Carson City was my hometown growing up. My family and extended family has lived there for a few generations. My sweet grandma is there, so we went to visit her May 25-28. She took a bad fall and broke her pelvic bone. We hadn't seen her since Clara was about 3 months old. It was a long overdue visit. Every morning we went to the rab nursing home with breakfast and each night we went back with dinner. Many of the older folks at the home enjoyed my rainbow hair and sait it made them happy to look at it. Some said it reminded them of cupcakes or ice cream, and that it was happy. Everyone loved to see little Clara running around.
One of the afternoons we had planned to go to Lake Tahoe, but it got far too cold. So we stopped at Wal-Mart t grab a DVD player for GG wit some movies. Down the road from the Wal-Mart was my old elementary school. I drove Jack and the kids to it and we played on the grounds. It was fun to go down memory lane and remember little me. Although not too many of my stories from back then are positive. I was picked on a lot. Still it was fun to go back and see my kids play there. Some of the equipment was different, some not. One things I remembered as a little kid at this school was the beauty. The beautiful mountains that are all around, the trees and desert. I used to sit in the grass and pick little white flowers to knot together for bracelets. Fat bumble bees buzzing around, and looking around to see the mountains.
The last afternoon we spent in Carson we took the kids to the train museum. my grandpa used to work there when I was about 12. I worked here temporarily then too, before going to work with my dad at the NV state museum. We met up with my friend Sara and her family. The awesome thing is Sara and I met online back in 2005 I think it was. She was dating an ex of mine and we hit it off when she reached out to me. Needless to say he has also been her ex for a very long time, and neither of us have contact with the ex, but we stayed in touch through the years. We finally had the opportunity to get together in person. OUr kids hit it off. The husbands talked while we chatted. The train ride was a kit. At the end of the tour the kids played out on the grassy hill out front for quite awhile.
Today was our first visit to the zoo in 2019. We walked around and most of the animals were sleeping. Afterwards we headed over to the paddle boats for Clara's first time on a paddleboat. Then we went for a snow cone at Wahooz.
We took the evening to play in the backyard, BBQ, and start working on a rocketship for a photoshoot.
We had the pleasure of being given a dress by a sweet clothing brand all the way from Holland. Two Grey Rabbits. https://www.etsy.com/shop/TwoGreyRabbits
So we went out for a walk on a rainy Spring day near the Boise river to get some shots.
Today it was a cold overcast day, but we wanted to get out of the house for a bit. We bundled up and headed for Indian Creek. The creek bed was nearly all dry, but had just enough puddles to throw rocks and splash a bit. We also found sticks and pretended to fish in the shallow water.
While we were playing a long train passed by. I've always loved the sound of trains and watching them pass. It added a little magic to the afternoon playtime for us. A few times the sun peeked through, and then it began to snow on us.
Afterwards we visited a new consignment shop in Kuna and bought a barbie car. Then headed for lunch at Idaho Pizza.
It's the most wonderful time of the year
It's the hap-happiest season of all...
...And tales of the glories of
Christmases long, long ago
Oh yes, Miss Clara, we will always remember the Christmas when you were 2 years old, waiting in a 2 hour line outside, while it was 27 degrees, so you could see "Ho, Ho, Ho."
And much to Santa's surprise not only at your hysteria, but when we all busted up laughing, because we're no longer shocked by your outpouring of letting everyone know when things aren't going your way.
I've loved to highlight your crying fits and outbursts since birth, but as much fierceness and wildness that you have inside of you, there is as much, if not more, an abundance of love and sweetness. We all have our moments, and dear Clara, you have no reservations about speaking your mind. I hope this becomes an awesome super power in your life, to be a strong, independent woman, but for now at 2 years old, it's quite exhausting, and at times pretty hilarious, too.
This photo ( below) with her head down screaming and crying, I would've bought a different image that highlighted her fit quite wonderfully, but the photographer gave us a minute to decide and then deleted the other 3 shots, and I didn't think we'd get a second chance at another sit down with Santa. But then, Santa gave Clara a candy cane, and she decided to sit next to him, still not certain about the situation, but the candy cane was enough to win her over a little, so the photographer gave us one more attempt at a photo with Santa. We ended up paying for both pictures to remember this joyous occasion.
It really wasn't terrible standing in line for 2 hours to see the jolly old man. We went to The Village. I stood in line for the first hour alone, because Jack was not thrilled with standing there and having Clara in the cold. Even though plenty of other littles and parents were there waiting. He went inside one of the buildings to keep Clara warm, and in all fairness, she seemed to be coming down with a cold, so he wanted to keep her warm. William went off to get hot chocolate. I stood there in line, watching the water light show and ice skaters, while listening to all the happy Christmas music playing. Finally, when I got near a heater, Jack, William, and Clara came over to stand in line with me for the second hour.
It wasn't our planned shot with Santa either. The last few years we've attended the Christmas show at the fairgrounds, and the kids get to sit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, but I messed up the dates this year, and the show was actually the previous weekend. So after fighting the crowds at the mall earlier in the day to get Clara a dress, and William a shirt for their photos, then driving down to the fairgrounds only to find out there was some children's wrestling match going on, we decided to try out The Village.
I adore the setting of The Village. A huge beautiful tree, dancing water set to Christmas music, ice skaters, and a whimsical house built by Disney for the kids to go into to sit with Santa. Although the kids get a lot more time to visit with Santa at the Christmas Show, The Village definitely has the right vibe that makes for some fun memories, too. This might become our new tradition for photos with Santa, if I can sweet talk Jack into the idea and get him on board to stand outside again next year... if, hahaha, of course it's what we'll do. He vowed to never do this again, but you know, I'm mom, and it's Santa, and it's a childhood staple to get the shot. 27 degrees outside, 2 hour wait, snotty nosed kids, my calf muscles cramping up, telling my begrudging teen that he has to come along because it's family time, and 1 second to snap a pic of my toddler crying on Santa's lap for $40. Worth it every year! In the name of tradition, creating memories, and character.
Next year I'll plan on going in the afternoon though, so I can get some better lit shots, and William can have some time to go ice skating. I'll probably bring some Christmas cookies along and a thermos with homemade hot chocolate.
He's begging me to go back over winter break, so he can try ice skating out. He hopefully exclaimed, while waiting in line, that ice skating didn't look hard. This coming from my totally chill, video gaming nerd child, that has always been clumsy and accident prone. All I could do was chuckle, and agree to coming back.
This year's Halloween has been so much fun. We've taken gobs of photos, and I went all out like never before to decorate. I've wanted to decorate the house outside for so many years. My dad used to decorate a lot when I was a kid,and I always thought I'd have my own place someday when I grew up that I would decorate for my kids. Finally, this year, even though I've owned my own house since I was 26, I finally splurged a bit on decorations and did it!
Totally worth it, too. My kids and every family that came to the door to trick or treat was happy about the house. It's awesome to bring some magic to a holiday like this. Next year I hope to add a bit more.
This was also the first time throwing a Halloween party. So all the family came over, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, and cousins. There was lots of food, including chilli and cornbread that I make every year on Halloween.
And as for firsts, it was also the first time we tried to get Clara to trick or treat, but she wasn't having anything to do with it. She still has quite a lot of stranger danger fears going on, so she cried at the first attempt. She'd rather just have brother give her the big bowl of candy that we were passing out to the neighborhood kids.
So here's to a bunch of photos and some stories in between.....
This year we dressed up as clowns. Clara's gorgeous romper is from a small shop called Little Willow Tree, and I'm totally obsessed with Jada's creativeness. When I saw her 'Ella' romper I waited for it to drop, and swooped in like a hawk to buy one before they sold out, and they sold out in like under 5 minutes!
I really wish William would have participated in the family photos this year, but he was having a particularly bad day when we shot these, and also was too cool to participate. Then, of course later on, he wished he would've. I did get some pics of him as the reaper in the above series on Halloween. He helped pass out candy, and then decided, once he saw some friends trick or treating that he wanted to trick or treat one last time this year. So he took off and I took over candy duty.
It's always a challenge to get images of Clara, I mean she's 2, so I never hold expectations, just try to do my best and use lots of positive reinforcement and fun when doing her photos. Towards the end, she was annoyed by my hat and wanted me to take it off, so I did, and then she used the horn to hit Jack across the nose, which gave hima bloody nose. After we got him cleaned up, and tried again she honked the horn in his ear, which you see in our photo below. We laughed knowing she was being an onry toddler, and called it a night. She really loved the horn and balloons though, so that did help to get the photos I have here.
And I got one quick snap of my brother being himself, haha, psycho killer bunny.
Wednesday Addams and Halloween Fashion
Clara has been brand repping for a shop called Rugrats Ragz on Etsy. I picked up a dress called the Neverland dress, and had the gal that makes the clothes make it black with a white collar so I could do some Wednesday Addams inspired pics. Now, let me tell you, these images were tricky. We tried for weeks to get photos of her in the dress. We drove an hour away on the freeway to a small, old town, to a big, old house (Chase house) built by a railroad tycoon, located across the street from where the old brothel was. She hated being on the grounds. She cried and clung to us. No children ever lived in the house either. I attempted to calm her down by nursing her on the steps, also hoping it would ease her into sitting on the steps for a photo. She did calm a bit, but what was spooky, out of nowhere, it was quiet, and it was just her and I, she started busting up laughing. Something caught her eye, and I looked, but there was nothing, and she was just staring, laughing. Perhaps a silly ghost? ;) Still, she wouldn't let me put her down,and she clung to me or daddy. She wanted to be off the grounds, away from the house. None of the usual reinforcers I use, like treats or cartoons worked. She just wanted to leave. So we did. Now I'll say, I don't place expectations on her for photos. I get what I get and that's ok. It takes effort, every time we do images, but I never want it to be stressful for her or for me. I want her to have fun. With that said, I was so bummed, because I first saw this house in 2014 when we worked on an Idaho William documentary video about Payette. I knew I'd go back for a photoshoot at this house. Fast forward here we are, and what I had in mind didn't pan out. But that doesn't mean I won't try again at some point again. Not anytime soon though.
I have to say the neighbor that was sweeping outside her apartment was super nice, and she told us some history about the house, and introduced me to the groundskeeper. The groundskeeper was really friendly, too, but both of her legs were broken. She explained that she sometimes takes people through the house. Her son, at least I think he was her son, was very skeptical about me being on the ground or taking photos. I gave him a card, assured him we'd be respectful, and that I wanted to make sure I had 100% permission to be on the grounds. So I asked if they could call the owners, and the lady said she would. She really was sweet. The owners gave the go ahead and were fine with it. But her son, kept a watchful eye, and grunted a couple times about me taking photos, and then suggested he'd keep my card if I became a millionaire or famous off the photos. Bwhahahahaha! Right, man, right!
I tried a couple times visiting a graveyard for photos, but same thing, crying, hysteria, clinging to us. She was only calm if daddy would hold her. Who knows perhaps she's sensitive to thin veil between the worlds at this time of year, maybe ghosts were spooking her? We could let our imaginations go, but odds are, she was just being my stinker of a 2yo toddler, and only doing things on her terms, as the norm goes. ;)
So I did studio shots and she had fun. Anyways, I hope you get all the Halloween, spooky, Wednesday Addams vibes from these shots.
Her other outfits aren't rep shots, but just some fun outfits I picked out for her. I've been toying around with the idea of opening a clothing shop, so I have been digging around some wholesale places. I don't know that I'll do it, but I sure love scoring a great price on clothes for her when I'm not working with small, mom-owned handmade type shops.
Fave Halloween Books
I put aside seasonal books each year that I bring out only at the time of the holiday. So for the month of October these are our Halloween books, The collections doesn't include our favorite fall theme books, which I'll include in another blog. Clara's fave book this year has been by far, Bone Soup. We picked it up at a used bookstore about a month ago,and she has been obsessed with it. We read it multiple times a day.
Of course, we have our favorite Halloween movies we watch every year, too. Addams Family, Casper, Hocus Pocus, are always a hit. The Hotel Transylvania series has become an instant classic for us as well. Then I like to squeeze in other fave flicks when I can, like Practical Magic, and as many of the spooky, scary classics that aren't g rated, but those are more challenging to get around to these days with a 2 yo running around. American Horror Story this season has been awesome, so we watch that when we can.
Now, there's still gobs of images to sort through from visiting pumpkin patches this fall season, too, and pumpkin carving pics, so I'll have to load those up to blog about soon. But this sums up our Halloween spirit for 2018. It was a fun success! The rest of the year will be a whirlwind from here on out. Peace be with you all, because the holiday season is among us now.
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