Would You Believe?

This room had been spotless ten minutes before this picture was taken.
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Ember, sweet girl, has been giving kisses all the time to everyone and each time she does the “mmmuaah!” sound and it just melts my heart SO MUCH! She is so darn cute!! Yesterday she was into EVERYTHING and driving me nuts! Today I trapped her in the front room with us (the room we use for school) and it was AWESOME! Her destruction was limited to our schoolbooks and her toys and papers on my desk. Which isn’t my favorite but is better than her getting into dangerous or gross things in the rest of the house (hello garbage can, toilet, crumbs from off the floor or seats, etc!)
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Gotta run to get Brooklyn from school but am happy I posted today! Yay me.

Destructive Baby, Raw Images, Picture Printing

Ember’s middle name should have been mischief.
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My goodness this girl is into everything! I’ve spent hours babyproofing my house this past week. I’m shocked at how much she can get to. I’m basically emptying out all the front rooms. My bedroom is piled high with stuff waiting to be stored in my closet.
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If she’s not making messes or ruining my stuff there are a few other favorite activities:
-keep mommy up all night
-cry to be held
-cry to be nursed
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I tried out shooting in RAW today (I’ve never shot RAW before) to see how easy it is to fix white balance in camera raw.
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To take two seconds to fix white balance is nice.
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The last thing I wanted to share is a video I also stumbled upon this week that totally inspired me. It’s about printing out and doing something with some of your pictures.
Stacy Julian: Do something with some of your pictures.

All of the Things We Do Around Here

That Ember baby, she likes causing trouble in this house.
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Right around Payson’s third birthday (in June) he started leaving elephant at home when we went on errands. He stopped bringing elephant into the living room with him every morning. I noticed last week that it had been a good month since I’d seen Payson with elephant besides at bedtime (he still cuddles with elephant every night) so the other day when he brought elephant out into the living room to cuddle with while watching TV my heart melted and all those elephant memories (that had surprisingly quickly been forgotten) came rushing back. I’m so happy that this week he’s been taking elephant everywhere with him again. It’s just the cutest thing.
This morning he gave elephant a ride around the house in Brooklyn’s stroller.
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I bought a lot of Halloween craft supplies this year. I mean a LOT. Target’s dollar spot had a lot of stickers and foam shapes and glitter glue and pom poms and pipe cleaners and on and on. And then Hobby Lobby, and the dollar store, and WalMart… we had a lot of fun stuff this month! I haven’t taken pictures of any of it! Shame! Today I snapped some and was so proud of myself!
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From left to right is Brooklyn’s, Sierra’s, and Payson’s.
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There are about fifty other crafts around here. I can’t seem to make myself photography them though. Too many, too lazy.

A couple days ago the girls broke our swing. It’s really old and I guess sitting out in the blazing sun all day isn’t very good for the fabric!
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I’m behind on laundry; Ember only owns two pairs of socks and both are dirty from our Utah vacation (nope, not done laundry since!) so I put her in tights with her sneakers so she could play outside.
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Payson and Ember really are great friends. She plays with him now and it’s just amazingly cute. They kiss each other a million times a day, too!! And Ember even puckers up her lips and does the “mwuah!” sound! It’s SO CUTE!
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Allan took the swing apart so we could get rid of it.
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The girls always look for the prettiest rocks out of our gravel and then keep them all in piles until Allan and I make them toss them back. They have a lot of fun doing this. Weirdos.
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Allan BBQ’d hamburgers for dinner. Yum.
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As if it wasn’t funny enough watching Ember in a onesie, tights and tennis shoes, she had dirt all over her tights and grass and twigs on her bum. It was adorable.
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I was there!
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The hamburgers were really good! Even Ember munched on a chunk of a patty.
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I told Allan tonight, if we’re not moving to Utah soon (and therefore needing to save money) we really should buy some patio furniture!
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Happens to me, can’t stand it.

I might stand at the counter
pen in hand,
eyes staring at a spot on the counter.
Every item of food on earth passes through my brain as I search, search, search
for something that’s not there.
A recipe,
an idea for a dinner,
another gluten-free, dairy-free meal.
Something good, something easy, something everyone will eat…
no, no it doesn’t exist. Not in plenty.

I have alerady written the three meals down that work for the family
and the rest of the week? The other 7 lunches and 4 dinners?
What then?

But I already know, I know there’s nothing left to write except what I always write. Two lunches, two dinners… extra shopping, planning, cooking.
So much work.

I hate it but I do it because I have no choice, there is no getting out of this task of being the mom to gluten/dairy allergy boy.

And then I walk into the kitchen the next day
after weeks of this planning, and preparing, shopping and cooking…
and in five seconds and with a handful of lucky charms every second of all of that work and effort is thrown away by a boy who climbed the pantry shelves
in search of a snack
seconds after a giant lunch.

The knowledge that all of my time/energy spent now so quickly wasted fills me as does the knowledge that in days I will have so much diarrhea to deal with and the rashes…
the screaming and flailing and desitin and hand washing
and it consumes me so much in that second
that my entire body feels like falling to the floor in utter sadness and self pity.

Oh boy, the Utah Trip

I was telling Allan last night that I can’t think of a creative title for this post. It was a disaster of a trip that left us wanting to crawl into bed and never see our children again. lol! And yet, as we knew then (during the trip), looking through the photos together last night we were both grinning from ear to ear and every moment we talked about was a happy memory.
How does that happen? Something SO stressful and chaotic is this blissful, happy memory?! And it had just happened the day before! haha!

There were happy moments, don’t get me wrong. But there were a lot of crappy moments. More crappy than happy. Our kids pulled against us at every turn.

Page, AZ on the way to Utah. We stopped here for dinner and I breastfed Ember in the parking lot. This is where Sierra fell and cut up her elbow really bad.
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Villa Maria apartments. The apartments Allan and I lived when we were first married (I was 19, he was 23) in 2002 and then in 2003 as well.
This is the second apartment in the complex we lived in :
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I wanted a picture with Brooklyn because this is the apartment where we spent all day every day alone together inside when she was itty bitty 🙂
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When Allan and I very very first moved there we lived in this next apartment, we had a huge storm when Brooklyn was a couple months old (and Allan’s mother was staying with us that week!) and the roof flew off and our entire apartment was flooded! A lot of our stuff was ruined including the majority of my highschool pictures! And there were a TON because I was very into photography all of my highschool life 🙁
That’s why we moved to the other apartment pictured above.
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Brooklyn loved that we were talking about her so much since she was the only baby I had then. She was hyper about it all and did a funny little dance on the stairs.
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I used to take walks with her. There’s this little grassy area I’d very occasionally sit in with her, too.
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It was weird to be back there 9 years later in the same place with such a different life. Walking around, remembering the kinds of things I used to think about with a now completely different set of thoughts/worries/goals was trippy.
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Next up is the apartment building I lived in when I met Allan. The very first time we met was at church one Sunday. He remembers it clearly, I vaguely remember it. My memory is of standing outside the Elder’s quorom (sp?) with my friend, Arjhana, looking at all the guys going into their class and this one guy was super hot and he said hi to us. (That was Allan) and I remember thinking he was WAY too old for me but he was HOT. haha! I was 18 and he was 23 and he was a very mature 23 and I was a very young 18 so the age difference really mattered right then. But I thought he was the cutest guy I’d ever laid eyes on in my life!

Allan remembers seeing a new girl (me, I’d just moved there that week) standing near the Elder’s quorom door and thinking she was really, really cute. He says he came up and said something like, “Good morning ladies, coming to Elder’s quorom today?” He said I was really quiet (I had major social anxiety back then!)

ANYWAY, this apartment, #9 is the second place and the most clear memory I have of meeting Allan and him meeting me.
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He came over with his younger brother, Kevin. They were part of our family home evening group (the best I can explain for nonmormons is it’s like a fellowship group of 10 young adults). So he walks in and I was smitten. Totally love at first sight for me. He and I have very different accounts of our first days of knowing each other but the similarities are that we both thought the other was extremely attractive. lol

Anyway, enough about that! Boring?

I moved a month later into my own apartment (I had been sharing a room with my friend, Arjhana) in the same building, #21.
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Allan lived in apartment #32 with a couple other guys and his younger brother Kevin.
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Since this is where we met and fell in love I took a picture of us together. Wish I’d used the timer and got a further back shot but the kids were crazy at this point and we needed to go. lol
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At BYU..
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Looking around.
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The breakfast where Payson spilled his orange juice. Before the spill, obviously 😉
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We’d already mostly decided on it but during this trip is became an ASAP necessity, to upgrade our car. We’re getting an SUV soon! Oh man am I sick of NO SPACE.
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Bridal Veil Falls:
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We weren’t able to walk over to the waterfall because a hiker had fallen and a huge rescue team was there blocking off the way. We watched them fly him out in a helicopter an hour later!
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Ember kept pulling off her socks. I got sick of putting them back on and pulling her pants neatly over them.
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Stopping at the Manti temple for lunch and just laying around together. Best time of the trip for sure!
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There were dandelions everywhere and all four kids loved them.
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Ember was watching the other kids blowing theirs and her little kips would pucker and blow so they finally gave her one and she immediately tasted it.
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Then she got really fussy so I fed her.
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Allan took this picture and I really love it.
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He took this too and I really like it, too.
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It was gorgeous there. These pictures are almost SOOC, all I did was warm them up because my white balance made them too blue. That flare, that night… heavenly!
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I guess I don’t have much to say about all these pictures but I like them.
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This was the day we drove to our house. Breakfast of champions.
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Rest stop where I fed Ember and the kids played.
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She loves sunglasses.
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And now I don’t think I’ll ever want to blog again! haha, vacation posts are too much work! I know looking back at this in a few months or next year will be fun though.

Last Pictures from the Arboretum!

Are these pictures from the arboretum getting old? I wasn’t going to post them since I’ve done three other arboretum posts but then I figured… why not??

That day was the first that the weather was reasonable. Reasonable weather makes me a more reasonable human being!

I’ve looked at this truck longingly every time we came but it’s in a fenced off place and I assumed it was off limits. For display only.
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And it very well may be but I noticed an opening in the fence this time and !! I took that as an open invitation! lol
And I also talked to the arboretum staff about photography and clients and they told me I could take as many pictures as I wanted of as many clients as I wanted and do whatever I wanted with the pictures. YAY!

So I had Ember dressed up all cute for the photoshoot but she had a major blowout in the car. Luckily I had a bunch of odds and end clothes around the car to dress her in. But I was bummed the adorable outfit she was in was dirty. I want to go back with Allan sometime with her dressed differently and take some of her again. Not for a while though, I’m a little photo shoot’d out!
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She is such a determined, brave little girl. She learned to walk around her birthday and every day since she pushes it more and more. She doesn’t let hills, dips, toys in her way, anything slow her down. She plunges on and sometimes that results in a fall…
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And occasionally she needs a cuddle but most of the time she’s right back up and off toddling again.
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Sierra picked out her outfit by the way. And was pretty excited when she got a soda. Photobucket

And the orange soda… *gag* I freaking hate that stuff but love the way it looks with her funky outfit. And Allan, he loves the stuff! He drank the one we had leftover. He said I should just try it and I smelled it and about puked. That stuff is so disgusting! (I’m totally in the minority and fine with it! haha)
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I love Sierra and Payson’s relationship when Brooklyn is at school. They are so cute together and Payson really flourishes with attention from her. They pretty much never fight at all and are really, really good together. It’s just awesome.
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It took a couple months but Sierra is really starting to become the best version of Sierra.
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She’s getting tons of quality attention and has stood up tall in her role as oldest while Brooklyn’s gone for 6 hours.
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I’ve always loved Sierra with all my heart (as I honestly do with all my kids equally, despite comments I may have received recently) but she was so neglected while we put so much energy into Brooklyn’s special needs and then Payson’s. She is sandwiched between such needy children and I often spent my evenings telling myself that the next day I needed to focus more on her. And sometimes I did but most of the time I didn’t. And that’s not to say I never gave her attention or anything, but in comparison she always got the short end of the stick.
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While taking pictures near the truck and this old aboriginal look alike house a group of ladies came around. They asked me to take their picture, which I did, and then asked if I wanted a picture with the kids. So I held my camera in my lap and set the exposure really quick, but knew it probably wouldn’t turn out because just then the sun was going in and out of the clouds like crazy.
Ember saw one of the women’s dog and bent down and started doing her animal noise. It’s the cutest thing. I’ll try to get it recorded this week to share because gosh, it is just CUTE!
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After the picture I talked to the women a little bit and then they left. Their dog went with them and Ember decided she would much rather be with the doggy than with her mom and siblings!
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I took this next one of the three kids before we moved on.
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I’ve had some giant lollipops for ages for photoshoots and never used them. Because they were about to expire I brought them along. I let Sierra and Payson have one while we walked around the rest of the arboretum.
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Watching my middle two kids together makes me feel really happy. Brooklyn and Sierra spend so much time together and have a really great bond which is great, but when Brooklyn’s home she is SO mean to Payson and purposefully ignores him and kicks him out of anything they’re doing. I try to make sure he’s not left out too much because I can see it in his face and body that it’s breaking his poor little heart (makes me so sad just sitting here thinking about it) so during the day to see that, without a word from me, Sierra moves into being Payson’s best friend… it’s a relief to my soul!
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As we walked out Payson pointed to this branch and said, “Look mommy, R for red car!”
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Old Apache Trail

There’s a road that drives along the Superstition Mountains.
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And in many places along that paved road there are small dirt roads leading off to a myriad of places.
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It’s on one of those small dirt roads that I turned one day last week.
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My original intent was to visit a new park.
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The park is called Prospector Park. It’s over by the Superstition Mountains.
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We did make it to the park in the end but the views from the road were calling to me first.
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I mean, look:
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These desert kids of mine had fun running around in the dirt and cactus together.
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Ember hung out safe from critters and pokies inside her stroller. Though at the end of our little adventure I let Brooklyn hold her for a few group shots.
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I’d apologize for posting so many but you all know I just can’t pick. It’s much easier to just post a ton than to decide which cute face to exclude.
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Ember got fussy because she can only handle so much of being held by her siblings so I took the rest of these while the kids were being silly (we played red rover) and holding Ember!
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Before getting back in the car they danced and jumped around.
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We went on our merry way towards the park again. But then I saw this cool fence and thought I’d just test it out for pictures.
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It’s easy to make Brooklyn laugh for pictures. You just tell a random joke and then she wants to tell a joke, and does, and then laughs hysterically at herself.
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And as she does every time she had to pull out this face-
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And some of my very favorites of her ever are the ones caught in between…
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She sat here and dug in the dirt. It was funny that she’s still so interested in stuff like that 🙂
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We started off towards the park yet again. And yet again I stopped just one more time. But this time it really was the last stop before the park!
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I talked to Sierra as she sat on the fence enjoying the cool breeze that October is finally gifting us with.
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Brooklyn had gotten out of the car and was wandering around. When she saw Sierra on the fence she couldn’t resist joining her.
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And Payson was ansty to have his turn out there as well!
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All in all it was maybe a twenty minute total detour. We all piled back in the car and five minutes later were at our real destination… we played at the park until it was time to head home to get ready for Brooklyn’s parent teacher conference that evening.
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Just a Couple More

It’s midnight. I had no idea it was getting so late! Allan was reading online and I was hanging some pictures I had printed today and boom, I’m going to be dead tomorrow 🙁
Since I already have these uploaded I’ll just post them. I have a million more from this trip but I have zeeeeero energy left for editing pictures. I get SO bored of editing pictures after the first couple.
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I printed this next one.
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I printed this next one, too.
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I adore this boy of mine. There’s a cute story about the word “adore” with me and Payson that I’ll have to share sometime. We tell each other we adore each other all the time 🙂
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I really love this one of Sierra. I want to go back and re edit her skin because I forgot to turn the opacity of the skin retouching layer down (she had orange soda allll over her face) but I still like it and probably won’t remember to post the re-edited version.
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I printed that one two posts down and it’s even cuter on my wall. I super love it!

I have a few more of Sierra and Payson together like this next photo. They’re smiling in one and it’s soooo cute! And then I have some with Ember in them as well. SO MANY! I love this location!
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Ugh, my brain hurts.

My Boy and a Truck

Payson is so freaking adorable! I’m sorry but I think I have such a good looking son. lol
Yesterday at the arboretum I was trying desperately to get him to smile naturally for me. I told him a lot of jokes and he was laughing and having the best time. I edited these first two just now and really like them. I have another one I’m working on right now that I’ll probably have printed for his room. He really loves these because there’s a cool truck in them!
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I do have one without his hand in front of his face. lol. Just haven’t edited it yet.

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