Friday, September 16, 2016

Clara's 1st Day of School 2016 - Kindergarten

Well, I'm only a month behind on this blog.  Whoopsies.  But better late than never, right?  

Clara started Kindergarten on Monday, August 15, 2016 at Dublin Elementary School.  She was so, so excited for school to start and had talked about it for days and weeks beforehand.  There was the slightest bit of nervousness about it the day before or the morning of and when it came time to walk into her classroom, meet her teacher, and find her seat, she was confident, grinning, and eager to get things started.  We couldn't have been more proud of her.  

A few days before school started, I took Clara shopping for school supplies and a new outfit for the first day of school.  I adore the dress we found for her at the J. Crew outlets and you could tell that she was really pleased with it.  But what she loved best, was going to Target and picking up school supplies.  I had the school list in hand and would tell her she needed 3 glues, or 2 boxes of crayons, or a box of colored pencils, and she would run around like she was in that old gameshow "Supermarket Sweep" grabbing things and tossing them into our cart.  She even crowed, "School supply shopping is so much fun!!" and my mother/nerd heart burst.  

I know that these photos are overkill but she was slaying me with her "Kindergartner poses" and kept telling me to take another picture.  I really don't know where she gets this stuff because I don't pose her when I want to take pictures.  

The night before school started, we had a "Back to School Feast" that consisted of Clara's favorite meal - whole grilled fish, a salad and vegetables, and cheesy garlic swirl rolls.  I decorated the table with a bouquet that Clara had picked out (it was just a grocery store one meant for a teacher with a fake little apple in it and as soon as Clara saw it she set her heart on having it on our table for our feast) and some printable vintage alphabet cards that I found on a blog through Pinterest.  And afterwards she and Rose both got their start-of-school-year father's blessings from Paul.  

I'm glad that we got to school plenty early on the first day because traffic was intense and finding parking was (and is) kind of difficult sometimes.  I wish that we lived within walking distance of her school so we didn't have to do the driving thing.  Clara was happy to see some friends from preschool last year and friends from church who are also going to Kindergarten or D-K (it's a transitional preschool program that is state sponsored for Sept.-Dec. birthdays - it's basically Kindergarten except the kids in D-K will do full-fledged Kindergarten the following year).  

When it was time to line up to walk into her class, I realized that Clara was the ONLY child without a character on her backpack.  My sister, Jennie, had mentioned that her oldest, Emma, had noticed that last year and brought it up when she was in Kindergarten.  I'm not sure if Clara has or will notice, but there were girls whose clothes, shoes, and even hairbows, not to mention backpacks and lunchboxes had Anna and Elsa on them.  Fortunately, Clara still seems pretty enamored with her all purple backpack and lunchbox set-up.  

Rose didn't cry when we dropped Clara off, but every single day for the past 4 weeks that Clara has been going to school, Rose has asked me at least 4 or 5 times where Clara is and suggests we go get her, starting about 5 or 10 minutes after dropping her off.  But she and I have been having some nice one-on-one time which Rose hasn't had a whole lot of, being the second child.  We have a fun tradition of pointing to each other back and forth as we are walking back to the car and saying "You & me! You & me!" which is something Rose latched onto that first day when I told her, "Well, Rose, looks like it's just you and me now" and she smiled and said "You - Me!" pointing between herself and me.  It's a fun little bonding thing we have that I just love.

Clara's teacher actually taught for 15 years or something like that before becoming a principal for 13 years.  Then she retired but after her husband died, she decided she wanted to go back to work, so this is her second year back teaching again.  So far she seems very nice and Clara seems to like her.  I finally have a volunteer schedule worked out and get to start working in the class next week so I will get to see more of what things are like then as the information I get out of Clara is still pretty sparse, other than recess is her favorite (she always says that she plays "Kitties" with a couple of other kids), she is super excited for the upcoming Jaws-a-Thon (the school's mascot is a shark so the jog-a-thon is a jaws-a-thon and at the room parent's meeting I heard more than one parent, on more than one occasion, describe upcoming events as "jaw-some" - it's super weird but I'm trying to not roll my eyes about it).

I made a short video of some clips of Clara getting ready for her first day of Kindergarten that I'm including with this post (and is one of the reasons it is so delayed).  This is only my second video and there is a lot I would have done differently, but I love that I captured some of her expressions and silliness at 5 1/2.  We sure love having a Kindergartner in our family.

Clara's First Day of Kindergarten - 2016 from Amy Nash on Vimeo.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Summer Fun with the Horne Cousins

The girls and I got to go to Utah at the end of July/beginning of August for a little fun with my family.  There had been some plans (at least in my head) to make a Yellowstone trip out of it, but that got put on the backburner until next year.  Instead, we just hung out at my parents' house and Jennie's house, bouncing between the two and just generally working around the girls' schedules and interests since the primary purpose of the trip was to spend time together.

We spent long afternoons (like 3-4 hour stretches) at the pool and doing bbq's/picnics at the park, which was wonderful.  The girls had so much fun swimming and splashing together.  There was lots of imaginative playtime in grandpa & grandma's basement.  The girls ran up and down the hill in the backyard and helped my dad pick produce from the garden.  Jennie & I cooked up a special Brazilian meal to celebrate the start of the Olympics.  Jessica met my mom and me and the girls in SLC for lunch one day at J Dawgs and brought her not-quite-a-puppy-anymore Juniper to the house, which the girls loved.  Rose kept calling Juniper "my dog!" and would wake up every morning asking, "where's my dog?!" over and over and over.  We also got to see the really great house that Jessica bought earlier this year and she and the cousins watched Pocahontas one afternoon while my mom, Jennie, Renita & I ran to the mall to do a little shopping.

Jennie asked me if I would mind taking some photos of her family while I was there, which I was happy to do.  Gosh I love my nieces so much!  They all have such fun and different personalities and are such good girls.  I couldn't get over how well everybody got along (for the most part).  Emma is getting so grown up and was such a big helper and can actually hold real conversations.  Lily is still such a fun-loving girl with such a fun laugh.  Adelaide is a little spitfire and I am obsessed with her - I have always felt like Adelaide and I have a strong bond and she gives the best snuggles.  And her little voice and laugh are maniacal and beyond endearing.  And Kaitlyn and Brigitte are just such cuties who still aren't sure what to think of me but were so fun to scoop up and play with.

Here is a little video of some of the highlights of the trip that I put together for a videography class that I just finished up.  

Cousin Fun - Final Assignment from Amy Nash on Vimeo.

Jennie & Ryan and I took all the girls on a really fun and easy "hike" (it's hardly a hike as it's a flat, paved trail that takes about 5 minutes) to a spot at pretty much the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon called "Dripping Rocks".  The water was cold but it was almost 100 degrees or more every day we were there so it felt wonderful.  The girls were hesitant at first, but eventually got really into wading in the water and splashing around.  Toward the end, Clara kept adamantly insisting that she saw a snake but I kept thinking she was talking about either an abandoned black headband that was floating in a little pool of water, or a crooked piece of discarded rebar (which makes this area sound all junky but it really wasn't).  She got more and more frustrated that I didn't believe her, until Jennie spotted the snake Clara had noticed and exclaimed that Clara was right and pointed out to the rest of us where it was.  That was it for me as I absolutely hate snakes.  I have no problem really with spiders or worms, but snakes scare the bejeezus out of me.    

Unfortunately, the day of the opening ceremonies for the Olympics, my 90-year old grandma Johnson fell around 10:00 p.m.  She broke her hip and ended up in the hospital for much too long waiting for a hip replacement, and then once it was finally done something went wrong a day or so later and she had to have a second surgery.  Everyone was pretty worried and she has bad Alzheimer's and probably dementia and we just didn't know whether she was going to make it through the surgeries.  I ended up staying a couple of extra days just to see if there was anything I could do to help, but eventually I had to leave to get the girls home in time to get Clara ready for her first week of school.  Fortunately, grandma made it through both surgeries and is now at a facility recovering and seems to be doing well.  It was a bummer way to end our trip, but all in all, we had a great couple of weeks in Utah.  Can't wait to see all those cute nieces again!

Monday, July 25, 2016


Man alive, this month has gone by fast.  Starting with our fun 4th of July trip to Colorado and then continuing the fun back here at home in California.  And before the month is over the girls and I are heading to Utah for one last quick summer get-away before Clara starts Kindergarten in mid-August.  Which I'm trying hard to ignore for the moment because I cannot believe she will be a KINDERGARTENER!

Anyhow, we made it back to the beach last week with friends from our old ward.  Or actually, practically the entire old ward, it felt like, since a huge group of them get campsites together and do a week of beach camping each July.  I keep wanting to go but always chickening out since Paul can never come.  But maybe next year I will be brave and go for it.  

We had a great time for just the day anyway except that the drive home took two hours and the girls fell asleep in the car around 6:15, just before getting home, which meant a miserable bedtime routine and night of sleep for very confused and very tired girls (including myself).  But it was worth it and the girls played their hearts out in the sand, digging and chasing waves and being buried by mom.  And I had so much fun catching up with friends who I do not get to see nearly enough.  I would LOVE to move back to San Jose if we could figure out a feasible commute situation for Paul, but alas, the commute from SJ to SF is brutal so it's not happening any time soon.

I have been keeping very busy with two new personal projects.  The first is probably not news to most people who might read this blog.  I started a separate food blog to post recipes and stories and serve as an outlet for my food photography (which I am loving since my subjects don't tend to run away from me like two speedy little girls).  In truth, I'm hoping to make something of my little food blog and eventually earn a little side income from it - nothing to brag about, but maybe enough to cover expenses and afford some fun travel.  Either way, I have been enjoying combining my favorite hobbies of food, photography and writing, and have been spending too much time over at House of Nash Eats (which, if you haven't checked it out, please do!  And feel free to go like the Facebook page for House of Nash Eats or the Instagram page or join the subscribe list or something so that you can get updates.)  Gosh, I even set up a Twitter account for it, which is so weird for me because I definitely do not do twitter.  Like I said, I would like to monetize it eventually and a good way to do that is through sponsored posts with brands that pay bloggers to mention them in a recipe post, but to land those you need a bit of traffic and a following.  I would do the blog regardless of making money off of it, but it wouldn't hurt my feelings if someone wanted to compensate my hobby, so...  We'll see where things go.

My other personal project is learning videography.  I'm currently taking a videography class that I was super excited to get into (there were limited spots and loads of people on a FB group I am a part of who were all trying to get one of those spots - we sat and refreshed our screens and all the seats were gone in about 3 minutes.  I was lucky enough to snag one).  It has been so much fun and a lot to learn, which is why I think I like it.  I just love learning new things!  It makes me feel, I guess?  Maybe it's my BYU education with the whole "lifelong learning..." thing but it just lights a fire in me.  We are still early into the course and haven't covered more than basic editing and haven't touched on color grading, audio, music, or anything like that, but I had to put together a little technical assignment with a bunch of different shots that we are practicing and even my silly little technical assignment makes me feel inordinately proud.  You can see it below, although some of this footage may go into my final project, which will be a fully edited video with music and everything (and will definitely be posted when the class is over).

Amy Nash - Technical Assignment from Amy Nash on Vimeo.

We have been doing our typical summery stuff - having friends over for dessert on Sundays, working on house projects (oh man are we working on house projects - it is a full exterior overhaul with retaining walls, landscaping, painting the house, etc. and it is going to take us months to finish, if we even get to all of it this year which seems unlikely), swimming and going to concerts in the park.  I sure love those little concerts and look forward to them every year.  It is such a fun scene.  One thing I need to start being better about is taking still photos because I have been so focused on food photography and videography that I am letting my regular photography slide a bit.

But that has been our July!  August is going to be a big month with a lot of change for us!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Colorado 4th of July

Last October we had a visit from some very special guests who kindly invited us to go stay with them in Colorado.   Lucky for us, we were able to make that trip happen over the 4th of July.  Dave & Deborah and their boys are so much fun to spend time with and we absolutely loved getting to hang out and catch up.  Our girls absolutely adore their boys (well, Rose and Graham had a few tiffs over toys but by and large they got along amazingly well) and mostly it was all giggles and squeals and growling (they played monster chase a lot of the time) the whole time we were out there.  

We flew in late in the afternoon on Wednesday and spent the evening eating at the coolest little bbq place and getting ice cream, then going back to their house to see their progress on their remodel.  They didn't get as far through the remodel as they had hoped before we can, but having done two remodels ourselves, we weren't at all surprised or put out by a few minor things like missing doors on the bathroom, lol.  The boys fixed up a temporary door made out of plywood and stuck it on with hinges and everything and after that we were good to go!  

Their house is awesome (seriously, every time we go somewhere that is not California we are in turmoil over the cost of living in the Bay Area and we discuss whether a move would make sense) and the girls were having fits over the bunnies that hop through their yard all day long.  

On Friday, we got up and headed to Grand Lake, which was a few hours drive away.  The drive itself was stunning.  We stopped at Estes Park, which is very much like West Yellowstone in that it is full of cute shops and restaurants and acts as a gateway to a national park.  After snacking at Estes Park, we go back in the cars and drove through Rocky Mountain National Park (oh my word, the views were just unreal they were so gorgeous!  I wish I had taken photos!).  We saw a moose, alpine meadows above the treeline, and amazing snow-covered peaks of the Rocky Mountains.  

We made it to Grand Lake in time for a quick picnic lunch and wandering around before heading to our cabin just in time to avoid a rainstorm.  While it rained, we settled in to the cute and perfect little cabin that Paul and Dave had found for us to stay in.  The kids bounced all over the place and were delighted to have such an interesting place to explore and they ended up in the loft together chattering and playing with the toys and books and things that the cabin owners leave in the cabin for visitors to use.  Clara found a little pink stuffed penguin that she named "Pink Fluff" and they were inseparable the rest of the time we were there.  

I made chocolate chip cookies and Deborah and I talked photography and babies (she is due in less than 2 weeks now with their first girl!) and it was just so nice spending time with her.  The boys talked work and remodeling and fishing.  Our timing was just about perfect because shortly after the cookies came out of the oven, the clouds parted and we were able to go over to the lake and do some fishing and playing on the dock before grabbing a bite to eat in downtown Grand Lake, which was another cute little town made up of mostly one strip of shops and restaurants to cater to tourists.  

Fishing was a total bust - especially since Graham dropped one of Dave & Deborah's poles in the water within about 10 seconds of getting his little hands on it.  And there wasn't a single bite from a single fish.  But the kids had fun despite their parents constant gasping and shouting of reprimands that none of them were wearing life jackets and were going too fast or getting too close to the water.  But I don't think anybody really minded not catching fish.  Not with a view like we had.

It slays me that Paul uses Clara's "Frozen" fishing pole since she isn't a very trusty caster yet and she definitely doesn't have the patience to just sit and wait for a fish to bite.  Also, these photos were completely unposed - I love how Rose wrapped her arms around Paul's neck.

I have got to say here that Deborah is my photography hero.  She is the one who got me into photography and she takes such great images.  I'm inspired by her creativity and dedication to learning.  It's fun to watch how she let's her boys "help" her with the camera sometimes or her willingness to get super low for a shot even at 37 weeks pregnant and on a rain-wet dock.

We got back to the cabin fairly late but decided we still needed to do a fire out back in the firepit because we only had the cabin for one night.  We have talked and decided that next time we go we definitely need to plan on two nights instead.  The cabin had a massive wood pile for guests to use so we built a nice bit fire and roasted marshmallows.  Clara and Rose used the back patio as their little stage and performed dance routines to "It's a Hard Knock Life" (their current obsession).  And then it was bedtime for the kiddos while the adults stayed up too late watching a movie, just because none of us wanted to go to bed early on vacation.

The next morning it was raining and we were worried our plans to go out on the lake on a boat would not end up working out.  But after a leisurely morning at the cabin spent making a blueberry pancake breakfast with eggs and sausage and fruit, and then cleaning up and getting ready, the rain cleared out long enough for us to get an hour out on the boat without being sprinkled on at all.  15 minutes after turning the boat back in, it was pouring rain again.

The kids were so, so excited to be going on a boat.  They looked so cute lined up in their little life jackets.  And oh man were they ever pleased to be driving around the lake looking at the wake churning up behind our party boat.  I love that watercraft because it is so easy for the kids to move around and it feels pretty safe.  The boys threw out lines again but once again had zero luck catching any fish.  It's been a disappointing summer for fishing for us.

Each kid took a turn "driving" the boat.

The scenery at Grand Lake is just incredible.  I actually way prefer cloudy days like this because it is so interesting seeing the cloud shapes wrap and curl their way around the mountaintops.

Rose needed some snuggles from Aunt Deborah.

Clara and Colton were so goofy together.  She basically hero-worships Colton and wanted to do whatever he did all the time.  I just love seeing these cousins grow up together and develop friendships.  She already misses him like crazy and wants to go back.

After lunch in town, we piled back into the cars, this time with Paul & Dave driving together with the older kids and Deborah and me driving together with the littler two (it was too bad that we had to take two cars but so nice of Dave & Deborah to let us use their Camry so we didn't have to rent one!) and did the drive back to their place.  On the way we stopped at the visitors center up in the tundra area of Rocky Mountain National Park and got out for a little hike.  It was really chilly up their and we weren't dressed warmly enough, but the hike was short and totally worth it.  The 360 degree views from the top were just incredible.  On the way back down the rock staircase that leads to the top, Rose fell asleep while riding on my shoulders.

The next day was Saturday and we spent the morning hiking up in an area called El Dorado Canyon State Park, which was really beautiful.  And so close to their house, which is kind of amazing.  Somehow I ended up with only one picture that I like from that hike but the kids had a blast climbing around rocks and inside of caves.  And afterwards we went out to lunch at Chik-Fil-A (always a hit) and everybody went to see "The Jungle Book" at the movie theater while I took Rose home and let her get a much-needed, good solid nap in a quiet house without anyone around to wake her up.  

That night, Dave & Paul took each of the kids out in turns to go for a drive in Dave's 1966 restored Mustang convertible.  Since Clara is obsessed with convertibles and points them out anytime we saw one, this was a really exciting thing.  You can tell by the look on the girls' faces how much they were enjoying the experience.

Rose & Graham played together upstairs in the boys' bedroom (that our family commandeered for the week) for a bit while we waited for the others to get back.  These two loved and hated playing cars together.  It was hard because they definitely WANTED to play together, it's just that they each wanted ALL of the cars.  But mostly they got along great.  As a side note, the Ariel nightgown that Rose is wearing is the girls' latest obsession.  We have only had 1 princess nightgown for ages now and the girls have been taking turns with it every other night (ridiculous that they can share clothes already, but it's totally true for lots of their wardrobe).  So we caved and got two new princess nightgowns to add to the rotation (Ariel & Belle) and now they maneuver to see who gets to wear the Ariel nightgown each night so we are still dealing with refereeing over that issue.  Ugh.  No more princess nightgowns!

Rose looked a little nervous when it came time to actually go for her ride.  She covered her ears against the noise of the engine.  But after Dad held her on his lap for a bit, she was ready to go in her carseat and by the time they got back she had the biggest grin on her face.

I wish I had more pictures from the 4th of July but I just didn't pull out my camera at all that day.  We went to a parade in the morning and the kids got WAY too much candy.  They were in heaven snatching up pieces from the street whenever they were thrown our way though, and I think we got hit particularly hard because the people in the parade would notice that Rose and Graham were slower at picking up candy and throw extra handfuls our way.

Then we walked back home and ate belgian waffles for breakfast and spent the morning at the pool swimming.  Which was the perfect way to spend the 4th of July.  Clara is a full-fledged swimmer now and could go down the waterslide by herself into water where she couldn't touch the bottom, and kick over to the wall of the pool, climb out and do it again and again.  Us adults hung out in the pool below the slide so that when Rose or Graham came down in their floaties, we could redirect them to the side of the pool and they would half drift, half paddle themselves over, climb out, and go back in line to do the slide again.  I'm guessing they each went down that thing a couple dozen times.

At one point the pool manager did a "coin toss" where she went around tossing pennies and nickels into the pool both in the deeper areas and in the shallow zero entry area.  This was when the kids were all out of the pool during the 15 minute "adults only" break.  So when they got back in they could search for the coins.  It was a great exercise for Clara because she was really determined to get coins and I just stood next to her while she dove.  She needed help getting down to the floor of the pool at first but once she got the idea of how to dive down then she would jump a little, take a deep breath, and then fold herself in half and start kicking her little legs for the thrust she needed and started successfully reaching the bottom on her own.  It was amazing to watch and we are so proud of our little swimmer!  Later on (right as we were leaving) the pool had another break and this time instead of coins, they tossed cans of Fanta into the pool.  Clara was remorseful that she didn't get a chance to swim after those and keeps reminding me about it.

The afternoon was spent napping (for Rose) and watching a movie downstairs (for the other kids) and then we went into downtown Boulder for dinner, which was so much fun.  I love the scene in downtown Boulder.  Lots of street performers, great window shopping, yummy food (we ate at Old Chicago Pizza which was super delicious and then I ended up buying a piece of salted caramel fudge at a candy store called Kilwin's, I think, that was phenomenal).

And then we went to the golf course to watch the fireworks.  We got sprinkled on at one point, but not more than a few drops and the fireworks were just spectacular.  The kids loved it and Rose, who was getting really, really tired that late at night, would sit on my lap and clap after each particularly good round and shout "purple!" whenever a purple firework appeared.  Clara was most excited about the heart-shaped fireworks, and Graham hollered with glee everytime a red one went off.

Everybody fell asleep in the car on the short drive home and just like that, the holiday was over.  We had to leave for the airport the next morning and had kind of a long day of travel to get back but it was totally worth it.  We miss Dave & Deborah & Colton & Graham and are already trying to figure out when and how we can get together again.  And looking forward to meeting their new little girl who will be coming any day now!