Monday

Wishing You A...

Happy holidays! We have enjoyed a wonderful Christmas week and this week to come is going to be filled with many more fun activities! I am going to have lots to blog about next week, I'd start now.. but I'm already overwhelmed with everything on my "to do" list ;) So for now we'll just say we're wishing you all a happy holidays.
christmas card
lara

Friday

Merry Christmas

Christmas is almost here, one week away! This is such a wonderful time of year to be with family and reflect on what is truly most important in life. It seems the month has flown by, its such a busy time. I seriously have the best mom in the world, she always makes the holidays so special! I went down earlier this week to help out around the house and help my siblings with homework so my she could finish her Christmas shopping. When she came home she carried in this adorable Christmas tree. I've been begging Taylor to let me buy a little cheap one for the basement, but I wasn't able to break him. My mom knows how much I love Christmas trees.. I almost cried when she said it was mine :) I went and bought some clearance decorations from Tai Pan and we decorated it last night. It is just perfect. The crown on top of my Christmas excitement. I can't wait for it to be here! I am so excited to spend time with our families. It's the most wonderful time of the year! Merry Christmas!

IMG_4730bh

lara

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree...

One of my favorite holiday traditions has to be getting the Christmas tree.  Every year my family goes to get a real tree on the first Monday of December.  Taylor, Caden and I joined them this year to help select and decorate it! We always go to Jensens Christmas trees, they sell the prettiest ones around. I love real trees for Christmas, they smell SO good... ah, someday when we have the money we'll get one ;) This year picking the tree was a cinch, usually we argue and fight over which tree is the best, but this time we walked in the gates and it was right there in front of us... we all agreed. It was quite the experience for Caden this year, I'm sure last Christmas is a distant faded memory in his mind. He was squealing and running in circles when we brought the tree in the house. He'd run up and touch it and run away. Before we could even get the tree centered in the base He was throwing a fit that we wouldn't get the "ball" out of the box for him to put on the tree.. lol. I couldn't help but laugh at his sour puss face he. He wanted to help with EVERYTHING.. pulling the ornaments out, putting the lights on the tree, hanging the ornaments up.. it was very exciting ;) I was so lucky to catch the shot of him when the lights were plugged in.. he was standing right by them and when my mom plugged them in he jumped back, pulled his hands close to his chest, squatted down and said "HAWWWWW!" (hot).. He's hilarious. The tree turned out beautifully as usual. Getting the tree up always puts me in the Christmas spirit. I love this time of year.

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

(it was seriously SO cold)

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

p.s. If you didn't notice, I just have to point out, Rachel is making the most hilarious faces in these pictures. She is one to make me laugh, ah, i love her!
lara

Wednesday

Thanksgiving Week

November has come and gone to fast, it seems like this time of year always flies by. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving week. Tuesday I went to New Moon with Richelle, it was FABULOUS! I was so happy to see that Jacob was SO much more beautiful than Edward (TEAM JACOB)! I mean seriously... after seeing how totally gorgeous Jacob was, who would EVER go back to Edward ;) It was corny at parts, I laughed at a lot of the stuff Edward said, but I thoroughly enjoyed it :) Wednesday we headed to Park City where we were staying in a Town House for Thanksgiving with Taylor's Family! We set up the wii, went grocery shopping... got settled in, and were waiting for Papa to get to the house....... when all of the sudden he walked in the door with my oldest nephew Britton! Maddy, Bryce and Britton had flown all the way from Virginia to surprise the rest of the family for Thanksgiving! We had so much fun playing games, watching movies, painting nails (girls), world of warcraft (boys).. Having the Nephews all together! It was so much fun! Turkey dinner was amazing of course, and the pies... to die for! I was totally excited to be in Park City for Midnight Madness the outlets hold every year for BLACK FRIDAY!!! I had never done shopping on black Friday before.. just not our thing, but this year was different. At 11:00 pm my SIL, Maddy, and I headed to the outlets so we could get a parking spot.. a few of the stores were already open and having their sales, so we got a head start! I think the best deals we got were: Carters 60% off entire store, Banana Republic 50% off entire store (and I had an extra 15% off on top of that!!!), Crocs buy one get one free! It was heavenly retail therapy! We got home at about 2:00 am.. but it was SO worth it! Taylor worked the 12:00 am - 6:00 am shift at the mall (.....he's nuts, I LOVE YOU HUN) and drove back to Park city, and slept till noon! We all headed home Friday afternoon, to get a good night sleep and prepare for the football game. Bret took Taylor and Ross to a shooting range that evening. What a manly thing to do.. I've never shot a real gun in my life! I'd be terrified of hitting myself in the face with a pistol ;) My family called shortly after the men left, and invited Caden and I to go see the Christmas Carol 3D with them. We have a tradition to go see a movie over Thanksgiving weekend every year. When we got out to the car I realized the men had taken Taylor's car to the shooting range (40 min away)....... and I didn't take Caden's car seat out!!! I was so frustrated! I really wanted to go join my family for ice cream and a movie, but no car seat meant I couldn't go! I called my mom to tell her I wasn't going to be able to make it, when I thought: what about the baby carrier! LOL! NO WAY, he won't fit in it.. he's way too big now. I ran down to grab it and pushed and wiggled and squeezed Caden in until the buckle clicked! We were on our way ;) I couldn't help but take a picture of him bursting out of the car seat, it was hilarious! Although he was probably incredibly uncomfortable, he had a great time playing with the baby toys hanging from the handle! Taylor ended up joining us at the theater in Provo and brought the big boy car seat with him (Caden didn't suffer on the way home).

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Saturday was game day.. the most intense game of the year!!!  BYU vs UTAH  >:)  I look forward to this game every year.. We attended all but one home game this year. Bret is always so generous with tickets, I love going to the games! We joined Taylor's family and some family friends for the event! The game started out well, we were leading for the majority of it... I thought for sure we were going to win, but after the Utes scored a touchdown to tie up the game... I got more than a little nervous! Bret took Taylor down on the field for the end of the last quarter (he has serious connections) ;) I circled them in one of the pictures below! As the game went into overtime I could barely breath! I was so nervous... the Utes scored a field goal, our turn came and a few plays later Andrew George was wide open for the touchdown pass!!! COUGARS WIN!!! 26 to 23! The field was flooded within seconds, Taylor and Bret among the first to reach the team! It was an amazing game, I was complete worn out mentally, emotionally and vocally ;)

GO COUGARS!!!

GO COUGARS!!!

GO COUGARS!!!

IMG_GO COUGARS!!!-2

GO COUGARS!!!

It was a fun filled week, thanks to Midnight madness I was almost done with Christmas shopping. I am proud to say today, I am completely finished with my Shopping :) I have 5 projects to finish in the next 3 weeks (kind of overwhelmed)!!! I won't be posting any of them till after Christmas, don't want to ruin the surprises for anyone ;) Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I'm so excited it's December now, I can't wait for Christmas!

p.s for those of you who didn't see, all of my favorite links, friends and family links, Caden's stats and What he's up to.. are at the bottom of the blog :) I wanted more space for the posts and pictures!
lara

Thursday

Winter Wonderland

Last weekend it snowed a little bit here, I've been hoping the snow would never come ;) I always dread winter.. Its so cold and dreary, the roads are bad, it gets dark so early.. It's just kind of miserable! But I am so grateful for the good weather we've had up until now. We're not supposed to get our first real snow storm till this weekend. I've made a goal to try and stay positive about the winter season this year, so here's a few things I love about winter: I love wearing sweats around the house. Having the fireplace on makes the house so cozy! I love cuddling up with my boys in a big fuzzy blanket. Watching movies at night cause it's dark outside so early. I love the holidays. I love wearing long sleeves, jackets, sweaters, boots, cute hats, scarves and coats! I love winter candle scents like, cinnamon, vanilla, apple pie, brown sugar. I love being warm and cozy under the bed covers when the room is so cold! Most of all I love that winter makes me appreciate the rest of the seasons so much more.

L Winter Session

L Winter Session

L Winter Session

I got together with my mom and siblings earlier this week to take a few winter pictures of everyone. The snow made for some great shots! The rest of the pictures are up on my photo blog: larajoyephotography.blogspot.com. Just a side note..... I'm totally in love with Caden's new winter hat!
lara

Monday

Color Me Mine

I don't know about anyone else, but for us date nights are usually the same old, same old.  Something along the line of dinner, movie, desert or shopping.  Occasionally we get out and do something different like star gazing, arcades, bowling, etc. We're always up for something fun and inexpensive. We went to Color Me Mine, with Richelle and Bryan, about a week ago.. and I must say it was a blast! It is definitely in my top 3 favorite dates I've been on. I had heard it was really pricy to go, so I never bothered looking into it. Come to find out it's not that bad! Online they have a calendar for each month with their specials nights (date night 2 for 1, service night free with 2 cans of food).  So after the studio fee all you have to pay is the cost of whatever you paint. We spent 30$ for the studio fee, 2 pieces and a ton of fun! We all planned to paint mugs, I was just expecting a selection of maybe 5 mugs or so.. but it seriously took us 15 min to pick out which ones we wanted! They had a whole wall full of ceramics to paint, and at least 15 different mugs! The employees there were so nice, they gave a great orientation on how to use the paint and how to make different designs. There were so many different options! Taylor painted his with stripes and I did polka dots :) Its not very often that you get to go use your creative side on a date! We had so much fun, and spent a little over 3 hours painting! I couldn't believe how much fun we both had. At the end of the night we left our ceramics with them to be fired and glazed, it takes them about 3 business days to get that done. We were able to pick them up a few days later..  and they were so shiny and colorful!

Color Me Mine

Color Me Mine

Color Me Mine

Color Me Mine

Color Me Mine

Color Me Mine

Color Me Mine

Color Me Mine

Color Me Mine

Ok, so this has totally been a little plug for Color Me Mine..... but seriously, it was so much fun! Check out their website (HERE) find a location near you, and check out their calendar (or call) to find their Specials Nights! For anyone who hasn't been, I'd definitely recommend this place for a date or family outing!
lara

Tuesday

Opportunities

I honestly feel so blessed with all the opportunities I've been given to learn and grow in photography. I was thinking back to a year ago.. I had a 3 month old baby and no time for myself. I never would have dreamed I would have a real interest in photography. I took 2 years of photography in high school, I really liked it.. but never really applied it. My interest really seemed to spark last year over Thanksgiving in Idaho. My aunt Penny told me about the photography business my cousin Kara had started. I looked through a bunch of Kara's pictures and was completely amazed. The flame was started. In February my In-Laws so generously helped me get my very first camera! I never would have been able to get that camera without their help. I planned to use the camera in the automatic mode, mostly to take better pictures of Caden than my little point and shoot could. I stuck with that mentality for a few weeks, but again when I looked through Kara's pictures on her blog and website i was amazed! I really wanted to learn.. really really bad. I finally got up the courage to email her and ask her my millions of questions (i was convinced I'd never be able to learn it all). She gave me my wings. She told me what books to read, what websites to join, she taught me about equipment and editing. I can honestly say I've learned more from her than anyone. Ever since I learned the basics I've been given so many opportunities to grow. As I worked with my best friend Richelle, she gave me confidence in my pictures and working with clients. All of my family, immediate and extended, have been so supportive. 

I had the chance last week to tag along at Richelle's Bridal session and watch her amazing photographer: Dustin Izatt. I can honestly say I Idol his work! He was so cool, he let me take pictures along side him.. ask him any question I wanted to. What a learning experience. I think the thing I learned most was: I have a LOT to learn! I'm sure that will always be the case though, that's what life is all about: LEARNING! I am really so grateful for every opportunity I have been given. Thanks to everyone who has inspired me, taught me, encouraged me, supported me and appreciated me. It means more than I can express!

IMG_3747gmws


Check out Richelle and Bryan's Wedding pictures and Bridals (the ones I tagged along for)! Dustin just put them up on his blog! They are absolutely amazing, click HERE for wedding and HERE for Bridals!
lara

Thursday

Halloween

I don't know how many times I've said it already, but I love Halloween! It probably has something to do with the fact that I love this time of year too. We went to Springville this year for Halloween with my family. We couldn't have had better weather, 55 and sunny! I haven't seen a Halloween that nice in a really long time.. we usually have snow by now! First thing we ran down to the Trick-or-Treating on Main Street, all the old shops hand out candy :) We waited in a pretty long line, but it was fun cause we got to play and take pictures while we waited. We dressed Caden up as a little monkey, and he looked so stinkin' cute! Taylor and I were a Bumble Bee and Flower (this was our second time in these costumes). I laughed so hard when Taylor pushed his bangs back with the antenna head band, he looked hilarious! My sister has a Transformers "Bumble Bee" backpack for school (she's so funny), so Taylor wore that to put all our candy in. Ben and Nanny were Pirates, Jarom was a Nutty Professor, and Rachel and Mom just threw on some random dress ups before we left. Mom ended up looking something like Osama bin Ladin and Caden was terrified of her for a while! After hitting Main Street we went back home and had Taco Soup (our delicious tradition) and put candles in all our pumpkins. Rachel and Mom then changed into their "real" costumes.. they were boys :) lol, i laughed so hard every time i looked at them. It was definitely Rachel's idea, they put on Dad, Lane and Jarom's clothes.. it was hilarious! Caden took the whole Trick-or-Treating business very seriously. He'd walk up to the doors, reach into the candy bowls, grab as much candy as his little hand could hold, drop it in his bag, and wave as he turned around to walk away.. not so much as a little grin! He got enough candy to fill our family candy cravings for months! We walked through a neighborhood haunted house, this family puts on every year. It was spook-tacular as usual, and Caden screamed almost as much as Rachel and Mom! It was a wonderful Halloween! I was definitely not ready for October to end.. but I am so excited for the holidays to begin!

Halloween

Halloween

Halloween-2gmws

Halloween

Halloween

Halloween
LOL.. I love this picture!
Halloween
... and this one
Halloween

Halloween
...... and definitely this one too!
Halloween

Halloween

lara

Wednesday

Pumpkin Carving

I'm a little behind with my posts, we've all been kind of sick over the last week and we've been busy. I still need to unload the pictures from Halloween from my camera, so i'll have those up soon!

 A few days before Halloween we pulled out our pumpkins for carving. Taylor and I really weren't that festive last year with a 3 month old baby, and neither of us could remember the last time we carved pumpkins! It has been so much fun to celebrate the holidays so far this year with Caden.. he seems to make everything a little more fun! Caden loved the pumpkins, he called them "BAW" (balls) all night. We were really more entertained with watching his reactions than we were with carving. He wanted to hug all the pumpkins! He was totally terrified of the pumpkin guts.. he started screaming when I cut off the top of the first pumpkin! After the pumpkins were cleaned out and we started carving, I put Caden in his highchair so he could watch us, and I put the pieces of pumpkin I carved out on his tray.. he started eating them, and he liked it! Go figure.. he likes some pretty strange foods. Taylor ended up carving a really cute pumpkin (I was very impressed), mine was pretty scary, and on Caden's......... I tried to do the Gene Simmons "Kiss" eyes! Lol, they actually turned out pretty well! We lit the candles then put them inside the pumpkins, and Caden stood back, put his hand out in front of himself.. said "HAWWWWWWW!!!" (hot) and started blowing. What a crack up! i love him :)
pumpkin carving

pumpkin carving

Pumpkin Carving

Pumpkin Carving

Pumpkin Carving

Pumpkin Carving
lara