Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Utah-- We Just Can't Quit You

How could you not love a place like this?!

Having some of our best friends live in one of our favorite places and then having them name us godparents to their adorable baby girl, Evelyn (better known as Evie), means that we are traveling to Utah these days as much as we can. In September, we spent about ten days out west just enjoying our friends and the beautiful fall scenery. Utah never fails to blow me away with the beauty of its autumn color.

I would fly anywhere to spend time with this little one. 
Sweet baby girl.
Evie already thinks he's hilarious. I think it's the funny faces he makes.

Kerri and I managed a short weekend getaway to Denver for some quality time together and a concert by the always amazing Ray LaMontagne at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. This miracle trip was made without children. By ourselves. With uninterrupted conversation and complete thoughts. So, in a word, FANTASTIC!

A super-smiley selfie of two women who got to choose their own adventure for the day!
Looking down on Golden, Colorado, and Denver off in the distance. Not a bad view.
One of my favorite experiences of all time-- this concert with this friend. Perfect.
A crappy iPhone picture of a red full moon rising over Denver while Ray plays with his own red moon on stage.
Seriously one of the coolest things I've seen.
Posing on the porch at Aunt Charlotte's, who was kind enough to host us. Thanks again, Aunt Charlotte & Uncle Jim!
Taking in some of the beautiful scenery along I-70 on the drive home. This is next to the highway! 
Colorado in the fall is just so beautiful.

No trip to Utah would be complete without some time spent at our favorite garden-- Thanksgiving Point Gardens. It remains such a lovely place to spend an afternoon and let the kids run around and enjoy nature and each other. 

James and Grace beat us to the top. 

Grace, James, Millie, and Maddie.
Please appreciate the miracle that is four children sitting, smiling, and looking at the camera. 

Even if we don't do much in the way of exploring or adventuring while in Utah, we are always happy just to spend time with our friends and the kiddos. Having a great time is never a problem for us, and I love taking pictures while I'm out there. The subjects are just too cute!

Maddie at ballet class 
Millie at ballet class
Caught this gorgeous sunset just going down the road. Don't worry, I was the passenger.
Chris playing "school" with Grace. Not sure whether he passed...
Chris with Millie.
James really wanted a turn to hold Evie. He just loves babies. It's so sweet.
Participating in a "Color Run" fundraiser at Grace's school.
We didn't run so much as just throw color powder at each other.
It brightened up an otherwise cold, gray, rainy evening.
It wouldn't be an event if we didn't get a peek at James' crack. 
The final, messy result. Good times had by most. Millie was not as much of a fan. She doesn't like being dirty.

Chris, Chris C., and James enjoyed a boys' night out at the Rocky Mountain Raceways drag strip, topped off with a male rite of passage-- the eating of a large piece of meat. In this case, they initiated James with an absolutely enormous T-bone steak at Ruth's Chris Steak House.

Cheering on his favorites.
Having a great time hanging out with Mr. Chris.
Notice the one on the left is meant to look like Mater from Cars.
This steak is bigger than his head. He ate it all.
2/3 of it went right after this picture was taken, the rest for lunch the next day.

I'm always honored when Kerri asks me to take their family pictures while we are out there. She and I had a fun time scouting out locations with a lower elevation (due to Evie's oxygen needs) and came upon a great spot not too far from their house. This photo shoot was one of my favorites. It's not hard to take great pictures of such a photogenic family, but I'm especially proud of some of these. It was a struggle just choosing which ones to put on here because I loved so many of them!

Our view during our scouting drive. Yes, please!
These two have a sweet and special bond. It's so cute!
Such a lovely and wonderful family. Love you guys!

Snuck one of my kiddo as well. He insisted on having a ponytail on top of his head. No one knows why.

We did a special little shoot with Evie and the quilt I made for her.
This baby is a tough little rockstar and I'm so proud of her.
Our last meal on this trip had to be Cafe Rio and these girls adore their Mr. Chris.
Flying into Orlando with lightning in the air. So cool to see!
This frequent flier doesn't even wake up when the plane hits the tarmac.
Slept through the landing entirely.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Closer to Home

When we aren't gallivanting about the country/world, we enjoy experiences that can be found a little closer to home, right here in Florida. Here's a roundup of some fun times we had towards the end of summer and the start of fall. Which in Florida is still just summer.

This is a shaved ice that is bigger than his head. And he has a big head! He didn't finish it, but he got pretty close.

Chris and I went on a date. An actual date! He got us reservations at Chef's Table, an amazing restaurant in Winter Garden, and it was so fantastic! The food was delicious and the wine pairing made my night. We highly recommend it!

Happy people who just had uninterrupted adult conversation and wine. Woohoo!

For reasons I don't understand, Chris and James thought it would be a super fun challenge to hit all four Disney parks in one day, riding as many major rides as they could in each one before moving on to the next. Seeing as how I had zero interest in this challenge, they took advantage of my trip to Seattle to take it on. After 1 bus ride, 2 boat rides, 3 monorail rides, 4 parks, 12 miles walked, 13 hours, and 18 actual rides, they accomplished their goal!

Animal Kingdom
Hollywood Studios
Magic Kingdom
The car ride home.

Being in the heart of theme park central means we are lucky enough to get to meet up with friends when they come to visit Mickey and have some Disney fun together. 

Jenn, Terry, and Princess Sophia on the carousel. Jenn and I have been friends since we were six years old! 
James and Princess Sophia hand in hand on Main Street. So sweet!
Hanging out with David, Carol (Jill's college roommate), Cullen, and Devon.
The big boys took on Splash Mountain (first two rows).

Our theme park love isn't just for Disney. Universal and especially the Wizarding World of Harry Potter also make the Shenks happy. While we don't go there as often, we have been caught murmuring spells and drinking butterbeer on occasion. 

The Shenks paying a visit to Hogwarts. So much fun! 
James was beyond excited to be old enough to ride this one all by himself! (He wasn't the only one excited about that.)

Keeping our summer concert series going, I got tickets to see the Dixie Chicks down in West Palm Beach. It was supposed to be a fun girls' weekend away, but life happens and I was left without a date. Enter James. The world's most adorable date that isn't my husband. He was thrilled to join me on a little weekend getaway and it was great to spend that time together just relaxing. Mostly, he just wanted to swim in the giant hotel pool.

Chillin' in the hotel before the show. 
One super cool kid getting ready to rock at the concert.
I LOVE the Dixie Chicks! Such a great show!!
Singing and dancing and having a really awesome time! Doesn't this look like we are having fun? Maybe not.
Good selfies are hard.

In case you think we are never at home, here are some pictures of us enjoying our own backyard. Because we are there. Sometimes. 

Leo gets to enjoy the pool on occasion. Not sure why he's sticking his tongue out at me... silly dog.
Underwater selfie! Nice job, Lifeproof iPhone case.
Turning a simple pool noodle into a water cannon. That Pop is always up to no good.
Look at these cuties! We love it when Hope and Jackson come over to hang out.  
James' new favorite outdoor activity isn't the pool, it's the riding lawnmower.
Won't be long until he'll be in charge of mowing.