Janelle’s Newborn Lifestyle Photoshoot

I had the privilege of photographing the sweetest (and coolest) family last month. Janelle, a friend from high school, reached out to see if I would be open to photographing her twin boys, baby boy and hubbie. I jumped at the opportunity! Here are a few photos from that day. We seriously had so many laughs. I loved hanging out with this awesome crew.

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newborn family photos

newborn family photographer

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newborn family photos mom blog

newborn family photos mom blog

A Weekend in the Woods with Nolan Ryan

A weekend in the mountains was just what I needed. While my husband took the older kids camping (photos to come), Nolan and I went to Pinetop, Arizona with my mother-in-law and Ryan’s aunt. It was the perfect retreat from the Phoenix heat and a great way to enjoy Nolan without any interruptions. I was also able to start and finish a book! Imagine that.

Here are a just a few photos from our quiet Memorial Day weekend in the woods.

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many hats of a mom blog

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many hats of a mom blog

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many hats of a mom blog

My favorite corner of our house

mom blogger in phoenix

mom blogger in phoenix

This is my favorite spot in the house. It’s an itty bitty corner off of the kitchen that tends to be my resting spot. It’s got a cozy little chair, a Christmas tree and a perfect spot for my coffee. Which, by the way, is always brewing at my house lately. Today, kids wouldn’t nap … it was rainy and gloomy outside … and the coffee was keeping me going. What do you do around 3pm anyway? You know, when it’s too late for coffee and too early for wine. You just wait it out I guess … or pop open the bottle early. That’s what we do.

Thanksgiving with the Cousins

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My in-laws put on a fabulous Thanksgiving and I’m STUFFED! I literally had three pieces of pie. Small pieces, but still … three!! And now, I’m just going through a few photos that we took right before dinner tonight. I love seeing all of these cousins in their element. It’s pretty cool to just kick back and watch them play.

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

My itty bitty beautiful baby boy, Nolan Ryan, at 11 weeks old.

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many hats of a mom blogger in phoenix

Two of the most handsome men I ever did see.

mom blogger in phoenix

We snapped this photo right before we left for the night. If I’m learning anything it’s that you take a photo before you leave for the evening (if you want one of you all together) because once you’re out the door, you’ll forget / get busy / get distracted / forget your camera / or no one will care to stop and pose for you. Ahem … Kelsey.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Every day should be like this

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Saturday night was all about family. Ryan and I took the kids out for dinner and walked around one of our Phoenix resorts enjoying the sunset and snapping some photos. We let the kids run around the grass, climb the trees and chase after ducks in the lake. It was truly the best day. Doing life with these three individuals makes for some of the most memorable moments I have ever experienced.

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I can’t help but laugh at this photo. I mean, who holds a child like that?

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This was the sweetest moment. We were standing by the lake, when I snapped this photo of Colton. His arms were crossed and he was staring into the distance, as if to contemplate the meaning of life or something. It was really deep. Then, I realized he was just pouting because Ryan told him he couldn’t jump into the lake with the ducks.

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mom blog

mom blog

His expression is priceless! Yes, Colton. Your mom and sister are crazy.

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The best part? I can hit repeat on this day any time that I want because wherever we are, life feels this wonderful.

Teri’s Autumn Holiday Party

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Almost every year, Teri hosts fall party to kick off the holiday season (check out this one from 2011). She’s much better than me, because she actually waits until after Thanksgiving to dial up the Christmas decorations – so truly, this is an autumn party.

Ryan was home with a terrible cold (thanks, Colton & Kelsey) so I went solo. Teri is such a fantastic hostess – and I just loved catching up with dear friends (hi, Rachel) that I don’t get to see as often as I like. She had just the right amount of light, food everywhere, a local guitarist, bar station and all the fixings to make it feel like the holiday season has arrived.

Thank you so much for hosting, Teri! I just love your darling home!

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How cute is her house? I’m coming over one day and taking pictures of all the cute designs, little corners and personal touches that make her little bungalow in downtown Phoenix so perfect!

The best (summer) day I ever had

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Pinetop
During our week long vacation in Pinetop, Kelsey and I were out shopping at Eddie’s Country store (here). Directly across the street from Eddie’s is a popular steakhouse called, Charlie Clark’s. Someone once told me that Charlie Clark’s offers live music in their orchard and that we should try to go. So, I called them up. I was certain live music was only on offered on the weekends but to my surprise they do live music in the orchard on Wednesdays too. Perfect!

After the kids took their naps we loaded them up and drove down to Charlie Clark’s orchard (it’s right behind their restaurant). We found a small little table and sat down. I already knew this was going to be a fabulous night from the look of the place – old signage, rustic tables and chairs, a dance floor (I mean, come on!), country music, twinkle lights, perfect weather and huge trees all around.

There was this large grass area for the kids to run around in (and any parent knows waiting for your food to arrive is always a gamble so to be able to let your kids run around and play while you talk to your husband … well, that’s a dining out dream). Kelsey brought her baby doll and, together with Colton, they played “keep away” from one another. I got that on video, so I’ll have to share it with you. Seeing them play so well together was music to my ears. The table we were sitting at was off to the side and had a little itty bitty sign on it that said “no bar or food service”. But our waitress clearly saw that we were there to stay and served us anyway – score!

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pinetop

As the drinks started coming, the sun started to set and the musician started to play. It really was the perfect evening. Kelsey wanted to dance so she grabbed Ryan’s hand and led him to the dance floor. Then we all joined in; which wasn’t as embarrassing as it sounds, it was actually pretty special. When the musician asked the audience what they would like to hear next, Kelsey leaned over to me and said, “Mom, do you think he knows Let it Go.” I couldn’t help but laugh. We decided to ask … so, we put money in his tip jar, walked up to him and asked if he knew anything from the Frozen soundtrack (for the record, he doesn’t).

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Pinetop
Pinetop

Then, Kelsey did something that really took me back. She found all of these green fruits (we’ll call them that because I have no clue what they were) and started collecting them. In a matter of seconds, Colton wanted in on the fun – only he started to eat the green fruits, which started to make her upset … so I needed to come up with a way to keep the peace. I had an idea. Kelsey and I would find a secret, secret hiding spot for our fruit so Colton couldn’t get them.

She thought I was the smartest person ever, so off we went to collect these green things. Then, it hit me. I had this blast from the past moment where I had done this before. Did I do this when I was little? Had I played this exact game before? I can’t remember much but I do remember being at a family reunion with my family, under large green trees, playing keep away with my cousins. The sun was setting, just like this evening was, and we were all running around giggling. That’s about as much as I recall but in this moment that rush and euphoric feeling of being with my family and being a kid came over me.

I looked up and realized that parenting is much more than being in the present. It’s about letting your inner kid come out and allowing yourself to relive the past. In that moment, I remembered my childhood so vividly .. and there I was playing this game of hide and seek and really influencing Kelsey’s childhood in such a positive way. Oh, I hope she remembers this moment forever. Or at the very least, when she is in her thirties and her children are running around laughing, playing, and having fun that it transports her back to a moment like this. A moment where mom was the smartest person in the world, dad was the strongest and her brother was the coolest.

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pinetop

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Pinetop
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If that wasn’t enough, the check presenters were mousetraps. I mean … that’s just darn cute. The next time you find yourself in Pinetop, Arizona, check out Charlie Clark’s for live music, dinner, and a really good time.

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Splashing around is serious business

It’s hoooooooooooot around here. Sorry, but this is the first post of many where all I do is complain about the miserable heat. My apologies in advance. Thus, we live in our pool in the summer. This was Colton’s first time in the water since being an itty bitty baby. (My kids take this swimming thing very seriously – as you can tell by the look on their faces.)

See Colton down there? He hated the water at first. I mean, screamed-at-the-top-of-his-lungs-hated. See those massive floaties? Don’t judge. It’s possible that he loves the water and hates his floaties. Time will tell.

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