Sunday, May 31, 2009

wild olive tees

though many of you are already mckmama readers, i wanted to share that i just bought the t-shirt as part of her fundraiser to benefit "until journey's end." this group helps support families who are dealing with the long-term hospitalization of their family members. i LOVE this design and cannot wait for it to arrive :) it is so... me.
if you want to check out any of their other designs, please click on the button on the right and it will take you right to their website. they have some other great designs, in both fitted and regular t-shirt sizes.

a quick weekend

where did the weekend go? i feel like it was just friday, and now we're getting ready for another monday. i suppose when you stay busy and travel a minimum of two hours away every weekend for the past three weekends, it'll catch up to you. but we had a great time and are getting our plans in line for the next couple of weekends as well. summer is definitely here!

on friday evening, justin and i enjoyed a great dinner at east coast wings and grill and then walked down to the movie theater for an evening show. justin has been wanting to see "star trek" for the past couple of weeks, and as much as i typically love to oblige my husband, i am occasionally hesitant when it means paying nearly $9 for a movie that i'm not really interested in. but i had agreed to see it for him, until he realized that it had been downgraded from digital projection theater to one of the smaller ones. so instead, we decided to see "up" in 3d, which was much more my speed. i love pixar movies and i think they did a great job with this one. and the 3d effects were totally worth it!
on saturday morning, i got up and went to a nikon seminar hosted by ASAP photo and camera. they had an official nikon representative come in to do a couple of presentations, and i learned a lot about different features that i had just never really explored before. dianne also came with me, and she has taken several great pictures of the birds around her house. she got a new d60 for mother's day and has had lots of fun figuring it out.

after that, we headed out to fayetteville to celebrate my brother's birthday. he turned 23 last week and we had a big dinner on saturday night at grandma's.

he enjoyed looking through one of his presents, a big book on "down east" history and the communities down there. he also got a couple of polo shirts and a watercolor print of the beaufort waterfront.
and pepper did really well the whole weekend. she was very sweet to everybody, and after having her break out of her gated area the past few times, we tried keeping her in her kennel at night in our room. worked like a charm :)
after church this morning, we enjoyed a covered-dish lunch--i love potlucks!--and then later on this afternoon, mom and i went to the big dollar tree. i considered taking pictures of both of these things, but decided against it since it may look a little odd. i know i have sung the praises of this dollar tree before, but everytime, i just rack up with great stuff! this time it was more great craft stuff and games for my clients, a collapsible dog bowl for pepper, a new spray bottle for the cats and some fruity body wash. if we had a dollar tree with this kind of selection, it would be...i can't decide between awesome or really bad on our budget. but it is just the dollar tree, so it wouldn't be a huge dent.

and now it's the week before public school is out, which means in a matter of days, our schedule is going to change DRASTICALLY. and i love it.

but is tomorrow really monday again? sheesh.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

not sure why i keep doing this...

but she does love that stuffing...
i'm a glutton for punishment. or at least cleaning up fuzzy stuff every half hour or so until she drags it all out.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

why i won't be watching Jon and Kate+8 anymore

shocking, i know. (and somewhere, justin is doing the fist pump "yes!")
but i feel like if the rest of the season is as depressing as the premiere was--if we are essentially going to be witnessing the demolition of their marriage--then i don't want to be a part of that. i don't want to be a viewer that TLC is counting on to increase ratings, purchase books or buy DVDs. i don't want to be someone who's drawn in by tabloid headlines, who is judging a couple that is living their lives in a complete fishbowl, or drawing my own conclusion about this family's very personal, very real problems.
i guess as someone who deals with problems--emotional, family, marital, whatever--for a living, then my "entertainment" shouldn't end with me wishing i could get that family into counseling. and even though many fictional shows and movies include very "real" problems, it's different than this. i'd even venture to say that this show has kept things more "real" than other reality shows (ie: the hills, etc.)
i've been watching this show from the beginning--honestly, they fascinate me (as most unique families situations do.) i know way more information about them than most TV families, and i'm constantly reminded that they are a real family, they live just a few hours from me, and one day, these adorable children will be grown up, dealing with the repercussions of their childhood "fame." as one other blogger said, "will they really be happy to have their parents' divorce on DVD to remember?"

so they're getting off of my DVR list and rather than focusing on their marriage problems, i'll spend that time focusing on my own life, my own family, my own home. maybe that's what jon and kate should do, too...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

memorial day weekend, continued...

so after our sushi adventure on friday night, we enjoyed a lazy saturday morning and busy saturday afternoon. at the last minute, we decided to have some friends over for a cook-out saturday night, so we cleaned the house and grocery shopped to get ready for grilling out. after hanging out on the back porch and enjoying our dinner of hotdogs and hamburgers, we headed back inside for some rock band with everyone.
always a good time with this crew :)

on sunday, i sang with the praise band for the first time during worship and had a great time. they're adding several new people to the rotation, and with it being a holiday weekend and a few of the regulars out of town, i got to jump on in. we typically have our main worship leader, jordan, and two female vocalists (one soprano and one alto) along with the full band of electric and acoustic guitar, piano and drums. it's so awesome to be a part of the worship service in that way and i'm excited about doing it again through out the summer.

after church and lunch, we headed down to the beach for the evening. justin's mom and stepdad rented a condo for the week and had invited us down whenever we could make it. sunday night worked out perfectly, and we made it there with plenty of time to go down to the beach.
i'll admit, when i first got down there, i felt the water and said, "nope, still too cold." (we hadn't even put on swimsuit the previous weekend cause it was so chilly.) but on second visit (and spotting the kids out in the water--hey, if they could handle it, i could) i made the long wade out into the water.

(justin took pictures just to prove it, but my swimsuit-clad behind isn't blog worthy at the moment. i'm sure he might argue that his saturday morning bed-head wasn't blog worthy, but hey, it's my blog and my behind.)

so instead, we have my "whoa, the waves are big and scary picture." which they were.
we also made it back in the water on monday, this time with a boogie board. still big and scary, but now rideable.

also on sunday night, we celebrated heather's birthday again, this time with a dairy queen ice cream cake. not quite as exotic as green tea ice cream, but still just as delicious.
we had a fun time playing board games that evening, especially catchphrase and outburst. let me share that my husband does a great job of throwing everyone off with crazy answers during catchphrase (where your teammate tries to get you to guess a word by giving you clues). our favorites?
wylie: okay, world topics. you know OPEC?
justin: non-transparent, yup.

we laughed so hard during those games and it was great way to end the night. the next morning, we had a delicious breakfast of biscuits and gravy and then spent the rest of the morning on the beach. by the time we made it back in for lunch, we were exhausted from boogie boarding, turning pink from the sun and very aware of our two-hour drive back home. so we got cleaned up, packed the car and stopped by the pier to take one more picture before beginning the drive home.a special thanks to amber and steve, who pet-sat pepper for the night. she had the best time with saydee and sophee and slept like a rock last night. she definitely enjoyed her slumber party!

and now it's back into the short week. if today is any indication of what the rest of the week will be like, we're in for a doozy.

so how was your memorial day?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

a bit of randomness

i would normally say that backlighting doesn't work, but in this case, i think it perfectly highlights justin and pepper's matching hairstyles on saturday morning.
and i love finding the photos that justin takes when i'm not home. this one showed up on the memory card while i was out grocery shopping yesterday afternoon. bubbles, anyone?
i guess as long as the dishes get done, i don't question the method. right?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

birthday celebration

last night, we celebrated my sister-in-law heather's birthday with an awesome sushi dinner at tokyo japan. for the record, justin and i love some hibachi and tempura but that's typically where the extent of our japanese food experience ends. we were courageous, though, and tried several different sushi rolls--california, philadelphia and just for me--a sweet potato roll that was just delicious!

justin doesn't usually use chopsticks when we eat asian food (i use them all the time) so we had a quick chopstick lesson and then practiced picking up the rolls and eating them in one quick bite.
heather enjoyed a dessert of green tea ice cream (good stuff!) and wylie was sweet and brought a candle along for her to blow out. we'll celebrate again this weekend when we go down to the beach with justin's family on sunday night.

finally, we made a quick trip over to our new office space this week. though i didn't get to see inside, we got a view of the outside. we'll be moving in july, and we are all so excited about having more space! it's only a few blocks from our current office, so it won't be a huge change as far as where we are in town--just twice as much square footage.

Friday, May 22, 2009

going black and white with ayden

not sure why, but there's something about using black and white for newborn photography that i just love. it's forgiving for any blemishes, it's classic and timeless, and you just focus on the love and amazement of the new baby.

in taking these pictures, i will admit that i was drawing heavily on lots of other newborn photography that i've seen. hey, don't fix what isn't broken, right?
and some i had to try just to see if i could do them. with the magic of photoshop, i can!

there are many more photos (in color, too!) on flickr, so please check them out.congratulations, jeremy and lindsay. you have a heartbreaker :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

coming up...

another photoshoot (this time, a soft, cuddly newborn--so excited!)

singing on sunday morning with the praise band

possibly another evening at the beach for memorial day weekend?

a busy week at work as we get ready to move! in july to our new, double-our-current-size office

and next weekend, a nikon seminar to continue learning more about my camera. hoping it's close to my level and not way over (or under) my skill set.

that's all i've got for tonight. what's coming up for you?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

amanda, you said urban with lots of color

i think we nailed it.

and you have two beautiful girls with some of the most expressive faces ever. let's do this again :)

another surprise shower and first trip to the beach

so believe it or not, i had a record fifth baby shower to attend on friday, this one again for my coworker krissy who is due in early june. this one was a surprise shower, and we all gathered for lunch to celebrate marley's upcoming arrival.

i took a video of the "surprise!" moment. i think it's funny and shows that we like to have a good time at work :) katie and i were so ready for krissy to come in!

the cake was so cute--another great creation from "your perfect cake."

and amber did a fabulous job with the diaper cake. good personalized items and little gifts sprinkled through out. (she's thinking of doing these on the side and taking orders for them--if you're looking!)and the happy mom-to-be with her cake.

after work on friday, we headed down to atlantic beach for the night. we hadn't been to the beach yet this year, and we also wanted to get down and visit my grandparents down east. we chose to stay at the carribe inn (one of the pet-friendly hotels at the beach) and though i'd driven by it many times, i had no clue how colorful it was, inside and out! we had an under-water themed mural in our room, bright pink and teal swirls on the ceiling and in the bathroom, and fish printed comforters on the bed. after checking in, we unloaded the car and left pepper in her kennel in the room. she wasn't too thrilled about that, but that was part of the pet rules and we left the TV on for some familiar noise. we ended up at the sanitary for a late dinner, and we both enjoyed some tasty seafood and a nice view of the waterfront.on saturday, we got up and checked out of the hotel (after being told that pepper made too much noise the night before when we left her--we took her with us to breakfast and set her up in the car.) it was biker's weekend, so the diner was plenty busy with regular vacationers and bikers who were down for the festivities. after some great omelettes and french toast, we made our way over to fort macon to enjoy a few hours at the beach.

pepper is not a fan of the water--she was a little spooked by the waves and wouldn't come near them. but she did love the sand and dug happily to find the cool, moist sand underneath. she'd stretch out and wriggle back and forth until she had her own little trench to lay in. we also took plenty of walks to visit the other beach-goers.

for lunch, we drove in to beaufort and walked along the waterfront, admiring the huge yachts and boats that were at the docks. we enjoyed lunch at the beaufort grocery company--the first time either of us had eaten there. i was a little surprised that they didn't have sweet tea (doesn't happen often in the south) but they made up for it with their delicious "apple granny" sandwich--freshly made chicken salad with apple slices and cheddar on a croissant and some AMAZING sweet potato chips. justin ordered the chips without realizing they were sweet potato, so i ended up finishing most of his as well.

at that point, we headed down eat to visit my grandparents, stopping at food lion to pick up a few things for them. it was great to see them and to sit and talk for a while. we hope to be able to get down and visit more often this summer. we had to check out the davis shore provisions as we drove back home, a cute little shop that had opened up in the tiny community of davis. they had lots of local artwork, photography and gifts for all sorts of occasions.
i found some beautiful prints of the area, some handmade jewelry that i was seriously considering, but ended up with just a bag of sweet potato chips (yes, i'm addicted) and a new sticker for my car. we had to stop and take a picture of the "pepper dog" salsa--one of our favorite names for pepper.
we made it home just in time to eat dinner, put aloe on some random spots (my right knee and left ankle got pink--but nothing else!) and crawl into bed. it was a long day, but great to visit my family and relax on the beach. i know we'll be heading back soon before it gets too hot or too crowded down there.

Friday, May 15, 2009

you know it'll be on my DVR!

just two weeks after our own trip to charleston, guess where samantha brown is going this week for her "great weekends" show?

i do enjoy samantha brown. if i could rework my life so that i could take over her job once she's ready to retire, i would do it. i can't imagine a cooler job!

but for now, i'll just stick to watching her fabulous weekend travels and picking up some good tips for my next visit!

i loved watching her europe and latin america series, but it's pretty cool to see her visit these great spots in the US.

where would you send samantha brown to do a show?

(i think i'd send her to australia)

just a few more

of joshua, david and lynn...

we're headed off to the beach this evening, but should be back by saturday evening. we're taking pepper with us, so i'm sure we'll have plenty of pictures of her first beach visit. not sure how she's going to like it, but i'm ready to see the ocean and feel the sand between my toes.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

a little bzzzing about some new products

as many of you know, i love a good deal. i'm a regular coupon clipper and i try not to buy anything that isn't on sale. i also love anything free, and when i read about one of the mom bloggers giving away coupons that she received from, i had to go check it out.

let me preface this by saying that if you were really into product reviews and had tons of time to spend online, reviewing and blogging, it would be very easy to get way into this. i'm just starting to learn about the process, but i signed up for my first "campaign" and answered a few surveys. in a matter of days, i had my first trial product delivered in the mail--a full set of shampoon, conditioner and detangling spray from the new john frieda "root awakening" line.

i've been testing it out for the past week, and let me just say--i do love how my hair is looking and feeling! (i'd also like to say that my fabulous haircut and color from robin at church probably has something to do with that, too--if she's not cutting your hair yet, you're missing out on a great deal and a talented hairstylist!) the eucalyptus smell is clean and refreshing, and i can tell my hair is a lot softer and not quite as frizzy.

i do have five sample packs (the little foil packs) and some great $2.00 off coupons if you want to give this a try! let me know if you're interested :)

next up--a new razor! just in time for summer and skirt-wearing weather!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

a visit with joshua (and lynn and david)

after our walk yesterday afternoon (where lynn pointedly decided she was "going to walk this baby out") she apparently did.

no mention of contractions at TNT last night, no tell-tale pains in her back--but when her water broke yesterday evening around 11 pm, josh decided to make his entrance (and with only 5 hours of labor and 10 minutes of pushing, mind you!)

i headed over to the hospital during my lunch break today and snapped just a few pictures of this new little guy.

welcome to the world, joshua. you've got some awesome parents, and a wonderful church family that will be here for you no matter what.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

the post in which i turn random photos into "something"

i've essentially loaded up the pictures from the past few days, taken on both cameras (big and small), and said, "hmm, there's got to be a blog post in this somewhere."

so bear with me.

friday evening, i got to see some old friends and former students by taking posed pictures at the prom for the school where i used to work. it was held at the clubhouse for a local country club, and they did a great job of setting the mood with a little candlelight and simple--yet classic--decorations.
i could not believe how much the students had grown up! when you see them day in and day out, they age slowly and it's hard to recognize how much they mature in a year's time. however, if it's been a year since you've seen them, it becomes dramatically obvious how much they've grown up and become beautiful (and handsome) young men and women.
on saturday, we had a busy morning of cleaning and doing yardwork. as justin worked outside, mowing the lawn and trimming, i worked inside, vacuuming and sweeping and swiffer-ing and wiping down the counters, windows and cabinets. it felt good to finally have the house in some sort of order. we've been on the go for the last several weekends, and our house had been severely neglected. i finally feel caught up and ready to go for these last few weekends before summer begins.

we spent the afternoon and evening celebrating mother's day with our respective families. first with justin's mom, where he showed off his completed project of getting all their old family photos scanned and in digital format. she can now send pictures through e-mail, print copies of old photos or just enjoy looking through them on the computer. maybe we'll share of few of his old photos in some upcoming "remember when"s.

then it was off to clayton to visit with my family at alan and rachel's place. we were running a little behind schedule as it was, and then the gps system wasn't updated to include the new 70 bypass. so as the screen shows us driving through corn fields on the gps, we were actually driving PAST clayton on the new bypass. eventually, we did get there and were able to spend a great evening with my mom, grandma, aunts and cousins. we also got to meet alan and rachel's new kitten, bella rose. she was adorable, and just the size that milo was when we first got him. it's hard to believe that he was EVER that small.

let me also take a moment to plug my sister-in-law's new jewelry venture on she has done a great job of designing her own jewelry and creating a shop on etsy to sell it. she has some cute stuff, so please check it out. i was browsing through some of her pieces while i was there, and it is soooo adorable.

now, a few pictures about pepper dog.

she's been a real sweetheart lately. we've had plenty of snuggle time on the couch in the evenings.

and can i share one of my favorite characteristics about her? i love her eyelashes. yes, she has the most precious little brown eyelashes that stand out, even with all of her wiry fur and scruffy man-beard. (that's what we call the accumulation of fur under her chin that give her the terrier/schnauzer look.)she's been experimenting with sleeping locations lately, including her bed, in the kennel and... on top of the kennel? we call this penthouse view.

and her favorite spot lately has been a huge field behind the community college, where we let her run off some steam. we have a 50 foot nylon rope that she drags along, so we can catch her if absolutely necessary. we're doing a lot of practice with her on "re-calls" where we call her back to us from far out. she's doing better, but still not quite enough to let her completely off leash. she is so easily distracted by the stray bird or car or person or bug or just about anything that will lead her off course. finally, a few pictures from our new series at TNT (our youth group meeting every week.) it's "tuesday night talk show" and the guys did an awesome job with set!
i was especially a fan of the disco ball this evening.

i thought this would be a funny picture, so we staged it ( i promise!) there was one last piece of cake, and rather than putting it on a plate or napkin, lindsey handed it to me on the almost-empty platter. and then silas had to get in on the action with some frosting!
so was that a post? i feel like it was way too long and all over the place. but i guess i've already written it, so might as well post it.

what random events occurred in your life this week?