Friday, October 31, 2008

happy halloween!

from the doggy pumpkin...

and me! (and the cats and my husband who's in west virginia, thereby requiring me to use the self-timer. 10 seconds is not long enough to catch a 7 pound dog and get her to look at the camera.)

have fun today and be safe!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

getting ready for the weekend...

so a few shots were taken while i was face painting on sunday... this is one of my favorite things to do in the fall, and our face painting crew is awesome! becky, the coordinator, did face painting at busch gardens and uses the "professional" stuff. it is amazing, and allows us to do some of the coolest full-face masks with great coverage.

i like my look of pure concentration here...
also rocking the overalls so i could carry around my paintbrushes in the front pocket AND i didn't have to worry about my shirt riding up in the back as i was painting :)

the first part of the week flew by as a couple of school systems had teacher workdays, and i took full advantage of them--squeezing in three clients on both monday and tuesday. my past couple of days have also been crazy, with some major crisis moments. i've made it through, though, and i'm so glad tomorrow is friday.

it's been particularly rough because justin left on wednesday for west virginia. he took his grandmothers back up there after their three week visit down here, and he's also spending a good part of his visit with his grandfather and visiting his grandmother. the rest of us will be heading up there around thanksgiving to see them, but with justin's extra vacation time, he wanted to get up there for a visit beforehand to see everyone. oddly enough, this is the first time since we've moved in the house that i've stayed on my own. it's always been me chaperoning field trips or visiting my family or friends while justin stayed at home. so i'm "home alone" for the first time in a couple of years, and it's taking me a while to adjust. i will be heading to fayetteville tomorrow (so i'm not alone on halloween night) and then we'll both be home on sunday.

i think that's it for right now. later, y'all.

Monday, October 27, 2008

blast from the past

i've been in the greenville area, seven years now? so i run in to lots of familiar faces, even if i can't immediately place them. with my work at the reflector, that is definitely the case. i have lots of people that i see and know that i've met them before, but can't place it, and vice versa. a couple of weeks ago, i was taking pictures at the march of dimes chef's auction, one of the most upscale events i've covered thus far. cocktails dresses and tuxes, with some of the best food in the area. one of the local jewelry stores had college-age girls in black dresses circling the room with trays of champagne, and i figured i should get a quick picture of them. so i ask a few to get together for a picture, snap it, and then go in for the names.

the first one is a girl that was a year behind me in high school. i remembered she had gone to ecu, and had seen her a couple of times over the years. it was cool to see her and i said quickly, "oh hey, good to see you," moving on to the next girl. the second girl said her name, and as i wrote it down, something clicked in my head. i looked up at her, and she was like, "yeah, it's me."

this was a girl that is now 19 that was one of my favorite... nine year olds? when i worked the after school and summer programs at snyder. i could not believe it! she said, "i had this drawing where you wrote out my name in big block letters up in my room for years. you were my favorite counselor!"

i immediately remembered how much time i had spent with this young lady when she was just a kid, and she was an amazing girl! but above all...

i felt old.

i mean, i'm not old. but when you see this gorgeous college sophomore standing in front of you, and you can remember when she was this curly-haired tomboy hanging out with you in the arts and crafts makes you realize how many years have past and how much has changed.

ever have those moments?

(p.s. i will be husband-less for a couple of nights later on this week. anyone want to get together?)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

so sweet!

this is why i love doing kid and family portraits.

i only uploaded a few, but here's a sneak peek! meet maddie...

and her mom and dad, krissy and dennis. krissy is one of my co-workers, and we had a great time this afternoon! i couldn't wait to get home and see how they turned out.

and this was using my new 50 mm lens. definitely more difficult than my auto-focus zoom lenses, but it was worth it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

fun fall weekend

so it's been a busy past few days, as usual, but we've had a lot of fun seeing old friends, family members and spending some quality time with the animals.

friday morning, i got a call asking if i would be willing to come out to my former school's fall festival for a slideshow. i checked with my editor and got the all clear, so after a VERY hectic day at work (if you want the full story, i'll tell you in person) i headed over to the school for one of my favorite events. pictures are up at if you want to check them out, and they added a pie-eating contest this year. quite entertaining! above all, it was fabulous to see some of my favorite teachers and families and to catch up with them.

this morning, i got up to do another photo job (which ended up being a total wash-out) and then helped get things ready for my step-father-in-law's surprise 60th birthday party. he was completely surprised and we had a great time visiting with relatives and friends! here are a few pictures from the afternoon's events...

the cake, of course. they went for the number candles rather than 60 actual candles.

blowing the candles out the first time...

then putting on the gag gift--the "over the hill hippie" hat for the sake of pictures. notice the long gray ponytail out the back. what can i say, they're from west virginia... :) (haha, just kidding)
one of the coolest gifts--mike is a very talented man and has been known to write songs, poems, stories and apparently, a book. he had been working a book about job searching for years and apparently had it sitting on a hard drive for quite some time. scott took it and actually got it published, where it will eventually be sold on amazon and everything. it was definitely an amazing present.

so after the party, the skies finally cleared and the sun was out. with the rain over the past couple of days, pepper had not gotten her regular walks in. i also thought it would be fun to let justin see her in action at the dog park, so we headed on over there and let her run all of her extra energy off. she got very messy though, rolling in the dirt there and running around with the other dogs. luckily, we had a neat sheet in the trunk and could wrap her up for the ride home. justin thought it would be fun to document her bath can actually see the dirt caked on her fur here. she was a "hot mess," as we like to say at work.

and following a few minutes of protest, she's all clean (and looking quite pathetic if you ask me.)
tomorrow, it's a full day with early service for church so i can do a family shoot at noon and then face painting at the fall festival, followed by small group fellowship with chili and games at our house. whoo! i went ahead and did grocery shopping tonight (a typical sunday afternoon chore) and justin did a great job of cleaning on friday, so it shouldn't take too much work to get ready.

alright, that's it for now. later, y'all

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

a few quick notes...

pepper in her new winter coat. it's pink, quilted and keeps her cozy warm on those early morning/late night outings.

we're also working on her manners. she has "sit" and "down" now. next step is "stay." our "puppies for dummies" book that came in the mail last week has a very detailed process about how to accomplish this. i'm a little apprehensive. but the video shows her doing a hyper "sit" and "down."

she got her sutures out today from her spay last week, so she's now officially back in full force. i went ahead and took her to the dog park again on sunday, especially since she didn't get a good walk in on saturday with all the rain and gross weather. on those days, she stands at the door and just looks at the rain, and i can picture her thinking, "yeah right, i'm not going out in that." she stayed on the small side of the dog park this time, and had a great afternoon making some new friends and playing with the other dogs. we found a "cousin" of hers, another mix of chihuahua and terrier, and they took a liking to each other, wrestling and playing and chasing each other all around. it was really cute, and she was exhausted by the end of it. i was glad to see her play with another puppy and watch how they interacted.

i voted today. yay for early voting and the election eventually being over! it's getting ugly out there...

i'm excited about finally getting to some of those family portrait sessions this weekend. i will definitely share some pics when i'm finished.

justin's grandma is still down from west virginia, and we had buckwheat cakes tonight. this is a specialty in justin's hometown, where they have an annual buckwheat festival every september. buckwheat cakes are thin, crepe-like pancakes made out of buckwheat flour, and usually served with sausage. we added some butter syrup from the local mennonite restaurant and they were delicious!

work has been crazy lately, with some difficult client situations and families in crisis. we did get an interesting referral for our program, though--working with a mother who is deaf but is really interested in learning better parenting skills. our team is excited about this potential client, but it's changing the way we look at our typical intake procedure. i'm currently in the process of finding an interpreter for our first meeting with the mom. really interesting stuff!

and if you're in my area, please come out to our church's fall festival this sunday! it's free, has great entertainment for everyone, and i'll be painting faces in the late afternoon. oh yeah :)

that's it for now. enjoy the rest of your week!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

it's definitely october...

because it's breast cancer awareness month.

i had the pleasure of photographing the breast cancer candlelight vigil on thursday night, and loved it. not only are candlelight events so much fun to photograph, this is a cause that is important to me and my family. my aunt's recent treatment and remission has encouraged me to support a number of breast cancer groups and events, and i want to encourage EVERYONE to support breast cancer awareness this month. wear pink! support the survivors. and do something as simple as clicking a button once a day to fund mammograms. (and while you're there, feed a hungry child, save an acre of rainforest, help animal's an awesome website!)

great button i found:
The Breast Cancer Site
and they have the coolest stores that donate a percentage of sales to each of the causes. their free trade items are awesome, and i'm tempted to buy all of my christmas presents here. would be quite unique and very eco-friendly.

so anyways, some of my favorite candlelight shots. was so digging the bokeh here...

and i love luminaries. relay for life, holidays, any event with luminaries, i'm just fascinated with them.

because it's definitely the middle of football season.

so my friday photo job got rained out, thank goodness. after nearly a week of upper 80 temps, we finally got back into the fall weather friday afternoon, with rainy weather and a sharp drop in temperature. i wasn't really looking forward to staying out in the gross weather for high school football, and i just needed a break :)

we also had to pleasure of hosting linda and brandon last night, and enjoyed a great dinner and evening of hanging out and catching up. we all made it out to the game this morning, complete with tailgate pics (again, got hit on--i asked for a phone number and heard a guy in the back say, "i'd like the photographer's phone number..." sheesh...) , our own quick tailgate of some bojangles, and then a very wet, very chilly game. but we won! and we had a great time watching the pirates FINALLY show what they're capable of.
my sweet husband let me wear his hat since i didn't have a hood and it was drizzling the whole second half.and the final sign that it's october...because we got pepper a halloween outfit.

granted, it was just five bucks at target, but it's her first "official" outfit. and as you can see, she wasn't so thrilled with having it on at first. she's tolerating it now and had it on pretty much all day today. so cute!

Friday, October 17, 2008

celebrity spotting

so my co-worker heather made a startling realization this morning at work. she said, "hey lauren, do you know what i realized? justin looks a lot like....

one of the jonas brothers!" (nick jonas, to be exact. we had to look it up.)
what do you think? i mean, take away the curls... they do look pretty similar...

so maybe we found his halloween costume :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

just say no!

all of my adolescent to adult life, i have had a pretty consistent flaw. i am an extravert to a T, a strong ENFJ on the myers-briggs, and quite succintly, i love being around people. i love being busy.

i love trying out all of the numerous interests i have and even picking up some new ones. i can do the artsy-crafty thing, i miss playing music (by piano, clarinet or voice) so much that it hurts sometimes, and i'd be lying if i said that our recent trip to the community theater didn't get me thinking about auditioning again.

i love people, especially children. i love photography and capturing a moment, an expression, creating a memory. i love volunteering and working with youth and helping lead them to a strong relationship with Christ.

i love relaxing evenings with my husband. i love hanging out with my friends, and i love visiting my family and spending time with them.

i have a planner (and google calendar) that remains full of events, dates, appointments, meetings, parties, cookouts and gigs. my planner has always been my lifeline, and though many may jest at my reliance on the planner, it's what makes this schedule work.

this schedule is not working, though.

since starting my new job, my hours are completely different. i'm beginning to see clients around the same time i used to get off of work. it's stressful and crazy, but i feel worthwhile and rewarded. however, it's starting to be an early day when i get home at six, and now the other activities begin. clinical supervision, volunteering, family dinner, photography jobs, concerts...the list goes on. just when i'm about to wind down, i'm gearing up for another event and heading back out (or just going straight there from work.) weekends aren't much better, with games, more photography, meetings, weddings, etc. it seems like there's been little time to just "be."

so here's my consistent flaw. i can't say no. i end up trying to squeeze in one more thing, or get guilt-tripped into taking another photo job or going out of my way to do something. and the combination of the schedule and my exponentially more-stressful job has taken its toll.

so i'm saying no. i'm "trimming the fat" off of my schedule. i'm kicking out the stuff that isn't absolutely necessary and choosing those things that mean the most. mainly, my husband, my family and friends, and my faith.

if you see a few less photo jobs, you'll know why. i want to ENJOY my photography, not just do it because i feel obligated. i'm excited to do some family portrait sessions in the next few weeks, and that sparks my creativity.

and if i turn down an invitation, or ask to postpone it to next week, please understand why. i lost myself in my schedule, and i'm just trying to find the best balance for me. i'm not becoming a hermit, but i am placing priorities and learning to focus on what really matters.

somtimes, words just aren't necessary...

(the kicker here--the cover wasn't even torn. it was UNZIPPED!)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

another busy weekend...

but at home this time. those are always better.

friday evening was a night on the town, with dinner out and some shopping/browsing. we hit up petsmart to check out some of the puppy training books and other necessities. one of the things we've realized is that we have a serious lack of knowledge on dog behavior. lots of web articles and several episodes of "the dog whisperer" later, we are getting a lot closer. i quickly realized that i was using all of my "people skills" on a creature that is most certainly not a person and doesn't reason like one. i'm learning a lot now, and it seems to be making a huge difference. i changed our method of walking her the other night, with a shorter leash and keeping her focused rather than letting her wander around on the retractable leash. we actually got a great walk in and she's listening much better to us.

(i also had a blast looking at the winter coats, halloween costumes and outfits for her. can't wait to actually get one!)

saturday morning, i got up and went over to dianne's house to walk pepper with her buddies sally and jewel. she did a great job and it was wonderful to catch up with dianne, too! i came back in time to get cleaned up and head on out to ayden for the re-scheduled collard festival parade for the paper. i must admit, it was a small turn-out and i wasn't feeling really into it. so i got the shots i needed and came back into town to browse some stores and meet up with my former oakwood friends. fast forward to the evening, and it was time for family dinner and going back out to ayden to see mike, justin's step-father, in the community theater production of "the diviners." he did a great job and had lots of family there for support!

today, justin and i went to church and met up with his mom and grandmother there. after lunch, i took pepper out for a fun afternoon. we went to the town commons for a good walk, and then made our way to the off-leash dog park. i had read that it was only a half mile from the town commons, but to be honest, by the time we got there, we were both pretty tired. she perked up around the other dogs, though, and had the best time. it was awesome to see her interacting with all of the other dogs and people. i guess i get nervous that her "crazy" behaviors that we sometimes see at home will affect how she behaves around other dogs and people, but she did great today. she was not up for the walk back to our car, so i got creative and put her in my sling backpack that i brought with me. it made a perfect carrier, and she was able to enjoy the remainder of the walk with her head and front paws poking out of the top of the bag.

isn't she adorable? this is taken with my new lens that came in this week, but i haven't had a chance to really test it in the right light/environment. maybe this week...

unfortunately, milo still hasn't warmed up to pepper. justin had to get the picture of him outside of her gate, complete with puffed up tail.i tried to get a video of their interactions. it really is quite entertaining, when she's running circles around the kitchen and he's just standing there, hissing and spitting every time she runs past him (even though she rarely pays any attention to him during these episodes.)

and just cause i didn't want her to feel left out, here's a cute one of grace that i took this week.

i think that's it for now.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

doing the family thing

i realized that i never posted about sunday's activities. sunday morning, alan, rachel and i headed to fayetteville for a heritage celebration at my home church. the church was celebrating 200 years in fayetteville and had invited many of the preachers from the past few decades back to participate. it was great to see carl, of course, but also a couple of the other preachers from my childhood. they had compiled memories from several generations of church members into a special book, and they had a lunch afterwards where we were all able to catch up and visit with one another. following lunch, we went back to the house for a little while to visit with mom and grandma, and then had to drive back home. for the record, that is a lot of miles on the road for ALL of us, but it was definitely worth it.
(i apologize to small group people, but i had laundry, groceries, errands AND the steelers were playing the night game. it just wasn't going to happen.)

last night, we had the pleasure of visiting with justin's grandma, who is down from west virginia for a couple of weeks (apologies to the TNT people this time--it's just been one of those weeks!) she tries to get down to visit about once a year and has a great time seeing all of us. she also annually talks about moving down here, but it hasn't happened yet :) justin's step-dad, mike, is performing in a play in ayden this weekend, so we're all going to see that as well.

i hadn't updated on justin's grandfather lately. we got the word last week that the myeloma is at stage IIIB, which is the most serious stage for this particular type of cancer. he is starting chemotherapy, but we are already making plans to head up to west virginia within the next couple of months. justin and heather are both very close to their pap, and the plan is to try and do a big family thanksgiving. we did miss out on the buckwheat festival last weekend, but there's only so much we can do right now! at any rate, please keep his family in your prayers and particularly his pap as he begins the treatment process.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

weekend in review

so here's a brief synopsis of our busy busy weekend...

we had a fabulous "date night" on friday night, complete with a delicious dinner at red lobster (had a gift card from justin's birthday) and then a couple of hours at the fair. we weren't planning on riding any of the rides--we knew it would be crowded--but we did have a fun time browsing the exhibits, visiting the animals and eating some fair food. as justin said, it's not the buckwheat festival, but it was a fun way to spend a few hours on friday night.

saturday morning, i was an "official photographer" for the ALS walk. i had a great time doing this and am so pleased with the results. it's been a long time since i've had 50+ photos in a slideshow, but this one just kept growing as i went through my photos. at any rate, i encourage you to check them out and see what i did on saturday morning!

no pics from dad's move. sorry :) let's just say that it was a lot of work, with lots of stuff, and the boys did a great job. justin showered there and we dressed for the wedding before we got on the road since we knew we'd be cutting it so close. we were running a little late and just barely made it to the wedding on time (literally, the bridesmaids were walking down the aisle as we walked through the doors. luckily, another couple was also late so we weren't entirely alone.) the ceremony was beautiful, and we had a great time seeing some of justin's old friends and spending time with my new work friends. it's so cool how this all worked out, with johnny being one of justin's old college friends and heather being one of my coworkers.

it was also great to see jon and carrie again (our kentucky wedding trip) and to spend some time with them.

and i loved the sparklers! i got out the big camera for this one, though i had the wrong lens on it and had to shoot from way far back (which was fine, i guess, since i didn't want to get in the way of the pro photographers.)speaking of lenses, i have one coming to me sometime midweek. it's a 50 mm f1.8, one of the best values for lenses that i'd read about. for the price, the quality is amazing, and i cannot WAIT to try it out. it's supposed to be fantastic for portraiture and low-light outdoor stuff. i've already talked to a couple of moms who want to do "fall" pictures with their kids or get the christmas card shot done. i'm hoping to line some of those jobs up within the next couple of week, and i'm sure the lens will make a big difference with the results!

i'm sure you're wondering, how's pepper?

well, she's fine. she's still quite energetic and has bursts of crazy running and jumping, but then she can be quite sweet sometimes and just curl up for a nap, like the night that we took this picture.

doesn't she just look content?

alright, time to get stuff ready for the coming week. later, y'all.

Friday, October 03, 2008

full weekend...

tomorrow: i'll be busy here

then i'll be driving here

View Larger Map

to help dad move.

then justin and i will be driving back to greenville in time for this wedding

and then i'll be heading back to fayetteville on sunday for this
(the appropriate section is towards the bottom about hay street united methodist)

and then i'll crash.

anyone else have an exciting weekend planned?