Graham Family Adventures

365 | February

A few of my favorite personal photos from the month of February. We started off the month with a family vacation to Brian Head, UT.  The kids loved playing in the snow and we all enjoyed taking day trips to see Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park

Oliver started baseball for the first time this month. It's a family affair; Grandpa is the team manager while George and his brother are the coaches.

A few moments from life at home. Amelia would get up right around sunset most mornings. The kids are having more interactive play with each other.  I'm just trying to capture it all as creatively as possible.

Adventures around town : We love exploring Descanso Gardens ahead of the cherry blossom festival. 

Pictured below: We bought Oliver a new bike on a whim, Oliver getting his haircut and Oliver's first purchase (candy buttons from Galco's).

6 Tips to See the Super Bloom at Walker Canyon

Southern California is experiencing a super bloom of flowers thanks to an unusually wet winter. So to witness this in-person, we decided to take a hike at Walker Canyon (just outside of Lake Elsinore off of the 15 freeway at the Lake Street exit) to see the wildflowers! I'm sharing a few of my favorite photos from our visit as well as a few tips for bringing your little ones along.

A few practical tips for visiting Walker Canyon with your little ones:

1. Before hitting the road, pack a light bag of essentials for the hike. Things to consider bringing along are a camera, water, sun screen, snacks, a change of clothes for the kids, a diaper and wipes. The trail is really dusty, so bring comfortable shoes for the hike and you might want to bring another pair of nicer shoes if you plan on taking full body portraits.

My sweet hubby carrying our bag of essentials

My sweet hubby carrying our bag of essentials

Dusty trails and steep hills ahead! Don't forget your walking shoes!

Dusty trails and steep hills ahead! Don't forget your walking shoes!

2. There aren't any restrooms near the canyon so stop at the exit before or after the Lake St. exit for those last minute potty breaks.

3. Parking near the canyon can be limited. Don't be surprised if you end up parking near the on and off ramps of the freeway.

4. Be sure to hand the camera over so that you get to be in the frame too.

I'm definitely more comfortable behind the camera but I'm so glad to have a photo of myself together with the kids

I'm definitely more comfortable behind the camera but I'm so glad to have a photo of myself together with the kids

5. Be prepared for your little one to ask for a treat. There might be vendors at the bottom of the canyon offering water and popsicles.

He had strawberry and she had an orange with cranberry popsicle which hit the spot

He had strawberry and she had an orange with cranberry popsicle which hit the spot

6. Pick a spot and enjoy the view

It can be crowded but there are pockets of places to sit and enjoy the beautiful view 

It can be crowded but there are pockets of places to sit and enjoy the beautiful view 

Planning on seeing some wildflowers in the next few weeks? Here's a resource of other great hikes in the area:

https://modernhiker.com/best-wildflower-info-for-california-hiking

Happy hiking!

365 | January

This year I've decided to take on a 365 photo project in which I take a photo a day.  My goal is to have a personal project that helps sharpen my eye and document the big and small moments while the kids are little (and actually enjoy hanging out with me :)). Here are a few of my favorite images from January.

She loves to hold her camera and in this rare moment, is holding it correctly. She usually holds it with the lens facing upward and shoots tons of selfies.

She loves to hold her camera and in this rare moment, is holding it correctly. She usually holds it with the lens facing upward and shoots tons of selfies.

After school pick up and my attempt at getting in the frame 

After school pick up and my attempt at getting in the frame 

Wherever she leads me, I will go ;)

Wherever she leads me, I will go ;)

hide and.....

hide and.....

seek!

seek!

Kids don't need fancy new toys. It's not a box, it's a car!

Kids don't need fancy new toys. It's not a box, it's a car!

Amelia uses (clean) diaper wipes as blankets for her stuffed animals. She's a good mama :)

Amelia uses (clean) diaper wipes as blankets for her stuffed animals. She's a good mama :)

He loves to give me "flowers"

He loves to give me "flowers"

Baseball practice with dad. We're starting our first baseball season in February.

Baseball practice with dad. We're starting our first baseball season in February.

Much needed rain for L.A.

Much needed rain for L.A.

Mommy and Son Date

Trying to balance the needs of my young family and building a business at the same time is a challenge, to say the least. There are days where I feel like I'm on top of things and there are days where I feel like I'm a hot mess. Lately, I've felt the need to spend some quality one on one time with Oliver. I'm realizing that my window of fun random adventures is slowly closing because he'll be in kindergarten next year (I'm in such denial!!). So, one day I let go of my ever growing to do list and took Mr. O to visit the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA. It was a fun day with no agenda and the time together was good for both of us. 

He was thrilled to see a penguin swim over his head

He was thrilled to see a penguin swim over his head

Petting the stingrays was his favorite part of the trip

Petting the stingrays was his favorite part of the trip

White spotted jelly

White spotted jelly

When he sees something cool, he'll say "mommy, take a picture!" As often as possible, I'll give him my phone to document what he sees. I think I might have to get him an instant camera soon :)

When he sees something cool, he'll say "mommy, take a picture!" As often as possible, I'll give him my phone to document what he sees. I think I might have to get him an instant camera soon :)

Photo by Oliver :)

Photo by Oliver :)

Flower hat jellyfish

Flower hat jellyfish

Japanese Sea Nettle (or as Oliver calls them, "spaghetti jellies")

Japanese Sea Nettle (or as Oliver calls them, "spaghetti jellies")

Oliver looking at comb jellies

Oliver looking at comb jellies

Our Everyday

Lately, I've been trying to document more of the everyday moments at home. So much of our time is spent here and this is where our family memories are created. These are some of the images taken in June. I'm trying not to use the tripod for now (Amelia is at the stage where she'd just knock it over) so I'd still like to play around with different angles for future photos. At this time in our lives....

 Oliver and Amelia LOVE to play with Legos

Amelia is at the age where she is crawling and standing on top of EVERYTHING. She knows she's not supposed to but I can't help laughing sometimes when I see that look of satisfaction on her face when she's up to something.

There are subtle reminders that little children live here

One of Amelia's favorite things to do lately is to read books. She turns the pages faster than I can read them, grabs the next one, and says 'dis wan'

I really wanted to document the kids brushing their teeth together. On this particular night, Amelia was too tired and went to bed before I could grab the camera. I was still able to get a few shots of Oliver being a big boy and brushing his teeth all by himself.

The next evening, George was helping the kids with their pajamas and I knew I had a min (if that) to get the bathroom ready for this photo. It took a few tries and cooperation to get them to share the step stool but I'm so glad we finally got the shot.

More photos of the kids playing and running in the house. 

Fun at the farm

Growing up in Oregon, one of my favorite things to do was to pick berries. My mom would make blackberry pies from the berries near our mailbox and a trip to Sauvie Island Farms was always a treat. I'm excited to carry on this tradition of picking our own fruits and veggies with the kids. Last weekend, we went to Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark. I'm not really sure who had more fun, me or the kids. Not only is there an ever changing seasonal selection of yummy, ripe produce just waiting to be picked, there are also animals to pet and fun rides! Here are a few of the photos from our time at the farm.

Thanks to Katherine for snapping the photo of Oliver and I together :)

L.A. Chinatown - Chinese New Year Parade

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We celebrated the Chinese New Year by taking Oliver and Amelia to see their first parade in downtown L.A. We were able to find a spot on the sidewalk so that they could get a close up view of the festivities. Oliver loved seeing all of the cars drive by and the dragons. Amelia would occasionally say 'oooooh' and point when she saw something exciting. This parade was not only fun but easily accessible by L.A. standards. Best wishes for the new year! 

Amelia's 1st year (weeks 1-5)

When Amelia was born, I started a 52 week project to document her first year in photos. I love this project because it motivates me to try new things and isn't as much pressure as a 365 (serious kudos to those folks taking on that challenge). In honor of her turning five months tomorrow, here are photos from her first five weeks.Amelia week 1 week 2

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Disney California Adventure Park

Earlier this week we took Oliver (and Amelia) to Disney's California Adventure for one last hurrah before I return to work from maternity leave. It was so fun to watch Oliver's reactions to everything he saw! His favorite things were the rides (he went on Mater's Junkyard 4 times and all the rides in A Bug's Land) and watching the cars race by at Radiator Springs Racers (he was too short to ride that one). My husband and I especially enjoyed watching the neon lights turn on at sunset. They even played the 'sha boom' song!

Knowing that we had a lot of baby stuff to bring I thought that my 50mm lens would be small enough to tote around. As much as I want really great quality photos of family outings sometimes it's just not practical to use the big camera all the time. I ended up splitting my time between my camera and iPhone. My iPhone 6 takes pretty great photos and is easier to use when my hands are full with the baby. Overall, I think it's best to use whatever camera is available to you so that you can enjoy the moment yourself.