Friday, September 25, 2009

how am i so lucky?

well, let me tell you a story.
a few months ago, one of my favorite local photographers put an ad out on her blog. i'd never met her, just admired her work from the safety of my computer monitor. she blogged saying that she was looking for models in the area to practice lighting on. i read the post, but didn't think twice about it. you know, 'cause i'm not a model.
my sister, however, emailed me the same day and said 'check this out! you have to do this!' and i thought - 'you're crazy. i'm not a model.'
well, my crazy sister didn't stop there - she contacted becky without my knowledge and volunteered me to be her model. she didn't tell me about it until after the fact when they'd already formed a plan to convince me to do this. miq assured me it would be great exposure formy shop and i reluctantly agreed to do it.
fast forward to wednesday. i was nauseous driving up the canyon just thinking about being in front of a camera by myself. but then, out jumped little becky earl - with the cutest little pregnant belly and a big hug. my fears and insecurities melted away as we started chatting and became fast friends.
a few hours later, i hopped into my car feeling like i had been blessed to be able to witness a seriously talented young photographer in her element. i couldn't believe how natural she was and how easy she made it for me. and really, i forgot all about the camera - and i think that is the key to why becky is just so dang good at what she does. i came home giddy to have found a new friend here in the area. one that is spunky, funny, creative, genuine, soooo nice, and a great mom. her pictures capture the essence of her subjects and i don't know what it is - she just has the golden touch.
so , i knew she was good, and then i found out she was also this super cool chick that i totally plan on hanging out with, but just imagine my awe when i saw this on my computer screen today:

seriously - who is that girl? she totally resembles the girl i see in the mirror every day (you know, when i actually shower and put makeup on)- EXCEPT WAAAAAY BETTER!
wow. now i know becky is a freaking genius. i refuse to post a bajillion pictures of myself on my blog, but if you want to see more of her amazing work, go here.
and please, if you are looking for a photographer for ANY occasion, look no further. except she's having a baby soon, so don't bug her. but after that, you know who to call.


in hawaii striking his best model pose

pardon the interruption. we break the regularly scheduled lack of blogging for an important announcement:
my. baby. is. two. TWO!

at farm country - thanksgiving point

ok, so technically he isn't THE baby anymore. but, he's my baby nonetheless, and today he crosses the line over into full-blown-toddlerhood.
his favorite toy after riding on a plane for 8 hours

i don't know how i went from feeling like i was holding the tiniest little human on the planet one day to wrestling and giggling with this crazy little wild-haired boy, but sure enough, it has happened. some days i just wish time would speed up - to be past the tantrums and out of diapers and able to communicate 100%. but then i realize this little boy will only be this little today. even tomorrow he will be a little bigger, a little older, a little smarter. and before i know it he'll be bigger than me (hopefully!!) and even less into snuggling than he is now.
wearing grammy's glasses

2 is a rough age. so much struggle for independence. so much lack of control. so much frustration. at the same time, it is so fun to see his eyes wide open to the world around him. owey is always pointing out the most ordinary things that are absolutely incredible and exciting in his little world. pulling up next to a trash truck or a school bus (which for some reason he calls goose-us even though he can say school and he can say bus, but put them together and it's goose-us) and you'd think he'd won the lottery. and a motorcycle? forget about it. the kid dies and goes to heaven. ants are the coolest thing ever (though many of them have died as a direct result of his curiosity) and give that kid a hose and he could entertain himself all day and all night.

in the crib with henry

as busy and stressed out as i sometimes am, i don't always cut owen enough slack. i hope that this year i can be better about relishing in the joys of being a child with him instead of begrudging the mess i am going to have to clean up. i want to learn together and explore and laugh! i want to be a better mother because, man, he deserves it!

helping mom with laundry - he got himself in there!

truth is, i simply can not imagine my life without this firecracker of a little boy i call my son. his smile is completely contagious, his energy is enviable, and his kisses are to die for.
happy birthday my dear sweet owen. i love you to the moon.

having a little too much fun with henry's toys

some favorites at 2:
cars, cars, big trucks, and more cars.
trains, helicopters, airplanes, well... anything that moves really.
animals and dinosaurs (and the sounds they make)
being tickled, thrown up in the air, wrestled, etc. i think we're going to have a thrill seeker on our hands.
lullabies at night (especially silent night) and the "goodnight eyes, goodnight nose..." book
giving mom kisses through the crib slats
beans, yogurt, craisins, cheese, blueberries, bananas, pancakes, spaghetti (or snakes as we call them)
any dr. seuss book
when dad comes home
yo gabba gabba and the backyardigans - oh, and recently sesame street
going to nursery
grandparents and cousins, aunts and uncles
dancing! particularly to "i've got a feeling," "shooting stars," and "rock island line"
coloring and puzzles
yelling "mom, mommy, mama," all day long
climbing into henry's crib

Friday, September 04, 2009

summer summary, parte dos

since i am one of those terrible people that tends to skip through the recaps of other people's vacations, i will spare you all the details. no travelogue here! not only do i not have the energy (as sorting through the 1200+ pictures was draining enough), but i just don't care (which means you care even less!) what day we did what. all i care about is that this was absolutely one of the best trips i've ever been on.

and so, that is what i care to record.
KAUAI 2009, mendioroz family vacation
i love to travel. everything about it. from anticipating and packing to the hustle and bustle of the airport - the hotels, the food, i love it all. there is something so rich and liberating about immersing yourself in another world, even if for a short time. i feel very blessed that my parents have always seen the value in a good family vacation. i think some of my most vivid memories of my family are set in a cramped little car in some foreign country or playing cards until the late hours of the night on a cruise ship. it seems like through these trips we get the opportunity to get to know one another as friends instead of just family. and i love that.
sure, family trips aren't always perfect. there is sure to be some drama - someone is cranky, someone is sunburnt, someone wants to relax while someone else wants to be adventurous. but in the end, the smiles and laughter always outweigh any grumbles along the way.
when my parents set out to plan another trip, i was both really excited and really reluctant at the same time. sure, we want to go to Hawaii! but, with 2 little kids? that makes things a little more complicated. would i still love traveling as much as i had before i had to bring along diapers and bottles and toys and had to worry about naptimes and snacks and diaper rashes? but, having every intention of someday being able to show my kids the world like my parents have shown me , we jumped at the opportunity to spend a week in paradise with my family.
and. it.was.heaven.
here is why:

1) can you say g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s??!?!!
i have been to oahu and maui before, but kauai is a different world. i was absolutely smitten from day one and i fell more and more in love with th e island each day. there was something beautifully breathtaking around every corner and we could not get enough of it.
since clint just finished a nature photography cours e and had borrowed his dad's amazing camera for the trip, he was on cloud 9 with some of the most picturesque spots in the world. clint had never been to hawaii, and i pretty much told him he hit the jackpot on the first shot. kauai is completely stunning.

2) the island life
one of my favorite things about this trip was that we never really felt like tourists. sometimes you go on trips and there are a million people everywhere y ou go and swarms of cameras, and it just takes away the charm a little bit. but in princeville it just felt like i was one of the islanders. it is such a quaint town with the real old hawaii feel that made me want to never leave. really, i think i said a hundred times "let's just stay" or "can we live here?"
add to that the awesome time share location with the perfect amenities for our bunch and we really felt at home.

3) the company
though we've been married 4 1/2 years, clint and i have not been able to travel much. between penny pinching, school, and babies- we just don't get out much. so, it was a real treat to be in such an amazing place with my amazing man. i was excited to see his reaction to this side of the world and was even more excited that he was as taken with it as i was. that means we'll be back. right, babe?

i loved even more to be able to have my little ones there with me. sure, a vacation with kids isn't exactly a vacation. there are still diapers to change and mouths to feed, tantrums and middle of the night wake-ups and laundry, etc. but these little boys were in heaven.
owen could have been a local. the boy was black after the first day and i don't know if he ever really dried off the whole time. he just wanted water, water, sand, water, and more sand and water 24 hours a day. and lucky us, there was plenty of it to go around.
henry, good little henry, was a dream. always happy and smiley, content to be wherever we decided to venture- and so excited to spend time with my family - he was just so easy. and really, could he get any cuter?

and the rest of the fam? the cherry on top.
i almost get sick when i think of how much i miss being so close to them all. (don't get me started!) so, it was so much fun to watch them with my kids and to have some much needed family bonding time. i absolutely loved watching owen run to my parents squealing with delight every time he spotted them like he was seeing them for the first time in years. i loved watching miq's kids with mine and wished the cousins lived closer. i loved seeing owen get attached to my brother and realize that "unk t" and "auntie e" are pretty cool. i am so grateful we had this time to spend together!

ok. can we go back now?

if you ever go to kauai, be sure not to miss:
puka dogs (yummy, yummy island style hotdogs)
the na pali coast (by zodiac boat - bring your dramamine!)
ke e beach (great snorkeling)
hanalei bay and pier (beautiful views, kayaking and paddleboarding)
lappert's ice cream (the best in the world. i'm not joking.)
the lighthouse bistro (mmm... macadamian crusted chicken and bananas foster. need i say more?)
*** post edit*** Jessy reminded me... Bubba's burgers (must try the teryaki burger with pineapple. mmmm...)