No words today, enjoy the photos! From Dallas, Texas.
London is a beautiful city and today as I walked around it, I realized I should share some helpful tidbits we've learned about how to be successful at taking your kids with you around London (or another big city). We've done it a few times now and it was a lot of fun, since we followed a few guidelines.
First, we make a rule in any city to not "do too much in one day." This could mean one thing for your family and another for ours, but to us, that means "two major sight seeing spots" per day. For example, one year in London we spent a day going to the National Gallery museum, then hit up a park for almost two hours, then walked around Buckingham Palace and the area around it. The kids had walked and been pretty good that far, so we called it a day and nobody was cranky or tired or overdone. Plus, usually on your way to the major sight seeing spots you see lots of cool little things.
Second, the City Walks for kids series is invaluable. These are a set of about 50 cards with ideas on where to walk and what to see with your kids, plus a map. They love sorting through and ranking what they are interested in, as well as using that little map to help us get around. Some days we allow them to pick 2 cards, others 3 because they are close to one another, and sometimes one :) Thanks to our friends Rebecca and Greg for this helpful tip, as well as the next one on the list.
Third, don't be afraid you are "wasting time" by seeking out playgrounds to get the wiggles out. Some of our kids' fondest memories are playing with little friends who speak all kinds of different languages, but still have a great time pretending and playing. In London there are several quite good ones but so far the best has been the Adventure Playground in Battersea Park. Even I had a tremendously fun time playing there.
Last, this one serves as a reminder for me: Suck it up and take some danged water bottles and a few snacks. A hangry kid equals a miserable family!
A few bonus "big hits" in London for kids:
The British Museum (they had an incredible mummy exhibit when we went
The Science Museum (had to rip them away from this one)
and the Natural History Museum (another huge hit with their check-out-able discovery kits.)
To confuse you, here are some pictures from Hong Kong.
We just completed a 3 day commercial shoot, which was a lot of fun and a ton of work. When work equals fun and fun equals work, does one ever get any sleep?
Images of this dear family from Springville, Utah.
Isabelle celebrated her 7th birthday with us on April 22nd. It was so much fun, she just loves her birthday (as most children do) and was in heaven all day long. She really wanted a few key things and got them, so she was so happy!
After a birthday lunch out at her favorite BBQ ribs place, we had a family party and enjoyed the company of cousins, uncles and aunts, and grandparents.
Isabelle is a loving, caring, spunky, muscly, funny little thing with a ton of wit and character built right in. We love her heaps and heaps! She may not be your typical graceful ballet dancer- but you'd never know it in these shots, I was so impressed. :)
For her 7th birthday shoot, she chose to be a ballerina in New York City. Here are the first batch of shots (the white ballerina). It was out of control cute.
Just a reminder that this weekend is the start of our Europe tour, see sidebar if you want to join in!
Photos from Perth, Australia.
Today we find ourselves in Sacramento for a giant commercial shoot. We are pretty excited to switch coasts and "enjoy" some 90 degree weather.
Sometimes we are asked the question, "How do you pack enough clothing options for such dramatic weather changes?"
I always have to think about whether I want to admit to this kind, inquisitive questioner that we are theoretically prepared for all kinds of weather, but in real life, no. For example, each of us has a really highly-rated rain jacket and rain pants, just in case. But, when it rains, are these items of clothing ever near us?
They are in the car when we are not, or not in the car when we are. Isn't this typical?
There was a two month period of time last summer when I weirdly kept both kids' swimsuits neatly folded in the bottom of my purse. It turned out to be a rather river/lake/pool-less summer and I took them out eventually. Only to check ourselves into a two week long streak of awesome hotel pools.
From Hong Kong.
Hello Friends! How was your weekend? Did you enjoy the outdoors? Did you laze around the house?
Did you eat 10 gigantic cookies per day like I did?* I had to. It was stress eating. With a giant thunder/rain/lightening storm threatening shoots for the second time in 3 days, we were a bit stressed. Giant cookies help relieve that stress (at least until you step on a scale (side parenthetical statement is, that cookies do not at all help relieve stress, don't try this at home)).
Images from Okinawa, Japan.
What happens when at 8pm in Central Park West, your kids decide to say a big friendly HELLO to each person who passes by:
8:01- Kids decide to say hello to everyone cheerily
8:02- Kids' mother is extremely embarrassed
8:03- Kids are squealing with delight that people are saying cheerful Hello, How Are You's back to them
8:05- Kids' mother stops being embarrassed- amusement begins
8:07- Kids make up a rule that they won't say hi to those on cell phones or with earbuds
8:14- Isaac declares that this is the most fun game ever
8:15- Isabelle declares that New Yorkers are the nicest people evar
8:16- A stranger stops kids to say thanks for saying hi, that Belle's sweater is so cute; stranger starts to walk away but steps back to clarify that Belle's sweater isn't all that is good about her, but she's sure Belle is smart and funny, too.
8:17- Old woman calls kids "crazy kids out too late"
8:25- Man stops children to say thanks for saying hello
8:26- Isaac repeats that this is the best game ever
8:28- Isaac again states the awesomeness of this game and says "it's a definite feel-good game"
8:29- we arrive at hotel, Belle is proud that "like, 50 people said Hi" back to her.
8:45- Isaac, getting ready for bed, reports that he "is proud of humanity."
This reminded me of a similar game the kids played in Tokyo.
Photos from... Tokyo! If you ever go, visit Showa Park. Gorgeous.
Did anybody else eat a gigantic oatmeal chocolate chip cookie for breakfast this morning? No?
From Sydney, Australia.
A favorite pastime of our kids' while driving is to listen to podcasts. There is one podcast, titled "Storynory" which they particularly love, in which each podcast covers a new fairytale or story that the kids enjoy adding to their internal story arsenal. Isabelle, for one, has told me that when she's bored and for whatever reason can't do what she'd like to be doing, she will tell herself the stories again in her mind. Of course this makes us very happy as parents, I'm not exactly sure why, but it brings me happiness to know that her brain is packed full of stories.
(Tangent: a few nights ago as we were driving into Manhattan, we put on a StoryNory of Rip Van Winkle. To be honest, I thought the narrator was a bit drab-voiced and I found my thoughts wandering off, but the kids were riveted. Conclusion: I'm simpler minded.)
I believe that one of these podcasts told the story of King Midas. Belle found the story fascinating yet unfortunate- to have all that gold, yet, to have everything you loved taken away because you turned it to gold by merely touching it? Terrible conundrum.
In my head I was thinking about how great the moral of this story is. Unfortunately for the kids, I'm always preaching about how money doesn't buy happiness, how greed can destroy, etc. So I was pleased to now add to my boring collection of lectures this lovely story.
I should have seen this coming, but Belle, ever too quick and crafty, commented, "Mom, I don't understand? If King Midas' wish for things to turn to gold to come true, why couldn't he also have wished for a pair of gloves that would turn things he didn't want gold back into normal?
That's what I call a Fail to Understand the Moral predicament.
About 2 hours outside of Colombo, Sri Lanka, there is an elephant orphanage. When you visit it, you can have the chance to witness the very special relationship between elephants and Sri Lankans. Countless elephants have been brought to this orphanage because of wounds from poachers, abandonment, or other types of unfortunate abuse, and they live together in what seems like a very peaceful, happy manner.
Seeing elephants in this way was so much more up close and personal than a zoo- you can see the hairs all over their bodies, the pupils of their eyes, their wrinkly tough skin. I loved every second and would recommend visiting Sri Lanka almost for this reason alone- but not quite because Sri Lanka has a lot to offer.
Clap your hands and jump for joy because we have even more elephant pictures than this... because elephants are awesome and cute in an adorable old man type of way.
(ps: due to some changes on the site, your rss readers may not have been noticing posts for a week or so. Hopefully that's all fixed now.)
We are in need of the following models for a May 14-16th shoot for an children's organic clothing company. The shoot will be on a beautiful farm in Ione, California (about 50 minutes out of Sacramento).
Several babies wearing around size 9 month clothes
A pregnant momma/woman model who can wear faux belly
Several children wearing size 4T or smaller
A few moms and dads too! We'd love to use actual families as "model families".
Shoot is scheduled for MAY. 14-16, you'll likely if you are interested, please write us and send photos of models to email@example.com!
Oh, and you know what makes me laugh? This picture a tour guide took of me bathing an elephant in Sri Lanka. The blurry hand! The sheepish expression! The fact that I am washing an elephant!
Here is a list of upcoming lite workshops for the rest of 2013 across the US- let us know if you are interested in attending! The lite class is a 2 hour group instruction for beginning DLSR use- very fun and extremely informative- its $165.
Kansas City- August 28th
St. Louis- August 30th
Chicago- September 5th
Detroit- September 12th
Philadelphia- September 23rd
Boston- September 30th
New York- October 10th
Washington D.C.- October 24th
Houston- November 5th
Phoenix- November 13th
Images from Perth, AU.
This past weekend, our family finished reading the entire Harry Potter series. Being the nerds we are, at least 3 out of 4 of us felt a bit like crying that it was over.
The kids couldn't quite seem to understand why Ms. J.K. Rowling would just... stop. Why stop writing such a great story? Isaac took it particularly hard. He suggested that perhaps Ms. JK should invite us over for lunch (we are a bit spoiled, we are invited to lunch at strangers' homes quite frequently, or, we invite ourselves over...) and, as Isaac put it, "we could eat and brainstorm and just talk about new plot."
Yeah, I do realize that there are a lot of kid-stories here lately, but.... what do you do.
From Brasilia, Brazil.
Sometimes while driving, Tyler or I will say some string of words like, "Numbers is math," and these weird words sound funny to us and so we will repeat them over and over while giggling loudly and have 15 minute long conversations about whether "Numbers is Math" is a better slogan on a t-shirt, or "Maths are numbers".
That's all. I just wanted you to know.
From Brasilia, Brazil.
Tonight Isaac had a little chat with our friend Reyna, who invited us over to stay with her family for a couple of days. They have a beautiful home and Isaac apparently really liked it's design.
"I really like your kitchen island, how it's here in the middle of the kitchen, you know? It's so nice," commented Isaac.
"Oh? Really?" replied Reyna.
"Yes," said Isaac, "I am definitely getting one of these in my house."
Isaac began to deeply think about his future.
"I can't wait to get married and be a father. I am going to SPOIL my children SO BAD. It is going to be SOOO FUN! We are going to have the most fun lives."
"You'll be a great father," encouraged Reyna.
"Yeah, well… I'm just a little worried, though," came 8 year old Isaac's reply. His brow was furrowed.
"Why are you worried?" asked Reyna.
"I'm worried because I don't know if the egg and sperm will work. You know, sometimes they don't work and that doesn't create a baby. It didn't work for my mom and dad, you know..."
Reyna at this point reports that she is absolutely dying. She's giggling inside and surprised at the turn of conversation. So as usual she makes a supportive comment.
"Well, aren't you glad it didn't work, though, Isaac? If it had, they wouldn't have needed to go find you! And you all wouldn't be together and don't you agree that you are glad your family is the way it is?"
Isaac readily agreed and happily ran off.
Kids. Oh, man.
Photos from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
"When I was a baby I looked like a sloth. I was even born with teeth."
From Sri Lanka. A tuk-tuk driving baby who does NOT look even remotely like a sloth.
Don't forget we are filling spots for our August goPro! The dates are August 23-24th and it's going to be in the Salt Lake City area. We are offering a ton of instruction and hands on photo shoots, and a party house to boot!
Please join us, and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need more info. Cost is $898 for the 2 day workshop and an additional $50 a night if you'd like to stay at the party house each night.
From Sri Lanka!
Doesn't it seem like there is always an annoying amount of spare change around your car? In our car it tends to pool up around the shifter and sometimes falls out the doors when opened. Embarrassing.
We started giving the kids the chance to help us clean out the car every once in a while and for payment, we give them all the change they find laying around the car. Sometimes this equals a big payout! Isaac and Izzy now have pouches full of US and foreign change.
Isaac loves to carry tons of coins around in his pockets. "In case I see a vending machine!" is his defense. And he is so good about buying little vending toys for his sister as well as himself. I find it equally adorable and annoying that whenever we see them he wants to buy another flimsy whatever-it-may-be out of the vending machine.
One day he was forced to come into a public ladies bathroom with Belle and I since the men's restroom looked extremely shady. Inside, he saw one of those "ladies feminine product" vending machines- and said in an irritated voice, "One time I put my quarters in the one that said "Napkin" and you know what? It wasn't a napkin that came out. It was like a sticker mixed with a mini diaper. What a waste. Why would anyone buy that!?"
I advised him to spend his quarters a bit more wisely....
Brisbane, Australia. Go there, go there now. It's made up of the prettiest forests combined with stunning beaches mixed in with super cheerful people.
Can't wait to go back.