For father's day this year I bought the family tickets to ride the gondola. Jack had been talking about wanting to go up in the summer, since him and I had a nice time in the winter a few years back in 2015. It was opening day for the summer, so there were a lot of bikers on the trails. It turned out really nice. We made it in time for the last ride up the mountain. William wasn't fond of being up so high in a box hanging from a wire as he put it. Clara really liked looking out the window. We saw some deer as we rode up.
On a warm, rainy, Spring day at the end of May we went for a walk in the park. Just Clara and I. It's so much fun to hang out with her. She's my best little buddy. We looked for frogs, ran around, she danced and sang a song. We played with sticks, and threw them in the creek. We made wishes on dandelions, and she did her very best to blow the seeds off the weed. Best of all for me, she let me snap some pics of her. Most of the time she runs away when I have my camera out.
Today we went for a dip in the river to cool off. Clara played with Kaia, Uncle Derek's dog.
Although it's still technically Spring, it sure feels like Summer.
swimsuit by Rugrats Ragz
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.
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.
First high school dance.
I never felt so much like a mom and so old, too, as I drove a couple teens, eek my teen, to their first dance. My 70s Pandora station playing in the car. Saturday night was homecoming. He was super nervous all day to go pick up his date. She met her in 8th grade, and they seem to be pretty good friends. He thought the dance started at 7, and I didn't check his ticket to see for sure, figuring he's a freshman now, he should be able to read it lol. So we went to pick up the girl an hour and half early. Luckily she was ready. I told them I wanted a quick pic before they got in the car. They awkwardly agreed. At first they were standing like 3 feet apart from each other, and I told them to get closer, and their faces turned red.
I said, "well you guys are friends, it's no big deal to have a picture taken as friends, just be friends." They were still about a foot apart from each other, blank stares, and so I suggested William to put his arm around her, if they felt okay with it. They both giggled and said yes. Then it was all smiles after that.
I dropped them off for an ice cream cone before the dance, and went back to get them an hour later, since they had time to burn. On the ride to the ice cream place, we all talked. I could tell the kids felt nervous as heck still. She is very sweet, and talked about loving art, sewing stuffed animals, and being creative. She was really nervous about her tan lines, her hair, and her dress. It was all really sweet and cute.
William opened doors for her, and remembered to compliment her, too. I've never seen him so nervous around a girl before.
When Jack and William came home after the dance, they stood in the garage talking for quite some time. William told me, " yeah it was really fun mom." I prodded for more details, wanting him to tell me more about his first dance as a freshman in high school. He happened to leave out the part the he got his first kiss.
Later that night, when Jack came upstairs to get ready for bed, he told me all about it. The girl approached William gave him a fast peck on the lips and ran off giggling back to her friends. He explained that William said he hadn't a clue what to do after, but really likes the girl.
I know I keep saying it, but I'm still getting used to my son being in high school, liking a girl, being taller than me, and everything else that has come with this year. He has changed a lot. I'm just so happy he had a great time, and likes a really nice girl that he's had a chance to be friends with first.
I took Clara to one of our favorite spots along the Boise River that's easy to get to. It's a perfect little spot to escape right in the middle of it all. Although hotels and busy roads surround this spot, once your down on the beach, among the trees, and flowing water, barefoot, connecting to earth, it all melts away. It's also a great spot during late summer to be able to get in the river and play. The water is slow in quite a few places, and in some areas you can just walk for quite awhile through the water. It feels instantly good, which is why I took her.
We both were feeling under the weather; runny noses, lethargic, achy, but kinda stir crazy in the house. She was fussy and wanted to be outside, so I loaded her up in the car and headed for Eagle.
We watched honey bees buzz around purple flowering bushes. I love to watch honey bees, it's really meditative, and such good energy to be around. We watched ducks, threw rocks and sticks, and splashed around. We spent about an hour and half there, and when we left, we both felt better, in a sense of being more relaxed, and ready to go home and rest.
This girl loves rocks. Everywhere we go, she seems to find rocks, and on a rock beach, well then it's all about finding "the one." She was standing in this bush, just standing in it, calm, looking around, touching the long grass, and then her attention shifted. She spotted a rock she had to pick up.
At this point, my brother had called me while he was on his way home from work, which the road he takes happens to go by where we were. So he stopped to visit for a bit. He asked her if he could see the rock, and she was adamant about not sharing her rock with him. The look she gave him was priceless.
"But sweetie, it's just water, it'll dry, this is what happens when you splash in the water."
She had fun splashing, but wasn't happy to get her pretty dress wet. She's so cute. She's been here before in her swimsuit, and regular tank tops, but it bothered her when her dress got wet. She understands the difference between her "nice" clothes and"play" clothes, even though it's not something I really say or instruct her on. It's just something that's part of who she is. She doesn't like to get things like her dresses dirty, but put her in a tank top and shorts, and she's good to go to get dirty. it cracks me up, such a girlie girl, and I love it. I assured her it was okay that her dress got wet, and then she was back to playing.
She cried to uncle that her dress was wet, not being able to talk yet, she held out her dress, distressed, and he assured it was ok, too.
After playing in the water, we explored a little cozy nook with lots of bushes, bugs, and tall trees. She is always so amazed at the size of the trees. I hope by next year we can take her to the Redwoods. I just know it'll be so magical for her.
After standing in awe of the tree, she started talking to it, and even went to hug it. It was precious, and I missed getting a shot of her hugging, because I was just sitting there in the dirt, washed over in so much love for her when I saw her do that. Such a gentle soul, and I get to be her mommy. I feel so blessed.
She babbled to the tree for a few moments. My brother and I both laughed quietly as we watched her standing there, her hands behind her back, chatting away to a big tree. I unfortunately was quite sore, and sat there enjoying the moment, rather than moving to capture it better. I move much slower these days, and she is quite quick. Sometimes not everything gets caught by camera, but that's okay. It's part of why I like to blog too, so I can share the whole stories that take place.
When her conversation with the tree ended she wanted to go explore into this nook more. I encouraged her to go on. She was uncertain at first. I was happy to just let my stiff, sore body sit on the ground, and allow her space to be herself in nature. She ran back to me to kiss me, grab her bunny, and then she went looking around. My brave, sweet, wild child, I adore you so.
A wife, homeschooling mother, certified holistic health coach, and professional photographer documenting and sharing her family, thoughts, and healthy tips along the way.