Loving Luca + Dani

I tend to go through jewelry phases. I like one particular style and I wear it forever until I find the next thing that catches my eye.

The favorite for awhile has been a simple gold necklace – currently an evil eye, previously my initials – and bangle bracelets. Good old Facebook kept flashing advertisements for Luca+Danni bracelets and I finally gave in and clicked. They carry several religious medals and I’m obsessed!

I love that the baubles are tied into the wire of the bracelet – no spinning! Your charm is always visible on the top of your wrist. They stack great too.

I am currently rocking Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Joan of Arc. Because I need as much grace as possible and a little reminder to be unstoppable is good too.

I think this little blue bauble is next on my list….

 

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Say Cheese

While at the lovely wedding of Ryan and Lisa, I crossed paths with the photographer. After she snapped a picture of me and the banshees, she said “I’ve taken your picture before!”. I’m usually great with faces, but I couldn’t place her. Finally she said “Scottsdale Moms Blog! I took your head shot!”. And it’s still on my About the Author page today.

After seeing the pictures she took at the wedding, I immediately booked her for a family session. Right after that, I started a Pinterest page and the photographer, Stacey and I  set out to coordinate the clothing. I asked the neighbors if we could use their yards as alternative back drops and started threatening everyone in our house that they better get on board because I wanted SMILES in these pictures!

Then something amazing happened…they all enjoyed themselves and actually smiled! They cooperated! It was amazing. And Stacey from Dream Photography Studio is a huge reason why. The best complement I can write is that Peter’s response post session was “That was actually pretty fun. And really easy”. 45 painless minutes yielded so many great pictures, we’re having a hard time choosing which go on the wall!

So here’s just a sample of the gallery we received. If you like, go to Dream Photography Studio to book a session!

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

No not Christmas. Although that part is great too…

It’s PLANTING TIME!! Well, in Arizona any way. Now that the temperatures have dropped below 100 and the mornings and evenings are spectacular, we’ve been hard at work getting our yard back in shape. There’s been lots of trips to the nursery, much fertilizing and a whole bunch of trimming. I’m so excited for the results of our work.

I love this view at the back door

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Two new tomato plants – a yellow grape and a red olive. I’ve never heard of olive so I’m excited to see what they’re like.

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I see lots of pesto in our future. It smells heavenly.

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And the lettuce table! I always get so excited to plant this guy. This year includes green leaf and two varieties of red leaf.

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A new addition is rainbow Swiss Chard. Really excited for these guys to grow in.

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Velvety Petunias

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Oooh, the Meyer Lemon. Like a cross between an orange and a lemon. These little babies are going to make some amazing vinaigrette!

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Something is blooming everywhere you look

IMG_7934 IMG_7935 - CopyAt the risk of sounding like a crazy woman…I stalk the nursery for this color of Geranium. It’s a deep red and just gorgeous.

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Paige Denim

Why are good jeans so hard to find?? Shopping for good jeans is as bad as shopping for a good bra. Or a bathing suit. No one ever says “I’m so pumped to go bathing suit shopping!”. Jeans are the same way for me. I’m picking about the fit, the rise and of course, the length. Why are models 6 feet tall but jeans all have 30 inch inseams? Where do the tall girls get their denim?!

I found my answer last fall at Nordstrom. I was turned on to Paige Denim and I have to say, a year later, I love them just as much. Of course, Nordstrom stopped carrying the style I like. Which turned out to be a good thing because I found Paige.com instead. In trying to track down my favorite cut (Skyline Straight) in the wash I wanted, I emailed the company. I was shocked to see an email just an hour later from the customer service rep saying she had just personally restocked that style and wash and that she was holding out a pair in my size and how would I like them shipped to me. Amazing!

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I lived in these white jeans I bought from them this summer and just ordered the same pair in black hoping to get the same good use out of them. They carry several styles and fits – my favorite is that the straight cut jeans are on the narrower side at the ankle – skinny jeans without the tapered leg – perfection!

Check it out at www.paige.com 

Oh – and they have maternity jeans – where the heck were these when I needed them!?

 

Break Time

Whew. It’s been a long couple of weeks. Auggie boy has decided to drop that whole sleeping through the night thing and wake up multiple times a night and then for good by about 5am. I’m barely sane with a full night’s rest. Give me multiple nights of no more than a few hour of consecutive sleep AND no end in sight? Holy moly. It’s not pretty. Picture me and another mom standing outside of the preschool, barely holding back tears as we carefully and in great detail describe all the things we’ve been doing to get our 23 month olds to sleep longer and later. Teeth? Reflux? Growth spurt? Backout shades? Humidifier? Sound machine? Temperature? And couple the crabby exhausted toddler with a sassy five year old who knows how to push her momma’s buttons and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a major mommy meltdown. And melt I did.

I’ve come to learn as an adult, that I’m not great at taking a break. I’m really good at digging in when the going gets tough, which is not exactly a good thing.

I remember about a week after Auggie was born, Peter announced that Grandma was coming to watch the kids and we were going out. Going out?! Going OUT?? Who’s going out? Us?? Where? How?? But he insisted. We drove to the mall, walked around a little, sat and ate cupcakes, talked without being interrupted. It was maybe two hours, but it was a break that I so desperately needed but didn’t know it.

Which is why it was so good we planned our annual trip to San Diego months ago. Reservations were booked. Dog boarding set up. We were going despite the fact that it was one of the busiest weeks ever. End of the month billing for me, closing time for Peter, Parent’s Night at school, back to school meetings, and on and on. The beauty of San Diego though is that you don’t need much and anything you forget is easily replaced. That said, our crew still takes a lot of gear…as I surveyed the living room that was piled high with the beach wagon, sand toys, umbrellas, suitcases, wine, snacks, pack n play, both joggers and a bunch of other crap that I can’t even remember, I decided if we didn’t have it, we’d figure it out.

We piled into the truck and we were off! And despite the fact that Auggie still didn’t sleep well until the LAST NIGHT of vacation, it was the break we all needed but didn’t know it. Auggie has decided to start sleeping better. Baylor has decided not to try to push mommy to the point of needing a straight jacket. Grandma took Auggie for a day and gave me *gasp* 6 whole hours to myself (which I spent working…but at least it was without distraction!). We’re going to survive. Thank goodness for the beach.

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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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Yellowstone Adventures

Our Yellowstone adventure as a group of 7 looked more like the Griswalds headed to Wally World. We were packed into our rental SUV…but still, 7 people is a lot to squish into one vehicle. Not to mention Auggie was a particularly unhappy camper that day. We also imposed a “no electronics rule”. No iphone or ipad games. We were in nature, dammit. And everyone was going to look out the window and enjoy it by God.

We also had a loaned “Audio Tour through Yellowstone” CD. It. Was. Awesome. Mostly because for every feature that it described, it usually included a cautionary tale that was less cautionary for us and much more hilarious. It went something like:

And that brings me to the story of little Andy Shmandy from Portland Oregon and his dog Moosey. While visiting Noris Gysier, Moosey left the boardwalk and jumped into one of the boiling pools. Andy, defied those around that were trying to restrain him and jumped in after Moosey. He was able to climb out, but was severely burned over 90% of his body. While first responders were removing his clothing, his skin came off with it. He was transported to Salt Lake City where he later died. His last words were “that was pretty stupid, huh?”. 

No really. I’m not making it up.

The stories were so gruesome, they were hilarious. We were sure to remind each other often about each victim often. Stay on the boardwalk kids! You don’t want to be the next Andy Shmandy!

Warning: picture overload ahead

I love that you immediately see elk when you drive into the park. They are really really close to the cars and you realize how big these guys are.

(Side note: run fast little elkies! Please don’t come home to my home in the stuffed form!)

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First stop: Noris geysers. But first, a warning illustration. Who the hell draws these?

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Everyone of these pools is hotter than the boiling point of water. But they don’t bubble because of the altitude. The color comes from a special form of bacteria that only survives in super hot water.IMG_7278It’s like the surface of the moon

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IMG_7303 IMG_7305 IMG_7318We caught one of the geysers going off

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The Griswalds Do Yellowstone!

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Not the happiest camper….

IMG_7291  But he does like a camera so that helps – take a look at his shoes. He loves them because they look just like “dada’s”, but he wears them between his second toes!

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“Pose in front of the boiling hot water!!”

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The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is amazing. The only problem is that it never looks real in pictures. The dads win parent of the year award for carrying each girl UP the 200+ steps from the bottom of the canyon. Jeff still can’t feel his shoulder. Auggie fell asleep in the car so someone had to hang back and nap with him. I was happy to fill that position.

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These two kill me.

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Can you see the lip gloss on her eyes??IMG_7332

We did pretty well with the wildlife sightings. This guy was just off the road scratching his head on a tree. It was awesome. IMG_7264 IMG_7269
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We passed a horse drawn wagon. Some go out for tours, others for overnight camp outs and they are original to the park.

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The wildfire devastation is still very visible. Some is very old – from the fires in the late 80’s. Some is more recent.  I was really surprised to learn that they don’t thin the forest to prevent large fires. They found after the “Summer of Fire” that a lot of the pine cones will only open when introduced to the extreme heat of forest fires, thus self regenerating the forest. IMG_7355 IMG_7365

Baylor and Morgan had the way back seat to themselves. They are fold down seats so they were a little isolated in the back. At one point they asked the moms for lip gloss. We made the mistake of not asking for it back. Eventually we looked back and realized they had “done” their hair and used some of the lip gloss as eye shadow. Then they passed out.

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Big Sky July

In a moment of stressing about packing lists, I realized how far we’ve come and how much we’ve done in a short time to make a dream of ours come true.

Let me back up to last summer. After a long flight and drive to the ranch, Peter and  were sitting in rocking chairs on the deck waiting for Auggie to doze off. It was after 10pm and the sun was almost down. It was cool and quiet and…perfect. We started seriously thinking about how we could make a transition that would allow us to spend more time in Montana. After a lot of conversations, we came up with a plan.

In just under a year, Peter has passed the Montana bar, been admitted and we have booked a rental house for all of July. We can both work from here and he’s working on a Montana client list – ensuring lots of summers in Big Sky country to come – and I’m sure a few “client meetings” during hunting season too…

The logistics of getting here were a little daunting. We settled on having Peter drive the 18ish hours with Mac and all our crap stuff while I flew with the kids. I’ll save you the details…but there was a barf bag involved in my part of the trip. But we made it all in one piece! The house we rented sight unseen has turned out to be great (with a few additional baby proofing measures post Auggie’s minor tumble down the stairs. Hearing Baylor scream “Auggie fell down the stairs!!” was as close as I’d like to come to knowing what a heart attack feels like).

 

We’re unpacked, settling in and awaiting the arrival of our friends/house guests! And this morning, we’re waking up to this:

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This Guy

As everyone within ear shot knew, I was not too thrilled about this guy  becoming our newest pet. It was nothing personal, I just didn’t need another being to look after, care for and clean up after. Oh and the hair. The hair! I did not need the hair.

But….as we close in on Mac’s first birthday, I have to admit, he’s pretty great. I got the pick of the litter and I chose him because I could hang him upside down over my head and he laid loosely in my hands and stared at me. I thought if he can handle that calmly, then he might make it at our house. And thankfully, his nature is as  mellow today as it was then.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There has been some serious work that went into this guy – but to have your 5 year old be able to walk the 60lbs nine month old lab around the block? Totally worth all the effort. And we have the amazing DaCoda to thank for it! Call her at Paws and Effect Training 480-577-6043. She’s worth her weight in gold! Or dog treats. Either way she’s awesome.

 

He totally walks better for her than anyone else

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I can’t believe how little they both were! Best buddies in the making

Then…and now

and then there’s this…

photo 2 (53) Labra-bunny. Oddly, I think he really liked these.photo 1 (48) Everyone knows labs make the best pillowsphoto 3 (42)

 We’ve still got work to do on his need to stealing the kids toys and sneaking them outside to eat. And to stop eating my tomato plant. And not eat anything he finds on a walk….but his positives outweigh his negatives so I guess he stays. And I might even like him…but just a little .

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