31 March 2014

A Springtime Break

Our week long road trip was part spring break, part post birthday celebration for J. He received money for his birthday from his super grandparents that we used to take him to his very first airshow to see the Thunderbirds.

So in favor of creating more memories, we rented a Camaro Convertible for a week at $5 a day and roadtripped from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon and then down to Tucson Arizona. 

It was our first long road trip as a family with our share of disappointments and melt downs (literally when J was eating a melting ice cream cone in the car...).

All this trouble and effort was worth the memories! Way better than just buying him more toys, right? Oh we desperately hope so.

Day One: The Grand Canyon 

The Grand Canyon is truly huge! It was the first time for all of us and we were all amazed and the vastness. Our favorite part of the day was walking along a paved trail (while everyone else rode the bus) eating snacks and singing songs.

Oh, and of course we loved the sunsets!

Day Two: Phoenix Airshow

Turns out everyone loves a free airshow! After learning it would take 3+ hours in traffic and waiting to ride a bus just to get to the airshow, we chose to park on a dirt road outside Luke Air Force Base. J was happy to sit in the parked, air-conditioned race car and watch the planes.  

After the show we stopped for ice cream cones on our way out of town. We quickly learned why easy-going, I'm just going to enjoy life, toddlers and melting ice cream don't mix.

Day Three: Tucson, AZ

Our first full day in Tucson was Sunday so we attended church, where J was surprisingly fine with going to a different nursery class with new toys. I think he needed some serious kid time.

After church we all took much needed naps in our presidential suite. (I was almost forever embarrassed when I typed sweet instead of suite. But it was quite SWEET!) We were all too surprised when they upgraded us for free. It was heavenly to have a full fridge/ freezer, a dining room table, and separate room for J to sleep. I am almost ashamed to say that it was even bigger than our current apartment.

Day Four: Pima Air & Space Museum,Tucson AZ

Let's pretend you are surprised to see more airplanes. 

I've been to a few airplane museums in my recent years thanks to these boys. This one was by far one of my favorites! We went first thing in the morning and enjoyed running around the 80 acres of airplane viewing bliss.

I've also realized that I LOVE photographing airplanes. The angles, symmetry, and reflective surfaces are a creative dream.

The boys loved the planes and I loved photographing the boys loving the planes. Win win.

So many more pictures! Stay tuned for part two of our vacation.

25 March 2014


We had to document this day when we realized that we were all twenty-five something.

Joseph is 25 years old.
I'm 25 weeks pregnant.
J is 25 months old.
Baby Girl Pieper is 25 (gestational) weeks old. 

Seriously, what are the chances of that ever happening again!?

When one of my Activity Day girls saw me  this week, all she could say was, "Whoa!" Meaning yes, my belly had finally popped out and I was looking very much pregnant. 

It's funny how when you are pregnant (and obviously showing) it is an invitation for random strangers to start conversations with you while looking at your belly and not your eyes. Starting with, "When are you due?" or "Do you know what you're having?". Never mind those silly introductions like, "Hi my name is (blank)." Let's just jump to the good stuff, "Do you mind if I stare at your body and ask personal questions?"

Oh the joys of being pregnant (and complete strangers taking interest!). Only 15 more weeks and then it will be all worth it.

24 March 2014

Bucket List: Grand Canyon

I can't remember if we planned to go to the Grand Canyon because it was on my bucket list, or if I put it on my bucket list because we were already planning on going to the Grand Canyon... but either way, my first photograph is crossed off my list!

I honestly couldn't decide which photograph of the Grand Canyon I like more, so I'll let both be bucketlisters together!

The top photograph was taken at sunset with the beautiful colors shining on the massive wall of the canyon. This photograph is an HDR composite, meaning that I took three exposures from the exact same position and then merged them together on the computer, giving a huge range of highlights to shadows. 

The second photograph is also at sunset, at a similar location but this one is facing the setting sun. I loved the rich light streaking through the trees and the shadows of the dark canyon and Colorado River below.

 Both photographs were taken amidst a group of photographers with their National Geographic field-guides (gulp!) who had way fancier equipment than I did (double gulp!). 

Once my nerves recovered and I stopped shivering, I was truly able to enjoy this spectacular view with my fellow photographers trying to capture just a slice of this amazing sight.

This was just one evening of our Spring Break road trip through Arizona. Stay tuned for race cars, giraffe tongues, and of course, airplanes!

21 March 2014

Mr. Two

J had a birthday, shout hooray! 

(And we're just going to pretend like this isn't a month late, okay?)

We started with a relaxed day of opening presents, skyping grandparents, and making a birthday cake. 

(On a side note, all the animals are still inside the ark. 
I guess it hasn't been 40 days and nights yet?)

After a nice afternoon nap (unlike last year) we headed to our favorite park to meet friends for cake. J helped by crash landing the jet planes into the cake for a more authentic look.
After eating cake, we walked down to the lake to feed the local geese and ducks. We ended the day by heading to the airport (surprise!) to watch the airplanes take off and land. I love that this little boy of mine is so easy to please.

Happy Birthday (a month late) little man!
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