November 26, 2011

Ice Castle - close ups

Here are a few of the close-ups from our day at the ice castles.  There's even a picture of me.  Not something that happens very often. :)

Ice Castles - The group

Each year you can find beautiful snow castles up in Midway.  This year, we finally managed to make it up to them before they closed.  It was a cold day but it was definitely worth it.  We went with my parents and my sister's family.

We almost got in trouble because of the brief snowball fight we had in one of the open areas.  The girls thought it was really cool.

We went first in the afternoon, then went and had BBQ (that was only mediocre) and then went back to see how the castles looked in the evening with all of the lights.  I thought they were super cool in the day but far better at night.

Scott, Mark and Bear Lake

Scott and Mark went up to Mark's cabin to work on the hardwood floor and do a bit of snowmobiling.  The weather was beautiful and they got more snowmobiling in than they did flooring.   I'm sure you would do the same based on the photos.

Tibble Fork Sledding

After a beautiful snowstorm, our family decided to get together with the Dodge and Sanford cousins for a day of sledding.  Up at Tibble Fork there is a great sledding hill.  It is right off the parking lot and not too hard of a climb.  Ivy, Matthew and William had no problems going up and down it.  Okay, well, Ivy didn't do much in the way of going down but she did enjoy building snow balls and making snow angels.  Jade had a great time going down and even climbed up the higher hill and went down it.

I love the pink cheeks on my little girls after physical exercise and chilly air.   When they are bundled up in their bright snow clothes, I am filled with smiles and warm fuzzies.

June 11, 2011

WPPI - Las Vegas 2011

This year I was lucky enough to get to go to WPPI in Las Vegas.  Mark had me go down and help at his booth during the trade show.  In return he put me up and I got to take a ton of AMAZING classes.  My first night there started the event off bigger than I ever thought possible.

Okay – so I’m a Nikon shooter.  I love my camera.  I love the way it feels in my hand.  I love the way in shoots in low light.  I love the weight and feel of it.
But, I didn’t carry it with me to the Sony Fashion Show with Nigal Barker because I didn’t know what to expect.  Boy, am I sad I left it in my room.
Enter my iPhone (and people scoff at camera phone shooters- haa)…
Sure – the faces might be a bit blown out and the exposure isn’t perfect, but I’m not ashamed to share them either.
The conference has been amazing.  I can’t wait to recap all that I have learned.  To share with you the things that have touched me and motivated me.
I’m not a professional photographer.  I don’t “fit in” with this crowd, but I cannot tell you how much I am loving the information I am gaining.  I’ve attended an Adobe Lightroom class, a couple of motivational classes (about you and your style) and an amazing class about using the 5 components of photography to encourage your creativity.
By the way, I am sticking with Nikon.  Even though the Sony sounds like an amazing camera – especially after hearing Nigel talk it up like it is the greatest camera maker in the world.  And, Canon – I love Canon but for speed of continuous focus I’m sticking with my Nikon.

June 10, 2011

Valentine's Day at my parents

My mom does an amazing job at celebrating holidays.  For Valentine's Day she decorated the tables full of love and hearts.  Plus she and dad made all of the food in the shape of a heart and a pretty pink.  - Heart rolls, heart meatloaf and pink potatoes - perfectly delicious. The grandkids all had a blast.

June 9, 2011

Cards for Valentine's Day and for fun...

Jade really wanted me to do a special photo shoot of her in her solo costume. (She's doing a beautiful solo to "Alice" from the Tim Burton movie). Her costume is so perfect. She went through some of the positions from her dance while I snapped away.

Then we decided to take pictures for their Valentine's Day cards. I think they both turned out just like them.

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May 8, 2011

Jade's Birthday - Installment #3

Okay, so I only hinted about Jade's birthday party about 2 months ago, but I am finally getting around to sharing her birthday with you.  As far as birthdays go, this is one that I am particularly proud of.  Not because I am so awesome, but because she could not have been happier with how it turned out.
Much like Ivy's birthday party, I have a great deal of gratitude to my mom  (and dad) for all that they did to make it truly amazing.
The theme that Jade selected was "Alice in Wonderland".  She wanted to have her friends over and watch the movie and make personal pizzas.  So that is exactly what we did.
We decorated the house with big tissue flowers, hearts and bright colors.  My mom made the very fun banner with her "foster-cricut".  (It is her friend's cricut but it lives at my mom's house).  Then in the dining room I set up another photo booth to take pictures of the kids for their party favors.  (By the way, The balloons were all done by "Balloons by Malloon"
As each of the children arrived, I had them select a tea-cupblue-bottle or a cupcake to hold while they posed with the Mad Hatter.  Some of the girls really hammed it up, while others sweetly posed and smiled.
During the movie, I printed all of the photos and put them in the photo envelopes like you would get at a high school dance.
The kids had a kick creating their own pizza.  A lesson I learned?  Don't go overboard on the toppings.  Kids want pepperoni, cheese and more cheese for their toppings.  
During the movie, everyone had popcorn bags, licorice, M&M's and bottled water.  For the sake of my floor, I'm glad I did water.  But maybe flavored water (like Propel) would have been a better option.  The water mostly got sipped on and we were left with a bunch of nearly full bottles.
Half way through the movie we took a cake and ice cream break.  I made basic white cake and basic chocolate cupcakes.  The one thing I did to make them "Alice in Wonderland" like was to use my Rose pan from William-Sonoma and my Flower cupcake pan from Pampered Chef.  Then I drizzled a LOT of white frosting on them and covered in bright-colored sugars.
The movie ended just minutes before the parents started to show up to pick up their little girls.
Jade had a wonderful birthday party, she loved having her friends from school and dance come together and all get along like they had known each other for years.  (I was really surprised at how well they all played and embraced one another.  I was nervous about it and therefore had her limit her invites to those two groups).  

The Tim Burton "Alice in Wonderland" was really great for 8 year olds.  It isn't very scary, there are no inappropriate or sketchy scenes and the soundtrack is very fun.  There were moments that they all did a bit of dancing.

May 7, 2011

Annual Snowmobile Outing

Over the years, Scott has enjoyed a nearly annual snowmobile outing.  This year, Scott got several outings with Mark but just one with a big group.  They went up to Daniel's Summit (I think) and took some gorgeous pictures in the beautiful snow and bright sun.

Unlike the first year they went, no one got lost.  There were no injuries nor major sled damage.  And I might add, those uneventful trips are the ones that make me the happiest.

Here are some of the absolutely stunning photos that Scott took.

May 6, 2011

First Gymnastics Meet 2011

This year Jade is competing in Level 4. Last year as a Level 3, was her first year. She fell in love with the individual competition and often stressed about her scores. This year, she had even higher expectations for herself. It isn't about improving her own score, it is all about getting in the 9's across the board.

During her first meet of the season, she didn't get straight 9's. She missed her dismount on the beam and her floor routine was shakey. She was not thrilled with her performance. But, she did qualify to travel and that (I thought) would take some of the pressure off of her.

The night before the race she was a bit on edge. I wasn't sure what was going on until I sat down with her to make sense of it all. As it turned out, she was stressed about "what if?" she didn't get all blue ribbons (9's)? Hopefully she learned that getting straight 9's isn't the best goal but rather improving her score time after time.

May 5, 2011

Forever Friends...

Many years ago I used to spend several Saturdays with these beautiful women.  We would laugh together and support one another.  Nearly every time we were together we would enjoy Little America's rolls and mashed potatoes.

During that time we became lifelong friends.

We don't live in the same city.  It has been 8 years since we have all been together (and even this time we still missed Sasha).  But when we got together for dinner at the Dodo, it was just like old times.  We laughed, talked, supported and encouraged one another.

I can't wait to get together with them again.  Hopefully we won't wait another 8 years.

May 4, 2011

Jade's Birthday - Installment #2

Apparently we spend birthday's on field trips.  (Okay, Jade's birthday was the next day, but I could only take off one day or the other so we pretended that the field trip was on her birthday).

Ivy got to go on this field trip as well.  Luckily the field trips I signed up for they opened up to younger siblings. :) For this field trip, they were short on chaperones, so my mom joined us as well.  Which was a HUGE help.

The girls got a long perfectly and Jade let Ivy hang out with her and all of her friends.

My mom is so good at getting the kids really involved in the museum and learning about every single exhibit.  I so wish that I could be more like her.  It is a goal of mine. :)

We went to the Planetarium and the 2002 Olympics Museum.  It was very fun getting to see some of the photographs from the Olympics and to watch a movie full of quick highlights from the winter games.  2002 was a pretty cool time to live in Utah.

May 3, 2011

Jade's Birthday - installment #1

Birthdays we like to make special and we seem to gravitate towards our own traditions.  One thing that is fast becoming a tradition is going to a tepan restaurant for each of the kids birthdays.   We went a few days early for Jade’s because we were able to have both sets of grandparents join us.
This time, I brought my good camera with me and I wasn’t afraid to pull it out.
Here are some of my favorite things about Tepanyaki….
The onion volcano that turns into a choo choo train (complete with the conductor/chef’s whistle).
Large shrimp and extremely tender filet – cooked rare, of course.  (Soapbox – for those of you that cook your steaks well done or even medium well, you are losing so much of the flavor and you are making your meat tougher.  Please, next time you go to a restaurant ask for medium rare.  If you don’t like it, they’ll throw it back on the grill for you.  Stepping down now).
The chicken is usually my least favorite – but when you do the feast for two, it comes with chicken.  (Yes, the feast for two feeds all 4 of us and we buy and extra soup and salad for the girls to share).
Two girls who cleaned their plates get to enjoy the complimentary birthday ice cream.  And as a mom, I couldn’t have been more happy than when they shared it nicely and never complained or pushed the other out of the way.
It was a very fun night.  The only down side of a tepan restaurant… it is really difficult to have a conversation with the rest of the group.  The fans are loud and the tables are large.
Birthday celebration #1 for Jade – done.  Next we have  a field trip, treats and school, treats at the gym, and a party.  Phew – being 8 is a big deal.

May 2, 2011

Dance Costumes...

This year, at dance, Jade is extra busy. Not only is she doing jazz company and hip hop company, she is also doing a solo and a trio. So for the first time, we have had to worry about costumes. I was very nervous when we started discussing options and a bit stressed when we started talking about prices. But in the end, I am absolutely thrilled with the way they turned out. Her trio costume has an adorable criss-cross low back with a fringe skirt. Under the skirt are little booty shorts. The sequins is really itchy but hopefully they will adapt. For her solo (Alice - from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland) she wanted to look like Alice. The costume is FANTASTIC and I especially love the bloomers underneath.

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May 1, 2011

Daddy Daughter Date - Scott style

We were all off work and school for Martin Luther King Day. So while Ivy and I stayed at home and had a play date, Scott took Jade four-wheeling. Dan and Jaxson went with them and the four of them had an absolute blast. The weather was warm and clear although a bit on the muddy side. Scott took a video of them sloshing through the very deep mud, and the video was filled with the sounds of Jade's adorable giggle.
I absolutely love that Jade enjoys getting dirty and being outside. Since Scott never got his boy, it is a good thing he has a rough and tumble little lady.

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