# colorado trip (july 2016) – family edition

You might think the hummingbirds and moose were the eye-candy in Colorado, but get a look at this bunch. I spent 10 days surrounded by my lovely family embraced by Colorado’s Rocky Mountain glory. The cast of characters included my Dad, Janet and Rachel; Bryan, Robbi and Rowan for the first half; and Krista, Tim, Lily and Linc for the second half. Joe, unfortunately, had to work, so here was my date for the trip.

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She was so. excited. to be in the mountains and around her favorite people. Rowan also got a lot of love those first few days. We’re all smitten with him and the other littles.

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Rowan finally met Bella, my own little, who looks thrilled.

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The first full day we drove Trail Ridge Road through the park. It was stunning.

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My dad in his element.

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We reached the cold summit, where Rowan snuggled close and there was still considerable snow.

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Other adventures included taking everyone to Estes Park, including Bella, who got a lot of AWWWW’s around town.

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I also was on baby duty so Bryan and Robbi could fly fish near our cabin.

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Rowan was not convinced of my wearing his burp cloth on my head to block the sun. Just the start to a long tradition of me embarrassing him.

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And then Krista and her crew arrived and we were all together for two days. Aunt NoNo was very happy to be with these faces.

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We hiked to Adams Falls, which was a hit and totally family friendly. This is a good group.

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I gave Lily my GoPro camera for our hike.

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That girl. She took some dang good photos, including this one, which is one of my favorites of the entire trip.

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She’s got the bug!

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Before they left, we celebrated Robbi’s birthday with homemade ice cream and this ridiculous cake with a cookie dough center that Lily helped me make. Total hit.

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Then we had another few days of special food, like Micky pancakes…

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…to games like Cranium and Dominion (which is SO FUN!)…

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…and making popsicles with leftover yogurt, oreos and sprinkles.

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We finished the trip by seeing The Little Mermaid live; a fitting end to a fabulous and much-needed 10 days. A big shout-out to my Dad and Janet for bringing us all together amidst the busy schedules and miles. It was a perfect trip. Love my fam.

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# colorado trip (july 2016) – wildlife edition

Sometimes you reach the middle of a week and just need a vacation. And when you can’t take one, the next best thing is to relive the one you had over a month ago. My family’s time in Colorado was the perfect antidote to our busy lives and let us spend quality time together–which, when you’re as spread apart as we are, doesn’t happen as often as we would like.

I’ll get to the family action in my new posts, but wanted to share all of the wildlife we encountered at our cabin in Grand Lake. First, the hummingbirds. They were E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E. Sometimes 15 or more at a feeder at a time! I spent many a morning sitting on our deck, armed with my camera trying to capture them all.

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This guy is one of my favorites. He looks so angry, ha!

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I had never seen them sit still when not at a feeder.

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Turns out, the ruby-throated ones were the hardest to catch because the other hummers didn’t want them around. Poor guys. Beauty can be so hard. …so can being patient, but I finally found one on his own.

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We saw deer and chipmunks in the park, but our greatest encounter came when I drove to take our trash out one night and saw a group of people by the road with their phones out. I took the bait and stopped only to see three huge bull moose together, which I now know is rare. I called my dad immediately and said “grab the cameras!”

You can only see two here, but they were eating every tree and bush in this poor person’s yard.

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Then we walked around the house to find the other one. We were so. close. Dangerous, people. I didn’t realize how easily we could have been hurt, but we shouldn’t have been this close.

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Pretty magnificent creatures, though. More soon (I promise!) on the less hairy and aggressive members of our party.

To see the rest of my wildlife photos, click here.

# the last of Logan

I cannot believe we’re halfway through July. That a month from now will bring band camp and, shortly after, school starting and a new season at NWS. This summer has been a blur of cardboard, asphalt and stress. That’s why this post is a nice reminder that before we moved, there were four great weeks in Logan with friends and family. Here’s the rundown of mid-May to mid-June:

# Rachel graduated from high school

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Thanks to modern technology, I watched in real time as she crossed that stage, all smiles.

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# I loaded up on Tallis Time

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We are all so smitten with this little guy.

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Chris and Chilali took me to Pocatello on one of their Cosco runs. It was a gorgeous day and drive, with a very special stop at the Pepperidge Farm outlet. Tallis, meet Goldfish.

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Chris, who won’t touch my homemade ice cream or any other, seems to be infatuated with Cosco soft serve with berries. Here he is trying to sell me on it….not working.

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On the way back, I took every opportunity to make fun of his geriatric sun glasses as revenge.

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Yeah, we have *no* fun together.

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I also combined my ice cream and Tallis time on Memorial Day…

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…and it wouldn’t be a real goodbye without a final trip to Charlie’s, our local hangout spot, the day before we left….

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…and a visit to Logan’s new ice cream shop BJ BUCKETS, where we mainly just went to laugh over the name and see what Tallis would look like with his dad’s hair.

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# Date Nights for days

Joe and I hit up all of our favorite spots one last time and I insisted on documenting my view for each. Clockwise from top left: Elements, Herm’s, Even Stephens and Paco’s.

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# Girl’s Week with Pammie

But the best part of the month was having my Aunt Pam visit while Joe was out of town.

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We had a total blast and laughed entirely too hard. When we weren’t laughing, we sampled great eats at Caputo’s…

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…saw all of the {LDS} sites…

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…ate all the crepes…

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…and made Jeni’s Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World and tried our best to keep it off the walls. It was RIDICULOUSLY delicious. One of the best chocolates I’ve ever had.

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This was a fast month and filled with way too many goodbyes, but I’m so thankful for my friends and family for giving me so many bright moments and memories. And ice cream.

# meeting Rowan

Life is B U S Y right now. I have lots to tell you about and even more to do before the move next month. Pardon us while things are hit and miss for a bit.

I’ve been anxiously waiting to share my trip last month to meet baby Rowan, who is even more precious than I could have dreamed. This was captured in my first “drop-the-bags-and-grab-the-baby” moments with him.

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Happy Aunt NoNo and a confused Baby Rowan.

I was so excited to have Bryan, Robbi and Rowan to myself for a week. We hardly ever have that much time together, much less time for just us. We spent it soaking up all things baby and Mexican food.

I told Rowan about his Okie relatives (who do rock). He was all ears.

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…and all about The Force since his Mikey Joe was still in Utah.

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Bryan and I introduced him to Les Mis…

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..and we facetimed with YaYa on her birthday.

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And I loved on Marti, who is adjusting well as a big brother.

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One of the highlights for the trip was getting to spend the days with Robbi. We took Rowan out to the farm to meet his Mimi and Great Aunt Connie…

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…as well as to meet Bev and her friend Cyndi. Lots of smiles for us and for Rowan, who is a total champ and heart-melter.

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We also took Marti to the vet.

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This dog. He’s the best. I totally said “SMILE!” before taking this as a joke and dang if that dog didn’t crack a wide one. He’s hilarious.

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I got to see Rowan have his first bath in the tub — traumatic as it was for him, it was so precious.

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Less traumatic was baby’s first Intentionally-Closed-Eye pic. Welcome to the club, Stud. #nailedit

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We, as usual, ate big with this ice cream (which was ah-mazing) and visits to Tom and Chee… (that’s a mac-n-cheese grilled cheese sandwich…omg)

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…and Coal Vines. Yum.

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But, the best highlight was seeing my baby brother as a dad. It’s quite special.

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They are doing such a great job as smitten parents. Here are some of my favorite shots of the new family.

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Probably one of my favorite pics. Marti’s face says it all.

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Thanks for allowing the NoNo invasion! Love you guys!

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# rowan davis

A very happy Aunt NoNo and Mikey Joe are soooo excited to celebrate the birthday (literally the birth day) of our newest nephew! Please welcome the youngest man to have a piece of my heart:

Rowan Davis

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Born early today, March 16, 2016 at 12:31am
19 inches, 6 lbs. 6 oz.

It’s amazing how quickly the time has flown since this day in August when they told me they were pregnant. I literally was babbling away about NOTHING on Skype and then finally asked what they were up to and they just held up that picture and we all cracked up. Luckily I had my camera right there after documenting Lily’s back-to-school post. Such a happy moment!

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Here’s last week…

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And here’s today!

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I love Bryan’s game face.

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He’s got his dad’s button nose and, I’m hoping, his mom’s pretty red hair.

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Welcome, little man! You are so, so loved! Can’t wait to kiss your face.

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# tulsa trip (January 2016), part 3

The final piece of the Oklahoma puzzle! Picking up right where I left off…

We had a belated birthday celebration for Lily right after Bryan and Robbi’s shower. Our little reader got a slew of awesome new books, including one of my faves (Nancy Drew) from one of my faves (Memaw).

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We went for the Yoda birthday card that made you blow out your own candles, mostly so Tim and I could try all night.

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Then we just relaxed…

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…and took awkward pictures next to our height-challenged grandmother.

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And Lily surprised me with a few photos of her own. Haha, I love this one.

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There was the most spectacular sunset that night. Their front view is A++++!

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Later that night, when it was just the sibs, Lily had us pass a ball around a circle using only the body part she called out.

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I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard in my life.

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The neck one was just a taaaad uncomfortable…or awesome, depending on who was up.

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The next morning was my last with these cuties. Linc…he is so expressive. These were all taken in quick succession.

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It makes my heart sing to see him and Lily get along so well. Knucks!

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Well, usually so well.

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That night was the Super Bowl, which called for a ridiculously awesome spread of snacks at my Dad’s house.

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More on those cookies this weekend. They knocked my socks off.

Then I was on a plane back to Utah with my heart and my stomach so full.  And when I was walking to the baggage claim, I noticed that Sports Illustrated had copied our shower game for their cover, haha.

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That’s a wrap on a very action-packed trip!

# camping-themed baby shower for Bryan and Robbi (Tulsa Trip, part 2)

The purpose of my visit to Tulsa wasn’t just to stock up on Mexican food and Aunt NoNo time. It was to co-host a baby shower for my brother and his wife with my sister!

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Bryan and Robbi are due in April with their first, a boy. Their nursery is camping themed, so Booh and I wanted to mirror that in the shower. Here are all the details, starting with the decorations.

Like the shower I threw for Booh when she had Linc, we did a garland of clothes that made for a cute present-opening backdrop, as well as bonus gifts for them to take home.

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All of the clothes were outdoor- or camping-themed. This Utah girl especially likes all of the flannel numbers.

As you walked in, we had a camping alphabet book we re-purposed as the guest book. We also rifled through Lily and Linc’s toys to use this awesome Land of Nod campfire set as the center of the present drop-off.

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Also, this Land of Nod teepee.

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The tables were lined with camping-themed books (more bonus gifts) and our four shower activities. More on those in a minute.

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The food was all on the kitchen island. (Seriously, get a look at Booh’s new kitchen! Gor-geous!)

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We made a big batch of my dad’s famous salsa, which we had him test upon arrival.

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And these cheese balls that look like pine cones (or hedgehogs, which still fit the woodland theme).

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We also made “camp roll” sandwich pinwheels a la The Pioneer Woman

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…and fruit arrows. The strawberries staining the tips blood red was a nice realistic touch by Booh. haha

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Lily and I made the campfire cake, which was soooo fun.

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We used my favorite chocolate cake recipe and my favorite chocolate buttercream recipe.

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The logs are Pepperidge Farm’s chocolate pirouette cookies and the flames are made of butterscotch and cinnamon hard candies. Crush five candies of each flavor together in a bag, pour on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet that’s been sprayed with baking spray. Bake at 350-degrees for 6-8 minutes. Let cool completely and then break into shards.

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The effect is so cool.

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Definitely a triumph for us gals who love to bake.

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The shower favor was a build-your-own trail mix bar. Happy Trails!

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Booh found some really fun critter-themed games online that I made using some free woodland fonts.

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The first we named “Who’s Your Daddy,” where you had to match the baby animal to its parent. The second was called “The Waiting Game,” where you had to match the animal to the number of days it gestates. Not so easy.

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Lily made an answer board and was very official in calling them out so everyone could grade their papers.

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The third activity wasn’t really a game, but a letter from Camp Jackson where you could pass on well wishes to the baby. Lily’s was by far the sweetest.

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The “Build a Baby” stations we had around the tables were the funniest activity.

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Two pictures, a pair of scissors and endless laughs.

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And then it was time for gifts!

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I loved the OSU basketball shorts (a staple of Bryan’s own wardrobe)…

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…and the high-tops. Baby Jackson’s all ready for the court/field.

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Their sweet gifts were a great mix of practical and fun sent from family near and far.

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Especially this double-sided game-day blanket.

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There were a few gifts whose cards made me cry…

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…but it was all smiles and “oh-how-cute”s otherwise.

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Then it was time for pictures, like our intentionally-closed-eye favorite.

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And baby-kicking time…

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…and sleeping in the teepee time.

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What started as an innocent sibling selfie turned into a riot.

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Overall, it was the perfect afternoon with family celebrating the newest addition to the team. We love you, Bryan and Robbi, and can’t wait to meet Baby Jackson in a few short weeks!

(And big props to Booh, my co-host and partner-in-all-crimes, in making this happen. I love celebrating anything with you.)

# tulsa trip (January 2016), part 1

I was so excited to share the details of my trip to Oklahoma two weeks ago, even going so far to process all of my photos the day after I got home. A new record, surely. But then I was hit with a bronchitis-mystery-virus monster that left me in bed with a high fever and ridiculous cough for the last week. No joke. Today is the first day I’m fever-free, sitting up-right, at my desk, walking my dog, feeling somewhat normal. It has been R-O-U-G-H. PSA: Traveling twice in one month when you are normally only exposed to your husband and dog can wreak havoc on your immune system. But, I’m happy to report it no longer feels like confetti is blowing around my lungs every time I try to take a breath, something I managed to take for granted in the years since I last had bronchitis. Stay well, my friends.

But, rewinding to the fabulous trip home. I left Utah begging for “more color” on Instagram. This was our drive to the airport.

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Beautiful, but a little monotone for my taste.

Luckily, this is what I woke up to after my first night in my sister’s new home. Wish: Granted.

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HELLO, COLOR! Oklahoma sunrises and sunsets are the best. Hands down. Game over. Case closed.

Here’s Booh’s new house with the most glorious of backdrops. Years in the making, this place is absolutely gorgeous and worth every minute of the wait.

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Since they had just moved in like six days before I dropped my luggage in their entryway and yelled “Honey, I’m home!”, I’ll save more house photos for my next trip. But here’s a sneak peek of their powder bath.

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Each room is this magical and vibrant. And filled to the brim with natural light. It’s a photographer’s dream. Especially the living room, where Lincoln *happily* modeled in a new chair.

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Everyone should have a piece of furniture that matches their eyes, right?

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My nights were spent in Lily’s Beauty Shop. She’s very talented and booked weeks in advance, so I was lucky to get a spot.

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I also got to star as Proud Aunt at her school play, where a stray bird tempted to steal the spotlight.

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Lily was the Star Fairy in Sleeping Beauty…

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…and Little Red Riding Hood’s Mother…

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…and recited a Spanish Nursery Rhyme.

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Like any smitten fan, I had to get her autograph backstage.

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We celebrated with a lunch selfie…

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…which turned into a “hey, can I borrow your glasses and camera?” session for one…

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I seriously have about 20 photos like this on my camera. So hilarious.

The next day was the day of the baby shower, which I’ll share all the details of in the next post. We all gathered bright and early to cheer Lily on at her last basketball game of the season.

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It was an action-packed start to a great visit. Posts 2 and 3 coming soon!

# miami trip (January 2016)

After surviving last weekend’s drop of over a foot of snow, it’s imperative for me to recap my warm, sunny trip to Miami. This trip brought a lot of work, a lot of family and and a lot of good food. The pictures can *mostly* tell it all.

Sometimes I find it hard to believe that this building is this gorgeous. Many a productive meeting within these walls over the week I was there. New faces and old friends, new plans, new 16-17 season…#new.

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But something that is neither new, nor never gets old is this rooftop view. This was the start of a glorious sunset.

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My trip overlapped a visit my mother-in-law and brother-in-law made to Miami, so we were able to meet up for dinner and a movie in the park outside my building. Turns out, The Boy Friend is weird, so we didn’t last long.

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The next day, my mom and Mike arrived for the weekend, which started with one of our PULSE concerts–a late-night, club-style event for orchestra and DJ.

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It was a “white out” version, which means we were decked in our winter summer whites and wore these LED color-changing bracelets to be part of the show.

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Here are a few glimpses of what PULSE is like…

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I love my job.

Saturday was a nice day off with brunch at Big Pink (always, forever, amen) and time on the beach.

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I have to give a big shout-out to these massive iguanas that were all over this tree on my walk to work. It was crawling with them. (Sorry, horrible.) At first I noticed one that was licking water off of a leaf when it was pouring rain. But then every time I walked by, there were more and more and more. So awesome.

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At times you’d only see their scaly backs…

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…and other times you’d only see them peeking through the leaves. So entertaining.

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The highlight of my week was definitely our day trip to Sanibel to see Bobbie and her family. It’s a convenient halfway point between Miami and Tampa and a familiar haunt for me and Bobster. I hadn’t seen Abby (other than on Skype) since she was one-and-a-half, so this was a big moment. Clearly, she was thrilled to see me.

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Just kidding, she really was thrilled, but probably not as much as I was to see her.

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She even took a few pictures of her own with my camera.

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Her parents are much more photogenic!

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Our attempts at getting a girls’ photo were hilarious, albeit a little unsuccessful thanks to someone’s constant wiggles!

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Baby’s First Game of Cornhole. That’s a baby book milestone, right?

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We walked off our big lunches at a nature trail and center. Baby’s First Binoculars.

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I love this picture. Lots of good conversation going on about ballet, friends, school…

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More adventures at the nature center building birds…

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…and listening for the ocean.

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It was a big day for her…and Mike.

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Overall, the most perfect day and trip.

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“Everyone, hold hands!”

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One more “swing me!”

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Until next time, Florida!

# LiNo’s Libros: The Indian in the Cupboard

I can’t believe I’m typing this, but the girl who made me an Aunt and changed my life forever is eight today.

E-I-G-H-T.

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She has grown into such a remarkable girl–huge heart, infectious laugh and smarts for days. I absolutely adore her. And this year has brought a new project that is only fitting to unveil on her special day.

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LiNo’s Libros. I thought it appropriate that we have a celebrity couple name (Lily + NoNo) and for us to share the one thing we can’t get enough of: books.

This idea was born when I realized that Lily is the right age to read all of the books I first fell in love with. And it’s been the perfect way for this faraway aunt to connect with her busy niece.

Oh, books! My childhood favorites list could go on and on and on… too many to choose from.

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We agreed that we’d switch off picking the book, so I chose a favorite from my elementary years: The Indian in the Cupboard.  Here’s us on our first reading day:

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We’d read a few chapters on our own each week, but also connect to read one or two together and talk about what was happening.

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I thought we’d just compare notes, but being the daughter of a school teacher, Lily prepared questions for us to discuss for each chapter. It was the cutest thing ever.

I loved listening to her get into dialogue with her sweet voice. Mostly I just loved sharing something so special with her.

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It took us a while, but we finally finished it together. Here we are on the last day:

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At the end, we agreed to come up with five questions each. (Spoiler alerts for anyone wanting to read this book!)

NoNo’s Questions:

1. If you had a magic cabinet, what toy of yours would you bring to life and why?

L: All of them! I’ll put in there my baby Liza, Teddy and Bella, my toy dog.

2. Do you agree with Omri that sending them back to their lives was the best thing to do?

L: He thought it best because they were causing enough trouble, but no, I’d keep them alive. I just like all my toys already.

3. If you were transported via a magic cabinet, what would you tell your giant to bring to life so you could have?

L: Hold on, I’m thinkin’ about that. An art easel.

4. How are Little Bear and Boone alike? How are they different?

L: They have hats. They are both feisty. But one has a gun and one has a knife.

5. How do you think the story would be different if Omri had told his parents or brothers about Little Bear from the start?

L: It would probably be shocking and everyone would be fighting over Little Bear and Boone. Brothers would probably let him keep them, but not parents. Moms and Dads never let us have what you want. (Editor: hahahahaha)

Lily’s Questions:

1. How would you feel if you had to send a toy back to plastic? Plastik. Mom, you forgot the K.

N: I’m sure I’d feel sad, especially if we had become friends and had had adventures together.

2. Have you ever been sent to the principal, and why?

N: Errr, are you asking me because this happens in the book? Yes, I have. I did something I shouldn’t have done. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. Ask your mom about her going to the principal.

3. How did it feel to ride a horse?

N: What?! hahahahaha

L: You’ve been on one!

N: True, true. Um, it’s great, but you’ll be sore the next day.

4. What would you change the title to?

N: Ooh, good question.

L: I choose “The Magical Key of the Secret Pantry”

N: Man, that’s good. Okay, I choose “Booney Bear.”

L: hahahaha

Booh: Omri Makes a Friend

5. What kind of plastic figure would you be? I know! A French horn!

N: Ew, no. I wouldn’t want mouths on me. I don’t know. Probably a dog. What about you?

L: A native American. Probably Squanto.

N: What?!

L: Don’t you remember? He helped the pilgrims. He’s famous! Okay, so Squanto, or Queen Elizabeth, or a German General, and a Chinese Princess.

Booh: Uh, can we get a time frame on the German General?

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Oh, Lily, you make me laugh. Thank you for being the sweetest thing I didn’t know I needed so badly. You make everything more fun. Happy, happy 8th Birthday! We love you so very, very much.

Next up for LiNo’s Libros, Lily chose….hold on to your hats….Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I’m practically squealing. We might have to do this as a Google Hangout to reunite the SibSabs.