Tag Archives: boys

April Showers

It’s wedding season! Doesn’t it seem like just yesterday we were all getting together for bridal showers and bachelorette parties every other weekend?

Truth is it’s been a while since we all got together to celebrate a wedding. That’s why Matt and I decided to be the last. You know, to build the suspense and excitement.

And to give our friends a chance to go out for a night and leave their kids with grandma and grandpa.

We ventured home last weekend for a weekend full of wedding festivities and Easter celebrations. After a brief pilot strike, new flight schedules and a detour in Chicago, we made it to Springfield around 1 a.m. Saturday morning. This was our third trip home that we arrived after midnight so we’re hopeful that by the time the wedding comes, the travel gods smile down on us instead of pouring their flight delays and traffic jams all over us.

Travel woes behind us, we spent Saturday amidst family and friends and if you ask me, there’s no better way to spend a weekend day. It meant so much to us for both sides of friends and family come into town, something I appreciate so much more living thousands of miles away from them.

My mom and sister handled all of the planning and execution of the shower so while I can’t take credit for any of the details, I did manage to snap a few photos to share with you. I think we both know I’m good for little more than photo posts at this point so here’s a mash-up of the weekend.

wedding shower, bridal shower, babies, wedding season, spring bridal shower, champagne bar, wedding cakewedding shower, bridal shower, babies, wedding season, spring bridal shower, champagne bar, wedding cake wedding shower, bridal shower, babies, wedding season, spring bridal shower, champagne bar, wedding cake

wedding shower, bridal shower, babies, wedding season, spring bridal shower, champagne bar, wedding cake

wedding shower, bridal shower, babies, wedding season, spring bridal shower, champagne bar, wedding cake

wedding shower, bridal shower, babies, wedding season, spring bridal shower, champagne bar, wedding cakewedding shower, bridal shower, babies, wedding season, spring bridal shower, champagne bar, wedding cake

wedding shower, bridal shower, babies, wedding season, spring bridal shower, champagne bar, wedding cake, save the date cookie

wedding shower, bridal shower, babies, wedding season, spring bridal shower, champagne bar, wedding cake, save the date cookie, family

wedding shower, bridal shower, babies, wedding season, spring bridal shower, champagne bar, wedding cake, save the date cookie

wedding shower, bridal shower, babies, wedding season, spring bridal shower, champagne bar, wedding cake, save the date cookie, family

wedding shower, bridal shower, babies, wedding season, spring bridal shower, champagne bar, wedding cake, save the date cookie, family

wedding shower, bridal shower, babies, wedding season, spring bridal shower, champagne bar, wedding cake, save the date cookie, family

wedding shower, bridal shower, babies, wedding season, spring bridal shower, champagne bar, wedding cake, save the date cookie, family

We had a great Easter celebration and are continuing the party this week with the boys visiting Florida for their spring break. You’ll have to excuse my delay in posting as a certain spunky younger brother is turning 5 tomorrow and I’ve got some decorating to do but I’ll leave you with a few shots from Easter Sunday.

Easter, brothers, boys, photography, easter sunday, family, kidsEaster, brothers, boys, photography, easter sunday, family, kids Easter, brothers, boys, photography, easter sunday, family, kids

Can you tell they’re brothers?

 

 

Awkward Family Photos

Every year around this time, my sister off-handily asks me to bring my camera home to “take a couple of pictures of the boys for a Christmas card.” Seems easy enough, right? Well it used to be. Back before said boys knew what capturing a decent photograph entailed. Things like real clothes, real smiles and real hugs that don’t end in punches, pinches or pokes.

Before we get into this year’s crop, let’s revisit the good ol’ days when the boys were oblivious and the photos were plentiful.

379966_10101103641829740_1892641355_n408626_10101103642039320_1916803324_nsimply social blog, photography, nephewssimply social blog, photography, nephews photography, children, nephews, springfield illinois, simply social blog

photography, children, nephews, springfield illinois, simply social blog

 

After a 6-hour flight delay heading home, I arrived to a snowy Springfield just in time to head over to Champaign the next day for Thanksgiving. We made the most of the weekend, booking a wedding photographer, finding a wedding dress and catching up with a few friends and family in the process. If you’ve read any of my posts you probably know I’m horrible with big decisions. It wasn’t without some forethought that we decided to plan a wedding in 6 months. If you want to see a procrastinator change her tune, tell her it takes 6 months for a wedding dress to be made.

Anywho, we managed to squeeze in a little photo shoot a few hours before my flight back home and I will admit I was a little doubtful we would end up with anything useful. The boys had been in the car all day, Jake was willing to do just about anything aside from putting clothes on and they were well-aware that the next 20 minutes would involve more patience and participation than they were willing to give.

family photographs, children, photography, springfield, illinois, old state capital, christmas cards, holiday, boys

That’s what I love about photographs. They pause a single moment in time. Between the paparazzi-shielding hands, the cold wind complaints (it was 55) and the school photo smiles.

family photographs, children, photography, springfield, illinois, old state capital, christmas cards, holiday, boys

family photographs, children, photography, springfield, illinois, old state capital, christmas cards, holiday, boys

family photographs, children, photography, springfield, illinois, old state capital, christmas cards, holiday, boys

family photographs, children, photography, springfield, illinois, old state capital, christmas cards, holiday, boys

family photographs, children, photography, springfield, illinois, old state capital, christmas cards, holiday, boys

 

family photographs, children, photography, springfield, illinois, old state capital, christmas cards, holiday, boys

family photographs, children, photography, springfield, illinois, old state capital, christmas cards, holiday, boys

 

family photographs, children, photography, springfield, illinois, old state capital, christmas cards, holiday, boys

family photographs, children, photography, springfield, illinois, old state capital, christmas cards, holiday, boys family photographs, children, photography, springfield, illinois, old state capital, christmas cards, holiday, boys

 

Photographs allow you to get a snapshot of someone looking exactly the way you love them most. Just being them.

 

Cupcakes and Ice Delis

Please accept my apology for ignoring the blog late last week. I had plans to fly home and surprise one of my best friends for her 30th birthday and I was not entirely confident in my ability not to spill the beans. All of them. All over the table and the floor. I love surprise parties, but I get really nervous having to lie to people to pull them off. When you use as many words as I do in a standard conversation, you really have to tread carefully. Fortunately, recently moving out of state gives you a pretty good excuse for missing large events so I had a pretty good alibi.

I flew home Friday evening just in time to join the celebration and catch up with some of my girlfriends. It was a great weekend with friends and family and lower humidity.

baseball game, nephews, little league baseball, boys

 

grace, puppy, bailey, chocolate lab, toddler, hugsice deli, boys, family, snow cones, summer, nephews

Here’s hoping I can get a few projects started at my parent’s house before they read this and call to stop me. Have a great week!

 

 

Happy Birthday Jake!

Today is my youngest nephew Jake’s fourth birthday.

jake turns 4, what 4 year olds say, 4 year old funnies

It’s hard to believe we’ve only had four years of this precocious kid, but the laughter and joy he brings to our family is immeasurable.

It seems like just yesterday I was begging the concierge at the downtown Hilton Garden Inn to go wake up my dad so we could make the drive from Chicago to Springfield in time for Jake’s arrival. Fortunately for my sister, he came much faster than his older brother and fortunately for my dad and I, the concierge agreed.

brothers, jake birthday, jake and owen

Jake’s 4-going-on-14 personality can partially be attributed to his older brother Owen. Even with a good role model however, it’s been clear from the beginning that Jake would dance to the beat of his own drum. He’d also beat a lot of things, but let’s save that for later.

jake_year_one

Jake is all boy. He has been from day one. If something can be used as a weapon, you better believe he will find a way to use it as one. If an object can be scaled, he will climb it. If there is a song to be sung, he will sing it with utmost enthusiasm. And if there are miscellaneous items missing from any one location, he’s your pirate and those items make up his booty.

jake_2_years

He’s sweet too though, often telling his mommy how much he loves her, snuggling with Nana and letting his brother pick him up and carry him even as they get closer in size. Yes that last one is also because he’s incredibly lazy but let’s go with sweet for the sake of this paragraph.

nana_anne_jake

But beyond all these traits, the thing I love most about Jake is his sense of humor. He’s funny. And not just in a toddlers do funny things kind of way, but in a this kid has pure comedic timing and he’s going to get into a lot of trouble over the years kind of way.

jake_3_years

I can’t wait to be along for the ride. Happy 4th Birthday Jake!

Jake dances to pitbull from Sarah Murphy on Vimeo.

Photographic ramblings

Today, instead of my normal ramblings, I’m going to pretend to be a photographer and share with you a “client post.” You know, kind of like this one. Just kidding. Can you tell I spent incessant amounts of time swooning over her yummy light skillz? Can you believe a daughter of writers would allow skillz to be written in her blog? Yeah me neither.

I’m no photographer. I have a camera with a decent lens that I use for pretty much everything (i.e. cookies and pumpkin muffins). I’ve taken a few photography classes so I am at least confident enough to have avoided my auto setting for a few years now, but I still have a long way to go. All those things considered, my sister still asks me to get a few shots of my nephews each year for her Christmas cards.

Let me tell you how it goes down.

Can you bring your camera home this weekend?

Sure. What for?

I need a picture of the boys. 

A picture. Just one. No pressure right? Wrong.

Nearly every year we get stuck with crappy weather. Combine that with my amateur photog status and some very impatient boys and you’re in for a real treat. Photographers don’t get paid enough. Come to think of it neither do I. They may make those shots look easy but chances are they had to reference farts, poop and butts at least 50 times in order to get a good smile.

simply social blog, photography, nephews

I wonder what kind of faces you would get if you used this tactic on girls? 

The moral of the story is that even though we had less than ideal settings last year, my favorite images were the ones where I could see the boys’ personalities come out. And that’s something that I think shines through even without yummy light.

simply social blog, photography, nephews

So this year I was excited to wake up to warm sunshine on Sunday morning. I immediately text my sister and said that we were coming over before church to take advantage of the good light and the not-yet-sleepy-or-hungry-or-cranky boys.

Wouldn’t you know just as we pull into the driveway the rain starts. You can read more about the storm we had this weekend here.

Believe it or not in just about 10 minutes, I managed to get the boys to agree to 4 locations, all of which were surrounding my sister’s house. Here’s a tip for parents who want a good shot of your kids. Don’t make it too difficult. Take pictures of them where they live, where they play. They will be more likely to agree with you if they don’t have to work as hard. If that doesn’t work, bribe them with candy.

We started on the porch swing but I wasn’t loving the shadows and I didn’t have much time to manipulate my camera for fear I would lose them forever.

photography, children, nephews, springfield illinois, simply social blog

So we quickly moved over to the side of the house to get a few shots along the brick wall. My sister had originally wanted to go downtown to get a similar shot, but I was hoping we could capture the same effect just a few steps away.

photography, children, nephews, springfield illinois, simply social blog

The little one is best when you catch him off-guard…and before he runs away. Don’t ask him to smile. Just patiently wait for him to let his guard down and he’ll give you the sweetest look ever.

photography, children, nephews, springfield illinois, simply social blog
There were a lot of what I like to call “the lookaway” photos in the bunch. But here’s a tip. If you snap fast enough, the lookaway can lead to a lookrightatcha.

photography, children, nephews, springfield illinois, simply social blog

So now we are on the side of the house walking to the backyard. Knowing how much the older one likes to pose with his hands in his pockets I decided to have them stand against the fence.

photography, children, nephews, springfield illinois, simply social blog

This is how it started.

photography, children, nephews, springfield illinois, simply social blog

Serious pose. #nailedit. I’m nearly 30 and I still just look constipated whenever I try it. I’d love to show you the next in the series but I don’t want to ruin the surprise for those of you getting this year’s Christmas card. Hint-they both smile and look at the camera. I love surprises. Sue me.

We’ll end with my favorite photo of the bunch. If I could go back I would have taken the 10 seconds I needed to adjust my focus so Owen isn’t blurry. But had I done that I might have missed out on my favorite Jake face.

photography, children, nephews, springfield illinois, simply social blog

So there you have it. 4 locations in one. 10 minutes. HOHOHO Merry Christmas.

photography, children, nephews, springfield illinois, simply social blog

Hope you are having a great week. Be sure to hug your photographer the next time you have a session.

Vacation Recap: full heart, tired body

My body is tired. My heart is full. I may or may not be reconsidering having children of my own someday. These are just a few of my symptoms after a weekend spent with my family to the (slight) northwest. It was a Murphy/Gleason weekend and it was lovely.

Give me a weekend filled with little more than a long run and some time in the kitchen and I can give you a witty, recipe-filled excerpt sure to make your Monday (ok maybe not yours but mine at least) awesome. When it comes to documenting a big weekend however, I struggle.

How do you explain the amount of love laughter and mosquito bites shared throughout a weekend with family? How can you illustrate the joy that comes with watching young cousins become friends, celebrating two families become one or seeing someone get sprayed in the face with dirty puddle water?

What I lack in words today I make up for in photos. For those of you who were overwhelmed by my Instagramathon this weekend, I’m sorry I’m not sorry. For those of you that weren’t, prepare for an overload of cuteness. Lets call it Gleasapalooza.

Hit it.

Derecho delayed our flights. Well some of us more than others. But that left time for a few things I usually don’t have time for in the middle of the week. Like sleeping in or a mid-morning run or locating the beaver that someone obviously let into my condo the night before.

chicago lakefront swiss mountain dog
Since I was first to arrive I had the privilege of picking up the rental soccer mom mobile car and getting to know Minneapolis traffic during rush hour. Totally different from Chicago traffic but annoying just the same. Especially with that carpool lane just wide open and screaming for someone in a minivan (hey that’s me) with passengers (oh shoot that’s not me) to cruise down it. My family lives near Lake Minnetonka so that evening we just grabbed a bite to eat at a local spot and spent some time catching up and looking at old photos.

while my cousins may look short-statured, that's just poor camera angle on my part. Oopsies!

while my cousins may look short-statured, that’s just poor camera angle on my part. Oopsies!

On Friday we went shopping. There’s no sales tax in Minnesota on clothing so we always seem to make a little time for a trip to the mall.  Shoes were on the agenda for the boys but we ended up with watches, slap bracelets and sour gummy worms. And not necessarily in that order. Then it was off to Nana Pat’s where Owen and Jake wasted no time testing the structural stability of each of their cousin Jon’s toys. 

IMG 2157[1] from Sarah Murphy on Vimeo.

Friday afternoon, my cousin Jennifer’s boys Jack and Ben came over to play. A lovely mix of giggles, sword fights and ‘your not the boss of me’ ensued.

boys

no cues needed for this shot. This comes naturally to them.

That evening we had an ice cream date/photo shoot along the lakefront. Special thanks to Ben & Jerry’s for the props. I cannot get over how tall the boys are getting. I’m getting old.

lake minnetonka minnesota wayzata simply social blog ice cream

Saturday we celebrated Jennifer and Jason’s wedding at local Noerenberg Gardens. My cousin Kate and I were in charge of the chairs so we arrived early to set up and catch a few glimpses of the details and the boys before the ceremony.

noerenberg gardens bouquet poenies

It was a beautiful and simple ceremony. And I just adored the way that they incorporated the kids, having Jennifer’s boys walk her up the aisle, and Jason’s girls walk him.

noerenberg garden wedding

After the ceremony we were invited to Jennifer’s sister’s house for a afternoon reception. The whole day felt comfortable and welcoming. A playground set in place of a dance floor. A sprinkled cake that wouldn’t show fingerprints and a general sense of comfort and love.

sprinkle wedding cake

I believe everything looks better with sprinkles. Sprinkles and peonies.

The real treat came that evening, when the new Mr. and Mrs. went off to celebrate and all of the kids (6 of them including Owen and Jake) headed back to Nana’s house for pizza and a sleepover. Here are the numbers:

  • 2 lawnmower rides with Papa (Uncle Jim)
  • 4 sleeping bags
  • 3 snapping turtles spotted (weekend total)
  • 6 pairs of shoes (few of which were actually worn)
  • Countless repetitions of you’re not the boss of me, Ben hit me, I’m hungry, I’m thirsty, I had it first and I can’t find my underwear. 
sleepover stats

sleepover stats

I managed to get a few hot and humid runs in on a nearby trail over the weekend as well. It was then that I spotted snappers #2 and #3 so I felt inclined to stop to take a few scenic photos. Because of the turtles. Not because I just wanted an excuse to stop and rest. Never.

lake minnetonka minnesota

The flight home was short and sweet. I even managed to get a brief nap in thanks to the white noise in the back of the plane. After all, when you just spent 24 hours with 6 yelling children, 1 screaming child is as soothing as a sweet lullaby.

I’d like to think it was careful planning on my part to save this post for today so I could properly wish my parent’s a Happy 35th Anniversary. That or exhaustion, but either one works. 35 years ago my Dad finally put a ring on it and my mother said yes after 6-plus years of dating. Poor Nana had to get that ring ready so many times she even told my mom to just move on. But she didn’t and I thank her for that because well, that’s how I happened and if I hadn’t happened then you wouldn’t be reading this blog. And wouldn’t that be tragic? Back to the marriage.

35th wedding anniversary simply social blog

Mom and Dad. You have shown me that a successful marriage is filled with hard work, love and a whole lot of laughter and for that I thank you. Happy Anniversary.

Have a great week!

Moments of Clarity and Prancercise

Have you ever had a moment of clarity in the midst of an everyday routine? As if all of a sudden you are experiencing it for the first time? Not so much a deja-vu moment, although I have plenty of those on the regular, but a lovely mix of nostalgia, beauty and hope all wrapped up into one? For example, you find yourself walking the same route you’ve walked a hundred times, but for some reason you become more present. You notice the way the lilacs smell sound as they blow in the wind, the incredible shade of green that the grass has turned across an open field, the sound of a running stream alongside the road after a big storm. In the city, these moments are typically followed by a blaring horn and expletives as hurried commuters try to get to work, but they are there nonetheless. But it’s when I’m back home when I really notice them.

I traveled home for the weekend to see my family and to go to St. Louis with some girlfriends for a Cardinals game. Owen finished up school this week so I was fortunate to spend most of Friday afternoon hanging out with my favorite boys. 

boys_collage

Here’s what I learned:

  1. Don’t underestimate the brainpower of a near-7-year-old. Not only did Owen act as banker, making correct change for what I deemed to be difficult real estate transactions, but he managed to negotiate hotel development and rental fees with a strategy that would impress even Trump. Watch out 2nd grade.
  2. Kennels are not just for dogs. At least not in this family. From the time I brought Finn to visit, these two have insisted on locking themselves inside his kennel for extended periods of time. I like to think they get their imagination from their Auntie Sarah, going on all sorts of adventures as Finn looks on confused at the reversal in roles. Whatever the case, excersaucers are expensive and seeing as how this Kennel has paid for itself 5 times over, I think I’ll be all set by the time I have kids of my own.
  3. Dogs don’t wear pants. Therefore boys who dress up as dogs don’t need to wear pants either. At least according to Jake. After a series of negotiations as to why he needed to keep his underwear on in order to don the dog costume, Jake finally agreed. But not before informing me that if I hadn’t noticed, Finny doesn’t have any underwear on so imaginary dog Jake shouldn’t either. Good boy, Jake.

It was early Saturday morning that I had one of those moments of clarity. We had storms the night before and as I took Finn out for a long walk, I had an overwhelming sense of gratefulness for the place I grew up. For a long time, my neighborhood was just that, a neighborhood. A pickup destination where I ran out the door before my ride could honk twice. A place where I ate and slept and rolled my eyes on a daily basis. The older I get the more I realize that it’s not just a house or a neighborhood at all. It’s home. As we walked I wished I had my phone to snap photos of the little elements of home I was finally seeing after all those years. My parent’s house is nestled above a creek and off what was formerly a country road. My “home home” is nearly the antitheses to my “city home.” Quiet, wide open and filled with big old trees and wildlife.

running trail ladder

Memories always flood back of the days where my girlfriends and I spent hours rollerblading in and out of each other’s driveways, hiking down to the creek and through the fields to visit our friend’s houses the next neighborhood over and selling friendship bracelets, lemonade or our older sisters’ belongings for Ice Deli cash.

There’s also an old railroad track that has been turned into a running and biking trail nearby. So I try to say hello whenever I’m home.

trail run earthworm Here’s what I learned:

  1. After inches and inches of rain, sticks feel just like snakes under your feet. This can be positive however, in allowing you to do a quick set of high-knees as a warm up before you start your run.
  2. Even if snake sticks under your feet give you the willies, the 7 year-old self in you will never let you leave a stranded earthworm to the fate of a bike tire or rogue tennis shoe in the middle of a trail. It may be the only life you save that day as you will then encounter at least 6 more on your way back, but saving lives takes time and you’ve got a pace to keep up.

After my run, my mom and I headed downtown to the farmer’s market. It’s still early in the season, but we both really enjoy going on Saturday mornings when I’m home. I know what you’re thinking, who doesn’t love fresh produce first thing in the morning?

farmers market strawberries radishes

Here’s what I learned:

  1. My mom carries indeterminate amounts of cash in various locations at any one time. Just when you think she’s spent it all on rhubarb and radishes, she pulls out another wad of ones faster than a bookie on race day. If you want to learn how to farmer’s market it, go with the farm queen.
  2. Farmer’s markets can cause you to be a hoarder…of tomato plants. If you don’t scope properly, you are sure to buy several tomato plants at one stand only to find that the stand 3 down has bigger ones for a cheaper price. The same can be said for fresh loaves of bread, asparagus and lettuce this time of year. It’s like instagramming a photo and then seeing a better opportunity just a few minutes later. Doh!   

Saturday afternoon it was off to St. Louis for the Cards game.

st. louis cardinals

Here’s what I learned:

  1. You are never too old for a road trip with friends. Weddings, babies and real jobs aside, everyone can benefit from a good old-fashioned weekend with the people who knew you when you had braces. My chest still hurts from all the laughs and my body from the prancercising.
  2. Speaking of, there’s something to be said for this whole  prancercising trend. At least if you ask me and the guy who recognized that was the trend behind my ‘springy, rhythmic way of moving forward’ after a day of drinks and lots of tacos.

Believe it or not, I actually managed to bake something last week. My girlfriend made a gorgeous lemon pound cake for the pig roast the weekend prior and I wanted to try it out. Well, a little part of me wanted to. A bigger part just wanted an excuse to use my new juicer I bought after our cooking class the other day. Motivation is motivation, right?

lemon juicer

And so I did. During the ‘Hawks game nonetheless. I knew when I decided to let it cool in the pan overnight that I would be in for trouble the next day. After all, it said cool for 30 minutes and then flip. But I wanted to spend that next 30 minutes sleeping instead so the bundt and I had a battle the next day. Do as I say, not as I did and maybe your bundt won’t be as messy as mine was.

glazed lemon pound cake

Glazed Lemon Pound Cake

  • 1 C unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 C flour (gluten free all purpose flour can be used too)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 C sugar
  • 2 TBL lemon zest
  • 6 TBL lemon juice
  • 6 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 C greek yogurt
  • 1/2 C powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter and flour bundt pan.

Whisk flour, baking powder, soda and salt in a large bowl.

In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add lemon zest. Use your awesome new juicer to beat in 4 TBL of lemon juice. Add eggs one at a time, scraping sides of bowl between each one.

Alternate flour mixture and yogurt on low until combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour or so until toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake in pan for 30 minutes then flip it onto cooling rack. Don’t let it sit in pan overnight or your lovely ridges will be divots.

lemon pound cake

Mix powdered sugar and 2 TBL lemon juice for glaze. Drizzle over cake in a manner that will look prettier than mine. Enjoy!

lemon pound cake slice

Have you ever experienced a moment of clarity?

Have you ever prancercised?

Have you ever experienced an epic baking FAIL?

I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments.

I hope you have a wonderful week!