June 2017

This isn’t *quite* where I left off, but it’s close and there’s always a lot going on so here goes.

June 2017 was a typical for us – nutty. It’s always filled with camp, swim team, birthdays, our anniversary and prepping for vacation. It’s jam packed, flies by and is always a ton of (hot) fun.

This is pretty much where we were if we weren’t in someone else’s pool….Also, you’ve never seen anyone happier than PW when Sylvia the Swan finally flew away in a monsoon.

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Case in point:

Also it was clearly the year of enormous floats.

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This sweet little lady turned 8. EIGHT! This one really threw me for a loop. The slippery slope to 10. And then she’s driving. And off to college. I tell both of them at night, I squish their head and their feet so they stop growing so fast.

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And in true Wand style, you get two parties; one on your actual birthday with family with a cake of your choice; this year she went for my triple yellow cake with homemade chocolate buttercream frosting. What it lacks in beauty, it makes up for in taste! (Also it was like 110 degrees and even in ac, butter melts so)….

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…and one insane party with all your friends.

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I don’t know why she’s mad, but those eyes kill me.

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Someone else celebrated 35 years (😲)

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And we had friends celebrate birthdays in June too – including Abby who turned 8 right after B. Her amazing mom channeled her love of Target into a theme. And Target happily hosted it!! It was so much fun.

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There was a lot of camp too. I couldn’t help but feel a little jealous following these two in every day. Not pictured; the stupid amount of crap from the snack bar that they ate and I allowed because they must have burned off thousands of calories each day. Or because I’m lazy. Either way, they had a ball.

*Do you see Auggie’s little ankle bracelet? And all 24 of Baylor’s? This was the summer that B really got into making bracelets – like the kind you do with the #4 knot over and over. Needless to say, the nostalgia was awesome and we tied bracelets until our eyes crossed and fingers bled.

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And for our annual trip to Montana, we decided that splitting up with me flying with the kids while Peter drove with Mac was really not all that much easier. It was expensive and took almost the same amount of time. So we decided to ALL drive to MT! I have to say, it actually went much better than anticipated. The kids were awesome and we made it in two days. No one puked, we didn’t kill each other or lose anything out of the back of the truck – overall, it was a success! The return trip however…well that’s a post for July.

There is also a 75 pound dog in this picture. He’s laying on the floor with about 2 feet total to his name. And he does it like the saint he is.

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Aaaahh. The payoff of 18 hours and 1,100 miles of driving:

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Happy Birthday Baylor

I think it’s safe to say, 8 might be my favorite age.

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This year has marked some big confidence growth for Miss. B. I didn’t see it coming so when it plopped down in front me, I was left in awe. Watching her stroll into the first swim team practice of the season like a seasoned professional – no tears, no arguments – and literally dive in, was amazing.

She waltzed into a new camp with the same attitude. I was intimidated by the other kids, but not Baylor. She was by far the kid with the least dance experience and sadly her mother’s gymnastic skills, and not only did that not stop her, she wasn’t fazed in the slightest. She happily danced along the way she wanted to and at the end of the week announced “camp was fine. But I like the way I dance better”.

I hope for the rest of your life, you always like the way you dance better, B Baby.

View More: http://dreamphotographystudio.pass.us/wandfamily

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Perfect Pesto

Peter and I got hungry for pesto pasta this weekend. I dug out this favorite recipe from Food Renegade (http://www.foodrenegade.com/almond-spinach-basil-pesto/). Its a delicious combination of basil, spinach and roasted almonds making a slightly healthier pesto.

I use Blue Diamond roasted almonds and skip the roasting part of the recipe. I also recruit little fingers to help pull the leaves off the stems of Basil. I double the recipe and throw a container in the refrigerator for later. Or you can get fancy like my mom and fill ice cube trays in the freezer so you can easily pop out a portion at a time for cooking.

But for me? I will eat this entire container of goodness well before it goes bad…

Finally getting to cute this beautiful stuff!

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Little fingers do the best job harvesting the leaves. Sometimes they are shirtless though…IMG_0999

I make ours a little thicker to cut some of the oil calories. I also like the way it keeps it’s flavor in pasta. And eggs. And on toast. And with chicken. And on a spoon.IMG_2830

Voila! Tossed with angel hair pasta and rotisserie chicken!

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Row Row Row Your Boat

This summer in Montana, we decided to try rafting down the Yellowstone River. Peter, was so completely opposed to going, it was laughable. He said that the rafters screw up the fishing for any anglers on the river and he did not want to participate in ruining someone’s day fishing. There was also the big question if it was safe enough for Baylor and for her buddy M to go. Wild West Rafting Company assured us that the girls would have a blast. And did they deliver – for everyone! We had such a great time, we went back for two more white water trips and each time we had a ball.

The ONE thing about the rafting that killed me is that you can’t (or shouldn’t) take your camera or even phone. You get soaked while rafting and there’s a chance you could fall in – or jump in and go for a swim in the calm sections. Thankfully, Wild West thought of that and they snap group pictures before your float and then hike down and snap action pictures down the river. Love. Love. Love.

The girls were a little freaked out…

IMG_5420[1]And ten seconds later, they were both up front, begging to “ride the bull” which is sitting on the front of the boat, legs over the bow, holding onto a strap.

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B was also the second over the side of the boat for a (voluntary) swim!

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Our last trip included our niece and nephew, my sister Ali and her mother in law, Vicki. Who was terrified but thankfully was loving it by the first rapid!

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She was so pumped to have an oar

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Don’t let the fact that B was covering her face fool you – she just didn’t want her face wet
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They Say It’s Your Birthday

And they’d be right. Well, if you’re talking to me anyway.

Thank you all for the birthday love! 60 some posts on Facebook. Calls. Emails. Texts. Cards. Every one of them makes my birthday a very happy one!

This is how I prefer to look at all my birthdays  – laughing, a little (or a lot) drunk and enjoying life.

Cheers to 32!

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DIY Magnet Board

I think I might be on a roll.

Ok, I’m hoping I’m on a roll. I say this because I’ve just completed a project that I started before Auggie was born.

Yeah, that’d be 2 years for everyone doing the math.

Prior to moving home to AZ, our cute little hood in DC had curbside trash pick up. While out walking the dogs one afternoon, I saw our neighbors had thrown out a HUGE picture frame. Like huge. So I wrangled my hairy beasts and dumpster pile dove and took the frame home. I had visions of turning it into a damask fabric covered cork board that would hold hundreds of pictures in a casual yet totally planned way. It would look expensive and fabulous and I would looove to tell people that I made it for practically nothing!

Sadly because everything on HGTV always looks easier than it, my cork board didn’t come out quite right. It turns out that cork tiles are  little pricey. And I needed a ton. And even though I broke down and bought them, they didn’t have enough body to hold their shape on the fabric. And they were thin so when I finally got them to stay in place, the thumb tacks when right through the cork and into the wall. And when the door in the office was open and a breeze blew in, it blew down all my pictures because they weren’t really on the cork securely because the cork wasn’t really secure.

So after putting up with this for fourish years, I took it all apart with the idea that I would get sheet metal instead and use it as a magnet board.

I never learn my lesson.

It turns out that the metal they sell at Lowes and Home Depot is A. not magnetic and B. they won’t custom cut it for you. Then Auggie came and I got tired so my frame has been hanging on the wall of my office totally empty except for a few pictures Baylor taped to the wall because she thought it looked sad.

That is until this week. Well, last month. I decided that it was time to get it done. I had a vision of adding a few more frames to the wall and giving Bay a safe place to store her markers and crayons so that Auggie and Mason can’t get to them. And to be able to hang artwork and pictures that was breeze proof. Auggie and I took off to Hobby Lobby. I found their empty frames were half off. The fabric had a coupon and I found hooks on sale too. It was a sign. I’m not a fan of Hobby Lobby’s politics, but I can get behind a sale. Next I found a sheet metal company that would custom cut metal and it didn’t cost a fortune. And last night I was feeling ambitious so I got everything assembled – even with a few measurements that weren’t perfect, it came out pretty good!

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Here’s how I did it –

What you need:

Empty frame(s)

Fabric

Magnetic metal

Glue gun

Iron

Instructions:

1. Measure the inside of the frame (like where the glass would go). Go on the smaller side – you can always add fabric to fill it out but having to have a millimeter cut off would be annoying.

2. Call around to get a price on sheet metal. I used 20 gauge (because that’s what the guy said I should use) but I think it could have been a little thinner and have been just fine. Just make sure it’s magnetic. I also ordered mine unhemmed because it was cheaper and because I didn’t need a fancier edge.

3. Layout the metal on the fabric and line up the edges so the pattern of the fabric is straight. Cut leaving a 2-3 inch border to fold over.

4. Press the cut piece.

5. Laying the fabric pattern side down, line up the metal in the center again. Start folding over the edges and gluing into place in small sections (the metal is cold so the hot glue hardens really fast). Be sure that the metal is staying in place (I stood on mine) so the pattern is straight. Pull tightly so there are no creases.

6. Run a small amount of glue around the edge of the inside of the frame and place fabric and metal inside.

7. Hang on the wall and admire your work!

Other variations…paint the metal in bright color or with stripes. Paint with chalkboard paint (oooh). Create sections with paint and or fabric for each person in the family. Have the metal cut with two holes at the top to loop ribbon through as an alternative to the frame.

So now that my two year old project is done, I’m feeling motivated to tackle the ornament wreath I started making THREE years ago. Those assholes on Pinterest don’t tell you to paint the damn styrofoam ring before you start hot gluing ornaments to it. They also don’t tell you to use a much smaller ring than you think because it requires a ridiculous amount of ornaments and the thing is going to be 4 feet across and weigh 100 pounds if you use a big ring. I’m too far down the road to give up…so I’m going to go back and try to A. paint between the ornaments and B. add greenery where I can’t get paint. Wish me luck! Or wish me to have the guts to give up on the stupid thing. Either one works!

Happiest of New Years

We’re old. We know it. When people in your house refuse to A. Sleep more than 4-5 consecutive hours and B. Don’t sleep past 6am it makes staying up really late just seem like punishment. So we’ve implemented the cozy, kid friendly version of New Year’s Eve. And I have to say, it’s a lot of fun. This year while Peter’s Philo wrapped Beef Wellington cooked on the grill, we made s’mores with the kids. After Auggie went to bed, we took our homemade noisemakers of pots and wooden spoons out to ring in the Icelandic New Year around 8pm with Baylor. And finally we watched a really dumb movie, drank a lot of good wine and dug into Peter’s amazing dinner. We kissed the New York New Year and promptly went to bed. We kissed the Arizona New Year only because the fireworks from the W were so freaking loud, you would have thought they were shooting them from our back yard!

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The first batch…
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It might come as a shock – but Auggie loves s’mores

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Wishful thinking Mackie boy

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Auggie likes to dance. Auggie dances when he’s happy and when he wants something. Dancing for s’mores takes his dance skills to a whole new level.auggie dancw