(above, Brian in the Barber of Seville in Mexico City)

After a few months at home (and technically unemployed, but we like to call it extended paternity leave or just vacation), Brian's work schedule is taking our family traveling again soon. The next few months are all operas Brian has done before, which means I have photos from past engagements to talk about future ones! He has a few other engagements coming up of new things, but for the shorter engagements, we will probably just send Brian and not drag along the wife and two kids. For anything longer than 2 weeks we will try and work things out to travel as a family, unless the short engagment is in Hawaii, then we will make it a family trip. (Hawaii plans are in the works for next Spring, thanks again for all your work Guy, Kristin, and Yulia).

First, we go on the road for a Barber of Seville with Opera Pacific this October. Opera Pacific is in Orange County, CA. We are renting a cute little house and I am a little excited to go to Disneyland. I have not been to California Disneyland since I was 5. I made it to Tokyo Disneyland as a teenager and we considered going to EuroDisneyland this past January, but I think Colin is at a better age to enjoy it now, and he is still free! We have the good fortune of having quite a few friends in Southern California so we will get to see some people too.

We then hope to be home again in November. Brian has a few performances of the Messiah with Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society in early December. I hope to travel with the baby and maybe Colin for this since I have never been to Boston. Just for some Messiah trivia, the American premier of the Messiah was buy the Handel and Haydn Society. As Brian loves singing the Messiah, and they have an incredible orchestra and choir, he is excited to sing with them.

We then have only a couple of days at home before we need to get up to Seattle for Brian to start working on the Pearl Fishers with Seattle Opera. (The photo above from when he did the Pearl Fishers last Fall in Kansas City). I have mentioned before that the Seattle production will involve a lot less clothing for Brian, since he will be shirtless in Seattle. (As I write this he is just finishing some weight lifting.) We are excited to spend time in Seattle since we have a lot of family and friends in the area, but I am a little sad to not be in our own home for Christmas. I am sad too because I would like to get Colin a little bike but we will not be able to give or receive any hard to pack gifts.

Right after Seattle, we will need to get to North Carolina for a production of La Cenerentola with the Opera Company of North Carolina. Above is Brian in his dressing room after he sang Cenerentola with Michigan Opera Theatre in 2006 just out of grad school. It is kind of funny because our friend Becky took this photo since I did not have a camera. Becky and some friends drove up from Indiana for the opera, and now Becky has moved to North Carolina. It is like we are stalking her with opera! Another great thing about NC is our dear friend DLF. Danal, as we lovingly call her, is one of my friends from my freshman year of college. The opera is housing Brian, but his digs may not be spacious enough for all of us, so we all might stay in her extra bedroom, since there is nothing like housing a little family of four in your extra bedroom!

All I can say to summarize things is thanks for making our living by singing, Brian. It is pretty great.

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I tried to get the camera out for that great light right as the sun was going down but in the time it took me to go downstairs for the camera, it was gone. It was a very strange, smokey day with a canyon fire that changed the color of the sunlight this afternoon. Very strange.
Jane is discovering that those things on the ends of her arms can grab things. It has been so sweet to see her really go for things recently. She pulled my hair for the first time (and most likely not the last time)a few days ago.

Hanging out with Daddy.

We will get better garden photos later, but things are coming on fast and delicious. I tried to use Colin as a means to judge the scale of the tomato jungle.

Here is Jane's end of the day, in the bassinet that held her Grandpa Hinckley in 1935.
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This is our friend Sarah who with her family this week welcomed a new little boy into the world. He took his time in arriving but Mom and baby are doing great.

Two year old big sister was not feeling like having her photo taken. She is a darling little girl.

I think he is about 28 hours old here. A good sized little one.

I love this photo of mother and baby. I hope Sarah is getting lots of rest.
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So, this is kind of the point of all the planting, weeding, watering, sweating etc: Brandywine tomatoes. These beauties are just about the juciest tastiest tomato out there and we are very much enjoying them.

Here's a batch of tomatillos awaiting their turn to be made into salsa verde. I like the purple variety.
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We have spent some time the last two days up Little Cottonwood Canyon since our friend Sue Anne is in from Scotland and she was at a conference at Snowbird. Lucky for us, Sue Anne has some work do to here until October. The canyon is very beautiful right now, and just a 30 minute drive from our house. We had a nice picnic with Erik and Danny but sadly did not take photos. They then had to head down for other pressing social engagements.
Colin loves Sue Anne. He includes her in his "what we are thankful for" section of his evening prayers.
It's a great time for wildflowers. (photos by Brian, Sue Anne and Colin since I was holding baby)

Colin took this photo of Mommy in the field.

Colin really is a great little hiker and loves being up the canyons.

Last of the evening light.

Mama and baby moose. They were very close off the trail. The day before we saw a big bull moose, and some other hikers said there were two bulls up the trail a bit. It makes me a little nervous to be too close, but they are amazing to see.
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Brian here-
So an enormous amount of my time has been spent learning the ropes in the garden this summer, but I haven't done a very good job of documenting my efforts. These pictures are from sometime last month. I'll have to get out and take some pictures of all the tomoatoes that are currently ripening. I have about 25 plants out there- 7 varieties.
I just planted a new round of seeds for fall harvest- Chioggia beets, bright lights chard, spinach, broccoli rabe, broccoli, chinese cabbage, lettuces, etc. Wish them luck. Hopefully we'll be eating lots of salads into the fall.

New potatoes and a little sweet onion.

Radicchio set to be grilled. It was served with lamb chops from the farmer's market. I love cooking from the garden. The other night we had Enchiladas verdes with roasted green salsa from my tomatillos. It was special. I used to think most grocery store produce other than tomatoes compared reasonably well to garden produce. WRONG.

Swiss chard goes to its death.

It's not easy keeping up with all the fruit trees on the property. This year the apricot branches were fruiting like clusters of grapes. We made jam, dried some, ate a lot fresh, and of course made apricot pie.

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We had a crazy anniversary weekend. On the 15th, Brian was engaged to sing with the Utah Symphony and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in the penultimate night of the Deer Valley Music Festival. He sang the tenor solo in Gustav Holst’s Psalm 86 and did a beautiful job, despite having a cold that had moved into his chest. It was a great program, and since it was our anniversary weekend, we rented a condo in Park City that evening. This was our anniversary gift that we technically did not have money for as we are in creative finance mode until Brian’s next big gig in October. Since baby Jane is so young and nursing, we knew we would have to bring her and I thought it would be fun to have a family get-away with Colin too. The condo’s website was a little misleading with photos much grander on-line than they were in person, but that is not too surprising. There were lots of Russian books in the condo and kind of strange bunny art, but it was fun, and funny. Colin refused to go to bed for the babysitter and did not settle down until about 11:30 pm. The next morning we intended to go for a family swim but since it was a little chilly we just stayed in the hot tub (with Jane asleep in her car seat close enough to always be watched but not close enough to get wet). We walked around Main Street with Colin on his monkey harness and Jane asleep in her sling. Colin loved riding the Trolley, which he insisted was a school bus. He was quite the little window shopper and was anxious to go up on the ski lifts. He would probably do fine but I am not ready to take a lively toddler on a ski lift. We considered getting some lunch but I was not up to keeping sleepy Colin happy and in a chair at a restaurant. And so it went. Brian and I got suckered into a “listen to an hour presentation for a free night’s stay” that we may do without Colin as another part of our anniversary another day. Needless to say, I could not be more happy that I married Brian and enjoy our crazy life together. He is a great husband and father and we are very lucky to have him for many, many more years.

Since we did not take photos this weekend, here are some from five years ago. . .

Looking at photos this morning, Brian tried to give me a compliment about how thin I am in our wedding pictures. The compliment kind of made me tear up and moody. Oh well. We are in a reproductive phase and my baby is quite young. I will not dwell here. Also while looking at these photos today, Colin ripped off the cover to one album, leaving it totally ruined. Thanks Colin, guess we are getting a new album.

We were married in the Salt Lake Temple, along with about 60 other couples that day (not 60 couples in one ceremony. We had our own. August is just a busy time for weddings in Utah.) It was a beautiful ceremony, short and sweet, performed by my Dad's cousin Marvin Thayne (Emma Lou's husband for anyone who knows her great writing).

We were so fortunate to be joined by so many close friends and family who came from across the country for our wedding. In this photo are many friends from our freshman year. Our wedding was also a 10 year reunion since we started college in 1993 (now 15 years ago! AHHHH!)

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Five years

We just celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary. Here are two of our biggest accomplishments of the last half decade.

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Stolen from my sister-in-law's blog ( I am staying up too late because I just found all these cool family blogs I did not know about. Where have I been?)
Since my body is still feeling a little postpartum (only in the way that lots of clothes still do not fit, I recovered very quickly from childbirth), I am kind of wanting these undergarments and I want to sometime in the future EVER feel like I am "poised and rested" again. That said, Brian and I have started a new fitness quest this week because I recently had a baby (and I am not that women who does not look like she had a baby a few weeks ago) and Brian has an upcoming engagement with the Seattle Opera that requires him to perform shirtless. I think he looks good now, but he feels performing Shirtless in Seattle is good motivation to weight lift. For his birthday, I bought him a new work out program off of a current infomercial. I am strangely susceptible to infomercials but we have heard good things about this program and after two days Brian is feeling it. If only intense undergarments could solve our problems. . .
P.S. Wish I had lived in the time of pointy boobs, other than Madonna I mean.

Passing time

For the last 10 years or so, most years I have done a family portrait for my sister's family Christmas card. Mainly for my own entertainment, I wanted to see a few of the photos together to see how the kids have grown. The above photo (maybe from 2000? I can't remember) is one of my all time favorite photos, taken back when I shot the Ilford film that was b/w but processed as color film. I someday hope to scan in many of my old photos. I have loved photographing my sister's family.



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My brother's daughter turned 1 yesterday and they had a cute little party. She has great eyes and enjoyed her cupcake. My brother claims he needs to add on to their house to make room for all her gifts.

Colin contemplates the cupcakes. Oh the temptation!

This was some bad parenting on my part. . .

You can tell in his face he is waiting to see what I will do since he is stealing a cupcake. I thought he was being kind of cute so although I was telling him to put it back, I continued to take his photo (rewarding the behavior). After this first stolen cupcake, he did it again a few minutes later but the second time he grabbed it and ran and did get a time out. Later during the party when it was actually time to eat cupcakes, he was not at all interested in them.

Jane also enjoyed the party.
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