Say Cheese

What do you do when your very favorite family pictures don’t include your newest addition? Why you recreate the exact same pictures. Down to the same clothes. Well, I wore the same thing anyway. Crazy? Maybe. But I’m so thrilled with the result, sign me up for a padded room and straight jacket.

Our good friends and sorority sister Gina and her husband Rene took the family pictures that have hung in our kitchen for the last 4 years. They were taken on our front patio and the colors of the teal bench and yellow flowers just so happened to coordinate with all of our decor.

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Since those pictures were taken, Gina and Rene have moved to Seattle. And in addition to missing their presence, we missed their photographic skills! Thankfully I have several talented friends so I asked Natalie, another sorority sister and my little sis from our Alpha Phi days to snap some new pics for us.  When she asked what I was wanted to do, I pointed to the wall and said “that. I want that. Exactly”. And so that’s what she did.

Now that I have finally gotten the right color frame, our new family photos are up! By the way – thank you Pottery Barn for changing the shade of white of your standard white frames and then not telling anyone. I bought it. Framed it. And then realized that once the sun goes down, it’s totally obvious that it’s a different color of white. Thankfully Pottery Barn knows they are nuts and happily found me the right shade of frame and exchanged the wrong color despite my lack of receipt and packaging.

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I couldn’t fit all of my favorites on the wall

So perfectly captures her funny 4 year old self

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Natalie’s website will be up and running in the next few weeks – I’ll be sure to post a link just as soon as it’s live. If you just can’t wait to book your session, comment below and I’ll make sure to get you in touch! Thank you Natalie for capturing such great memories for us!

American Girl

When I was a kid, I used to look at the American Girl catalog for hours. I loved day dreaming about which doll I wanted and all the accessories that you could get for them. Baylor has now taken on the tradition of pouring over the catalog for days – she cuts out the things she likes and she circles the pictures of Shirley (who is the baby version of the American Girl dolls). And if I thought the accessories were fun when I was little, the things the dolls have now are nuts. They have everything including  a bike hot dog cart for the dolls. Totally nuts…and yet adorable.

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God Bless America

There are few things that feel as patriotic as the 4th of July in Montana. There are purple mountains majesty, amber waves of, well grass, but still and all the cowboy hats too. Hubbard’s always puts on a cookout that screams holiday and Mike has a fireworks show that is second only to professional displays. Watching the kiddos run around in their red, white and blue is really the best.

Aunts Sarah and Nancy. Auggie is a big fan.
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Thank goodness we had a professional taking our picture. Vern (his real name is Eric. However the summer he worked at the ranch there were too many Erics so they started calling him Vern. Why? Because he’s just such a Vern) literally took 40 pictures and there were only FOUR where A) everyone is looking B) Peter’s eyes are open C) everyone is smiling and or not crying. I’ve realized also that Augg has inherited PW’s squint and head tilt.

206Seriously. Look at those eyes.

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Again, the cuteness.

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Cousin Madi, Sienna and Baylor with Madi’s patriotic press on nails.

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Pig roast! It always tastes delicious, I just don’t like knowing what my dinner’s face looked like so I make Peter get me a plate.

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This was the first year that B did sparklers and I didn’t have a heart attack. We were spelling out her name.
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It really is Big Sky Country

263 262There were friends and friends of friends at the lodge for dinner and they thought that the sparklers were the fireworks. They about lost their minds when they saw Mike’s AMAZING firework display. Peter is always the fireman at the docking station. I’ve asked him not to tell me what happens down there because I never like hearing about how he almost lost an eye or a finger or is now deaf. Baylor always watches with her hands over her ears and I was anxious to see what Augg thought. Thankfully he loved them – and by that I mean he didn’t scream so it goes down as a win in my book. Fireworks? Check!

I Love a Parade

PW does not, however, which is why he’s not in any of these pictures. He claims that he doesn’t enjoy it, but I think the fact that he has a heart attack every time Baylor runs into the street to get candy has something to do with it. Which is why he goes fishing when we go the Livingston Parade.

I, on the other hand, LOVE the parade. I love the rodeo queens. I love the Costco “float” where they throw out rolls of toilet paper. I love the totally random groups of people that roll down the street and call themselves a float. I love the man who drives his truck through with a sign saying that he’s been in the parade for the last 65 consecutive years. I love that you can sit on the sidewalk outside of a bar and legally drink. It’s all around good fun.

The Noni with Ms.B and me with Augg.

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Ready to get started!
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Love the rodeo queens. Actually, I think was a queen wannabe…
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In my defense – it was empty and I didn’t know he was chewing on it…

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Baylor, Zoe and Siena trolling for candy

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The big man enjoying the wagon to himself

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It’s My Kinda Town…

When we saw friends Karen and Patrick in January, Patrick issued PW a put up or shut up on a visit to Chicago. Patrick has been living there for nearly the last decade and Peter is always saying we need to go. You can only make your wife cheer for the Cubs for so long before you actually have to take her to see a game. (side note: I’ve now been to two more major league baseball parks than Peter. Which kills him. )

So, we booked tickets, PMac and Karen’s guest room, and dropped the kiddos at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. The party started at the airport when we decided we had time for margaritas (plural) before our plane ride. Patrick and Karen had planned a full weekend of baseball, great meals, a little sight seeing and a lot of fun. It kind of went like this: arrive, drink, drink, eat, drink, sleep, eat, drink, drink, baseball, driiiiink, eat, drink, eaaaaaat, drink, drink, sleep, repeat. It was, in a word, fantastic.

Game #1, Cubs v Astros. Bleacher seats.

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photo 3 (13)We actually believed that it was going to miss us. We were wrong.

photo 4 (12)Three hour rain delay felt much shorter with the assistance of many many beer vendors. And a batting helmet full of nachos. No really. Like an actual sized batting helmet. With nachos.

 

photo 5 (6)How do I know our friends are professionals? They brought their own ponchos. $0.69 v $10.

 

photo 1 (14)Watching the mechanics of rolling back the tarp was so cool.

 

photo 2 (17)I love the ingenuity of the people that own the buildings across the street from Wrigley. They remodeled the rooftops with bleachers. Genius.

photo 4 (13)The ivy. Properly trimmed to keep jerks like me from picking it.

 

photo 3 (14)After the game, we headed home to change and then back out to The Loop for dinner at The Girl and the Goat. Reservations in June were booking for August…thank goodness Karen is a smart thinker and booked our reservations in February! It was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Tapas with amazing ambiance, good wine, great servers, no time to take pictures because we were too busy eating a drinking. But I did manage to snap a picture of the Chicago River from the cab – so pretty.

 

photo 5 (7)Saturday brought sunny skies and game #2 – or as PW called them “the really good seats”. We were in the 6th row behind home plate. I’ve rarely seen Peter as excited and happy as he was for the pregame, game and post game.

photo 1 (15)Panorama of our view

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photo 5 (8)Post game bar crawl. Happy camper.

photo 1 (16)Our last stop of the night was Red Ivy – an all encompassing Chicago sports bar. We caught game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals and it was a blast. Everyone in the bar was electrified – it would have been hard not to cheer for the Blackhawks.

Duh duh du duh duh du da da da duh duh!!

(Chealsea Dagger. Look it up)

photo 3 (16)Check out that mullet.

photo 2 (19)We went home tired, a little hung over but oddly well rested. It was the break from parenting that we very much needed whether we knew it or not. Getting to laugh with old friends, swear, sleep in, drink at will and have conversations that were only inturupted by more food, drinks or funny comments was amazing. Big hugs and thanks to Patrick and Karen for being the most amazing hosts! Can’t wait to see you in the desert in July and for the big day in 2014!!

 

 

 

Motherly Love

It’s my own fault really. I was encouraging her by buying her the stationary…nothing like a homemade birthday card! And this is also what I get when I don’t “Mason proof” prior to that little hurricane’s arrival. He apparently needed to sign the card too – alll over.

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Happeee Birthday…

to me!

This morning, bright and early at yoga, the instructor asked us to set our intention for the day. The first thing that came to my mind was gratitude. I’m grateful for another year of life, for a body that can keep up with two happy healthy kiddos, an amazing husband, a happy home and a wonderful family. Thank you for all the Facebook posts, texts, calls, emails and cards. I love birthday celebrations so all the of these things make me feel so loved.

So from my first birthday…

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To this 31st (eek)  birthday and many more!

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Happy Birthday Baylor!

Today, Ms. B turns 4 years old. It’s not officially official until 11:46pm tonight, but we’ll say it’s close enough. After a week of parties, special outings and presents, we are spending today quietly. We’re going to play with all the new presents and put a candle in everything she eats and sing and cover her with kisses.

Happy birthday big girl! Stop eating those green beans that make you grow so fast!

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Birthday rewind: last year

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Second birthday

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First birthday

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The real birthday

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Just Us

Last Friday, my awesome sister Ali volunteered to watch Augg so B and I could go to the Children’s Museam, just us. Ali also did the laundry while we were gone. She. Is. Awesome!

Baylor was beyond excited about the Children’s Museam and couldn’t quite grasp that we were going just the two of us. We could do whatever she wanted, when she wanted and I would have two hands free to participate. No breaks for bottles, naps or diaper changes. She asked from the back seat on the drive downtown if we could go to the grocery store section first and they way she asked is like how she asks if she can watch cartoons when she knows the answer is going to be “no”. The pure excitement when I told her “sure, we can do whatever you want” was priceless.

Both of us in the flying bathtub.

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The Climber is both the coolest and most unnerving exhibit. It’s built like a giant tree house. It’s all enclosed and yet feels like you could fall out at any second! Of course, the billy goat was all over it.

 

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The grocery and kitchen exhibit.

 

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We had the fort room all to ourselves so we made this masterpiece.

 

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Painting the giant rocket

 

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Toothpaste car – doesn’t she look like she’s 12?!

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We capped off our visit with a trip to the gift shop (which we never do) and found some fun things we don’t need. It was amazing how B’s attitude became one of nice words, gentle playing and general contentment for the rest of the weekend. I realized that she can’t verbalize when she needs more one on one attention – I need to get some help with the big guy more often so that she and I can have some fun – just us.

 

If you go to the Children’s Museum – go early! The school field trip buses arrive around 1030 but the museum opens at 9. Get there right as the doors unlock so that when the big kids get there, you’ll be on the upper floors already. Pack snacks and don’t bring a big bag and don’t bring your full wallet – the climber doesn’t allow purses so you have to leave it at the bottom. Plus you can get your hands on more when you’re not swinging around a big purse. Grab some hand sanitizer and a dose of patience, it can be a bit of a jungle in there!

Deep Thoughts with Baylor: Gymnastics

“Mommy? Why do they call it gymnastics?”

“I guess because it’s in a gym.”

“No but why is it called gym-mats-sticks?”

“Is this a trick question?”

“I get why they say gym because it’s in a gym. And there are mats. But why do they say sticks? We don’t ever use any sticks! I wish we did get sticks.”