Thursday, February 24, 2011

Loving Life

the best
Most photos taken by Chris Duh.

There's nothing like playing on the beach to rejuvenate your soul!  We spent this past week in Southern California, and although we saw our share of rain, getting to run around barefoot instead of wearing snow boots was just the boost we needed to get through the rest of our midwestern winter.

kes on the beach

This was the first time Kestan's toes have ever touched the sand and as you can tell from this photo, it was pretty darn exciting.

feeling free

What a complete joy to run around the beach with my boys.  We had so much fun on our adventure out west, and getting to feel the water and smell the ocean was definitely a highlight for me.

us on the beach

modern talent

Speaking of highlights, we had the special opportunity to visit the set of our favorite TV show, Modern Family.  (If you don't watch it, you should!)  Many months ago we purchased a silent auction item to benefit the Ronald McDonald House in Kansas City. The auction item included 2 nights in a North Hollywood hotel and a chance to see a taping and visit the cast of the show.  Eric Stonestreet, who plays the hilarious Cam, donated the gift.  He happens to be from the Kansas City area, so it was fun to show up the day of our visit and see him wearing a K-State t-shirt.  (Even though I went to his rival school KU!)
walking into set

We showed up just after casting call around 7:45 in the morning.  This is the front of the stage and behind these doors is where the filming magic takes place.

close up

I'm ready for my close-up...

modern family set 3

We spent most of our day in these chairs, listening to headsets and watching monitors of the days taping. On this particular day they were shooting the mother's day episode.  We were lucky that the scenes being filmed were of a gathering with the entire family at Jay and Gloria's house, so all the cast members were there.

modern family set

We had fun taking a tour of all of the houses.  This is the Dunphy couch in their kitchen.

modern family set 2

Here we are in front of Mitchell and Cam's fireplace.

modern set family 4

This is their dining room and the place where Mitchell and Cam film their camera interviews.


We had the chance to see the entire cast, but actually got a little time to visit with Eric and Ty (who plays Phil).  Although, I have to admit, I wish we could have had a longer time to talk with them and ask questions.  (It's like they were busy working or something!) I'm happy to share that both Eric and Ty are super cool and down-to-earth.  We talked with Eric off and on throughout the day, and even met his mom and cousins who were in town visiting from KC.  I was excited to get this picture, as these guys are my favorite actors from the show.  (I really heart Phil and he's as nice as can be in person.)  

hanging with friends

In addition to our jaunt in Hollywood, we spent some quality time in Newport Beach with my best friends in the world (who we haven't seen in four years).  

the family

We mostly just hung out at their house while the boys played, but braved a chilly morning to take a ferry ride to explore Balboa Island.

balboa beach

On our last day we made a spontaneous visit to Disneyland when we found out that our friend, (who happens to be the new official voice of Mickey Mouse) was going to be at the park that day.  


We had so much fun and discovered that our 3-year-old is quite the thrill seeker.  He LOVED the rides - especially the rollercoaster in Mickey's Toontown.

happy ashton


Our trip to California truly was inspiring on so many levels.  The raw, vegan food we ate furthered my interest and excitement about sacred cooking.  After getting a taste of the warmer weather I came back with a deeper appreciation of the change in seasons.  I was reminded that good friendships are a treasure.  I was gifted with quality family time away from the computer.  I learned that sometimes you just gotta seize the moment and not hold back.  I broke free of our daily routine and really enjoyed being fully present with each new experience. And I was reminded of the most important thing of all - that I am so in love with my life.   

mommy and ash in cali

Your Personal Reflection:  Have you stepped away from your usual surroundings and regular routine in a while?  Are you in the mood for a change of scenery?  Even if you aren't planning to travel far from home, see if there are small ways you can change up your usual day by trying something new and notice what you discover along the way.


  1. SO happy you all had such a wonderful trip. love all the photos. what a wonderful trip! your boys are just getting cuter!

  2. It sounds like you had a really great time.

    And it is so cool that you got to visit the set - I've just recently started watching Modern Family (as in, I've seen maybe 4 episodes) but I am totally and completely hooked!

  3. Oh my! What a wonderful adventure! Love, love, love every pictures! And that lovely baby growing up so fast! I think I need to go on vacation...NOW! LOL!! I just came back from my Muses winter creative retreat and I feel blessed to share and connect with all these women, to take the time to create and think. Taking the time to simply BE.

  4. LOVE this!!! What an amazing trip! I love away time with family, and seizing all those blessed moments... and Modern Family??!! My fave show! This sounds like a perfect trip, and I couldn't be happier for you. :)


  5. Looks fabulous, stinkin' awesome!!

  6. Oh.. You make me miss California!! Sounds like a great trip and a great time with the family.
    I just love walking on the beach, so relaxing. And the kids always have so much fun!

  7. i am bursting with happiness for you and your family! So glad to see you enjoyed your trip. :)

  8. what a great post! i always love your uplifting spirit shannon. this was especially nice for me to see because my family and i are about to break out of our routine of the last 2 years and move back to california where we are from. i'm sad to leave the island but seeing pictures of my home state makes me remember we are returning to a place dear to my heart. home is where the heart is - and may i add wherever that ends up being.. home. with your family.

  9. Reading your post and looking at the photos gave me such a happy feeling. Thanks for sharing! Wish you and your family all the happiness in the world :)

  10. Wow, wow, wow! I am SO happy that you had a memorable and rejuvenating and just-flippin-AWESOME trip! I LOVE Modern Family! How cool are you guys! And it brought smiles to my face to see all the kids, big and small, enjoy the shores. Yay Disney! Glad it cleared up enough for you to enjoy the park. As I understand it, the Dumbo ride is the WORST in terms of time in line. Hahahaha. Awww, Shannon, thanks for sharing your great adventures!

  11. just... beautiful :) all the pictures are awesome, you look so happy :) nothing like being 'out there' to take a fresh look at your life! what a breath of air :)
    having moved house (and town) recently is sort of doing the same for me: appreciate what I have and already had, while finding new roots at the same time. not saying it isn't hard - but it's SO worth it! I feel all shook up, and now that the first weariness & wariness has been slept off & worked through, it's starting to feel pretty fresh and GOOD :)
    thanks for sharing your lovely holiday!!

  12. What a wonderful trip! Thanks for sharing with us. You look so happy and beautiful-all of you.
    My husband went to K-State and his sister went to KU. The world is so tiny!
    The beach is my favorite place. I love the rhythm of the waves, the smell of the water, air and sunshine. It just rejuvenates me. I think we need a trip to the beach once it stops raining and snowing.

  13. Awesome pictures. Gorgeous Family.

  14. Hey Lucky Modern Family, I'm so jealous yet so HAPPY for all of you!!! Loved the pictures! Can't wait to hear more details from you Shannon! I heard some stories from Chris! Sounds Magical!!!!!

  15. Hi Shannon, looks like you had the most amazing trip. I so know what you mean about getting out of normal surroundings and taking time to re-charge one's batteries. Such FUN you had :)

    Time by the computer is really quite time consuming, I realise it more and more, although it's great too in terms of running a flexible business.

    Here's hoping your time back home holds the same magic you had on your break.


  16. How did I miss this wonderful post? May have been because it was the half term school hols here & a day after this post I went away for a long weekend with the girls. Like you I found it beneficial to break away from the normal routine & I came home so grateful to have such fabulous friends.

    Hubbie & I love Modern Family so that was mega cool seeing you on set. The photos of your babes enjoying first experiences are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing such special moments with us.

    Kat X

  17. What an awesome trip you guys ;)
    That first shot of you and your boys is so precious - what a treasure ;)

    No I'm not stepping away out of my 'zone' just yet. Too much work and I'm contemplating giving up travelling money to put in a skylight instead to get some sunshine to part of the home. Then I can lay down on a beach towel and get a tan - in my kitchen ;) Will that count?


Thanks for sharing!