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    Welcome to my blog where not only will you be able to view my most updated work and recent sessions, but also regularly learn a bit more about me, my family and my every day life. For my complete portfolio, session information, current pricing and contact information, please visit my website at heatherbirdphotography.com.

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Weekend Getaway

Ken has been working out of town a lot the past few months.  It’s been quite a transition for all of us and the boys and I miss him like crazy.    So, a few weekends ago when I learned that my friend was heading to Phoenix for a soccer tournament, very close where Ken happened to be, I jumped at the chance to make it a group road trip.   It would be perfect… it was a long weekend and we’d arrive in time to see Ken for Valentine’s Day.    We piled all the kids into one car and headed out on a long drive.   Thinking the kids may be wowed by Vegas, especially arriving at night, we booked a room and decided to break the trip into 2 segments.   I was so excited for my boys to see the Vegas lights and the “Castle” (Excalibur) where we were staying.  I pictured them going crazy once they saw where we got to stay.    Perhaps it was the long drive, or the downer when I told them we wouldn’t be swimming that night but they weren’t quite as impressed as I imagined them to be.   They were excited and it was cool, but they didn’t go crazy.    I was more energetic than they were, trying to invoke the emotion, “Ooohhh, look, the lights!  Ooooh, look, were staying in a real castle!”     They smiled and appeased and headed to the room to watch a movie and hit the hay.

The next morning was more exciting.   Ricky was so excited to see the Statue of Liberty (we’ve since been looking at pictures of the real Statue of Liberty online, regularly)  and Nolan and Benny were excited about the various statues… the knights outside the Excalibur, the M&Ms outside the store.

The excitement that I had envisioned came, it just came unexpectedly.   The crazy, eyes popping out of their heads, “WOW, mom!” moment, came when Nolan and Benny spotted Bumblebee the Transformer as we walked down the strip.   Nolan made a mad dash and bear hugged each one of those Transformers with no warning at all.    I’ve never seen this before in Vegas.   At first I wasn’t sure who or why they were in costumes, but quickly realized after seeing the wad of cash in each of their hands that this was a job and I now owed them.   I owed them cash because they hugged Nolan, but my debt increased after I took a picture of them.    “Fine,” I thought, “no big deal, afterall, this was the excitement I had been hoping for.”

But it continued another 10 feet ahead.   Woody and Buzz (“kind of creepy” Woody and Buzz as Ricky pointed out!) were next.    Nolan went crazy, “Buzz, did you know you’re my favorite.”   And so we forked over more cash, hugged and snapped more pictures.

Minions?… Nolan needed more hugs.   These guys weren’t shy about letting you know you better dang well break out the larger tip if you plan to take a “FOTO”.

This continued with more characters, more tips and with my boys continuing to hug “kind of creepy” men all the way down the strip.    But they LOVED it.

Soon we arrived in Phoenix for absolutely perfect weather.   It didn’t take long for the boys to hit the pool.

The boys were so happy to be with their daddy.  Below, one of my favorite pictures from the trip.  Nolan hung out hanging on to Ken’s arm for most of the afternoon.

Not only did we swim in the afternoons, in the mornings, but also at night.   Both pools featured color changing lights which were so cool.

The weekend was filled with soccer, swimming, and playing / cuddling with Daddy.

The following picture is another favorite of mine.   We have the typical sibling bickering often in our house, but my boys also have sweet, tender moments that melt my heart.   This moment was one of those.   Benny was so tired after swimming  and being in the sun all afternoon and was whining like crazy when Ricky said, “Oh Benny, I’ll carry you.”    And Ricky, who really isn’t that much bigger than Benny, carried him all the way to the car.  :)

It was a fun, perfect little getaway… not too mention quite tiring on all of us!

And now, we’re counting down the days,  hours now, HOURS!, (he’ll be home tomorrow night) until we get to see Ken again.

Love,
Heather

 

Race Car Birthday Party – Ricky turns eight

A few weeks ago my baby boy turned EIGHT!   It truly is amazing how fast eight years can fly by.   It seems like just yesterday that I held this beautiful boy in my arms and was changed forever.   And now he’s doing things like losing his 8th tooth on his 8th birthday.  I think he wiggled and wiggled and finally forced that thing out so he could have a cool “8″ memory!

In lieu of a big party, Ricky invited a few of his best buddies from the neighborhood over for dinner.   However, with little brothers and cousins it turned into enough kids to have a mini party and you know me, I can’t refuse planning a party.   So… we had a little race car themed party.

We started with decorations.   I wanted to keep things inexpensive and fairly simple.   These turned out to be easy and impactful.   I’ve seen this idea of stringing balloons with a needle and thread on Pinterest many times and have always wanted to try it, but instead I typically tend to wait until the last minute and run to the store to spend a fortune on a few helium balloons that are flat in a day.   This year I bought 4 packages of balloons for $1.00 each and strung them on every wall of the party room!  48 balloons and the room was transformed for $4.00!   (And we still have fully inflated balloons over two weeks later!   If you’re looking for decorations that you can prep ahead of party day – this is one!)

I used white butcher paper for a tablecloth and painted black and white checkers down the middle and street signs with names as place mats.    Again, easy and cheap.

I printed labels on my home computer to tie in the drinks and a couple other simple things (Soup cans for “Tools” shown below).  And that was about it for decorations.

We had a few little activities.   The boys had so much fun and were so entertained with each of these.   First, each boy colored their own hotwheel car.    It was a little tough to find plain white hotwheel cars, but I managed to find Hursts.  Yep, hursts!!  I was slightly creeped out that I was buying 8 mini hursts, and felt like I needed to send a disclaimer home to the parents, but the boys didn’t know what they were and just thought they were cooler because they were bigger and had more space to color. :)   Most moms can’t believe I let my boys color with Sharpies but they love them and it was necessary for the cars.

Then each kid got to color their own personalized name road map.    These were a hit!    These are foam core boards, also purchased for $1.00 each.   I painted each kid’s name on the board in cursive ahead of time.  Then, at the party, they each created their own roadmap by drawing in their house, their favorite places, (Target, The Indoor Soccer Center, Utah Utes and BYU football stadiums depending on where their allegiance lies) and trees, lakes, tornadoes, etc.   The boys were so creative and these turned out great.

They drove their own car along their own road for awhile which I expected, but then realized they could connect them all and make one big long road.   I didn’t think of this but they had fun driving their cars along the very long Name Expressway.

The last activity they did was to race their cars.   Again, this race car track was made from black foam core boards that I taped together and painted lines on.

I intentionally made 2 separate race tracks, assuming things may get a little crowded and crazy.   This way I could move one into another room for the little kids and Ricky and his friends could have their own in the party room.   But it didn’t take long for them to request that we put them both together for one big long track.   So we did, and THEN we put that track down the stairs!   The boys loved this.

Ricky’s cake was made from 2 bundt cakes and lots of m&ms in party colors.   This is the second time I have made this type of cake.  Benny and Nolan had a “3″ cake of the same type.   These cakes look cool, are easy to make and are surprisingly tasty.   I wasn’t so sure about SO many m&ms on cake tasting good, but it’s yummy.

So…. a simple, easy and very fun party.   I think the boys might have enjoyed this party more than any other one we’ve done.

Ricky had so much fun and was so excited about everything.   Seriously everything!   He was over the moon about his book that I finally made recapping when he was one year old (one year down, 7 to go!) which made me so happy.   He was thrilled with every gift he received from his friends.    He even went a little nuts about some mouthwash that I wrapped up for him.  (Hey, he had been requesting it, so why not?!)  And he was of course super excited about his big gift… a Kayak from us and my parents.   We’re still hoping for more snow this winter, but are now anxious for summertime too.

Happy Birthday, again, buddy.   We love you.
Love,
Mommy.

 

 

 

 

January Recap

A recap of our January in pictures.

We celebrated my mom’s birthday on New Year’s Day.

It’s become a tradition that the four boys help the birthday guest blow out their candles, however this time Papa couldn’t resist helping either. :)

We all gave my mom tickets to a Jazz game.   She was excited.

Go Jazz!

We might have picked one of the coldest days in January to head up the canyon and go sledding with some friends.   But the cold did not stop my boys for 3 hours!

 

Ricky’s played a lot of indoor soccer and he’s really loving it.

We saw the ice castles in Midway (SO cool but it was very crowded when we went), we visited the Children’s museum, we played lots of board games, we sculpted with play-doh, we bowled, cooked, read and snuggled lots.

We sledded some more.    This time with my family including the newest addition, my sister Angie’s puppy, Turbo.

Ricky tried sledding on this awesome toy that Ken’s mom, (Grandma DeDe) sent the boys.   This is a Bilibo that can be used as a step stool, as a chair, as a toy to spin around in, and it turns out… as a sled.   We’ve loved using it for all kinds of things, even a hat!

Ricky had a hard time balancing it… he may be a little big for it but it was fun to try.

We all used the Zipfy sled that Grandme DeDe sent a couple of years ago.  It’s still a crowd favorite!   Thanks again, Grandma DeDe… you send the coolest gifts!

Ricky tried out snowboarding on my nephew, Gabe’s new snowboard and although it was a small toy board, I think he’s got the itch!    I think we may have to get him started officially next year.

Benny also tried, telling me “this is going to be awesome,” before giving it a whirl.   It was a little harder than he thought, but it was still awesome, thanks to Papa’s help.

Gabe, having a blast.

Nolan’s favorite way to sled.

We finished out the month celebrating Ricky’s 8th birthday (another post coming soon featuring his birthday dinner/party).

Ricky’s reaction to getting a Gordon Hayward Jazz Jersey.  We’ve got some Jazz fans in here! (see Nana’s reaction to receiving Jazz tickets above)!  

We’re enjoying February and hoping for some more snow soon!

Love,
Heather

deetta bird - I was looking forward to seeing how the “Bilabo” worked sledding. It looked hard to control, but fun. What a fun January!!
DeDe

Go Broncos? Go Seahawks?

Everyone assumes that twins are similar.    Perhaps it’s a different story with identical twins, and likely it just simply varies with twins across the board … but my boys are as opposite as they could possibly be.    They always have been.   Ken talks about how from the moment they took their first breath they were different.   When Ken first saw Nolan he said he was flailing and screaming and looking around like crazy, as if to make a eye contact and connect with someone.  Benny was calm, quiet and seemed to care less.   Today, Nolan has his quiet moments and Benny has his crazy energetic moments, but to describe their typical personalities, what we saw in those first few moments rings true today.

Benny loves to sleep.  When he is tired he will find a comfortable place, grab a blanket and zonk out immediately.   Nolan fights sleep til the cows come home.   Nolan will lay in bed after an exhausting day and recap the day, asking all of his unanswered questions for hours.  (honestly, sometimes he is still awake HOURS after going to bed).

Nolan loves to talk and connect with people.  He will talk and talk and talk and talk if you let him.   Benny is content sitting quietly observing.    Nolan wants to do anything social… putting a puzzle together?  It’s more fun if it’s a group event.  Benny would rather take the puzzle and find a place to complete it himself.

Benny loves to wrestle and take risks while Nolan is more careful and hesitant.   Benny is uber-competitive, while Nolan is okay with losing or not being first.  These characteristics seem like they should be the other way around, but being loud and social doesn’t necessarily mean physical and competitive,  I’ve learned.

So while they are pretty different, Benny also intends to be different.   I wonder if this portion of his personality is encouraged by the sheer fact that he is a twin.   By nature, he may not like such different things, but in order to set himself apart he chooses different things. He does not want to like the same thing as Nolan.   He loves to like different things.   If Nolan likes batman, he loves the joker.   If Nolan says round, Benny will say square.  It’s that competitive side of him.

So, with the Superbowl approaching, I should have known there was NO way they’d cheer for the same team.    Ken brought a Seattle Seahawks blanket home for Benny last week, and he was so excited.   I swear he’s now a fan for life.  Benny’s mind was made up, Seahawks all the way.   Ricky and I have always been Bronco fans.    But Nolan, Nolan then had a choice to make.    During a car ride the other day, Nolan mentioned he was going to cheer for the Seahawks and Benny broke out into tears.   “NO,” he cried, “you like the Broncos.  Only me and daddy like the Seahawks!”    I think part of it is that he misses his daddy (Ken’s been out of town a lot recently) and wanted it to be their thing, but mostly I think he wants to set himself apart again.    We have plenty of Broncos or Broncos colored attire so I decided to take Benny to buy a Seahawks shirt today.  On the way he said, “Mom, you buy Nolan a Broncos shirt?”   He was going to make dang sure Nolan cheered for the Broncos!   He’s also made sure to mention plenty of times this week, “Broncos are losin’!”

And so…. let the battle begin!

Not only is Benny competing against Nolan & Ricky  in today’s big game, but also Uncle Scott and my whole family.   And Benny loves that.

Scott is sporting an Elway shirt from when he was a kid!

While I’m a Broncos fan at heart, part of me hopes that the Seahawks win so the night won’t end in tears for Benny.    My other two boys might not care as much.

GO Broncos!  GO Seahawks!

Love,
Heather

 

Thank you for my red glasses, Mommy.

When I was pregnant with the twins a co-worker gave me some advice.  He was a twin himself and he warned against always dressing the same twin in the same color.  “I was always dressed in blue, my brother in red,” he told me, “and it drove me crazy!”    I think about this often, mostly because my boys have done exactly this but they’ve done it on their own.    Benny loves red, Nolan loves green.     If you try to give Benny a green shirt to wear he will refuse, telling you that it is Nolan’s shirt.   When purchasing things that have multiple color options Benny always gets red, Nolan always gets green and by default Ricky typically gets blue.   It’s a given, they all know it and it’s the one thing they typically won’t argue over.  Just the other day I poured Ricky some cereal in a green bowl and when I asked why he wasn’t eating he said, “Oh, I thought this was Nolan’s.”    It’s somewhat ridiculous but it has happened.

A few weeks before Christmas Ricky got new glasses.   He picked out cute blue ones that look great on him.    Blue happened to be the only color option in the style he wanted.   Technically his favorite color is also red, but he’s not as obsessive as Benny so he made do with the blue glasses, after all blue is the color he typically gets anyway.   From the day Ricky walked out of that office with blue glasses, Benny started asking for red ones.   “I’m going to get  red glasses to Christmas.”   (all season long he said “TO Christmas.”   He’s going to get a “guitar TO Christmas” or, “a train TO Christmas,” never FOR Christmas no matter how many times I corrected him)   Ricky would tell him that he didn’t need glasses and he would exclaim, “I’m going to get red glasses to Christmas!”

A couple of days before Christmas the boys and I were browsing through the dollar store when I heard Benny gasp.   He saw a pair of red reading glasses.   “MY red glasses, mom!  My red glasses!”    After he admired them for awhile and I finally convinced him to head towards the toy aisle, I slipped the red glasses under the stash of other items in the cart.  How could I not purchase his beloved glasses for $1.00?!?    I worried that he wouldn’t think they were real if I removed the glass but my mom convinced me that I needed to or he might hurt his perfectly good vision attempting to see with +1.75 strength.

On Christmas morning when he ripped open that tiny last gift that almost got missed, he was so excited.   “MY red glasses, my red glasses.”  He was so proud and continually showed Ricky that he had glasses too.

He’d play for awhile and come back to me over and over again, saying things like, “Thank you for my red glasses, mommy!” or “I can see much better now.”   We would laugh and talk about how adorable he was.   He could see to play his guitar much better with glasses.    He could watch the racecars on Nolan’s new track much better with glasses.   He was just like Ricky, with glasses.   It was the cutest.

We attended our annual Christmas party with many friends on Christmas night.   We told of the red glasses over and over again calling Benny over each time to model his new glasses.   He’d walk away and friends would lean in and whisper, “wait, there’s no glass the glasses?!?”   I’d say “no” and we’d crack up and watch my adorable boy walk away so proud.    The morning after Christmas Benny came into my room and said in a very stern voice, “Mom, you lost my glasses!”   When I told him that I had them and they were just in the car he made me get up and go get them, telling me he couldn’t see.    I called my mom to laugh some more about how much he loved these red glasses…. err, frames.    It’s my favorite story from Christmas 2013.

That afternoon, however, he decided he didn’t want to wear them anymore.   Ricky had some friends over and just like I had done with all of my friends, he tried to get Benny to show off his glasses.   Ricky and his friends smiled and ran off to play and Benny didn’t wear the glasses again.   He’s not one to love the spotlight, so perhaps it was too much.  Perhaps he heard the jest in our voices when we’d tell of how much he loved these glasses that didn’t have glass in them.   Whatever the reason, he didn’t want to wear them anymore.  I was kind of bummed and a little worried that maybe we had hurt his feelings.   I wasn’t sure what I was going to do if he wanted to continually wear them to school but at the same time I was sad that his love for them didn’t last more than a day and a half.

Earlier this week, Benny came running in the room telling me that he was no longer going to be a doctor when he grew up.   He had a train engineer hat on and said, “I’m going to be a conductor when I grow up, just like on the Polar Express!”   He was on the hunt for his red glasses because he was going to be just like that conductor, glasses and all.   We found them and he wore them all afternoon.   Consequently, I smiled all afternoon at my sweet, train loving, red glasses wearing boy.  Today he said again, “Thank you for my red glasses.”

These next pictures tell so much of who Benny is right now.   His love for the Polar Express is still going strong after 2+ years!    He still loves his red glasses, even if a bit shy about wearing them.  And he is obsessed, obsessed, obsessed with learning his letters and sounds.   Oh, and don’t forget the red shirt.    Red, always.

I’ve got millions, yes millions, (okay maybe 1000s) of personal pictures that I’m excited to start going through from the past few months.  I’m excited and relieved to be caught up after a busy, busy couple of months of client photos.    So… more personal pictures coming soon.
Love,

Heather