underneath the magnolia tree…


our saturday was filled with birthday parties for little friends!  one in brooklyn in the morning and another in westchester in the afternoon (because our kids have busier social calendars than we do. but we’re ok with that.) the day was a jam packed with friends, eating a lot of “happy cake”, as eleanor likes to call it, and catching a lot of different trains. by 5 o’clock in the evening, we were beat. we found ourselves on the east side making our way through central park when we happened upon the most beautiful group of magnolia trees right behind the Met. goodness gracious, i wanted to cry. for starters, because  i was tired. but also, because they were just beautiful and we are missing terribly all of those beautiful cherry blossoms in washington dc right now. and, if i’m being completely honest, i’m going through one of those phases where i just can’t shake this homesick feeling for life in dc no matter how hard i try. it will always be one of my favorite chapters of our life together. i just can’t say enough good things about that place.

anyway, the magnolia tress in the park are something else right now. we plopped ourselves down underneath one for fifteen or twenty minutes while eleanor ran around the trees and samson tried to eat a stick. it’s nice to escape this busy, loud and fast-paced city sometimes and head into a nearby park where it’s calmer and quieter, greener and a little easier for the kids to run around freely. living in new york city right now means we don’t have a fenced in back yard with a little garden or even a hose or one of those fun blow-up kiddie pools from target, but central park is our backyard for now, and that isn’t so bad. ;) especially when she is in full bloom! (and you aren’t one to suffer from allergies…sorry, josh.)

speaking of magnolia trees and parks and the outdoors in general, happy earth day! :) this earth is something else, no? we are trying our best to be good stewards of her and all her beauty and resources.  there is much to still do (and we aren’t the greenest people on the planet) but we try to find small ways to do our part. what are you doing to celebrate earth?


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ps. eleanor and i visited the cherry blossoms in dc last year HERE, and more cherry blossom photos from years past, HERE.

  1. kelsey

    Such lovely photos!
    I was so confused about these being called magnolias. Here in the south, magnolias have the big glossy green leaves and huge white fragrant flowers. These you have pictured here are referred to as tulip trees. :)

  2. Your pictures look absolutely beautiful, just as your children! :)
    Have a good day!

  3. Suggestive pics, suggestive moments

    xo from Italy, xo from Lelli Family

  4. Lisa


  5. Cesia

    Soo precious! & I love how Samson is always smiling! You have a beautiful family.

  6. I’m missing those cherry blossoms too! We had one right in our backyard when we lived in NoVa and Although New England’s seasons are pretty, nothing’s like DC in the Spring! Gorgeous photos too!

    Lynden Laundry

  7. Carina

    Those spring blossoms look beautiful. It’s hard not to be jealous when we’re in Autumn, heading into Winter here in New Zealand. Beautiful photographs too.


  8. There’s nothing wrong with homesickness for another time or place! I think it often happens because the here-and-now is full of challenges and unknowns and uncertainties looming ahead, and you never know if you’re doing the right thing or if things will work out (especially when raising little ones!). But the moments that have passed have a clarity in that there was a beginning and an end, and that things sorted themselves out (in hindsight, all too often). And so often after an epoch in life is over, we’re left with only the happiest of memories. My heart still hurts a little over memories from my homeown, or from college, or from a semester I spent in Paris. And as much as I love my family of three girls (5, 3, and 5 months), I still get a pang when I think of the first two years of just me and my first girl against the world, and then the relative simplicity of life with just my two older girls. I think we all yearn for times that seemed easier, if only because life just gets more complicated. Weeks ago I attended a dinner with families from the first ward I was in after joining the church, and the nostalgia was so strong I wanted to bawl, and then to run back to being 15 again with so much love and support from these wonderful people. But I think that’s what the celestial kingdom will be–all the most joyous moments in our lives lived again, only in a way that won’t pass away. My apologies for the longest comment ever–an afternoon spent rocking a colicky baby has upped the emotions in this house!

  9. This post almost made me cry. I miss DC so much too. Especially at this time of the year. Let’s have a reunion sometime. Hope you guys are doing well, and happy Earth Day!

  10. Pingback: things that make me happy…cont’d | Life of Jill

  11. Mae

    I love seeing lots of pictures of Samson! There’s always a ton of Eleanor (which I love too) but never enough of your little guy.

  12. Your pictures are absolutely stunning!
    I love Cherry Blossoms – my dream is to see them in Japan some day.

  13. Oh. my. goodness. Those magnolias are gorgeous! And I’m from Georgia – the magnolia is practically our state flower (it’s not, no need to look it up : ) ) But seriously, I’ve never seen magnolias THAT beautiful.

    P.S. I almost sit-com style spewed my coffee everywhere when I read “And Samson tried to eat a stick.” Ha, so priceless.



  14. oh i love tulip magnolias… i had a big one growing beside the house i lived in during my undergrad days at berkeley. seeing them always makes me nostalgic!! i totally get you on your homesickness for DC. but you’re right — it is a blessing to be where you are with your two little lovies. :) xoxo

  15. jen

    oh my goodness, these pictures are beautiful!! samson is just adorable and reminds me so much of my boy when he was that age. we are considering moving to dc the end of the year and i’m hesitant because i know no one there and it doesn’t feel like “home” but when i read how you guys love it i think maybe there is a side to dc i don’t yet know!

  16. What an adorable picture of you and Sampson!

  17. Carie

    Such beautiful photos and gorgeous trees. Our neighbours have a magnolia in their garden right up against the fence and I love watching it bloom; a true herald of spring (at long last)!

  18. Ariel

    Samson looks BLONDE in the close up photo of the two of you! haha Beautiful photos :)

  19. Tilly

    Your family is so cute!! I live in Torquay, Victoria and we don’t have any of these beautiful trees :( Would love to see one in real life. They are amazing, just like your kiddo’s! Eleanor and Samson are so sweet. I love Samson’s smile. It brightens my day :) His jumper is so cute with it’s little hood. Would you be able to let me know were you bought it? Thanks heaps Naomi. xx

  20. Jo

    I love you’re pictures so much! I live far away from you, because I’m from Poland but I love to watch them and enjoy them :) You’ve got a cute family, Naomi. Hope I will have children one day (sooner or later) :) Best wishes! Joanna

  21. I really loved this post. Your pictures are just gorgeous and it makes me nostalgic for home, too. I was born in DC, grew up in MD, and moved to Germany three years ago. Our spring is coming, albeit much more slowly, but I’m sure our magnolia trees will start blooming soon. There’s a cherry tree on the end of our street that’s blossoming right now and it makes me feel at home.

    It’s sometimes hard to realize it when we’re in the middle of life, but each place we’re in has some sort of beauty. Perhaps there will even be a day where you long for life in NYC like it is in this moment, just the same way you feel for DC right now. I’m trying to conceive after losing my first pregnancy and I am trying to remind myself of that very thing, to really appreciate this time pre-kids and enjoy it for what it is.

    This quote has been on my mind recently: “Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life!” –Omar Khayyam

  22. NYC was so beautiful this weekend! Look at Samson’s hair! I just love it. Great photos.

  23. Marilou

    Gorgeous pictures as always! So jealous of the beautiful weather and flowers…spring is taking it’s sweet ol’ time to get here in Montréal. It’s sunny, but still a bit cold:) We are going to New York in a month…just can’t wait!



  24. esther.

    Beautiful! I never saw tulip magnolias (or I don’t remember seeing them) before I went to college in Charlottesville. A gorgeous reminder of spring and new life.

  25. Alice

    This just melts my heart. The blossoms are beautiful- it looks like you had such a wonderful time. I also love that Samson tried to eat a stick- hilarious! x

  26. Shannon Merrell

    It’s like a dream!! So very beautiful.
    And Samson is a champion for trying to get that stick! haha.

  27. DC misses your sweet family too :)

  28. Great photos! I am one of those people who has to stay on a strict allergy regiment to be able to enjoy this type of beauty. It’s totally worth a couple of sneezing fits.

  29. Meg

    you’re photography in this absolutely beautiful. I’ve only ever experienced the butchered magnolia tree in my neighbour’s front yard and it does not compare at all. Thanks, from Aus, Meg

  30. ErinnT

    oh my gosh. please tell me where i can buy samson’s red nike’s?

    they are just incredible!! and so is that little boy in them ;)

  31. Daisy

    Those trees are incredible! Magnolia trees are one of my favorite. Those flowers!

    What a beautiful day at the park :)

  32. chelsea

    Magnolias hold such a dear and special place in my heart as well and these pictures so wonderfully capture a magic moment for your family despite the allergies.

    Haute Child in the City

  33. Carrie

    You should head over to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. You can check the status of their cherry blossoms on their web-site – should be popping this week I think. I also really like Wave Hill in the Bronx.
    Both places are great because there is no dog poo or broken glass – like the public parks.

  34. Alma

    LOVE your little guys Gap jeans. Lovely photos!

  35. Alondra

    Such an adorable post! Loved the pictures and your blog!! :)

  36. Mónica

    The truth is that they are lovely as your children and photos. Kisses and happy last Wednesday morning Friday.

  37. Danielle

    I cannot believe how big Samson is..he’s a little boy, no more baby face! I can’t believe how big he’s grown in such (what seems like) a short amount of time!

    Your babies are beautiful!

  38. Sofia

    how beautiful! Indeed such beauty!

  39. Mun

    It’s the perfect setting for a few family photos. I know people say this to you all the time but you guys are officially my favourite blog family now ;P

  40. Pingback: Magnolias and blooming things | EZRA ZOE

  41. eli

    funny, we saw you guys truckin through our ‘hood (DUMBO) last Saturday (I think ?) . as you walked past, I thought “damn, they are on the move !!” and you were ! what a busy day you had. glad you got to wind down under that beautiful tree. life’s all about those moments, right ?

  42. Absolutely stunning pics! You have a beautiful family!

  43. cristina

    Oh my gosh. This is my first time commenting on your blog– but, I could not resist in saying, these photographs are breath-takingly gorgeous. I adore you and your sweetest of sweets little ole’ family. I live in Manhattan as well, and truly admire you to an incredibly inexplicable extent! You truly are quite a rare gem and a sweetheart of a wonderful mother.

  44. Tessa

    Your husband and baby boy have the same goofy smile. So cute!

  45. Cait