Saturday, March 28, 2015

Hangin' with my Dad

It is a rare treat to hang out with my dad. Although he only lives fifteen minutes from me, he works long days and has busy weekends (like we all do!).

So when he mentioned that he wanted to go to Red Butte Garden with he kids on a weekday I was thrilled. A Friday morning with my Dad in the garden? Yes please.

The weather was PERFECTION. Low 60s and sunny, and the daffodils were even better than last week, if possible.

We talked about the Easter bunny, waterfalls, our upcoming Hawaii trip (!!!!) and summertime. All the best topics for sure. Thank you Dad for joining us. We all had such a fun time.
Gah! These two! So full of smiles. They were seriously on their best behavior. Yippee!
This is how I imagine all forests looking, a secret path leading through the trees and the forest floor carpeted in flowers.
Thank you kind stranger for offering to take our pic.
They hyacinth smelled amazing.
Happy happy spring.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Daffodils in the garden

The passage of time is so easy to see when you line up a big stack of photos. Every year we head to Red Butte Garden to take a photo with the daffodils. This year after a very mild winter and an extremely warm spring, we were able to see the daffodils close to a month early.

Every year that passes is bittersweet. Kids grow and time speeds up. Next fall James starts kindergarten and Juliet starts preschool. Already my babies have passed toddlerhood and are looking and acting more like big kids every day. 

Last year, 2014. James four and Juliet two. 
2013, James three and Juliet one.
2012, James two, Juliet two months. 
2011, James one, me just newly pregnant.
2010, James four months. 
2009, pregnant for the first time and so excited for our life to change forever! 
It's wild to see them lined up like that, right?! Anyway, look how darling (and little!) my kids were just one year ago.
This year we had the warmest weather ever for daffodils. All of us were wishing we were in shorts! Seriously so bizarre.
Dressed in yellow of course!
Seeing butterflies out this early is kind of disconcerting.
James loved this magnolia blossom. He kept saying "it smells like hot dogs!"
This photo looks so overly saturated. Didn't adjust levels or saturation at all. 
Sit a girl in a field of flowers and ask for a smile. Nothing better in the world.
Lots of trees in bloom, which are one of the things that makes me so happy.

My sweetest boy. Getting so big so fast. Starting to read, write, and add. Goodness he's amazing.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Rainbow St. Patrick's Day Party

On St. Patrick's Day I hosted our third annual Rainbow/St. Patty's Day party. It is an event all little ones look forward to all year long. It is really the highlight of the entire year.

I'm joking of course, but the kids that we invite year after year really do get a kick out of the annual scavenger hunt for treats and annual rainbow craft made with delicious and nutritious Fruit Loops. ;)

These kids are my kids' best best friends. And while my kid's get to choose the guest list for their own birthday parties, I get to choose the guest list for the Rainbow party, making sure everyone gets an invite and all my favorite Mama friends are there.

I love looking back on these parties, because, as I said, same guest list, and the kids have grown SO MUCH.
Sixteen kids in attendance. I've seen each one grow up before my eyes.

This group of moms are the ones I spend the most time with during the work week when E is gone ten hours a day. They are my rock. My best friends. And my kids' playmates. And nobody can be sad when you've got sun, a backyard full of dirt and water, and lots of sugar.

Happy St. Patrick's Day.

The kids are so good at the scavenger hunt and have all ten clues figured out within minutes.
 Rainbow crafts,
 Rainbow games,
And everyone dressed in green.
 Seriously, I've known most of these ladies since their five year olds were babies.
Mostly boys, but we do like girls too. Gotta increase our girl ratio.
The best part of the party, without a doubt, was filling a garbage can with sand and dirt and adding more and more water until everyone was covered in mud. A quick hose-down of eight kids at the end of the afternoon was the perfect way to bid everyone farewell; because all other moms really want wet, dirty, cold kids as long as they are happy, and oh were they happy. 
Our party last year, and the year before that.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The evolution of my hobbies (obsessions)

As I've grown older I've had a lot of hobbies. I'm not just talking photography and gardening, I'm talking hobbies that boarder on obsessions. Being obsessed with something is not healthy if it interferes with your daily life, but obsessions that make you happy, make your daily life richer, well those are good hobbies (err.. obsessions).

As I've pondered my hobbies over the years I've realized some of these hobbies make for my very best memories, and make me the happiest I've ever been. Truly. Each hobby shaped me into the person I am today, and each one holds such fond and strong memories of who I was during that time of life.

Looking at them all in a list brings back a flood of nostalgia, of friends I was hanging out with at the time, of love I felt for E, of becoming a parent (which was very much my favorite obsession).

The reason why I've been pondering these hobbies so much lately is because I have a new one: BBC Sherlock. A tv show. I'm almost embarrassed to admit how much I love thinking about a mere tv show. I mean, I haven't thought about pretend characters as much as I am now since I was 14 years old. That is embarrassing. But, it brings me a lot of happiness, so I'm just going to roll with it.

So, a list of the things I was and are obsessed with, starting with when I was merely 14 years old:
Junior High school - Lois and Clark aka Superman
I adored this show in Jr. High. Thinking about it now brings back such happy memories. My best friend and I were obsessed with Dean Cain (the Clark Kent/ Superman actor) and it makes me smile to remember how much time I actually fantasized about kissing him.

High school - "Haunted" places
Again, such happy memories. My friends and I were absolutely entranced by ghost stories and weird/abandoned places in high school. Our favorite Saturday night activity was getting a pizza and then driving around looking for "haunted" places. I know all the stories, all the locations, and all the "hauntings". Such good times. This is also when E and I started dating and so the memories are extra special.

College - Ghost towns/ Urban exploring
After high school I got much more into Urban exploring, which is a term that means exploring abandoned urban places. I read some amazing websites, explored some amazing places, and thought about abandoned structures pretty much all the time. E and I loved to check out ghost towns and abandoned highways, and every last forgotten home down near the farmhouse was explored.

Have some extra time? This is the best Urban exploring website out there. LOVE it.

This mill I explored alone. The entire creepy inside of the mill and I was alone. Most definitely one of the bravest moments of my life. I found a unlocked door in the basement and crawled in in the middle of the day.
Lots and lots of abandoned houses. I've talked about exploring abandoned houses a few times on my blog, I just love it. Here is one of my favorite posts about exploring abandoned homes. And here is another one. 

Post collage - Travel
Once I had money to travel I spent most of my time thinking/planning/imagining and scoping out our next adventure. E and I traveled a lot in our mid twenties. England, Amsterdam, Tanzania, Italy, Austria, Japan, Canada and every single National Park we could manage. Many many years of possibly my favorite memories of my life (second to being a mother of course).
Travel may seem like a weird thing to label as an "obsession" but for a very long time I was obsessed. My thoughts drifted to little else, only where I've been and where I couldn't wait to go next.

Early twenties - American Girl dolls
Remembering how much I loved dolls (well into adult hood) makes me realize how much poor E had to put up with. I loved dolls. I thought about them all the time, buying new things for them, making new stories up, and even taking Violet on our honeymoon (thank you E, you deserve a metal). Dolls were my life up until I had James. I made so so many friends on the doll message boards, some of which I still consider my closest friends today.

Some of my very favorite doll moments can be found in the Kit mystery albums: Mystery at the Farmhouse, Mystery at the Cabin, Mystery of the Abandoned Barn (because of course I've got to combine my love for dolls with my love for abandoned places!), and The Mystery of Christmas Eve.
Plus, of course, there are tons of traveling Violet albums.

Can't wait to share these types of memories with the kids one day.

Early twenties - Harry Potter
Each of these hobbies hold such a special place in my heart. Harry Potter is no different. While I loved seeing the movies in the theaters on opening night, the books are where my heart lies. Nothing got me more involved with the Harry Potter world than the release of a new book. I would read all the theories, contribute to discussions, and generally geek out on how much I love Harry Potter. Oh, and re-read the books again and again.

I love Harry Potter so much that's it's enough that it somewhat defines who I am (crazy, right?! Ask any Harry Potter fan and they will totally get what I'm talking about). And Dumbledore? He's my all time favorite.

I AM SO STOKED to introduce the kids to the books. Their minds will be blown.

Late twenties until current - Children, being a mother
It sounds trite to say, but becoming a mother, and immersing myself into motherhood was and is a hobby/obsession. Of course, becoming a parent changes you, it changes you for the better to your very core. But motherhood is an obsession of mine. I revel in it. I immerse myself totally and completely. Being a stay-at-home-mom has made me happier than anything I've ever done.

I am not the perfect parent, far from it, but I like to give my children a magical childhood. We tell stories. We play outside year round. We build forts and get muddy and laugh and laugh. Bringing this to the two people I love most in the world is my favorite obsession of all.

Early thirties - Instagram
About two years ago I got very into Instagram. Yes, Instagram that is just merely a photo posting app on your phone. But I connected with other mothers around the world and I loved that this platform pushed me more with my photography and my creativity than anything in recent past.

I challenged myself to getting the perfect shot, the perfect lighting, the perfect expressions. Instagram was and is a way to share my love of motherhood and photography with other mamas out there.

While I still love IG, my obsession has shifted a little. As kids grow bigger and more independent they are less willing to be the object of photos, and part of childhood is living without a camera in your face. So I've lessened my presence on IG a bit over the last four months.

Current - Sherlock 
I said above that I totally admit and embrace the fact that being obsessed with a tv show (made up characters that really don't exist) is pretty geeky. But as I love dolls and Harry Potter so I'm not too worried about my geeky rating.
I LOVE this show. It is kinda crazy. Like I haven't felt this obsessiveness towards a show since Lois and Clark (twenty years ago!). I like detective stories (Law & Order SVU was a favorite of mine) but it is so much more than that. It's a love story. It is. Don't laugh. I truly feel that Sherlock and John Watson are going to end up together. And it makes me so happy.

Poor E, he not only had a doll join him on our honeymoon, but he has to listen to me go on and on about what I believe are two gay detectives. This man needs an award.
I know that it's kinda crazy to think that Sherlock will end it's five seasons with John and Sherlock together in a romantic relationship, but I do think that is where the creators are going with it. Call me crazy, I don't mind. 

Plus, the story is really just so good. Predictions are so fun to make, even if they end up totally false. I loved that with Harry Potter, and once the 7th and last book came out, and all questions were answered, it felt like such a sad moment. Part of the fun of getting into a fandom is trying to figure out where the creators are going with it. 

If you are a Sherlock fan, and don't mind reading theories, here are the best websites. Each one is brilliant and such a fun read. And if you don't agree that Sherlock is going to end up with John that is fine too. I won't be too offended. 

Ha! I wanted to write a short post about my love for BBC Sherlock and it turned into quite an epic post. However, writing it made me smile again and again. I realize now that being obsessed with something is totally not a new thing for me. It's a lifelong love. 

Send me your best Sherlock theories and a gold metal for my man that has to deal with all of this craziness. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Spring header

Today there is sun! And warmth! And spring fever.

After a nasty bought of the sickies for Juliet, today she is finally feeling 85%. She didn't just have something on Saturday at the farmhouse, her sickness lasted through the weekend and into yesterday. So today when she woke up with most of her pep back I felt so relieved.

I've been wanting to take a few spring header photos since March came along, and today was just the perfect day. My mom joined me at a small local park that has some nice green grass. Every March I notice how green and beautiful the grass is in this little wooded park, and it played the perfect backdrop.

Happy happy spring! Onto healthier and warmer days ahead.
James and his crazy eyes. He makes me laugh so much. And I'm savoring his little mouth full of baby teeth. Many of his friends have already started loosing their baby teeth, but I am so not ready to give up this last remaining remnant of his babyhood.
Lots of silly faces and falling over.
We got a winner!

Love these two with more depth than I will ever find the words to convey.

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