Friday, July 30, 2010

Sea World San Antonio

OK. I've redone this post like four times and if it doesn't turn out the way I want it to this time then I'm gonna... um... I wish punching the computer would make a difference... but it won't. So just enjoy, OK. When we were on vacation we spent a day at Sea World San Antonio. It was really fun but pretty humid and that turned all of us into zombies. But we still had fun. :) *disclaimer* You may find some boring details and lackluster photos within this post. Talented, creative Mommy was on vacation.
And I'm not quite sure, but my brain may still be in transit.

Tyler was loving the Shamu show. It's not quite as spectacular as it used to be (since the tragic accident involving a trainer) but the kids were amazed.

This picture makes me laugh. I tried to get Marshall to stand where I could see him, but the more I tried, the worse it all got. Kinda like this blog post. Sometimes you just gotta take what you can get.
Something neat about Sea World San Antonio is the thrill factor. The park is much smaller than the one in San Diego and there's not as many animals, but they have their own thing going with the water park theme throughout the park. They had a show with some crazy wake boarders and water skiers. We all really loved the show, you just can't tell from these faces. It was so humid and we never got used to it.
It just zapped the energy out of us.

I've never seen a wake board kite before and I thought it was one of the coolest things. It made those riders get so high and they could do some awesome stunts.
If I was brave (and strong) I would love to try it.

The water skiers did a lot of tricks with multiple skiers. A lot of it was done with four being pulled and they'd do flips and jumps over each other. It was crazy and amazing.
It was fun to watch our boys check out the wildlife and take it all in. It made me remember when Colby and I went to Sea World with Brady and Cassadee four years ago. We were so excited about everything and we were like a bunch of really big kids.
Watching your own kids experience it is even more magical though.

So, the boys thought the penguins were really cool and we loved the cool building they were housed in. It was kinda depressing going through that exhibit though. Colby and I turned to each other as we left and were talking about how the movie Happy Feet really ruined that experience for us. These guys were just like the penguins at the end of the movie. They seemed lost and in a daze.
Before we could get out of the sticky heat Marshall and Colby had to ride this ride. It was the only one Marshall was tall enough to ride. (For the record, the slight spikes in his hair were the only things that made him even close to the required height.)
They had to wait in line forever and Tyler and I waited to get the perfect photo op.

I think the wait was worth it. Marshall loved it!

I'm in love! I'm in love! and I don't care who knows it!

While in Austin I found heaven.
Let me introduce you to Walton's Fancy and Staple.
Our vacation to-do list was very short. We figured we'd fill the week with whatever sounded fun at the moment and just make sure to fit our required items in. The list consisted of 1) my cousin's wedding, 2) go to Sea World San Antonio, and 3) eat at one of Sandra Bulloch's restaurants (we just love her and wanted to support her fun business venture). I did a little research and decided that Walton's would be the best fit for our family.
And let me tell you... it was the perfect fit! Its a quaint little deli in downtown Austin. Its full of fairly common food except for the volume was turned up. I wanted to order everything on the menu just to taste all of the unique additions to your standard sandwiches, salads, and pastries. I should have snapped some pictures of the food but I was too busy enjoying every last crumb to take the time to do that. Colby and the boys did a good job of enjoying the experience, but I was in awe. The atmosphere was so relaxed yet it made you feel, well, fancy. The deli has a flower/gift shop in the back half and I could have gotten lost looking at all of the rustic yet elegant decor and gifts.

I'm a crazy juxtaposition of all types of things. I could be happy in the city or the country. I could eat like a peasant or a queen. I'd be happy dressed in grubby jeans or a flirty dress. I enjoy simplicity and glamor. And Walton's communicated that to me on a level that I swear nothing else ever has.
I'd be happy to move in if I could.

Monday, July 26, 2010

...while I'm at it...

I have a fun family photo shoot coming up this weekend and I took a drive by the location we had in mind to check out the light and confirm some details.  Tyler came along with me and although he had a very dirty face we took a minute to catch a few shots.  I was putting a bunch of test photos together for an email and realized while I was sitting at the computer working with these images I might as well share a little love for my Tyler Boy.
Tyler got a new hair cut last weekend.  Colby loves to buzz his head and he only gets to do it about once a year because I don't really love it all that much.  We made a deal that he would build me a bookshelf in return for permission for this crazy haircut.  Then I realized I wanted more than one shelf, so I gave into the argument we've been having for several months now and let Marshall and Tyler get a matching cut.
I'm trying to love it.  I really am.  These boys are just lucky that Heavenly Father gave mothers an incredible ability to instantly and eternally love their little ones.  But then again, how could I not love this little guy?
He's growing up to be quite a kid.  He's still sweet and mellow, but we think he has a split personality :)  
He uses his sweetness to try and get away with everything until the temper comes out.  The fits are crazy and his war cry is fearsome.   This poor boy inherited my passive-aggressive nature, I'm afraid.
He's learning to talk so much more.  A few weeks ago he would say any word that started with "B" and now he's added "D" words to his vocabulary.  He's started to say shoe, fish, cow, truck, milk, grandpa and his own version of "nigh-night" and "I love you."  Its really cute to watch him react to his own vocabulary.  He knows he's doing something pretty cool when he talks.  His favorite things lately are books, anything Marshall has, and his stuffed animal that he sleeps with.  He's grown pretty attached to his dog over the course of the summer and it is the only thing he needs to help him go to bed.  I pray the doggy lives at our house for MANY years.  The other night the doggy was needing a "bath" and I had to find a different stuffed animal for him to sleep with.  He finally gave in to the penguin Santa brought him last Christmas... thankfully.  That was a rough night/early morning.  We just love Tyler to death and are curious what the future will bring with this little guy.

Stay tuned for that family shoot I was talking about and some more posts from our family vacay.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wedding Special : Southern Utah Wedding Photographer the picture if its too small to read...

I had a lovely time at my cousin's wedding last weekend and now I've got an itch to book some weddings of my own. I'm extending this offer to the first three weddings that mention this special at booking OR until the end of August. Whichever comes first. Please note my wedding packages start at $500. Contact me to discuss your special day in detail.

The night was full of all things pretty. I snapped a few shots of the details, but in keeping with being on vacation I focused more on spending family time and a little less on capturing all that was going on with my camera. And for the record, thanks Rachel and Colt for the beautiful evening. Love you guys!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Highlights from Texas

We are finally home from our delightful adventure to Austin, TX. We spent a week in a beautiful part of the country that neither of us had ever been to before. It was a week of kickin' back and relaxing with a small dose of excitement each day. I tried to keep track of some of the highlights during the week, but this is just a small taste. I'd love to go back there again. I know where I'd eat... every meal at the same place. And I'd love to stay long enough to pick up the accent. It was so charming and I wish it was instantly ingrained in me. Maybe my dear sis will hold to her claim of wanting to live there someday and we'll have an excuse to visit time after time.

So here it goes...
(this photo should be down with the other architecture
but something got goofed & I didn't want to redo it all)
our timely arrival to Las Vegas: We wanted to leave early and left a little later than early :) We had to stop in the Gorge for Tyler's thoughtful throw up incident. Then again when Colby got caught for speeding (no ticket, thankfully). And then there was the mountain of baggage and car seats we had to haul into the airport. That was seriously HILARIOUS! I guess I don't have any pictures of it. I did take video of it. I'm now remembering that my camera was packed (and stuck) in the middle of the mountain at that point of the trip.

Delta employee pronouncing my name correctly: So I walked up to the guy to make sure we could get all of our seats next to each other and he asked, "How can I help you 'On-dray-uh'?" I was stunned and told him so. He said, "That's how I always say it now. That's how she said it in 'The Devil Wears Prada.'" He had me cracking up and I kinda like that every 'Ann-dree-uh' he meets has to hear it my way now:)

Marshall swimming on his own: The first day we played in the pool I look over at Marshall and Colby and Marshall was totally swimming on his own. I'm not kidding you, I was practically speechless. I was sure it would be years before he'd attempt that. When I asked Colby how he got Marshall to do it he said, "I just told him to. And he did it!" I guess Marshall said he wanted Colby to hold him and Colby told him he had to swim to him first. So he just did it.

church (loving members): We were able to find a ward and go to church, which lucky for us was practically around the corner from our condo. The people were so warm and welcoming. Tons of people came and asked us if we were new. And when we told them no, they all asked, "Are you sure you don't want to stay?" They were so genuine and friendly. It reminded me to be grateful for a ward full of many of my neighbors...

amazing/gorgeous architecture: I have a thing for traditional style with a twist. All of the architecture in Texas was really old fashioned and some of it had a slight Mexican flair. I was in love. With just about everything I saw. And if it wasn't latin inspired, it was just plain classic old American and who can complain about that. Poor Colby heard me say "Oh my gosh! Look at that beautiful old house/church/barn/building/etc" at least a million times.

glorious chorus of bugs and frogs: It was so cool to walk outside of the airport and hear the chorus of creatures welcoming us to the great state of Texas.

feeding the birds:
We had a couple hours to kill one afternoon and we stopped at a park and fed the pigeons. I loved watching Marshall marvel at them up close and personal.
that cool old pool: At that same park, we saw one of the coolest pools I've seen in my entire life. It is a part of the river that has been dammed up and made into a pool. Diving board and all. It was like pools I've seen in old movies. I don't know why I didn't take a picture of it at least. If we had just one more day in Austin, we would have gone there to swim for sure!

A/C has taken on a whole new dimension:
I've always loved AC. Who doesn't. But living in So. Utah's dry heat is a cinch compared to being 15 degrees cooler and humid. I was overwhelmingly happy anytime we could be inside in an air conditioned building. It was so funny when we flew back into Las Vegas and jumped for joy when we felt that dry 115+ heat. I never thought I'd do that.

Marshall had a few classic lines:

"You're the man, mom!"
When asked about the plane, "It went super duper duper duper duper (insert at least 20 more dupers) fast!"
"Mom. Mom. Mom! Mom." "What?" "You inspire me." - That was my favorite. It was so random and I probably shouldn't have laughed so hard whenever he'd say it. But it was just. so. random.
Walton's. I LOVE Walton's: I'm gonna just have to do a blog post specifically about my new love affair with this place.

and last but not least, the Wedding:
My gorgeous cousin Rachel married her best friend and it was breath taking. It went right along with the impression I got of Austin, TX- special, a little bit fancy, and casual, all at the same time. The reception was unforgettable and I'm so excited for Rachel and Colt and the amazing adventure they have just begun.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


We made it home. Yeah!!!!!!
This is my sweet boy this morning on the plane filled with a glorious sunrise. He did NOT want to be touched or bothered. He only wanted to rest.
And seeing as how I haven't gotten any real sleep since I woke up Saturday morning (imitating sleep on an airport chair does not count), I'm gonna go do the same thing. But in my bed. Ahhhh... my glorious bed... how I've missed you.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


One of the greatest steps I've taken in this endeavor to run my own photography business was to attend a workshop put on by Tonya Joy. She has been (and continues to be) a fantastic mentor to me and I was beyond excited to learn alongside her. The day was full of info that was invaluable to me and we were treated with two fantastic shoots. This first one just gets to me.
This was the sweetest family. I felt like I could totally relate to them. It must have something to do with having a toddler. Their sweet little girl was full of energy and independence... much like my own children.
And mom and dad were still full of love and attention for one another... in the midst of their life with a little one. It's sessions like this that make me want to grab my own hubby and give him a big wet one. (Yep, I just leaned over and gave him a little kiss.)

Aren't these two beautiful. They took old time glamor to a whole 'nother level!

There's something about having children that completes a person. I was noticing that a majority of my photos from this family session revolved around their little princess. I think that's because of the way my boys complete me and I love how my world revolves around them. Around and around and around :)
This little girl was such a doll. And a trooper too. She had 13 crazy photographers in her face and she kept up.
I love taking pictures of little ones like this because that day is the last day they will be just like that. Our babies change so quickly and its my favorite part of my job to capture their playful nature right in the moment.
Learning from Tonya Joy was such a delight. I'd do it again in a heartbeat and I wouldn't change a thing. Well actually, I might. I'd pay for my very own private workshop so I wouldn't have to share my beautiful subjects with twelve other cameras :) Thanks to this beautiful family and the beautiful Tonya Joy.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Little Love for Kolob

A couple weeks ago we spent a lovely, mild weathered weekend on Kolob. Marshall had been anxiously looking forward to it for a whole week. He wanted to ride four-wheelers, sleep at the cabin, and go fishing with Grandma & Grandpa. The trip turned out to be a success and I was even able to sneak in a family portrait session while on the mountain. I really hope to get some of that one posted asap, but I found a new little project that has great potential to consume me... I hope to unveil it soon.
But back to our weekend. The boys were in pure heaven up there and they played until they just couldn't play anymore. I'm so glad my friend Heidi pointed out Marshall's little resting place to me. He wanted to go ride so badly, but everyone was still eating. So he just combined waiting patiently with a short little rest on the soft, cushy seat of the four-wheeler.
And then the lucky boys got to go fishing with Grandma & Grandpa. Thanks again you guys. I know there were plenty of other things you would have rather done than fish in a lake that hasn't been planted in years, but the boys loved it.
Colby had a rather unconventional method... He made it in well past his waist to catch some crawdads. Good thing too, because we didn't catch any fish, but we did come home with 10 " 'rawbeds" (according to M) to cook.
While I was watching Tyler hang out with his very best buddy and Marshall learn from Grandma all about the different colors of bait and such, I was just praying that I'd be able to remember this scene forever. There's something about the connection of grandparents to the younger generation that is so indescribably perfect. My kids are so blessed to know their grandparents so well and to have great-grandparents still alive too. I am oh, so thankful for that.
Above is Marshall getting up close and personal with a crawdad. He really wasn't all that enthused about touching it, but after some coaxing he did end up touching it's "line eyes" (antennae). We brought them home in a bucket and not all of them survived to the morning... whoops. It was funny because Marshall thought the survivor was a bad one that killed all the others. Haha.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

It has begun...

Last night marked the beginning of the
"constant questioning of Mom."
Why do we have to get out of the truck? Why do you have to make dinner? Why are you hungry? Why have you not eaten in a long time? Why has it been a lot of hours since lunch? Why is it getting dark? Why is the sun going down? Why, why, why...? He was cracking me up. Usually this would be annoying, but since it was the first time I just couldn't get over how adorable it was.

I didn't realize he had caught on to this kind of playing around. I don't think I'm clueless, but it seems like most of the time he will surprise me with something I didn't realize he had learned about. I tried not to let him see me laugh because I don't exactly want to encourage this habit.

Something else he's been doing that makes me laugh: When we pray he doesn't fold his arms the way we "traditionally" do it. He'll have one arm just right and then the other will be reaching up to the sky (or at least towards his face) or pointing down, or crossing his body in some weird way and he'll ask me, "Do we do it like this?" Then I'll answer with, "No. It's like this." (and fold my arms appropriately) He'll just return with "How about THIS?" And THIS is just a stranger version of the first rendition of folding his arms. Marshall is quite the little tease... and he still has a lot of it to grow into.

Another month has gone by.

Dear Taft,

You grow so quickly and you make my life feel like its flying by! And I'm not even your Mommy. Could you please slow down a little? The way I see it, it will be like the next week when you are almost twice your current age and the Christmas season will be upon us. And if Christmas comes as quickly as your 4 month birthday... then I'm in deep doo-doo. I'm sure you can understand the feeling.

I'm begging you...

Love, Your friend Andrea

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Independence Day 2010

These boys just keep growing. I love it. You'll have to look back to last year's 4th of July post to compare... I can't wait for next year too because there will be a new little one to join the group. Karter is gonna be a big brother! (I'm loving that everyone else is having babies right now. It takes the pressure off of us for a while.)
Tyler was BEYOND mesmerized by the sparkly lights Daddy handed to him. A video would have been even better so you could see him laugh while flinging this thing around and be so sad when it was burned out.
Marshall was LOVING all the pyrotechnics. He is his father's son. He had two sparklers, he just was way too good at waving them around for me to prove it.
The kids were cracking me up while we were lighting off our own little show... look at Karter on the right... he was my favorite. Though my boys came in right behind him with their blank stares on their faces. By the way, we've adopted the Wilson's into our family fireworks show every year. It wouldn't be the same without Kate: "We need more! We need more!"
I think my favorite part of the night was watching Tyler take it all in. How magical life must be to this little man.

I hope you all had a lovely holiday weekend. And endless thank you's to all of the men and women that made/make this holiday possible.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Another beautiful family...

I should thank Andy for letting me take these pictures. What a treat it was to document some happy times for these darling children. It was a sweet reunion and I'm so glad I got to take a small part of it.

This is the daddy that is keeping this family strong. Way to go!
You'll be their hero someday...

We love you guys. The future is looking BRIGHT!