Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Daily walk with James

Often times I get stuck in a rut of only taking out my big camera on the weekends. Carrying a camera in addition to taking care of both kids by myself isn't my strong suit. My camera is clunky and heavy and awesome, but because of those reasons I find that all my photos are of just weekend outings.

While weekend outings are spectacular, I also want to remember the day to day. E leaves early (most days by 7:15) and doesn't arrive home until after five. So there are a lot of hours in there that are beautiful and messy and silly and frustrating. While I'm great about documenting these moments on IG with my phone, many times IG photos don't get posted here.

So today, I decided to take my camera out for our daily walk.
For as long as I've had kids I've walked with them. Not every day, but most days. September walks are the best. Horse chestnuts are ready to be collected, grapes are waiting to be picked (lots of grape vines with generous owners) and many times we come home with bags of fruit and veggies that our neighbors have shared.

Most the time our walk route is the same. I've written about the "secret house" a few times; it is a house tucked back behind the subdivisions that I didn't even know about for the first six months of living at our current residence. We love to walk there because the man that rents the basement is our favorite neighbor and the gardens are spectacular.

There is also an irrigation ditch that runs parallel to the secret house. We pretend it's a mountain stream and "fish" everyday off the bridge. Many days in the summer we even get wet. It's not a problem that this little ditch is actually not a stream, and there are not actually fish. We make magic anyway.

The best thing about our neighbor friend is that he always has a candy or two for the kids. It is the sweetest thing.

Today, for the first time ever, our friend asked if the kids wanted to take a ride on the lawnmower. The blade would be turned off, but they were welcome to ride along if they wanted to. Of course both of them couldn't wait.
I don't know this man's last name. He doesn't know ours. But he's known me for almost five years and we've formed quite a friendship. I've seen him through almost losing his leg to infection and he's seen me through raising two really great kids. It's fun to have a friend like that.

Especially when they make my kids smile like this.
Neighborhood walks are the best. And today we came home with a bag bursting with grapes, green beans, tomatoes and candies of course. Always candies. (And one more favorite post about this neighbor, just for good measure).

And, if you're on IG, one of my favorite hash tags of all is #dailywalkwithjames. Lots of joy comes from this part of our days.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Heather & David

The date is set, the invites are sent and the wedding for my brother-in-law is quickly approaching.

We had such a fun time taking engagement photos, and now that they are public I wanted to post a few of my favorites here.

Also, James in a tux (he's the ring bearer) and Juliet as the flower girl are going to kill me with cute. Can't wait.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Mountains on a Monday

After another long week of E being in Tokyo (again!) and arriving home too late on Sunday for a proper weekend activity, we decided to make the most of his Monday off. Jetlag and all.

While I miss the help, company and companionship when E is gone the kids miss him on an entirely different level. Juliet particularly misses Daddy and asked each and every hour when he'd be home. Even after almost 24 hours of him being home, on the hike she kept saying "let's stop and hug a little" or "just one more kiss" which of course totally and completely melted E's heart into a pile of mush.

With the gray skies and the fact that it was the work week, it meant that we had Silver Lake practically to ourselves. And there were a few times the clouds broke and we were left with the most amazing scenery Utah has to offer. The golden aspens only made it better.
With the amazing colors and two happy kids I decided to try for some photos. All photographers have a few tricks up their sleeves to try to entice natural smiles and amazing photos. I asked them to sing a song. Instead of a smile I just got tons of photos of them singing quite enthusiastically.
Sometimes gray skies make the colors so intense.
My golden boy. He asked to sing "You are my sunshine" on the way up the mountains. "You make me happy when skies are gray" couldn't be more true.
"You'll never know dear how much I love you..." Thank you dear kiddos for this photo. Love it. New header is up!

Rainbow colored grasses make me happy.
Sun! Even if it was only a moment!

Baby November will be FIVE in November. I can hardly deal. He's supposed to be my baby forever.
Neither of them are babies anymore. Before long I'll have a five year old and a three year old. And while it's hard watching them grow, I am also so excited for what the future holds.

I'm a sucker for reflections.
She's not the hiker her brother is. Sometimes she'd just have to sit in defiance.
Once we arrived inside the aspen forest James started looking for the most beautiful leaves.
The forest floor carpeted in aspen leaves, I have probably taken over a hundred photos.
Lots of leaves to collect.

"Please don't take my sunshine away."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rivers, oh we love rivers

Oh we love rivers in this family. So when the weather was perfect over the weekend we packed up a picnic and headed to our favorite camp site near home. Come to find out Tanner's Flat doesn't accept picnics on Saturday nights because they fill up with campers. After some nice smiles and pleading from my part we got a picnic site.
But Tanner's Flat picnics are not about the food. Or the picnic. It's all about the river.

Oh, and the rocks nearby that make perfect climbing spots.
James has become a master rock scrambler and found his way out to the middle of the river on his own to see the waterfall. Luckily I was close behind.
This boy is growing out of little kid-dom. He's not a little kid any more. He's just a kid. And it's crazy.
 And because he's not a little kid, he's not afraid of some serious rock scrambling.
He is happier here than anywhere else in the world. I don't post much here about his love for rivers and waterfalls, but my Instagram feed is full of it. There is even a hashtag #throwingrockswithjames that has well over 100 photos. He just loves water.
And just a screen shot of my throwing rocks with James hashtag. Oh this boy. I love him for his passion for life.  (Juliet also has a river hashtag aptly named #julietlovesrivers and it's just as darling.)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Favorite outfit {Strawberry Shortcake Princess Dress}

Juliet has many many clothes that fall into my favorite category. I only buy what I love, and only keep what I adore. But, that said, she still has a closet bursting with beautiful things to wear.

And I don't even spend very much on her wardrobe, if you can believe it. About half of what she wears comes from thrift stores, and many of my favorite pieces fit for longer than a year, because dresses just get shorter and turn into tunics.

One trick I have with buying James and Juliet new things is always buy big. She's a tall girl anyway, but I'd rather have it too big and fit for an extra year than fit perfectly now and grow out of it too soon.

When I saw this skirt on Next Direct I knew it had to be mine. I really love bunnies and toadstools. And, when I received it I was so happy to see a full embroidered picture on the back of the skirt (very rare in kids clothes) of a mouse and strawberries.
The little over the shoulder suspenders totally seal the deal.
She calls it her "strawberry shortcake princess dress" and she told me it's her favorite. Oh, and her black boots?! A total splurge, but something I've wanted for her for a year. Expect to see a lot more of them, they are darling in person and seriously so tiny!
Outfit details -
Skirt and shirt - Next Direct (still available here). I ordered size 3/4 I think!
Boots - Nordstrom

Monday, September 08, 2014

First position

Today Juliet started ballet. While she spent the entire summer in a little gymnastics class, today felt different.

She had to wear pink. She had to have little tiny (tiny!) leather ballet shoes. She wore her hair in a bun and spun around the room with 14 other little tiny girls with their hair in buns.

The floor was polished, the teacher elegant and the classical music streamed out of the door any time that is was opened.

Juliet is the youngest in the class by six months because this is a three to five year old class.  I may have forgotten her birthdate when signing her up, knowing how much she would love it.

She was fine. Totally happy and content. Listening to directions and telling me the class rules when it was done. She told me she loves ballet and wants to go tomorrow.

Seeing her in there, while I sat on the other side of the glass and smiled like an idiot, well, it was pretty great.

Ballet Mondays, you are perfect.

She stuck close to the teacher and followed all instructions.
Such sweet little girls!
See her there? Fifth from the back. Even though she may be the youngest (many in her class were four years old) you'd never know. She's tall and smart.
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