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Bye Summer '17

Summer of 2017 you are almost over. One kid (can I still refer to high school sophomores as kids?) starts school Wednesday, and the other two next Monday. We have been busy school supply shopping, buying new lunch boxes and backpacks, trying on uniforms, packing pencil cases and checking school schedules. 

Summer '17 you have been good to us. One of the best yet. It took me a good week or two to find my groove. It was a summer full of travel yet was probably our most laid back one to date. Other than our planned vacations we took advantage of not having set plans and did what we wanted. Want to go to the beach? Let's go. Movie? Let's do it. Rock climbing? Sure. I did have to work here and there, but I tried to do during two weeks of summer camp the younger two had. Two weeks was just right to give us a little routine, me time for work, and them time with friends. 

The photo above was taken from our recent camping adventure in Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park. Definitely a highlight of our summer. We explored and hiked and cooked on open fire, collapsed into our sleeping bags each night, and came home with hearts full and muscles sore. 

We are all excited about this school year. I am particularly excited to be back to only TWO schools! Three school was tough last year and I am thankful I will not be back at three schools anytime in the foreseeable future. Two it is from here on out! We made it through last year, challenges and all. I think I only forgot two kids one time each. Not too shabby if you ask me lol. I will never complain about having kids in different schools ever again. I usually start school years anxious and a pile of nerves and this year I don't have those feelings. I am certain it will be full of good and bad, challenges and tears, and new and old friends, and I feel like we will get through all of it together. It's going to be ok. I love the changes that this school year is bringing for our family. I love having Greta back at school with her brother. We are ready for you.

Maybe it has something to do with how good you were to us Summer. Thank you for your sunshine, your warmth, your cool nights, your long days, and your open roads...come again soon.

xo

Catarata Falls - Costa Rica

I've received a lot of questions about these falls and I thought I would explain as best I can for those traveling to Costa Rica and wanting to visit. I had these falls on my list without really knowing where in the world they were, all I had was the name and a photo!

The morning we were heading into Rincon de la Vieja National Park I asked our tour guide if we would be anywhere near Catarata Falls and showed him the photo I had. He immediately said we would be five minutes from the falls. Honestly, I thought he was joking and would take us to a similar waterfall nearby. But when it actually worked out, my heart just burst with happiness. 

I cannot remember if Catarata Falls was inside the National Park or just outside the entrance, but there is a fee to hike to them and swim, about $5 American dollars. The key is to make sure the water is clear and clean when you go. Because it's fresh water, and we were traveling during the rainy season, our tour guide explained that we would need to check with the desk people to see if it was safe for swimming, because rain can bring a lot of run off with it. Low and behold they said it was crystal clear and perfect conditions. The hike down is about 5-10 minutes, and you have to cross a narrow suspension bridge, but it is worth all of it. The clear blue water was just amazing. And they have a little ladder built into the rock for climbing up to jump off the rocks into the lagoon. My three kids all loved it and did it over and over again. We were the only ones there and it was the best part of the day for me. 

Our Family Joshua Tree Desert Photo Shoot

Woohoo! Finally getting to blog some of our favorites from our family photo shoot we did in the desert. I was going for a an airy, bohemian vibe that was reflective of the our location in Joshua Tree. This was planned out a little last second for me, I usually take a few months to decide on family photos, gathering outfits and location, deciding a date. So a few weeks to put this all together meant I couldn't overthink anything too much, which was actually ideal. 

We were taking a family road trip to Joshua Tree National Park and it fit smack dab between Gunnar's work days, during everyone's spring break. We desperately needed some time to regroup as a family, and you know how we love National Parks! 

I had asked one of my favorite photographers, Josh Elliott, if he had a free Thursday afternoon to work with us and low and behold everything fell into place! We loved our time in Joshua Tree and I promise you it felt like we had the entire park to ourselves this afternoon. Josh gave us some walkie talkies and we set off to find some ideal photo taking spots and I'm pretty sure we found the gold. Liquid sunset gold if you will. These are precious to me, and made for the most perfect 17 year anniversary a girl could ask for. We haven't taken family photos in about 4 years and wow how these kids have grown and changed. 

Greta's dress is from my girlfriend's shop, MinnieMi and both of us absolutely loved her in it. It fits her style to a tee, and was the most perfect option for family photos. Sooo well made, go check out other items in the shop, they're adorable!

My dress is from Nordstrom, and since I was in a pinch and zero time for shopping I ordered a dozen dresses all at once. I figured one had to fit right!? It took a little jerryrigging to make perfect, and a quick Amazon prime slip to go underneath it. I did forget my little tube top at home, but nothing a fast trip to the thrift store to cut up a lace top couldn't fix with some safety pins minutes before the shoot. Gunnar's outfit all came from Macy's, Sawyer's outfit we owned already, along with Aaron's. I've always been against the matching two tone color scheme, but I definitely wanted our colors to blend with the landscape. And I think we accomplished this.

I cannot say enough wonderful things about our photographer and how comfortable we all feel with him. Also, family photos get so much easier as kids get older! They do what you say! Lol. Just a few more...

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Would you believe me if I told you this is just a teeny fraction of all the images we have? I sift through and stare at them pretty much every day. If you're on the fence about family photos, don't be! They're treasures that I promise you will never regret having! These are worth more to me than anything else. xo