Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"retro night" and meeting ayden

chris decided that the last few weeks of TNT (our weekly teen devotional/worship time) should have themes. since he had just recently found a mirrored disco ball that he wanted to use, it was decided that this past week would be retro night. i put a question out on facebook about which decade i should go with, and i was impressed with the number of responses i got! who knew how many people would have an opinion on costuming in the middle of a tuesday? i ended up going with 90's and was a good 20 minutes late because it took me too long to get the 90's bangs the way i wanted them. with my layered shirts, pulled to the corner, head band, multiple socks and neon colors--i thought i had nailed an early 90's look.

here are some of my girls, channeling the "flower children" of the 60's.
david took my toga idea and went with it. and chris, whose had originated the whole idea, went with a white t-shirt that said "i was cool in the 90s."
here's everyone who participated up on stage, getting an applause-o-meter to determine the winner. megan, who was a great cyndi lauper-style 80s girl, won a sprite from the drink machine. woo hoo!
next week is team spirit week. i'm going to pull out all the stops with my pirate gear, i think.

in other big news, you may remember the baby shower that i attended a few weeks ago for lindsey and jeremy. well, their son ayden arrived on monday afternoon, just a few hours shy of being born on lindsey's birthday! i stopped by there this evening to drop off dinner for them and--of course--snap a few pictures of the little guy.
he was sleeping the whole time i was there, but i did get to hold him and visit with lindsey and jeremy. they are doing great!
it's busy around our house tonight as we're packing for our anniversary trip to charleston this weekend. we're both taking friday off, but we're driving down on thursday evening after work so we'll have all day friday and saturday to explore. i was just down there last year (this same weekend, actually) for ashley's bridesmaid weekend, but i'm excited to go back with justin and see the architecture and historical landmarks of the city. between his interest in the huge, architecturally stunning homes and my interest in photographing them, we have a full weekend planned. more than anything, i'm excited just to get away for a while. i feel like we've been running non-stop for the last few weeks, and a couple of days away--without the animals, the chores at home, church activities or work obligations--is just what i need.

that's all for now, i think. be looking for updates from charleston :)

Monday, April 27, 2009

baby shower #3

so my final shower (at least for the next few months) was for my dear friend lisa. lisa has earned her popularity through the now-famous "face plant in the cake." something we couldn't believe she did, but all secretly wish we could have done, too :)
this was a surprise shower for her, and we were excited to finally invite her in to join us after everyone arrived! she was very surprised and happy to visit with all of us, many whom she hadn't seen in a while. lisa and i have been "hit or miss" seeing each other over the past three years. she was one of the only other employees with a "therapy" degree at the school where we worked together, and i often turned to her for advice or just to vent. since then, we've seen each other at barbeques or similar trainings in the mental health field, but the conversations are never long enough!
ethan was on hand to help open the presents for himself and his baby brother.his grandmother, who is very talented with sewing and quilting, made a dinosaur quilt for both boys. ethan's had the "big" dinosaurs, and he had fun identifying all of the big guys on the quilt.a group shot of everyone who came out--the girl who sat across from me at lunch looked awfully familiar, and we figured out that we had both been at krissy's shower the week before! does that mean that you're going to too many showers when you start to run into all the same people? i had a great time catching up with christine, and i realized how much i miss our conversations in the office :)
and finally, lisa and me. i miss her so much! i can't wait to meet her new little boy and get together with her more often. she's one of those friends i can pick right up where we left out, even if it's been months--but i hope it's not months before i see her next time.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

"you know that's how rumors get started"

this afternoon, we celebrated david, lynn and the impending arrival of joshua, their first son. you may remember david and lynn from the pregnancy pictures i took just a couple of weeks ago. they are fellow youth group volunteers at church and are so much fun to hang out with. i have loved getting to know them better over the past few months.

lindsey w. did an awesome job with the "hungry caterpillar" cupcake cake.
and it was cool to see all of the cute gifts they received!
the gift i had been working on was a set of letters for his nursery. after my marley and maddie projects, i was ready to try something for a little boy :) i had seen pictures of his bedding from lynn's facebook...and came up with these:
i knew the verse would be a special one for them, and i was VERY happy with how they turned out!

we had a nice group of friends there with us, and i enjoyed taking pictures of jake and silas running around. silas was particulary energetic today--he is ALL boy! with barefeet and just a pair of overalls on, he was running around tackling jake and playing to his heart's content. (click on collage to enlarge)

as the shower was wrapping up, we thought it would be fun to take a picture of all three pregnant girls--lindsey w., lynn and lindsey j. as we discussed how funny it was to see the progression, emelie thought it would be fun to hop in there at the beginning! we laughed and joked that "that's how rumors get started" around the church. then it was the guys turn, and they showed off their own bellies (or lack thereof.) what good sports :)

last little piece of home news--we finally got some patio furniture to enjoy our back deck over the spring and summer. we've been keeping our eyes on some sets for the past few weeks, and finally found a nice set at a great price at k-mart. justin worked on putting it together while i was at the shower this afternoon, and now we're grilling out and getting ready to eat dinner on it as the sun sets over our backyard. i can't wait to use it more this summer!
that's all for now--hope everyone is enjoying the gorgeous weekend!

celebrate, remember, fight back.

relay for life continues to be one of my favorite events to photograph. the stories of the survivors, the memories of friends and family members who lost their battle with cancer, the amazing support shown by community groups who come together to raise money for this important cause--it gets to me every time.
i feel blessed to have so many survivors that i know, people who have gone through the treatments, the rounds of chemo and radiation, and have made it through to continue living their lives.

and i know i am also blessed to have known those who lived their lives to the fullest, who touched so many people with their story, their energy, the love that they showed to everyone around is a truly inspiring event, marked with commemorative laps, the recognition of those affected by cancer, and the belief that together, we can raise money to find a cure.

it is an event where i see people from every "group" of my life--work, church, social groups, college, friends of friends--everyone comes together to walk a few laps, buy some tasty food or unique gift items, and celebrate life with one another.and when the sun goes down and the lights go out and the names are called, of those we are walking in memory of, in honor of--that's my favorite time. there are always a few tears, leaning on one another as we listen for the names of our loved ones.
but in the background, rising above the names and the memories and the people we're walking for--there's always "HOPE."
and the possibility that one day, there will be a "CURE."

Thursday, April 23, 2009


i'm trying to figure out the best way to word this post, and i'm also trying so hard not to break confidentiality. so if it breaks it, i promise i'll take it down. but here it goes...

there are some days in my line of work that i don't know quite what i'm going to do. today was one of those days. i knew going into it that i would have some completely unique experiences. today, i was moving one of our families into a homeless shelter.

how do you choose what possessions to take with you? and how do you prepare yourself for the complete uproot that your family is going to experience? in this situation, we were going from one city to another, with different schools, different county systems and different support networks. being a professional mover that i am, i was ready this morning to pack up stuff and put it in storage until they're ready to move into their own home. then it was on to scouting out community resources, getting maps and transportation schedules and waiting for the children to get out of school.

we made it through the whole day without too much trouble, and then it came time for checking in to the shelter. and then it became real. we were leaving this family there, and we got to see the whole intake process. i was reassured by the staff there, and i know i'll see them again tomorrow to tie up some loose ends at their previous home. but for the next couple of weeks, they will have to wait in line to make sure that they get a bed, and will live out of their two allotted bags (per person.)

and what's crazy is that two weeks ago, this family was fine. sure, they were living paycheck to paycheck. but then the paycheck disappeared, utilities were shut off and here we are.

be thankful. be appreciative of everything you have. there's always going to be a bigger house, a better TV, that new piece of furniture that you just have to have. but be thankful for what you have, that you have a roof over your head, electricity and water, and even the luxuries of cable and internet.

the amazing thing about all of this--this is a mother who is very spiritual. as we stood in the office, she looked around and said, "hmph...this place needs some Jesus. maybe that's the point of all of this. maybe that's why we're here."

maybe that is why we're here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

remembering a special little boy today

please take a moment to visit patrice and matt's website and read their letter to gabe on his birthday.

and lift up a prayer for this special boy and his amazing family.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

i feel like a winner

part of this whole "blogging" thing that i have gotten into is some of the awesome giveaways. honestly, it's so easy. just by leaving a comment, i can enter myself into a contest to randomly win jewelry, or a book, or a nice personalized family plaque to hang in our home (all contests i've entered before.)

and if i blog about it, or tweet about it, or put something on my facebook, i can enter myself into the contest again. granted, i don't normally do this, but occasionally it's worth it.

and with all of these contests, i've never won a thing. until monday, that is...

jo-lynne over at "musings of a housewife" (talk about a professional blogger--four blogs that she keeps up, including product reviews and a blog design business of her own) was doing an orla kiely bag give-away. the website all about cute is sponsoring it, and because i was the 92nd commenter--i won the bag! so excited about that. i can't wait til it gets here. as someone who has never really spent over $40 for a purse, this is a huge deal.

anyone else won a blog give-away before?

two years ago...

i had one of the happiest days of my life. i mean, i think my face says it all in this picture, right?

(funny story is--our car wasn't even there! we staged the exit for the photographers but then stayed for another hour or so and changed into jeans and our "just married" life is good shirts. priorities, you know?)

since that most happy day, we've shared many many many "happy days" with our friends and family...(okay, so the last two don't have a bride in groom in them, but they're from maggie's and sarah's weddings, respectively.)

and as my full weekends of bridal showers and multiple weddings turn to baby showers and photographing births (though not a common occurrence), we celebrate our 2nd year of marriage.

(and no, i'm not making that post. sheesh, people. it's only been two years. patience, patience...the animals are giving us a run for our money as it is)

at any rate, i am madly in love with this wonderful man...
and we have had an incredible two years of marriage.

from a tropical honeymoon...

to spending holidays with family...from our first house...
and those everyday moments in between.
we love life. we love one another.
and in the end, that's all that matters.
happy anniversary, sweetheart. here's to the last two years--and many more to come.

*wedding photos by carolina mediastar photographers*

Sunday, April 19, 2009

the rest of piratefest :)

so we got up ready to go on saturday morning, with a combination of errands and fun outings to fill our day. after dropping off justin's car for an oil change, we headed out to the pigskin pig-out to get some barbeque for lunch. it was pretty cool to see drake out there from top dog academy, doing a demonstration for the crowds. he was jumping rope with one of them when we walked up--so talented!
the barbeque was delicious--but did anyone else think it was ridiculous to pay $3 for a 20 oz. soda? so crazy! we had fun seeing some old friends and watching the pirate football players sign autographs and mingle with the crowd.

after that, we headed downtown for the other piratefest events.
i was scheduled to photograph the international festival for the paper and had a great time capturing the belly dance performances and the other groups that came out to show off their culture and nationalities.

(by the way, let me share here that we almost had a major situation because--yet again--i took out my memory card friday night to upload the pictures and forgot to put it back in. so i go to take my first shot and--"no memory card" flashes up on the screen. luckily, after my last mishap, justin put a tiny 2 GB card in my bag for just these moments. i usually use an 8 GB card that lets me take several hundred photos. i only had room for a little over 100 pictures i could take, so i was very diligent in what i photographed that day. no more taking out the memory card. no more.)

after the international festival, i headed out to enjoy the pirate marketplace and other areas of the festival closer to the 5th street area. i had the best time browsing all of the art vendors, and even bought a couple of necklaces (not these, i just thought these were colorful and cool looking.)
by the time i got home, i was tired, hot and unfortunately--sunburned. the rest of the night was spent going through my standard sunburn process: aloe, drinking lots of water, ibuprofen and a cool oatmeal bath. we also had a delicious dinner that justin grilled for an early celebration of our anniversary (on tuesday).

today, we had church this morning (justin helped with the slides and did a great job for his first time--way to go, hon!) and i got caught up on some cleaning and switching out my winter/summer clothes. i also got ready for krissy's baby shower, where i'd finally be delivering maddie and marley's shelves and letters.
i am so thrilled to have them finished! even though a couple of new projects have already taken their place, the size will be just a little more manageable now.

krissy's baby shower was beautiful, with cute party games and some delicious snacks and cake.
i apologize about the quality of these photos--some of them weren't as clear as i wanted, but it was the little camera and i didn't really want to use the flash.
krissy, marley and maddie all had lots of presents to open... and maddie did a great job of helping with the gifts, too.

once she realized she had a captive audience, she started to really get into it :)

now it's into a full work week, with our anniversary added in. i'll be photographing relay for life on friday night, and i am looking forward to that. anyone else have big plans for this week?

Friday, April 17, 2009

pigskin pig-out (and a lesson on shutter speeds)

i love a good festival. and in greenville this weekend, we're having a GOOD festival. the piratefest is this weekend and is a great combination of the annual spring scrimmage game, a bbq cook-off, the international festival and uptown artwalk. talk about a full weekend! justin and i have made a point of going to the international festival for the past few years, and we went to the pigskin pig-out last year as i took pictures for the paper (i'll be photographing the international festival tomorrow). this year, it was just for fun and we had a great time walking around and visiting all of the barbeque team stations.
they also had carnival rides set-up, and i must admit--i'll visit a tiny carnival at night to practice shutter speed shots. it is the perfect place to figure out the right settings for that blurry stream of light!
we had several different rides to choose from...
and some were nice and colorful!
i did love the merry-go-round, too.
after running into several friends by the rides, we started to head back over to the stadium in time for the fireworks. as it turned out, the route we took the first time was closed off cause that's where they were launching the fireworks. i knew where i wanted to be for the fireworks, and it wasn't on this side of the baseball field! so we speed-walked around the field, with the fireworks starting during the middle of our walk. i decided to go for it and try to make it to "my spot" for the last 5 or 10 minutes of fireworks. you see, last year, i got this amazing shot--
and i was determined to get some more like it. i love the silouette of the pirate infront of the fireworks and i knew it would be worth running across the practice fields to get a few of them.

so i did get a couple of good ones...
but my best one was the last shot of the fireworks. the finale of "big boomers" that lacked color, but made up for it in brightness.
i was so happy with this one, i literally jumped up and down after i checked the screen. simply awesome. (i added a copyright just in case)

so then it was time for the parade of pigs, which is a fabulous event involving a refrigerated truck and about 100 pigs ready to be put on the grill. and cheerleaders and a small pep band.
this year the truck actually fit through the gate at the side of the stadium. last year, it didn't. and it was pretty funny to watch them pull the truck in through the middle of the stadium and then back up to deliver the pigs to the first half of the teams.

we always get a kick out of the team names....
and some of the more elaborate set-ups for the cooking teams.
they'll be cooking all night, and tomorrow afternoon, we can head back up to the stadium and get some tasty barbeque plates from the teams.
but for tonight, we'll leave dowdy ficklen and get our rest for the remainder of the weekend. excited about tomorrow's events--hope to see some of our good friends down there :)