Thursday, September 15, 2011

two little monkeys jumping on the bed

Nobody ever sleeps around here!

almost walking

William is really close to walking on his own, but as of right now, he relies heavily on this hippo.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

baby maisie


My sister, Cami, and her family made the journey from North Carolina yet again this summer.   This time with 4 kids instead of 3!  I told Cami, "You have to come out, just so I can take pictures of the baby!"
Lucky, lucky me...I was able to take pictures of my sweet new niece, Maisie, when she was just 4 weeks old. 
Thanks Cam, for coming out just for me {right?}.  I loved our picture day!  Maisie is perfect.

I love this outtake.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

chalk it up

{click on the images to see them in a larger format}

The master at one.

The kids got in on the action, and Olivia hoarded the chalk as you can see.

Most of the family came to watch Clayton work his magic.
Even cousin Hagrid paid a visit :)

Can you believe the talent this guy has?  Yes folks, that is MY husband.

The final drawing and the winner of the People's Choice Award!

They say pictures speak more than words, and that is definitely the case here!  This was back in June when Clayton participated in the Chalk Art Festival at The Gateway.  He did lots of chalk drawing on his mission in Switzerland, but he hadn't done anything since then.  The night before the Chalk Fest, he said to me, "I hope I can do this."

I laughed.

Because he can do ANYTHING.


He chose this work by Carl Bloch titled Christ in Gethsemane because it was his favorite when we saw the exhibit at BYU last spring.  I think the subject matter struck a chord with people, and then his talent on top of it made it just amazing.  He won first place in the People Choice Awards.  I'm sad it got washed away in the rain the next day, I was hoping to go and chisel out that concrete and put it somewhere in my house :)

His company, M4, did a film including a time-lapse video that you just have to see.  
{Click here for viewing on Vimeo.}  

Sunday, June 26, 2011


{Shooting a wedding with my brother Trevor on his 30th birthday last week!}

Remember a couple weeks ago when I said I was going to catch up here? Haha, what a liar.

That truly was my intention.

I guess I caught up a teeny bit {if you missed this entry about going to the dentist, please do read it for a good laugh}, but OH MY have I been busy! I think about blogging everyday while zipping from one thing to the next, and then I feel so overwhelmed with all the things I need to write about on here that I don't even know where to start! Do you ever feel like that?

Between Olivia getting into things and destroying my house 24/7, changing two kids' diapers, keeping food in the fridge for all these kids who are out of school for summer, laundry, "what's for dinner?", emptying the dishwasher for 3 times a day, picking up gifts for the baby showers and birthday parties, lots of photography shoots to go to and edit, trying to be a fun mom and do things before school starts again, swim lessons, family parties, and trying to find a replacement belt for the vacuum since one of the kids completely burned it up....I barely sit down these days! And that's just the beginning of my to do list. I always thought when I was a kid that moms had all the time in the world. Boy was I wrong! Anyone who thinks that is totally ignorant to the serious craziness that comes with motherhood.

I'm honestly not complaining. Just explaining. I love my life despite the insanity and high-speed pace. I want and need to make the time to record all the little things as they are passing me by so quickly! I can't believe Will is almost one and I can't believe how funny Olivia is.

So hopefully you'll hear from me here again soon. That's the plan anyway.


grandma stanley

This is Grandma Stanley. I miss her so much already. She left this life on May 15, 2011...five days after her 89th birthday, and six months to the day after Grandpa passed away. What a rough time she had over those six months, in and out of the hospital after falling and breaking her nose, her pelvis, and for several other complications. But in the end, I think she died of a broken heart. I am truly so happy for her to be with Grandpa again. I would have loved to see that reunion in heaven, it must have been wonderful.

Grandma had 6 girls, 31 grandchildren, 101 great-grandchildren {I think Will was number 100}, and 9 great-great-grandchildren. Although she had a huge family, she could tell you exactly what was going on in everyone's lives. She loved every one of us, and truly worried about us when we were going through rough spots. Everyday for years and years, each of her six girls would call her on the phone, so she was very connected to the whole family that way. How she had time to talk to that many people everyday is beyond me!

I remember that when she was excited about something, she would say she was "thrilled" or "tickled pink." I always thought that was so funny. She gave us pajamas every Christmas and I remember thinking, "Boring!" But now, looking back, I see how generous that was, especially since she had so many grandkids, and she and Grandpa lived in a tiny shoebox of a house. They were so kind to us. I remember going to their house for breakfast every Christmas, and it was so crowded in that little kitchen, but they always welcomed everybody.

If you went to visit, she and Grandpa wouldn't let you leave unless they had fed you something...even if it was freezer-burned ice cream {which my brother-in-law Colby secretly flushed down the toilet...shhhh!}. I have a funny memory of Thanksgiving at their house from when I was probably 6 or 7 years old...their tiny house was PACKED, and some of us kids kept running through the kitchen while Grandma was trying to make her pies and finish cooking the dinner. Her nervous side snapped, and she yelled at us kids, "Get the hell out of my kitchen!" I remember being slightly afraid of her at that moment, but now I think that's hilarious. It's funny, I don't remember her ever babysitting us. Apparently, she hated babysitting. At least she was honest!

The apricot tree out in Grandma's front yard was our favorite to climb. She made her own apricot and raspberry jam, bottled the raspberries and tomatoes from the garden, and even pickled beets. I have a yellow piece of paper tucked in my recipe book, where Grandma wrote {in nice cursive} her recipe for apricot jam. It's a little piece of her I'm so glad I have. I remember seeing her in an apron a lot, and seeing her down in the cellar beneath the kitchen floor. There were rows and rows of glass jars full of colorful jewels from the garden. It had a musty smell, and I was too terrified as a kid to ever go down there. When Ben was a baby he actually fell down into that cellar when it was left open. Grandma about had a heart attack when that happened!

We used to lay on the grass in the summer heat at Grandma's house and watch the big airplanes fly right over us as they came in to land at the nearby airport. They were so loud it seemed the ground would tremble. It was very exciting as a kid.

Grandma would tell me how lucky I was to have so many baby dolls, because when she was little she only had one or two. She would tell me how proud she was of me for taking such good care of my dolls. I don't know why I remember that, but I do. I remember it bedroom, my little doll cradle stuffed with dolls and all their little blankets. Grandma loved them as much as I did!

If you've ever heard Patsy Cline sing, then you know what my Grandma's voice was like. She was so talented. She and Grandpa had a band back in the day. We used to go up to my mom's cousin's ranch in Idaho each summer for the Ross reunion {my grandma's maiden name}. Grandpa would play the guitar and the two of them would sing and sing until it was dark and the stars were shining. All of us little cousins would dance and laugh until one of us peed our pants! It was such a good time.

She was very blunt...I remember being at her house once when her sister Alice was visiting. This was after I had a couple kids and I had lost some weight. See, I was a bit more square during my high school and college years, and she wanted everyone to take note that I'd finally dropped the pounds. She told me to stand up and turn around in the middle of the room while she and Alice sat there and inspected me. "Now you remember, Heather always had that waddle chin?" Grandma said to Alice. Alice said, "Oh yes! Well, look at that!" Waddle chin?? I wasn't THAT pudgy, sheesh! I could have been totally offended, but that's just Grandma and she never meant anybody harm. She was just the most honest person you ever met.

Grandma was married at 16, and had her first baby at 17. She and Grandpa lived in Park City, and she said all the old ladies in Park City were counting the months when the baby was born to make sure it was legitimate! She had her last baby when she was 41, so I have cousins who are older than my youngest aunt. One thing Grandma always said was, "If I knew then what I know now, I would've had ten children!" She loved to be surrounded by her family. Another thing she told me was that she wished that she hadn't worried so much about keeping the house perfectly clean. "Spend more time with your little ones, you can clean the house later," she said.

{Holding baby Nina}

{Both sets of grandparents. Grandma & Grandpa Stanley, and Grandma & Grandpa Haugen}

Grandma always made sure to pick out a special blanket for each great-grandbaby, and she and Grandpa made an effort to come and see each new little one. Ben has always been so sweet to Grandma, especially when she was living at my mom's house. He would go give her a hug the minute we walked in the door. "Ben is the boy I always wanted," she'd say.

I'm happy I was able to say goodbye to her a couple of times before she was gone. We knew she was going because she just slept and slept and went for days without eating. A few days before she passed away, I held her hand and told her how much I loved her, and told her to send our love to Grandpa when she meets him again. I knew she could hear me because she shrugged her shoulders and looked like she was trying so hard to open her eyes. Then I was able to see her again the next day and she actually woke up! She asked me what the weather was like outside, and it was one of those rare beautiful days inbetween all the rainy ones. She seemed happy about that. I was holding Will in my arms and she said, "Is this your boy?" She seemed a little confused, and I knew that she normally wouldn't have had to ask. "Yes, Grandma, this is William," I replied. She reached out and squeezed his fat little hand, "I love him so much!" she whispered. It made me cry! My cousins Joi and Lindsie came up from St. George to say goodbye, and amazingly she woke up for them just as they were about to go back home. Grandma looked at Joi's face and said "Joi!" It was suddenly a party since she was awake for a few minutes. "We're jumping for joy every time you say something, Grandma!" Lindsie told her. That was Saturday.

Sunday morning just after 10 am, my mom called me and told me Grandma had just passed away. I remember feeling so devastated when my Grandpa died, but this time I felt so at peace. Maybe it's because I know the two of them are together again, as they should be.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

ten months already?

We call him Charlie Brown with that perfectly round, bald head. I know the perfect costume for him for Halloween!

A little leaf blew in and he watched its path until it disappeared.

I love his reflections in the glass.

Trying not to let his legs touch the cold cement!

{click on images to view full size}

This little boy is growing up way too fast.

Ten months already?

Here are some pictures from about 2 weeks ago. I'd been wanting to do pictures of him at 9 months, but every time I got him ready he either fell asleep in the car or it started raining {AGAIN}. These pictures were taken in a crazy wind storm within about 5-10 minutes. You wouldn't know, because he doesn't have any hair to blow in the wind, but his poor little lips started quivering because the weather turned chilly! All the other kids came along. Ben and Hannah were shouting, "Let's go! It's freezing!" while Nina and Olivia's lips turned purple from the cold. I'm happy I was able to get any pictures at all!

William is such a sweet baby, and for the most part he is so calm and so happy. His cry is still small and sweet and heartbreaking, yet he's perfecting the art of the tantrum by throwing in the back arch and limpy noodle when he doesn't get his way. He laughs at the smallest things...sometimes a loud squeal and sometimes a single grunty chuckle. This kid growls and grunts while he crawls around shoving toys into his mouth. He's about to pass up Olivia on the growth chart, weighing in around 19 lbs. {Olivia only weighs 22 lbs.!}. I'm thinking he will soon be dishing back all the shoves, face plants to the tile floor and horsey rides that she has so generously bestowed upon the poor child.

On Sundays, I sit at the front of the room for class so that Will has plenty of room to crawl around and play with toys. Usually my friend MJ is there with her baby Mac. The two of them make quite the team. This typically involves chewing on each other's toys, attempting to tip over the music stand, Cheerios feeding frenzies, and loud burps.

Give this kid a car and he immediately starts to push it around. Where did he learn to do that? Total boy.

William has two bottom teeth and that's it. I keep thinking he is teething, but who knows when those other teeth will show up. He does a pretty good job of mashing up food anyway. His favorite thing to eat is pieces of cut up fruit...watermelon, strawberries, blueberries, cherries.

I love you so much baby Will!

P.S. I'm trying to find a substitute for whole milk so that I can start weaning him. He has a dairy allergy, so I can't put him on whole milk! But soy milk, rice milk, etc. don't have the fat content that a baby needs. Any suggestions? I am hoping he grows out of this allergy...95% of babies do outgrow it by age 2, and I hope he will just to simplify things a bit!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

anika's bridals

My cousin Anika is getting married this coming Saturday and I am so excited she asked me to be her photographer. The wedding is going to be in my grandparents' backyard {where Clayton & I had our reception} and I'm sure it's going to be just gorgeous.

Here are my favorites from the bridal session we did about 6 weeks ago {I know, I know...lots of catching up to do!}. The Great Salt Lake was an amazing location, despite the bright, bright sun. We were just grateful it wasn't raining that day! It's been such a rainy spring.

I brought Will with me because I knew I'd be gone for hours and the little guy is still pretty attached. My sister Hailey came along as my travelling nanny. She is the best! "Just doing my auntly duties!" as she says. Here's a little snapshot she took with her phone while she was doing her "auntly duties."

Sunday, June 5, 2011

it's been a while

Helloooo! Even I thought I dropped of the face of the earth this last month. It's been a doozy, but everything's good and just super busy, as always. I'm going to attempt catching up a little, and then hopefully stay on top of my blogging life. It's sad that the times in my life when I really should be keeping a journal/blog I feel like I don't have the time!


Tonight was my mom's birthday BBQ at my place, and let me tell you, we partied like there was no tomorrow! We even broke out the turkey hot dogs because we are SO crazy. I'm kidding...but we really did have some turkey dogs on the barbie, in case you were wondering. My sister Hailey took this photo while we enjoyed a little sunshine and the perfect temperature for once! That's Ben, my nephew Casch, me, Will's bald little head, my brother-in-law JJ, my mom's head, my dad's feet, and sister Erika. Did I ever tell you how much I love Sunday family dinners? I really do.

Friday, May 20, 2011

good morning baby

I love this boy. He wakes up with a big smile on his face EVERYDAY.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

a good cleaning

It had been wayyyy too long since we'd seen the dentist, so finally the day arrived to get those pearly whites a good cleaning. I packed the kids into the minivan, dropped Olivia off with my sister Erika, and hit the freeway. Hannah thought it would be a good idea to read in the car, and I should have know better than to let her.

She was in the front seat next to me and within minutes she muttered, "Mom, I'm carsick." I turned on the cold air, full blast.
"Does that help? Just look straight ahead." She looked super pale.
We were zipping along in the far left lane when she announced in a panic, "I'm gonna throw up!"
"Aaah! Open your window! I can't pull over!"

Cars were everywhere to the right of me, and I was smack up against a cement barricade on the left. Hannah stuck her head out her window and let loose. The car behind us switched on their windshield wipers...I'm so sorry! The wind violently whipped a fine mist of vomit back into the car, and all of us were enveloped in it.

"Mom! Pull over! Make her stop! I'M SERIOUS!!" Ben was FREAKING out, so angry in the back seat. Nina plugged her nose and looked like she was going to cry. Will slept. I laughed so hard I was afraid I might crash, my eyes were blurred with tears. I had to call someone, this was just too funny not to share. So I called Erika and I could barely talk because I was laughing so hard...I managed to squeak out what happened. I literally cried off all my mascara.

Hannah finally sat down, defeated, with a grumpy frown and a pale complexion. There was puke all over her sweatshirt, all over her hair, and I don't even want to think about what her breath smelled like. AAAAH! We are going to the dentist! Right up close and personal. She was so mad at me for laughing.

When we got there she took off her sweatshirt and left it in the stinky van. I did my best to rinse her hair out in the bathroom sink and twist it into a bun. I gave her some gum, and cleaned all the mascara from my face. I felt like telling everyone in the dentist office, "We don't normally look or smell this bad."

Not only did the kids' teeth get a good cleaning, but so did the minivan. We hit the carwash immediately after leaving the dentist and took care of lots of interior cleaning at home.

P.S. My little sweet-toothed Nina had 3 cavaties.


My wallet feels pretty empty. Where's the tooth fairy when you need her? I wish she'd leave some money under MY pillow.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

wannabe runaway

{click on collage to see full size}

This is Olivia's attempt to leave to who-knows-where in Nina's boots and not much else. Unfortunately for her, the door was bolted shut, so that was the end of that, and I'm happy to report that she still lives with us.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

better than laundry

As tempting as this looked....

I was soon distracted by babbling and a chubby yummy knee around the corner.

A little pre-bedtime fun.
{click on the images to see them full-size...I love Olivia's expression in this one}

Way better than laundry.

Do you like the pom-poms I made to hang over William's crib?
Here is Olivia saying, "Bye! I'm going to Grandma's!"
And Will's fat little head down in the corner.