Monday, July 8, 2013

Family Picture Outtakes

So while we got a number of family pictures that we liked, we also got some super awkward photos. Because our photographer was awkward and quiet and dull Madelynn would not smile. The only thing the photographer tried to do to make her smile was hold a flower in front of her face and then pull it away. Madelynn looked at her, but looked at her like she was a weirdo, not like she was funny or nice or enjoyable or anything that would make you smile. Because of that we got some seriously awkward faces from Madelynn. Our photographer also didn't quite seem to understand that large gaps between people in photos does not look nice and that awkwardly placed chairs and straight legs do not look nice either. I hesitate to share these horrible photos of us, but they are just to amazingly awkward and bad to keep to myself. Enjoy our reject photos.
We call this one the creeper with an awkward chair in the way

Creeper the second

This one is called baby does not want to look at the boring  photographer and is done with this whole picture thing.

This one has a big gap and a baby face that looks like she smelled something stinky and she is bored.

This is one of the most awkwardly posed photos ever.... We could feel how awkward it would look  while sitting there. Big gap between us? Check. Awkwardly straight legs? Check. Baby who is staring down the photographer? Check. Super awkward triple hand hold? Check and check.

Oh the faces. None of us were ready for this shot.

Family Pictures 2013

So we have been talking about having family pictures taken for over a year. We are slackers. The last time we had family pictures taken Madelynn was like 2 months old, now she is 20 months old. So I really wanted some cute family pictures but since I moved away from my go to photographers I didn't know what to do. I looked around on the interned to find someone affordable, but the cheapest I found was $150 and that did not include any prints or the images on a disc either. So.....we went to a studio called Portrait Innovations. I become a rage monster when thinking about family pictures. I want our pictures to turn out a certain way and I want our outfits to be perfect and my hair and makeup to be perfect and not have any zits at the time and I want to be 20 lbs lighter. What I really want is for the photographer to make my face and hair look flawless and my body to look skinny. When I realize the camera doesn't do that and that only Photoshop does I get slightly depressed and then decide not to take pictures. So this time when we decided we were for sure going to do it, I booked the appointment so there was no turning back. Then I became a crazy person trying to plan coordinating outfits for the photos. I was basing my color theme off of one of Madelynn's beautiful dresses that we absolutely love. I was going to pull the colors peach and cream out of the dress. I had mine and Madelynn's outfits down, but couldn't find a shirt for McKay that coordinated. So I being the family picture rage monster that I am, made McKay go to multiple stores with my trying to find a shirt that would match that would fit in our budget of about zero dollars. We are in grad school and don't really have money to buy a cream or peach shirt just because I want one for a 30 minute photo session, so I got cranky, we stopped shopping and went home and I sulked on the couch for a little bit. Then I was looking at pictures that we already have up on the wall and saw one that we were all wearing our Wisconsin garb and decided that would be perfect. We also put on come tan and white for good measure. These are not my favorite pictures of us in the whole entire world since our photographer was really timid and boring and could not make Madelynn smile to save her life, and the camera did not magically make me look flawless and skinny, but they caught enough photos that I like to make it worth our while. Here are the ones that we like.

4th of July Festivities

This year for the 4th of July we decided to do something out of the ordinary. Basically every single Fourth of July of both of our lives have revolved around the Provo Freedom Festival and our families who both live in the area. Since we've been married we have always had two family parties to be able to attend on the 4th and this year since we are all by our lonesome across the country from our families we decided to have our own Fourth of July party.

Our ward had a potluck brunch at an awesome park with a splash pad in the morning and then we had our party in the evening in our garage and front yard. I know a garage and front yard sounds kind of lame, but I tried my hardest to have it be the opposite of that. My mom sent me a box with patriotic decor and napkins from the dollar store which I used along with some bunting that I made to decorate our garage. We set up grill on our front walkway and then let the kids play on the hill to the side of our house. It ended up being really fun and festive.

We had lots of friends over and had so much good food! It was really funny to watch all of the men congregate around the grills. I don't know what it is about the grill, maybe it has a man magnet secretly installed, but I chuckled every time I looked over and saw them all just circled around it. The kids had lots of fun running up and down the hill and playing with chalk and bubbles and the girls had fun watching the kids and chatting. Then we brought out the pinata.

So I got the super great idea to make my own star shaped pinata. I read that you could make them out of cardboard, so I used 2 empty cereal boxes, masking tape and tissue paper and made one. I was really worried it would not be strong enough and thought about wrapping it up with some layers of paper mache so that it would be stronger. I ultimately decided against that because I did not trust Madelynn around what could potentially become a huge mess. I was really worried that the pinata would break before all the kids got a turn to hit it. It turns out my fears were completely unfounded. Cereal boxes are strong! Not only did the pinata last through all of the kids, it lasted through all the adults too! I am so glad it turned out overly strong because watching every single adult take a turn at the pinata was the highlight of the evening. Watching your friends try and hit a pinata blindfolded while it fights back is soooooooo funny. McKay had a blast continuing the Young family tradition of a pinata that fights back. He used a mop handle to push it around and make it more difficult to hit, which made things so much fun. I highly recommend using an ultra strong pinata at your next party and making the adults get involved.

Once it got dark we had lots of popper and sparklers for the kids. It turns out that basically all fireworks are banned in Madison and the only things you can buy are sparklers, poppers and those party confetti poppers.  However, McKay and I also found a couple of small fireworks at a road side stand about and hour away from our house and a couple more at a Walmart outside of town. Luckily for us, our friends Tracey and Steve had recently taken a trip to Arizona and bought a bunch of really awesome fireworks in New Mexico on their way home. They were the legit fireworks that shoot up into the air and are big and loud and beautiful. I was a little bit nervous that the cops would show up and give us a fine, but they didn't, so their fireworks ended up being the perfect finale to a super fun evening. Thanks to all of our wonderful friends who came and made it a night to remember and then helped us clean up after! You guys are awesome!

Upper Wisconsin Dells

Our Family in the Upper Wisconsin Dells
Last week we decided to take advantage of a Wisconsin resident discount and took a boat tour of the Upper Wisconsin Dells. I don't know what I was expecting, but we were blown away by how beautiful it is up there. I am not talking about the city and the amusement parks and all the tacky tourist shops, I am talking about the actual Dells that drew people there in the first place. The water in the Wisconsin River is a little bit brown for my taste but the scenery was stunning. The tour ended up being just a bit longer than two hours. I was worried Madelynn would not last that long having to sit relatively still on a boat. But luckily the weather was not too hot and there was a lot to see. We also got to get off the boat at two different places.
This was the boat we took our tour on. We got to sit in the second row on the top.
The first place we got off the boat was a slot canyon which was called witches gulch (Gulch Creek) and was probably my favorite part. There was a thin wooden walkway that is suspended a few feet above the river and winds all the way up the canyon. It was seriously beautiful and nice and cool at about 10 degrees cooler than out on the river. It reminded me of a smaller, greener version of the Narrows at Zion which I also love. The other spot we were able to get off was a place called Stand Rock where they have German Shepherds and in our case, the dogs trainers, jumping from the edge of a cliff over to freestanding rock tower about 5 feet away.
This is Stand Rock, where the dogs and trainers jump to.
This is the entrance to Witches Gulch
They had the tour set up to be a money trap, but If you ignore all the concession stands and the souvenir books and photo's it was not too bad. We learned a lot of interesting history and heard some funny and cheesy jokes and stories, got some fresh air, saw some gorgeous scenery and all in all had a wonderful time.