Awhile ago I decided to start a photography blog to put my work on so I wasn't always sticking it on here. I figured people were sick of seeing it and hearing me brag. The thing is...I really didn't tell anyone about it. Mostly because it's been under construction (and still is but I never have time so don't judge!) since I started it and also because I feel terribly insecure about calling myself a "photographer". Anyway...I'm still going to try and not bother anyone here with every single photo shoot I have, but I did take some of what I consider my finest work the other day and I would love for anyone who wants to see it to hop on over here. I like it for different reasons and again I'm feeling really insecure calling it some of my best stuff, but it is what it is. I feel that I've progressed a lot and looking at these makes me really feel that I've come a long way. Thanks for looking!
I'm not sure how many "annual" this is, but more than 3 because it was started before Gavin was born. Every year Keith's family gets together so all of the cousins can see one another's costumes and have a fun little party. If you know me or have been reading my blog for very long you should know something about me. I'm kind blah when it comes to stuff like this. Especially Halloween. I don't have a great love for it. I enjoy it a bit more now that I have kids and especially as they are getting older and understand it, but I've always sort of thought Halloween was for people who needed some reason to either A) Have a party and dress up because they have some inherent need to act like a child, or B) to dress sleezy. I'm sure part of my thinking is true, but I'm trying to realize that it could be fun for my kids too. I'm working on it.
Gavin knew for sure that he wanted to be Buzz Lightyear this year and I figured since Max didn't care I would make him be some sort of Toy Story Character. This year they came out with the little Alien Toy from the movie and it was cute. Too bad Max hates the head of the costume...which is the main part I might add.
It is always fun to see my nieces and nephews dressed up and excited about the holiday. We usually do a craft and some sort of game and have a meal. This year they colored a Halloween puzzle and played Halloween Bingo. We had chili and breadsticks and homemade mac and cheese. It was loud, crazy and fun.
Earlier in the day we decorated our pumpkins. You'll notice they are not my special ones we picked out from the pumpkin patch...those were stolen while we were camping. Who does that??? Thanks to a VERY kind and sweet neighbor who gave these to us! I attempted to be cute and make these Mummy Oreo suckers for my trick or treat bags for the cousins...then I rememeber I have 2 wonderful little helpers and I'm not that cute... Cute Ladybug Adalie. She hated her costume as much as Max. See I told you Halloween isn't all that fun.... The gang...and yes I have relatives who are adults and enjoy dressing up. Weirdos.
She is hilarious...Lauren was so in character for this part. She told me that Wednesday from the Adams family never smiles so she couldn't smile for my picture. (It's a good thing she told me because I have honestly never seen a single episode of the Adams Family...) I loved Caden's hippie costume. But do you know what I love even more? The fact that the big gold couch he is sitting on is totally from that era too.... Even though I've never seen the show it seems like they got these costumes down just right...
Well the day came...Max turned 1! That was honestly and truly the fastest year of my life. It feels like just yesterday I was waiting for him to get here and holding him for the first time. What a sweet little boy who brought so much joy to this earth with him. Everyone comments on how happy he is and how he is always smiling. It's so true. Rarely is he unhappy. He is VERY wiggley but in many ways he is so mellow. I think he will be a definite peacemaker in our home as he continues to grow. He already brings so many good qualities into our family. I can't wait to see what the rest of his life holds for him. I can't imagine a world without my little Billsy and I don't know how I got to be so lucky to have these 2 little boys. Even as I'm listening to Gavin bawl about something (pretty sure it's because he was out of his bed and Keith caught him!) I'm so proud to have him for a son. (Side note...Keith caught him in the mini Reese's Peanut Butter cups. There were eight wrappers on the floor...can't turn your back on him for a second.)
Keith worked today so we didn't really celebrate Max's birthday. I didn't figure it would be a big deal because he's only 1 and all, but I felt sort of sad all day that we weren't doing anything. Austin, Chelsea and Myah came by and we went on an impromtu dinner to The Incredible Pizza Company. I'm not sure how Bills felt about it for his brithday but I think he was just glad to get out of the house! Gavin had a great time and I was glad we did SOMETHING. Check back later this week for the traditional smashing of the cake. (I'm thinking Max will LOVE this. He's way into eating and getting messy...)
All in all...good day. I love you, Max. Forever and ever.
It's hunting season again. You know, the time of year where I pray Keith doesn't get a deer because it could mean one of 2 things...A)If he gets a big one, another giant head to hang on my wall. (Luckily I don't know that you can really top the last one so hopefully we'll NEVER end up with another dead animal on the wall....) and B) There's deer meat to eat.
Well, my prayers went unanswered this year, but luckily it only means there is deer meat. I'm not kidding, I don't love deer meat, but I do love that Keith had a great time and was excited about getting a deer. (I'm also thrilled he got it on the first day and isn't going back out...) Not only did he get a deer, but his Dad and brother did too. They got back really late and I wouldn't have gone out to his mom's with the kids, but I thought Gavin would think it was pretty cool. He did. I know him all too well. We did have a conversation earlier in the day about deer hunting.
Gavin: Where's Dad? Me: He's deer hunting. Gavin: Do they shoot baby deer? Me: No, they don't shoot any baby deer. Gavin: What about the mommy deer? Me: (About this time starting to realize that deer hunting is sounding pretty cruel...) No honey. They don't shoot the mommy deer, they take care of the baby deer. Gavin: So they just shoot the daddy deer? Me: (Yep, deer hunting is definitely on the cruel list after this conversation) I guess so buddy.
(Correct me if I'm wrong Mom or Dad, but didn't this conversation happen with one of us kids too?) He didn't seem particualry upset about this and went on with the rest of the day. Funny how it takes a child's eyes to make something seem so different than I've really thought of it. I guess it's ok when you think about how you'll be using the meat (which now means I'll have to eat the dang stuff....) but I now understand the appeal of deer hunting even less. Why someone would want to go sit around in the freezing weather hoping to shoot an animal...sorry all male relatives in my family...I will never understand.
HOWEVER, I get that it's something people do and people do enjoy it and I won't begrudged anyone their hobbies. I also had a lightbulb moment when I realized that in a few years I could have time to myself while the boys are all hunting :) I suppose that depends on just how many children we have and whether or not we have a girl, but for now a day to myself sure sounds nice! And the other benefit of this hunting season? I got to have my first ever, dead deer photoshoot...(I'm totally kidding by this. I am in no way a professional dead deer photographer...but you knew that, right?)
The following picture of Gavin totally cracks me up.... Just for comparison, here was Keith's first ever deer. Just in case you missed the giant head hanging in my house when you've been here...(I'm still taking suggestions for names for the thing...)
Gavin had his first field trip this week! He was really excited about it. They went to Cabelas. I thought it was an odd field trip choice, but it was really cute! They had this guy that took the kids around all of the animal displays and talked to them all about different facts about the animals. I actually learned a lot...not sure how much Gavin retained! He got a little bored halfway through because we weren't getting to the fish fast enough. He can be such a stinker sometimes. Once we finally saw both fish exhibits he was happy and then they gave his teacher a bazillion (totally not even kidding, it was definitely that many) tokens to do the shooting range. Gavin sat there and shot the gun over and over and over, he loved it. All of the kids played to their hearts content with all of the coins. On the way out we, of course, had to buy some fish candy. It was a very fun morning for Gavin and Max seemed to enjoy being out too.
Pouting while we were waiting for all of the kids to get there...or maybe because his girlfriend wasn't there :) I'll have to write a blog about that one!
Finally, THE FISH!
My little sharpshooter...who could have cared less about aiming, it just make a really cool gun noise when you pulled the trigger...
Leaving with the fish candy...does it get much better?
We took our first ever trip to the Piute trail with my family. They have gone for many years and this is the first year it worked out for us to go. Gavin was VERY excited and kept asking me first thing every morning if it was the day we were going to go camping. I eventually told him that he would have to go to school 2 more times before we would go and on the second day of school he woke up and told me that he needed to hurry and go to school because we were going camping after. It was pretty cute and very refreshing considering how he usually fights me about EVERYTHING in the morning.
Sadly...I hardly took pictures. Camping with a baby is ridiculous difficult and I rarely had my hands free. Besides, if my hands were free, they were shoving junk food in my mouth. I really wish I would have at least grabbed my point and shoot camera and taken it with me on a ride we took to Bouillon Falls. I thought it would be too risky to take my nice camera on rides, but of course, those would have been the best pictures. It was so beautiful being in the mountains. Despite the work that goes into it, I truly love camping and love that I get to do it with Keith and the boys. It has been one of my favorite things we've been able to do together as a family this year and I will cherish all of the fun that we've had this summer forever.
One of my favorite things about camping with my family is my dad's FABULOUS cooking skills. We definitely eat like kings whenever we camp together.
I also loved being on the 4 wheelers this trip. It reminds me of so many fun times we had as kids. I always remember as a kid my dad saying that everyone waves in the mountains; and it is so true. Everytime we would be out on a ride and pass others everyone would wave. Something about the mountains means that everyone can be friends.
One misfortune I had was losing my cell phone while out on a ride. I wasn't to pleased about this. LUCKILY somoene found it that was in our campground and my parents happened to know so everything worked out. I was so thankful for this little blessing because a new phone is not in my future right now and I would have been lost without it. I'm sure I'll be made fun of for awhile for losing it, but I'm just going to say this once...at least I've never dropped mine in the toilet. I think that will shut a few of you up...
Another year, another Smith Family Reunion! This year we went to Heber Valley Camp. It's a camp owned by the LDS Church and mostly used for girls camps during the summer. W.O.W was all I have to say! It was really awesome! We had a camp that had 3 cabins, each with 16 bunks and then there was a large pavillion with 2 food storage areas, both with a fridge and shelving, bathroom, stoves, and showers. It was really awesome. Here are some highlights:
Not only do they have camps set up, but they have these Challenge Courses. We did 2 of them (well I crapped out on the second one due to the rough night with the kids and needing to leave before I totally lost it with them...) but the course that I did participate in was really fun! We did the giant swing where we got to be hoisted way up to almost the top of a tree and then dropped to swing back and forth. I don't really get too nervous about that kind of stuff (especially after ziplining a million feet in the air over Mexican canyons...) so I wasn't scared and hopped right up. Um...wow. It was definitely an adrenaline rush! You don't realize how high up it is until you're almost to the top and then when you are swinging forward there is no voice inside you to even scream with. It was awesome! Definitely more of a rush than I expected!
We played a hilarious game one night with the adults called "The Game of Things." I haven't ever laughed so hard in my life. It was ridiculously funny. Poor Mom and Pops Smith were trying to sleep while we were playing...I don't know how they did it! Let's just say, I will probably never look at some of my family the same way again.
Of course a highlight for me would include food...my brother-in-law Scott made a FANTASTIC Blackberry cobbler. To. Die. For.
MaryAnn planned all sorts of fun activities like a Scripture Scavenger Hunt (which we won...not bragging or anything. (Cobbleys are just competitive, right Dad and Amy?) Each family made a Marshmallow Catapult and we had to see who could shoot the farthest. An animal craft for the kids to do. A Getting to Know you Bingo and a hike. She really outdid herself. Everyone who is in charge of it each year really does a great job. Thankfully I still have 2 more years. Ugh...I'm already dreading being in charge. But I definitely wouldn't trade the experiences I have getting to know this side of our family. Everyone is so unique and adds so much to the bunch.
I was thinking a lot during this time about each family member and trying to notice all of their good qualities. We really are blessed as a family to have such a great group of people. I hope that they all know how highly I think of all of them and appreciate all that they do for me and my family. I couldn't have asked to marry into a better family. I'm pretty lucky and not sure how I ended up that way.
Max was sleeping during the hike so I stayed with him. Gavin picked me some flowers along the way.
Cute little craft the kids did.
Just to prove I was actually there.
Keith took this darling picture of Max. I had my shutter speed set too slow or it would have been perfect!
The crew..minus Keith, but hey, you know what he looks like. This is hard work Dad!
Getting set up to swing. He was NOT too sure about this. I think he thought he had to go all the way up like everyone else.
But now he's lovin it!
This was so incredibly fun and a serious adrenaline rush!
Building our families catapult for the marshmallow launch. Mom and Pops working hard...
Kids playing by the fire...what they do best.
My sweet niece Ashlyn who was so proud of her side ponytail that you can't see in this picture. I just didn't want to forget how cute she was about it!
Craig and MaryAnn's family. They were in charge. And by they I mean MaryAnn :)
The Stokes Family...for some reason this is all I got of the family shots. I think I meant to take more but got sidetracked making donuts. Yep...donuts.
*I'm redoing the look of my blog, but it's taking forever with my sweet little helpers around :) Ignore how it looks for now.
We took a little trip to the pumpkin patch last night. October is getting a little crazy for us and I thought we'd better get our pumpkins before the last minute. We went to this cute little patch by our house and had a fun night picking out pumpkins. Gavin could have picked out a million and Keith had to find just the right ones. Billsy just chilled in his stroller (he's been teething and not feeling super great). I was just glad I remembered to bring my camera because we got a couple of cute pictures!!! My boys are so fun and silly sometimes. Lately I feel like Gavin NEVER stops talking. At least he says a lot of cute things to make up for the nonstop chatter. Max has this funny cheeser grin that he likes to pull and makes up for all the cranky teething. They both are so much fun and so wonderful. I can't believe all of the fun we've had this year and that Max is almost 1. Yes, you read that right...his birthday is the end of the month. Today I sure feel like a lucky mom.