Party in the USA!

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fourh of july pinetop

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fourh of july pinetop

fourh of july pinetop

fourh of july pinetop

fourh of july pinetop

Where do I even start? We had the best Fourth of July in Pinetop surrounded by family & friends. My in-laws hosted a party in the pines with live music, barbecue, too-much dessert, fire pits and all the drinks you could want. My parents and best friends were in town as well, so together, we gathered around and enjoyed this remarkable holiday as one big family.

pinetop fourth of july

pinetop fourth of july

4th of july

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Pinetop collage

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fourth of july party

It was all fun and games until Colton woke up from nap and realized everyone was at his cabin. It took him about 45 minutes to be okay with the notion that these people were here to stay. Once he warmed up, and let go of my leg, we were all happy campers again.

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I can’t put my finger on it, but I love this photo so much. Thank you, Teri, for snapping it! My husband is pushing two kids on a swing and entertaining two others. And if you look reeeeally closely on the tree (front and center) you’ll see a squirrel wearing a helmet.

Thank you to my father-in-law for hosting such a memorable weekend and 4th of July party at the cabin. A lot of work goes into these things (especially when it rains and you have to move everything into the garage last-minute) and I am truly grateful!

We hope you had a wonderful time celebrating America’s birthday too!

 

Winter Events at The Phoenician

The thing about morning sickness is it takes you out of commission from doing anything other than what you have to do on any given day. That said, I turned on my camera for the first time in 10 weeks and found some pictures I forgot I had. These pictures were from a winter event at The Phoenician in Scottsdale. They do their “Up, Up, and Away” event every year and every year we love to take the kids.

phoenician holiday event

It’s free for the public (you don’t have to be a resort guest to enjoy the fun) and they have hot chocolate, cocktails for purchase, cookie decorating for the kids (and us too!), live music, and tethered hot air balloon rides. The kids and I went with my family and rang in the holidays … Arizona style. We ended the night with huge burgers and s’mores at Relish Burger Bistro.

Phoenician Holiday Event

phoenician holiday event

phoenician holiday event
The glow from the sunset bounced off of Camelback Mountain as we watched the hot air balloons inflate. The kids were giggling with joy as they rolled down the grassy hills of the resort’s golf course. It was truly such a magical day and a great event to capture the essence of the season.

phoenician holiday event

phoenician events

My little baker took cookie decorating very seriously. Colton … not so much. He just got icing everywhere! But that just means that mom and dad had to eat all of his cookie mess (oh, darn!). It was a cute activity for the kids.

phoenician events

Phoenician holiday events

I wanted to capture of photo of everyone. I succeeded! And just before the sun set. If you live in Arizona, try to attend this event next year. It’s worth it!

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phoenician events

Taking Heidi’s Family Holiday Photos

family holiday photos | Phoenix photographer

family holiday photos | Phoenix photographer

family holiday photos | Phoenix photographer

family holiday photos | Phoenix photographer
family holiday photos | Phoenix photographer
family holiday photos | Phoenix photographer

family holiday photos | Phoenix photographer

family holiday photos | Phoenix photographer

family holiday photos | Phoenix photographer

For some crazy reason, Heidi trusted me to take her family holiday photos. I was honored and so incredibly nervous. This was the first time I was taking photos of someone outside of my own family and I was so worried I would mess it up. I found this desert area outside of the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort where we were able to grab some gorgeous sunlight and desert views. I am so happy with how everything turned out.

Her kids were amazing! I wore a funny reindeer hat with jingle bells (so they would look at the camera) and brought them two cupcakes as a reward once we were finished. That pretty much sweetened the deal and we were able to get some great smiles. As we were leaving the first location, we got in our cars to drive to this cool wooden bridge that I had spotted. Maya (Heidi’s daughter) asked if she could ride with me. So, I strapped her into Kelsey’s car seat, blasted a little Taylor Swift “Shake it off” and we continued the photo shoot at the bridge.

Seriously, that Maya has a personality larger than life. She kept posing herself in the middle of the family (front and center) and I would have to say, “Maya, honey … can you back up just a bit?” It was the cutest. And her love for her brother, Matthew, is just heaven to watch. She was so great with him and you can see how much he just adores his big sister.

When Heidi and Mitch would pose for pictures, the kids would just laugh and laugh. They loved seeing their parents in front of the camera. “Let’s have them kiss,” Maya would say. And then immediately, I would get the parents to smooch and I would hear the sweet little giggles of their kids in the distance.

So much love and laughter at this photo shoot. It makes me think this is why photographers do their job. It’s the moments like this that are captured behind the camera that make for the best memories. Thank you, Heidi, for this great experience!

Heidi and Stephanie

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!

Up, Up and Away Winter Holiday

Colton is OBSESSED with Frosty the Snowman. We have an inflatable Frosty in our yard and every evening he begs, pleads and throws a tantrum to see Frosty up close. When we heard The Phoenician was doing a free public event this weekend with Frosty present … well, you didn’t have to tell us twice.

This event was so cute. It came complete with falling snow, Carolers, horse-drawn carriage, tethered hot air balloon rides, hot chocolate & cookies …. and Frosty! This night was such a great way for us all to extend the Christmas season a bit longer.

the phoenician holiday event

the phoenician holiday eventthe phoenician holiday event the phoenician holiday event

the phoenician holiday event

the phoenician, scottsdale resortthe phoenician holiday event

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holiday eventholiday eventholiday eventShe grabbed a cookie then booked it to the dance floor because “Mom, the Grinch song is on! We love this one.”

the phoenician holiday event

holiday eventthe phoenician holiday event the phoenician holiday eventWe followed Frosty around ALL night. I kind of felt bad for the guy. Every time he turned around, there we were. And there was Colton … just staring in awe with his favorite Christmas character.       

Two (fashionable) Peas in a Pod

It was a tie over who was dressed cuter the other day. Sabrina picked up Kelsey for a Starbucks date and we had to laugh because they were dressed so much alike. Tan boots. Check. Grey top. Check. Adorable. Check. Check.

Kelsey’s skirt, top and headband are from H&M and her boots from Gap. I just couldn’t help myself … naturally, I made them pose before they left for their coffee/ chocolate milk date.

HM KidsHM Kids

HM KidsHM KidsHM Kids

Making Memories on the Mountain

Every day is special with two little kids in tow. But, the holidays … those are amplified. We get to make new traditions and memories with every year. This year, we decided to go find our own Christmas tree. So, away we went to the mountain to play in the snow and find the perfect tree to call our own.

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family

The Santa Hat: Free Santa Video

Create and view a personalized video message from Santa to your child. It’s free and so much fun! I just created Kelsey’s video message from Santa and I look forward to sharing it with her tonight.

Best of all, you can tell Santa what you want him to emphasize about your child’s behavior. For example, Santa made sure to mention that Kelsey needs to be “nice to all of her friends”. (She’s been pushing her friends at school). Tisk, tisk, child.

Make your free Santa video here and let me know what you think!

santa video portable north pole

portable north pole santa video