Monday, March 30, 2009

pepper's tired...

cause we had quite a weekend.

a lot of it was spent watching some madness that took over our weekend.

wait, i think i can hear the chapel hill crowd cheering from here...yeah! carolina's going to the final four!

which means next weekend will also be consumed by games, but just not quite as many. and probably not as much of a clear lead as the two games this past weekend. i'll be honest--my eyes weren't open for the majority of the 2nd half of friday's game. and i read through most of the one yesterday, while doing laundry and such. i'm a fan, but just not completely glued to the TV if they're already ahead by 15 or so point.

and when we weren't watching games, we were shopping in fayetteville. grandma needed several items to make living with an arm cast a little easier. so we took her shopping, and i picked up a few things for myself, too. i love shopping for spring/summer clothes--especially after such a dreary, wet winter we've had.

on sunday, we were able to actually enjoy the sun and see fayetteville coming into full bloom. they're a little ahead of us as far as blossoms coming out, and it was awesome to see the dogwood trees budding. in about two days, it will be absolutely beautiful across the city. one of my favorite fayetteville events is the dogwood festival, which is held the third weekend in april. granted, it's inevitably weeks after the dogwood trees have bloomed, but i do love the street fairs and concerts that go with it.
we had lunch with dad and joy and were able to make it home in time to do a few loads of laundry, watch the game, do some grocery shopping and visit with justin's mom for her birthday. lately, it seems like the weekends fly by. just about the time i'm ready to relax, it's time to start the work week again!

on a personal note, i got a haircut :)
i walked in and was able to find a couple of photos that accurately showed what i wanted. the stylist did a great job and i'm thrilled to finally have something resembling a "style." i was trying to grow my hair out so i could put it in a ponytail by summer... but that never works. i get impatient, fed up with not being able to do anything with it, and chop it off. i think i just need to keep it short--that's always where i end up.

how was everyone else's weekend?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

playing with fire and other fun times

let me preface this by saying, i'm kicking myself for not having cooler pictures of this event. but alas, it doesn't always work out.

we've been doing a "man vs. wild" series at TNT for the past month or so, spending a week focusing on each of the four elements. we started with water, then earth, wind and this past week, fire. i was somewhat surprised to see a fire truck pull in ahead of me as i turned into church on tuesday night, but everything clicked once i saw the guys outside with the making of a huge bonfire.

and it was a HUGE bonfire, with flames reaching 6 ft in the air at first. the wind would blow and kick it up, and there were wide spirals of flames coming off of the base. but just not by the time i got my camera AND my memory card there. *memory cards are important for taking pictures. they don't do much good sitting at home in card readers.*
but many thanks to my husband who came to bring me my camera, a jacket and, later on, my memory card so i could take a few photos of our group as chris wrapped up the devotional.

cause who doesn't love a good fire?

i had the pleasure today of attending the social work month luncheon and seeing many of my past professors, as well as my fabulous colleagues in the social work field.yes, it's national social work month! thank a social worker today :)

it was awesome to see my lovely intern from last year, elizabeth, and catch up with her. and my girl kelli was there, too, from MSW cohort days. and as i continue to stay in the area and meet more people in my profession and from my own internships, it's really cool to see them all in one place and to realize i get to call myself a colleague of these talented, skilled and wonderful therapists. sometimes i have to remind myself that i'm not a student anymore and i'm just a few months away from having those four letters after my name.

i hurried out to see a client and on the way back in town, i stopped in one of the little outskirt towns and met my friend amanda from church, who was in need of some "headshot" type photos. we used an old exposed brick wall, along with some cool iron gates that were on a store front--and voila! some of my favorite portrait photos that i've taken in a long time. and all under 30 minutes, in drizzle and overcast skies. i've had fun working with them in photoshop and trying out a few actions on them.
and let me say that she "claimed" that she had never taken a good picture and perhaps wasn't photogenic? i beg to differ.
you were awesome, amanda! thanks for the opportunity, and we DEFINITELY need to set up a time for the girls :)

only a couple more days to this work week--and tomorrow will be spent at an all-day meeting in rocky mount. we'll be headed to fayetteville on friday for a visit with my family and will hopefully be able to do fourth friday downtown and make some trips to my other favorite spots, like the big dollar tree or the used book store. exciting, i know, but i love 'em.

anyone else have plans for the weekend?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

i'm not proud of myself...

i didn't think i would be one of "those" pet parents.

but i just couldn't resist.

guess who tried on her easter/springtime dress today?

i'm sorry. i really am. i'm slightly embarrassed.

(but she is adorable, right? i mean, c'mon.)

Monday, March 23, 2009

EB necklaces and my husband goes green

so the EB jewelry shipment came in today, and i'm LOVING the new necklace.

also happy to figure out what my ideal chain length is. 16 inches apparently--though i probably could go 14 or 15, too. all the rest of my necklaces are purposefully knotted in order to make them the right length. i included the self-portrait cause it's been a while since i put any photos of myself up, and this one came out well while i was trying to take a picture of the necklace today.

and all of this is to remind everyone about jonah, who is such a fighter and yet also in a fragile state. he's had several awesome days, and we just continue to praise God for the progress he's made!

and while we're talking about adorable little boys who need prayer, please lift up stellan tonight. mckmama is a well-known personality around the blogs, and her son stellan is battling an elevated heart rate tonight, something that almost killed him in utero. his amazing recovery was such a blessing--a mckmiracle, as they named it--but he's having a hard time tonight and needs all the help he can get.

so over the weekend, my husband has gotten into turning our house green. he is all about saving energy, money and reducing our electricity usage as we head into the summer months (and also pay some incredibly high utility bills from the past couple of months--seriously? way more than we paid this time last year.) he has made a couple of trips to lowes to stock up on the energy efficient bulbs...

and is also requiring that we plug in all of our cell phones/computers to surge protectors that can be turned off during the day while we're not here.we have a couple of special surge protectors coming--"smart strips" that have a couple of different options. one applicance is plugged in to a certain spot, and when that appliance is turned on, the other appliances plugged in are turned on. so when we turn our big TV on, then the receiver and other necessary appliances turn on. when we turn the TV off, the rest go off and not in "standby" mode. he'll use one in the game room, too, for the TV and video game systems in there.
and we have a meter device coming that will measure how many kilowatts are used with various appliances. i have a feeling this will determine the frequency that we use or charge up various things from here on out.
one thing i will say for justin--when he gets an idea, he follows through with it. by the end of this, we should have a very energy efficient house!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

baby shower for ayden

so i had the pleasure of attending a baby shower this afternoon for lindsey and jeremy, two of our friends from church and small group. i've actually known them both since college, as jeremy was part of the scholarship group and lindsey was often at our dorm, visiting :)
her sister megan (and their mom) did a great job with decorations! they were adorable, with everything in blue and green and ayden's name all over the place.

lindsey and jeremy had a ton of presents to unwrap and are definitely stocked up for ayden's arrival now.
i have to give major kudos to jeremy for being such a good sport with all of the baby items--he did a great job checking out everything and helping lindsey open the gifts.
one of my favorite parts? they had a table set up with stencils, fabric paint and plain white onesies. everyone got a chance to paint their own for ayden to wear. i totally got into this (along with my buds lynn and emelie) and we had a whole collection for ayden by the end of the shower.
jake was also there and didn't quite seem to grasp the idea behind the shower. he found several things he was ready to take home.
all in all, a lovely afternoon. i went from there to a photo shoot for a family session. it will be a miracle if i don't end up with poison ivy, but it was worth it for the shots. i'm pretty happy with them and look forward to doing some more portrait work soon as the weather warms up :)

and finally, a funny occurrence that i discovered while picking up around the house tonight. our house is in dire need of a cleaning, and we started by going through papers and the stacks of stuff that have accumulated over the past few weeks. this included the cards from my birthday and valentine's day (that i like to keep for sentimental reasons--i imagine myself as an old lady, going through a box of greeting cards from when i was in my 20's and reminiscing.)

so i was also cleaning up around the bookshelf in our bedroom, where numerous cards, programs and invitations have stacked up--i found thank you notes from both of the weddings i was in last year, programs from all of the weddings i attended, and more cards from the holidays and birthdays.

this included my birthday card from justin from last year. and even though i had a sneaking suspicion this had occurred, it was now confirmed.
he bought me the same card both years! i opened the card this year and thought it looked familiar, but didn't want to say anything since i wasn't sure (and since, as justin pointed out, it's the thought that counts.) i completely agree, but i just find it amusing that he picked the same card out two years in a row. it is a good card :) justin claims it's the old age kicking in.

alright, time to head towards bed. another full day tomorrow with church, cleaning, typical sunday chores, probably some more work on marley's shelf AND our first girls' ministry class tomorrow night. woo! but fun times. enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, March 20, 2009

happy spring!

i've loved the tease of warm weather this past week. honestly, spring can't come fast enough. longer days, picnics in the park and walking barefoot on the grass--i miss it so much. it's just a reminder of new life everywhere, with bulbs coming up that i planted last year, trees budding and gorgeous colors filling up the landscapes as i drive. it's even nice to see our neighbors again! we've all been hibernating, and now we linger on the sidewalks and front porches, finally getting to see each other again.

another animal bit the dust--this one was pepper's "ho! ho! ho!" dog left over from the holidays.

so after cleaning up another round of cotton batting from our carpet, i was pleased to find a toy boasting THIS in walgreen's today.
now granted, it looks like a skinned rabbit and has no shape to it whatsoever (except for a squeaker in the head and the tail) but she loves it.and i will not be cleaning up stuffing. that's worth it to me.

tonight we will relax before my marathon of client family session, baby shower and photo shoot tomorrow. i'm excited about most of that, but it's just going to be back to back scheduling until about dinnertime. which i guess i should be used to, but i'm just preparing myself for a long day.

grandma's doing well and is recovering from her surgery in the hospital though the weekend. we'll be going to fayetteville next weekend to visit and enjoy a fourth friday downtown. thanks for everyone asking about her :)

and that's it for now. enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


i'm sitting here, waiting to hear about jonah's diagnosis. i've heard that the news might not come tonight, but i'm impatiently waiting, just wanting to know what this little "label" will mean for jonah, patrice, matt and the rest of their family.

faith. it's something that i've had to rely on a lot lately. i've always been what many would call an optimist--there's a silver lining to every cloud, there's a positive aspect to every situation i encounter. very rarely do i just say, "this bites," and wallow in it. i can't, i won't, and it's not natural for me to do so.

so i surround myself with reminders of my faith. faith as small as a mustard seed. faith that will move mountains. even at work, i have a sign by my desk that reads, "faith makes things possible--not easy." things are not always going to be easy or go exactly as planned, but it takes faith to believe that they can happen. that the things that we hope for can occur.


"be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." ~romans 12:12

and a quick prayer for my family, as my grandma fell earlier today and broke her wrist. she's done this before, but they're going to do surgery this time and put in a plate.

my grandma is awesome. i was just recently telling a kid at youth group about our trip to europe after my senior year of high school, and she was surprised to hear that my grandma came, too. i said, "are you kidding? my grandma outwalked us all!" she walks every morning with her sister-in-law, who lives next door.
she still dictates recipes to me over the phone when i don't remember the exact ingredients for a casserole or dessert, and she taught me how to sew and many of my other yarn crafts. though this is not a huge surgery or anything too major, just say a quick prayer for her and for a speedy recovery :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

g-vegas folks, last call on orders :)

so in case you haven't heard, this little guy has had some really awesome days lately. tomorrow is the day for hearing the official diagnosis, so please pray for the best possible outcome!
in doing research about EB foundations and watching some videos, i found the website advertising the EB butterfly jewelry, specifically created to raise funds for EB research and awareness.
so adorable! and just my style. you can see the other products they have available here.

the website reads, "Co-designed by husband and wife partners Courteney Cox and David Arquette along with Satya Jewelry. The butterfly is the symbol of hope and freedom. This necklace was created to benefit the EB Medical Research Foundation, a charity that is close to both of their hearts. EB is a rare skin disease affecting someone near and dear to both David & Courteney. “We are committed to raising awareness and money to help find a cure for EB so these wonderful children can live a healthy and normal life.”
The Satya Foundation donates 100% of the proceeds from the sale of this necklace to the Epidermolysis Bullosa Medical Research Foundation, aiming to find a cure for a rare childhood skin disease.
For More information please click here"

i'm placing an order tomorrow for myself and some friends to save on shipping. if anyone else in the area is interested, just let me know! i'm collecting checks after the order comes in, so it's not a big deal if you don't see me before then.

and i was gonna do a cute picture of pepper in her st. patrick's day bandana and me in my "everyone loves an irish girl" shirt--but it's late and this damp weather has done a number on my hair and i'm just not feeling real photogenic. just to be honest with you.

but erin go braugh! kiss someone who's irish (or not) and enjoy some lucky charms or something equally stereotypical-irish. i particularly enjoyed the hot cross buns at panera last week. mmm....

(and truth be told, we've already moved on to the starburst jelly beans, peeps and cadbury eggs in my house. but i got the green peeps, in honor of st. patrick's day. does that count?)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

lazy saturday night

this was the view around our house last night. we ordered a pizza, watched movies and ate popcorn.
pepper was kinda worn out, too.
i turned my focus to baby marley's stuff last night--here's the bedding i was given to match. very detailed, but i'm taking the patchwork theme and running with it.
i finished her letters this afternoon--you have to see the "E" in person--it's totally the yellow gingham print that is the main fabric used in the bedding, and it took a loooong time to do. there weren't any actual swirls on the bedding that i used on the M, but i just like swirls.
here's where i stand on the the shelf. i hit a creative block this afternoon and had to do boring stuff, like laundry and grocery shopping. i'll be cleaning up the edges and adding details to each "patchwork" piece through out the week.
so could this be a side business, too? could i combine photography and painting and create my own studio? i would definitely need studio space, though. the kitchen table is not cutting it, especially when it's the dog's space in the house. at any rate, i am having fun with it and enjoying a creative outlet. glad to hear that other people are liking it, too!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

crafty weekend

one of my favorite ways to relieve stress is to create. i could spend a LOT of money at michael's, and i've tried out various yarn crafts (knitting and crocheting), painting, mosaics, decoupage and sewing. when at my last school, i'd do clay and whatever else i could get my hands on in the art room. so, when one of my coworkers wanted her daughter's room updated with some painted letters and shelf--and matching ones for the new baby coming in a couple of months--i offered to help out.

i picked up the supplies yesterday evening and painted the base coats for both of the shelves. then, this morning (with my mug of coffee there on the table), i got started on the more creative stuff.

this is the bedding i was given to match for the four year old's room...
and this is what i came up with (not yet sealed with a protectant coat)

*click on the collage to see it closer*

i'll start on the baby one tonight or tomorrow afternoon...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

seriously the coolest thing i've seen...

in quite some time.

so if you've known me for a while, you might know that i love dolphins. my whole room was decorated with them growing up, and one of my happiest moments to date is still swimming with them at discovery cove in orlando.
look at that smile. i was in heaven. every visit to sea world, i've spent many an hour at the dolphin cove exhibit, just watching them interact with each other. if i could have found a way to be a dolphin trainer without years and years of science classes, i would have considered it. i'm more realistically considering being the person behind the camera of all those discovery cove pictures now. they have to get some perks, right?

and i always knew they were smart--i mean, above ordinary smart. i did a whole research paper in the 10th grade about how they use echolocation and their ability to learn vocabulary and how they communicate with one another, as well as humans.

but this--well, this is just awesome.

you have to check out the website here and the abc news video here
but the pictures show it well.
they are actually creating bubble rings from their blowholes and then playing with them like hoops in the water!

so incredibly intelligent!
by the way, found this at musings of a housewife. one of the fun blogs i frequent.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

cuteness of jake and a new sister in Christ

i will admit, i love me some jake. this cutie pie is with us at TNT every week and it is so awesome to see his personality developing and how he interacts with all of the kids up there.

emelie, we'll need to talk about some spring portraits or something. the camera loves him!
after the weekly worship and devotional, we also had a baptism for keely, one of our girls at youth group. she made her decision at CCYC this past weekend, and her dad and emelie were there for her last night--as well as nearly two dozen other family members and friends! it was great to have everyone there to celebrate with her.

chris speaking and explaining for the younger kids.
emelie, keely and her dad, gil.
coming back up! (notice lynn in the background, documenting from her side :) )

keely and her mom. so sweet!
keely and emelie--emelie has been mentoring her and a few other girls for several months now. 'and we tried out a new groomer today. pepper was in and out in less than an hour, and they were a good 30% cheaper than what i typically pay. plus, they include this super-cute seasonal bandana instead of trying to put a tiny little bow in her hair that stays in for two seconds after i pick her up.
my little irish puppy! which reminds me, i need to get out my st. paddy's day shirts. have to play up the red hair and all :) i was tempted to go to the st. patrick's day festival at emerald isle this weekend (before i ended up traveling 3 weekends in a row and the weather turned cold!)

anyone else have plans for st. patrick's day?