in new york…

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we made it back to new york city yesterday at six something in the morning. while the kids slept soundly on the over-night flight, it was one of the more brutal flights for josh and me, and i worry it may take a solid week to recover! i’ve often preferred the red-eye for our family when traveling, but somewhere between being seated on the last row of the plane (where the seats don’t recline) and body cramps that felt more like labor cramps, i was done. i walked out of JFK airport while craddling a sleeping child with arms that felt like they were about to fall off and saw that there was no line for a taxi (which has never happened to me). all i could think was, thank you new york!

the rest of the day is a big old blur to me, but somewhere in there my kids decided to be kind for a few hours and took a nap at the same time with me sandwiched between them in my bed. that rarely happens anymore and i was so so thankful.

since all of our sleep schedules are looking to be a bit off for the next few days, we ventured down to the west village around seven in the evening for a family pizza at joe’s. i really can’t think of a better way to say hello again to this great city than with a slice from there. the september weather was just right, slightly warm but breezy too.  we were able to sit on a park bench together and finish off the entire pie (minus a lot of crust.) and it just felt really nice to be sitting there on the bench as the sun set eating my favorite pizza in my favorite city with my favorite people. it’s good to be back.

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after pizza, we grabbed some gelato on the corner before heading home because…why not? it’s our first day back and if you’re going to celebrate you gotta do it correctly.  eleanor impressed us with some very interesting new dance moves to some hip hop music they were playing inside the shop while we waited for our gelato and i will never forget it. it was one of those moments where she was so out of her shell and comfortable while showing off moves i’ve never seen her do that were adorable but also like, where did you see or pick that up?!  never a dull moment with these kiddos. it was a good night.

it’s great to be back, new york! we’ve missed you! in light of today being the anniversary of 9/11, i’m feeling especially proud and grateful to call this beautiful city home.

kiwi crate!

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i’m not the craftiest mama on the block, and since my new york city apartment is on the smaller side, i only have one small desk drawer dedicated to craft supplies. not a lot of drawer space to begin with (sorry to my stuffed and crammed craft supplies!) those supplies also unfortunately share the drawer space with my wrapping paper, stationery, and desk odds and ends, too.  so yeah, it’s a small cozy drawer, and i tend to use it as my excuse as to why i’m not one to pull out a ton of crafty projects at the drop of a hat during the day for my kiddos.  maybe in my next life, but for now, i just really appreciate the crafty people who have come before me and thought up genius ideas like kiwi crate. have you heard of them yet?

we were recently introduced to them. it is basically a fun monthly subscription service that sends all the materials in one box needed for 2 or 3 hands-on creative and educational projects for kids. everything from science to art to imaginative play, and always with free shipping. best part is they have a sibling add-on program, so we’re able to get two of everything meaning there’s no fighting or pouting when the box is opened. and i’m not left with excessive amounts of weird craft supplies from one single project that won’t fit into my tiny desk drawer dedicated to crafts. it’s a win win at our home. doesn’t hurt that my kids think i’m really cool after i help them execute one of these kiwi crate projects.

we have partnered with kiwi crate this month and they are offering 25% off your first month subscription with the code LT25 HERE! you can browse a few of their past crates HERE to get an idea of all the fun things they think up. but it’s everything from gardening to dinosaurs to space. we recently worked on a few adventure themed activities together, where we had fun taking a pretend camping trip in my parents backyard in utah to make a pretend campfire and roast s’mores and paint a tiny backpack to carry our new adventure supplies and coloring books in! a few photos below…

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^^^my kids act like it’s christmas morning when we open anything, even the wrapper on a small piece of candy! ha. but i think their reaction to this kiwi crate box was extra animated because there were scissors in the top of the box and my kids are obsessed with scissors. ^^^

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^^^the beginnings of the biggest and most beautiful roaring campfire you ever did see. after all they had help from mama, and once upon a time i was a girl scout. ;) ^^^

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^^^hard to tell here, but the kit came with a tiny tea light candle so the whole campfire glowed once it was dark outside in the dark!^^^

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^^^and here we are about to paint and decorate our new adventure backpack!^^^

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^^^you’re supposed to leave them to dry in the sun with these little green cut out creatures on top so they leave impressions on the backpacks.  E and S decided they could put anything on top! so we decorated the backpacks with lots of rocks and flowers, too. which is even better, if you ask me!^^^

this post is in partnership with kiwi crate. don’t forget you can get 25% off your first month subscription with the code LT25 HERE!




an afternoon at the fair!

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we spent an afternoon at the utah state fair with the kiddos while in utah and since there was an abundance of awesome kiddie rides, our kids were in heaven. (which means we had an extra good time too!)  so the one and only thing i figured i’d be able to ride going in to the fair was the ferris wheel, but i guess pregnant ladies aren’t even allowed to ride that. they told us it’s not because the ferris wheel is unsafe for a pregnant woman, but it was because i could fall on the 4 steps of stairs or small ramp heading up to the passenger car and that would be bad. sometimes i feel like pregnant women are treated like the most strange creatures. i might not be able to touch my toes right now, but surely i can walk up 4 or 5 stairs to the ferris wheel. i don’t know, it was just one of those really humorous moments where i had to be like, ok. i’ll just go hang out by the cotton candy stand. which, let’s face it, is a pretty rad spot to hang out. i wasn’t mad about it.

anyway, a few photos from our time at the fair below if you’d like to see!

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^^^watching these three together always makes me feel good. i love how josh gives 110% to his kids when he’s with them.^^^

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^^^she was SO excited that she got to be the conductor and “drive” the train for all of us! (sorry samson. you’ll be tall enough next year.)^^^8000918765

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^^^after getting her arm band and wrist stamped, eleanor came beside me and asked, “mama, take a picture of my bracelet!” haha!^^^

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^^^a view of the fair from the top of the ferris wheel!^^^

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^^^if you can believe it, this big thing of cotton candy was their smallest bag for sale! ha!^^^

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^^^please notice that both the helicopter and monster truck were blue. not a coincidence. ;)^^^
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^^^since we have these in new york, we just kept walking. also, strawberry lemonade!!!!^^^8975639807398 8983725468902 898765389084478

^^^we still have a long ways to go before we figure out how to take a good selfie with the real camera. but this one was in focus so that is huge progress for us!^^^

hey ferris wheel, you better look out next year. i’m comin’ for you!

ps. an old blog post from years ago when we lived in DC and didn’t have littles yet and took our polaroid camera to the montgomery county fair. THAT fair was unreal. so was that blessed polaroid camera. rip.

a weekend at the mountain man rendezvous, fort bridger!

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we spent labor day weekend up at fort bridger, wyoming for the annual “mountain man rendezvous.” i have blogged about fort bridger before (see HERE and HERE and HERE) but the rendezvous is a re-enactment and celebration of the annual gathering of mountain men, fur traders and native americans which took place between 1825 and 1840. my family has gone and participated in the rendezvous at fort bridger each year since i was a little girl. it’s become a big family tradition for us. josh and i have attended a few times over our years back east together, but aren’t able to make it every year. we hadn’t been back since eleanor was a tiny baby, so this year was especially fun for us since we were able to introduce eleanor and samson to so many new traditions and cultures and experiences.

we learned that the fort expanded on the location for these gatherings and was fully established back in 1843 by jim bridger. it became the biggest trading post in the west for mountain men and indians and eventually helped pioneers, settlers, the US army, the pony express, union pacific railroad, and others travel and live in the west.  this rendezvous is known as one of the largest mountain man gatherings in the nation, with over 40,000 visitors during the year!

there is a lot that goes on during the rendezvous like presentations and reenactments by national historians, cooking competitions and frying pan tosses (ha!). there are a lot of archery, black powder rifle and pistol shooting competitions and games for the little ones. and there is incredible music and dancing that goes on as well. there are over 100 traders who set up small shops in white canvas tents around the fort to sell and trade things from that time period like pottery, blankets, furs,  leather, tools, clothing, moccasins, jewelry and even antique rifles. it’s a party!

everyone is welcome to come shop and visit during the rendezvous each day, but my family stays inside the grounds of fort bridger each year. (we’re crazy like that.) you can stay inside the grounds if you have a tipi or old-fashioned canvas tent and if all of your dress or items brought for the weekend are pre 1840’s and in the style of the people who would have attended the rendezvous back in the day.  it’s honestly so much fun! i think it’s one of those things you would either love or hate, and maybe we all just love it so much because we grew up doing it, but the experience is pretty incredible. it always gives me such an appreciation for our history and what those who came before us went through.  we are pretty lucky in this day and age. modern conveniences like bathrooms and running water are such luxuries and then there i am getting caught up in silly stuff like wanting some new fancy gadget or item that i seriously do not need. anyway, it was so great to get to go again this year and we had a good time.  if you’re interested in reading more about fort bridger, you can check out this website HERE.

also, i feel it necessary to share that i am sensitive to and respect others cultures which are different from my own.  this has been a great opportunity for me and my family growing up to learn first hand about the many peoples and cultures that gathered and gather together at these rendezvous’ by spending time along side them, learning about and honoring and preserving their histories and heritages together. it is a celebration and i’m thankful for the experiences it has given me.

a few photos if you’d like to see….

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^^^one of eleanor’s favorite parts was watching all the dancing and drumming performed by native american dancers, singers, and drummers. they performed several times each day and  were fantastic. we got to perform the friendship dance with them which was a lot of fun, too!^^^

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^^^the sky was a real treat every evening when the sun set. it was so beautiful.^^^

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^^^here are some “mountain men” dressed the way fur trappers and traders did from the 1830s.^^^

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^^^i’m not the only one whose eyes disappear when i smile. ;) i love these guys.^^^

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^^^so happy to spend time with their aunts! although we missed you lots, rachel.^^^

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^^^getting all ready for the children’s blanket trade. (all the little ones staying in the fort bring something they made to trade, if they’d like. once they agree on a trade with another child, they must shake hands.  it’s very very cute.) eleanor and samson made little sailboats and E traded hers for a little wicker basket and samson traded his for a blue beaded necklace.^^^

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^^^here’s samson and his little sailboat, all ready for the trade!^^^

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^^^i could eat dutch oven cooking every day for the rest of my life and be so very happy.^^^
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^^^this is what fort bridger looked like back in the 1840’s around the time the rendezvous gatherings occurred.^^^

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^^^many vendors sell and trade leather materials and a lot of people make their own clothing in the proper traditional handmade fashion. my mom actually makes all of our clothing every year, and is sure to keep within the correct guidelines so everything is period-correct as we stay in the fort each year and it is one of the requirements for those who stay.^^^

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^^^stealing kisses before the children’s games begin!^^^
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^^^samson spotted a grasshopper hopping around our camp and was completely enamored by the little guy! we caught him and enjoyed a few minutes of peering at him up close in a jar so we could get a good look at him before letting him go again.^^^

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^^^the hoop dance is incredible!^^^

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^^^my dad snapped this photo of samson and me crashing outside on the grass one afternoon during his nap time (and i steal naps any chance i can get these days, ha!) josh and i actually cheated this year when it comes to rendezvous and stayed in a tiny nearby hotel with the kids each night. the last time we were at fort bridger, eleanor was just six months old and it would get so cold at night that i was really nervous this year about keeping the kiddos warm. between that and trying to find a comfortable way to sleep each night with my own growing baby bump, we figured a hotel might make the most sense over a long weekend of sleeping bags on the floor.  this arrangement worked out really well for our family this year, although hopefully someday we’ll be able to sleep at the fort again, because so much goes on at night and i’m always sad to miss out.^^^

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^^^a few of the beautiful things for sale or trade in the fort. ^^^

895467^^^we are bringing a few of these beautiful blankets back to new york city with us. we couldn’t pass them up, even if it means we are buying another suitcase this week.^^^

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^^^there is endless music down each little pathway at fort bridger. between bagpipes and guitars and drums, it just really makes the experience.^^^

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^^^my stress levels were a bit high all weekend with the open camp fires and hot coals everywhere with the kids.  all they wanted to do was help with everything (which is so great, i know, but also so scary.) my dad let them help move the coals on top of the dutch ovens around each night before dinner and it was the biggest deal for them! they were so happy to be contributing!^^^

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^^^i’m not normally into sausage (bacon all the way) but this pregnancy has got me craving sausage all the time! i cannot get enough of it!^^^

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^^^the tastiest raspberry crumble made in the dutch oven by my mama.^^^

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^^^not just rock candy, but BLUE rock candy. someone was happy.^^^

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^^^running to give aunt bekah hugs!^^^

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^^^this tiny dog did not forget his buckskin!^^^
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^^^so my favorite meal at bridger is this chicken and rice dish my mom makes with scones on top. josh made it with her and says it should be easy to recreate at home in the oven, so i’m holding him to it. if it works out, i’ll share the recipe here because it’s so good.^^^

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^^^s’mores with chocolate graham crackers!^^^

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^^^taking off in the burlap sack race!^^^

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^^^this little lady knows how to chuck a piece of corn and get it into the basket! do you see it flying mid air? i was very very proud. ;) ^^^

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^^^trying his hand at carrying a spoonful of water several feet and pouring it into a cup before passing the spoon onto another child.  it’s so funny how simple these games are, but how much fun they can be! who needs an iPad!^^^

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^^^his proud face!^^^

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^^^tug of war with the rope!^^^
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^^^samson spent most of his time at bridger near the little creek, where he’d sail boats or throw rocks. thankful to all my family members who spent a lot of time with him down there over the weekend. it was really hard to pull him away for much else.^^^

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^^^well, don’t tell anyone, but we might have snuck in a few trains and cars for play.  not quite period-correct, but you can’t take his taxi cab away. it’s just not worth it.^^^

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^^^making scones early one morning. pair these guys with honey butter and…BEST STUFF EVER.^^^

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^^^my dad makes the best popcorn over the stove at our house.  he made some pretty great popcorn over the fire at bridger, too. we enjoyed big bowls each evening after dinner.^^^

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fort bridger in years past, HERE and HERE and HERE.

the changing of the seasons.

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i like long drives all over the beautiful west coast because it helps clear my head. and also the views aren’t too bad.  and if josh is with me, those long talks in the car are good for my soul. i like those long drives especially when both of my kids are asleep in their carseats in the back because my kids and carseats are a lot of work. and also, because samson has perfected the “are we here?” literally 10 seconds after we started a 3 hour drive the other day. ha! he perked up and in the cutest sweetest little voice said, “are we here?” as we pulled out of the drive way. we cracked up. his comedic timing is golden. always. i am being serious people, you wanna laugh more, go find yourself a couple of toddlers to hang out with. kids these days, they keep you young at heart while aging you twice as fast everywhere else. it’s a catch twenty two, but a good one.

getting to spend such a large chunk of time with both of our families here in utah has been something i have needed. even at 28 years old, i’m still being reminded how friends come and go, and while still so very important, friendships aren’t everything. family remains my constant. the family i come from, though loud and absolutely crazy, is right where i fit in and feel most like myself, most at home. it’s like you’ve seen everyone go through everything, and they’ve seen you go through it all too. and they are still there, with their big smiles across their faces and their arms extended ready to embrace, because that’s family. it’s been a nice reminder for me. i sure love mine.

and i love that big concrete city of new york more than i’d like to admit, and wow have i missed it this trip. i love being out west for countless reasons, but it’s going to feel good getting back to the city. (always a relief to feel that way, because sometimes i’m on the fence about living in new york. i guess we all go through stages where the grass looks mighty greener on the other side of the country!) it was funny, but we were staying up in the mountains at my parents home and the single sound of absolute quiet besides crickets chirping in unison at night almost drove me mad. despite being past the point of tired, it was so hard to fall asleep. i just needed to hear a siren in there somewhere, or maybe the start of a bar fight out my window. ;)  is it weird that i feel the most safe in a big urban place as well? i don’t know, but driving down an old dark country road by myself gives me the spooks. i guess i will try to complain less about jam packed and crowded subway cars when we get back to the city.

a lot of the leaves here in the mountains of utah are already turning colors. we spotted bright reds and tiny hints of yellow yesterday on a long drive back from a weekend spent in wyoming! summer was good to us, and i’m sorry to see it go, but with baby on the way and one of my favorite holidays approaching (eh hem, jingle bells, jingle bells), i’m excited to welcome autumn. josh and i bought a few big vintage wool blankets over the weekend (who knows how we’ll get those back to the city) but they were too good a deal and too beautiful to pass up. and they gave me those jitters about being on this cusp of a new season. this means we’re just a few short months away from meeting baby and becoming a family of 5 (!) and i don’t wanna get too far ahead of myself, but you know, the holidays!!!!!

hope everyone had a great labor day weekend! happy happy beginning of autumn. ;)