Back in February, I got a crazy idea. We were planning our last family trip to Disneyland before our passes expired and two weeks before our trip I thought, “how great would it be to have our family pictures taken AT Disneyland!?” This past year, we had gone quite a few times. For Valentine’s Day & my birthday (the day after Valentine’s Day), Dave and I even took a quick no-kids trip and stayed at the Grand Californian. It was one of my best birthdays yet, and I’m determined to make it happen every year! Ahem, Dave. Disneyland became my happy place (happier than normal) for me after my Mom died. It was the perfect place to escape real life/little bouts of depression with the California sunshine, palm trees, and Disneyland.
So, I know this amazing photographer, Cherie Mask, that I thought would be the perfect person to take our pictures. I emailed her immediately to see if it was even a possibility that she could come (she lives in Arizona), and miraculously, it worked! She flew out for the day to take our pictures and it was so much fun.
A little side note: Cherie and I first became online friends after I stumbled upon her blog a few years ago. After a few visits to her blog I realized that I knew her husband, Jeff. We had both served as missionaries in Buenos Aires, Argentina many, many years ago. Then last year, Cherie and I met in real life for the first time. We both attended the same lecture at Women’s Conference here at BYU and met in real life. Not only did we end up in the same class, but when Cherie came in a few minutes before the lecture started, the usher sat her in my row! Out of tens of thousands of women, we ended up in the same class, and sitting in the same row! I do not believe in coincidences. I know we were supposed to meet, I know we are meant to be friends, and I feel so blessed by the influence of her goodness in my life. She is gorgeous inside and out!
When I got our pictures, I cried! I was so happy that she perfectly captured us at our favorite place. I will forever treasure them. So without further ado…
Dave, his girls, and a castle
I’ve got a crush on this guy
Making wishes at Snow White’s wishing well. My wish is for my double chin to disappear.
I almost puked on the teacups, which means I’m officially old.
I want to recreate this picture every year.
Our Nezzie Girl
One of our favorite treats that we get every time are (non-alcoholic) mint juleps. Inez enjoys the mint leaves.
Gwen, the heartbreaker…
…and daddy’s girl.
Our sweet Olive girl
She truly is our family’s biggest Disneyland fan. She would go every day if she could.
She wore her Minnie Mouse dress and HEELS every day on our trip. See? BIG fan.
Kisses from my Clara bug
The outfit on Clara is one that all my girls have worn and one of my favorites.
Dave LOVES kids on his shoulders at Disneyland
I can’t remember what she saw here, probably Small World.
It truly is our happy place.
Thank you, again, Cherie! Our whole family loves you and can’t wait for next year’s pictures!
*If you are in Arizona and need photography, you need to hire Cherie. She’s amazing and she didn’t even ask me to promote her, but I am because that’s how awesome she is. You’re welcome.
We had family pictures taken with all of Dave’s family (much thanks to his parents). We did a big group shot, and then individual family shots as well. I’m so glad we did this because we haven’t had a family picture taken since Gwen was two years old (she’s now six).
Anyway, here’s our crazy clan.
I’m so grateful for this crazy clan. Although, it’s gonna get real interesting in about ten years when we have four pre-teen & teenage girls, and I’m pre-menopausal.
Good luck, Dave.
I have such a love/hate relationship with them. I hate them until we finally get ours mailed. So I currently hate them. I’ve been meaning to have my sister take our family pictures, or just take a few snapshots of the girls when I get a minute, but the good light is only available when everyone is at school and work. The past few Saturdays have completely escaped me, so this past Sunday I tried to hurry and take a few before church.
Taking pictures of four girls is like herding cats. The big girls who should know to look at the camera and smile, DON’T. Olive was mad that we took her away from whatever it was that she was playing with (the iPad, probably). And Clara would only stay sitting if I gave her lip gloss to hold, which she held up in front of her face most of the time because she was trying to put it on. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I didn’t realize that my depth of field was too shallow, so Clara is out of focus in ALL of these. Needless to say, there was a lot of yelling that took place to “look at the camera!, put your hand down, stop making that face,” etc. It probably wasn’t the best thing to do right before going to church.
Anyway, here are some outtakes. But actually, I LOVE them.
I love the real interaction.
I told the girls to stick their tongues out, which Clara didn’t understand at first.
But after observing her sisters, she knew what to do.
I just wish they were in focus. Lucky for us, we get to do it again! (insert enthusiastic emoticon here)
For those of you who know Dave, you probably already know that I hit the jackpot when it comes to husbands that help without being asked. Dirty diapers, dishes, spanking naughty children…the list goes on and on. It’s so nice that I don’t have to do it all myself!
All joking aside (he never changes dirty diapers), he is a rock star at graphic design. I know I am 100% biased here, but just indulge me. As we were decorating for Christmas, I told him that I needed something red for the mantle and could he, pretty-please-with-a-cherry-on-top, make me a print that I could hang on the wall? He totally delivered.
And since he was on a roll, he made another one from the Christmas hymn, Angels We Have Heard on High. I have it up next to our nativity, which seems like the perfect spot for it.
Aren’t they pretty? Good news is that they are available for everyone! It’s a Festivus for the rest of us!
Dave’s print shop is called YX Co. and here is the link. Take care that it’s not a .com site. It’s actually .co instead. So if you type the URL in, it’s yxco.co
It really is something you should click over and check out. Like I said, he’s a pretty good designer, and the fact that he changes dirty diapers is a bonus. For me. He doesn’t just change anyone’s dirty diaper. That would just be creepy.
IT’S ANOTHER FESTIVUS MIRACLE! Here’s a promo code for friends and family (or anyone really). Enter XMAS25 to receive 25% off!
And, Merry Christmas.
On Saturday, October 6, my beautiful, perfect, angel mother lost her battle against ovarian cancer.
She had been fighting this horrible disease for approximately two years and four months. She fought a good fight. She was, and always will be, the toughest, strongest woman I know. While I am so glad she no longer suffers, I miss her more than I ever thought possible.
Losing my Mom has always been a fear of mine. She and I were very, very close. She was my best friend, my confidant, and my biggest cheerleader. When Dave and I were first married and we would visit my parents or they would come visit us, after we parted I would cry and cry. I would say to Dave, “what if that’s the last time I ever see her?”
He used to ask me, “Do you love your mom more than you love me?” I never gave him a straight answer. It wasn’t that I loved her more, just differently. There is a deep bond between mother and child. My Mom, or Marmie as we sometimes called her, are as bonded as any mother and child can be. My heart feels emptier now, my insides ache and I am more sad than I have ever been.
There is so much that reminds me of her, and always will. My sister and I were talking about how we need to make that a positive thing, instead of allowing it to make us sad. My Mom and I had a lot of inside jokes, and talked often about Downton Abbey, Larkrise to Candleford, the latest version of an adaptation of a Jane Austen book, or any other good movie/miniseries that was current. She taught me to love good and uplifting music. She had the best sense of humor and loved a good practical joke. We all learned to be on guard every year on April 1st.
We had to walk three blocks from our hotel to the subway with all our luggage. In those short three blocks, we got caught in an East Coast summer downpour. Everything was soaked. Once we got on the subway, we laughed and laughed, and everyone just stared at us like we were crazy.
As I write this, tears stream down my face. I was so privileged to have the best mother for 36 years of my life, and I am so grateful for her good influence. I know that she will always be my guide in how I should live my life. When I think of how good she was, I think of the 13th Article of Faith because that is exactly how she lived her life.
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
Setting the best example to all of us, as she and my Dad set out on their mission to Hong Kong.
One of the hardest things is that she won’t be here to see my girls grow up, to be at their baptisms, weddings, mission farewells & homecomings. I was comforted by knowing I’d have her help along the way. I’m going to need someone’s help because I have NO idea what I’m doing.
Teaching Inez (age 3) how she used to wear scarved in her hair
A favorite picture of Mom with Gwen (age 2)
Mom and Olive (age 2) just a few months before her passing
Mom meeting Clara (2 days) who spent the first week of her life in the NICU.
I expect our next greeting to be similar to this picture, but so much more glorious.
This was taken in the Buenos Aires Argentina airport when my Mom and I saw each other again after my 18 month mission.
My Dad used this poem in the printed program from her funeral. It’s perfect.
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says, “There, she’s gone.”
Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side, and just as able to bear her load of living weight to the place of destination. Her diminished size is in me, not in her; and just at that moment when someone at my side sighs: “There, she’s gone,” there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices to take the glad shout, “There, she’s coming!”
I am comforted by my beliefs and what I know to be true. I know that I will see her and be with her again after this life. That takes some of the sting away, it does. But will I ever not feel sad? I am just so, so sad.
(Back on July 5th we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.)
Happy 10th Anniversary to us! We sure have come a long way, but I don’t think I could’ve picked a better guy. We are definitely M.F.E.O.
We celebrated it by having a “staycation” without our kids! My sister (bless her) took them for two days and we got to do whatever we wanted! We even saw two movies in one day! It was so much fun.
Even though we are ten years deep, I feel like belting out, “we’ve only just begun…”
Happy Anniversary Dave!
I love that quote by Isak Dinesen. Especially after just having returned from a spur-of-the-moment road trip with our little crew, where we spent a few days at the beach. If we could live close to the beach, we would jump at the opportunity. But who wouldn’t?
One of my favorite nights from our trip was when we grabbed bean, cheese, & potato burritos from Pedro’s in San Clemente for dinner, and watched the sunset. That’s right. Bean, cheese, and POTATO. Nom nom. It exceeded my expectations, and now I’m drooling over my keyboard.
While we were in the drive through line, Dave asked me to take a picture for him of this sign. And then he totally photo bombed it.
Best bumper sticker
I love San Clemente. I’ve loved it since I was a teenager when one Saturday my sister and I went to watch my Dad run in a race. That early morning I was exposed to one of the best beach cities (and lots of cute surfer boys) that exists. I’ve loved it ever since.
I never get tired of watching the sun set at the beach…
…especially when I’m with my favorite people. Dave is experimenting with growing his beard out (feel free to cast your vote in the comments – yea or nay?).
I loved watching Inez play in the ocean.
My Gwenie girl is growing teeny freckles.
The wind kicked up so I bundled Olive up. This is a rare site to see Olive in anything besides a “pretty dress.”
I had to showcase our mexican blanket. It just makes me so happy to put it to use at the beach (where it belongs).
I couldn’t get a good picture of Clara since she doesn’t stand still longer than half a second. And this picture definitely reflects that – great light and setting with a busy baby that won’t look at the camera.
I can’t post about our trip to California without mentioning some favorite people of ours, James & Melissa. James and Dave were roommates at BYU, and all four of us were in the same singles ward. They were our gracious hosts while we were in California, and were so nice to let us and our crazy kids invade their home for six days! It was even their 10th wedding anniversary on this day! See? Nicest friends, EVER.
The girls had a lot of fun collecting rocks and playing in the water. This is their James & Melissa’s daughter, Natalie, with Inez (I didn’t get any pictures of their other two kidlets).
Our impromptu trip was over before we knew it and now we are back home. Little does Dave know, but I’m already planning our next trip back.
More photos & blog posts to come about our trip!
Have you ever met someone and instantly liked them? That was how it was for me after meeting Diane. She has been Inez’s art teacher for two years now, and this past year she was Gwen’s preschool teacher. People always say, “Oh so-and-so is the best teacher.” But I am here to tell you that Diane really, truly is the best teacher. Gwen has just blossomed in her class this year and Inez loves art and has become so much more creative. You can also tell a lot about a teacher if they are well-liked by the kids. Not only do my girls love Diane, but any student I have observed at the preschool or elementary school also love her, and in my opinion, that really speaks volumes. I will forever be grateful that Diane came into my life. Not only is she a positive influence and an inspiration for me, but she has been the kindest person as well as an inspiring teacher for my girls, and that to me is priceless.
Anyway, Diane puts on this huge art show every year, showcasing all the art that the kids have done throughout the school year, and it is very impressive. The walls in the halls of the school are lined with all the children’s art. It really is inspiring to see all that Diane has helped them create in one school year—which she pulls off while teaching preschool five days a week too. Oh, and did I mention she’s a single mom? Honestly, she is a-maze-ing.
Here are a few pictures I snapped while at the art show.
Jasper Johns wall
Paul Klee wall (one of my favorites)
Frida Khalo and Paul Klee wall
Keith Haring and more (but different) Paul Klee
The students all made portraits of their teachers in the style of Modigliani. These were by far my favorites. This one in particular was done by my friend’s daughter who was in first grade. I love her hair!
Diane chatting it up with some of her cute neighbors that came to support her
The art room, which had work on display from the students that took Diane’s after school art classes, Art Club.
These Fat Cats were a project from Art Club as well.
Well, lucky for those of us here in Utah Valley, Diane will be teaching a variety of summer art classes, for all ages from her home. She’s even going to teach a few classes for the ladies, which I’m especially excited for. I can always use a fun night out. Especially if it’s a fun night out with a bonus of learning how to crochet granny squares, then I’m totally in.
I mean, look at what she will be teaching for the June class! LOOK!
So, go sign your kids and yourself up! Don’t delay!
Her shop can be found HERE.
Her blog can be found HERE.
Today I was taking pictures for a friend’s website. All was going well until Clara woke up from her nap, and Olive finished watching Little Einsteins. They were so interested in what I was doing! In fact, they would not leave me alone. Luckily I still got the pictures I was going for. Here are a few that I LOVE.
Gorgeous embroidery thread
A rainbow of crochet yarn
Even though I managed to get the shots I needed, I thought I’d share a few of my outtakes.
I spy with my little eye, a baby finger!
This is what you see when I zoom all the way out from the pictures I was trying to take.
Clara our little charmer.
In reflecting on trying to get these pictures done I now realize that I was “zoomed in” on the task at hand. But when I zoomed out, my two girlies were there and in need of attention. It made me realize how often I am zoomed in on the wrong things in life. This isn’t a new realization or anything as I am fully aware that I’m often focused on the wrong thing. It was just a nice (and not harsh) reminder to be in the moment, and to zoom in on what matters most.
Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. I have to admit, I’m in love with Instagram these days. But since not everyone is on Instagram, I thought I’d share the last week’s worth of photos. Hope you enjoy them (Mom)!
Inez and her friend, Olivia, at gymnastics, on the balance beam.
Olive is constantly twirling. She never wants to wear pants or shorts. In fact, she will actually cry if I try to dress her in anything but a “pretty” which is a skirt or dress in Olive’s talk.
I asked Clara to give her baby a hug, and this is what she did. This girl is constantly charming us all.
Two babies, up to no good. Actually, Olive was picking out a movie to watch and 99.9% of the time it’s a princess movie. As long as it’s not Ariel, I’m good. That has got to be the worst story ever. If you don’t think so, you don’t have daughters. If you have daughters, you haven’t watched it since you’ve had daughters. If you have daughters and have recently watched it and think that it’s a perfectly fine movie, then I hope your daughter doesn’t get any crazy ideas at the age of 16, and decide to sell her soul and run away with a boy (she just “met”) because she’s in love with him. I need to get rid of that DVD.
I was lucky enough to attend two full days of Women’s Conference last week. It was fun and tiring and inspiring. I came home renewed and with a deeper love for my family.
One small part of my notes from Women’s Conference.
I asked Gwen to model her cute new frock for me. All of a sudden, Olive jumped in the picture, shirtless, with rain boots, and a bowl of popcorn (that she promptly spilled after this picture was taken).
I got some lovely fabric. Not sure what I’m going to do with it yet, but you can never go wrong with Union Jacks.
At my nephew’s baptism last week, Clara clearly preferred to be with Dave. That makes girl #4 that is a complete daddy’s girl.
This picture was taken during church on Sunday. I had to leave my meetings because of my loud and unruly babies. My caption for this picture in Instagram best describes this shot: “As my children grow older and (undoubtedly) find fault with their mother, I will tell them those are the lessons I missed at church BECAUSE OF THEM.”
I bought some yarn for a crochet class I will be taking in June. I’m going to learn how to make granny squares, and I’m beyond excited. Gwen’s preschool teacher, who is also Inez’s art teacher, is going to be teaching art classes for kids this summer, and she will also have a class for the ladies. I will post more on this as soon as the information & registration is available. If you are local, you should come with me. Or you can just meet me there. Whatever.
My brother, Jon, has just joined the Army. He’s away at Basic Training and OCS for five months. He has left behind his pregnant wife and son, Jon-Jon. This little family is going to be blessed for the sacrifices they are making right now. Anyway, Jon-Jon just turned three on Sunday and we gave him a bucket of soldiers (from Toy Story). I was SO happy that I caught his initial reaction as he opened his present. After he opened it, he showed all of us and said, “This is my Dad.” It was a tender moment with a hint of funny.
Also, I have to point out here that I think my Mom looks gorgeous. Especially for someone who is in remission for the second time!
This picture doesn’t need an explanation. Also, I love everything about this picture.
As she was riding the trike, she kept telling Dave to get on. So he did. And this is why all our girls are daddy’s girls.