Friday, July 21, 2017

Albion Basin

I've heard of Albion basin over the past year, but it wasn't until a few weeks ago, when I kept seeing beautiful photos taken there, that I started really wanting to go check it out. I'm a part of a few photography Facebook groups, and everyone said that parking is a nightmare because spots are so limited up by Cecret Lake and the wildflower field, especially in the evenings. So I kind of gave up hoping and thought I would just check it out another time, even if it meant no flowers. But then yesterday I checked on the weather forecast and saw that it was supposed to be cloudy all day, so I decided to go after all, thinking I would just make it before the super busy time. 

I texted my friend, Heather, who is also a photographer, and we decided to go together and carpool up to take pictures of our kids. She picked me up and we played tetris with the carseats until we could fit all six of our kids in the back. 

We pulled up to the entrance booth and the worker told us that it had been crazy busy all day, so after debating for a bit, we didn't even try driving up further to find a parking spot. We parked by the resort and decided we would hike up, hoping that the flowers weren't too far. 

We slathered ourselves in bug spray and tried to minimize what we wanted to carry, which meant tripods were left behind (I'm glad Heather came because that would have meant I would have needed to bring my tripod if I wanted to be in any photos). 

We walked down the stairs and started on the trail when one of the kids announced they needed to go potty. So I kept an eye on everyone while Heather took her to the bathroom, which was luckily right there. I snapped a couple photos while waiting, and then turned around to see Jane's hands covered in thick mud. I rushed to grab her hands before she got any more on her dress and saw a worker hosing down some plants at the top of the stairs. We cleaned her hands up a bit, and her dress wasn't too dirty, but as soon as Heather walked out of the bathroom, I realized Jane's diaper was suddenly filled to the brim. haha so I ran back to the car to change her, and on my way, I overheard someone else exclaim they had to go potty too. So Heather rounded them all into the bathroom so we could get it all taken care of and finally get on our way. 

After we were all thoroughly sweaty (and partly covered in mud), we finally started walking up the trail. 

We probably only walked about a quarter of a mile when we came to a pretty little clearing with some flowers. I tried to scoot my girls off to one side so Heather and I could trade taking pictures of each other, but it proved a little harder than we anticipated. I don't think I'll ever learn to lower my expectations of how photos will go. haha

So I snapped a few of Heather and her kids, and then we let the kids roam a bit before walking up to explore some other pretty places.

It was SO beautiful!

I don't know how to keep shoes on my girls. They immediately came off once they wandered into the flower field and then they complained nearly the whole time about their feet hurting. haha

As we walked up the trail a little further, Lucy was adamant about her shoes staying off. They were jelly shoes and she kept whining about dirt and poky things getting in the holes. She kept sitting down in the middle of the dirt trail and refusing to walk any further. I was already carrying Jane and my chunky camera, so I just kept walking and hoped she would change her mind...which she did. phew. 

We decided to go back down to where we were at the start and Heather would take some pictures of us. I was getting really stressed because the trail was steep and close to a drop off and water (and Lucy kept inching closer and closer to the edge. ugh.), so we decided to just go back down to where we were at the start and Heather would take some pictures of us. I tried SO hard to get my girls excited about just looking around at the flowers while they stood next to me, but I think by this point they had already had their fill. 

But we got a few and I love them! I just wish Ryan had been here so it would have been complete.

My two babies. <3

I normally hate bribing my kids for anything, but I knew they were tired and really hungry and I really wanted just a few pictures of all of us, so I mentioned ice cream and Norah came sprinting haha. She's my girl.

Everyone was so dirty by the end, but I was so happy to get a few photos of me with my girls. We crammed back in the car and made it home at the same time as Ryan. I was going out for the night so I changed my clothes and trotted straight back out the door, leaving Ryan with bedtime. oops. Definitely didn't mean to come home so late. The girls had ice cream and Oatmeal for dinner (ha!), took a bath and went straight to bed. 

And now I have a goal to check out at least one more new place in the mountains before Summer's end. 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Our 4th of July Festivities!

I woke up on the fourth to Ryan coming home from the gym with ingredients for festive 4th of July french toast! How thoughtful! Isn't it so cute? :)

For the past couple of years we have done a neighborhood bike parade and breakfast, but the people who kind of head-started it moved a few weeks ago, so we were kind of drawing blanks of what to do in the morning. We were planning on having family over in the afternoon, so we got some water game supplies from the dollar store and roamed target for a little bit before heading to lunch for some all-American sushi! ;) 
The girls were decked out in their 4th of July outfits, which I'm sure the workers appreciated haha. 
After some good long naps, we prepared for some family fun!

My family all came over for a picnic. It was so hot outside though, so we mostly crammed in our house until it cooled down a bit. The kids all loved playing with the water balloons and squirters.

It was so fun chatting with everyone and eating way too much food.

My dad got in on the action, and everyone was trying to go after him haha

Jarom (who recently moved back from Canada, yay!!) said that Norah asked him to fill a water balloon for her so she could throw it at Grandpa Brand. So Jarom started to fill a balloon that had a hole in it while it squirted all over him. He told Norah that it wasn't filling up and she simply said, "That's okay, I'll just throw it at him now." Then walked over with a completely deflated balloon. hahah

I bought these shirts last year, and much to Ryan's dismay, I made him wear it again this year. ;)

It was a fun day and I'm glad we got to spend it in our home with family!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Red, White, & Blue!

For years, I had driven past this home near the American Fork Boat Harbor and always admired the giant American flag painted on the back of their barn. I always wanted to take pictures in front of it, but was too chicken to go ask for permission. I was telling my friend, Jocelyn, about all of this and said if she would come with me then I would take pictures for her too. She had no problem going with me to ask. haha So we went one evening and the owner was so nice and said she didn't mind at all! I was so excited!

Since the flag was facing west, with no shade in front, it meant we would have to do an early morning shoot. But the evening before, I had a cooking class and didn't get home until 10:30pm, which meant I didn't actually get in bed until 11:00pm. And even though I took melatonin before falling asleep, I had such a fitful night, dreaming about all sorts of disastrous outcomes of the shoot the next morning. 

So when 5:45am rolled around, I was exhausted. Ryan joked later that the girls can tear apart the house while I'm sleeping, and I won't get up, but if pictures are involved, then that's what will get me out of bed. haha it's true. I somehow managed to get all three girls ready by the time I was supposed to meet Jocelyn and they were even in high spirits despite me waking them early! yes!

I took photos of them for a while until I realized Jocelyn still wasn't there and I checked my phone to see some missed calls. oops. She had taken a couple wrong turns, but made it there quickly, and so my girls took a break with their donuts while I snapped photos of Jocelyn and her cute kiddos.

Norah and Lucy are wearing the same outfits they wore last year! high fives!

A few weeks ago, I ordered myself some shorts online from Old Navy, but when they arrived, they were several sizes too big, so I went into the store to return them. I went in for clothes for myself, but came out with this romper for Jane. Such is the life of a mom. Isn't it so cute though? I am a sucker for holiday outfits, and this one was far too darling to pass up.

We brought the giant bubbles, but it proved to be kind of tricky. And my girls kept acting like they were scared of them haha. The ones I got of Jocelyn's kids are so much cuter. Actually I think most all of hers turned out better haha! Probably because my kids are so sick of me always pointing a camera in their faces.

Anyway, it was actually really fun doing this with someone else and sharing our ideas! If you want to see the photos of Jocelyn, I will be posting them on my photography facebook page here, so keep your eyes peeled! ;)

Happy 4th to everyone!

And here's Norah reciting the preamble to the constitution, because she's adorable!


Under The Sea Birthday Party!

We celebrated Lucy's birthday on Saturday with Mermaid decorations all over, of course. I loved putting it all together and this has probably been the smoothest party planning we've had so far, so yay for that!
The background board is the same one we've used for the past 3 birthdays, so we are definitely getting our money's worth out of it. I kept changing my mind about what I wanted to have as a background, but then finally decided to buy some pretty scrapbooking paper I found at hobby lobby and cut it out into scale shapes. But since each piece of paper counted as one item, I could only use their 40% off coupon once every time. And since I'm a cheapskate, we just made several trips to get the discount haha. Okay, I'm embarrassed. Ryan finally had enough and just bought a bunch so I could just finish it. 

Ryan was wanting to help with the decorations and went to a great amount of trouble trying to make a cool balloon frame to go around my background board, but abandoned it in the end because it just wasn't staying. I felt bad, but was just happy that he wanted to help in the first place. Plus, I can still use the pvc pipe set up for photo backgrounds! 

My friend, Whitney, helped me make the "Under the Sea" sign using her cricut cutter after I saw the same design on Etsy and didn't want to spend $20 on it. haha

Cute crab sandwiches! I was telling another friend how I spent HOURS cooking, shredding, and mixing chicken salad sandwiches for Lucy's blessing luncheon a few years ago, and so we opted to just buy it this time--(Although that was before we bought a kitchen aid, so the shredding was what took me forever. If you put hot, cooked chicken in a kitchen aid, then it'll shred it in about ten seconds. sigh. If only I had known back then)--aren't the little crabs just too cute with their googly eyes? ;)

Lucy's beachy cake, topped with edible sea shells! Norah and Lucy were SO excited when I told them they could eat them once the party started.

We mingled outside while all the kids played with the squirt guns. It was so nice to just relax and enjoy friends and family.

We sang "Happy Birthday" and had Lucy make a wish. 

She was acting all timid while we sang haha

The breeze had blown out the flame before we finished singing, but she blew them out anyway.

Norah and Jane wanted to be right in on the action while the cake was out.

I don't know why Jane was pouting here, but it's pretty cute haha.

Lucy got her plate of cake and took refuge up in the play house.

I pulled out the giant bubble solution and the kids all LOVED it!

We finished the party by letting Lucy hold Esme's baby. She was in baby heaven and was being so gentle--something I would have never thought possible one year ago! 

She loves babies!

We decided not to do gifts, but a couple friends brought her something anyway, lucky girl. 

Norah loved helping out...not sure how Lucy felt about it though. ;)

Grandma Jeanne and Papa bought her new little Ariel sleepwear, which she immediately tried on.

It was such a fun party and I'm grateful I handed off my camera to my friend, Heather, and she was willing to take pictures for me so I could just enjoy it! We love our Lucy and we're glad so many friends and family members came to support her!