Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Christmas Letters

Every year my wonderful husband writes our family Christmas Letter and I absolutely LOVE to read it!!  For me it’s an experience of seeing our year, me, J-man, his life, our puppy, our weaknesses, and our accomplishments through his eyes.  It’s awesome!  I love that he enjoys writing it and is really thorough about it. As I read it, I find myself reliving moments, realizing that I forgot about such and such, thinking Wow that’s how he sees that accomplishment, laughing, tearing up, and then I always end thinking, WOW, I married an awesome man!  Sometimes I forget how sweet and loving he is under his shell and today when I read our Christmas Letter that he wrote, I fell in love all over again!    

Writing a Christmas Letter is a tradition from his side of the family that I am happy we are carrying on.  I grew up close to my cousins and most of our family friends were nearby, so a Christmas letter wasn’t necessary, but I do always remember reading other’s Christmas letters and thinking it was so cool to put your families’ year on paper for your loved ones to read about.  I am definitely happy that we are carrying this tradition on and that my husband is the designated letter writer.  He’s so much better at it than I am. 

Also, the letter adds a personal touch.  I always design a picture card and hand sign the back with a little note, but the letter really brings the picture full circle.  I love our teamwork for our Christmas cards!  Thanks Babe!  You’re the best!  Love you!

Do you write a Christmas letter? Do you like receiving them?
Much love.

Monday, November 18, 2013

I Love Weekends!

I love weekends! Driving home from work on Friday makes me giddy because I know I have three nights and two days that I can fill with things that I want to do!  On Friday, Ryan and I made a spur of the moment decision to go out to dinner, hit up the local Target and find some live music!  All were accomplished and were a great success!  We went to Mexican because that is our go to comfort food and after the week we had both just had, comfort food was on the menu.  Gorging ourselves in chips and salsa was heavenly!  I think I gained 5 lbs in one sitting.  Ugh. Sometimes it’s nice to get out of the house, be served and just sit back and talk.  Don’t get me wrong, we talk at home, but when we are out to dinner, we don’t have the distractions at home.  We are forced to stay seated and focus on one another.  It’s good. 

After dinner we went to Target to find a bathing suit, white T-shirts and Christmas lights for our bedroom.  We left with white T-shirts and two decorative Christmas pillows.  No lights, no bathing suit…wrong season for the latter. It was after Target that our night really started!  We hit up this bar/restaurant called Grumpys for a local band that we had heard good things about, but had never seen.  Well, let me tell you, those 15-17 year old boys rockin out on the stage were freakin awesome!  If you are in the Virginia Beach area and are in the mood for some good 90’s music with a few originals thrown in there, look up the band MOCEAN.  They were great!  Their families were there because they are under the age of 21, heck they are under the age of 18, but Lord Oh Lord, they were good!  The bass player was insane and the vocals were clear.  It was a great show and no cover…tips appreciated. 

Saturday morning I slept in with my puppy and didn’t do much of anything until 10 when I decided to walk Lira, rake the yard, mow the yard, dust, vacuum, clean the bathrooms, scrub the kitchen, put away my weekend bags and clear my dresser.  Basically I went from super lazy to insanely busy in a matter of seconds.  Oh and in the middle of all that I took pictures of my friend’s pups!  They are a hoot! 

She was born to sniff and she rocks it!

Fruit and peanut butter is my favorite!
Hubby got home toward the end of my madness and joined right in!  He changed the oil in my car, added some wiper fluid because I go through that stuff like it’s my job…it’s because I have a small car that sits nice and low to the ground, big trucks like to splash me, birds love to poop of it and bugs can’t avoid my windshield.  He also started the laundry, took out the trash and recycling and then we ran errands.  It was a productive days.  Productive days make the weekends feel longer because I can look back and see what we accomplished. 

We bought wine and sparkling cider for Thanksgiving!  It's our contribution since we travel.

That evening we took it easy, had breakfast for dinner and watched Skyfall.  It was a good one in my humble movie opinion.  Basically I didn’t fall asleep and I didn’t cover my eyes, so it was a winner in my book. 

Martini and potato pancakes for dinner!

Sunday was a good day too!  Ryan got up early to golf and I headed to Church by myself.  I’m glad I am back in the swing of going to Church.  I feel more at peace when I do.  After Mass I walked Lira and headed to the beach to take some pictures of my friend, her husband and their adorable 39 week old little boy!  He was adorable as always and I was able to get some great candid shots! 

After spending an hour at the beach in the 70 degree and sunny weather, Ryan and I headed to Williamsburg for a little shopping.  We went to Golden Horseshoe Golf Course to spend some money he won this summer and then we went to Yankee Candle!!  Ahh!  Holiday Heaven right about now!  We got some lovely scented candles!  My home now smells of peppermint or The North Pole as Yankee Candle would suggest!  We also got Mistletoe which is evergreen heaven!  Oh my Lord! We are in love!

That evening we had a nice little dinner in, watched some football, edited some pictures, drank some wine and went to bed at a decent hour…only to be woken by a barking puppy and high winds.  I basically got 3 hours of sleep last night and I am dying today.  Yikes!  Mondays are rough as they are.  Mondays with little to no sleep are brutal. Here’s to hoping I sleep better tonight!
Oh and I made banana bread from these frozen bad boys.  Tip: If your bananas go brown and you don't have time to make banana bread or the like, put the bananas in your freezer.  They are easy to peel and are easy to bake with weeks later.

How was your weekend?!  Fabulous I hope!

Much love.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

39 Weeks "Out of the Belly"

This little guy was in his mama's belly for just over 39 weeks and today marked the exact number of days of his life that he was in his mama's belly!  His mama requested that some of the photos from her maternity shoot at 39 weeks be mimicked, but other than that I had free range to take candid photos of this cutie and his mom and dad!  The pictures were taken at the exact same location and we lucked out with a beautiful 65 degree day in mid November!  Crazy Awesome luck!  Mother Nature was definitely on our side today! 
He's learning to stand on his own, climb a lot and every now and then he'll take a step.  Today at the beach, he stood for quite some time.  The sand added some anchoring for his adorable little footsies!
This is a mimic of a picture that was taken when his mama was 39 weeks pregnant.  Now he's super adorable and sitting in her lap! 
 Well isn't he just the cutest and coolest little dude! 
This is another mimic of when he was 39 weeks in the womb.  He wasn't too into looking at me or smiling, so this is the best we could do.  It's challenging playing peek-a-boo when you are taking pictures!  He's teething so, the finger sucking definitely portrays a phase in this little dudes life.
Oh heavens!  His papa is so much fun!  He adores being thrown in the air and I am so happy that I caught this moment!
The "standing" family.  He loves being on his feet!
This is hands down one of my favorites.  I love that his mama is kissing him, he is looking at me and his papa is in the background looking at them.  This is completely unposed and perfection in my book!
Sand tastes good to baby boys.  It's a fact.
This is another favorite of mine.  I adore the way C man is looking at his mama kiss his papa!  And I love his papa's sweet expression. Candid photos are my favorite!
 Last, but certainly not least, the tongue.  He's thinking.  He's determined.  He's cute.
*All photos taken by Turnaround Photography.
Much love.

Four Legged Friends

As most of you know, I have an insane love for my puppy.  She's actually 5 people years old, but to me she will always be a lovable and super adorable puppy!  She is the easiest dog aside from the fact that she isn't a fan of other dogs.  She isn't aggressive, but she snarls and acts like she is better then them.  It's ridiculous because most dogs could eat her for breakfast. When I say most dogs, these two cuties come to mind!  In all honesty though, Lira hates Riley and loves Jackie.  Jackie turns on high alert when Lira comes around.  Nothing and I mean nothing will hurt her if has anything to do about it.  Riley, poor Riley is so sweet and slowly comes up to Lira, and what does Lira do...she shows her little teeth and snarls.
These two cuties were adorable today!  They were a little camera shy, but I still managed to get some good shots in the 30 minutes they ran around my backyard!  Lira wasn't impressed they were over and spend the majority of the time sleeping inside.
Introducing the ever so handsome Mr. Jackson!

Introducing the sweet and sassy Ms. Riley Jane!

Oh how I love our four legged friends.  Dogs truly are amazing companions!  They bring my such joy and unconditional love!  I will forever and always have a pup in my house!
Visit Turnaround Photography for more pet photos!
Much love.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Work has been ROUGH.

I don't know how many active readers I have, but to those that enjoy reading my blog, I sincerely apologize for being MIA recently.  In a nutshell, I am a financial analyst by day and my boss gave his two weeks notice a week ago.  My work life has been extremely hectic since and it has been impacting my personal life, which I hate that I let happen.  I have a lovely blog post written about what's been going on at work, but I will not be posting it at this moment. 
I've learned a lot from my boss' actions as to how to notify your manager that you are leaving and how to act after that notice is given.  Honestly, humility, sincere gratefulness, and 100% dedication to transitioning your current tasks are just a few of the things that I will strive to embody when I leave a company. 
I'll be around more.  I hope you are all having a stellar weekend!  Rock on!
Found this sweet dude here
Much love.

Engagement Photos at the Homestead!

I went home last weekend to hang out with my sister, renew my license, visit my Gramma, hang out with my parents, visit with friends and take engagement pictures of my best friend and her fiancĂ©!!  They are two of the most beautiful people, so my job was really easy!  I am working towards creating a portfolio for my photography business.  I adore capturing moments and I love the creative outlet of photography.  Since I am a financial analyst by day, dancing and photography on weekends and  evenings are my saving grace.  My dream is to one day be a self-employed photographer.  I don't ever want to loose my love for photography.  If that starts to happen, I will most likely cutback and refocus. 
I created a website that is still in the making, but if you want to look at it and make any suggestions, I'd truly appreciate it - Turnaround Photography
Here are some engagement photos! 
My parents barn, which is an rundown, rustic, missing a few walls barn, makes for a great background when you are up close, so I took full advantage of it!

The trail in the woods made for easy access and an abundance of nature!  There were red berries that added just the right amount of pop.
Who doesn't love the bright yellow leaves and a laughing candid all in one?! The foliage up north and the love these two have are beautiful!
Kevin had these shirts made for a family event, so they decided to where them for a few shots!  I love when clients add personal touches to the shoots. 
Here's another gem that Kevin requested!  He loves fishing and hunting.  Jamie isn't a fan of hunting, so he went with the fishing theme (smart man) and asked that I take pictures of their rings on his fishing hook! 
Last, but certainly not least...they climbed onto a fallen tree and I ventured into the creek to get this shot...which just so happens to their favorite photo of the session! 
I hope you enjoyed the little engagement photo show!  I had a blast photographing them and cannot wait to take some photos on their wedding day, when they have babies, and the list goes on!
Much love.