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growing up and other random ramblings

My love for blogging seems to ebb and flow. Some months, I can find a story or a picture to share every day. Other months find me ducking in to share a quick anecdote and a picture. That’s the way I roll. I’m not apologizing for it, or anything.

But sometimes, after lurking on other blogs instead of writing my own, I find that I’ve lost my voice. That hasn’t been too much of a problem here, but on my professional blog, I am suffering from a major case of laryngitis. I find that I either repeat myself over there and just repost things from this blog, or I agonize for hours over what to type. It’s so hard to just let go and throw my personality into it.

I wonder if this is what it’s like to be shy.

Our darling Bri has been growing up during my long silences over here. She’s such a big girl now. Today we went to the mall with my assistant for practice shooting. Before we left, I packed the diaper bag with her sippy cup and some treats. Then I left it on the counter and marched right out the door! Brilliant! Luckily we keep spare diapers in the van, so all I had to make up for were the forgotten treats. Bri surprised me by using the straw correctly on her juice box. I didn’t know she could do that by herself now! Usually she makes a huge mess by squirting juice everywhere.

She also surprised me by climbing up the flower slide all by herself several times on the playscape. Usually she asks for help, but today she figured out how to do it all by herself.

We were delighted to discover that the pretzel shop was giving away free pretzels in the food court. And even though we got booted from Sephora (because I asked if we could take some pictures – harrumph – didn’t even get to take the lens cap off in the store) it’s pretty safe to say that all three of us girls had a marvelous time.

Bri still says cute little things that I hope I’ll never forget. She likes to say Mumby instead of Mommy and at night when we draw up her bath she asks us to “put bubbles known it.” We have a plethora of baby dolls that she adores. Her most recent treasure came from her Daddy for Valentine’s Day.

We were all sick last weekend and didn’t get to celebrate. So Thursday afternoon, when we arrived home from school, Hubs had a vase full of roses and a new Dora doll on the kitchen table for us. He’d also cleaned the house and bought me dark chocolate. Each of us had a sweet card with his love to us. It was so much more special than the expected commercial holiday! We loved it!

a day in my life

There are so many little moments that escape me as they slide by. I thought I’d try to capture some of them today.

4:56 am – Hubster came in to kiss me good-bye before leaving for work. A few seconds after the door slammed it occurred to me that I should have asked him if the snow came.

5:01- Fell back asleep.

6:30 – Alarm clock radio turns on and our friend the DJ announces that snow did not fall last night. (No surprise.) My school is not delayed. So I have to get up.

6:45 – Bri wakes up and calls for me. She scampers around the house using her favorite phrases. “I watch Sesame Street?” “I eating.” “Want buh-nah-nuh.”

6:56 – I’ve now tried on three different outfits involving multiple layers. I finally settle on two layers of pants, a long sleeved shirt and a sweater. The budget cuts have seriously impacted the school’s thermostat.

7:00 – Start dressing Bri for the day. The laundry needs to be done! Cute pink dress with long sleeves, thick white tights and a pretty sweater.

7:23 – Run outside to start the car. Bri freaks out, thinking that I’m leaving without her. Load up the supplies for the sweet tea lab. Then back inside to make my lunch, Bri’s milk and the pot roast for dinner. (Love that crock pot!)

7:30 – Finally heading out the door.

7:45 – Drop Bri off at daycare. Give her milk and a banana to eat in addition to the toast and grits that the daycare serves. Get a sloppy banana kiss from Bri before leaving. (Best part of my day!)

7:48 – Realize that I’ve left the ladle at home and will definitely need it for lab today. Head back towards the house. Gonna be late.

8:02 – Pull into my parking space at school with ladle and lab supplies. Spot a kid from third period. Wrangle him into carrying lab supplies to the classroom for me.

8:15 – Pledge of allegiance. Moment of silence. Announcements.

8:21 – Begin teaching Chemistry students. Go over homework.

8:35 – Notes on ionic bonding. Oxidation numbers. Electron dot diagrams. Naming ionic compounds. Practice problems.

9:10 – Class changes.

9:15 – More Chemistry students. Lather, rinse, repeat.

10:05 – Class changes.

10:10 – Physical Science kids arrive. Spend twenty minutes reviewing the mixture station labs from yesterday. Discuss terms like heterogenous, homogenous, miscible, immiscible, concentration, molarity, colloids, suspensions and emulsions.

10:30 – Break up into lab groups. Each student gets a small concentrated cup of tea and each student gets a large diluted cup of tea. Groups have sugar and individuals are instructed to add the same amount of sugar to each cup. We discuss concentration, dilution, and the kids get to drink the tea. They record their results and conclusions.

11:00 – Clean up and wrap up.

11:05 – New class of Physical Science kids. Lather, rinse, (lunch) repeat.

12:30 pm – Planning period. Begin typing up lesson plans for next week. Research testing requirements for continuing certification. Realize once again that we have a four day weekend next weekend. Happy dance.

1:22 – Run to the potty. Won’t have another break for two hours!

1:25 – Class changes. New set of Chemistry kids.

2:30 – Class changes. New set of Physical Science kids.

3:20 – School day ends. Clean up sticky wet desks and spilled sugar. Realign desks. Finish typing lesson plans. Post them for parents to see online. Make copies for Monday. Empty splash bucket from lab. Clean up lab supplies and stack them near the door so that I’ll remember to take them home. Lock laptop up.

4:35- Finally leave the school. Head over to the daycare.

4:45 – Chat with the ladies in the front about the photos I took for the Chamber of Commerce. One of the photos is the cover image for the new community magazine.

4:47 – Find Bridoodle playing near the door with Baby (her baby-doll) and a wooden stove. Poor Baby. I squat down to talk to her at eye level and instantly find myself surrounded by two year olds. One little girl hugs me from behind. One little boy plays with my hair. Two kids crowd in to say, “Hi!” Bri becomes protective and jealous. I scoop her up and away from the crowd. We collect her things and head for the door.

5:00 pm – Walk into a cold house. The pot roast smells heavenly. Turn on the heater. Turn on the TV – 40th anniversary of Sesame Street. Sit down to check e-mail, facebook, Twitter, etc.

5:26 – Hubster calls to tell me he’ll be a little late getting home. Nothing major. (I love it when he calls me like that!)

6:03 – Put some rolls in the oven.

6:26 – Prep the table for dinner. Bri sits on her stool chattering away. “I color. I color Mickey Mouse. See? See Mommy? I coloring.”

6:47 – Sit down with Hubs and Bri for pot roast, carrots and potatoes. Yummy!

7:03 – Spontaneously decide to make honey toast for dessert. We all eat a piece. Deliciousness.

7:18 – Hit the shower while Hubs cleans up the kitchen.

7:32 – Dressed in PJ’s with a towel on my head, I find Hubs on the computer and Bri “reading” books.

7:48 – Time for Bri to go to bed. We say prayers together as a family. Bri’s feeling pretty silly tonight. She gives me really long kisses where she wipes her mouth back and forth across my cheek. We laugh hysterically.

7:55 – Start typing this post! Edit photos. Watch mindless TV. Wait for Hubster to fall asleep on the couch so that we can head to bed.

Twenty Ten

I blinked and it was over. 2009 has come and gone. There was a lot of stuff worth remembering but personally, I’m ready to “Keep Moving Forward.” So rather than re-cap the year, I’m going to re-cap the last few weeks and then move on.

Our Christmas budget was about $200 short of last year’s amount. So I didn’t send out Christmas cards thisĀ  year and I was super careful with my spending. As a result, Bridoodle had an ENORMOUS stack of gifts under the tree. I found some great deals. Seriously, there were so many gifts for her that she couldn’t open them all on Christmas day. We had four left over when she went to bed. Best. Christmas. Ever!!!

Hubster’s family came over to our house for Christmas brunch and he went to work that evening. So he got to see all of the unwrapping and eat yummy food before working. It was perfect.

Our daughter’s most treasured gift was the kitchen set that we assembled on Christmas Eve with parts strewn everywhere all the while watching The Christmas Story. (“You’ll shoot your eye out!”) I loved being in our own home for Christmas Eve and Day. We usually travel. It was so much fun to fill stockings and pile presents in our own living room. (We might make this a standing tradition!)

Bri’s second most favorite gift was a foam puzzle of the Disney princesses. It cost a whopping $1 and she pulls it out every day to play “puzzah.” She knows all of the princesses by name too. “Snoh White, Cinewella, Kasmine, Awiel and Sleeping Cutie.” (My favorite is Sleeping Cutie.)

For New Year’s Eve we went to a 1920′s themed mystery party. It was the sequel to one we’d done for Halloween and it ROCKED. I had so much fun! The hostess and I have been dreaming and scheming together for a couple of months. I call her the Ethyl to my Lucy. She’s awesome. So when I suggested a slideshow in addition to my regular shooting for the party, she was totally on board. It was a big hit and I feel confident that I can do it again for a wedding reception. I’m stoked!

After the party we went home and put Bri to bed before jammying up to watch the ball drop. We sipped sparkling white grape juice (a tradition that we’ve kept our entire marriage so far) and flipped channels. Unfortunately the sight of J.Lo in a skin tight unitard pushed us over to the Letterman show. We watched it and giggled deliriously. Hubs had been up since 4am for work. We kept flipping the channel so that we wouldn’t miss the ball dropping but somehow we did. At 12:09 I finally turned around to check the clock! So we laughed and headed off to bed. Apparently we missed the first nine minutes of the year!

We spent New Year’s Day on the couch recuperating. Then we went out to dinner at Outback. Bri could not handle the ten minute wait (so glad I called ahead because otherwise it would have been forty minutes easy) and we sweated though a couple of her meltdowns before being seated. Other than that though it was fabulous!

The next day we started a diet/excercise regimen. We bought a chin up bar and real dumbells so that we can do P90X together. The first workout kicked our butts! It was actually really fun. I can’t believe that Hubster can do 12 pull ups! He’s amazing! I can’t wait to see what we can do at the end of the program. Our reward for finishing it will be a trip to the beach this summer.

Looking ahead to the upcoming year I have two goals. For my business- I want to do three weddings this year. For myself- I want to be a better Bible Study leader and connect with my girls more often and on a deeper level this semester.

day 5, day 6, and day 7

I posted my pictures over on Flickr at the right times, but neglected ye olde blog. Here are the pictures for the rest of the week.

day 5: silver theme

Don’t be alarmed. Officer Hubster let me play with his toys. I didn’t really get arrested.

I did however manage to castrate the male part of my tripod so that my camera is permanently … screwed. (I find that lame jokes are my way of dealing with frustrating situations.)

Any tips on fixing this situation?

day 6: T’was The Night Before Christmas

Our Christmas traditions so far have largely incorporated traveling. This is the first year since we’ve been married where Santa will find us sleeping in our own beds! The stockings are hung. The new kitchen set is assembled.

There is one tradition that we’ve maintained through the years though. Even with all of the travel. Hubster always reads the Christmas story from the Bible on Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

day 7: Santa Knows Where I Live

My Christmas toys included a 3 piece studio lighting kit! I am stoked about putting it to good use. But first I need to take a nap! Merry Christmas!!!

It’s been a lovely run and I can’t wait to see you all again in the spring!

Day 2 ~ Treat

Today’s seven day theme was “treat.” I know I’m going to sound so spoiled, but it took me most of the day to pick out a treat for this shot. I had an abundance of options but I couldn’t pick one!

Hubster finally suggested that we go get hot fudge sundaes and rent some movies. That made my ears perk up! So we headed over to *Bruster’s ~ much to Bridoodle’s delight! She loves ice cream!

It was too cold outside to play for very long. Hubster was only patient enough to let me set the auto-timer twice. I was pretty proud of myself for being able to get the shot that fast. Usually I toss out dozens of outtakes.

Did I mention that I have the best family ever? I think setting up the shot was the real treat!

*And just in case you’re curious, I didn’t receive any type of compensation for this post. I don’t do reviews. I just like capturing life as we live it.

Day 1 ~ Christmas Time is Here!

It’s time for another seven days run! I love this quaterly tradition. Every few months we reconnect with friends by posting self portraits and explaining the stories going on around ourselves. Last year I started out the Christmas run working at home all alone. I had a huge portfolio due at the end of January and I needed to spend Christmas break working on the tedious parts.

This year, I’m taking a break from both jobs. I only have one photo shoot scheduled for my two week vacation. (That’s the best I could do. I am a workaholic after all!)

So I did a mini-shoot with Bridoodle this afternoon and captured some of our Christmas things. I used this mirror again so that the tree could be in the background. I also used lots of Windex but the mirror kept getting covered in tiny handprints. Bridoodle thought that they added character.

While Bri and I played with the camera and the tree, Hubster hung my new picture frames on the wall behind me. I’m in the process of creating a matching gallery for the living room. We’ve designed it to work as a studio for me. Santa’s bringing me some equipment that will allow me to do indoor shoots in the colder months to come.

We had to pull the tree away from its spot for the frame installations. I love the way the lights glowed off of the hearth tiles. This one below ended up being my favorite shot from the series.

It was fun to spend some time relaxing and remembering the joys of Christmas. Somehow it seems a lot more stressful as I get older. I have to make myself pause to reflect on the meaning and wonder of it all.

busy busy busy

I’ve been overworking myself. This week I had two wonderful sessions. Last night I kind of had a meltdown and Hubs told me that I need to stay home from church today to chill. A day of rest sounds both wonderful and pretty much impossible. I’ll probably head to Sunday School anyway!

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Despite the fact that I’m overworked, life has been lovely lately. Bri has been mastering words that she used to mispronounce. It’s sort of bittersweet to hear her say them correctly now. She used to say “metany” in place of monkey but now she says it right. There are a slew of other words that she’s picked uptoo. She knows the days of the week and loves to play this game where she whispers each one in succession, “monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday, friday” and then gleefully yells, “SAH-TUR-DAY!!!”

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The school year has been intense. Our teacher work days have been traded for furlough days. Most teachers are picking up the slack at home. I’ve had lots of work to juggle between papers to grade, sessions to edit and the day to day stuff at home. Hubster has made it so much easier for me. He’s great about taking Bri when I need time to edit and he’s seriously awesome about cleaning up around the house. We’re making it work.

I still love teaching but I’m beginning to love photography more. It’s hard to say no to those sessions that eat up my spare time.

Twofer One

Day 4 of 7

Hubster had the day off yesterday so we kept Bri home from daycare and had a family day. All day long I kept thinking it was the weekend.
DSCN9178
Around dinner time we pulled the wading pool out in the front yard and let Bri play with her new water toys. She had so much fun! And she even shared her water with the grass (which you can see needs it pretty badly)
DSCN9208
While she played, Hubs grilled a few brats and some corn on the cob. I had a photo session last night (there’s sneak peek below if you want to see) so I left Bri and Hubs outside playing and went inside to change clothes.
DSCN9185
When I came back outside Bri was running around the yard squealing and Hubster was chasing her with the hose. They were both soaking wet! It was the best kind of family day.

ma672

The session went really well, although it was extremely hot and muggy. I discovered some unusual sweat stains on my shirt when I got home. Hopefully my clients didn’t notice them!

At the very end of the session I was attacked by a bug as big as a frog. I screamed so loud it scared the little girl and she ran to her Mawmaw. They all looked at me like I was crazy. Then I showed them the godzilla sized bug and they were all clamoring for me to take a picture of it. Seriously! Here’s photographic evidence.

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When it crawled across my foot I couldn’t see my sandals anymore. It spanned my whole foot. Scared me to death!

Day 5 of 7:

Today’s theme for seven days is HAND. As soon as I read that a few days ago, I knew what my story would be about.

DSCN9237

I usually hide my left hand from people. I’m conscious to use my right hand for pointing and correcting in the class room. The reason for this strange quirk of mine is that I’ve had a wart on the index finger of my left hand for the last five years. I know it showed up the summer after my wedding.

And I know it was still there the last week of June this year because I taught the 5 year olds in VBS. One of the little boys asked me how I got the wart on my finger and I told him it was from picking up frogs.

Well, somewhere in the last three weeks, my wart has disappeared. It’s not there anymore! Isn’t that weird?

Anniversary Kiss

5 yrs

Family Fun

The weather has been beautiful for the past week and we’ve been taking advantage of it! Monday night, Hubs and I took Bri to the park to play.

monkey bri

She worked off some serious energy scampering up and down the stairs. Whoever made the slides must have wanted to give us parents a heart-attack. They were full of random swerves that nearly threw Bri over the side. I nearly dropped the camera trying to rescue her a few times!

dangerous swerves ahead

I’m betting that the slidemaker either didn’t have kids at all or he only had boys. My poor little innocent girl had no idea that the swerves were coming. She nearly tumbled off!

bri the mountain climber

Hubs and I were both amazed by how high our little princess can climb now. She’s amazing! On one of her climbing escapades I snapped this shot of her fingers from underneath the stairs.

Bri's fingers through the stairs

Of course, she didn’t hold still long enough for me to get a super sharp image, but I thought it still looked pretty neat. After climbing the stairs several times, Bri wanted to swing. The girl LOVES to swing. She giggles the whole time. And her Daddy makes her laugh really hard by acting like she kicked his face in the upswing. He makes great sound effects to go with it and staggers off to the side.

bri pushing the swing

Tonight we took Bri out on another excursion. We went on our first family bike ride. Hubs hooked up the infant seat to my bike and I valiantly struggled along for a mile and a half. When we reached the half-way point he offered to switch bikes with me (even though mine had the girly bar – oh the horror!) and I jumped at the chance. He was a lot more sympathetic to my complaints after that and we both agreed that we need to replace the seat with one that has a LOT more padding. All in all, we had lots of fun together.

biker Bri and Daddy

Note: Hubs is all frowny in this picture because he wants me to put the camera away so that we can GO already. This was before we started riding. He was anxious to start moving. And that’s why I only have one picture and there are cars in the background.

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