Thursday, September 22, 2011

ivy rae taylor

first things first: here is our debut movie of the cutest baby you'll lay eyes on:

yes, those dance moves really did happen.

we are so thrilled to have her here. luckily, i had quite the photo crew on hand to take photos so i will be sure to upload all the fun ones from the day as soon as i can compile them.

the birth itself went extremely well. the c section had no problems. she was pink, healthy and chubby- just like we wanted. vi was on cloud nine, cade was a proud papa and i was taking in all the little moments to enjoy our meeting as much as possible. we loved it. i know i was worried about having a c section- but things went so well this time and i felt prepared enough to truly relish the moment. when they brought ivy to our room we cuddled as she cooed all her thoughts to us. she was very loved in that room by all of her admirers.

a few hours after ivy was born, however, we learned that all her cooing was actually not a good sign. a nurse decided to take her in to do a few tests. as they wheeled her out of the room in her little crib, i figured she would be back in an hour or so. after three hours passed, we became antsy and cade went to find our little lovey. i was anxious to have her back in my arms! the tests, however, showed that she had a little bit of water on her lungs as a result of the c section and that she was struggling to keep her oxygen saturation up. with these results, they decided to keep her in the NICU. all of this, i figured, would be temporary so we waited to tell family and friends hoping that it would all blow over in a few hours. well... it didn't really "blow over" as planned. we soon learned that little ivy would be in the NICU for at least a few more days. i was crushed.

it took 3 or 4 visits to the NICU before i could finally do it without bawling. it is a tough place to love on your baby as the room is full of other babies who are struggling. with all my tubes and all of ivy's tubes, we were constantly tangled into one another when i would go to feed her and cuddle. i hadn't even imagined our hospital cuddle time to take place in the NICU- she seemed so healthy at first! the doctors thought that a baby with her size and health would be off the oxygen in no time so it was all a waiting game to see when ivy would finally adjust to life outside the womb.

we tried about a dozen times to take her off oxygen before they finally decided that she would just need to have it on for a while. i was anxious to get out of the NICU mostly because vi wasn't allowed in to visit. she would look through a window at ivy and would cry to see her sister. so tender- and so sad. after five, long days in the NICU, they agreed to send ivy home on oxygen and on a monitor. we readily agreed- i was so excited to FINALLY spend time with her and for vi to get some ivy time in as well.

we had the oxygen all set up at home and were ready to follow the doctor's orders. we thought we were set- and then suddenly, everything changed AGAIN. for starters, i got a TERRIBLE engorgement fever that left me all but useless for the first little while at home. i was looking forward to finally spending time with violet and ivy together but found that i could barely get out of bed. as soon as i started feeling better, ivy unexpectedly developed a fever as well. i was worried i had passed something to her- but my fever had come and gone with the engorgement issues. anyway, at 11 at night on tuesday, we spoke with a doctor who advised us to go to the ER immediately. we packed her up and headed out- again, thinking that we would go in, get treated and come home. wrong again! it became clear that as soon as we walked in, the gravity of the situation was truly felt. a fever in a newborn is a big deal- and they don't take that lightly. the doctors and nurses started all sorts of tests on her to find the problem. i know they needed to do the tests but i can honestly say that watching your child get hurt is one of the worst feelings in the entire world. i was a bawl baby. everything on that poor baby was sucked clean, poked, prodded and drained. i tried to be strong but when they said they needed a spinal tap, i had to take a walk and let cade handle that one alone. so sad.

after hours of gathering samples, they admitted ivy and i back into the hospital where we learned that we would be in the pediatric ward for the remainder or the week. so after just a short stint at home, ivy and i were back at the hospital hooked up to a zillion machines as they tried to find the source of the problems. we found out quickly that the fever had nothing to do with my fever from earlier. it seems that she was having other problems and it would just take time for all the cultures to come back. it was devastating to watch little ivy get treated- even if they did put her in the cutest little hospital gown you'd ever see. her situation seemed pretty bad at one point- they tried to administer a muscle test and little ivy didn't even have the strength to form a fist. so, we just kept pumping in antibiotics and relied on prayers to sort this thing out.

i am sure you can imagine the emotional wreck i was at this point. i missed violet terribly and we all just felt so useless! they had mentioned that ivy may have a rare virus but were still growing some cultures. upon hearing that, i began to worry that my house is full of some baby-hating viruses or something (remember violet's big scare?). they ran more tests and finally found out that she had rhino virus. all of this scare had nothing to do with her oxygen. it was just a strand of the cold that she probably caught in the hospital and couldn't fight off on her own. antibiotics, rest and time would cure this little one. and they did! she started to be more alert and stronger. we finally caught the fever and once it had been 24 hours since her last feverish temperature was taken, they released us!

i practically skipped out of the hospital with the wee one in my arms. sure, she is still on oxygen and will be for at least another month- but i had learned quickly that there are worse things that can happen to a baby. the oxygen suddenly didn't seem so bad! we can handle it! life at home is all-the-better after our extended hospital stays. ivy and violet are adjusting well. vi vacillates between extreme love and extreme jealousy on a moments notice- but overall i think she is handling all the change quite well. she is sure to check on baby "ibeeeee" all day and tell her "it's ok ibeee" whenever she starts to cry. i am already so excited for these sisters to have pals.

thanks to all who lent us their thoughts and prayers through all of these scares with ivy. throughout all of this, cade and i have been so touched by the generosity and love of good friends and family. truly, we love you.

and we love our little ibeeeee.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

here comes the babe

this pregnancy has been great. i really am blessed to have pretty easy pregnancies- i rarely get sick, i feel good most days and i am able to keep up with my 18 month old pretty well. my doctor is always commenting that i have fabulous pregnancies. the deliveries, however, are a whole other story.

with violet, we were advised that we would need to do a cesarean because i have a condition called cephalopelvic disproportion. the ultrasound was showing a very large head and my physical exams were proving my pelvis was too small for her to safely come. i didn't like the cesarean- honestly, i felt as though it distanced me from my baby for a moment. they pulled her from me and showed me her amazing little body, but it didn't sink in as reality for a few hours. it was a strange feeling. after the c section, the doctor told me that he believed i would never have a baby traditionally and that all my deliveries would be cesareans. that news was a blow to me. i had a desire to have children the way women have been having children since the beginning of time! why would i be such an exception- especially after having such easy pregnancies?

so, i changed doctors this pregnancy in hopes that the results would be different. at first, the ultrasounds were showing i had a 50% chance of being able to deliver. a few short weeks later, however, we learned that those chances were diminishing and that only a physical examination could prove it possible. some tests were done, ultrasounds were given and the results weren't good. another big baby- and still my small, angled pelvis. my new doctor, who is awesome, explained very gently to me that i am one of those lucky women to be born in this era. without cesareans, it is most likely true that i would not make it through the labor process. that both my babies and i would die were it not for a c section. he challenged me to look at a cesarean as a tool for me to have children- and not to discount this process in the least.

this news, as you can imagine, was not what i was wanting to hear- but it did bring peace. i get to have children! why would i ever be sad about how they come into my life? it is silly. i was feeling pity that i will probably never feel what a contraction feels like or experience that sensation of working so hard to push a child and have the reward placed in my sweaty arms. people think i am crazy for wanting that- but i looked at it as a rite of passage for me as a woman.

i no longer worry about the delivery. i am at peace with a cesarean and i know that this time i have prepared for it much better than i did last time. i don't anticipate the odd disconnect i felt last time at the delivery. with so many of my friends and family struggling with infertility issues, i realized that i am truly blessed to still be able to have my children.

so, with that said, we are headed into the hospital this thursday to meet our new, little girl and i honestly can't be more thrilled about it. i cannot wait to meet her after all this time we have spent together these last 9 months. wish us luck and we will keep you posted!

violet's summer

now that i am all caught up on our summer goings and comings, i think it is time to give an update on violet. here are a few things worth noting:

energizer bunny:

she has had quite the summer! she really is a ball of energy that is never ending. during the day, she will often put on a hat, grab her baby and run around the house shouting "go-go-go-go!" we spent the days we were home playing at the park, going on walks, playing with the neighbors and exploring nature. she and i have had such a great time together- we really are best buds.

whenever i would have to work or i would be tired or sore from pregnancy, vi would be bummed that we couldn't play like usual. sometimes she would bring me her shoes, sit on my lap and simply say, "go side" meaning she was ready to get outside and play.

chatty kathy:

she is quite the chatter box lately. saying more and more words everyday. cade and i are always surprised when she will all of a sudden call something by its name or ask for something using words we never knew she knew! she will tell me what she wants for breakfast (which is usually cereal or yogurt... she is working on the other words). she is always saying "shoot" when she drops something and "oh my gosh" when something is new- which aren't the best words for an 18 monther to know, but i guess i say them often enough for her to pick up on it. she expresses when she wants something and she'll ask to "see this." the other day, we could hear thunder outside and i was explaining that the clouds in the sky would crash together and make rain. she immediately found a box to stand on, scooted it to the window, looked out and while pointing said, "oh my gosh- i see it!"
i am always excited to hear what comes out of her mouth next. she is growing up way too fast!

sleep and "my bed":

she is still a fabulous sleeper. we put her down between 8 and 9 and she sleeps until 9 or 9:30 the next morning. i LOVE that she sleeps in. we have been trying to cut down on all the changes that are inevitable with a new baby by introducing some changes now. we decided to put her into a twin bed in another room so she can get used to a new space. she has really taken to her new bed. she will often gather her sippy and baby and crawl into bed on her own- all the while mumbling under her breath something about "my bed." the other morning, it was 10:00 and i still hadn't heard a peep from the room. i slowly opened the door just to check on her only to find her sitting up in bed reading a book. who knows how long she had been awake but she was content to stay in bed that morning and take it easy.


violet is loving that she can do things on her own. she no longer wants ANY help when she eats nor does she really want to eat anything at all. that is shaping up to be a great combo. she is always trying to do things on her own- like put on her shoes and put away her toys. now that she has her own room, she will often go in there to play and close the door. if i go to check on her, she quickly runs to the door to shut it in my face. this is HER space, i guess. no mommies allowed. i would be sad about all this independence, but there are too many treasured times where she will sink into my lap and want to cuddle. those times i remember that she is still my girl.


18 months also brought on nursery at church. now, she is finally old enough to go and play with the kids during church instead of being confined to our laps for three hours. she LOVES it. call me crazy, but when i drop her off somewhere new or leave her with people she doesn't know very well, i sometimes want her to be a little sad that i am leaving. but, no. she runs into nursery and doesn't look back.

that hair:

violet has always sported this awesome shag 'do. i think it is the cutest thing around- but sometimes, admittedly, it does leave her looking like an orphan. if we style it, the hair manages to stay cute but oftentimes vi will pull out the bows and ribbons and let it run wild.


some of her other loves right now are reading book after book after book, elmo, pretending to talk and text on the phone, taking care of babies, splashing, wrestling, and swinging on the swings. i love watching her take care of her babies. she will line them up on the couch and feed them all a bottle. then she will tickle their tummies while telling them to "sh-sh." she is going to be a great big sister.

big sister:

it is crazy to think that in a few short days, our life and relationship will change. it will no longer be just she and i at home and we won't have all our time together- just us. i have heard that a lot of women struggle with this feeling when they have their second child and i understand why. it is hard to imagine all the love you have for someone being divided and split. going from marriage to a baby is different in that your love for your children is a new love. my mom explained for me that there is always enough love for all your children- even though you think it can't grow, it does. it is truly a hard concept to imagine as i look at violet and feel SO much love for her. how could there possibly be MORE? i have faith that there is and i am thrilled to welcome a new little one into our home. i am also anxious to see our little baby turn into a big sister.

sanboynortay and our lil' cowgirl

every year, we try to go camping with the four boy besties (who call themselves "dawgs for life' or something like that....). anyway, for the past two years, our camping trips have turned into sleepovers instead- the boys aren't as excited about camping as the girls, i think. it is still a great time to get together for the sleepover and violet loves the company. we ate some dinner, chatted until 3 in the morning and giggled our way to bed. it was nice to get together- especially since jason is moving to peru for a while and we wanted to spend some time with him.

the boys decided they wanted to sleep in cade's man cave which left the gals cuddled all comfy in the bed.

the next morning, we headed to grantsville. allie has been inviting us out to her family ranch for MONTHS with promises that violet would be in heaven. we were all excited to finally make it happen and take a day trip.

allie turned out to be spot on when she said that violet would be in heaven. she loved every second of the ranch. first, she didn't hesitate to jump on "best friend," the miniature horse, and ride around all by herself. she didn't want any help and it quickly became apparent that she didn't need it. she would hold onto the saddle and bounce along like she had been born to do this. she even started to be brave enough to wave everytime she would pass by the group.

we took her off the horse a few times- but she insisted she get back on. i worry we have created a pony-craving monster. she is obsessed.

the andersons were so nice to let her ride all around. i think it was too cute for any of us to object.
the adults got a chance on the horses as well.

not me of course. not while i am looking like this...

after some horse time, the men jumped on the atvs and took off.

while we stayed back to chat and gab with allie's grandma- the owner of the ranch. she is a cutie.

violet loved this time to explore. she was rolling in the gravel, splashing in puddles and eating as many vanilla wafers as kylee would offer her. she only paused for a second (pictured above) to get some comfort after knocking her head pretty hard. she LOVED that ranch. she was even more excited when daddy came back and gave her a ride on the four wheeler.

she is waving at me here and telling me "bye"....she was ready to drive off with her daddy.

after the fun at the ranch, we feasted like kings with the andersons and headed home. it was a great way to spend labor day.

swiss misses

last weekend, my mom, my sister and i decided to head out to park city and heber for the weekend in order to shop a little and go to swiss days. it was a blast. so much so, in fact, that the only picture i ended up taking was this cute one of violet and owen in bed reading.

we hit the outlets on friday where the deals were fabulous. we shopped and shopped until finally the stores were closed and our bellies were rumbling. we headed to maxwells for dinner and feasted on some super yummy pizza. by this point, it was pretty late at night and we were sleepily headed back to out hotel.
the kiddos were tired but found the excitement of a new sleeping arrangement too much to handle. they perked up immediately and were wound up in no time. they would run around the room squealing for hours- seriously. it took a bit to wind them down and get them into bed, but they managed.
violet slept in a bed with mandy and owen. at one point in the night, she woke up and was trying to figure out where she was. she reached over to my sister and felt her belly and asked, "mama?" when she realized that there was no belly, she immediately felt her hands to my sister's face and asked, "dada?" it was at that point she realized that she was not where she thought she was.
that poor girl knows her parents with a big belly and a beard- which are both temporary! things are really going to change for her this fall!
the next day, we hit swiss days in full force. we found all sorts of deals as we weaved through the massive crowd and we walked away with some treasures. the ride home was pretty rocky- but in the end, the trip was successful. we loved it!

Friday, September 9, 2011

quadruple feature

cade has been busy making videos of all our summer adventures and i just haven't been able to keep up on posting them. so, grab your popcorn and settle in for four of cade's fabulous videos.

first, you may remember this video cade made during violet's pregnancy. he always wanted to do a second episode, so he got his chance 15 months later. we have been out of town so much this summer that our yard has really suffered. 3 or 4 times we would come home from a vacation and find our front yard looking beautiful and manicured- only to find out that one of our many cute neighbors saw how busy we were and wanted to do some service. i love our neighborhood.

our backyard, however, was a totally different story. it was often found in a jungle state. thus: this video.

next, cade and some work friends heard about a place in park city that let's you run a bike course for FREE. they had a great time and made this video.

our third feature today shows a common lunchtime activity for cade while he is at work. his company is located at the mouth of provo canyon and since he and his co workers love biking so much, they take the opportunity to combine a great summer activity with some lunchtime exercise.

our final movie for the day is one of cade's best. this is a movie that cade thought up a while ago when he realized that on days that we follow a routine, we often start and end the same. if you were to bend your day in the middle, it would appear symmetrical.
thus, i believe in symmetry.

hope you like them! there are more to come....

freedom festival video

there was a contest in utah county to make a short video on the theme of

American Values: Family, Freedom, God and Country

cade entered and won an honorable mention! here is the video:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

bloom fundraiser

head start had another fundraiser this fall and needed some volunteers. cade was commissioned this time to do all their videography work and he is in the process of making a great video for them. we will be sure to post it when he is done.

i helped out with decor and the step and repeat (the press area where the guests get photos taken before going to the actual event). it was quite the hoity toity event with all sorts of politicians and utah "celebrities" attending. they auctioned off a variety of things ranging from a luxury cabin retreat for thirty people to a little puppy. there was also a silent auction for items donated by local vendors. my friend, becky, works with shirley j and they donated a GREAT basket. cade was also asked to donate a family tree which got a bunch of bids and sold for a great price!

i was absolutely POOPED by the end of a 13 hour day on my feet- but it was so fun i would do it again.

you say tomato...

our garden has really taken some steroids or something. in a two week span, i think we collected over 200 tomatoes!

we have been busy making salsa and scrounging up any recipe we can that asks for a tomato.

my movie star hubby

cade has been busy filming with the church for an upcoming movie on the new testament.

i don't really know what we are allowed to post or write about it all so i will be brief.

he is loving the opportunity to reenact moments of our Savior's life that are so impactful. it has been a spiritual experience to be a part of something that depicts the sacred.

he is also loving the garb he gets to wear. it may be a little hot for turbans, scarves and floor length robes- but he is pulling it off! we hardly recognize the dirty man with scummy teeth when he gets home at the end of a filming day!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

bright eyes

cade and i were able to sneak away for a night out to see bright eyes in concert. this is one of my favorite bands and they are cade's all time favorite band- so it really was a must see.

it is funny that usually in utah, a large, pregnant woman doesn't get a second look while cade's big beard attracts stares wherever we go. at the concert, where the crowd is a little different, cade was in the norm and i was getting all sorts of attention.

admittedly i was worried about standing on my swollen trunks for that long in a large crowd of potheads... but- the concert was great! no problems! they played all our favorites and my body held out well.

thanks, conor!

last minute getaway!

as summer began to wind down, we took another little vacation to st. george with the fam and had a grand ol' time. my parents rented out a condo that had something to offer everyone. the kids loved the pool and playground. i loved the leather recliner. cade loved the close golf course. it really was ideal.
here are the highlights:


we lounged, played sharks and minnows, had a diving contest and enjoyed the luxury of having absolutely nowhere to be. i loved it. plus, we nearly had the entire pool to ourselves!

i probably shouldn't post a picture where i look this large, but i feel it needs to be documented.


i looooooove h&m. especially since i have two little girls to dress. the kids clothes are so fabulous and so cheap. we really were a little out of control here.

my dad, bless him, is always a good sport when it comes to shopping with the gals. he always offers to hold everything.... and we let him. there was a point when he had clothes hanging from all belt loops and stacked as high as his head on both shoulders. needless to say, we had to sort through our finds to get the best deals. it was GREAT. i am excited (and nervous) for h&m to come to slc soon!

the lake

we took off for an afternoon at the lake. sand hollow is an awesome spot in st. george that we had never experienced. it really is worth the trip!

isn't cade's beard awesome these days?

little mermaid

we went to see the little mermaid at the tuacahn theater. little vi wasn't old enough for the show so cade gladly volunteered to stay back with some other daddies at the condo. it was a great show- mostly i loved seeing the look on owen's face the whole time. he got so into it all and has since been chatting about ursula, ariel and the whole crew ever since. he even wants my sister to dye her hair red- and he is getting pretty adamant with his request.


we loved to take the opportunity to just hang out for a bit. st. george is a place that will always remind us all of my grandpa blaino who passed away over ten years ago. it was fun to think back to memories we had with him while we were there and to marvel at the amazing man he was. i love family time and this was absolutely perfect.

i sure hope this becomes a tradition.. wink wink.

latest art project

a while ago, cade saw a picture of some aspen wall paper that really got him thinking. well, after mulling it over for a bit, he decided he could really pull this look off on one of our walls but using paint instead of paper.

at first i was worried it was going to look a little circusy.... BUT

it actually turned out FABULOUS.

i love it. the PERFECT addition to our living room. i am always impressed by cade's talents and i'm glad i get to benefit so much!

xw party

we had cade's work party at seven peaks this year. they rented out the entire park and let us go hog wild! well... most of us. they actually wouldn't let me do anything- even the relaxing tube rides! it was a bummer but i made up for it by eating a butt load of dippin dots.
it is was fun watching this water baby love life.

she has no fear on the rides. she sits on her daddy's lap for all the water slides and walks away like it ain't no thing. i am always a little shocked that she doesn't have more of a fear impulse.

anyway, it was a great day to spend with friends and co workers.

cade won the "biggest air" competition on the rope swing and snagged us some prizes. he's a catch, this one.

baby valentine

my little brother and his wife had a little baby while we were away in new mexico so we took the first chance we could get to steal away to logan to see her.

introducing valentine sophia

it was fun taking pictures of this little one and all her chubby rolls. it made me really excited to meet my peanut so soon. the only worry i had about the entire situation was violet. normally, that girl couldn't hit the broad side of a barn when she throws things at home. well, she sure was able to pick up a cup and wing it right at little valentines face. awesome. are we ready for another baby at the taylor home?

anyway, i love this picture of my mom. she is in her zone when it comes to babies. this is what she loves the most and you can tell by the look on her face.

love that little baby!

the land of enchantment

summer rolled on... and so did we. as july kicked off, we headed south to the land of enchantment for some r&r at the circle a ranch in new mexico. cade's cousin was getting married there and we were thrilled to go and celebrate with the family.

the circle a ranch has been a part of cade for as long as he can remember. it is a ranch owned by his great aunts (and other family) who bought the old hunting lodge and land and initially turned it into a girls summer camp. cade's mother spent her summers there when she was young as a counselor and she tells great stories of her time at circle a. after some time, the ranch transitioned from a girls camp to more of a hostel or wooded retreat area. located in the mountains near cuba, new mexico, it has been a place where cade spent a lot of time playing with his cousins as he grew up. i have heard so many stories of this place so i was so excited to spend some time there.

the road trip south was, again, a worry with a little one to entertain- but.. she surprised us once more! oddly, we did go through three pairs of shorts for her during the ride. i think it was because i just kept handing her snacks and juice boxes to keep her occupied. every once in a while, i would look back to see this face

and i would know it was time to take a running stop. other than that, she was great! cade and i enjoyed the time to chat and relax. life seems so busy lately so i really just crave the time cade and i have to talk about whatever floats to the tops of our heads. this picture actually looks like we aren't speaking about anything at all... but it documents the hours we spent on the road.

we arrived at the ranch late at night and by then violet was dying to get out and stretch her legs. despite the late hour, she immediately set out to explore all that she could. i was a little more pooped than she apparently was so i just spent my time trying to keep up while also catching up with the family and wedding guests. after some chatting and gabbing, we all retired to our beds. violet is a great sleeper so when cade's cousin ane was making sleeping arrangements, i told her to stick us anywhere that worked for the wedding party. i didn't even bat an eye when she asked if we would be ok in the large bunk room with 8 or so other people. sure!
well, violet didn't really live up to the sleeper i talked her up to be. at about 6 am the next morning, i hear a little voice calling for "ash." i sat up in my bunk to see violet standing in her pack and play with longing eyes pointing right at her "ash." she was ready to explore some more- and the rest of us were not. i picked her up and we sleepily headed out of the room to let the others sleep. it was an early start!
our first day there was the actual wedding day. we spent the morning making love birds to hang from the branches of the trees while we got to know the other guests who hailed from all over the country.
that morning, ane had asked cade, dylan and rudi to write a song that they could sing as she came down the aisle. she wanted something off the cuff and improvisational so they sat down with a guitar a few minutes before everything got started and began singing whatever came to their mind. soon, they had a small crowd listening in and laughing hysterically as the three of them came up with some GREAT lyrics. i love when cade is with his cousins. he is so close to them and you can see such a history. in this case, it made for a hilarious time.

meanwhile, as they practiced, violet had hit a wall. that early morning had finally caught up with her so she took a snoozer before the wedding.

i love that cade is really getting into the music here as i twirl my fingers in delight. this is pretty spot on in describing the song-writing-scene.
so as the wedding started, the boys took their seats and sang their hearts out. it turned out great.

ane and che looked SO dapper.

the ceremony was beautiful and you could tell that these two have a real love and respect for one another. it truly was a sweet ceremony. after the ceremony, cade's cousin, dylan, sang a song that he wrote about the ranch. this group of cousins is so close and the song is about all of the experiences they had at circle a. it was a nice touch to the event.
after the song, we all gathered in a cirlce on the lawn and those closest to the couple shared their thoughts and congratulatory wishes. as the sharing circle was going on, the sun was getting hotter and my pregnant feet were not having it. i looked down to see my skin literally busting out of my shoes. cade ran and got me a chair and i gladly took a break.
afterward, we feasted and danced the night away. ane and che had a great band come in to play. we all stuck on some mustaches and let the good time roll.

even vi got a stache.

violet also took this opportunity to explore some more around the ranch.

and she even convinced mike to help her do some sidewalk art. there were very few children there so she was basking in all the attention.

it really was a fun wedding. we spent the evening playing games, chatting and dancing.
the next day, cade and some other family members took off on a hike to the top of the mountain. i GLADLY stayed home. after my exploding feet incident from the day before, i looked forward to taking it easy that day. cade had a great time hiking without me...

while cade was away, some of the girls took the opportunity to sneak away to the house of an old woman who sells turquoise jewelry in cuba. i have always LOVED turquoise anything- maybe it is my indian blood. i have distinct memories of my great grandparents wearing it... the indian and non-indian alike, so maybe it is nostalgic. i also remember a ring my sister had as a baby that was turquoise that i envied. i always thought it would be great to find a baby ring like that for my girls. as we walked into her little shop, lo and behold, one of the first things i spot is a tray of baby rings. who'd a thought!? so this shopping trip was a highlight for me. we loaded up on some handmade goods and headed back.
later that day, after everyone was back, we decided to head over to the clay flats.

the clay flats are a HUGE expanse of clay that has been eroding over time. as the rain slowly washes away the clay, petrified wood and other treasures begin to surface. we hiked around, gathered cool wood pieces as souvenirs and marveled for a bit.

this place was heaven for violet.

we headed back to the ranch for games and gabbing into the night.

by the next day, much of the wedding party had left which made things a little more lonely but a little calmer as well. by now, violet thought she owned the ranch. she could be caught splashing in the stream, wrestling with the dogs and smelling flowers. she really was a wild child. i was even a little afraid of the dogs (they liked to gnaw and nip), but she would walk right over to them and let them nip on her as they played.
we spent that morning leisurely relaxing at the lake with the crawdads.

and we said hello to the horses

later, cade wanted to take us to see the other sights at the ranch. our first stop was alice's grave. alice was one of the original aunts who really embodied what the ranch was all about. she loved life at circle a and spent much of her time there. many of the stories from cade's mom, aunts and cousins center around alice. she died a while back and was buried right there on the ranch. her grave was an eclectic homage where visitors had hung trinkets in trees, sprinkled ornaments on the ground and left little notes for her. a sweet memorial.
after that, it was off to fairyland. when cade's mom and sisters were counselors for the camp, they used to take the girls to fairyland to explore and make flower rings and such. we spent our time walking through at dusk, which made it even more fairy-esque.

we hiked on a little more to "mini grand canyon" which is just as it sounds. we didn't stay long- it started getting pretty dark and i am not much of a hiker these days with my big, old belly.
it was our last night on the ranch and we really just took our time enjoying everything. we loved the company of family and the great time spent with them. i loved hearing all the folklore about the ranch (like how it was a hunting lodge in the early 1900s where they imported real lions from africa to release into the wilderness to hunt) and meeting people i had only heard about. i really do look forward to visits to the ranch- especially as our children get older. to say it is a beautiful place just isn't enough.
on our ride home, we detoured and headed to four corners for some running time and navajo tacos. we look pretty grubby but it was a great stop.

in the end, i can honestly say we were enchanted by the land that claims to do so.
we'll be back!