Friday, August 30, 2013

Freaking Out...It's Almost Half Marathon Time!

My FIRST half marathon is on SUNDAY.  Less than 36 hours and I will be in the middle of my first half marathon with my best friend by my side.  I'm excited, nervous, anxious, ready for it to be over, doubting my ability, pumping myself up, and completely freaking out.  Please pray that I stay mentally strong and keep my pace.  I can't let other runners intimidate me with their speedy feet.  Slow and steady is how I will run and finish this race.  I don't want to hurt myself.  I just want to finish and feel good about my accomplishment.  Oh and I really don't want to have tummy issues.  PLEASE say a little prayer that my tummy behaves and that the I gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now and the I'm going to puke feelings stay far away from me!  Thanks! I appreciate it! 
 
Last night I got this sweet belt to keep my ID, key and phone in.  I am really happy about it because I absolutely hate holding my phone and I despise arm straps...probably because I have horrible luck with them.  If I listened to music while I ran, I'd definitely search high and low for the perfect arm strap, but since I run best when I'm listening to my body, my breathing, my feet, my heart, and escaping inside my head, the belt suits me. It's a SPIbelt and cost me $19.99 at Dicks Sporting Goods.  I would normally look for a really good deal, but in this case, I needed it and I know that I will get a lot of use out of this belt.  Not only will I use it when I run and walk, but I will use it whenever I don't want to carry my purse and when we travel I can wear this under my clothing and keep personal ID items safe.
SPIbelt Running Belt - Dick's Sporting Goods

SPIL: 15-19
+Making tasty food from leftovers
+Hand in hand sunset walks
+Korean cobblers who call you beautiful
+Wine after a long day at work
+Freaking out about your first half marathon
+Movie date nights in

Much love.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

About Me

I don't know how often people read my "About Me" tab, so I figured I'd share it with you.

I am a lover...

Ryan & I when we were dating!  Rhode Island, Fall 2008
 
I don't just live, I love to live.  I feel everything...joy, pain, the deepest of heartthrob, the most powerful love...the love that makes the grass greener, the skies bluer, and the laundry list much shorter. 

I was raised with love and in turn I was raised to love!  My parents express their love for one another, for their children and for complete strangers day in and day out.  Kisses, hugs, door holding, laughter, date nights, support and a resounding excitement for exploring life has surrounded me throughout my life.  It has always been natural for me to throw my whole heart into relationships and expect that in return.   I just want to spread love and put smiles on faces!  Being in love is the most amazing feeling in the entire world and I wish it upon everyone!

Little Man when he was little.  Now he is 11.  He still makes this face though!
I am also blessed with a beautiful, well handsome, stepson!  He is a little boy and a  complete Daddy's boy through and through!  There is nothing like seeing a dad and his son having a "moment."  It just puts the biggest of smiles on my face!  Tickle fights, archery, WWII documentaries, middle school, golf, and Star Wars pretty much rock his world !  Little lives make life so much more interesting!  I simply adore the way kids see things and how innocent they are; they can teach us a world of lessons.  There is nothing wrong with being a child at heart and loving unconditionally!

As for me and what I do, other than love...
I work fulltime as a Financial Analyst for a coffee company and am a recent M.A. Economics graduate.  I am a self-taught photographer and a tutor on the side.  Learning is a love of mine.  I'm always reading something and my brain never shuts off.  Recently, I started running...it's a work in progress. Dancing is a love of mine...rumba, salsa, waltz, foxtrot, cha-cha, east coast swing, west coast swing, hustle, tango... love them all.  Oh, I garden too!  I pretty much never stop.  Like father, like daughter.   

I also adore being domestic!  Yes, I enjoy cleaning and cooking and sewing...if I could decorate a house to become a home and then turn that home into a loving and laughing fest of family and friends with food and pictures and knitted afghans with music playing and candles glowing, I would be in all my glory.  One day that will all come true, but until then, my dreams will have to suffice.  And I must say, I am pretty darn good dreamer!  My imagination just runs wild and puts a huge smile on my face!  Thank the Lord!

My creative edge has been coming out much more recently!  I have been taking pictures and creating scenes for my lucky subjects.  I've also been planning gifts to craft for the holidays.  Yes, I plan ahead.  You have to when you make most of your holiday presents.  I  read a lot, jam to music and dance my heart out!  Music makes me feel alive.  It's powerful.

Random loves...the sky, grasses...all types, smooth skin, huge smiles.
I hope you enjoy reading my blog and if you ever have any questions, please don't hesitate to post a comment and I will do my best to answer you!  Thank you for reading!
 
SPIL:Simple Pleasures In Life (14-17)
+Sunrays bouncing off morning dew
+Sound asleep cuddles
+Waking up to a puppy nuzzling into your side
+Two fried eggs
 
Much love.

Receiving Criticism

It's performance review time at the coffee company and regardless of how strong your performance has been, there is the dreaded opportunities section.  The section where your boss tells you were you have room for improvement.  There is no way that this section is an extremely pleasant experience for anyone, but by God, I do my darndest to make the most out of it.  Hearing constructive feedback from your boss (or anyone) can be challenging, especially when they hit the nail on the head.  My boss sent me my review to read over prior to our meeting, so I knew what I was walking into.  Don't worry, it wasn't bad. 
 
I will say that I read my review and thought two things:
1. Wow, my boss knows how to glorify my accomplishments which makes me super happy.
2. Ugh.  He knows my weaknesses too well...I need to be better at hiding them.
 
It's easier for me to receive feedback that I don't already know that I need to work on, but hearing feedback that I already know I have to work on is just a bit more difficult to hear.  I tend to get very defensive, but I'm going to pat myself on the back because today I didn't get defensive.  I listened and discussed and asked for ideas on how to improve.  Holy humbling experience batman.  It wasn't easy, but it was a learning experience and I learned.  I listened.  I cared. I discussed. I learned.  Now it's time to act. 

This wasn't me, but it's funny to me!

August 26, 2009
 
SPIL: Simple Pleasures In Life  (9-13)
+Cobalt blue and neon yellow running shorts
+Breakfast for dinner
+Refreshing coconut water
+Listening to Mr. Johnny Cash on vinyl.
+Honesty

IG @xsarexbearx
#SPIL
 
Much love.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Deciding to S.P.I.L

I'm an emotional girl. 
It's a fact.
This song is me to a T.  I believe I warned my hubby long before he was anything more than a crush.  Actually...I'm pretty sure I showed him through tears, intense laughter, heated debates, and lots of love.  Emotions are awesome and a total pain in the rear all wrapped up with a huge bow. 
This week...really last night and today have been highly emotional for me.  I'm feeling extremely lonely and missing my little man a ton.  Bad combination.  I cry.  I talk. I try to rationalize and explain. I cry some more. I get quiet. I cry.  Yea, I do a lot of the crying or on the verge of crying thing.  Oh it's hell.  I feel sorry for the people that have to deal with me, but I really wish they could realize that they are only getting a glimpse of the pain I am feeling on the inside and that I am the one who truly is bearing the brunt of it all.  I don't cry because I want to or because it's the easy thing to do.   I cry because it's the only way I know how to release some of the pain.  Crying is therapeutic for me.  Just let me do it.  Let me lock myself in my closet and sob.  I might be quiet for a bit afterwards, but believe me, I feel better.  I feel lighter.  Needless to say, I cried this evening.  I'll probably cry again soon, but I'll be ok.  I always am.  I'm not scared of crying.  I'm emotional and proud!
 
Crying helps me shed sadness from my core.  Focusing on the simple pleasures in life also help me refocus, revamp, and simply be happy.  In an effort to be happier in life and really embrace the little joys, I am going to add Simple Pleasures In Life aka SPIL to the end of each post.  I think it's fitting.  SPIL the positive to defeat the negative.  I got this idea from a book I found on Amazon called 14,000 Things to Be Happy About and from a friend's comment in IG (@xsarexbearx).  I posted a picture of an excerpt of this book and she thought the list was written by me.  It got me thinking...why don't I start my own list?  I love lists.  I love writing.  I love being happy. It's a perfect fit.  Then on the way home from work today as I was about to burst into tears I decided to focus on coming up with a name for this list.  Tears starting to spill and BAM it hit me.  SIMPLE PLEASURES IN LIFE...SPIL!!  Sold. 

SPIL (1-8)
+Puppy snuggles.
+Packing gifts for a friend and new mama who has moved away.
+Authentic tacos with cilantro.
+Picking tomatoes from the vine.
+Inappropriate old men.
+Manual transmissions, sunroofs, and rockin music on your drive home from work.
+Falling asleep to rain pattering on the roof.
+Lavender Lemon candles.

Much love.

Marriage Advice from a Divorced Man

The article title caught my eye "20 Marriage Tips Everyone Needs to Know" but the author's relationship status really intrigued me.  A recently divorced man wrote the article and it was good.  The entire time I was nodding my head in agreement.  While it was written by a man for husbands, wives can also take the advice.  No matter how long you have been married or in a relationship you can always use a little reminder of what  love is all about.  Hubby and I have rocky points for sure, but at the end of the day we love each other.  We both have very different needs and express ourselves uniquely and not necessarily clearly.  I'm the emotional type who needs quality time...lots of quality time.  My husband is an affirmation and physical touch kind of guy.  Affirmation makes me uncomfortable...I get very uncomfortable with it...so affirming him is a constant challenge.  I don't have any issue complimenting, but I say it when I really mean it and once is enough in my mind.  It's a constant effort to affirm continually.  I'm working on it...constantly. This article was a good reminder.  You might enjoy it as well.  Here you go...
 
Below are 20 wise marriage tips from a man that was recently divorced. You wouldn’t normally think that a divorced man would give good advice on being a husband, but this man has been through enough hardship to know what is worth fighting for:
 
MARRIAGE ADVICE I WISH I WOULD HAVE HAD:
 
Obviously, I’m not a relationship expert. But there’s something about my divorce being finalized this week that gives me perspective of things I wish I would have done different… After losing a woman that I loved, and a marriage of almost 16 years, here’s the advice I wish I would have had…
 
1) Never stop courting. Never stop dating. NEVER EVER take that woman for granted. When you asked her to marry you, you promised to be that man that would OWN HER HEART and to fiercely protect it. This is the most important and sacred treasure you will ever be entrusted with. SHE CHOSE YOU. Never forget that, and NEVER GET LAZY in your love.
 
2) PROTECT YOUR OWN HEART. Just as you committed to being the protector of her heart, you must guard your own with the same vigilance. Love yourself fully, love the world openly, but there is a special place in your heart where no one must enter except for your wife. Keep that space always ready to receive her and invite her in, and refuse to let anyone or anything else enter there.
 
3) FALL IN LOVE OVER and OVER and OVER again. You will constantly change. You’re not the same people you were when you got married, and in five years you will not be the same person you are today. Change will come, and in that you have to re-choose each other everyday. SHE DOESN’T HAVE TO STAY WITH YOU, and if you don’t take care of her heart, she may give that heart to someone else or seal you out completely, and you may never be able to get it back. Always fight to win her love just as you did when you were courting her.
 
4) ALWAYS SEE THE BEST in her. Focus only on what you love. What you focus on will expand. If you focus on what bugs you, all you will see is reasons to be bugged. If you focus on what you love, you can’t help but be consumed by love. Focus to the point where you can no longer see anything but love, and you know without a doubt that you are the luckiest man on earth to be have this woman as your wife.
 
5) IT’S NOT YOUR JOB TO CHANGE OR FIX HER… your job is to love her as she is with no expectation of her ever changing. And if she changes, love what she becomes, whether it’s what you wanted or not.
 
6) TAKE FULL ACCOUNTABILITY for your own emotions: It’s not your wife’s job to make you happy, and she CAN’T make you sad. You are responsible for finding your own happiness, and through that your joy will spill over into your relationship and your love.
 
7) NEVER BLAME your wife If YOU get frustrated or angry at her, it is only because it is triggering something inside of YOU. They are YOUR emotions, and your responsibility. When you feel those feelings take time to get present and to look within and understand what it is inside of YOU that is asking to be healed. You were attracted to this woman because she was the person best suited to trigger all of your childhood wounds in the most painful way so that you could heal them… when you heal yourself, you will no longer be triggered by her, and you will wonder why you ever were.
8) Allow your woman to JUST BE. When she’s sad or upset, it’s not your job to fix it, it’s your job to HOLD HER and let her know it’s ok. Let her know that you hear her, and that she’s important and that you are that pillar on which she can always lean. The feminine spirit is about change and emotion and like a storm her emotions will roll in and out, and as you remain strong and unjudging she will trust you and open her soul to you… DON’T RUN-AWAY WHEN SHE’S UPSET. Stand present and strong and let her know you aren’t going anywhere. Listen to what she is really saying behind the words and emotion.
 
9) BE SILLY… don’t take yourself so damn seriously. Laugh. And make her laugh. Laughter makes everything else easier.
 
10) FILL HER SOUL EVERYDAY… learn her love languages and the specific ways that she feels important and validated and CHERISHED. Ask her to create a list of 10 THINGS that make her feel loved and memorize those things and make it a priority everyday to make her feel like a queen.
 
11) BE PRESENT. Give her not only your time, but your focus, your attention and your soul. Do whatever it takes to clear your head so that when you are with her you are fully WITH HER. Treat her as you would your most valuable client. She is.
 
12) BE WILLING TO TAKE HER SEXUALLY, to carry her away in the power of your masculine presence, to consume her and devour her with your strength, and to penetrate her to the deepest levels of her soul. Let her melt into her feminine softness as she knows she can trust you fully.
 
13) DON’T BE AN IDIOT…. And don’t be afraid of being one either. You will make mistakes and so will she. Try not to make too big of mistakes, and learn from the ones you do make. You’re not supposed to be perfect, just try to not be too stupid.
 
14) GIVE HER SPACE… The woman is so good at giving and giving, and sometimes she will need to be reminded to take time to nurture herself. Sometimes she will need to fly from your branches to go and find what feeds her soul, and if you give her that space she will come back with new songs to sing…. (okay, getting a little too poetic here, but you get the point. Tell her to take time for herself, ESPECIALLY after you have kids. She needs that space to renew and get re-centered, and to find herself after she gets lost in serving you, the kids and the world.)
 
15) BE VULNERABLE… you don’t have to have it all together. Be willing to share your fears and feelings, and quick to acknowledge your mistakes.
 
16) BE FULLY TRANSPARENT. If you want to have trust you must be willing to share EVERYTHING… Especially those things you don’t want to share. It takes courage to fully love, to fully open your heart and let her in when you don’t know i she will like what she finds… Part of that courage is allowing her to love you completely, your darkness as well as your light. DROP THE MASK… If you feel like you need to wear a mask around her, and show up perfect all the time, you will never experience the full dimension of what love can be.
 
17) NEVER STOP GROWING TOGETHER… The stagnant pond breeds malaria, the flowing stream is always fresh and cool. Atrophy is the natural process when you stop working a muscle, just as it is if you stop working on your relationship. Find common goals, dreams and visions to work towards.
 
18) DON’T WORRY ABOUT MONEY. Money is a game, find ways to work together as a team to win it. It never helps when teammates fight. Figure out ways to leverage both persons strength to win.
 
19) FORGIVE IMMEDIATELY and focus on the future rather than carrying weight from the past. Don’t let your history hold you hostage. Holding onto past mistakes that either you or she makes, is like a heavy anchor to your marriage and will hold you back. FORGIVENESS IS FREEDOM. Cut the anchor loose and always choose love.
 
20) ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE. ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE. ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE. In the end, this is the only advice you need. If this is the guiding principle through which all your choices is governed, there is nothing that will threaten the happiness of your marriage. Love will always endure.
 
In the end MARRIAGE isn’t about Happily ever after. It’s about work. And a commitment to grow together and a willingness to continually invest in creating something that can endure eternity. Through that work, the happiness will come.
Marriage is life, and it will bring ups and downs. Embracing all of the cycles and learning to learn from and love each experience will bring the strength and these are lessons I learned the hard way. These are lessons I learned too late. But these are lessons I am learning and committed in carrying forward. Truth is, I LOVED being married, and in time, I will get married again, and when I do, I will build it with a foundation that will endure any storm and any amount of time.
 
If you are reading this and find wisdom in my pain, share it those those young husbands whose hearts are still full of hope, and with those couples you may know who may have forgotten how to love. One of those men may be like I was, and in these hard earned lessons perhaps something will awaken in him and he will learn to be the man his lady has been waiting for.
 
The woman that told him ‘I do’, and trusted her life with him, has been waiting for this man to step up.
 
If you are reading this and your marriage isn’t what you want it to be, take 100% responsibility for YOUR PART in marriage, regardless of where your spouse is at, and commit to applying these lessons while there is time.
 
MEN- THIS IS YOUR CHARGE : Commit to being an EPIC LOVER. There is no greater challenge, and no greater prize. Your woman deserves that from you.
 
Be the type of husband your wife can’t help but brag about.
 
So what do you think?!?!
 
Much love.
 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Puppies & Elephant Ears

Today as gorgeous!  The sun was shining, the breeze was gently blowing, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky.  Perfection!  I went for a walk during my lunch break, drove with my windows down and music blaring, and I immediately grabbed my camera and went outside when I came home!  Little Lir-Lir puppy and elephant ears were my lucky subjects! 
 
My dad planted some Elephant Ears a few months ago and pow, they grew and grew and continue to grow.  These things are massive and completely invading my porch!



 
Crazy, eh?  If you every plant Elephant Ears, make sure you plant them in a shady, moist area with lots of room to grow!  These are some of the largest ones I have ever seen.  Maybe it's my green thumb or the fact that we have had an insane amount of rain this summer... who knows?!
 
The little Lir Lir is my baby!  For the time being, she is the one that I take pictures of.  Today she wasn't having it.  Ugh.  It seems to be a recurring theme this week.  Regardless, I took some pictures of her and when she decided to sniff my basil, I took pictures of my garden.  The tomatoes are turning!!  Can't wait to eat them all up!
Lir Lir sniffing the basil...
 
Lir Lir Puppy!

Lir Lir Puppy!

Grape Cherry Tomatoes

Jalapenos

Grape Cherry Tomatoes
 Much love.
 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Campsite Photography Fun!

First of all, I love having friends that let me practice my photography on their kids!  Thanks Heather!  Second of all, I have tons of fun ideas for photography props, but I haven't had much time to make them and put them to good use.  For our first photography session, we went camping...in their backyard!  Luckily, their backyard is gorgeous and doesn't contain neighbors!  They are the best kind of backyards in my opinion. This is the first of hopefully many fall photography sessions with little C-man.   
Welcome to the campsite!
 I headed to Home Depot yesterday and got some 1x2 wood cut to 6 feet, along with some twine.  Then I headed to the thrift store and got some sheets to use for the tent material.  Total Home Depot bill: $10.07.  Total Thrift Store bill: $2.12. 
What's a campsite without a dog?  This is Zeek.  He's pretty cool.  I dig his eyes.  
One thing to remember when you are working with children...they are human and not always super happy and full of smiles.  Little C-man is teething and he wasn't totally into having his picture taken, so there weren't many smiles despite some wonder singing of Old McDonald and I love You a Bushel and a Peck... It's ok though.  We captured teething C-man and some different facial expressions. 
Oh my heavens, look at those eyes and that face.  He was content, but definitely not his happy self today.  Poor little guy.  He kept smacking his lips and sucking on anything that would sooth his gums.  Here he is mid lip smacking. 
Oh the drool!  That's a dead giveaway that teething is in process!!  I adore this tongue picture!
Little C-man sitting up and sucking his thumb.  Balancing was hard outside because the ground was slanted, but we helped him out with a boppy pillow under the blanket.
Sometimes a little change creates just enough distraction!  The hat did the trick for a few moments!

Being outside really helped C-man!  He is a definitely a little outdoors man and digs the fresh air!  We gave him a little space from the lens and just let him hang out. 

When you subject decides looses his balance and is completely happy on his back, let him be and work with him! 
Candid and lifestyle photography are two of my favorite photography styles.  I really enjoy capturing moments in life that people can look at, feel emotion, and relive the moment or moments like it.  It's not traditional photography, but it speaks to me.  I prefer to observe an interaction and capture it from my angle.
 
I hope you enjoyed little C-man at his crafty campsite photo shoot!  Please leave any and all feedback.  I am continually working on my photography skills.  This is the first of many sessions that I will be holding throughout the fall. 
 
Much love.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Review of New Year's Resolutions

{1} Attend my college Homecoming with my best friends, Sarah and Delia, and hopefully a whole slew of friends.  I haven't been to a single homecoming since I graduated and I miss my old stomping grounds.  This will be happening this fall, so I will keep ya'll updated!
{2} Run a half marathon with my best friend in a city somewhere between Virginia Beach and Detroit because those are the two locals that we are currently residing.  I love excuses to see my bestie!  I've already signed up for the Virginia Beach Rock N Roll Half Marathon, so this one is getting accomplished!  The only catch is how well I will actually do.  Next weekend we will see... eek!
{3} Complete another mud run or color me rad...basically a fun run for a cause and a good excuse to get really dirty!  I'm still a kid at heart! I've done two color me rads, a mud run and a sand run!  Done and Done!
{4} Catch more sunrises.  I want to get my sleep loving booty out of bed and head to the beach with a coffee in hand and a camera slung over my should to catch some beautiful sunrises!  I think this will be good for me mentally.  Oh boy...I am NOT a morning person.  This one is rough for me.  I'm failing big time.
{5} Graduate Bronze II in ten dances and compete in the DC Freestyles this spring! Done and Done!  I'm officially a Bronze III ballroom dancer!  Whoop Whoop!
{6} Be calmer, less paranoid, and generally happier.  I'm not going into detail, but I need work in these areas.  The past few years have put a toll on my mental and emotional calmness and joy of life and I absolutely hate it, so, I AM CHANGING IT. Period. I'm working on it continually...succeeding at times and failing at times, but realizing when I failed and correcting it much quicker than I have in the past.  Improving.
{7} Instill some efficiency to the chores  - I am thinking a load of laundry a day, dusting on Tuesdays, Vacuuming on Thursdays, bathrooms on Saturdays or something...I feel as if I spend my weekends cleaning and contrary to popular belief, I do NOT love to clean.  Do I make the best of it? Yes. Is it how I want to spend my down time? No. Some weekends I rock at this and I love it!  I definitely have been breaking up the cleaning and enjoying more free time on my weekends.  Baby steps.
{8} Read 24 books this year - 2 per month - and blog about them.  I'm doing pretty good! An official list will come out within the next week about all the books I've read this year. 

{9} Floss every single day...I am not the best at this :( Heck yea!  I'm rocking at this!

{10) Go on a real vacation to somewhere exotic, not to visit family.  This is happening, but I'm not sharing the details yet. 

Overall, I'm doing pretty darn good!  How are you doing with your New Years Resolutions?!?

Much love.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

We Have A Middle Schooler!!!

Oh my heavens!  Little man started MIDDLE SCHOOL today!  My first though was he's getting so big. My second thought was I am so not old enough for this.  I'm his proud stepmom and I'm often mistaken as his older sister.  Maybe that's because I'm young looking, but maybe it's because I technically could be his sister.  I'm only 16 years older than he is.  Funny to think about because when it comes to my parenting style I am pretty darn traditional and he knows it.  
 
So, back to the fact that J-man started MIDDLE SCHOOL today.  Yes, Middle School.  Sixth Grade. Switching classes.  Lockers.  Big Kids. Multiple teachers.  I'm in minor shock if you can't tell.  I can just see little Jared in middle school with the big kids, carrying a stack of books, rushing down flights of stairs in the 4 minutes he has between classes so that he won't be late...  Or would he be the cool kid who doesn't care if he's late.  He better not be that cool kid.  Not under my watch.  Being cool is only so important, but at eleven years old when you're the new kid, it probably means the world.  Remember, I'm not that old. Being the new kid isn't really fun...until college!! 
 
So, here's J-man on his first day of school!  He chose to wear the oldest shirt he owns...literally, he received this as a gift when he was about 3 years old...and a pair of awesome shorts I bought him this summer!  The benefit of being in a small town and living close to school...you get to ride your bike to school!
 

He called me after school and told me all about how he is the smartest kid in his science class because his teacher asked the class what a hard word meant (one he can't remember at the moment) and he was the only one who knew the meaning.  Then he told me that his locker is on the first floor and there are four stories to the school, so it's really hard to get to all your classes on time.  I suggested that he not go to his locker between every class.  It was a genius idea to him!  On an extremely important note, most of the boys are his size, but the girls are gigantic!!  Bahahaha!  I guess we don't have to worry about too many distractions if he thinks that of the girls.  Boys are hilarious, especially this little spitfire! 
 
 
That's our bright-eyed, bushy-tailed middle schooler for you!  He's in for a year of learning and not just academically.  Middle school teaches you a lot about responsibility.  Homework becomes much more challenging, the babying that you get in elementary school is gone, the projects are more frequent, you're an emotional mess because your body is changing and your body is changing...that alone throws kids for a loop.  Fun years ahead for all of us! 
 
Dear J-man,
You're in middle school now.  You're a big kid with big kid responsibilities.  Embrace it and live up to it.  Daddy and I are very proud of you and expect great things from you in the future!  You are such a smart, witty, talented boy and we know you are capable of greatness, so don't be discourage when we say that we expect great things from you.  We only say it because we believe it to be true in our hearts and minds.  You are a special boy who will excel in middle school!  Enjoy this time of learning more about the boy you are today and the man you will become.  Work hard and be proud of your work.  We love you and miss you!  If you need anything, just let us know.  We are here for you Bubba!
Love Always & Forever,
Sarah & Dad
P.S. Always follow your instincts.  They will guide you in the right direction.  If you still doubt yourself, call me. Love you!
 


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Botanical Gardens - Glass Sculptures Ed.

My Botanical Garden Pass came today and I jumped for joy…literally!  There was a squeal of delight and little hopping in the foyer going on!  This may seem like a silly thing to get excited about, but being the daughter of gardener and absolutely loving the outdoors, this little gem opens a world of beautiful flowers and foliage, 12 miles of trails to walk, run and bike, tons of photography opportunities, fitness classes, a place to bring people when the visit, pure enjoyment of nature.  Ahh!  I am so happy!!

This past weekend Hannah, Heather, little C-man and I all went to the gardens to walk and talk.  Spur of the moment decisions like this are going to make this pass all the sweeter. I love girl time, especially fresh air girl time. 

The weekend prior, Hannah, Willie and I all went to the gardens to see their glass sculpture exhibit.  There were 30 sculptures in total and we are proud to say that we found all 30!  I won’t show you all of them, but you’ll get the idea of them from my favorites!  I went a little clicker happy while I was there.  There’s something about taking photos of flowers that just calls my name.  The natural light, the bright colors, the pure natural beauty…I adore it! 

WARNING: Prepare to be bombarded with flower photography!
 
Orchids.  One of my favorites!

 
 
I have no idea what flower this is, but it was so cool.  It looked wax.
 
In the greenhouse.
 
 
 
A pond flower without it's petals.
 
One of the glass sculptures
I have always had a love for grasses!
 
 
 
Birds of Paradise glass sculpture.
Pollinating
Hydrangea Glass Sculpture 
 
Close up of the Hydrangea
 
A real live hydrangea
Another Hydrangea
 
Hydrangeas again.
Glass Fishies!
 
If I were a millionaire, I'd buy these for my dad!  They are sweet!
 
I really wanted these as my wedding centerpieces, but I couldn't find them anywhere.  I was thinking woodsy themed with pussy willows, some sticks and candles...It was a February wedding and would have looked pretty :)
 
Glass Sunflowers!
 
Up close of the Sunflowers!
 
Glass fern.
 
Wishing Puff!
 
Beautiful flower!
Pond flowers
 
The lighting was insane!  I love mother nature!
 

Much love.