January 15, 2015

Carlsbad, CA

A couple years ago my dad threw out an idea about doing a family vacation with everyone. We all thought it sounded fun to be together, but weren't sure what we could do that would be good for everyone. Just like he does, my dad figured it out. Carlsbad, California. Golf and biking for the boys, swim and shopping for the girls and LEGOLAND for the kids. Add an amazing house right on the beach and we were sold. Finding a time that worked for everyone was a near miracle, but we did it. And it worked out perfectly because Jamie and Taylor had a fire in their New York apartment and were definitely looking for a break from the chaos of clean-up and apartment hunting.

I have to admit that I was a little nervous with all of us in the close quarters for a week that we all might cramp each other's style. But the house was so great and we all had plenty of room--we could have stayed for another week! 

It had been 5 years since our last family photo. So we threw one together. When the tripod didn't work out my dad made friends with the construction worker in the house next door and asked him to shoot the shot. He did great, with a little help from Jamie's mad photoshop skills.

One of the best things we did was to buy a 5 day pass to Legoland. We found a deal so it was only $89--less than one day at Disneyland! The beach house was literally 5 minutes away, so it was easy to go for a few hours at a time. Ella went on the big roller coaster. It was a little scarier than I thought it would be, and as we were walking out I was happy when she told me she LOVED it. When I saw this picture I about died laughing. 

So the next time we went she was determined to get a smile. It took a few times (once she had a smile, but eyes were closed). Grandpa was happy to shell out the $15 for this keepsake.

We had a great time at the beach. The house was right on the beach, but a few days the tide was too high so we went down the street.

While the girls beached, the boys golfed. Taylor and Ryan vs Chris and Paul. While Taylor and Ryan have historically killed it, it was not their day and Paul and Chris took home the trophy (which, ironically, Taylor saw in the pro shop and suggested they buy--before he lost, of course.)

The girls and I walked around the San Diego Temple grounds. Ella told Anna, "It's like church, only happier." Then later in the afternoon she told Anna that it was like Elsa's ice castle...

View from the house. Pictures never do it justice.

About halfway through the trip Taylor went to Wal-Mart. He came home with a plan. We were going to have a boat making contest with popsicle sticks. There was a little scoffing at first, but by the end we were all in. While it's a little unclear who actually won, Jamie and Kimmy's was the winner for most sea-worthy, even if it did look like a sandwich from a vending machine. 

(I just had a baby...remember that when you look at those hips!)

We had one great day of low tide, and we made the most of it!

corn field in the making

making a farm with grandpa--back to his roots

As a Thank You to the owners of the beach house we made this movie (Ryan brought his helicopter).

Thank You from Ryan Packer on Vimeo.

January 14, 2015

San Anna-tonio

My parents really are the best. Every year my dad has meetings in San Antonio in September. They stay at a hotel with a really really great pool and lazy river. They've taken Ella twice, I've gone once,and this year they took Anna. She had been acting out a bit after Sara was born, and this was just what the middle child (between a diabetic and a newborn) needed. She had so much fun. So much. And as soon as she came home, her attitude totally changed and she went back to being the sweet little thing that we love.

January 4, 2015

Sara's newborn pictures

I hadn't ever done real newborn photos for my girls, but the ones the hospital took weren't my favorite. So when Sara was 2 weeks I called my friend and favorite photographer Lisa Harbertson to see if she could get us in. Since I already paid for pictures at the hospital, I just did a one hour mini-shoot with Lisa. But Sara did not want to fall asleep. I was fine just going with what we had, but not Lisa! She was determined to get some good shots. She was amazingly patient and her skills as a former NICU nurse shone through. I was so happy that we held out because the sleeping shots are my favorite.