Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Years Confession

Hope. Want. Work. Time.

This is not a resolutions posts because most resolutions fade and become forgotten.  I feel the need to write (say) what I would like or how I want the next year to be with a hint of honesty.

I have the tendency to be lazy sometimes. Other times, it isn't laziness, but more prioritizing my life, my needs. I don't blog everyday. I could if I got up earlier or stayed up later. I know there are things that I could say here, but you get the point.

Here are a couple goals I wish to focus on. I find that lists are helpful a me I will continue to use them to keep me organized. {I really should print some to have them more visible }.

Bible Study
In the last couple weeks before I go to bed, I've been doing a bible study from She Reads Truth. Honestly, I feel like I've learned which is great because I want to learn and grow closer to God. I've lost my way in the last few years. Wandered seems to be a good word. As a family, we need to find a church. A place where we all feel comfortable. Back to bible study, I recently purchased a journal on the book of Philipians. I asked if anyone wanted to do it with me, but no one did so I guess I am doing it on my own.

Find my photography voice
Can you believe that this time last year I was looking forward to my first photography class? I had never shot in manual mode. I'd only had my for a couple of months. The last 6 months of 2014, I managed to do 5-6 photo sessions which was a scary, fun filled, and tiring adventure. I want to grow and expand my photography! There is so much to learn. I yearn to grow, but I have got to put in the time. I think my niche will eventually fall somewhere with Tweens, teens, and families/couples.

As mentioned earlier this week, I am going to attempt 365 project. Everything that I have read mentions that this is a growing and learning procress. I have got to push myself to try new skills and attention to detail.....make mistakes. Within this project, I hope to work more with manual and make it more second nature.

Be a Present Parent
Less distractions. Less worry about what us to "get done" and more time being in the moment as a parent. I have one child and I want her to know (or feel) that her father and I are there for her. Our love and attention are ever present. This is by no means an anthem to throw away my me time or delete all of my social media, but more of a reminder to strive for/ continue to put the most important things in my life first. I want us to go and do things as a family. I want to teach her and show her so many things, but it isn't about making large lists and outlandish plans.  It starts at home in our everyday and extends out from there. I am not perfect. I won't be EVER! I will be there. I will be consistent. I will be her rock and safe place. I will be her companion. I will be her mom.

Where do your thoughts lie on as we approach the last hours of this year? Where do you want to go? Who do you want to be? Where do your difficulties lie?

Life is not always simple or easy, but it is significant in so many ways.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Photographer Wishlist Update 4

In April, I shared my original  "wishlist" of things I would like for my photography hobby and the first update and the second update soon followed.

Here is the original list stands presently:
  1. A new lens up to 250-300 mm for distance and eventually maybe a macro lens
  2. Lens Brush for cleaning 
  3. Clear filter cap for lens
  4. Kelly Moore camera bag (or a large Michael Kors bag)
  5. Photoshop elements or lightroom
  6. Take a class or have time to learn editing in above programs
  7. A personalized or decorative camera strap from Etsy. 
As you can see, the original list is complete except for the macro lens. Did I actually finish one of my plans? Yes, I think I did. {high five to self}

If I am being totally honest, I can live without a macro lens for now. I have recently found a new lens (Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II)
 that I am wanting REALLY, REALLY bad!!! If only I would have put it on my Christmas list? LOL

The "wanting" of this lens began when my photographer mentor suggested I get a lens with a lower F-Stop with help with the grain in my pictures. So on Amazon I went to see what was offered. Additionally, I looked at other photographer suggestions and critiques. The price is not outrageous, but that also concerns me about it's quality. I am really interested to see how it does with portraits.

In regards to my photo shop workshop, it was quick. I wish it would have been longer and had more opportunity to practice, but that is the thing with PS you have got to work with it and watch tutorials. I am still learning. Youtube is very helpful.

Other things that I have acquired that was not originally listed: camera hoods, PS actions, and a tripod. I really like PS actions especially the free ones! I got the tripod on a black Friday sale at Wal-Mart. It's not the highest caliber, but for $10 it was worth grabbing to try out.

What have you purchased or acquired recently for one of your hobbies or interests?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

10 Quickie Things

Here is a quick recap of the last couple days for me:

  1. I did three blog posts this week! This one makes four. I usually am able to keep up with th blogging more when I am on vacation from work!
  2. My cousin Kaitlin got engaged on Christmas Eve while she was in the North Pole! No joke. How magical is that?! It's straight out of a Hallmark movie. I totally want to do their engagement pictures when they return to Florida.
  3. Little Miss had a great Christmas! She is one lucky little girl. I don't think there is one present she loves the most. She wants to open them all and I am doing my best to avoid hints getting lost in the shuffle.
  4. I got two new nutcrackers this year to add to my collection. So far I am at seven nutcrackers. I am going to try and buy at least one more with an after Christmas price tag!
  5. My hubby and I hosted Christmas dinner for the first time. It was a combination of his family and mine. It was nice to have everyone over. The food was delicious. We cooked prime rib. It was a huge roast at 23 lbs. I think we over cooked it a little bit. I know some people like it on the more rare side.
  6. I am going to try and make a soup with some of the leftover meat. Any good suggestions for a recipe?
  7. Our new dog Sally has to go to the Vet for a pre-spay exam and she has an infection that has to be addressed.
  8. As much as I love the holidays and Christmas visits and family gatherings, I am tired and ready for a couple of hours of nothing but lounging.
  9. I want to to to a craft store and check out their clearance items. The hard core shoppers probably already wiped out the good stuff.
  10. I want....nay need a pedicure and to get my hair did.
BONUS: The Hubby forgot to set the alarm and I was late getting up today. Luckily, Little Miss decided to sleep in today too so it worked out.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Another Simple Moment: A Beautiful Christmas

{my simple moment} – A new ritual. A single photo, maybe two – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, significant, blessed moment. A moment I want to treasure and remember
inspired by SouleMama
"A Beautiful Christmas"

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

30 Before 30: Part 3

For the original post on my 30 Before 30 click here.
For Update number two click here.

Are you you properly caught up? Good!

What do you think we've been trying to cross of the list next? To be perfectly honest, the one "item we've focused on recently was one of the things I thought we WOULDN'T DO in all actuality.

The Hubs and I have been looking at getting another dog, a corgi, very seriously. This whole idea started to snowball about two weeks ago. The Hubs matter of factily said I think it's time for another dog.

We've toyed with the idea before, but it never went further than that. This time he started making calls and searching the internet! {this let me know if was serious this time!} I reiterated the fact that I didn't want another "big dog" {medium to large breed}. I wanted a small dog and if we were getting one I really wanted a corgi. We've both had experience with the breed and we know they are great when properly trained. For those of you unfamiliar with the breed here is a picture of one randomly pulled from the internet. This is a red and white Pembroke corgi.

This is the breed of choice for the Queen of England!

Now, as our search began, we started by laying out our criteria or what we were looking for in our potential new fur baby.
  1. Young adult (less than 5)
  2. House trained
  3. Good with kids
  4. Good with other dogs
  5. Crate trained (optional)
  6. Leash trained (optional)
  7. Cost less than $300
The first place we checked was local animal shelters and rescues. The Hubs and I adopted our first dog, Morgan, and she is awesome! There are great dogs (and cats) looking for forever homes. In our case, however, looking for a corgi makes our search very specific limits adoption.

Next, I started contacting Florida breeders via email. I spent a couple of hours over the course of these last couple weeks looking for contact information and checking listings. I did end up find a breeder in West Palm Beach who had almost exactly what were we looking for, but she wanted $1000 for him which gave us a pause because it was a good over our price point. Plus, 3 hours is a long drive to check out a dog and possibly not like him or have our dog not get along with this new "fur friend." So the search took a break on our party.

Of course, by this point, my Hubby mentioned our dog search to his mother who in turn mentioned it to his grandmother and they were getting us numbers of people they knew from showing dogs or recommendations.

Fast forward to yesterday....the Hub's grandmother calls. "I think I may have found you a corgi." It turns out a breeder not far from us decided she was ready to find a new home for one of her dogs. The breeder, Ms.Linda, did not want to breed this little lady anymore and was willing to place her with a new family for FREE! According to the owner, this little lady met all our criteria so needless to say we were excited and made arrangements to visit the next day.

Here is Sally's first picture on the ride to her new home today! I promise to post more cute pictures soon.

She is a four year old, tri-colored Pembroke with AKC papers. When we first met her she was super sweet and loved all the attention she got from me and Little Miss. We were smitten.

The next hurdle in this new adventure is acclimating her with our first dog, Morgan and our home. This will take sometime and patience. Luckily, I am vacation and I have the time to give both our girls some attention.

Well, that;s the long-short version of this "doggie tail" (pun intended). I will do a follow up post down the road.

New Year New Photo Challenge

I am not a new year resolution person.

I have a history of flaking out on photo challenges. I didn't finish not one of the Instagram challenge I  posted about this year.

Now, I want to try a 365 project!? Say what!? {shakes my head}

It's true. I want to try. I've been inspired and slightly encouraged by the photography blog, Click It Up A Notch.

Here is some background on a 365 project:
  • Have your camera with you at all times
  • Take a picture a day taken by phone, camera etc.
  • Post to your blog
  • Share, grow, comment and try new things,
  • There are no set rules that are hard and firm. You can miss a day!
For more specific information, Click It Up A Notch has several posts on the project.
– How to start a photography blog
– 11 tips for completely a Project 365
– Tips to make your 365 photography project a success
– #1 tip for completing a Project 365
– Project 365 journaling cards
– 365 Photography Project Tips

I can be totally jazzed about this and nervous at the same time? I am more of a hobbyist when it comes to photography, but to truly want to learn and grow! I know from my Mom-a-razzi class that it all starts with picking up your camera as much as possible.

I hope you support and encourage me on this project or are inspired to join me.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Another Simple Moment: Childhood Captured

{my simple moment} – A new ritual. A single photo, maybe two – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, significant, blessed moment. A moment I want to treasure and remember
inspired by SouleMama
"Childhood Captured"

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Conversations with my toddler: The Bike

Being a parent can be a difficult and sometimes trying endeavor. It  can also be a very entertaining time as well. Here is an actual conversation between me and my daughter.

Little Miss: I don't like my red bike. I want a pink one.

Me: You have a pink bike, but it's not here. It's at Nanny and Papa's house.

Little Miss: Buy me another one! {money doesn't grow on trees you know! Cheeky little kid}

Me: No. We are not going to buy you a new bike. We'll just throw this one away and you can just have the one at Nanny and Papa's. {there that will teach her to be grateful for what she has} Do you want me to throw it away right now since you don't like it anymore?

Little Miss: {frantically} NO! I LOVE IT! DON'T THROW IT AWAY!

{lesson learned for now}

Friday, November 28, 2014

Ebook Purchase: The Unexpected Everyday

Black Friday has come and gone in my house. We are officially done shopping. Thanks Wal-Mart and Amazon. Anywho....I just wanted to share with you a quickie purchase I did just now in hope of growing my photography skills a little more. A lot of photography classes, workshops etc are pricey or far from my neck of the woods in "small town" Florida. This ebook purchase is a next great alternative I hope!

Click It Up A Notch is a blog/photography site that I stumbled upon via Pinterest and I have been hooked on the emails, stories and articles ever since! I love it when this happens.

Courtney does a great job explaining the meaning and purpose behind this e-book in the link posted above so please, go check it out.

I read her free book already and I have secretly had my eye on this one, but the price was holding me back, Luckily for me, she offered a discount for the first time TODAY and TODAY ONLY! 50% off! Holla---my kind of deal.

I will be sure to share and more on the book as I read it. I would also like to try the project 365 she talks about a lot. I am not sure I have it in me to commit to a year long project, but one of the rules is there are no rules and not to stress over a missed day here or there! So my outlook on that project looks more promising. I'm thinking that I should start sometime in the new year. Too cliche? Maybe. but it's about doing the pictures not so much when and how you start.

Well, that all for now. The Hubby is going to download my new book while he jumps on this here lap top and I think I am going to go to bed!

What did you buy today worth mentioning?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Another Simple Moment: Merry & Bright

{my simple moment} – A new ritual. A single photo, maybe two – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, significant, blessed moment. A moment I want to treasure and remember
inspired by SouleMama
"Merry & Bright"

Sunday, November 23, 2014

30 Before 30 Update

It's been a few weeks since my original post on turning 29 and my list of want to do first published. So far, I have done a couple things off my list which is pretty cool {I think}. 
  1. Enter a photography contest
  2. Have a girls night at Painting with a Twist
The photography contest was my first cross off you might recall. I wasn't able to go to the actual festival where the winner were announced. It kind of coincided with nap time and  Little Miss has been getting over a sinus infection so I really wasn't too keen to taking her out and about {or leaving her behind for that matter}. I still haven't been able to find the results of the contest yet. Secretly I am hoping to receive something in the mail letting me know I placed in a category, but perhaps my wishful thinking is getting the best of me. I am also checking their website for a update....obviously nothing yet.

My friends Hannah and Jessica have planned our next girly adventure to Painting with a Twist. Our class is scheduled to paint this picture. 

Honestly, I don't particularly like this painting template much. I think it is the color combinations I am not fond of. What do you think? Who knows, maybe they will let you choose your own colors? I don't know. I guess I will have to wait and see. 

The big picture is not the painting itself, but more the fun and camaraderie of a girls outing!! It was a dreary and raining morning. Traffic was a little heavy on the interstate. I thought we were going to be late and miss our class. Luckily, traffic eventually let up and we made it with plenty of time to spare.

The studio was really neat. One of the first things I did was walk around and look at all the painting examples displayed on the wall. I found some other painting that I would love to come back and paint. I don't know if my house has enough wall space, but I do know that they would make lovely gifts.

As our session started, we listened to a variety of music. The instructor gave us really simple and easy to follow instructions. I think with a few classes one would learn a few good techniques which could be easily replicated outside the studio. For example, did you know that you could use white chalk to draw out your picture on the canvas? I didn't, but then again, I've never taken an art class.

Our class lasted a little over two hours. A lot of our time was spent waiting for paint to literally dry!  Going to PWAT was a super fun way to spend our morning out. I will say that we were starving when it was all said and done. 

I decided that my newest piece of artwork would look lovely in or near Little Miss' room. I am going to go to Wal-Mart or a craft store and get a paint pen and try to put a bible verse in my "best calligraphy attempt" inside the pink cross. What do you think? Good idea? 

I am definitely going to PWAT again in the not so distant future. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Another Simple Moment: Christmas Time, Photo Time

{my simple moment} – A new ritual. A single photo, maybe two – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, significant, blessed moment. A moment I want to treasure and remember
inspired by SouleMama
"Christmas Time, Photo Time"

Monday, November 10, 2014

My First Photography Contest

I did it, I crossed something off of my 30 before 30 list!! Woot, woot.

As soon as a co-worker shared this small, local festival contest I knew that this was the one I was going to attempt. The rules of the contest are simple.
  1. All photographs must be taken in Florida.
  2. All photographs should address one of the following topics: Florida historic sites or landmarks 
  3. The contest is limited to 4 entries per person. 2 color and 2 black and white or sepia 
  4. All entries must be 5x7 or 8x10
Luckily, I live near a historical Florida site so that is where I went to take my pictures. This particular site is not large so locations are a little limited, but it is one of my favorite scenic places.

 I wandered, tried different angles and finally settled on these three pictures to submit. What do you think? My Hubby's favorite is the black and white one.

These are not the most artistically complex photographs. I'll be the first to say that out loud. I am by no means a professional who can work Photoshop magic with a flick and a click. What I love most about these pictures is the color! Do you see what I mean? Subtle contrasts and tones. 

We'll see what happens Saturday when the pictures are judged. My goal is not to win. Don't get me wrong it would be cool, but the 30 before 30 was my main motivation to enter. So I have done that and crossing off that goal is good enough for now. Who knows? Maybe I will enter another contest down the road or focus on my editing skills to more complexity. 

Have you accomplished a goal recently? I would love to hear about it!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Not So Simple Saturday

Parents have a tendency to multitask. Kudos to all the moms and dads out there who juggle so much while attempting to maintain sanity and structure. The struggle is real!

Here is my so far and it is only 9:18 AM as I begin to write this post.

  1. Up at 6:00 am and after I finish making my cup of coffee my kiddo wakes up ready to greet the day.
  2. Make Little Miss chocolate milk.
  3. Use nasal aspirator to suck out buggers from sinus infection.
  4. Snuggle on couch and watch cartoons
  5. Offer former student help on Facebook with her college paper
  6. Make a pancake and bacon breakfast
  7. Post two pictures on Instagram for #ourthankful30
  8. Eat breakfast with kiddo
  9. Get kiddo dressed (mommy still in PJs)
  10. Do kiddo's hair and brush her teeth
  11. More bugger sucking
  12. Clean Up kitchen
  13. Remind self to drink water
  14. Fold two baskets of laundry
  15. Work on grocery list of morning trip to Walmart
  16. Meal plan for dinner this week
  17. Get kiddo a mid morning snack
  18. Try to get dressed and make self presentable to the world. 
  19. Put in movie for kiddo
  20. Write blog post after inspiration strikes 
  21. Still in PJs at this point--Hubby back from garbage run. Maybe now I can sneak away to bedroom and get dressed! LOL
Parents you are awesome! I hope you hear that today or at the very least feel appreciated. Have a great day.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Another Simple Moment: She's Three

{my simple moment} – A new ritual. A single photo, maybe two – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, significant, blessed moment. A moment I want to treasure and remember
inspired by SouleMama
"She's Three"

Monday, October 27, 2014

On My Mind

What's on my mind right this moment? Do you really want to know?

  1. I should make a to do list for Little Miss' birthday party this weekend. This could be a blog post in itself.
  2. I still need to order a meat tray from Winn Dixie ASAP.
  3. I still want some fall boots. Side note: my friend Jen gave me a pair today! Holla!
  4. What outfit combo should I try to "showcase" the new boots?
  5. I've got a department meeting in the morning. I wonder if KC is going to bring a snack?
  6. There's still so much to do for my psych club fundraiser. I hope the students get it together.
  7. I really wish someone would call me for a photo session. I've been itching to get behind the camera again. 
  8. In reference to the above thought, some extra cash would be nice with the holidays coming up.
  9. I need to get in touch with JC about doing our family photos this year. I hope the Hubby smiles for more than one. {That would be nice}
  10. I still haven't finished reading Outlander. In my defense, I am almost done with it.
  11. I am looking forward to spending some time with friends and family this weekend for Little Miss' birthday. It is always nice together.
  12. My car is dirty. {busy mommy life}
  13. I am glad I finished my first gallery wall this weekend. {picture on Instagram} Now I've got to start working on one for the living room.
  14. I've been eating a lot of candy and sweets lately. Kind of worth it. I'll try and do better.
  15. It's time to paint my toe nails or get another pedi.
What's on your mind tonight?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

I Want To Be A Football Star

The following video was posted by Buzzfeed and I absolutely adore it!!!!!

Can you imagine a classroom and educational atmosphere like this?

I got to admit I thought the give us a substitute comment was HILARIOUS!

What do you think?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

An Editing Skill Learned: Clipping Mask

I would hardly call this a "major skill," but it has been something I've been trying to figure out on my own. Of course, as luck would have it all I had to do was watch a 4 minute video clip on YouTube. Today, I learned how to properly insert an image into a template and resize it so it doesn't look oblong and distorted.

I was so easy!! I had posed this question to the FB photography group I am in, but I didn't get instructions I understood or did what I wanted. Oh well. Now I know.

Cute templates for cards, posts and session info are in the near future. Lord knows I have downloaded some cute ones {now I can use them}

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Turning 29

My 29th birthday is tomorrow. No, I am not sad or freaking out it's the last birthday of my twenties. It really is just another birthday to me. In fact, I love birthdays! Bring on the happy birthday's, sweet treats and presents! The Hubby has some stashed somewhere in the house. I know they are there, but I love surprises so I have been waiting to see what bought me.

On my Facebook page, I posed the following question, "Any suggestions or ideas for a must do before the big 30?" My Hubby says I should want to try and climb Mt. Everest. I'm not really a death defying risk taker. Let's be honest.

Another FB fan, Marlena suggested I cross something off my bucket list. This got me thinking about what would be on my list of wants, adventures, and ideas for my 29th year of being me. 

I am not very good at large challenges like this. I totally flaked out on the September photo challenge. As you will see, the list I created is very realistic overall. Additionally, this list can be done even after the big 3-0!

In no particular order, here is my 30 before 30:

  1. Go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal studies
  2. Drink butter beer at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  3. Take a family vacation
  4. Take another photography class
  5. Enter a photography contest
  6. Have a girls night at Painting with a Twist
  7. Finish painting and decorating the home office and bathrooms
  8. Go to a fancy makeup store and learn how to do my makeup better.
  9. Eat at a restaurant featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives
  10. Take daughter to Disney World
  11. Family trip to go see  and play in snow. Do you want to build a snowman?
  12. Meet a celebrity TV/Movie
  13. Attend an event which requires a fancy dress
  14. Drink champagne
  15. Have a staycation at the Gaylord Palms Resort
  16. Go to the shooting range with The Hubs (a first for me and he would love it)
  17. Go to a sporting event with a sports enthusiast (more fun)
  18. Make a Vlog Post
  19. Meet an author of a book I have read
  20. Go to a blog conference
  21. Maybe get another dog. I think I would like a Corgi.
  22. Eat a food that I've never eaten before
  23. Do a girls weekend away maybe at the beach
  24. Go back to the place where the Hubs and I went on our honeymoon for a little getaway.
  25. Stay out late with friends just talking and hanging without getting tired before 12 am!
  26. Ride in a limo
  27. Go to a comedy club for the first time (not vulgar though)
  28. Pay for a strangers meal in a random act of kindness
  29. Do something brave
  30. Participate in a good book club or bible study
So what do you think? Where should I start? Do you see anything you want to do with me? Regardless of whether I do just one or two dozen of things on this list I know it's going to be a great year!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Signs That I Am Getting Older

I felt like writing today. It hit me out of the blue. The only problem is that I had no clue as to what to write about. So, I went to my Pinterest "Blogs and Bloggers" board for some Pinspiration.

Here is the topic I decided on: Getting Older (hence the title, right?!)
  1. I have a birthday in a couple of weeks. Yup. The last birthday of my 20s. Am I stressing out about almost being 30? Nah. Not now anyway. I do not want to be a teenager again or relieve my early twenties. It's very much been there done that. I look forward to what life has in store for me as an adult, a mom, a wife, etc. Embrace it. No regrets. 
  2. My daughter is going to be three in a few weeks! Holy crap....that was fast. This particular topic is a whole blog post in itself. I still have a lot of plans to do for her Sheriff Callie Birthday Party.
  3. In the last week or so, I've been going to bed at or before 9 pm. I've been sick so I can blame that right? My body was fighting this virus thus I was extra sleepy. There is some truth to that.
  4. I feel asleep watching a TV show. Yea. It happened. This is a family trait. I have aunts who can never make it through a movie or some shows. (you know who you are)
  5. I recently went to my high school reunion. I loved it. You can read about it here
  6. I give sage old advice to my students. I kind of love this if I am being honest. 
  7. I've complained about certain types of music
  8. I am a creature of habit and like routine. 
  9. The Hubs and I sometimes argue about going out.
  10. There are somethings on TV that I can't handle watching. It makes me uncomfortable. 
Okay, friends I told you mine now it's your turn to tell me yours. Leave a comment here or on the Facebook page!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Happy Fall From Me To You

{my simple moment} – A new ritual. A single photo, maybe two – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, significant, blessed moment. A moment I want to treasure and remember
inspired by SouleMama
"Pumpkin Love"

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Another Simple Moment: A Glowing Birthday

{my simple moment} – A new ritual. A single photo, maybe two – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, significant, blessed moment. A moment I want to treasure and remember
inspired by SouleMama
"A Glowing Birthday"

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Reunion: Class of 2004

I just went to my 10 year high school reunion.

OMG. 10 years-- Where the heck did time go? I don't feel a decade older. It's like I never left! (This is a very literal statement. I work at my high school alma mater).


How was it?

In one word (probably more since I am blogging about it) AMAZING! I know other people might think much less of their high school reunions, but not me. Sure, there was a time a few months back where I wasn't sure about the whole thing because it wasn't being planned well and I was anticipating a rush, thrown together soirée. Don't get me wrong, I wanted to help, but I wasn't about to stress myself out and run around like a chicken with its head cut off because of it.

Luckily our class VP who took over the planning a couple of months before knew how to delegate and because her planning everything turned out fantastic. So much so, we have a plan for the next one.

It was a small-ish gathering throughout the weekend starting with a homecoming football game. I wondered for a while looking for my classmates. It took my a while but eventually I found them and our group started to grow. Some people were trying the fashionably late approach.
Saturday was done in two parts. First we had a family picnic at the local park. It was a lovely day. The weather held out long enough for the kids to play and the adults to catch up. There were lots of hugs shared and moments of reminiscing through laughs, pictures and random stories.

Th conclusion of our reunion weekend was the adult night out to one of our high school hang outs. I arrived early to setup my photo booth and display the class time capsule.

I had a wonderful time working the photo booth for the party. I had one of my Besties Hannah helping me make props and drag people to have their picture taken. It was our goal to get at least one picture of everyone. There were times that photo booth room was bouncing with lots of fun. It makes me feel good about my contribution when people say they want copies of my pictures!

Here are some pictures of me from that night:

I think it's also quite interesting to see where people end up ten years after high school. Many of us are married or divorced with kids. Others find themselves traveling the world for their jobs. There are quite a few people in the medical profession in some way, education, cosmetology or law enforcement.  

Side note, it's important to reach out to people beyond Facebook. A lot of people do not interact or use FB regularly so they didn't know about the reunion. Part of our plan for next time is to gather a lot of home addresses and use "snail mail" for some of our communications.

Things I will remember for quite some time:

  • How LuLu can make a comment that makes everyone almost pee their pants.
  • The look on Jeremy's face with he saw Casey M and Jon F (priceless)!
  • People arriving to the reunion already tipsy and later trying to take their picture.
  • Friendships that are timeless.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Momma's Gonna Blow Her Gasket

I could feel myself getting angry.
I am not a 100% sure why.
Was it the fact that Little Miss refused to eat her dinner?
Is it s combination of things?

I really kind of want to yell....really LOUD.
I don't. I want to, but I don't.
I can feel the tenseness rising within me
Ready to erupt in an undeserved explosion of emotion.
My family the victims of this emotional mess.

Is my voice scratchy?
Oh God, I hope not. Just my luck sickness.

Man, I am in a crappy mood.
The Hubs has noticed.
Little Miss hasn't. She just wants to play.
Where did my joy go?

I want to run and lock myself in my room.
Stay calm.
This too shall pass.
Don't loose it.
Don't take your bad mood out on other people.

This evening "feels" tough.
It started out fine.
I hope some quiet time and sleep calm my
Inner storm of stress and frustrations of
No definitive source.

Parenthood is not simple.
Life is not simple.
Both can be good--just not 100% of the time.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Poof Energy Gone

Jack Sparrow has asked on several occasions, "Where has all the rum gone?" I am asking, "Where has my energy gone?" Ugh.

It's just that time of year, time of the month, season in my life where I have days where I am pooped!!! Am I getting old? No, It's more than that.

I stay busy---both physically and mentally. It's better than the alternative I suppose.

{I am starting to sound a little whiny.}

I have to find my balance/center again. We all have our ups and downs. This is nothing new for me. I've had moments like this before.

The energy will return maybe with a quick nap or taking things off my plate (but where is the fun in that last point?) 

I am truly blessed in so many ways.

Be grateful.

Be thankful.

Give your best to your God and family first and everything else can wait it's turn.

Do you know what I mean?  It's not important that I've missed a couple days in the photography challenge. It's not a crazy big deal that there are still chores to be done. We clean up to clean up in this house. #lifewithathreeyearold

Be grateful.

Be thankful.

Give your best to your God and family first and everything else can wait it's turn.

I did manage to pick up my DSLR this week. I haven't done that in a while. I saw my little Miss playing with toilet paper while going potty. she was waving it in the air like a "beautiful streamer." I ran for my camera as fast as I could. I didn't get the waving, but I liked the shot I got before she was done. It's a right of passage to get a potty shot right? 
I made a quick collage on Picmonkey after fun little edits with color. Which one do you like the best?I think my favs are the B&W one and the one on the bottom right.

Moments with my family = important.

The fact that I haven't had anyone want to do a homecoming photo shoot = not so important

Good health. Strong Marriage = important

Knowing with to say yes and when to say no = important



Be grateful.

Be thankful.

Give your best to your God and family first and everything else can wait it's turn.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Life Snap Shot: 9/6/14

Inspired by a post from Pip. Here is a little life snap shot of yours truly. Play along. Answer a few in the comments or leave a link if you post. 
Making : No effort to do much because it is 6:44 am.
Cooking : Nothing yet, but I am planning on making some breakfast sandwiches here in a little while.
Drinking : My morning cup of coffee with one splenda and pumpkin spice creamer.
Reading: Nothing at the moment. SHOCK. GASP. DISMAY. Does anyone have any good recommendations?
Wanting: To do another photo shoot soon. Now that I am back to work I have a little less time, but I would like to continue photography and get better.
Looking: At camera accessories on Amazon.
Playing: Little Miss is play on my Ipad right next to me. She is coloring.
Wasting: I don't think "waking up slowly and leisurely" counts as wasting time, does it?
Wishing: I could sleep in more on the weekends rather than get up before Little Miss.
Enjoying: The morning quiet and relaxation on the couch before the hustle and bustle of the day.
Waiting: For this Dora the Explorer episode to be over. This show drives me nuts, but Little Miss love it.
Liking: Statement necklaces. I bought my first one this week at Wal-Mart for $10.
Wondering: When my hubby is going to get up?
Loving: My fall decor. I am looking forward to a little girl time tomorrow to visit a craft store with a friend.
Hoping: Fori good weather today. We are hoping to do some family activities today. Originally, we were thinking the zoo, but now we are going to the circus
Marveling: At the love in my family. We said goodbye to my uncle this week. It was sad, but we surrounded each other with love and support.
Needing: To book this year's family photo shoot.
Smelling: No a whole lot. One of my nostrils is a little clogged. Morning problems.
Wearing: My PJs. No further details will be provided.
Following: A several photographers on Facebook. I love a good picture.
Noticing: The sun is starting to come up.
Thinking: The grocery list that needs to be put together and eventually purchased at the stores.
Knowing: I have a lot to do in order to be ready for Little Miss' first big themed birthday party in November.
Focusing: On completing my September photo a day challenge.
Bookmarking: Ideas for birthday gifts for myself. The Hubby likes to have a list to work from.
Opening: The local Winn Dixie flyer because I need to go shopping today. Groceries never seem to buy themselves.
Giggling: It's too early to giggle. Sorry.
Feeling: A little short tempered because Little Miss woke up early and was in a "mood." I am not a morning person as it is and dealing with a stubborn toddler is not always the best mix.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Let's Get Photographing 30 Day Challenge

I am getting the urge to attempt another 30 day Challenge! Que "Eye of the Tiger" background music. Two years ago, I completed a 30 writing challenge which was great because it got me writing again.

This time I think I will do a little less writing and a little more picture taking with my fancy schmancy new camera or even my camera phone if my DSLR is not handy. I came across the this challenge on Pinterest.

I am excited to start this next blog journey and I can't wait to share it with you! Follow me on Instagram for the day to day and challenge photos!

My first photo of the challenge is my first drink of the day: COFFEE!

I love my pumpkin spice coffee creamer. It makes it feel more like fall even though fall in Florida is more like summer.

Will you join me on this challenge? Post your pictures from the week to my Facebook page!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Wanted: High School Senior Photoshoot

I want to do one or more of  this type of session this year!

Any takers? High school or college seniors. Maybe I'll need to run another contest. We'll see. Hoping the power of "word of mouth" and social media help me out a little.

I must be a special kind of crazy for wanting to do big sessions like this in addition to my full time job as a teacher and mom, plus the other obligations I have a department chair and club sponsor.

I guess I am a glutton for punishment. What can I say? I really enjoy photography!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Who told you that?

I am sitting on the couch this evening and Little Miss and I have a very interesting conversation----not just one, but a few times tonight. Here are some snippets:

Little Miss: I am going to Disney World.

Me: Oh really? When are you going to Disney World? 

Little Miss: Tomorrow.

Me: Who are you going with? Papa?

Little Miss: Yes.

[ little later....]

Little Miss: I need a prince to save me.

Me: You are a princess, you don't need a prince. You can save yourself!! #girlpower

[ little later again....]

Little Miss: I want to get married. 

Me: You want to get married? To who? 

Good grief where does she get this stuff? It's fair to say her sweetness made me smile. In fact, it kind of made my day.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

How did that get there?

I am a mom.

I am a mom to a toddler.

I am a mom to a toddler who has a big personality.

I sometimes catch myself in moments when I don't know if I should be mad or laugh out loud.

Here's my latest example:

After dinner, Little Miss and I were playing in her room and she wanted to take off her boots. As she was doing so I noticed she a large dark mark on her ankle area and her sock was discolored. So as a concerned mommy, I took a closer look.

Any guesses as to what I found?

A blueberry.


A blueberry from dinner. She put it in her boot.

"Why did toy put a blueberry in your boot?" #thingsmomssay

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Back to School 2014

Thursday and Friday of this week students returned to school. As for us teachers, we've been cleaning, planning, meeting, a little stressing since the 1st of the month.

I always look forward to the start of a new year with mixed emotions. I am excited to get back to the old grindstone, but part of me will miss being home with Little Miss and taking naps. Yea, I liked naps this summer (and junk food, but I don't feel the need to elaborate on that point).

So what's new in my school neck of the woods?

I was named the new Department Chair! It was very quick and kind of last minute because of some unexpected school changes. I am excited. The Hubs sent me some gorgeous flowers for my first official week! There's a story behind those flowers.
This is something I've been wanting to do for a while. I am glad for the opportunity even if it means extra work. I spent most of my preplanning helping out our new teacher or sitting in meetings.

I got a flat tire on the first day of school and was a little late getting to work. Not how I was hoping to start my day, but it all worked out in the end.

I put together my first teacher appreciation gift for my department. I got this idea and printable from Pinterest! I did my best to sneak into my colleagues' classrooms and leave them as a surprise!

I am teaching five preps this year. This seems to be my average. Honestly, I would love to lighten my load in regards to this a little bit. I have the highest prep number in the department. Maybe next year I can work on this when I help with the department master schedule?

I co-lead my first professional development with my co worker Hannah! We helped other teachers get  familiar with an online website our district provides for us to use to create class websites. I think it went well. We received pretty good feedback.
Well, that about sums up my first week back besides the fact that I have been quite tired by the end of the day. 9 o' clock has been my bedtime for the past few nights. I am hoping I can manage to stay up long enough tonight to watch Divergent.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Engagement Photo Shoot: Jarrod & Jacque

So wouldn't you know it...I had the opportunity and privilege of photographing another engagement session for my friend and coworker.

These two were all lovey-dovey (they were all for K-I-S-S-I-N-G under the tree) and fantastic to work with as a newbie photographer. They made my job SO easy. So easy in fact, we were able to get all the shots before we got rained out.

I put together a collage of picmonkey to show you some of my favorites!

I was able to edit this session much faster than my previous one probably because I am getting a little more comfortable with my new Photoshop software. However, these pictures are not heavily edited---little touches here and there. I recollect Jacque saying howling she wasn't a big fan of filters and tints. 

She gave me the best compliment on her Facebook: "I am TRULY enjoying all of Danielle's work (My Simple Significance)! Have gotten so many comments on the same things that I love myself: realistic (if any) filtering and tons of natural light etc. Beautimus!" 

A happy client is the best reference possible!

I am so happy for my friend. These two are hilarious and they have some cute stories like his proposal with breakfast food! I can't wait to see what's next for these two love birds. 

Congratulations, God Bless, and lots and lots of love!