Friday, December 24, 2010

The big things

Being the mother of two very small boys is a bit overwhelming at times. Tantrums, colic, illness (mine and theirs). Poop. POOP, people. And not just a little poop. Like, poop running down my shirt and smeared all over the bathroom floor (sorry, I should have warned you that was coming).

To be honest, the poop episode didn't gross me out as much as you probably think it did. And when I look back at all of the things that sound terrible it was such a small moment and usually turns out to be a really really good story I will use later in life to gross out girls I don't want them dating. I am learning that the hard things in parenting are often the small things in parenting. The big things: the hugs, the kisses, reading stories in the rocking chair, tickling baby and rolling him around, running through the house with can opener swords, the first time Franky said "wuv you" unprovoked. Those are the big things. And they outweigh the bad/hard things a million to one.

I will try and remind myself of this during our next poop explosion.

Anyways, posting has been a little sparse lately but after the holidays I'll try and get back into the swing of things. I've got pictures to post and stories to tell so stay tuned. And please, for the love of pete, have a merry Christmas, won't you?

love, ali

Thursday, December 9, 2010

November 2010

Dear baby boys,

I wonder how long I will be able to keep addressing you as such. Will I be writing the letter of your 16th birthday and still see you as chubby, toothless toddlers slamming the door to your stinky teenager rooms when I sweetly tell you there’s no way I’m letting you anywhere near my car? Probably.

November 2010 was good to us in many ways. Obviously we celebrated Thanksgiving, the official kick-off to the holiday season. We spent the day with the Sumsion side of the fam at Aunt Jills new house. It was delicious and full of good cousinly fun. Then naps.

But November was also a time of much sickness. I can’t remember the last time when one of the four of us wasn’t sick. We’ve experienced all varieties: stomach bugs, fevers, coughs, etc. I guess I should include teething in this. Drew has yet to pop another besides his two front bottoms, but they are on their way.

Oh Drew, I really can’t complain. You are sweet and cuddly and desperate to get moving so you can chase your big brother. You have been rolling over a ton these past few weeks but when you end up on your tummy you can only handle it for a small amount of time. You’re still working on rolling from tummy to back and you usually accomplish this task by screaming loudly so I will come running and do it for you.

I always get compliments on how chill of a baby you are at family parties and big get togethers. But want to know a little secret? This is because you love a crowd. You love to be entertained and have people to watch. And truth be told, sometimes me and big brother just aren’t enough. You demand a change of scenery often. And heaven forbid I need to leave you alone for a moment. But that’s alright. I adore you and am more than eager to acquiesce, even if it is exhausting sometimes.

We are still working on the naps though. Once you are up for the day YOU ARE UP FOR THE DAY. You take little cat naps here and there, with the occasional two hour stint, complete with me sneaking in every ten minutes after half an hour to make sure you are still alive. Your brother was the king of long, daytime naps and didn’t sleep through the night until he was eight months old. You, my friend, have been letting me enjoy nearly eleven uninterrupted hours from the time you were four months old. I thank you for that. As does my energy level.

Ah Franky boy. You really are a little man now. I notice each night as I slather your legs and arms with Eucerine cream to combat your ever persistant exzema. Your baby fat is all but gone. Your legs are long and leans and your belly is no longer round but flat. Your feet stink when you don’t wear socks with your shoes and you require a bath at least every other day now.

Speaking of excema you know how to say this word and ask me about it as I lather you up each night and morning. Every day I am shocked by the things coming out of your mouth, but in a good way. You can communicate just about anything at this point although sometimes you need me to translate your mispronunciations to others.

But you are still my baby. I rock you each night and read you stories. When you hurt yourself you still need your boo-boos kissed. And when you are sick we snuggle and you tell me “hold you!” (which is how you say “hold me”; I am never correcting this one, it is tooooooo cute).

You have finally started watching movies. I have a love/hate relationship with your fondness for them. On the one hand, when I really need to do something without your shadow I can plop you on my bed with the TV on, giving myself anywhere from ten to twenty minutes. On the other hand, anytime the TV is on you beg me to turn on either Shrek or Cars. It’s annoying. And I give in a lot. But most of the time I try and keep the TV off during the day. I really do make an effort to play with you and find other means of entertainment so you don’t become a giant couch potato.

This month just few by. I mean, they all do but wow. No one tells you that one of the side effects of pregnancy is that time speeds up ten fold. I am not ready to be the mother of two walking humans. So could you do me a solid and quit growing? I would really appreciate it.

All my love, mama

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Family pics

Wesley was one of the very first friends I made here in the Springs. I am always very suspicious of really good looking people and often unfairly question their ability to also be kind and compassionate (I think it stems from 6th grade - don't most complexes?). But luckily for me Wesley is just as sweet and genuine as she is gorgeous. As well as the rest of her family. See for yourself...












I learn something new every time I take pictures for someone. There are so many areas where my photography is weak but as long as I take each one as a learning experience that makes all the difference in the long run.

love, ali

Friday, December 3, 2010


Somehow I found myself at this site tonight. I read the story of this family and wept. And the most tragic part of all is that it's not a story. Someone is really living this nightmare.

I just had to share a quote from this father who is facing the loss of his son:

We have been asked so many times “what can we do for you?” Here is my answer: hold your little ones close. Tell them you love them. Make sure they know that they are the greatest thing in your life. You never know how quickly things can change.

I'm watching my babies sleep tonight. Breathing heavy and slow. Warm to the touch. Hearts beating steady. And I am so lucky. My boys are loved, fiercely and above all else. My heart is so full right now. Now go tell someone you love how much they mean to you. You never know when you might get another chance.

love, ali

Monday, November 29, 2010

More senior portraits

Here's some more of this beautiful girl...





I have been called to work with the youth in my church. The young women, to be specific. Initially I was so nervous to accept the calling. I had flashbacks to my days in the young women program, specifically instances where someone was trying to teach and I was sitting in the back with my friends giggling and talking and pretty much being a totally disrespectful punk. I have been pleasantly suprised by the amazing girls I have the pleasure of teaching and interacting with each week. They are smart and friendly and they accomplish amazing things. They give me hope for the future of this crazy world.

love, ali

Friday, November 26, 2010

Family pictures for another of my favs

This is my sister in law Jill and her darling family. Her daughter (pictured below) honestly saved my sanity this summer by being my one-day-a-week nanny for my little newborn baby. I would look forward to it all week. She would stay all day and cuddle the baby the entire time (minus feeding time) and often would entertain Franky too so I could take a nap clean the house and be super productive.

So glad you guys moved back to Utah!

love, ali

Friday, November 19, 2010



It doesn't feel like tooting my own horn when I can't resist (even as my contacts are killing me and it's nearly midnight) posting such a beautiful photo because, like I said, she makes it so easy.

love, ali

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The good man

Marriage. It's a lot of work. It's something every engaged couple has heard and not believed. It's something most everyone who's ever been married will tell you very very first. And many in the same breath will tell you how incredibly worthy the work is.

Like most of the things I consider sacred, I don't share a lot about my marriage on this blog. But I have written so much about my love for my children and maybe that has created the perception that there is just nothing left for my husband. Not so. It's just a whole different kind of love. It's resilient and forgiving. It's the rainbow after the storm and it is so worth it.

If I could give some advice to anyone who is thinking about choosing a man to spend the rest of their life with it would be this: marry a good man. Good to the core. Someone who values commitment. Someone who is kind and forgiving. Someone who is concerned with your happiness on a daily basis and is willing to compromise to make it happen.

That's it. It's not necessarily romantic in a traditional sense. But when the world around you is teeming with people who are taking their partners for granted and tearing apart their families for their own "happiness" because the world says they should, you will be so grateful that you chose the good guy rather than the ambitious guy or the hot guy.

But it doesn't hurt if he's also ambitious and hot.

Just saying.

love, ali

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What's the hap

It's almost midnight. The babies are sleeping soundly. And for the first time in a long time the hubby is sleeping as well. We have been going to bed later and later for weeks. Most night I don't get to bed until almost 1 am. But I can't help it! I have become so productive at night. I do the dishes and organize and blog apparently. I just feel so full of life. But come morning I am regretting my nightly productivity. The baby has been waking up at 6:3o to nurse. And as I've explained before, it is possible to do so while lying in bed. But it's not very restful. And by 7:30 he is ready to get up and play. Luckily Franky is still sleeping in until about 8 or so. I wish they could both get on that schedule.

But here's what I've been up to lately:

Making baby blankets for one of my many pregnant friends. This one is for my Washgington friend who I'm pretty sure she doesn't read my blog. But just in case, HI MELISSA!

Drewy cut his first tooth about a week ago and now he's working on number two. That's the tooth, not the bowel movement. Although, he might be working on one of those too. You never know... anyway, it's been rough but it looks like we're almost over the worst of this particular wave.

Playdates playdates and more playdates. Franky asks every day now if his friends are coming over. It's so cute. I am lucky to have so many friends within walking distance who have kids Franky's age. As you can see we are the lazy playdate hosts with our main attractions consisting of sitting on the couch drinking milk and watching Shrek.

Took a couple of senior portraits for this beautiful girl today. When I take someone's portrait one of my main goals is to make them look fantastic and with her this is very easy. We only took a couple of pics because the weather was crummy but we are going to try and get together again later this week. So look for more to come.

Well, I'm gonna take off and maybe, just maybe crawl into bed before midnight tonight. Wish me luck.

love, ali

Friday, November 12, 2010

Jeff and Nicole's family pics

I tried to narrow down my favorites but it was too hard

Every time I am asked to take photos for someone I feel more and more comfortable behind the lens and the results get better and better. But I know I can improve. Would I call myself a photographer? No. Do I think I will ever do this for a career? Probably not. But it's a fun hobby. And who wouldn't love to get paid to do their favorite hobby?

love, ali

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Family pictures for one of my favs

I've got a ton of photos to edit from today's session but here is a sneak peek:


Love this family! They crack me up. Can't wait to post the rest...

Love, ali

Friday, November 5, 2010

A cute day

There aren't many days that I feel cute because, lets face it, my job requires a lot of sleepless nights and no dress code. And in case you were confused (as many of you probably were), pajamas is not my dress code. But a cute newish shirt and a fresh haircut can sometimes prompt a person to get ready for the day. And sometimes even post a picture of them selves without makeup with barely any makeup.

I've got a twenty dollar bill
that says no one's ever seen you without makeup
You're always made up
And I'm sick of your a tattoos
and the way you always criticize the Smiths
and Morrissey
And I know that you're a sucker for anything acoustic
and when I say "lets keep in touch"
I hope you know I mean I wish that you'd grow up
This is the first song for your mixtape
And it's short just like your temper
but somewhat golden like the afternoons
we used to spend before you got too cool.

-Brand New, Mixtape

love, alpal

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sicky babes

Franky watching Sesame Street in his PJ's this afternoon

It all started last night. My cute little cousin called to invite us over for family home evening. They live just a couple of minutes away. We were early and they were still eating dinner so we hung out in the living room watching The Great Pumpkin. Franky kept saying his tummy hurt but we didn't think too much about it because he was still playing. But suddenly there was puke flying through the air, hitting the leather couch and soaking the carpet (and Zach). I don't think there's anything grosser than cleaning up your kids' puke except maybe cleaning up someone elses kids puke (sorry Wende!).

I'll spare you the details but lets just say the remainder of our evening consisted of a lot of cleaning, consoling, baths and laundry because apparently asking him to throw up in a bowl or a bucket was super offensive.

And then the baby started throwing up.

That's when I officially resigned.

Just kidding. It wasn't as bad as it could have been because Zach and I still have our agreement. But he had to be up early to get to work at seven so I stayed up with Franky. We laid on the couch and practiced running over to the tile when his tummy started hurting. Then we watched Shrek and snuggled. Eventually his tummy ache subsided and we just basked in the gloriousness of non-puking.

My favorite part of the night (if I'm trying to look at the bright side) was at 2:30 am when we got to the end of Shrek and there's that scene where everyone is dancing and singing. Franky was almost asleep and delirious with fever but as soon as that song started he immediately stood up on the couch and started to dance.

I sure do love that kid.

Love, ali

October 2010: Dear kids


Dear babies,

It is October of 2010. You, my lovely boys, are five months old (Drewy) and twenty-five months (Franky boy) and life is just flying by all too quickly.

When Franky was born I started writing him letters every month. I was hardcore and religiously chronicled his life: every first, every accomplishment, every emotion I experienced as I watched him grow. I had nearly a years worth of letters.

And then our harddrive crashed and I lost all but the first letter (thanks to this very blog). Those letters are irreplaceable and I will never get them back. It was a horribly traumatic experience and I even shed a few tears. But the point is that after the loss, like an idiot I stopped my monthly letters. I could kick myself even now for not carrying on.

But I am here now, over a year later, to redeem myself from my careless ways and give your life the narrative it deserves. When I first started writing I told Franky that I wanted him to know he was loved from the start and that certainly has not changed. And now baby Drew has come into our family and he has expanded that love.

So I’m not going to lie, kids. Two babies is a lot of work. I sat in on a lesson on Sunday with our young women where we were asked to add up all of the “free time” we have during the week. I think the object of the lesson was to show how much time we really do have that is at our discretion but it actually had the opposite effect for me. I get about two hours each night after you are in bed and occasionally an hour in the afternoon if the sun aligns with twelve different stars sending a hidden message to the angels of motherly mercy and you both nap at the same time.

In fact, at this precise moment Franky has been in his bed for about twenty minutes (hopefully asleep) and I am sitting in the living room listening to Drew cry and grumble his way to sleep. Obviously we are still working on naps with the smallish one.

The smallish one. Not so small anymore. You, my baby boy, are growing at a much more accelerated rate than your brother. One of the glorious things about having two babies of the same gender is getting to pull out all of the hand-me-downs. There are sweet memories attached to each outfit. But I’m realizing more and more that Franky was so much smaller than you.

I’m so sorry to compare. I hope comparisons to your brother do not become the bane of your existence. But we can only see the world as far as our perspective and experience allows. And in the mothering department Franky is all I know.

You adore your big brother. If he throws any attention your way you are all smiles. He runs across the living room and you laugh your head off.

You have also become a big fan of your dad. It was a little touchy there for a while because you were quite the mama’s boy (aren’t all nursing babies?). But not anymore. You light up when he gets home from work. And there have been times when he is the only one who could get you to sleep at night.

You have started eating solid food the last week or so and now you are pretty much hooked. Hopefully this will make it easier to leave you with sitters. You are not the kind of baby who is easy to take to a restaurant. You are pretty demanding and like to be held and/or entertained about eighty percent of the time. The other twenty percent you are content to sit and watch. But I still love you one hundred percent and beyond.

Franky Franky Franky. You are a stark medley of opposites. Jubilance and despair. Cuddly and cold. Helpful and defiant. You swing back and forth all day long. It’s exhausting sometimes. But I’m learning some little tricks to help keep you steady.

You need to be exercised daily. You love to run and climb and pick up sticks and throw rocks. But you also need mental stimulation. You need to count and read a book five times in a row and build towers and sort thing into tupperware.. Basically the more I play with you the less of a crazy head you are.

I try and get you outside every day. We go and visit the horses a lot. You love horses. You also LOVE a good park. Sometimes when we get cabin fever we just drive around and find cool parks. We have become quite the park connoisseurs.

You amaze me everyday with the words you know. I don’t know if you are exceptionally smart but I can’t help the excitement when you communicate some random idea to me.

“Baby happy!” you say. And indeed, the baby was happy.

“Daddy golf,” you tell me each day as he leaves for work. Ha ha! In his dreams.

You are so sweet to your brother. It still blows my mind how tender you are with him. I know you guys are going to fight and he’s going to steal your toys and drive you bananas. But at this point in our lives, you are nothing but sweet to him. I honestly can not think of a single time you have hurt him (intentionally). You always make sure he is taken care of. If he is fussing and I have to run in the other room to get something and he starts to cry I tell you “talk to your brother so he doesn’t cry.” I can hear you in the other room saying “It’s okay baby” and making funny noises so he will laugh. I hope you will always take care of your brother.

Halloween this year was good times. Last year Franky, you were still too little to really get it. But this year daddy took you trick-or-treating. I want you to know, that the whole Halloween thing was all your dad. He spent weeks and weeks leading up to Halloween recording Halloween shows for you to watch and telling you over and over again about how you tell people trick-or-treat and they give you candy. By the time the holiday rolled around you were ready. I think this holiday is just going to get more and more fun as you get older.

Well babies, life is good. What can I say? I thank God every night that I get to be your Mommy. That is not an exaggeration.

All my love,


Monday, November 1, 2010

Guest post from Zach

Let me set the stage.

Ali and I have taken the kids over to my sister’s house for a fun Saturday afternoon. The girls and the babe are going shopping, while the men and Frank stay and watch football. And by that I mean, Jeff and I disappear into the man cave while Frank runs a muck on the house. I’ll admit, I often adhere to the parenting philosophy of “It’s easier to just clean it up later than it is to stop him from doing it”. But on this particular day I was even more permissible than usual because I had just played football for two hours (and that was not a check my out-of-shape body was equipped to cash).

So as Jeff and I become immersed in the day’s games, Frank fluidly moves from room to room. On one of his visits to the man cave, he has a Ziplock bag of cereal (or "tu-doh" if we are speaking in Franky language). Certainly not an unusual occurrence, as mama regularly packs him such a snack. It appears he has emptied the contents of this one, so he hands me the bag of crumb remnants.

Flash forward as we revisit this experience with some hindsight.

The pantry is destroyed. Boxes of cereal are toppled. Snacks overturned. And yes, a box of Ziplock bags lie nearby. As these clues unite, the truth is revealed. My two-year old son had went into the pantry, found the Ziplock bags, filled one with cereal, and then sauntered on downstairs with the men, casually snacking on his inconspicuous treat.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Do you know this guy?

Um.... he's sleeping in my bed right now. TMI?

Happy Halloween folks!

love, ali