June 22, 2011


Yes, we finally did it.  Another big item on the NYC bucket list.  A years' long dream fulfilled.  We bought the discount tickets months in advance and waited with great anticipation for this night.

And aside from the nasty sinus infection and near tragic babysitting miscommunication (what do you mean you're not coming!?!) we had a good time.


To be perfectly honest, it didn't blow me out of the water.   Does that make me a total snobby loser?  Here's the deal: I've been listening (and singing along) to the original broadway cast recording since my freshman year of college.  It set the bar SUPER high for any live performance to try and match.  And EVERYONE talks about how much they love this show.  Serious gushing, people.  So I went, and I saw it, and I was like, "meh."

I know it sounds bad.  But I had no desire to obsessively flip through the playbill and read all the bios to figure out how these amazing people got here and how I could become one of them.  I didn't gush about the show to people I saw later.  I didn't talk about it all night long with Joe.  Aaaaahhh, how lame and frustrating is that?

I've narrowed it down to 2 main issues:
1. I was waaaay too familiar with the show, and so there were no surprises for me.  Surprise is important.
2. Because so many people love Wicked, I built it up in my mind to such proportions that I fully expected to have an out of body experience in the middle of the performance.

You'd be surprised how often I let myself build things up that much, and how often I am disappointed.

Ah well, next time the trick is to not wait years and years to see a show - see it before the whole world does and then it can be exciting and thrilling and wonderful and I can gush about it to all my friends.

June 20, 2011

Father's Day Tribute

First of all, Ellie knows she's not allowed to play in the windowsill.  And she gets REALLY upset when you catch her and make her get down.
But she is easily consoled if you give her a camera and let her photograph her dad.  (who, by the way, is the best dad in the world)  Those of you who know how heavy my camera is may wonder how this is possible.  Well, we put the camera on the bed, Ellie sits behind it and bends forward until her forehead is touching it (she doesn't necessarily put her eye to the viewfinder), then she yells "cheese" and hits the shutter.   I'm really fond of the results.  Here friends, is my dear Joe, as only his daughter can capture him.
whoops, someone needs the auto focus adjusted.
getting closer...
There he is!
Here's looking at you, Joe, and some of the reasons why you're the best dad in the world:
- you love your wife and child
- you show this love every day
- you work really really hard to support our family
- you do the dinner-bath-bed routine like a champ
- you never lose your temper
- you let Ellie puke all over you that night she was sick
- you play chase and tickle better than anyone
- you gently lead with a righteous example
- you are always up for fun family time
Ellie, just look at that list up there!
We really hit the jackpot with this one.

June 17, 2011

Fashion Friday: a family affair

These Fashion Friday shots were taken on an unusually warm day back in April.  Ellie was feeling the need to sport some summer garb and somehow we all got in on the action.  First up, we'll start with Eleanor.  With a super bright shirt, some pink capris and an orange bow, is there any doubt this girl is ready to party all summer long?
Yes, I know these two images are almost exactly the same.  But in the first one she's sticking her tongue out thoughtfully and in the second one she's on the verge of smiling.  How could I choose?

In school we learned that editing yourself (choosing only THE BEST shot) is vital to being a good photographer.  But asking a mother to choose between two equally adorable photos of her child is an impossible task.

I think my new understanding of this fact will make me a much wealthier family photographer.  Ha!
Joe's contribution to Fashion Friday was not only his flattering get up of gym shorts and free BYU t-shirt, but also a project for the living room that made our apartment much more fashionable.  I'll share more photos of the finished project later in a segment I'm calling "as good as it's going to get because we're moving."
And here I am, working it as a fashion model for Ellie's first photo shoot.  This girl loves to use the camera!  I know it's not the best angle of me, but when the illustrious Eleanor Hardie is taking your picture, you do what it takes to get in the frame.  Photoshoots with Ellie are lots of fun until it's time to put the camera away.
This is the view I had to deal with for the next good while.  Awesome.
P.S.  Guess who is 18 months old today?!?  I think there will be extensive photos to document this girl on her half birthday.

June 16, 2011

Little Brother in the Big City - Part II

That's right ya'll.  It's Lady Liberty Time. 
The #1 most exciting thing we did with Sean was visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  
Prepare yourselves for the awesome-ness!
First of all, I should win a prize for this photo.
Right? Right.
Secondly, did you know that the copper plating we see on Lady Liberty is only 1/4" thick?
Seriously blew my mind.
Thirdly, did you know that we Hardies are a very enthusiastic bunch?
Now you know.
We were obviously super excited to cross a big item off our New York City bucket list.
When you visit the Statue of Liberty, be sure to at least do the pedestal tour.  Do the crown tour if you're able - we were not so fortunate.
Here are the reasons why:
1. Great photo backdrop of the city when you're at the feet of the lady
2. There's a part where they let you look up her skirt
3. You get great perspectives of the statue when you're that close - interesting stuff many people have never seen
4. You learn a lot about the history of the statue in a museum that badly needs updating but is still informative (no photos of that part - sorry)
In that shot of Ellie, you can see the inside of the statue just behind her.  We were holding her up to the ceiling.
Just thought I should tell you in case her beautiful face distracted from the innards of the statue.
But the biggest reason to do the pedestal tour is because you get an amazing, non-crowded platform on which to take awesome touristy pictures.  Yessssss!!!!
Of course you have to pretend to lift the statue.
And pretend to be an Asian tourist.
Seriously though, the best use of the Statue of Liberty is as a backdrop for your hip hop music video.
Once again, the Canon proves to be too much for a non-photographer to handle and every single shot of me is blurry.  
But that's OK, I can laugh about it.
I even laughed at the seagull who pooped on me while waiting for the ferry.
Sometimes that's all you can do.

June 15, 2011

Little Brother in the Big City - Part I

Get ready folks.  Little brother Sean came to visit us in May and we had a blast!  So much so that I've got to break it down into two different posts.  First up, Ellie was very excited to show Uncle Sean one of her favorite places - the American Museum of Natural History.  We saw our fill of dinosaurs and butterflies and a great time was had by all.
So, here I am giving Joe instructions on how to work the camera for a group shot.
And here is the final product.
Yeah, we're totally blurry, but at least the Anatotitan is in focus.
And now we move on to the butterfly exhibit. 
Super overpriced, but introducing Ellie to butterflies was one of the coolest experiences of parenthood thus far.
As much as Eleanor loved the butterflies, she REALLY loved the man with the misting bottle.
I was really jealous of this lady's barrette.
If you asked Sean to name his favorite parts about visiting NYC
it would probably be a tie between a Broadway show and the great street performers.
Oh, and there was that crazy lady who tried to hook up with him in Times Square.
Can you blame her?