Thursday, July 21, 2011

Home again!

I didn't mention it before we left, but we went out of town for a few days and we got back last night. The boys had cousins camp at my moms house, which is four hours from here, so Shawn drove them there on Wednesday, came back on Thursday, we spent a few quiet days here with just Clarissa and then when it was time to go pick them up on Saturday we all went and stayed at my moms house for a few days longer. I really needed to get out of the house for a few days so it was a good excuse to take a mini vacation.

I grew up two hours from Yellowstone Park and it was one of my favorite places to go as a kid. We decided while we were staying with my mom that we would take a few day trips and take the kids to Yellowstone and to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which is also about a two hour drive from my hometown. Shawn and I grew up in the same area and both spent our summers going to Yellowstone and Jackson as kids and we both feel sad every summer that we can't take our kids there any time we want to because it's too far away from where we live now. We live four hours from my hometown and Yellowstone is two hours past that. It's a doable trip if we plan ahead, but not as a quick daytrip like we used to be able to take as kids. We both get really excited any time we have the opportunity to go there.

We did have a good time! It's an absolutely gorgeous drive through the Tetons. I love being up in the mountains. It makes me happy and reminds me of being a kid. We used to go camping near Yellowstone when I was a kid and I have happy memories of those times. In the past few days we saw lots of wild animals, watched Old Faithful erupt, took a ride on a stage coach, visited a bear habitat, fed some ducks, drove through beautiful scenery...we pretty much wore ourselves out. All in all it was a sucessful trip.

But going back to my hometown is always a little bittersweet for me. I miss it so much. Every time I go back I feel like I'm home and I always hate leaving. I miss my hometown. I miss living there. I miss the life I had there. I miss the farmland and the potato fields and the open space. I just feel like I belong there. It fits me.

But there are also some things that I don't like to confront when I'm there and they are the reasons we don't live there. There are some things I left there that prefer to stay there. There is a complicated family situation there and there are memories of things there that I'd rather forget. We live four hours away for a reason. It's better for me to keep a little distance.

But while I visit I'm happy. I'm happy taking my kids all the places that my parents used to take me as a kid. I feel like every inch of that town holds a memory and I like sharing those memories with my kids. We fed the ducks where I used to love to feed ducks as a kid. We drove past the house I grew up in and snuck on to the driveway and tried to see if we could still see my name written in the cement under the basketball hoop. (We couldn't. The grass has grown around it and I didn't want to dig through it and have the people that own the house come out and ask us what the heck we were doing.) We showed the kids where Shawn and I used to live in apartments next door to each other when we were dating and we showed them the spot where he proposed.

When I was growing up in that town I couldn't wait to leave. I had big dreams of moving across the country to New York City and seeing the world. When I was 19 I did move across the country to a town right outside of New York City. I was glad to be away from my hometown. But after a year of seeing the world I was happy to go back home. I realized what a great place it had been to grow up.

On Tuesday we stopped by Kmart, just down the street from the house I grew up in, and when we were checking out Josh told the checkout girl that I had grown up there but now we lived in a different town. The checkout girl, who looked to be about 18, rolled her eyes and said that she'd move away too. I just chuckled. I would have said the same thing at her age.

Yesterday we came home and today it's business as usual around here. I've got projects to do, kids to chase around and a house to clean. Life goes on, but it was nice to take a break for a bit.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Photo Friday

The weather was so perfect this evening that I decided to try some more pictures of the kids. The spot that I was planning on taking them at didn't work out so we had to find a plan B at the last minute before the sun went down, but I think it worked out pretty well. I haven't had a change to go through them all yet but here are some that I liked!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Fourth of July part 2

After spending a fun morning at the zoo we spent the afternoon in the backyard! We got out the kiddie pool, the sprinklers and the slip and slide and the kids (and Shawn!) had a great time playing in the water.

Sadly, our air conditioning choose this weekend to stop working, so it's about a million degrees in our house right now. We ended up spending most of the afternoon outside because with the shade on the back porch and the breeze I think it is actually cooler outside than it is inside. Playing in the sprinklers is a great cure for a broken air conditioner! Hopefully we can get someone over here tomorrow to fix it.

After some fun time in the water we had a yummy BBQ with hamburgers, corn on the cob, pasta salad, Raspberry lemonade and ice cream for desert. Yum!

Now we're all hanging out in the basement since it's the only cool place in the house. Thank goodness for the basement. We're all sleeping down here tonight. The kids think it's a big treat to sleep in the basement!

Here are some pictures I took of the water fun!


This morning we took the kids to the zoo. They have a butterfly exhibit here this summer that I've been super excited about! They did it a few years ago and I had a ball taking pictures of the butterflies.

I love butterflies. I think they're beautiful. It's normally so hard to get pictures of them because they move so fast and they can be hard to find, so when there are 400 of them flying around in an enclosed space and I get the opportunity to spend the morning chasing after them with my camera I'm all over it! That's like the perfect day to me!

Shawn took the kids to see another part of the zoo while I stayed in the butterfly enclosure for a while. I took over 800 pictures and I could happily have taken 800 more if I had the time. I envy the people that work ther and get to spend hours a day in there! I'm always telling Shawn that I need to get a job at the zoo. :)

Anyway, here are some of the pictures I took. There are a million more that I love but I'm still going through them. I may post more later.

For now I think we're going to take the kids to the park and then have a BBQ in the backyard this evening. I love the fourth of July! :)

More pictures to come!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

More pictures!

Today I had big plans to go out and do another photo shoot with the kids. I spent forever picking out coordinating clothes, got all my equipment ready and we drove to one of our favorite picture spots, and then things didn't really go all that well. It was really hot outside, for one thing, so we were all kind of miserable. Even the boys, who are usually really patient with my photo shoots, were kind of grumpy. I also struggled with the lighting and with Clarissa, who pretty much hates having her picture taken even on a good day.

In the end I got a couple of that I like well enough to share but none that I'm completely in love with. My plan is to go back out tomorrow or Monday and give it another  try, so I might be back with more in a few days!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Another picture!

I've been taking pictures this week! A couple of nights ago I had an idea for a photo shoot and it didn't work out like I hoped but I did get a picture I liked out of it.

My plan was to do some taekwondo  silhouette of the boys. I used to LOVE to do silhouettes and I've gotten some really cool ones in the past but it's been a long time since I tried it so I wanted to give it another try. It was a last minute plan and not thought out very well though, so it didn't really work. I took the kids up to my favorite spot on top of a big hill where I can shoot against the sky, but it was too cloudy and by the time we got there the sun was setting too low and it was too late to get good shots. Shooting sillhouttes requires some advanced planning because you need a certain type of light and a clear sky.

Anyway, it didn't work, but when I got home I pulled up this shot and kind of liked it so I thought I'd share. It's not a sillhoutte, but I love the sunburst and the way he's standing. I'm going to try to go back up there this weekend and give sillhouttes another try. I also have plans for another photoshoot this weekend too if I get the chance to do it. We're still making our 4th of July plans.

So here's the picture. Check back later this weekend and I may have more!