Saturday, September 29, 2012

At the Zoo

We took the boys to the zoo for the first time the first Saturday after Cam started school. On a fluke, I looked up when the next discount day at the zoo was and it just so happened to be that exact day, so we packed up and away we went! It. Was. So. Fun. I love the zoo!

The first exhibit we went to was the reptile house. I tend to avoid the reptile house, but I am trying to embrace being the mother of boys, and I really actually enjoyed it! Nash and I cruised the different windows and checked out all the fun colored snakes and lizards. Cam is a reptile pro and could always find them faster than me. That albino alligator totally creeped me out though!

It makes me so happy to see our boys in their stroller without their car carriers. I know they love being so curious and looking around at everything around them. I love watching them experience the world and reach out to check things out. They're getting much more "grabby".

I also feel like zoos are getting better at planning their exhibits. I have been to a zoo tons of times before, but I really felt like I could see the animals in action so much more this time around! We were SO close to so many animals! This was a kangaroo. There was another kangaroo in the exhibit that had a joey in its pouch. She was taking a nap at the time, so we didn't see her. But I thought that was so cool.


I think flamingos are so dang pretty. These guys were getting fed at the time. Most active I've ever seen flamingos.

This picture makes me so happy. Look at us! We are parents! We have kids!

Penguins are always my favorite. Why is it that they always look like they're at a party? They are adorable. I want one.

This guy was totally showing off for the ladies. My kind of bird. ha.

See what I mean? Total party.

Nash liked the penguins best too. He was being such a ham.

Ah! I love him!

We picked the gorilla exhibit to feed the boys. They had all these comfy couches and wrap around windows that we could look into the exhibit without even getting up. I don't think we ever saw a gorilla, but it was so nice to chill out in the air conditioning and have a comfy and semi-private place to feed the boys and take a break.

After I fed Gray, Cam took him on this rolling chair. He was having such a blast. They would spin around and slide across the floor. Gray was giggling so hard.

I am so glad we took the time to spend some quality time as a family before Cam started school. Moments like this don't just happen. Strong family relationships take effort. And we needed to bank some Dad time. It doesn't get better than this.

I think the African animals are always the highlight.

They had this perch where you could feed lettuce to the Giraffes. We didn't pay to feed them, but some people around us did. Cam actually petted this one! So cool.

Like I said, they're getting better at designing exhibits. This was inside a restaurant. The lions would get right up on the glass and play with you. I had never seen a lion so close before! They were rolling over and jumping up on the glass. It was the coolest thing!

This gorgeous lioness just watched the boys roughhouse. Beautiful lady.

And when we first walked by the Elephants they were all really far away. and then they brought the food out. Everyone loves food. The Elephants got up real close and were eating. I think it is so cool to watch them feed themselves with their trunks. It really is like another hand. It made me really appreciate the beautiful design of God's creations.

Outside the elephant exhibit, we asked this lady to take a picture of our family on the copper elephant statues. Cam straddled this little elephant and we all gathered around him. I think the lady missed the point because that little elephant isn't in any of these pictures! So funny. Thanks for trying Cam. You are a really good sport.

We stopped by the penguin exhibit on our way out and that one penguin invited his friends to the party. Everyone was in the water! diving and splashing around in the waterfall and swimming up against the glass. So fun. I love them so much.

After the zoo, we enjoyed a Sonic slush to cool down and a nice quiet drive home. The boys were exhausted! Oh what a fun Saturday.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Parker University, You Lucky Dog!

About 3 weeks ago, Parker University got seriously lucky. It gained one brilliant student. And since then he has really earned his stripes, so to speak. I'm pretty proud of Cam. He works so hard to be able to come home and BE home when he is home. He wakes up at 5 every morning and has scriptures and breakfast with me before starting his 12 hour (minimum) day. He walks through the door around 6 -8 every night and the boys just light up. He aced his first quiz and scored 9% above the average on his first exam. He is always so happy to be learning what he loves. And we have a GREAT group of friends already that are in the program. Here is my dashing husband on his first day of school. Couldn't be prouder. You rock, babe.

Logo Design: Fauset Photography

I am completely in love with this logo design. Oh man. The fabulous Jen Fauset of Fauset Photography did our engagement photos 4 years ago. She has such a fun, classy, gorgeous style. I was completely flattered when she asked me to do her logo and my goodness I love how it turned out! It always impresses me how much a re-brand can change the entire feel of a website or blog. I am so happy I could do this for you Jen! Thanks for cracking me up during the editing process as well. ha. Always makes for a fun night when clients tell it like it is!

Also, if you love photography and want some eye-candy, be sure to check her out on Facebook. She is so completely inspiring! I adore her wedding work. And her birth photography. Gorgeous.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lake Powell

We went to Lake Powell with my family about a month ago. I have had the pictures for this post uploaded but am just now getting around to writing about it all. [Sorry family! I know I haven't sent pictures in a LONG time.] It was a blast. Exactly what we needed and so SO fun to be all together for one last time before J.T. left on his mission. We loaded the boat on my birthday. It's a good day to have a birthday, because in my family you don't have to do any chores on your birthday. So while the boys slept or played with Cameron or their aunts, uncles, or grandparents, I got to do a new puzzle my mom got for my birthday present. Which is also a lake tradition. I always do a puzzle during the 3 hour houseboat trek up the lake to our usual spot. I didn't think I'd be able to enjoy the puzzle time this year because of the boys, but they really behaved well and took good naps, and we had so many people who wanted time with them. It really was a treat.

We've been taking the boys swimming since they were just under 8 weeks old because we knew this trip was coming and we didn't want them to be terrified of the water. Oh, it worked! Or we just have awesome babies. Probably a little bit of both. They sure loved the water!

Lillie was such a fun kiddo this trip. She is so fun to listen to and she was just a little fish! It was so fun to be able to splash and play and watch her with our boys. Also, I really don't think there's a more beautiful girl in the world. She just makes me so happy.

Grammy and Gray getting in on the action. Gray won the award for best lake baby. Long naps. Slept through the night. Ate good dinners. Never fussed. Just a sweetheart the whole trip.

Like I said. The kid knows how to "lake."

That first night, chef Jess made her famous peanut butter chocolate chip cookies for a birthday cake [which is a big deal, because baking on the lake is always a little sketchy]. I don't think there's a better place to have a birthday than Lake Powell. It's so great.

And then we played Sedarahc [Charades Backwards]. It is THE best group game ever. Oh we get laughing so hard. And everyone busts out of their comfort zones. We always play boys vs. girls. I honestly can't remember who won. But I do remember having a total blast. And that Nash got to play too because he decided it was a good time to refuse to sleep unless he nursed to sleep. [Sleep training happened shortly after we got back home...rough week. heh.]

For the most part, the boys did well on the boat. Gray loved it. Nash was a little more particular, but at least neither of them hated their life vests! I love how it squishes their cheeks up. We sure take a lot more pictures now that we have these guys in our life. We're pretty smitten.

Ah! My Gray baby. What a stud.

Gray and Grandpa. It always makes me so happy to see my dad and my boys.

Getting Nash to sleep on the boat was always a trick. He really liked going fast. He liked the sound of the motor I think. Which made for a bit of a struggle while wakeboarding because there is always so much stopping and going. However, we have always embraced the idea that these boys joined OUR family. And we are a family of wakeboarders. So we go. He really did pretty great on the boat. My mom kept commenting on how well the boys were doing on the lake. And she's right. I am a lucky lady.

Gray, on the other hand, knows when naptime comes regardless of where he is. And he shuts his eyes and goes to sleep. Man after my own heart.

Lillie loved the "big waves!" that happened after we looped back around to get the rope to whoever was wakeboarding at the time. It was so cute. She loved sitting in the front of the boat and shouted to Grandpa to "save us!" whenever the big waves got too close.

"Nash is not impressed." lol. I love his cute cheeks. And I vote that all baby boys wear baseball caps in the summer time. Oh it just looks so boyish to me. I love it.

Speaking of hats...

This. Was. So. Fun. So we love playing Aggravation in our family. You know, the little game with the marbles...kind of like trouble? Anyhow, we played up on top of the houseboat during naptime and had to play teams because all of us wanted to play. What happened was, if someone landed on you and sent you back to start, you had to go off the slide and get back on top of the houseboat by the time it was your turn or else you got skipped. Then, whoever won got to watch all the losers "walk the plank" so to speak. Such a blast! One of our favorite Lake games for sure.

Jam Session with Grandpa.

Always in the water! I loved it. Last year, I was six weeks pregnant and nauseous to the max. It was less than a great week for me. Plus I was still getting Progesterone shots in my bum. Shots on the Lake? Not so great. And while I was super grateful that there was an awesome reason I was sick...I was NOT grateful to be staying on a rocking boat for a week. Blech. This year was so much better!

As much as I love all the watersports and stuff to do at the Lake, I think my favorite times this year were watching my boys interact with everyone and watching everyone else get so excited over making them smile or laugh or feeding them cereal and peaches or rocking them to keep them happy while we all played games. Family is so important to me. I am so grateful for all the pictures we have of them with their aunts, uncles, cousin, and grandparents.

THIS. This was FUN. Oh man. We played water baseball one afternoon. We played work-up. So you're kind of just on your own team. There are 3 batters. If you don't make it home to bat, you're out and you go play left field [on the kayak]. If you get out, the pitcher becomes the next batter and everyone rotates up. Cameron won with 5 runs. I blame his lankiness. I had 4. Such a blast though! And yes, mom, you're still a cheater. Moving the bases all over the place. Sheesh.

We did take the boys tubing for the first time. Nash screamed until Cam lifted him above his head like Simba. Gray was indifferent. But Cam loved it. And these are some of my favorite pictures!



We all take turns cooking a meal and cleaning up a meal while we're out on the Lake. Without fail, Mackay and Lindsay make the best food. Mackay makes his McGuire famous smoked ribs and twice baked potatoes. Lindsay completed the meal with corn and the best lemon ice box pie I have ever had. Probably the best pie I've ever tasted. Because pie tastes better on the lake anyhow, but I don't think that had much to do with it. So, so good.

I was grateful the boys were content through this dinner. I love eating on top of the houseboat. And the boys were content at all the right times so I could enjoy myself too. I really am grateful they ended up with their daddy's temperament!

Another little known fact about the McGuire family...we make movies. Every year at the lake, one day is devoted to movie day. We have done Peter Pan [Cam made a fantastic Michael]. And Robin Hood [Cam stole the show as Friar Tuck. He really does give award winning performances.] This year, we did the backyard beach/gnome episode of Phineas and Ferb. Hilarious. I was Doofenshmirtz, but we don't have any pictures. This is Mackay as Ferb and Lindsay as Phineas. We all erupted into cheers when Mackay came out in those pants. So funny. My dad made the comment that we should all be grateful that some old guy gave his pants to the thrift store so we could have them. Mackay put his finger up and corrected him. "Some old WOMAN." Love it. Way to commit Mackay!

This would be my brother that just left on his mission playing the role of "mom." The spa day scene is among my favorites. [We nominate people for each role and then pick the lucky winner out of a hat. Once J.T. was nominated for the role of "mom" no one nominated anyone else. ha. Thanks for being a good sport J.T.!

My dad filming the whole thing on the ipad. Our technology was really upped this year. We could do re-takes and splice stuff together and overlay music. I have got to get my hands on the finished video. It is brilliant.

Last but not least, my contribution to the week was family pictures. We did a big family picture with the tripod and I photoshopped myself in later and then I took individual shots. I am so happy with how they turned out!

Thanks for an amazing week family!