Sunflower Fields Kansas City Photographer

Sunflower Fields Forever

There is a little spot in the Kansas City area that is completely breathtaking for a few weeks in the late summer and early fall. This amazing sunflower field west of the city blooms every year for about two weeks, and provides gorgeous views that evoke everything I love about living in Kansas. It’s picture perfect, and I knew we had to see it for ourselves!

Sunflower Fields Kansas City Photographer

Now, I’m not gonna lie…the kids were a little underwhelmed with the whole idea of driving out to a field in the middle of nowhere. At this point, they are used to my crazy antics, so they don’t ask too many questions, but after a long day of school and activities, they were more excited to get home to their toys and games than to frolic around in a sunflower field. But as soon as we pulled up, their jaws dropped and their eyes brightened.

Sunflower Fields Kansas City Photographer

They ran through the sunflowers together, playing hide and seek with a few other kids who they found deep within the field. I found myself yelling for them to stay close…the sunflowers were almost taller than me, and I kept losing them within the green stalks. Tate would pop out from behind me, yelling “I’m right here mama, ‘es okay!” I heard Lulu giggle as she attempted to hide, shaking the flowers above her head, giving away her precious secret spot.

Sunflower Fields Kansas City Photographer

As I snapped away at the endless rows of yellow, Tate asked to borrow my phone so he could take some photos of his own. When I was finished, Lucy climbed up on the step ladder I had brought along, and framed her scene. It was so amazing watching them mimic my mannerisms, leaning down, looking for different angles, biting their lips as they shot image after image. Sometimes I forget they are watching when I’m working…I don’t remember that the things I do will be burned in their memories forever. They may not remember exact details, but they will bite their lip as they shoot an image, and that comes from me. They may grimace when I ask them if I can shoot some photos of them, but they smile and squeal with glee when I let them shoot images of me. They can tell I love what I do, and it’s such a privilege for me to get to show them what passion, drive and hard work looks like.

Sunflower Fields Kansas City Photographer

This amazing location will only be in bloom for a few weeks, so if you are interested in booking your photo session with this incredible background, please contact me ASAP at megan@crazybananas.com!

Giving Instead of Receiving with the KC Pet Project

KC Pet Project Kittens

This year for Lucy’s birthday, we decided to change things up a bit. While we are so grateful to our friends and family for all the amazing gifts they bestow upon our kids, we are full to the brim with stuff. My kids don’t need anything, really. So instead of asking people to bring gifts to Lulu’s birthday party, we asked them to bring donations for the animals of the KC Pet Project!

KC Pet Project

We are a family of animal-lovers, and are proud that all of our pets, both past and present, have been adopted through local shelters. We love the KC Pet Project, because it’s the largest no-kill animal shelter in the area. The shelter cares for over 9,000 animals a year! I contacted the KC Pet Project and told them about Lucy’s donations, and they were kind enough to give the kids and I a tour of their facility. We brought along a friend of Lucy’s who is also a big animal fan (especially kittens!), and we were able to see the cat and kitten room, the veterinary recovery wing and the dog area. The entire operation is so amazing, and we are super grateful we were able to help out in our small way. Lucy’s friends and family really stepped up, and we were able to donate a couple bags of dog and cat food and toys!

To learn more about the KC Pet Project, and to learn how you can help, please visit their website or follow them on Facebook!

A Pokemon Birthday Party!

A few weeks ago my sweet Lulu pointed out (for the millionth time) that she hadn’t had a “real” birthday party in quite a few years. She wasn’t wrong. As a mom, I excel at many things…but party planning is NOT one of them! Honestly, I’m just not much of a party person. I don’t love throwing parties, and they are the last thing I would want on my own birthday. I’m all about a few close friends and a movie night or something…and usually Lulu is thrilled with that idea. But this year she really wanted to throw a bash for her buddies, so I decided to put my party pants on and get with the program.

Once I told her a party was in the works, she immediately started ruminating on themes. Um, what? Themes? I was thinking I would win the Mom of the Year Award for throwing a party at all, and now it had to be THEMED? This is soooo not my specialty, but we talked it out and came to a compromise. Lulu wanted a “Pokemon” birthday party. I wanted to make sure this whole thing didn’t spiral out of control! So we took the middle road.

I didn’t print invites, but instead did a Facebook invite for a bunch of the kids (through their parents, of course) and then texted those that I missed online. We ended up with about 25 kids attending, which sounds bananas, but actually wasn’t too bad. Lulu wanted to invite a few boys this time around, not because she’s boy-crazy, but because the boys are the kids she plays Pokemon with. Have I mentioned how much I love this kid?

Lucy took some regular snacks like popcorn and chex mix, and labeled them as items from Pokemon (original idea found here). With the help of the kids, I made a couple dozen Poke Ball sugar cookies. We added a few pizzas, and we were good to go!

Pokemon Birthday Party

Pokemon Birthday Party

Pokemon Birthday Party

Instead of gifts (which are a another huge reason I don’t like parties…I don’t like pressuring people to gift my kid who already has PLENTY of stuff) we asked Lulu’s guests to bring donations for KC Pet Project, a local animal shelter. Her friends didn’t disappoint, and we have two big bags of dog toys, cat food and dog food to donate. Next week we will head to the shelter and drop off all the goodies. I can’t wait! For party favors, I ordered a big pack of 100 Pokemon cards, a couple packs of Pokemon figurines and a mixed bag of candy and then we split them up into little gift bags for each guest.

Pokemon Birthday Party

Pokemon Birthday Party

The big draw for this particular party was Kona Ice Truck that arrived about halfway through. This was the BEST! The kids thought it was amazing, and it was an activity in itself! Who needs party games when the Kona Ice Truck is outside! The kids each got to make one (or two) Kona Ice’s and then flavored them with different syrups. By the time all the kids made it through the line, we only had about 15 minutes of party time left, and the parents were arriving to pick up their kids. It was PERFECT. Sure, it was messy, but we were outside, and the rain that night washed away any traces of the sticky melted ice left on the driveway and sidewalks.

Pokemon Birthday Party

Pokemon Birthday Party

Pokemon Birthday Party

Pokemon Birthday Party

Pokemon Birthday Party

The theme of this particular party was technically Pokemon…but for me, the theme was “easy does it.” I tend to go way overboard with things like this, stressing myself out beyond belief. Actually, that’s probably why I don’t love throwing parties! I’ve always figured, if it’s not going to be absolutely perfect, what’s the point? But this time around I just let go. The kids helped me make the sugar cookies, and they didn’t look like they were straight from a bakery. Lucy made the labels with old printer paper and stickers, not an elaborately designed font. The Kona Ice Truck didn’t go with the theme at all! But who cares? The kids had a blast, and when everyone went home, Lucy laid in bed with me and told me it was the best party she’s ever been to. And while I’m sure a lot of that was due to her friends, I think much of it had to do with the fact that I chilled out and just let them have fun, instead of trying to orchestrate everything. It was a good lesson for me. Sometimes when you let the little stuff go, parties actually CAN be a fun time. Who knew?

Pokemon Birthday Party

Nine-Years-Old

Each year I write a birthday letter to my kids on the blog…you can find Lucy’s previous letters here: eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, and one.

Dear Lucy,

Two days ago you turned nine-years-old. NINE. It’s your last single digit year! How can that even be possible? There are days when I look at you and I can’t help but see that chubby-cheeked baby with the dimples around her eyes. But you’re aren’t that squishy babe anymore…you’re growing longer and leaner, with a face that more closely resembles the woman you will become than the baby you once were. Although I still see the sparkle in your eyes that you’ve had since you were a gummy-mouthed infant, something I truly hope never fades.

Lucy and Mama at the Royals Game

Happy Birthday Lucy

This year was our first being completely overwhelmed with activities and schedules. You are a kid who wants to try anything and everything, which is WONDERFUL, but a bit difficult to navigate in terms of the number of hours in a day. You begged for horseback riding lessons, gymnastics, soccer, piano, guitar and Girl Scouts. You love swim team and book club. In short…YOU ARE EXHAUSTING! I struggle with this as a parent, because I want you to have every opportunity to try new things, but I also think your free time as a kid is so precious, and I felt between school and activities, you didn’t have too much of that this past year. This year, I’m looking forward to working on having less scheduled time, and more time to just BE. So far this summer has been full of free play, swimming with friends, tree climbing and imagination…which is exactly how it should be.

Happy Birthday Lucy

Lucy and Her Guitar

Bedtime with Lulu

I feel like I’m watching you change before my eyes, and I’ll be honest, it’s a bit terrifying. You’re entering that stage of childhood that is just “in between.” You’re not a tween or a teen, but you’re not a little kid anymore either. You love pop music, but you also love nursery rhymes. You’re mature enough to read novels, but you still want to snuggle with me before bed. I know this sweet time is fading fast, and I want to hold on as tightly as I can. I’m aware that before I realize it, you’ll no longer want those nightly snuggles. So instead of pushing them off or telling you I don’t have time, I crawl in to bed with you and we giggle about our days together. I take mental pictures of every moment, filing them away for those teen years when hugging your mom in public will be the absolute worst thing ever.

Lulu Swimming

Happy Birthday Lucy

Lulu in the Rain

I’m so proud of you, Lulu. You’re growing and learning and becoming more “yourself” every day. Watching you navigate friendships and relationships outside of our own has taught me so much about the person that I want to be. I want to be like you. I want to assume the best of people, forgive and love without limits. I want to be proud of who I am, and surround myself with people who lift me up. I want your courage and generosity.

Lucy Laughing

Lucy Laughing

Lucy Laughing

Thank you for this past year, my sweet girl. I can’t wait to experience NINE with you. I imagine it will probably be the best year yet!

Love you to the moon and back,
Mama

Summer!

Lucy Pool May272015

So far, our summer has been pretty wonderful! This week I’ve taken a bit of time off (which as a freelancer means “I’m working from dusk until the kids wake up and then again when they are in bed until midnight!”) to enjoy the first few days of their school break with Lulu and Tate. I am thrilled that next week a new babysitter will be joining our little crew to help us get through the rest of summer with minimal work/life breakdowns. But until then, I power the computer down around 8:30 a.m. and we spend the day reading, watching movies, hanging out with friends and, of course, swimming. Now, the weather in Kansas City isn’t exactly pool weather yet, but my little fishes could care less! We are lucky to belong to a gym with a heated outdoor swimming pool, so we’ve been there every day this week. Tate is so much more independent this year, going down the slides like a big kid and refusing to wear floaties or play in the shallow end. He’s already serving as a bit of a mascot for the lifeguard crew, who know him by name and graciously chat with him as he asks them a million questions daily. From the moment we arrive at the pool, Lulu disappears and I usually don’t see her again until she starts to get hungry. Today Lulu said, “Mom, I love summer. I could swim every day forever.” I hear ya, sister. Me too.

Tate Swimming Memorial Day

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