Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Little Mister Kru | Moab Newborn Photography

This little man was welcomed by a big family. After just a day in this world, his hospital room was already filled with a gaggle of teen girls, fans of him…and his 17 year old big brother. Who can blame them? Little Mr. Kru is a charmer, and I hope you enjoy these images as much as I enjoyed taking them.

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A hands-on dad, a helpful big brother, and a beautiful baby boy---I think this is one lucky momma!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fresh and Sleepy | Moab Newborn Photography

Beautiful baby, beautiful mama, beautiful light all make my job easy. This little babe is less than 20 hours young. Look how at home in the world he already is!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

10 on Tuesday

Ten on Tuesday, otherwise known as using a list to sum up a weekend’s worth of moments in the big city. All photos are from our little point & shoot (in other words: don’t judge!).

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1. The highlight of our weekend in Salt Lake City, for me: the flea market.

The whole weekend was wonderful, so I can already picture Brian rolling his eyes reading that, but the market was magic.  Why are flea markets immune from the depressing nature of yard sales? I guess packing up your stuff and taking it elsewhere heightens it---you know your trash is another person’s treasure.

Brian and Nolie had dropped us off and went to gather our lunch picnic, which I have to admit made it even more fun---no pressure that anyone was bored or pacing while I meandered. The market scored some of our precious time in the city because we saw a facebook post about a Star Wars collection for sale. So the boys pulled me away from only-in-my-dreams collections of enamel cookware to hurry and find that booth before the market was even officially open. The Star Wars seller was delighted to have young customers who would actually free his collection from their original boxes and play with them---he gave them great deals on the original LEGO land speeder (Aidan’s pick), and the first three figures above (I can’t pretend to know who they are).

At the next table, the boys picked out an Incredible Hulk that came with a Bruce Banner----inside of it! This toy was the hit of Nolan’s weekend, and made our drives much more enjoyable. I also scored a vintage copper mold, a huge lot of Lincoln Logs and a Star Wars Trivial Pursuit---those last two are tucked away for Christmas already.

The boys loved looking at each booth, and were admiring a blue bowling bag---not sure what it might contain. The seller approached and said the ball was perfect for their size. “And it would be even more perfect if your name were Sean because it’s engraved.” We all looked at each other. “Is it spelled the Irish way?” asked Sean. YES! We only bowl a few times a year, but how could we say no to this kismet moment? The seller couldn’t believe her own luck---who walks up to her table at 9 in the morning but a boy named Sean who picks up the blue bag containing a ball with his name on it! That’s the magic of a flea market.

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2. We also got to attend Craft Lake City, a DIY festival on Saturday. Bounce house, live music, watery beer---we were all happy. The boys loved hearing some of their favorite tunes and visiting the technology center (they got to time travel and play Nintendo games). Skyhop, an organization I had just learned about recently and had been emailing all week, had a booth there---another kismet moment. They offer summer camps on film editing, song writing, Stop Action LEGOs---just about everything that most interests my boys. We have to get them to come to MOAB!

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3. We walked to City Creek Center from there, where the boys resisted the fountains until after our crazy long wait to eat at Cheesecake Factory. We probably all could have shared one entrée there---the portions were as crazy as the wait. All five of us did share a slice of this glorious, calorie-free peanut-butter cheesecake.

peanut butter chocolate cheesecake

Image source: Cheesecake Factory

4. What a difference two years make:

Before and after lagoon

Same little girl (our friend Abby) and same little boy (Nolan) on the same ride at Lagoon, only now Nolan is no longer terrified of sitting next to her.

I need to go weep a bit after looking up those old Lagoon photos and seeing my sweet baby who is no longer a baby at all. *sigh*

Nolan loved Lagoon’s kiddieland. Aidan, who normal craves scary stories/movies/rides, had a bad dream after seeing “Brave” and has decided he no longer enjoys scary for scary sake. I’m proud of him for being comfortable enough to say so and stick to his plan. Sean was the other extreme, couldn’t get enough of scary rides or the haunted house and wants to go back tomorrow.

I loved the Ferris wheel, the sky ride with Brian and Nolan (though I was terrified at the time), visiting with our friends, watching Aidan and Sean disappear with their tubes at the waterpark and not worrying about them for a second, and that Nolan pointed out a photo booth (they are well trained---Brian later told me Aidan and Sean pointed out the same one to him). It wasn’t working, but his enthusiasm for it made me smile.


5. The boys stole a phrase from their new favorite show, Gravity Falls, and were calling out, “Awkward Sibling Hug” all weekend. Patting each other on the back during the hug seems to be a key component and they find it hilarious. I roll my eyes for their enjoyment but secretly love it.

6. At the hotel pool, Nolan practiced swimming under water after jumping in approximately 100 times. I finally asked him to sit on the steps as Aidan and Sean were waiting for me to judge their swimming race. After they tagged my hand, I turned back to Nolan and found him struggling in 4 feet of water.

I hadn’t looked at him for at most 20 seconds. We were both shaken by the scare. Nolan keeps saying he never wants to swim at a hotel again, as if that were the cause. Everyone may have already seen this post on how Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning, but it is worth reposting. Nolan was able to say “Mom” as he came up for air, but just barely---I wouldn’t have heard it if I hadn’t already been reaching for him. He hadn’t swallowed any water, so it must have been just seconds from when he stepped off the stairs—alleluia.

Source: dezeen.com via Carlos on Pinterest



7. We visited the Natural History Museum of Utah before heading home on Monday.

One of the most beautiful, breath-taking buildings I’ve ever seen. Truly a work of art.

Lots of hands-on exhibits for the boys. Well worth the price. I left mostly aware of just how much I don’t know about so many things.

8. My favorite was an exhibit on the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry that showed the boys how even scientists don’t always agree. Different theories for why so many remains are found in this one location were offered, each logical in its own way. The boys were then able to donate a penny to the theory they find most plausible. Aidan chose the float and bloat theory, Sean the poison theory. Based on the pennies, the drought theory is the most popular.

Source: visitutah.com via Visit on Pinterest



9. We didn’t see any movies in the city, but it looks like we’ll have to head back there in September----Raiders of the Lost Ark is coming to IMAX!

10. The boys will insist that I include Noodles & Co. in this post---not because they loved the food necessarily, but because they got to enjoy creating their own (gross) drink combinations at the Freestyle machine. Soda is a very rare treat for Aidan so he was thrilled. He kept calling it the Space-Age-Soda-Machine.

Thanks for catching up with us. I hope this offered some ideas for your next trip to SLC! I’d love to hear some of your favorite SLC recommendations for our next adventure there. Where do you eat? What’s a must see attraction? Post your recommendation in the comments!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sunday Gratitude

I want to cultivate a grateful heart, and if not count my blessings, then at least acknowledge them. The big ones: life, health, my husband and sons, friends and family, those are always included. Here though I hope to take note of the small blessings, whatever might lighten the load this week or might be forgotten if not recorded here.

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1. A day spent in the slow moving Colorado River and on the bank of Sandy Beach.

My boys + cool water + sand = hours of fun

These are the days I hope they remember when they are grown. How well they played together with their brothers (they are all on a Ben 10 kick right now), how they ate sandwiches under the shade tent, and how their father blasted them with their own water gun. Nolan and Brian built an intricate castle with several layers of descending water works. Aidan lamented that we wouldn’t let him swim out to battle the passing kayaks armed with super soakers (even at this low level, I worry about the current). And above, you can see Sean showing off for the group of French girls who were enjoying the beach too.

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2. Olympic Fever.

Brian loves the Olympics. I shouldn’t complain because overall he’d rather be out riding his mountain bike than sitting watching a football game. We had friends over for the opening ceremony (celebrated with our version of fish & chips: salmon, oven fries and edamame). I’m convinced Aidan was Danny Boyle’s target audience---he thought the opening ceremony was hilarious. The boys love any excuse for a party (and to have the TV on), so they’ve caught Brian’s Olympic fever. Aidan talked me into getting glazed donuts so he could turn them into the Olympic symbol (above photo). There’s much I don’t care for about the Olympics (our TV being on so much, the commercialism, the nationalism), but even I can’t help being in awe of the individuals whose dedication and talent have brought them to this high level of competition. Amazing moments witnessed this week!

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3. Little chess players.

I’m learning, slowly, that the less I do or encourage, the more the boys will do. I miss the way Aidan used to spend hours drawing and writing, but encouraging him to return to those outlets only seems to lessen his enthusiasm. On his own volition, he’s gotten interested in chess again. He’s been teaching Sean to play. Nolan, however, comes up with his own rules, which change throughout the game.

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4. Brotherly Teamwork.

Sean participated in the British soccer camp last week. Aidan didn’t, but he had to get in on the final days’ water fight. Here you can see the two of them attempting to sneak up on Coach Tom with a gallon of cold water. They crack themselves up so easily. I’m also so grateful for opportunities like this that come to our small town.

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5. Summer monsoons…which mean baking time!

A little break in the high temperatures last week meant we felt like we could turn the oven on again. The boys voted for banana bread. Here’s our super simple recipe which never fails to please.

  • 3-4 ripe bananas
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup of nuts or chocolate chips (optional)

Mix the first 4 ingredients well, then add the dry ingredients. Heat at 350 for one hour in a loaf pan. Check often as it is easily under or over done. Enjoy!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Basement Wish List

I love words, but I'm a very visual person. And while I like to think I'm very articulate, I don't seem very good at communicating when it comes to room/remodeling ideas with Brian.

Often I think we have agreed on a plan and later I'll learn that he isn't clear on what I wanted or is on a totally different plan.

(Abandoned basement idea #1: a slide from the kids' room to the basement)

Case in point: our basement.

Our house came with an unfinished basement. Brian has done a ton of work since we moved in: putting in all our landscaping, building containers for the garden, the fence, our deck extension, our brick patio and more. I am so grateful (and spoiled) to have a partner who can fix and build just about anything...and who loves working outside.

The basement has been a challenge for several reasons. Time (see all the above projects that have kept Brian busy), money, and the noise factor (when Bri does have free time, it's often too late with kids sleeping to make noise right below them). Over the eight years we've lived here, Brian has spent a lot of time and a lot of money on the basement. He built a storage room that we use for the boys' hand-me-down clothes and seasonal items. He has (in my novice opinion) an awesome work shop that is (I might add) larger than my kitchen. Insulation, electricity, plumping, lighting, framing= a lot of weekends and a lot of sketches and Brian having me walk around down there as we discuss ideas and plans.

I have no idea what goes into most of the work above. My mind immediately goes to the fun potential. And our walks/talks down there usually follow a pattern of my getting super excited about some random idea, Brian calmly explaining why such idea is unreasonable or impossible, and then some arguing before my washing my hands of the whole basement because I decide it is not worth the fight.

To me, it seemed like this great opportunity---a blank slate. Our house was being built when we bought it, so we were able to add some detail touches of our own, and those are definitely the things I love most about our home. But the framing was done so the layout wasn't something we could change. And so much of buying of our house was about how to shave more $ off the cost---which is how we came to doing all the landscaping ourselves, as well as the painting, the door frames, etc.

My fear is that our basement will be this lost opportunity, without character---very boxy and conventional, which is how I would describe our first house in Oregon. There was so much open space, but now every room feels very small to me.

So here is my wishlist of random ideas that I think would make the space more homey and enjoyable. I'm hoping for two things with this post---to have the visuals to back up my verbal difficulties in describing what I mean to Brian and to have a record of what I wanted in case not one of these things end up in our very conventional, boring basement;-p

Source: bhg.com via Deirdre on Pinterest

1. A built-in whole wall bookcase.

The main thing I am looking forward to when our basement is finished, besides having a place to banish lots of toys, is more bookshelves I *thought* we had decided on a long built-in bookcase a long time ago. I don't like the pattern or color above, but I do like the overall design.

I did ask that the hallway entrance downstairs have an arch opening, echoing the entrances upstairs. I'd like for the bookcase to reflect that as well, if possible.

The bookcase wall includes a door way without an arch, leading into Brian's workshop and the storage area. The ceilings downstairs are low, but I'd like to carry the built-in effect over the door way if possible.

#2 Interesting door to laundry room
I'm dreading losing my laundry room on the main floor of the house. I love being able to throw in a quick load and how our tiny, closet sized laundry room requires that clothes, dirty or clean, aren't actually stored in the room at all.
  I don't think the wording is necessary, but I do like the idea of a window on the door. Brian's counterpoint: it will be dark and unseen from the stairs, and potentially broken by boys running down the stairs???

I thought this room was going to be larger than it turned out---so I had hoped for it to be a space where the kids could do messy art projects and that I'd be able to move all the craft stuff out of the upstairs office (especially as I foresee that space becoming a bedroom someday). Now I think there is barely room for some storage space and a washer and dryer. We shall see.

The stairway to the basement has been a whole different issue (which I of course lost/was wrong about). It is narrow and dark. Brian did open up the wall into the living area, which brightened it a bit and made that room a bit bigger. But the stairs (which I wanted to break up by having turn into the living area) end right at the laundry room door. So looking down the stairs, you'll just see a door (with another door, the bathroom, to the  right and the living area to the left).

Source: houzz.com via Deirdre on Pinterest

Barn doors might not work with 8' foot ceilings, but I do like the idea of gaining some space in the room by having a sliding or pocket door. Brian is concerned about the noise factor, as he imagines the living area becoming where we watch movies.

#3 the Illusion of Windows
I normally don't like fake anything, even when it's fancied up and called faux. Can't stand fake flowers. But a room without windows is a big negative, and just the slightest illusion of having something like a window would make a big difference, in my opinion. Even if the window were just into another room.


I also like the idea of these built in storage shelves that resemble windows. 

Brian has let the boys play in what they refer to as their Harry Potter "room under the stairs". Maybe no door is preferable, but isn't this one super cute?

I'm going to stop here, and not deal with the window wells or the couch debate or where in the world the air-hockey table will go, or the fact that having a guest room in the basement doesn't seem practical as I can't imagine ever directing our parents to down a flight of stairs to sleep. Maybe it will all be different once it is done.

The day we moved into our first house, I looked around at the fake brick linoleum, dark paneling and popcorn ceilings that I had worked so hard to convince Brian were worth our money because of its location and started to cry. And within a year, it had a completely different feel to it---clean and bright. So I'm going to try to just trust that what right now feels like a dark, unwelcoming space will be completely different when it is done. Brian is more conventional than I am, but he also has a much stronger sense of space and is more realistic...I do hope it becomes a space that we all enjoy together.

Light52: Week 31

This is my last song post...and the last Light52 post for a while. I'm half way and constantly see things that would fit a Light52 post---songs, poems, quotes, photos. But I'm over it for right now. I've started to a series called Sunday Gratitude on my work blog, so I will continue those as an extension of Light 52.

I've never been a Willy Nelson fan, though I've loved several songs penned by him. Always loved "The Scientist" by Coldplay, but something about his voice on this one..."come back and haunt me"..."Take me back to the start."  So many times this summer this song has carried me through---"no one said it would be easy, but no one said it would be this hard."  I thought that about Duke, about marriage, about grief, about life in general.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sweet Adalyn | Moab Newborn Photography

This shot below was taken in a small hospital room, made even smaller as we tried to squeeze into the one spot with natural light coming in from a small window. I am ever in awe of the people whom I get to photograph---can you tell their lives had just changed completely? All I could see was the love surrounding them for each other and the newest member of their family.

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I love being the mom to three boys. I always wanted sons. But there are no cute yellow polka-dot dresses involved in raising boys.

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It’s a bit early to even contemplate a future grand-daughter, but sweet Adalyn, you’ve just guaranteed that if she exists, she’ll be getting a yellow polka-dot dress someday!

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