Saturday, June 25, 2011

Master your Photography!

My photography class today went AWESOME. It couldn't have gone better. After months of prep work, I am ecstatic by how well it went and am excited to do it again! Here are just a few pictures from today:

People busy on their assignments!


A big thanks to Alex Crabtree Hair Stylist for her hair and make-up work on these gorgeous girls! They had a blast.

The book I made turned out great. I am so excited about it.

I would love to do another class this fall if I have enough interest! If you would be interested, post a comment or email me so that I know.

Check out the photo blog for more pics on the day.

Thanks everyone. It was fun helping you learn to shoot on manual and "master your photography!"

Thursday, June 23, 2011

11 months

{click the picture to enlarge}

18.5 pounds (20th percentile)
28 inches long  (30th percentile)

I can't believe we are at the 11 month mark. We're going to have a toddler soon... and that is so cool. She's so much fun already and I know the older she gets, the more fun we get to have with her!

New this month:
She sucks shoes, pulls cords, whistles, cuddles with mamma, says "ball," "uh oohh," and "ba bow" for bye-bye.  She LOVES her bottle and goes crazy with her arms and a fake cry when she sees me getting it ready.  

She could watch Baby Einstein McDonald without moving a muscle.

She LOVES swimming! 

Her favorite food these days (like, stuffs her face faster than you can say "pig"):
scrambled eggs, babybel cheese, turkey, toast, and apricots.
{She hasn't liked her usual black beans, grapes, and cheerios lately}

She grunts "oou" whens he sees something she likes or just to talk to us. She dances and dances a LOT.

Waves. Smiles. Laughs and giggles and squeals all day long. 

She loves to open and close doors.
She is still wearing some 6 months stuff, but mostly fitting into 9 month outfits.

She LOVE necklaces and knows how to put them on her head. When she figured this out, she now puts everything on her head. It's hilarious.

She loves to share and offers her bottles to us, bits of food, toys, anything so we can give our response, “thank you.” (Most of the time after giving it to us though, she wants it back)

She is growing up so fast. We can't believe how much she's grown and changed in just 11 months. We are excited for her 1-year mark and just cherish every single day with this stinker. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

"The World's Best Dad

Award" goes to....

Benjamin Thomas Garrison.

I couldn't imagine a happier daughter and I know it's all because of her happy dad. He has more fun with her, makes her laugh more, and loves her like no other dad could. I know he will love her, protect her, teach her the gospel, and be her best friend as she grows up. 

I am so grateful that my Claire has a father like Ben.

A big thank you to all the fabulous fathers in my life. I am so grateful for your examples and love in our lives.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

70 degrees means...

Swimming!!  A few pots of hot water and voilĂ ! Fun little swimming pool for Claire. 
She had a ball:

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Costa Rica

4 people asked Ben and me if we were on our honeymoon on this trip. I guess we should take that as a compliment right? Okay so here it is! The big post on our adventures!
FYI: I did so great without Claire, it was amazing. I missed her like crazy, but with Skyping once, calling a few times, and being so busy--I did really well!  I only teared-up twice, and had a hard time when our flight got canceled and our arrival home was pushed back 12 hours... but I know she had a blast and was in great hands. Our family loved us being gone. It was awesome for everyone!!  

So here is what went down in Central America! Thursday: Arenal Volcano Tour

After a 3-hour drive, a beeeautiful drive at that, we arrived deep in the rain forest at the Arenal Volcano. It is still an active volcano and erupted 10 months ago. When it gets close to erupting, you can see lava spewing down the sides. Unfortunately (or fortunately), we just got to see the smoke coming off the top. Totally cool.

{Yes, I do love Africa. But I love Costa Rica too}

You can see the markings of its eruption over the years. The guide said the volcano is hardly ever clear from clouds and was amazed that we had all day with a clear view.

Friday: We went to the COOLEST hot springs called Tabacon. Seriously, it was indescribably beautiful.

It was a massive place with natural hot springs spread up into the mountain-side. We basically had a bunch of pools and waterfalls to ourselves to explore and relax in.

All of these were taken by our wonderful self-timer...

After relaxing for hours at these pools, and a nice Asian dinner overlooking the volcano, we went to an viewpoint of the mountain and valley one last time:

Saturday: Floating safari and canyoning (made famous on the Bachelor)

A baby Caiman:

Howler monkeys (SO loud! And don't look tooo closely):


We also saw lots of cool birds, lizards (Basilisk and Iguana), fish, and cows:)

Then we went CANYONING. Definitely one of the coolest things we've ever done. Our group:

We basically hiked down a canyon and had to repel down 4 waterfalls in the process. The first was 20 feet tall, the second was 150 feet, third was 22 feet and the last was 220 feet tall! It was AWESOME.

Pictures can't even capture how beautiful this rainforest is. Here I am mid-air into the pool (went all the way under):

One of the funnest parts was when the guides had us line up in this small ravine while they blocked off the water (dammed it with their bodies), then on the count of 3, they let it flow over us and MAN did it flow. It was so powerful and lasted forever. I thought it would never stop and we'd just drown:)

Watch the picture (waterfall lasted a lot longer than in this series of pictures):


The view from our room:

Sunday: After Arenal (which, by the way, The Springs where the Bachelor stayed while here was just up the road), we took a boat across Lake Arenal, then took a long bumpy ride to Monte Verde.

Here we did a Canopy Tour, which included 13 zip-lines and a tour of the rain forest via the Hanging Bridges.  Zip-lining was INCREDIBLE.

The pictures don't do jack-squat to how beautiful the rain forest was:)

The Tarzan swing. Totally scary, but only 10 meter free-fall instead of the 90 meter (300 feet) free-fall we did in Zimbabwe HERE.

Monday: Another long bumpy ride took us to Guanacaste, which is the west coast area. SO much hotter, but we're here to hang on the beach, by the pool and get some RandR.

The view from our room here:

Lots of pool time. Actually, we've had a bit too much sun and are hanging out in the room today letting our skin rest.

Thursday morning (6am) we went deep sea fishing! It has always been something Ben has wanted to do and it was AWESOME. SO beautiful, too. We saw dolphins, sea snakes, and lots of cool fish.  We were out for 3 1/2 hours and caught 6 big fish!

4 of which, were MINE! Just call me a pro fisherman.

It was SUCH hard work reeling them in. I am so sore and have a couple bruises on my stomach from the initial jolt of pulling them in.  I caught two Mahi-Mahis, one Barracuda, and a Jack fish.  Ben caught one Jack fish and a Rooster fish:

Video of our fishing:

{All fish caught go to feed their families}

So much fun. One last stroll on the beach before leaving:

Costa Rica is breath-taking. Reminds us a lot of parts of Africa and Asia. So lush and green. This is rainy season but so far we've had great luck! We love traveling in the low season because we have most places to ourselves. It's so quiet, beautiful, and cheap!

Now we're home! We got in at midnight and I just ran up and watched Claire sleep. {Okay, so I got her out to hold her but she woke up so I put her back:) } When we saw her this morning, she got a huge smile and reached out for me! My heart. She's so big!! She seriously isn't even a baby anymore. She's walking non-stop and never crawls anymore. Her hair is longer, she's taller, and I weighed her this morning and she's gained a pound and a half (18.5 lbs)!! She usually only gains a pound a month so I don't know what they've been feeding her! :) She looks great and is so happy and healthy.

Oh and she sprouted a tooth no one knew about! Everyone was saying how she was sticking her tongue out so much lately and she looked really slobbery so I just felt in there and she has one tooth coming!! Exciting!  Such a great trip. So happy to be home.