So, in general, I don't decorate for seasons/holidays. Mainly because I'm lazy. I like to say it's because I'm a busy girl, and don't have time, but really the reason is because I don't want to spend the time to do it. I am impressed with those people who have lovely decor for each season. Not me, sorry. You come over, and you get the same ol' stuff all year round-- except for Christmas.
I love decorating for Christmas. My house just feels so complete when it is decked out in the red and green, and I really get excited. And a tad bit crazy. Like making sure everyone has the exact same wrapping, except different bows so I know who's is who. Yeah, I know. I promise I'm not really like this with anything else, so don't fear for the sanity of my future children.
Anyway, usually I am a hunting widow the day after Thanksgiving (meaning, I am alone while my hubby is off 'catching' woodland animals), so I usually spend that night putting my tree up all my lonesome, just me and my Frank Sinatra holiday cd. But this year I thought maybe you'd like to join me for the decorating!
This is my first attempt at a stop motion video (and ever posting something on YouTube, this is a big night for me), so don't judge me on my video skills just yet, I'm still learning!
And, PS, No -- that is not dip in my pocket. Who do you think I am? Come on guys! It's a lens cap.
Yeah, I really should. Because the past few posts have been things she showed me. But I couldn't help but share this. If she ever starts her own, I will become completely and utterly uninteresting.
I love JCrew. I really do. And I found out today that at one point in time they had paired up with another thing that I love. Lab puppies. Did you know they used to have a dog line called CrewMutts? Check these pictures out:
It's so ridiculously cute that it hurts my heart a little.
PS Kate Middleton was named as one of the top ten most interesting people by Barbara Walters. Watching it now. Yipee. Can't wait until April 29th! I'm still waiting for my call from the Palace to book me for photos-- the time difference must be what's keeping us from connecting. Must be.
So, Ryan and I don't have cable. I know, I know, if you haven't died of shock already, you can hear about all of the fancy new over the air things that are happening. Over the past few months, a couple new music channels have popped up. It's actually pretty exciting, I never had MTV or VH1, so it's a whole new world for me. Although the music videos are from the 90's and before. My favorite is The Cool TV. It is pretty entertaining seeing what big haired music star will pop up. And it is really helping me to put artists with their music!
I liked it until I saw this tonight:
This video terrified me on many levels. But what scared me the most was not the floaty Pat head in the beginning, or the green gloves that look like monster hands in the middle, or the stoic singing children in the end. It is the creepy drummer man who dances looney in the wife beater. This hair and flailing arms really just did me in. I may have nightmares.
PS I'm also mad that the Estee Lauder commercial features Regina. So wrong. Maybe I just need to quit watching TV.
I'm not going to lie, I'm super excited about HP7!!! And if you don't know what that means, you probably won't fully appreciate this post. You may be like my mother, who is convinced that my soul is in jeopardy because I'm excited to watch a movie about magic. Oh, and don't mention the vampire movies to her, either ;)
I'm not going to see it until late tomorrow night. Last HP movie I did the whole midnight thing, and then was falling asleep at my desk the whole next day. So don't tell me anything about it if you're seeing it before 10pm central time zone! Here's so HP cast fun in the meantime (again, thank you Stef).
I didn't want to leave my last post in the blog-o-sphere to be not so positive, so I thought I'd post this pic of my sister in law. Because I like her a lot. And she makes me laugh. And let's me dress her up and take pictures of her. Much like Pete. :)
That's the way to my heart. Make me laugh and let me play dress up. And chocolate chip cookies.
So I'm uploading some files, and I'm up WAAAY too late to be blogging on a day when I've thought way too much. But here I am. Thinking. And awake.
I've been thinking about 'enough.' What that means, and how so often I compare myself to it. And it's not even anything tangible, but something I desire greatly to be. All too often I feel like I'm chasing the horizon, but don't even know what is so great about getting past it.
I feel like 'enough' sits on my shoulder every day and wishers into my ear all the things that it's defeating me with.
You're not creative enough,
you're not positive enough,
you're not happy enough,
you're not thin enough.
You don't get enough sleep (which probably is true...),
you don't have enough (which I KNOW is not true),
you don't give enough,
you don't pay enough attention,
you don't take Pete on enough walks,
you don't cook enough,
you don't save enough,
you haven't done enough of your Christmas shopping,
you don't work enough,
you don't shave your legs enough,
you don't remember enough.
You're not kind enough,
you're not tidy enough,
you're not open enough,
you're not funny enough,
you're not a good enough speller.
And then he gets personal:
you're not a good enough wife,
you're not a good enough photographer,
you're not a good enough friend.
Enough, I think you're pretty exhausting. And as I type this, I don't know why I spend so much energy focusing on you.
I know I'm not the only one who feels this way sometimes, if not all the time. And I invite you to repeat after me:
If you would kindly step out of my brain, I would be greatly obliged. Consider this your eviction. Thank you and good riddens.
My niece and nephew always have the best costumes, and take the best pictures. Last year:
This year I got to be in on the fun:
I promise they don't cry all the time (you can see some sweet ones from my 365 project here), it's just my favorite pictures when they do. I think they're hilarious. Dressed up kids crying are just funny.
On the way to work, I was listening to NPR and they did a story about a lady in England who made a 9,852 slice of toast portrait of her mother-in-law for her birthday. You can read the whole story here.
I salute Laura Hadland for her efforts! I'm impressed by your dedication and creativity!
But, I have sense memories sometimes that are very vivid. Like, if you smell a certain smell, it makes you think of a certain memory and feeling?
One of my sense memories is when I hear "For Me this is Heaven" from the Clarity album by Jimmy Eat World. One of my most favorite albums. The best from Jimmy, in my opinion. Ryan and I were driving back from Tulsa tonight after a fabulous photoshoot (be watching for it on the pro blog soon!)
Although Ryan and I danced to The Luckiest by Ben Folds at our wedding, I would say "For Me this is Heaven" is our song.
But it's not necessarily the memory that I have attached to that song. When I hear that song, it takes me back to my first semester of Senior year. That semester I was taking 16 hours (which in art class world, that's really more like 21 hour class time since art classes are 6 hours a week). But that semester I was taking wood block print making.
I wasn't actually very good at it, but I loved it. LOVED IT. Creating art is something very satisfying to me, because it's creating something meaningful out of non meaningful things. Meaning, when I have a paintbrush and canvas and paints, they don't have meaning. But using them all as tools together, it can become something that has feeling and movement and meaning. And there was something about carving layers and layers into a piece of wood, and then using a press the size of a large closet to print it, and it is all a little bit of mystery to how it is going to turn out, that is totally and utterly appealing to me.
I specifically remember one night when I was alone with the gigantor press, just him and me and my Jimmy Eat World cd. And I had my cute little apron on, messy with ink, rolling papers through the press. And I was completely content. And there aren't many times in my life that I can remember being completely and utterly happy in the spot that I am.
I tend to be one of those people who looks 4 steps ahead. I can't wait until I get a real house, and then when I'm there, I can't wait until I get a house that I like better, and then I'm sure I won't be able to wait until I move into a neighborhood that has a better school district. Or, I really want to book one wedding this year, but I won't really feel validated until I book 15 in a year, and then I need to get a studio, and then I'll be a real photographer.
Anyway, that's why I love that song. It reminds me that sometimes I need to just be happy where I am.
But one bright spot was I finally got some pictures from the wedding in Florida posted on the pro-blog! I try not to double post on my personal & professional blog, so I highly encourage you to hop on over and take a looksy!
Last week I submitted a photo to Pioneer Woman's photo contest, and it got picked as a 'favorite!' The theme was actually Your Favorite Photos, and I chose one from Lauren's maternity photoshoot a while back (yes, she has a cute little belly under that bowl of cherries!!). It's funny how you can have a hundred photo shoots, but still come back to one that may be your all time favorite. I had this session when I was FIRST starting out, was still learning the ins and outs of my camera, and didn't even have a professional camera yet.
But I think because there is so much love in this family, and Lauren is just so sweet, I always come back to this shoot as one of my favorites. I know my skill has improved LOADS, but no matter how much you learn and equipment you buy, nothing replaces creativity and heart.
Anyway, I was just super excited and wanted to share!!!! xoely
I was tagged by the lovely over at the Hiku of Id, and I can't lie, I'm really excited. I feel so cool to be tagged to answer her four questions. And it's good that she gave grace to those of us who are slow, because I just realized I had been tagged :) So here it goes!
A. Tell me a story about a vivid memory you have when you were in the third grade.
Oh geez. First off, I have a terrible, terrible memory. Really bad. Like, I really don't remember things vividly before 6th grade. And sometimes my childhood buddies will bring things up from HIGH SCHOOL, and I have absolutly no recognition of them.
But, with all that said, I remember getting reprimanded in 3rd grade by my dad, Walter. He always had this thing that he would make fun of my teachers names. Kindergarden, First, Second, and now Third grade, he would as me "how was Mrs. (insert silly teachers name) class today?" And now I know he was just being a sweet dad, trying to be involved in my day. But for some reason, it just really irritated me.
My third grade teacher was Miss Weathers. And she was my first young, pretty teacher I had ever had. So naturally, I thought she was the bee's knees. And my dad would call her Miss Weather-Bee. And it jus made me soooo mad. So one day, we were in his big gold Buick driving through Kicking Bird Square and I told him of my distaste for my teachers nickname, and I came back with "I'm going to call you Wall-Turd from now on." So I got in trouble for saying turd. But i think he secretly thought it was funny.
B. If you could go back in time and visit the you who was a senior in high school the night of your graduation, what would you tell them? Would you give them any advice?
I've actually been thinking about this a little lately. And I think this is going to sound bad, but bear with me. I would have told myself to have a little more fun in college. I was pretty strait laced all through-out my time in college. I don't think I did enough crazy things. I had a good time, and in general a good college experience, but I think I could have kissed few more boys, and drank a few more (or any) beers :)
C. If you could go back in time and have a drink with any person in history, who would you visit and what would you drink? (If you choose a Biblical person that's fine, but you also have to answer with a nonBiblical person, too.)
This is the one that I had to really think about the most. And I wish that I had a really inspirational answer. But I think it would be Leonardo Da Vinci. I'm a little embarrassed to tell you this...but I love the movie Ever After. Yes, the cinderella story with Drew Barrymore. Anyway, they depict Da Vinci as one of those people who have great vigor for life, and I feel like it must be true with all of the things that he was interested in! Wikipedia credits him to being" Italianpolymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist,geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer." Plus he's an Italian. How much more interesting than you get? And I would drink lemonade, and he would drink wine. Because I imagine us sitting on a second story Itailian villa looking over a vinyard basking in the eventing sun. And wine seems appropriate, but I don't like it.
D. What children's book would you say best describes your personality? Why?
Remember when I said that I have a terrible memory?? Well...I don't really remember the characters of children's books very well. This was my favorite question, but I feel like I can't give a good answer. But sometimes I feel like I'm the mouse from "If you give a Mouse a Cookie." Not necessarily because I'm always asking people for things (or at least I hope I don't!), but because I feel like I'm always looking forward to the next bigger and better thing and sometimes I forget to live in the moment and love and appreciate where I am in life.
Ryan says I'm Cindy Loo Who because I'm sweet and little and innocent. I really have the wool over his eyes, huh?? :)
Here are your questions:
1. What is your guilty pleasure television show?
2. If you could be invited to any celebrities wedding, which one would you want to go to (past or future)?
3. So far in your life, what have you done that you are the most proud of yourself for?
4. What do you think the greatest invention of your lifetime is, and why?
Has anyone ever participated in a 365 project? It's where you take a photo every day for a year. A group of friends and friends of friends have started one, and this is your official invite to join! We are a group of people, all at different points in our photography skills. The only thing we really have in common is that we are all committing to it. There are 3 rules:
1) You have to take a photo everyday for a complete year
2) Upload them at least once a week
3) Have fun!
If you’re worried about not knowing what to take pics of, we have even come up with weekly theme ideas. You don’t have to use them, but if you are an assignment person like me, it’s perfect.
I think it will be really fun, and I hope you will join us! The first day of our project will be 9/20/2010. The last day will be 9/20/20111. Our flickr group is “4 Seasons of Photographs.” Find us and join, or leave a comment and I’ll direct you to the right place!
On Friday I attended the funeral of a very special lady in my life. A lady who's home I spend almost every Sunday of my high school having lunch at, laughing around her dining room table with her family--both biological and 'adopted.' She was the matriarch of a family that is extraordinary, and I know a lot of that is due to her.
It's funny what you learn about people after they are gone. She was the daughter youngest daughter of Japaneese immigrants. I always knew she was couragaous because God gave her two rambunctious boys to parent. But I learned how much courage she had to be a young woman and she moved away from her family in Montana, to Washington, and then to NYC and then to Japan, all during/just after World War II. How scary it must have been, but what great things she experienced because she did.
I always knew she loved God. But I learned that she gave her life to Christ when she was 5 years old, and when she found out that she had cancer, she decided that she didn't want treatment. But she DID want a lobster dinner. Because she wasn't scared to pass on, because she knew who she belonged to and where she was going.
I knew she was hospitable. Not only because I spent many a sunday's at her dining room table-- Grandma Gruel at one end, and Grandpa Gruel at the other. And it was like the two of them were surrounding us with their love and support. But one thing her son said in the Eulogy was that she always 'made space to people to be themselves.' And I think that is so true. And when you looked at the people sitting in the church, I bet that she touched every single one of their lives by loving who they are, in whatever place in life they are.
I knew she was a cute little lady. But I didn't know what a hot mama she was! This was one of the photos that they had framed at the funeral. So gorgeous!
I always knew she was wise. Some other things that touched me about her from the eulogy was that she taught her sons that they should always have "hyacinth for the Soul." That no matter whee you are in life, you always need to have a little bit set aside to do things that make life worth living. Spend a little to go to a movie, or have a drink with a friend. And she always gave us girls relationship advice-- that we needed to wait for a Trout, and not settle for a bottom-sucker fish. And I remember, when I told Grandma & Grandpa Gruel I was getting married, the first question they asked was if he was a trout. :)
The thing that really made me think the most about the funeral was the phrase 'ego integrity vs. despair.' It's basically that when someone comes to the end of their life, they either look back and see that they lived their life the best and fullest that they could have, or they are in despair that they have come to the end and it is too late to do things right. And one thing that gives me comfort as I grieve her passing is that she definitely had ego integrity. She looked back and felt good about her life.
Saturday would have been her and Grandpa's 60th wedding anniversary. Grandpa went to meet his maker about 3 years ago, and I know she has missed him greatly since. I kind of like to think that she wanted to spend that day with him.
I have a knot in my chest and tears in my eyes thinking about how next time I go to her home she won't be sitting at the end of the dining room table, looking over all the people that she loved. But I am so thankful that she was part of my life, and I hope to be like her as I travel through the rest of my life. I hope that I can love people well, and live courageously, and invite people to be themselves in my life. I hope I can look back at the way I have lived my life, and feel good about. And I'm so thankful that I was able to learn all of these things through knowing and loving Grandma.
Oh no. This is bad news for me. I saw this on one of the blogs I read, More things from Martha to lust after. She launched a new line with Home Depot for Kitchen cabinets. Dang you Martha for being making me love you so!
Please, of Please, can I have this kitchen someday? I love the little sitting area, and the open cabinets, and then beat board (is that what it's called) ceiling. The grey cabinets. The simple handles. I even love the green color. Not to mention the farm house sinks that I'm obsessed with.
In particular, I'm obsessed with kitchen design. I think it's because I don't particularly love mine. It is a very workable space, and I'm so blessed to HAVE a kitchen to cook in, so I feel bratty wishing i had something different. The owner before us painted the cabinets black and put a dark counter top in. It looks nice, It just doesn't get a lot of natural light, so it feels very dark and heavy. And we are afraid to paint it. 1- because we are lazy and don't want to do the work. 2- they were professionally painted, so I don't think we'd do as good of job.
Here are some other kitchens I love. Don't know where the images are from, they just reside in my 'dream house' file on my computer. I'm sorry (and jealous) if this is your kitchen and you're not getting credit for it.
Don't you love the rounded cabinets on that last one?? xoely
“If you could have any job with no worries about money, location, etc. what would it be?”
Woa Traci, that’s heavy for 8:28 in the morning. Especially since we share an office, but have an unspoken rule that neither of us really talk before 10:30 because we KNOW we both don’t function well in the morning.
Anyway, it caught me very off guard, so it made me think a lot. My initial thought was “duh, a photographer.” Which is awesome, because it helps me to know that I really love what I’ve been doing. But then I thought a little more…if I could do ANYTHING, without worries, without consequences, just lived it up, what would I do?
Could I just be a professional creative hobbyist? Do some photography work here, some wedding invitation design here, some wedding planning here, some interior decorating here. I think that would be awesome. But maybe a little frustrating, too, that I couldn’t dedicate all my time to that.
Then I thought…maybe I’d be a wedding stylist. Come up with a vision for a bride, and help her to chase after it. But then I got nervous that I would run out of ideas. But then, I figured out what the perfect job for me would be.
A buyer. That's what I would be. For a really fun and unique store that liked ruffles, and textures, and high class things. I could see myself in high heels and cute pencil skirts (because this is in my dream world, right? I do that there), my heels tapping on the concert floor as I came up with the vision for the new fall line. And it’s perfect because I don’t have to have the ideas, I just have to choose the good ones. And the fun of being able to mold people’s ideas of style. And see people wear/use things that I chose to put in the store. Oh yes, being a buyer would be the cat’s meow. And then eventually after I was tired of the heels and skirts, I would open my own store and just buy for my own shelves. And by shelves, I mean fun tables and mismatched book cases. And I would have a little sitting area so I could feed my friends cupcakes and milk when they came to visit.
So, I ask you: If you could have any job with no worries about money, location, etc. what would it be?
So big, that I actually drug myself out of bed at 6:45 to take pictures of Ryan...on his first day of school!!!!
Isn't he the cutest :)
I am so proud! When Ryan lost his job late January of this year, it was scary and it was tough, but we decided that this was an opportunity for Ryan to really find something that he was passionate about. He had been working in insurance, which was fine, but he knew that when he looked back on his life in 50 years, he didn't want to have just spent this whole time telling people whether or not they were at fault for an accident.
So, we embarked on a journey. With the help of a dear friend (thanks Elisa!), Ryan came to realize that he really had a passion to teach. Who knew the boy who hated school, and was notorious for not going to class in college wanted to BE a teacher!
And then the hard part came. The choice. Ryan had been applying at places, the was likey going to have the opportunity to get back into the insurance business. A secure, for sure, getting a paycheck every two weeks job. And he was super tempted. But instead, we decided that him making connections and subbing in the school district he wanted to work was more important, so that he could make connections and work towards getting certified to teach.
It was all scary, especially at first, but I think that what I learned out of the situation was that we were always taken care of. Our friends and family were so awesome and supportive, and it seemed whenever we had unexpected vet bills or or owed unexpected taxes, something always came up that helped us through. An extra photography job, or a random housewarming gift. Even though our salary had been cut in half, we never felt like we were on the edge. And I am so thankful for the provision that has been given to us.
So, to finish up the story, Ryan passed his certifications tested like a superstar, but alas, the first week of August rolled around, and he still hadn't gotten a teaching job. So we geared up for another semester of teaching. But.....a week and a half ago, a teaching job opened up! Not only just a job, but the grade he wanted to teach at the exact school he wanted to teach! AND HE GOT THE JOB! Mana from Heaven, we are so pumped! And so thankful!
Now that you are over the shock of me getting up so early, here are some photos from his classroom that I snapped with my phone last night:
I'm so proud of you sweetie! Hope your first day is great!