Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Belleview Park

Who doesn't love good, cheap entertainment for kids??!! I do! I do!!

Joanne and Toben were at their house packing up the trailer for tomorrow's big move to Phoenix and Mom was going to the salon to get a haircut, so I piled the kids and cousins in the van and headed to Belleview Park (near Belleview and Sante Fe, next to Pirate's Cove water park for those of you in Denver).

Honestly, we CANNOT get enough cousin love before they leave tomorrow. Some might think I'm crazy for taking four kids by myself, but honestly, if we ever had four kids, I would wait a couple more years and then have two more close together. Audrey is 10, Emma is 8, my Ava is 3 and my Tyson is 2. PERFECT ages.

I told the kids it was going to be a surprise where we were going, and I think they were happy with the outcome. I said, "Wear flip flops and bring your bathing suit!!" And off we went...

There are many reasons why I love Belleview Park, and we were able to experience most of them. First, the Lyons Club runs a pretty sweet train ride through the park, and it's only $1 per person. Better value than McDonald's $1 menu if you ask me, and you won't walk away with a stomach ache.

Second reason? The stream (or river if you're particularly small) that runs through the park. Grab your suit, some shovels, and start making sand castles, mini lakes and mud walls.

Third reason? The petting zoo. And it's only $1. Can I get a hallelujah?? Maybe it's because I'm coming from New York, and I now expect to pay an arm and a leg to do any activity with my children, but I cannot get enough of this $1 stuff!

The petting zoo is basically a big corral where the animals wander freely and you can wander with them. Pigs, turkeys, goats, baby cows, mini ponies and chickens. Although I would recommend staying away from the pigs puddle pool. He apparently like to poop in it.

And last reason?? Across the street is a fountain park where you can run around and get sprayed by fountains when you least expect it. The anticipation is just too much...

Have a fabulous day all you blog readers, and go out and get wet!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Popsicle Party

Nothing like a popsicle party with your cousins after a few hours swimming in Gran and Papa's neighborhood pool...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Miss Janna's House

One day this last week, I spent the afternoon at Janna's house in between photo shoots. Erin also came over and we had a bit of a crafty afternoon. You may remember Janna and Erin when they came to visit my in NY back in March for Janna's 30th bday weekend....Mary Poppins, Manhattan's (yuck) at the Plaza, Zabar's on the Upper West, Purl SoHo....

Anyway, an afternoon at Janna's is always nice. We ate on her back deck and it was fabulous! Here is sweet Anne showing off her new lipstick.

"I'll just throw together some lunch stuff from my garden," she says. I was planning on munching on crackers and maybe a slice of ham or something. Throw it together?? Yeah right. More like something that belonged in a food magazine. See??

If any of you have read Janna's blog or been to her house, you know how creative and fun her living space is. I love Anne's room and all the little vignettes that are there. Anne has her kitchen, dining area, living area and dressing area. And since I love photographing children in their rooms and natural environments, I jumped at the chance to hang out with Anne in her room for a while.

And here is the master crafter at work. She surprised me with a new Shootsac cover. It's gorgeous, and I'm sorry I don't have a picture. It's hot pink fabric with orange polka dots. LOVE it!! By the way, if you don't have a Shootsac, go get one. They are great (not to mention cool looking) for you on your photo shoots.

And if you buy a Shootsac and need extra covers, Janna will sell you one. She is also planning on opening an Etsy shop with all her wonderful home made goodies, so keep posted via her blog.

Thanks Janna, for a fabulous girl's afternoon. I needed it!

Saturday, June 27, 2009


...makes me happy.

"My dad believes in two things: That Greeks should educate non Greeks about being Greek and every ailment from psoriasis to poison ivy can be cured with Windex."

-Toula, in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Mom and I were at Joanne's house for about 5 hours today cleaning non-stop. Windex was my cleaner of choice today. Windows, vents, refrigerator...you name it, I think I cleaned it with Windex.

My Mom is convinced that her spiritual gift is cleaning, and I would tend to agree! She has mad cleaning skills. So much so that Joanne's house smells like Windex and Pine Sol. Breathe in....can you smell it???

P.S. I've been pretty busy with photo sessions, and I will post some previews soon!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Milk Twalk

...makes me happy.

Tonight the kids and I went to Janna's house for many reasons, but the most important reason for Ava was to see Anne. Anne is Janna's daughter who is the same age as Ava, and they are such buds.

Ava and Anne have talked via Skype since we've been in New York, and they send each other pictures and Valentine cards etc. Anyway, Anne is one of Ava's favorite friends.

While eating dinner, I couldn't help but crack up at the girls having "Milk Twalk" (just say with a heavy New York accent). I imagine it went something like this...

Anne on the left, Ava on the right.

Anne: Hey Ava, this is pretty good milk, don't you think?? It would be better if it was chocolate. Do you know why the blond bought a brown cow?? To get chocolate milk!!!

Ava: Anne, you are crackin me up!!

Ava: Hey Anne, what cities do cows love most?? MOO York!!

Anne: Moo York!! I get it!!

Anne & Ava: We are just too funny together.

Ava: Hey Anne. Our parents aren't laughing at our jokes. I don't think they are smart enough to get them.

And that my friends, is three year-old milk twalk.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Water Day

Today was a perfect summer day. It was just me and four kids...two of my own, and my two nieces. Joanne was home packing all day for their move to Arizona next week, and Mom was at the eye doctor all morning, so I volunteered to take all the kids to the pool.

We swam, ate snacks, came home for lunch, put Tyson down for a nap, and washed my van, which by the way, took about 30 minutes to scrape off the 1700 miles worth of bugs splattered all over it. Then the girls just played in the front yard with the hose for about an hour.

Isn't summer wonderful???!!

Note to self and other photographers....

The first image above is a classic mistake that photographers can make. Know what I'm talking about?? Ya, not the best subject placement with the spraying hose water. :) So for you photographers out there, PAY ATTENTION to what is around your subject!! You don't want weird objects growing out of your subject's head (done that) or part of the bride's bouquet coming out of her nose (done that too).

PS. Some of you have commented or e-mailed me about driving from NY to CO, and I guess I forget to mention that my angel of a mother in law volunteered to drive with us, so sorry to knock over my own pedestal, but I'm not that brave!!! If I was, I'd bottle it, sell it and make millions.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I'm glad we came home...

My kids are in heaven being with their cousins again, and I'm in heaven again as Joanne's kids watch over them so well. Audrey and Emma...we all LOVE you!!!

P.S. By the way, Happy Father's Day to all you Dad's out there. I had the worst day ever. (Even though the picture makes life look so happy...should have seen my kids and I about 4 hours prior to this picture. NOT pretty.) While Wade is home all alone in NY on Father's Day packing for a red eye to Los Angeles, and we are supposed to be celebrating him...I called him in tears because of the mess that was my over stimulated and over exhausted children who were pushing me to the edge and beyond. We ALL needed naps and time outs.

So instead of US showering HIM with gifts and praise, he called his brother here in Denver and asked him to buy me flowers and deliver them to my parent's house. So my sweet brother-in-law shows up at the door with a beautiful bouquet of flowers from Wade.

I love you Wade, and Happy Father's Day. We are so lucky to have you.

P.P.S. Oh, and I backed into my Aunt's van (visiting from Washington) and put huge dents in the back of my tailgate. Luckily her car is fine. Just icing on the cake today.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

We're Home!

Yesterday..Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska. Today...Nebraska and finally, Colorado.

We're here, safe and sound. Safe and sound, but exhausted. Goodnight!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

On our way...

New York, New Jersey, getting lost for one hour, finally finding I-80, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, water coming in the windows of our hotel room...

But we're on our way to Colorado and will arrive...when we get there!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Jones Beach

Yesterday was Grandpa's last day with us in New York...sniff sniff...so we tried our best to make it a good one! Since Rye is not really on the ocean, we headed to Long Island and spent the day at Jones Beach, which is on the Atlantic side of the Island. Lucky for us since it still a little bit off season, and because it was colder and windy, we had the entire place to ourselves. There were a few people in bathing suits, and there was even one crazy person out for a swim, doing laps up and down the beach.

The beach was just covered in these trash cans (which I LOVE and would love to have one for myself), so I imagine in high season, these beaches are packed.

As always, I have to hunt for cool signs and lettering...

Lots of fun things to do on the beach and Grandma of course got her feet wet in the Atlantic.

OK, can I just say how much I LOVE how curly Ava's hair gets when it's humid outside?? It reminds me of her perfect baby ringlets she used to have.

A rare family photo...

Tyson loves to stand on his head, for whatever reason, so he kept stopping on the boardwalk to take a headstand break!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater

Yesterday we drove into the City (since it was raining) and went to the Peter Pan production at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater in Central Park. This place is so adorable! The cottage was actually made in Sweden and eventually found it's home in Central Park. I made reservations for us a couple weeks ago, because they do sell out quickly. The theater itself holds about 75 adults (but is usually filled with kids), and there really isn't a bad seat in the house, except for mine, which was front row squished on the outside. But I still really enjoyed it!

The Belvedere Castle is just up the hill from the theater, so Grandma and Grandpa took the kids to the top for the spectacular views of Central Park and the surrounding City.

We ended the afternoon at one of the many playgrounds Central Park has to offer, and Ava quickly made a friend to play with. I'm pretty sure tears were shed when we had to say goodbye.

The whole day was spectacular, but one of my highlights was after we left the park and picked up the car. We drove down to Greenwich Village (and yes, driving in New York City is something I REALLY do enjoy) and went to Magnolia Bakery for a half dozen cupcakes to bring home.

While Grandma and Grandpa were waiting in the van, I ran down the street to the Bakery, and while I was walking, SARAH JESSICA PARKER was walking towards me!!!!! She was talking on her phone, and I had one of those "oh my gosh" moments because I couldn't believe that was Sarah Jessica Parker facing me!!! She is soooo adorable on screen, and even more so in person. She even gave me a little smile, probably because I was staring. I am so star-struck. Can you blame me?? I watch too much of the E! channel.