Capturing Another Side of Vegas

It’s been almost year since our kid-free trip to Las Vegas . . . and I’m wishing that we had another trip planned for this year. But, we don’t. We’re holding off until next year to celebrate our ten year anniversary, likely somewhere on a beach.

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We love visiting Vegas. We love hanging on the strip, but the best thing we did on our last visit was rented a corvette and drove out to Lake Mead, across the Hoover Dam and through the Valley of Fire.  The scenery was breathtaking, so much so that we decided when the kids get a bit older, we are going to plan a camping trip to Lake Mead. I can’t wait to show the kids how beautiful the desert is . . .

Vegas.com is looking to #CaptureVegas, so I thought I would share with you guys a different side of Vegas. There are so many Las Vegas deals when it comes to attractions outside of Las Vegas. A couple of those attractions we drove through.

 

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{HALF} My Life

Half my life. This guy has officially been by my side for half of my life. Fifteen years ago today, I met my husband. Now that we have kids, it seems crazy. When we were the kids, it wasn’t crazy at all. I mean, seriously, as a parent, it’s crazy and slightly scary for me to think that my boy’s could meet their future spouse at such a young age.

There are so many great things about finding your partner in life at such a young age. You grow up and grow together in so many ways. You change, a lot, and you both accept and adapt. You were there, for the good, the bad, and all of the memories that come along with it. By the time you get married, your families are already friends and you already feel like part of their family.

I’ve told the story of how we met many times, but I’ve never put it in writing before. So, here goes . . .

Chan to Mars Blog | Half my LifeWe grew up in a small town, and went to a small school. But, we had never met or heard of each other until the night before we actually met. Nathan was two years older than me in school, we hung with a similar circle of friends, but he had a girlfriend, so he was not hanging around the same scene as me and my single friends. My sophomore year, the school had a winter formal, it was scheduled for a Saturday in December 2000, but we had terrible weather the week of the dance and the school decided to postpone it. The new date of the dance was February 10, 2001. In late January 2001, Nathan and his girlfriend called it quits after two years.

On February 9th, I was having a sleepover at one of my friend’s house, like I did most Friday nights, and at this sleepover was the first time I’d ever even heard Nathan’s name. On the other side of town, Nathan was staying at his best friend’s house, a mutual friend. His friend asked him who he was going to go to the dance with. Nathan said, “I don’t know, I need to find someone”. They started flipping through the yearbook and stopped when they got to the N’s in the sophomore section, where they saw me! Which was an awful photo by the way. Nathan’s friend told him that he knew me, and that I was going to be with the same group of friends that were all going to the dance together.

On February 10th, all of us girls were getting ready for the dance at my friend Meghan’s house. All of our friends and their dates were going to meet us there, then we were going to dinner, and then heading to the dance. It was a group of about twenty kids. Everyone started showing up. Then, Nathan walked through the door with our mutual friends. I greeted my friends and was thinking, “who is this guy?” about Nathan. Like I said, I’d only heard of him the night before, I had no idea what he looked like or who he hung out with. I’m sure they introduced us. Then, my friend (the girlfriend of Nathan’s best friend) suggested that I ride with the three of them to dinner, I declined, but Nathan’s best friend was not taking no for an answer. Afterall, they had picked me out of the yearbook the night before . . . they had a plan. Nathan drove the three of us to the restaurant. I can’t remember exactly where I sat, but I do remember asking Nathan if he was going to finish his chicken tenders and when he said no, I ate them. That girls, is how you do a first date . . . a first date that you don’t even know that you are on! 😉

After dinner, we headed to the dance. I had a blast with my friends and didn’t really pay any attention to Nathan until the end of the night when a conga line started and he squeezed his way behind me and grabbed my hips. After the dance, I rode with our friends and Nathan to the after party at our friend Matt’s house. It was there where I found out a boy that I was supposed to meet up with had started dating someone else, and in true fifteen year-old girl fashion, I started crying. Guess who was there to console me? Nathan, of course. He asked what was wrong, I told him, and then I laid my head in his lap, continued to cry while he rubbed my back. Then, Regulators by Warren G started playing, I popped up (that’s my jam) and something magical happened . . . I had found my match in life when Nathan and I recited the rap word for word. It completely turned my night around, and for me, sealed the deal about this guy. This was my future husband! From that moment forward we were inseparable. We haven’t spent longer than a week apart since.

Happy Meetiversary Sweets. There is no one I’d rather do life with and there is no doubt in my mind that we were brought together for a reason by God.

Regulators, mount up!!! 

Moon-Man---Chan-to-Mars

 

{MOJAVE} Desert Stingray

We were invited to a wedding in Las Vegas. It was our first kid-free vacation! We’ve separately traveled without the children, but this is the first time that we’ve left them simultaneously. I was nervous and excited at the same time! We’ve both been to Vegas several times. We actually got engaged there in 2006, at the top of the Stratosphere. My husband has a love for Vegas, something just draws him there . . . no, it’s not the gambling & the fast life, it’s more than that, it’s a nostalgia thing for him. And all of the times that we’ve been to Vegas we’ve never actually ventured out-of-town, even though we always talk about it. We knew, as soon as we got the invite to this wedding, that we were going to spend one day just wandering through the desert. I love wandering! My husband literally only had one thing on his entire bucket list; Rent a Corvette in Vegas and drive to the Grand Canyon. Well, we didn’t make it to the Grand Canyon . . . we got a little lost somewhere in Arizona, but we did rent the Corvette and drove to the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, through the Valley of Fire, and up into Southern Utah.

I had been thinking about updating mine and my husband’s photos, sans kids, for a while and initially planned to wait until our 10 year anniversary, but because I was absolutely obsessed with the idea of us having our photos taken in the middle of the desert, I knew that we needed to do it now, this trip! So, one day, actually on our eleven hour car ride to The Smoky Mountains, I popped on Instagram and began looking for a photographer near Las Vegas using hashtags. That’s when I found Brittney of Haizel Creations. She had hashtagged some dreamy desert photos that made me swoon so hard that I immediately e-mailed her to check her availability for our only “free” day of our Vegas vacation. She was available, yay! So, we chatted about what I was looking for and {BAM} she produces this beautiful location in the middle of the desert with Joshua Trees . . . can you say obsessed? Because I was!

Stingray Corvette in Mojave Desert by Haizel CreationsIMG_2883Joshua Trees in Mojave Desert by Haizel CreationsIMG_2734_1Black & White in Mojave Desert by Haizel Creations IMG_2793Anniversary shoot in Mojave Desert by Haizel CreationsIMG_2861

All photos taken by Haizel Creations.

 

Ditching the {SAFETY} Net

Big {CHANGES} for me & my family are about to take place . . . I’m finally ditching the corporate {SAFETY} net to pursue a part-time job & spend more time with my boys!

When I was 17, I got lucky & fell into the financial industry with a string of great jobs, then landed a job at a large investment firm where I worked for 8 years, 8 YEARS, while completing my bachelor’s degree. I spent 11 years working for others & 7 years of having my own photography company {ON THE SIDE}. I love photography, but I like working for others because being a business owner is a lot of pressure & stress; however the corporate world is, well, BORING!!!

1977183_10152086169576553_1502537910_nI knew that having a second child was going to change our world for the better . . . and I was right, I finally have the opportunity to work part-time, {DITCH} the corporate world and pursue a {FUN} job at Knollwood Lane . . . a job where I get to be creative while still using all of my acquired skills and work for one of the greatest bosses! My new boss & I just “get” each other and work great together. It’s amazing how people come into your life and shake things up for you! I really think that everything happens for a reason, had I not worked at my corporate gig, I would have never had this opportunity.

This year is going to be busy . . . it’s going to be a big change for me and my husband. I cannot wait to be able to spend more time with my boys & not have to enroll Marshall in a daycare center. I feel as though I am getting the best of both worlds. Being a full-time mom is super {SUPER} hard! Being a working mom is super {SUPER} hard! However, I think that a blend of both will be good for me & my family. I’ll still get to work and have some time to be {ME} and create, but not work so much that I do not get to really enjoy my life and children. They’re only going to be little once, I have the rest of my life to work! I am so grateful for this opportunity.

Marshall in {MOTION}

There are certain things that you forget about your baby as they grow into toddlers and then pre-schoolers. Such as; how cute spit bubbles are . . . because you better {BELIEVE} if your pre-schooler starts blowing spit bubbles it is not cute and they will get in trouble (mine did today) or how mesmerized they are by their hands, ceiling fans and kicking their legs. Such sweet memories that I loved to look back on.

I don’t have many videos of Mars and the ones that I have of Chan are pretty poor quality. While I was taking a few quick 3 month photos of Marshall, he was being very quiet and I was able to take some time to shoot video as well. Mad props to videographers because this sh%t is hard! I hope and plan to get better at taking videos and take them more frequently. In the meantime, enjoy!

Baby Discoveries from C. Linz Photography on Vimeo.

The Curse, Blessing & {STRESS} of the Internet

If you read this tweet, you’re probably wondering what’s going on. Don’t mind me, I’m currently a hot {MESS} and worried about doing everything SHOC . . . what is SHOC you ask? It’s the acronym that I’ve given to my current obsession: Simple. Homeopathic. Organic. Clean. And I’m not going to lie, it is stressing me the f**k out!! I’m taking little steps at a time, but every little step that I take I find more research that says that I’m not doing {ENOUGH}.

  • I decide to breastfeed because formula is processed and has GMOs, then I read that there are toxins from my body leaking into my breast milk and poisoning my baby.
  • I get rid of crib bumpers to prevent SIDS, then I read that the flame retardant toxins from my baby’s mattress could create a harmful and poisonous gas which the baby could inhale.
  • I make sure that no one smokes around my children, but now I have to make sure that they are not exposed to 3rd hand smoke, so I ask people to take off their jackets, change their shirt or wear a shirt of mine.
  • I buy organic food, then I find out that grocery store organic food isn’t always necessarily organic and that you should buy from local organic farms . . . so that means that I cannot eat fruits or veggies in the winter!?! Also, organic foods still contain GMOs, huh!?!
  • I’ve switched to organic toothpaste, organic lip balm & lip stick, organic deodorant, but that’s not {ENOUGH} now is it, because I’m being poisoned by my make-up, body wash, shampoo, and conditioner. Not to mention that those toxins are likely leaking into my breast milk as well, right?

Is everything in our environment poisoning us, slowly killing us off? What the h*ll is a concerned mom to do these days? It is not safe for me mentally to be constantly worried about this stuff, constantly researching the internet. . . I’m stressed beyond what a normal new mom should be. I mean, c’mon I survived! My mom smoked, I slept on my stomach, I didn’t ride in a carseat after the age of 1, I was vaccinated (although not nearly as much as the CDC proposes today . . . don’t even get me started on that stressful topic), I slept on a waterbed, I ate tons of processed foods with artificial dyes and sweeteners, I’m sure that I played with BPA toys, plus drank and ate from BPA containers.

I try to remind myself that every little step that I take is better than no steps at all . . . but I cannot help but worry and think that I am not doing {ENOUGH}. I love my family so much & I just want to protect them. I want everyone to be safe, healthy & happy! I know that I’m responsible for my own happiness & that I need to quit reading stuff on the internet. I just want to be informed. I want to live a SHOC lifestyle, but I don’t want to be so stressed that I am not enjoying life. I am doing the best that I can & that is all that I can do!

My One and {ONLY}

To my love,

I don’t tell you enough how {AMAZING} you are, you’re my perfect match & a wonderful father. Time definitely flies when you’re having fun . . . 13 years . . . 13 wonderful years with you! I couldn’t have dreamed for a better person to spend my life with, to grow up with, and to raise a family with. I know that it is easy to take each other for granted, but my goal in the future is to try and stop, breath and realize how much you do for me and the boys. We honestly couldn’t make it without you . . . I couldn’t make it without you, you’re my rock. You hold me together, you just get me, I don’t have to explain myself to you, you know what I’m thinking, you can finish my sentences and make sense out of my cryptic (I cannot talk because I’m too tired) sentences, you know when I’ve had too much & you know when to push me further.

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The time with our boys will go by fast as well . . . I cannot believe that Chandler is already 3! In the blink of an eye both boys will be in high school, then graduating & going off to college. There are things that I never want to forget from this stage in our lives, such as; I love how you check to see if the boys have fevers by kissing their foreheads. I love that you can {GENERALLY} handle our 3 years old attitude & tantrums with ease. I love that you have the patience to deal with a toddler that doesn’t want to go to sleep till midnight . . . because I definitely do not! I love that you read to the boys, that you play trucks, that you give hugs & kisses and tell the boys that you love them {EVERYDAY}! I’m so proud that they have you as a father; I hope that they learn many lessons from you and grow up to be just like you . . . a great husband and an awesome father!

Your loving wife!

“Soon, it’ll all just be a {MEMORY}”

Memory-Defined One of the last things that my grandma said to me & my husband was, “soon, it’ll all just be a memory.” Sweet memories. Memories of happiness. Memories of love and joy. Memories of the only grandma that I have ever really known. My mother’s mom passed when she was only twelve from ovarian cancer, so I never had the pleasure of meeting her. My father’s mother passed when I was a teenager, but I never had the opportunity to spend much time with her to ever get to know her. Therefore, when I met my husband’s grandmother at the age of 15 she became {MY} grandma. I explained to her years later that her and grandpa were the only grandparents that I ever really knew & how special they were to me. I think that really touched her heart . . . she knew how special having a grandparent is and she took me in as her own!

Grandma passed away last night . . . even after putting it in writing it still doesn’t seem real. It happened so quick. I’m heartbroken. I’m heartbroken that Chandler likely will not remember the times that he spent with her & that Marshall will never get to meet her. When we went to visit her on Friday she was able to feel Marshall, he didn’t kick her, he just pushed on her hand for a good 2 minutes. I will cherish that moment & share it with Marshall when he is older. Chandler was so lucky to have had a relationship with his Great Grandma & he loves her so much! I know that she will always be here watching over the boys and the boys couldn’t ask for a better guardian angel.

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