Bye 2017!

Wow – 2017 was an amazing year for our little family.  When looking back, the amount of change we’ve gone through personally for me, personally for Tate, and then for our family as a whole is pretty mind blowing.  I’m very proud of us when looking back on it all.  December though, it was full of things that made me so thankful.  Full of Christmas music, Christmas scents (hi doTERRA Holiday Joy blend!), Christmas movies, and visits from some of the best around.  It started with a visit from my brother and his girlfriend Chelsey.  It was the first time meeting her and she didn’t fail to disappoint.  I think I’m more smitten than Matt is.  Not to mention the girls were obsessed w/ her.  We stayed super busy while they were here exploring Red Feather Lakes for the first time, going to Picnic Rock, eating out, going to Odell Brewery, the Dinosaur Park, and more that I’m sure I’m forgetting.  My favorite memory with them was probably one of the most mundane.  We had to wait 1.5 hours for a table at a restaurant WITH the girls and WITH a ton of other people waiting AND without Tate there.  For some reason, we just had so much fun chasing the girls, trying to drink our margaritas, fielding awkward stares from people that didn’t understand our fun, and laughing a lot.  Up next, we had a mid week visit from Mr. Rob.  He didn’t make any of the photos, but he took some of the photos.  I didn’t get to see him much, since I had to work, but hubs spent plenty of QT w/ him and they of course took him to Picnic Rock where there was some beautiful snow and scenery for him to see.  One night while the boys were out I took the girls on a Christmas light tour, driving to all of the most gaudily decorated houses in Foco.  They were mind-blown.  Other random happenings were MP and I seeing Charlie Brown’s Christmas play, the whole family exploring the Garden of Lights, us purchasing a Vitamix (game changer!!), me taking the girls to the see the CO state snow sculpting competition in Berthoud, and having a family climbing day at our climbing gym.  I was so so so so so so so proud of MP making it up incredibly high (pic below) and being so brave!  To top off the month, on Christmas eve, our bests ever came – Wes, Tiff, and Ian – and stayed through New Year’s Eve.  We had an insanely awesome time and did SO MUCH stuff since I was off the entire time.  Let’s see if I can remember:  We spent Christmas day taking the entire day to open all the gifts – one here, one there.  We took a break to sled ride and do a winter version of tail gating in the snow with our growlers of beer at the park.  I made an awesome vegan meal on Christmas day consisting of falafel, buffalo tofu sticks, mashed potatoes / gravy, and butternut squash risotto, all of which was mouth watering.  The day after Christmas was guys day and they headed straight for the Emerald Lake hike at Rocky Mountain National Park.  The girls watched the kids going to Picnic Rock, a coffee shop, the library, out to lunch, and to the grocery store.  The guys didn’t come home until after the kids were asleep and we were lucky to have survived those minions.  The next day Tiff and I headed to the exact same hike in RMNP and confirmed that it was 110% epic and the definition of Winter Wonderland.  Two miles up, two miles back and you see 3 lakes.  The lakes were completely frozen over and you could snowshoe right across them.  We hit up the most amazing restaurant / brewery ever in Boulder on the way back – Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery.  The guys had a relaxing day with the kids at the house.  The next day we got a babysitter and the four of us headed out for a day hike up to Arthur’s Rock.  The terrain was so fun and varied with snow on parts, but not others.  It kept your mind 100% focused on the hike which I loved.  The view of the city at the end was beautiful with not a cloud in the sky!  After the hike we had a phenomenal dinner at Blue Agave Grill, then picked the kids up and headed to Odell for some beers and snacks before the kids’ bedtime.  On Friday, we started with a trip to Spring Canyon Park where the kids got to see a kite boarder (he had his feet strapped to a large skateboard type deal and then did crazy jumps with his kite).  After that we hit up the always insanely delicious Aloha Grill and got roughly 43876 plates of food.  Next the girls and guys split up.  While the boys took RJ home for her nap, the girls took Ian and MP to the Foco Museum of Discovery (which was awesome!) and to get some hot chocolate at Nuance Chocolate afterward.  On their last day here, we did a day trip to Intersect Brewing and then ended the trip with a fun and yummy dinner at Jessup Farmhouse.  Ian and MP were so good together all week.  Ian was calling her “hon” or his “sister” by about mid-week and then confirming they’d attend each other’s birthday parties by the end of the week.  We were so sad to see them go, but the best part was I drove them to the airport and dropped them off at departures, then made another loop around to pick up my parents at the arrivals!  We spent NYE watching Game of Thrones in our room while my parents put the girls to bed and we were asleep by 10pm and LOVED it.

MP: Obsessed with baths.  Stays in there for well over an hour and plays.  We end up putting the monitor in there and go get stuff done while she’s in there. Still blows us away with how much she doesn’t mind the cold by never wearing socks and rarely wearing pants or a coat.  She also will walk outside barefoot and sometimes even in the snow.  She can write her name w/ help and is getting so brave with climbing.  Hubs and I both read a book called “Barefoot and Balanced” this month.  The premise is that kids need unguided play in nature as much as possible.  Since pushing this more with the girls, we’ve definitely seen benefits in their behavior, specifically in their independence which has been awesome!  She stopped wearing pull-ups at night and has only had one accident.  Everything in the past is “yesterday”.  A couple MP quotes:  “I just love chocolate bars and Santa!”  “Mommy, you’re almost good at tickle backing like Daddy.  You’ll get the hang of it.”

RJ: Still a little wild child.  Runs / dances all the time and still mostly eats whatever.  She doesn’t like the cold and snow nearly as much as her sister.  Says “picky up” all the time.  Loves her “puppy” and “baby” stuffed animals.  “Baby” is really a mouse that looks like a rock with arms and legs.  She loves growling like a dinosaur constantly.  MP got her 13 dinosaur figurines for Christmas which she loves.  She’s pretty much in fleece footie pajamas 24/7 which I absolutely love.  Loves drinking out of big girl cups – aka no lid – and then of course spilling all over herself.

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Red Feather Lakes w/ Matt and Chelsey
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Rob’s pictures of the girls at Picnic Rock
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Garden of Lights
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My brave girl climbing higher than the adults!
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Play camping set!
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Boys day at RMNP
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Trying to survive the library with three screaming kids
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Girls day at RMNP
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Adults day hiking Arthur’s Rock
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After standing here for about five minutes, and immediately after this picture was taken, she pulled off the helmet and said “Mommy why aren’t we blasting off?”  When I told her it was pretend, she immediately took the whole outfit off slightly disappointed.
McChillin Photography 2017



November was a month of getting to know our new home and lemmetellya, it delivered on expectations.  #1, it snowed!!!  CO has the best snow.  It’s the beautiful kind that actually accumulates, but then melts super quick because the sun comes out!  It was enough to play in and to sled ride in – yahtzee!  We’ve explored some local spots and events: downtown holiday lighting ceremony, winter farmer’s market, local toy store.  We have been regularly hitting up the library which MP literally LOVES.  I’ve actually been reading some books too which is lovely!  We got invited to a new friends’ house for dinner and had a blast.  We met the Bannisters for a day at the Nature & Science Museum in Denver.  We spent Thanksgiving alone as a family on a morning hike in Lory State Park and then I whipped up a super friggin’ delicious vegan Thanksgiving meal – green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, and mac n cheese.  Nomnomnom.  We also headed south to spend the day at one of my girlfriend’s (from high school) houses.  It was a perfect day to reconnect and let the kids have a blast at their amazing home with views of the mountains.  We also did a couple family bike rides, sometimes to breweries.  Last, but not least, we joined a climbing gym and took the girls.  Oh – and as always, Daddy took the girls on quite a few park days, solo bike rides, and adventures while I worked.

MP: She’s definitely in the phase where she’s not sure if she’s a baby or a big girl.  She’s just trying to sort it out.  She let me put her hair in pig tails multiple times this month.  She encourages Rosie to try to potty.  She really seems to love painting and coloring.  She almost always rocks no socks and loves to go barefoot outside.  She isn’t so into cold weather gear and is definitely the kid wearing shorts when people have coats on.  She LOOOOOOVED the snow so so so so much.  It was sooo fun watching her live it up.  She built a teeny tiny snowman.  She would sit in a bathtub for hours now and just play if we’d let her (sometimes we do).  She was literally obsessed with Parker (Josh & Sarah’s niece).  They played sooo well together and I wish we lived closer to them so they could play everyday!  She flew a kite for the first time!

RJ: Seriously is a comedian.  Continues to exponentially grow her vocabulary and can communicate so much to us.  Says “you make me sad” if she gets in trouble.  Says “it scare me” when watching a show with a monster.  If you ask her why she did something, she’ll simply say “cuz”.  She pee pee’d in the potty for the first time (and hasn’t gone again since then) and sits and tries on it regularly now.  She still sucks her thumb and twirls her hair with her hand, sometimes making huge knots in her hair.  She wasn’t so into the snow.  I think it’s mainly b/c she can’t figure out gloves yet and her hands were just freezing.  She can eat crunchy tacos better than MP and barely spills the insides out (talk about proud mama moments).  Her and MP LOVE running back and forth in our upstairs hallway chasing each other.  They especially love when I hide and jump out to scare them.  It causes all sorts of hysterical laughter for everyone.


Headed West!

October was BIG, HUUUUUUGE for us.  We headed west and now live in Colorado.  The mountains were calling and we took the plunge!  Needless to say it was a crazy month with alllll the things involved in that.

We did a lot of packing.  We squeezed in so many last minute visits with friends and family.  Our move went a little something like this…

  • We shipped MP and RJ off to Gamma’s in TN
  • Hubs and my dad picked up the biggest Budget Rental truck possible plus a trailer to tow one car
  • We packed and cleaned and packed and cleaned
  • We closed on our house
  • The girls came back from TN to my Great Grandma’s
  • The boys took off and hit the road with the truck towing a trailer and driving our 2nd car for three days
  • Grandma, the girls and me stayed at my Great Grandma’s through Saturday (all while I worked the whole week)
  • The boys (including Wes!) arrived in CO Friday the 13th
  • Grandma, the girls and me flew to CO Saturday morning the 14th!
  • We drove from the airport to our new casa!

The first few days were definitely an adjustment with coming from super humid to super dry conditions, changing time zones, waking up early, staying up late, but alas, we settled and we love it!

Grandma and Paw paw stayed for about 1.5 weeks and helped us so much!  We unpacked, took some adventures, went to plenty of breweries and restaurants and explored our new home!

MP: Doing awesome riding her balance bike.  Her and RJ either play really sweetly or bicker like crazy.  She always wants whatever RJ just picked up.  Still an incredibly picky eater.  We have to force her to take bites and she’ll gag dramatically. She went trick or treating for the first time and LOVED it (even though we only let her have one piece of candy).  She can trace her letters pretty well!

RJ: Loves eating pretty much anything we cook – even the healthy stir fries.  Will eat 4 bowls if we let her.  Definitely becoming an emotional toddler.  Literally obsessed with water, especially any water that’s not hers.  Is saying a ton of 2-3 word sentences.  “Yummy tummy”.  “Thank you mommy you’re welcome”.  Loves bars and would carry one around for a full day nibbling on it if we’d let her.  Eczema has gotten better since getting to the dry climate!

October’s Video:

Two girls – same pose – same age – same chair17.10_BlogPost-104
Miss these next two ladies tons and so glad I got to spend time w/ them before leaving!  17.10_BlogPost-10517.10_BlogPost-10617.10_BlogPost-10717.10_BlogPost-108
The girls went to a wedding in TN
Molinari’s cooked us a deeeeelish meal while we packed
Truck all packed17.10_BlogPost-11117.10_BlogPost-112
QT with Levitt before leaving
Hubs pimpin’ the big truck
On the road!17.10_BlogPost-11617.10_BlogPost-11517.10_BlogPost-11717.10_BlogPost-11817.10_BlogPost-12017.10_BlogPost-119
Same pose as Great Grandma
Airport at 5am – whoa that’s early17.10_BlogPost-12217.10_BlogPost-123
She slept for maybe 30 minutes the entire day17.10_BlogPost-124
We made it to CO!!!17.10_BlogPost-12517.10_BlogPost-12617.10_BlogPost-127
This face cracks me up so much
The dinosaur park is our fave!17.10_BlogPost-13117.10_BlogPost-13217.10_BlogPost-13317.10_BlogPost-134
Stole everyone’s water bottles17.10_BlogPost-135
Learning about Halloween decorations
Lory State Park17.10_BlogPost-13717.10_BlogPost-13817.10_BlogPost-13917.10_BlogPost-14017.10_BlogPost-14117.10_BlogPost-14217.10_BlogPost-143
Petting something cuh-razyyyy
Date night while G-parents were still in town!
Rocky Mountain Park adventures on an insanely windy and cold day
You can kind of tell how windy it was in the below picture
Super daddy!
Somebody likes the new bike setup!
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Halloween at Intersect Brewing
Biking the Poudre Canyon Trail17.10_BlogPost-18117.10_BlogPost-18217.10_BlogPost-18317.10_BlogPost-18417.10_BlogPost-18517.10_BlogPost-186

Septiembre is a game changer

#1 – killing it with my high school Spanish, amiright??

If ya don’t know, now you know!  September was a wild one in the best way.  Hubs and I started off by spending a week in CO to figure out where to L.I.V.E.  Whoa – did I just say that out loud??  Yup!  While the girl’s spent the week in TN, we saw an amazing hot air balloon festival, hit up a few of a plethora of breweries, spent two days in Rocky Mountain National Park, ate some bomb ass Vegan food, and took in all the feels of the west – the best feels around in my humble opinion.  It was so so good.

Once we got back, logistics became our warp speed life.  Lots of “last” friend visits, WWC hang sessions, “last” photo shoots, lots of trying to play in our house with hardly any toys (they’re all packed! – first world problems right?), an amazing Bruno Mars concert, a 40th bday party for Martin (are we seriously that old?!?!?!), a super quick work trip to Jacksonville FL (best time hanging with LSJ!), and a blur of a going away party (never enough time with all our faves!).  I’m feeling all the feels about the past nine years in this lovely city with all these lovely people.  Life changes are oh so nostalgic.  Ahh.  More feels are sure to be had next month (aka right now).

MP:  We made her a countdown calendar for the move.  We tried to make her understand we wouldn’t be leaving for a month.  In 3 year old time, that’s basically 20 years.  She’s started to use some of our parental sass right back on us.  Talk about self reflection.  Still a pretty picky eater, but we did get her to take a couple bites of her own salad AND like it.  Pretty sure she just wanted the croutons.  But hey whateva…

RJ: Has started to make some seriously hilarious facial expressions, leaving us cracking up.  Still loves busting a move by swinging those baby hips (see video).  Also, is finally attached to two stuffed animals, creatively named “Baby” (a mouse that looks like a rock, yes really) and “Bubby” (aka a duck wubanub).  Her eczema still flares up if we don’t stay on top of it and dropping dairy has immensely helped with it.  She says “itchy”, “itchy” if we don’t keep socks on her.  She’s definitely our good eater.  While at Gamma’s and once finished with her plate, she relocated herself to finish off her sister’s unfinished plate of goods, as one does.

September’s video:

Two plates of food?  Don’t mind if she do!
Smoothie days!
Packing wears a girl out
Bests for life.
Looking for Grandma and Paw paw.
Proof she ate her salad.
Took her to Old Navy to get a dress.  She didn’t get a what about clothes or a dress.  What did she give a what about?  Hugging EVERY.SINGLE.MANNEQUIN.  I obliged and yes, the trip took about 20 minutes longer than it should’ve, but it was so darn cute.
Grandma heaven.
That lady in the middle.  I love her.
Also, this pretty mama.  She means the world to me.
Backwards pants.  You win some, you lose some.
Gonna miss these superb humans.
Such a big squirrel.
Crazy Aunt Coco.
Pardon her, while she takes a phone call.  She’s very important, ya know.
We will desperately miss this climbing wall.

JJ & C-Bear | Charlotte Family Photographer

You guys – C-Bear has a baby bro – JJ!!  Just when she couldn’t get any cuter, I got to see her helping taking care of baby brother.  When I think back on the fact that I’ve been there for every big moment of this family’s life (most recently when JJ was still a bump) I am incredibly grateful.  I can’t say it any other way.  This family rocks my world.  Like real deal.  xoxo


Isabelle’s Senior Portraits | Charlotte Senior Pictures

This family and this girl are the best.  I’ve known Isabelle’s parents for a little bit now and they’re some seriously great human beings.  Like really seriously.  This was actually the first time I got to spend time with Isabelle and I could not get over how stunning she is, both inside and out.  Myself, her mom (Sammy) and Isabelle, spent an evening at McDowell Nature Preserve to snap portraits of this beautiful, easy going, confident, goal oriented, lovely, young lady.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them!


August Memories

It’s almost October, so I can barely remember August.  Ahh.  It’s been so busyyyyyyy.  I’m gonna have a hard time going back into the memory banks here, but here goes.  We started off with a big garage sale.  It was TONS of work, but pretty fun in the end getting it all together.  I felt like the turn out was pretty good!  The next day we celebrated paw paw’s birthday and I cooked a delicious Spring avocado pasta with cherry tomatoes and corn.  So good.  Shortly after, my parents took the girls to our friends’ farm and to see Uncle Matt in WV while we celebrated my birthday with some adult time and good friends at the USNWC, which is always our fave.  Next came our big overnight rafting / camping adventure on the Upper New River in West Virginia.  The girls had the time of their lives.  It was soooo fun watching them get dirty and explore.  Other fun events were my girls’ birthday dinner (while the girls went on Cass Scenic Railroad), Molinari maternity pics, Jackson Normy’s 1st bday party, the crazy solar eclipse, MP’s first dentist appointment, two baby showers (for babies that have now been born – Hi Vivi and JJ!), a senior pics sesh, and putting our house on the market with FSBO.  Yowza.  All this craziness precludes some soon to come calm.

MP: Calls Aquaphor “Baselina”.  Comes into our room at least two times a night.  The first time, we shuffler her back to bed.  If the 2nd time is 4am or later, she climbs in our bed and goes back to sleep.  I then tiptoe around her getting ready for work each morning.  Immediately wants whatever toy RJ picks up, yet never looked at before then.  If RJ is being scolded or in trouble, she’ll tell me and Daddy “you made her sad!”, defending RJ.

RJ: Is in the midst of a vocabulary explosion.  Asks where “gwama” and “paw paw” are all the time and looks for them out the window.  Starting to want to be a little helper.  Will throw stuff away and get her spoons out now.  Screams “moommmmmy” to me.  Anyone else would think she’s distraught, but that’s just how she says my name.  Grabbed and drank Paw paw’s wine glass when we weren’t looking.  Got a good gulp plus poured it down her shirt.  Always starts dancing immediately as soon as mommy sings “posie got a poopy posie got a poopy”.  Wants to feed herself now with her spoon or fork.


Carl Fam | Charlotte Family Photographer

I’m extremely late posting about this awesome family b/c woah it’s busy town over here.  However, this isn’t the first time this family has been on the blog, but now they’re up two boys.  Since I met Libby, I’m pretty sure I’ve had a girl crush on her, then she started her amazing blog, and my intuition was solidified.  Girl crush, check.

Clearly I’m biased, but I really love these pictures.  To me, they represent all the things I love about this family.  They just seem to simply be at ease in their family and are just really great at letting each person in the family be themselves and really just BE in general.  If you know them, you know what I’m talking about.  If you don’t know them, start following Libby’s blog and get to know them, because, well, you’re missing out.

The only thing I’m bummed about with these pictures is the fact that I didn’t get a picture of the boys running.  These boys blew off some SERIOUS steam running from the camera the first 20 minutes or so and it was definitely entertaining.  I’m pretty sure I got tired just by watching.  They obviously warmed up at some point because we got some amazing shots.  Libby texted me after the shoot to tell me Brooks (the oldest) told her he was running in the beginning “because I never had my picture taken like that before and I was scared and then I realized it was ok”.  Melt.

Enjoy these silly boys and their awesome parents!


July Fly By

July was so gooooooood, but soooooo fastttt!!!  The goodness is displayed by the absurd amount of pictures this month AND a really long video (I swear I tried to cut them down!).

We had an amazing 4th of July hanging with some besties at the Stewart’s pool.  MP had her first official no nap day that day and crushed it, having so much fun!  We celebrated Grace’s 3rd birthday at the nature museum, went to see MMJ and Gary Clark Jr (epic!), then headed to AZ for some fun / work.  The 5 days in AZ started with a chill pool party, then a hiking / camping session at the Grand Canyon, then some fun work party times (for me) and more hiking / camping (the Weatherford Trail) for the hubs.  We made it back home the day of MP’s birthday and then had a low key swimming party with Grace and Santino.  She LOVED it.  We got her some yoga books and a strider bike for her bday!  We spent the last two weekends in July organizing and getting rid of unwanted stuff and things in our house.  LIBERATING.  In between those two weeks, we went to Lake Watauga in TN.  It’s soooo beautiful and the girls LOVED being around so much family fun.

July was the epitome of an epic summer month!

MP: Absolutely loves swimming.  Octonauts is currently her favorite show.  “Please can I watch a show nowwwww?!?!”  Counts to 20 while doing pull ups on Daddy’s climbing hang board.  Loves spinning and swinging on daddy’s gymnastics rings.  Officially dropped naps after TONS of fighting with mommy and daddy.  It was a fight to get her to take a nap, she was super grumpy when waking up for up to an hour, and a fight to get her to bed at 9 or 10pm.  Once we dropped the nap, that all went away.  Phew!  Went swimming with Daddy in a waterfall!  Says “that’s my rose pose”.  When cleaning out the house, I gave her one of my old caboodle boxes and let her pick out some necklaces.  She picked all the chunky ones and carries them around in the box now, referring to them as “my pearls”.  Fought us to quit wearing pull ups and revert to diapers at night because they gave her a wedgie.  HAHA!

RJ: Loves saying “Ohmmmmmm” over and over.  Still an incredibly super busy bee.  Won’t sit and watch a show like MP.  Has to be on the move almost constantly.  Attempting to talk a TON.  Understands the majority of what we say, which is awesome.  “Sings” ABCs and goodnight song softly with us.  Walks in and says “hi” while cutely waving her hand with the perfect timing.  The whole family went Vegan (aka a plant based diet) this month.  Mainly because RJ’s skin was just out of wack and we’ve seen improvements for everyone since making the change!

17.07_BlogPost-10117.07_BlogPost-10217.07_BlogPost-10317.07_BlogPost-104Quick dinner with the Carl Family!17.07_BlogPost-10517.07_BlogPost-10617.07_BlogPost-10717.07_BlogPost-10817.07_BlogPost-10917.07_BlogPost-11017.07_BlogPost-111
Getting sleepy toward the end of the pool day!
Kids riding in small motorized vehicles is friggin’ hilarious.
Big girl graduated to big girl scissors!
When we were fighting about bedtime, we told her if she wasn’t tired she could read books by nightlight.  Presh.
Grace’s bday at the nature center!
MMJ ladies and a cute baby bump!
Tree hugger
MP riding the light rail with Grandma and Pawpaw and LOVING it.
Cedar Ridge hike at the Grand Canyon was amazing!!
Weatherford Trail pics from bae
After work sips with some of my favorites.
I miss these fools already.
MP’s birthday.  She looks stoked right?17.07_BlogPost-155
Now she’s stoked because a vegan cupcake is involved.17.07_BlogPost-15617.07_BlogPost-157
One of my favorite families ever ever.  That bump is life.  Literally.
Lake Watauga trip!
Naked waterfall swimming.  Mark that off the 3 year old’s bucket list.
And then naked cupcake eating.
Splash pad with the Bradbury’s.
Firefighter pose.
This girl is always getting into something.  I found her like this.  Yes, she brought the stool over by herself.
Rose modeling “her pearls”.17.07_BlogPost-17817.07_BlogPost-17917.07_BlogPost-180
Super tired after a great hike to the waterfall!
The crazy Simpson family!