Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Eve

sunshine. car wash. goodwill run. photoshoot. mommy/magson date. pinata. easter egg hunt. friends. capris. geraniums. lindt chocolate bunny. a potty trained boy. cupcakes. dandelions. giggles. swimsuits. bike rides. sunshine!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

You Lift Me Up

Lately I've felt especially grateful for my friends. Old friends, new friends, acquaintance friends, best friends, internet friends--my friends. There's rarely a day that goes by that I don't think about how kind so-and-so is or how thoughtful another is. There is so much good in this world and I feel blessed to be literally surrounded by people who lift me up.

The mother in these pictures is one of those people. We've been in a writing group together for a few years now. Each time we meet, we bring a piece of writing to my dining table and pass our papers around. I've read so many of her stories. Some of them have been of trial and heartache and others hilarious or sweet; all of them have been meaningful and honest glimpses into her life. And let me tell you, this girl can write!

Most recently I've read about how she and her husband adopted these three beautiful, beautiful children...all at once. After years of waiting for this moment to arrive, they are suddenly a family of five. (Find more of this story at 1000rubberbands.) During our photoshoot, I got to see a bit of what a dream come true looks like. I got to watch Ryan toss the boys into the air, I got to see Tawny embrace and love on her babies. I saw all three kids adore their mom and dad. I can't tell you how fun it was to witness this family at play together.

Amidst the crazy, spontaneous, and unexpected things that happen on a regular basis when there are three young children involved (believe me, I know), the overriding feeling as I shot this session was one of peace and brimming with happiness. As the sun faded and we hiked out of that field, I felt so lucky to be there.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Snaps: 29 Things About My Birthday

1. We celebrated in bits and pieces over four days.

2. I dyed my hair because of grays. Hello tints of red. Much better.

3. On day #4 (my actual birthday), Will and the kids surprised me with homemade cards, a strawberry cheesecake and two lovely renditions of "Happy Birthday" even though we'd been celebrating here and there for the past three days. I wasn't expecting that!

4. Will got me "The Book Thief" and I'm already hooked. He also sent me off on a little shopping spree. What a sweetie.

5. Fresh birthday flowers on my table!

6. I met up with three of my favorite ladies at my fave store, Goodwill! They were determined to find treasures that would spruce up my kitchen. You should have seen Will's mom and aunt take over the silverware section. We heard people say things like, "Wow, your enthusiasm is contagious..." as these two fought strangers for a matching set of spoons.

7. Maggie and I went to Forever21 and tried on all of their sunglasses. She was in heaven skipping and spinning to the music and getting all bejeweled in their mother load of dangly charm necklaces. It's so fun to have a girly girl.

8. My family sent me lots of German chocolate and lovely gifts--like a heart-shaped polish pottery dish. Love!

9. Part of Will's card said, "Another wonderful year has come and gone. Thanks for spending it with me. Let's make this next year even better." Sure do love that guy. It really does keep getting better.

10. On the front of Magson's card was a sleeping volcano he drew. Inside the card, and next to an exploding volcano, Will helped him write "Have a blasting good birthday!" Magson jumped up and down when he gave it to me. I thought he might explode.

11. Maggie's card to me had a beautiful rainbow drawn on it. And she was so excited that she knew how to write "M-o-m" all by herself.

12. Will and I went on a date, just us two. Usually we have Magnolia with us on our dates, but she's getting old enough to be left for longer periods, and so I didn't have to rip my food into little pieces or wrestle any wiggles. I just sat there and talked and ate. It was weird. A really good weird.

13. After our dinner date, we went exploring in World Market and then we went to Target where I got what will likes to call "Cleopatra sandals" and photoshoot-worthy swimsuits for our girls with the gift card Will's sweet brothers got me.

14. I made Will try on a bunch of hats and was quickly reminded that aside from that hat below, hats don't really fit Will. Oh, and I was also reminded of what a goofball he is! You should've seen him cowboy around in some of those hats. :)

15. Magnolia sort of slept through the night, which is worlds better than me saying she didn't sleep through the night.

16. I slept through my birthday movie. Some things will never change.

17. I got to chat with two of my bff sisters.

18. Will said "Happy Birthday" to me at midnight like he always does.

19. I got 14 of the coolest cups ever! Thank you, Rise!

20. I bought anti-wrinkle cream that's supposed to diminish fine lines and puffy dark circles. It's not working.

21. With the birthday money Will's grandma gave me, I really want to buy this suit. Thanks again for the money, Great Grandma!

22. It was a sunny day. (!!!!)

23. Will's sis gave me a perfect-shade-of-purple shirt with matching earrings. I wore it immediately.

24. I tried on jeggings. I really wanted them to look cute on me, but they didn't.

25. We hunted some more for sunglasses. No luck.

26. On Sunday Will's family had a birthday dinner for me. I didn't have to cook or clean up a crumb, and the food was amazing. To top it off, we had banana split ice cream cake. Yum!

27. I kept missing my family's phone calls from Germany. But we finally connected today and I especially loved hearing them sing the last line of the Allred version of Happy Birthday. ..."And many more, just like before, cuz we love you!"

28. I felt crazy spoiled and very loved. Thank you for the cards, hugs, phonecalls, FB comments and gifts! I am a lucky girl to have such sweet people in my life!

29. I'm wondering if anyone has advice for my last 12 months in my twenties? Eeeeeek.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Winning Model

And the random winner of the photoshoot giveaway is Theresa who wanted to nominate her niece. On my Facebook page, she wrote, "I have a niece who just turned one. She's been on T.V known as the grapefruit girl from Youtube. I would love to nominate her if I still can."

Well, I did a little search for a grapefruit girl because I thought it would be fun to post the video, and here's what I came up with...

Is this your little grapefruit girl, Theresa? She sure is cute! And what a funny video! If this isn't her, send me the link to her Youtube video and I will post it here. I will email you tomorrow so we can schedule her photoshoot!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered. I procrastinated doing the drawing until just now because I hated that there could only be one winner! I'll have to do giveaways like this more often...

PS. Here is another funny video I was introduced to this last weekend...maybe you've seen it already:

Friday, April 8, 2011


Let's talk about this picture, shall we?

You can't believe I posted it? I can't believe I posted it.

But behind all embarrassing pictures, there's a good story, so here you have it.

It was our first Halloween together as a married couple. We lived in Sandy, UT, just down the street from my Aunt Diane and Uncle Michael. There was a Halloween party at church, and we had nothing to wear and no other plans.

"Oh, just come over to my place. I've got a bunch of old costumes," my Aunt Diane offered. "You have to dress up for the party."

I was instantly spellbound and giggly when she pulled out the pig costumes because a.) they were ridiculously funny, and b.) they were matching, and when you're a newlywed wife, you like the idea of matching.

I laughed and pointed and examined those costumes. I thought about what a hit we'd be. Will shook his head and laughed, too.

"I'm not wearing that," he said when I looked at him with flirtatious enthusiasm in my eyes. "No way."

"Oh, come on! It's Halloween. It'll be fun!"

"Nope. Not gonna happen."

Then I pushed him into our Aunt's bathroom and told him to just try the costume on.

I put my hand over my mouth when he came out. This was just too good. We were setting an amazing tradition of many spectacular matching family costumes to come. This was the beginning of a costume legacy.

We went home and somehow--I don't know how-- I got Will to put that costume on again. (True love, I tell ya, it's powerful.) Yep, Will got back in the pig costume. Before long it was time for the party. We got into the car and drove the few minutes up the road to our church building. When we pulled into our parking space, we just sat and observed our surroundings for a minute.

To our left, a couple had their kid perched up on the hood of their car so they could apply last-minute paint to his teddy bear nose. Parents: uncostumed.

Ahead of us a fashionable couple walked into the building--uncostumed.

No costume here. No costume there. There's not a full-grown costume in sight.

I looked over at Will. He looked over at me. I looked down at my udders.

"What were we thinking!?" I screeched. "I am not going in there! Let's go home."

"Waaait a minute," was his quick response. "We're going in there. You got us all decked out. You stuffed a pillow under my shirt, remember? We're going in there. It'll be awesome."

And suddenly we completely reversed roles; he caught vision of just how funny this scenario was, and I caught vision of how ridiculous we looked.

I obeyed and got out of the car, but he was forced to push/nudge/prod and eventually pull me into the building. I mentioned we were new in town, right? I'll leave the town's reaction to your imagination. It's probably similar to the reaction you had when you saw the picture. But just know that Will soaked up every last one of those laughs. Can't you just see it in his eyes?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Birthday Dress/Designer Spotlight/Giveaway--Oh my!

Like I mentioned in my previous post, Miss Magnolia is one year old!

Everywhere we go, people tell me she looks just like Will. I love that about her because she's such a daddy's girl to begin with. Almost anytime Will walks in the room, she waves and says "hi"and then reaches up for him. Just the other morning, we were all snuggled up in bed getting ready to watch the morning session of General Conference. When I looked over, she was lying in Will's lap, staring up at him for what seemed like way too long for a wiggly baby. Will soaked in her gaze and stroked her chubby cheek. And I watched his eyes well up.

Lately she's been trying to summit our stairs. I've caught her half way up on several occasions, and of course, it always freaks me out. She thinks it's funny, and gives me lots of giggles and squeals when I rush over and snatch her up.

The sun has made an appearance here and there over the last month, and anytime the kids play out back, she stands up against the window. She hollers and yells and slaps the panes. The only other time she raises the volume is when we don't share ice cream with her. Born with a sweet tooth, that one.

One of her favorite things to do is play in the dishwasher while I'm doing the dishes. It kind of drives me crazy, but not as crazy as when she sneaks into the bathroom and plays in the toilet. Aaaaah. Now that makes me batty. Keep the door shut, little people!

Peek-a-boo is the key to her heart. While we were in Tucson, Will and I would go to these somewhat formal dinners in the evenings, and she was the only baby for miles. She wasn't so sure about some of the peeps. But when we told them to play peek-a-boo with her, she decided they were lots of fun to entertain. She relaxed and lit up with such a willing audience.

All in all, Magnolia is quite dainty and feminine and ever so sweet. I love her more than I know how to express. Happy birthday, my little angel girl. I love you a lot, a lot. Smoooooch.

And now for an announcement! I'm going to start getting my fashion photography on by doing designer spotlights. Magnolia's birthday dress is my first! It was made by the talented Lynn of The Handmaidens Cottage. I'm already drooling over another ruffly dress in her line! Go check her out!

I'm also in the giveaway mood! I'm going to take some winning girl and this lovely little dress out on another photoshoot since it's a bit big on Magnolia. So, if you live in Kitsap County (or would like to travel to Kitsap County) and have Marie Photographie portraits of your 18-month/2T/3T-sized daughter modeling this dress out in the sunshine, please enter this free photoshoot giveaway by following my blog and/or "liking" me on Facebook. (I'm not giving away the dress, just the session fee valued at $125.) Make sure to leave a comment saying what you did. I will be announcing the winner one week from today!

The End!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday Snaps: Milestones

Magnolia turned one last week and didn't at all care for the party hat Maggie and I made for her. The only thing that distracted her from tearing it off was a sweet game of peek-a-boo. Maggie saves the day!

We got Magson a rockateer two-wheeler for his birthday. ($10 on Craigslist, baby!) It's about time we didn't have to kick him off the princess bike.

And Maggie lost her first tooth last week. It fell out in the bathtub, so we had to go fishing! It was teeny tiny. I didn't think her smile could get any prettier, but it did.

All these milestones at once. I don't know if I can handle it! Actually, there is one milestone I'd welcome gladly--potty training the little guy. Waaaaah. Pray for me/us. (I know, Mom, it was going so well until today. Two major accidents!)

Friday, April 1, 2011

No Joke

Anybody else hate April Fools Day? It's not my favorite. Probably because I'm always falling for people's tricks! But this is no joke; here is a beautiful, smart, athletic, and go-getter senior. I loved her! And not only for those reasons. I also loved her because she didn't laugh too hard at me when I sat in a puddle during our shoot. Yep, soaked my bum when I was trying to demonstrate how I wanted her to sit. I also fell flat on my bum when I was backing up to take her picture. (I backed up into a boulder.) I came home and gave myself an A+ in klutziness.



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