Sunday, July 31, 2011

Beach Babies

It's now nearing the end of summer and we haven't really had and official beach trip (meaning that we haven't set out for the day specifically packed and dressed to spend time at the beach). But we have spent quite a lot of time there in hourly patches. If any of you have followed my photography blog, then you know what a busy summer I've had! I was blessed to second shoot for some wonderful photographers, as well as book several of my own big events. I have learned and grown so much, sewn some wild oats, and discovered my limits. My work took me to San Diego most of the time so Kevin and I tried to make a day of it, even if the "day" consisted of a couple of hours beyond my job for us to spend time together at the beach because my whole family absolutely loves it there. I hope to be able to have a real trip before summer's end, but until then, I guess we'll just be happy with an hour here and there, basking in the sunshine and rolling in the sand.
And if you're wondering why there aren't as many pictures of Anslie as there are of Zachary, it's not for lack of trying on my part! Anslie still does not like to have her picture taken, and Zac isn't fast enough to run away from me yet. :) I'll take what I can get!!!

Zachary's 1st Birthday

I can't believe my little baby is such a big boy now! Zachary turned 1 on June 12th and we were really lucky to be able to spend his birthday with family in Chicago. We threw a luau themed party complete with fruity drinks, kalua pork, Hawaiian music, and tiki torches! Connie did such an amazing job making the food and gathering all of the decorations and I think everyone, especially Zac, had a wonderful time at the party! The weather almost cooperated with us and we at least didn't get rained out. Fortunately our party-goers were good sports and made the best of an outdoor luau on a cloudy day. Zac and Anslie were completely spoiled with such generous gifts! I wish that one year olds could remember their birthday, because this was definitely a party I would never want to forget!

The Backyard

 When we first moved into our home a little over a year ago, our backyard was a shoulder-high wild wilderness of weeds. At some point Kevin attempted to brave it and try to kill some of those weeds with poison. It didn't affect them at all! So we knew we had to bring in the big guns and hire a professional. Our landscapers saved our backyard and also planted some beautiful sod. We loved having grass back there, and it was much better than those horrible weeds!

This summer we have been consumed with the upkeep of the yard and with getting a few small pieces of outdoor furniture to make it more comfortable. Our budget is limited so we have had to be a little handy and crafty. We found some great adirondack chairs at Home Depot that we assembled and stained ourselves. It's been nice having something other than grass or concrete to sit on.

The best part of having a nice backyard is the breezy summer evenings we spend out there together as a family. My kids LOVE to be outside! When the kids hear the back door open they make a bee line straight for it. We usually open up the french doors, as many as we can (we have 5 sets of them that lead to the back yard!!!) and let the breeze cool down the house right after dinner and the kids run around outside and entertain themselves with sidewalk chalk, making mud pies, or digging around in the flower bed. We play catch, chase the dog around, and of course, I LOVE taking snapshots of my kids being kids.

Although the upkeep can be overwhelming at times, I'm so grateful to have a little slice of outdoor heaven to raise my family in. And I am so excited to continue working, building, and refining our yard!


The Ruffner Family

Back in June we made a trip out to Chicago to visit Kevin's family. We had a BLAST while we were there and (I don't know why we've never done this before!!!) we even took a little time to do our own extended family portraits! It was really wonderful to be able to offer some beautiful pictures of my babies with their adoring grandparents and Aunt and Uncles to them and to have for ourselves. I'm sure it was a little comical watching me run back and forth between my camera on a tripod and the group, but it was worth every ounce of effort!!! Presenting: The Ruffner Family!