One of Raffa's favorite places is Paper Source. He loves looking around at all their little knick knacks and doodads. I love going to Paper Source too, so it is a win-win!

When you are a toddler everything is exciting and even the mundane is an adventure - yellow scaffolding becomes a long tunnel and a jungle gym!

This finger pointing up in the air thing (above) is something that just slays me. It's usually accompanied by some precocious statement or suggestion.

The intimate and authentic feel of these images is more than I could have even hoped for; the value of these photos pales in comparison to any posed images we have. I had been craving (and literally scouring the world wide web) a photographer with an authentic feel - life photos not family portraits. Now, I can see how spectacularly that actually looks like on the three of us!

John and I are both blown away by how much we are in love with these photos; we are literally feeling ALL the feelings over here. I am like "we are totally doing this once a year" and then to my surprise John is like "twice a year even!" (Raffa's 3rd birthday and again right after Christmas 2016?). Rachel's vision for these slice of life sessions are completely realized when that girl puts her eye to her viewfinder. I cannot gush enough about it.

So this is us: December 2015. Making and eating pancakes, playing in just about every room of the house with toys and not toys (boxes and flashlights), and having coffee dates and Paper Source lookie loos. 

Thank you, Rachel, for such an incredibly beautiful keepsake of us.


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