Monday, October 28, 2013

Garden After Dark {more Halloween fun}

Last year, for the first time, we attended Garden After Dark at Red Butte Garden. We LOVED it. I vowed right then that we'd make it an annual tradition.

This year we decided not to wear costumes and start the night at Crown Burger. Win win.

Like last year we arrived right at six and began the loop in reverse. See, Garden After Dark is like a big board game for bigger kids. Craft stations that build on each other, clues as you make the way through the garden, and so on.

But our tinys don't really care about clues and crafts. We are here to see the garden and enjoy some of the Halloween decorations. In years to come, they will be more interested in the crafts and the clues, but for now, going backwards means that we have some of our favorites parts of the garden to ourselves for the first half hour.

The thing I was most excited to see was this path through the red leaves. At nightfall the colors look so saturated it's insane. And since it was near the end of the designated loop, we had it to ourselves.

We started walking right before sunset. Most of the garden was already in a blanket of shade, but up the hillside in the four seasons garden there was brilliant orange sunset light.
We took a lot of photos before it got dark, because once dusk fell, there was no hope for a good shot. Thanks E for this one.

These orange leaves on the ground looked spray painted they were so brilliant.

Our favorite forest path was converted into a haunted woods. Just like last year, James LOVED the smoke machine.

Right at dusk, E took the kids ahead while I snapped a few photos . I was alone on the path towards the rose garden when I saw this guy scamper past. I love spotting bunnies in the garden.
Once the sun set the darkness rolled in quickly. James was thrilled to have his flashlight so he "could look for scary things."
Last stop was the main plaza for a carmel apple and spending allowance on a pink fairy wand (James's choice). Can't wait for next year. Red Butte rocks.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Little Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Wolf

Little Red Riding Hood
The Big Bad Wolf (look how scary he is!)
I've been thinking about doing coordinating Halloween costumes for James and Juliet as long as I can remember (even before having kids). When Juliet was still in my tummy my good friend threw me a Little Red Riding Hood baby shower for her, and ever since then I've had a special affinity to Little Red.
Now, as my mother-in-law and I agree, Little Red Riding Hood is not the perfect story. Once upon a time wolves were portrayed as bad, evil and mean. Really they are like any other wild animal at the top of the food chain. They hunt. But they also have amazing family dynamics, are smart and pretty amazing animals.

Why am I saying all  that about wolves? Because wolves aren't bad at all. They are sweet and tender and stinkin' cute.
And they howl at night! Oooohhhh!
In our story Little Red delivers bread and cookies and treats to the friendly wolf living in the woods. He does not eat her, and no lumberjack is required to cut her free.
And the woods aren't a scary place at all. They are magical.
That wolfy nose can smell those cookies a mile away!
Really, Little Red and the Big Bad Wolf are best friends. That's how the story ends. Oh, and they gorge themselves on cookies. Because Halloween is all about too much sugar, right?
More Halloween goodness to come!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Then & Now

Recently I gave a big bag of beautiful clothes to my sister-in-law Chelsea for her baby girl that is six months old. Sorting through Juliet's clothes is a difficult task, deciding what to keep, what to donate, and what to pass on, well it is hard, because each thing holds memories.

When I came to her purple and white dress, I fretted for quite some time. It had always been a favorite. Juliet wore it on her first Mother's Day, and for her six month photo shoot. It was a gift from my mother-in-law, and was well loved.

Finally I decided to pass it to cousin Emilia. She will love it, and at least it's getting a good home, right?

Anyway, Emilia just turned six months, so I asked Chelsea to take a photo of her in the same dress as Juliet.

It is so fun to compare these first cousins, at the same age, in the same dress.

Then. Juliet, six months, summer 2012.
Now. Emilia six months. October 2013.
Such beautiful girls. And look at Juliet's chub! I miss it.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Garden Park Ward {with my loves}

Over a month ago (September 2nd to be exact) my family of four went to Garden Park Ward in Salt Lake City. We explored the little private garden. We watched the waterfalls with awe. We enjoyed every moment together.

I was so so lucky, that day I got a portrait with each of my children that I adore. I also got a portrait with both of my children at once!

But because Photoshop crashed after I got home, and I lost all my edited photos, I never got around to posting them. Which is a shame, because I love them so.

So here they are. E of course was there too (he was the one snapping the photos) but since I am always behind the camera, it is good for everyone for me to sometimes appear in front of the camera.

I don't ever ever want to let my kids forget that when I'm with them I smile. I am happy. Nothing brings me more crazy joy than raising these two awesome people.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Temple Quarry Trail {Autumn playdate}

There are few things I like doing in the autumn more than visiting Temple Quarry Trail. I've been three or four times just in the last two weeks alone. Each time I go it gets better and better and more and more stunning.

Last Friday I took the kiddo's Halloween photos there, but you'll have to wait for those. (They are amazing!)

Today a couple of girlfriends wanted to walk the loop. I love these friends with kids; they love being outdoors as much as us. Cold? Ah, just put a coat on. ;)

Temple Quarry Trail is always chilly this time of year, it is so close to the north facing mountains, that most the day the area is in the shade. Shade, however, makes the leaves look extra saturated and gives great light for photos.

The little paths have such a magical feel to them. Winding in and out of the woods, decorated in the most beautiful colors of all the year.
We've been friends with these girls for two years. James was Juliet's age when we started playing. They were even at another stunning Temple Quarry Day.

Looking back at these pictures is almost doesn't look real.
This one has been giving me a run for my money. Today she was PISSED. Not sure why. Even at Temple Quarry she spent the majority of her time yelling at me. Thank goodness she looks somewhat happy.
All of James's little buds are so cute.
Playdates are amazing with these ladies and this group of kiddos.

The gate at the beginning of the trail was the highlight of the entire loop in James's mind. I was less than impressed.
However the sign does add a cool element to the photo.
See ya in a few more days, Temple Quarry!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Instagram favorites {autumn color}

I take an insane amount of photos both on my iPhone and my camera. When I snap one on my phone that I especially like, I upload it to Instagram. This happens 1-6 times a day, so to put all of those photos onto my blog would be insane.

That said, if you'd like to see them ALL, follow me on IG @happierstill.

If you only want some of my favorites, than your in luck. Here are a few of my faves over the last two months.

1. Orange reeds near the doctors office make for the best backdrops. 2. Chestnut collecting. 3. My girl.
4. Lollipops at Lagoon 5. Homegrown pumpkins. 6. Happy October!
7. We take a lot of walks with our empty strollers. 8. My snuggle bunny wasn't feeling herself. 9. Her very favorite book with Daddy.

1. My little explorers. 2. Fabric store stop when it's just the two of us (James was in preschool). 3. September light at Red Butte Garden.
4. Raspberries at the Farmer's Market. 5. Dropping crab apples into the river below. 6. September is my very favorite.
7. We took a long walk to a cheerful creek and jumped right in. 8. Temple Quarry Trail is unreal. 9. Evening light at Thanksgiving Point. He was running and I caught his little shadow off the ground.

1. Pile of rocks = hours of fun. 2. Groovy tube. 3. He loves bugs, and they love him.
4. At the doll shop, not sure what to choose. 5. Helping me paint woodwork. 6. Bike practice.
7. Saturday morning hike to Bell's Canyon. 8. Her brand new "cheese" face. 9. Feeding our neighbor goats.

1. Halloween is on the way! 2. Beautiful chestnuts. 3. A Red Butte Garden date with just my girl.
4. Trees are on fire. 5. Red White and Blue! (I think she officially grew out of those red shoes, sob...) 6. Autumn hike
7. Color is something we love. 8. Couple of days cold enough for coats and hats. 9. My snuggle bunny in the woods, being adorable.
As I said, lots lots more on IG.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Juliet is 20 months

Yesterday my baby turned 20 months old. Twenty months. Seems so close to two, and so far away from one. Her babyhood seems like a distant memory. Bittersweet for sure.

This baby gurla is hardly a baby, which I say each and every month. She talks, she runs, she has stubborn little opinions, and she doesn't want to share her favorite possessions with her brother.

She is amazing.

Each month I love this girl more and more, but this month seems extra special because, now, for the first time ever I'm getting some one on one time with Juliet when James is at school. Letting her choose what she'd like to do, and set the pace is a huge change for both of us. When James is around it seems that he always sets the pace. I love going at a toddler pace again, since preschoolers run everywhere.

Her likes and dislikes are so funny, so her. Let's jump right in:


  • Bath time with her brother. She loves getting her face wet (something James still hates) and will pour bucket after bucket of water over her head.
  • Her baby dolls. She tucks them in, gives them their bottles, and pats their backs.
  • Diggers. James of course still loves construction vehicles, and the love has worn off a bit on Juliet. They love spotting "digger digger digger!" when we take drives.
  • Worms. We found a few on the sidewalks when it was rainy, and now she's always on the hunt for them. If they happen to be dead, all the better. She collects them and puts them in her baby stroller to push around.
  • "Ah-hom" which are acorns. She collects them daily and spends time sorting them into different buckets in the back yard.
  • Lovie. James has always adored his lovies, and Juliet is following suit. She asks for lovie whenever she's sad, sleepy or upset. She says "luubie"
  • When Daddy gets home from work. She runs and squeals and jumps into his arms.
  • Fruit fruit fruit. Her favorite being grapes and berries. She could live off fruit.
  • Chairs, little and big. She loves to climb into chairs and just sit. Whenever we have playdates she'd rather sit in her own chair next to me than play on the floor.


  • Anything green. Green beans? Yuck. Avocado? Pew. Kiwis and honeydew? I don't think she realizes they are fruit, because her stubbornness won't let her get past the fact that they are green.
  • James taking things from her. I'd hate that too.
  • Poopy bums. She's been telling me for awhile now when she needs a diaper change.
  • Hair in her face. She hated having her bangs in her eyes, so I'd clip them back the moment she woke up. Then I realized that she was made for bangs, and her new little haircut makes her much happier.
  • Brushing her teeth. She cries and screams and acts like its torture.

She is silly and stubborn and perfect.
And she is such a good mommy. Look at that face.

Finally, from 1 month until now:

Goodness her bangs make her look more "girl" and less "baby".
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