s’mores in st. george.

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we’ve been in southern utah the last few days spending time with josh’s parents at their home in st. george. we’ve loved our time here, the kids especially, since there have been plenty of wild bunny and lizard spottings, time in the pool and lots of loving from their grandparents. always the struggle of living so far away from both my parents and josh’s is not having ample amounts of grandparent quality time for these three little ones, but even in small doses, we’ll take it. and even in small doses, it’s everything.

something i struggle with often is trying to navigate if i’m doing everything right for my family. i know i’m not the only one who feels this guilt in some shape or form, but it shows up on occasion and it hits you hard. about a month ago, someone asked eleanor where her favorite place she’s traveled to has been, and she didn’t miss a beat before responding excitedly, “utah!” following up right after with, “because nana and granddad and grandma and grandpa live there!” it was very sweet. but then it also made me feel really bad. because we live far away from utah, and like, are we doing this all wrong not living next to grandparents? and then people tell you, “you should live here.” or “you should live over there.” or “you should be by family.” or some variation on that phrase and after you hear it enough, you do start to second guess everything a little bit. family is so important to us, and i want my kids to have meaningful and deep relationships with family beyond their immediate, but i also know that no one can call those shots for us but ourselves, and we know where our family needs to be and how we thrive together in our own little space, which for now, feels right for us in manhattan. it might be hard from time to time, but it’s right. and it makes the short weekends together with grandparents or FaceTime calls a little more special, that is for sure.

we’ve taken the week a bit slower out here, but we still brought the camera around a bit, and below are some photos from marshmallow roasting last night in the back yard. i don’t know how southern utah can go from such high and dry heat in the middle of the day to such freezing cold nights a few hours later, but we’re somehow in swimsuits around noon and puffer jackets by sundown! it’s facinating, and we love it!

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  1. Niken

    Oh my, your kids are so cute… and how fun is that s’mores night!

  2. Liv

    There’s always trade-offs. If you guys lived in Utah, you wouldn’t get to experience all the culture of New York. So there’ll always be some regret, one way or another, and that’s normal. At least you’re able to visit!

  3. It must be interesting to pack for! They’re all so cute with their heads poking out of their hoods :P And they’re as tall as the oven(?)! // I think that wanting the best for your family and doing what you think is best at the time counts for so much! -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  4. Bethany Hope

    I know living away from family can be SO hard, but my motto is “quality is better than quantity.”
    I grew up in Michigan. My maternal grandparents lived in Oregon and my paternal grandparents lived in South Carolina. I can count on my hands the number of times we visited them, but I remember and cherish each memory of each visit SO FONDLY. Even though I didn’t see them often (like..seriously probably once every 3 years on average), each grandparent totally shaped who I am and my faith. They all had such a profound effect on me and their words and stories really stuck with me. It is amazing how much we can take in and grasp as children.
    You’re an amazing mom and you’re doing an amazing job! Your children will carry and cherish every precious memory in their hearts always.

  5. sydnee

    That’s why these visits are so much more special, since you don’t get to do it too often! Love your little family.

    Design by Sydnee

  6. Melanie

    We have the same situation, we live in New Orleans with family in California and Virginia. It’s hard, and makes me sad but I agree with you, you have to make that choice for your family and what’s best for the whole. I feel you with the guilt too. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Carly

    Oh Naomi, you are doing a great job! I hope you know that. We all have those moments of questioning if we’re making the right decisions for our kids and families and everyone of course has an opinion on the matter, as do I ;) Bottom line……..you love you kids and do the absolute best that you can. That’s what matters and that’s what makes a great parent and a strong family.

    I hope you continue to have a wonderful vacation in Utah!

    Carly from http://www.AModernMomBlog.com

  8. Breanna

    This post hit home !! We have the chance to sell our home and move to a different more affordable town and live mortgage free giving us the freedom to work less have more family time and travel more- which would be amazing for our little family. But we struggle with leaving family, both sets of grandparents live so close and our children are very close to them, it defs brings on the mom guilt thinking of pulling them away from that, at the same time there is the what if always there if we don’t take the plunge and move ! Love all your blog posts and your passion for your family and traveling with them! You have inspired us on many occasions! Love all the way from Vancouver Canada !

  9. Callie

    I DEFINITELY question if I am getting it all right for my family and for life – but I honestly thinks this just means I’m awake and caring – the questions themselves mean you care enough about taking care of your kids. Letting go of doubt and fear is a lifelong struggle, but your kids seems incredibly happy and well-adjusted, so I think you’re doing alright mama. ;)

    • TAZA

      thank you callie. means so much.

  10. Belu

    Beautiful moment!:)

    Ps.What camera did you use in this post?

    • TAZA

      hey belu, i used our canon 5D mark III for this!

  11. Fernanda

    Aww that’s so sweet! And I totally understand your “guilt”. We also live in NYC, parents in Brazil and the other part of family in CA, so I feel like this all the time. But we do what we have to do… and we have to make sure that the (little) time we spend with family that lives far is quality time. This is the most important thing. You have a beautiful family.

    Xx – Fernanda

    https://blogmeandthecity.wordpress.com/

  12. Marissa

    We recently moved cross country from my family as well. It’s never easy, but it is right. There is pros and cons to every decision we make for our families. You place a high priority on family and that teaches kids all the need to know… no matter how far away you are, family is family and that’s everything.

    • TAZA

      i love how you phrased this. thanks for sharing, marissa.

  13. Kristen

    Ohmygosh, these pictures are absolute MAGIC. So in love with the colors! Only you and Josh know what’s best for your family — I’m sure that the people who encourage you to live closer to family know how wonderful that can be and just want to share it, in the same way you are always sharing your love of NYC with us. As a mama, whose parents died pretty young, (my mom never knew my kids and my dad only did for a few years) I would pretty much give *anything* to have my kids grow up around them, but that’s just my specific situation. Like you said, FaceTime is great at filling in those gaps. Have a great time with family :)

  14. May

    If you wouldn’t mind sharing, would love to ask what are the reasons that you’re choosing to live and raise children in NYC instead of Utah? Is it to do with the school system or career opportunities?

  15. Yolanda

    Love your family adventures! My son is 17 now. So I miss him being at the stage your kids are in now. It’s touvpching to see your fam enjoy the simplest of things like s’mores. So sweet :)

  16. Imogen

    Yo do you Naomi! At the end of the day, you (and josh) know your family best!

  17. Summer

    Looks like an incredible evening which will create warm memories for you and your little ones. You know what is best for your family and where you should live. I have found that it is so easy to take family for granted when you live nearby – those dinners, back yard swims and s’more making with grandparents dull to ‘routine’ events if it’s easy access all the time! As wonderful as being near family can be – you’ve got to live your own life too.

  18. the last one of Samson made me laugh! such sweeties x

  19. Rachel M

    I think Manhattan is a good place for me now because i dont have children. But I wouldn’t want to have kids there I think it’s super limiting. They don’t have much space, grass, the ability to ride bikes in the neighborhood, to go sledding alone, to wander off to the park and be safe. I see a lot of kids where I am on the UES and feel sad for them missing out on the way i got to live as a child.

  20. i definitely agree with that struggle. we live away from family, but i too think it makes time together richer and more meaningful.

    -katelyn
    http://www.katelynryan.com

  21. You are doing fine. I grew up in Utah while my grandparents lived in California. We saw them twice a year. Our main family vacation each year was spending a week with them in Concord (just outside of San Francisco). I tell you what, those visits are my very best and very favorite childhood memories. Because we saw them so infrequently, it made the visits with them that much more sweet and we never took them for granted. It also gave me the opportunity to be pen pals with my grandparents. I loved writing to them, knowing that in a few weeks the mailman would deliver a letter in return…and that was such fun to look forward to. So, pros and cons both I suppose, of living far away from family. But your kids are happy and you have a great life in Manhattan. And how amazing is it that with all the traveling you do, your children love visiting their grandparents in Utah the best. Don’t look at that as a negative…but as a positive that these visits are making such a wonderful impact on them.

    • josh

      Thanks, Sarah!

  22. Kim

    I love your kids matching jackets! I love s’mores on a summer night. Luckily my fiancé and I live just an hour away from our parents. But I mean, we may want to venture out of Connecticut someday?! It’s definitely hard though and I understand the struggle! Best of luck!

    kim
    http://www.simplylovebirds.com

  23. There’s no right or wrong answer with this kind of thing. When you get to a point where you are content with the intrinsically good things in life, it doesn’t really matter where you are. It would be cool for your kids to grow up romping around in the desert, but it’s equally cool to grow up in the busiest and most diverse city on Earth. Your kids are grateful and well-rounded because they have you, not because of what they have in the backyard.

    My dad’s side of the family lives in England, and while it would have been nice to have seen them more often, I really benefitted from having that duality in my life. My childhood memories of English summers are the most precious to me *because* it was such a special trip to visit them.

    • josh

      Love this perspective, Emily!

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