Thursday, November 15, 2012

It's November

HOW? How is it November? It's cold out there, and I am as usual way behind. My husband keeps checking his email for updates from my blaaahhhg. Sorry dear, they aren't there, I am swamped. I don't even know HOW to catch up. So let's start here and move forward with a few back story pictures maybe to fill in where we have been, where I have here goes. Moving forward.

It's November and of course a month of thanks. I have such a full heart right now it's hard to put into words how grateful I am for my little life, for my sweet family, wonderful husband, incredible friends and my faith. We had a hurricane out here recently, Sandy? She did a lot of damage to dear people up in New Jersey and New York. The photos and reports were truly epic, and yet here we just got lots of rain and a couple of days home from school. I feel so blessed that we were protected during that crazy storm. The eye of the storm passed over Baltimore, just miles from us. Crazy I tell you, crazy. We have a safe dry, happy home filled with love. I am thankful.

Ellie is doing so well again this year. She loves her 2nd grade class, and is dancing three nights a week and an occasional acro class on Saturday mornings. She just can't get enough dance. This weekend I am taking her to the the ballet with some of our bestest friends. We will be watching Romeo and Juliet by the San Francisco Ballet. I can't wait. I am seriously giddy. She is turning eight in a week. I can't believe it! I asked her what she wanted this year, if she wanted a party or to go to the ballet and she picked the ballet. She is growing up. I am amazed at her sweetness and depth. I love her to pieces. I'm planning a fun photo shoot for her, eight is great and must be captured accordingly!

Sophia. She is my tenacious unconquerable kindergartner. She really loves school and is learning so much. My second child has never really enjoyed lesson time with me, and I was a bit worried about her starting school without a lot of reading skills, but she has grown so much in the past few months, and is doing so well. I'm quite pleased. She is dancing and competing on the little Petite Team this year and just got her first costume, it's so pretty! And it's blue. Sophia is thrilled about that. My girl is coming into herself well. I do adore her little self.

Gradon. Oh my what a boy he is. I love being his mom. He is such a mamma's boy. He loves loves loves trains and cars. He loves to throw clean laundry and dirty laundry all over my bedroom floor and use laundry baskets as cars. It's wonderful. He loves to play outside and read books. He insists on giving hugs and kisses to anyone who comes and goes to and from our home, he's very sweet and affectionate. Lately he has been joining me in the early morning trek to the bus stop to drop off the girls for school. He is fascinated with the number of cars that pass by on our street, and thinks the bus is pretty awesome.

As for Chris, our fearless doctor-to-be, he's trudging through the last months of school. We find out in less than a month where we will be headed for residency. It's hard to believe we are at that point, I feel like it was just yesterday I was talking to my sister in law (who's husband just graduated and moved to San Diego) about how long medical school felt to me....and now it's almost over. I am not sure where we will be, but chances are it won't be here, which has brought me a lot of sadness. Who would have thought I'd love it this much? That I'd call Maryland home. It's hard to think about leaving, so honestly I push it far away from my everyday thoughts. We have a good life here, but I have to believe that we will go where we need to be...

Me? I'm busy being a wife, mother, teacher, primary president, and photographer. It's a busy life. I feel like I need to slow down, and am working on getting rid of stuff that causes me stress. =) I feel very blessed to be where I am, to be learning and trying to be better, and aware of the blessings around me. The holidays are here, I hope to enjoy them fully with my family and friends. Here are a few pictures of the kids taken on a lovely afternoon in October:

Friday, July 6, 2012

Hello Blog

So my blog has officially turned into a blahggg. Boring-- lifeless -pathetic. I embrace this and assure my three loyal  readers that we have been super busy. Really busy. I have things to write about and pictures to post and yet there are piles around me that demand my attention. Here is a small snippet of our summer so far. 

Summer is here and I don't feel that deep *sigh* I have been yearning for...maybe because we are doing this: 

Swim Team. 6 days a week.

Last year our neighbors begged us to join. I was skeptical and didn't want my mornings and summer occupied and scheduled. I was wise to postpone swim team. It has totally taken over my life! I have to say that Sophia's swimming has improved so much! She loves going to practice every morning and loves her team. Saturday mornings we are up early to make it to meets at 7am. My baby doesn't get up until 8, so this is a challenge for us all, especially me! But it's been super for us, and great for Sophia.

Back in May we took a fun trip to Baltimore for Chris' birthday. We had a fabulous dinner at Roy's Hawaiian. On his birthday I put together an incredibly fun luau surprise birthday for him, and then I took no pictures of the party. I think I took one photo with my phone, or maybe two. It was one of the craziest things I have done in a long time, and it was so fun. He was so surprised. The food was amazing, roasted kahlua pig, fresh fruit, huli huli chicken, rice, coconut cake, a mango and pineapple mocktail, and fun decor including grass skirts and leis. Chris' brother's family was in on the surprise great night, totally worth the energy.

We also enjoyed a trip to Baltimore as a family for the Star Spangled "Sailabration", the 200 year anniversary of the war of 1812, and the composition of the Star Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key. It was one of the best times I have had in Baltimore, exploring tall ships, walking along the waterfront, enjoying glimpses of the Blue Angels screaming across the sky. I miss the sound of jets. =) I love that we live in an area where there is so much rich history. I didn't realize how much Baltimore was a part of the events of the Revolution. Fort McHenry is right here! It was where Francis Scott Key wrote our nation's anthem. I feel so grateful to be able to visit these incredible sites that are a part of our nation's past. 

Chris is busy learning about Orthopedic surgery. Right now he is in Viriginia, enjoying the work at Portsmouth. The Ortho team is small and this has become very appealing to Chris, and the people there are very good to work for, I keep telling him to like Bethesda more. =) Next month he will be in San Diego which is where I think he really wants to be, his brother Grant is in the program there and is very happy. 
Last week for the 4th of July we joined him in Virginia and enjoyed a brief trip to Virigina Beach. It was a great time, my favorite part being the fireworks display at night on the 4th. My kids loved the beach. I love the 4th, one of my favorite holidays for sure!!

I've been doing more with my photography business, enjoying a few sessions here and there, and I may even have the chance to do a wedding or two in September! Totally fun. I have lots of ideas and thoughts about that, but I'll save those for a later post. 

I had the honor of photographing my friend Susan and her business partner Adrianna for their blog.  

S& A are amazing craft-y women whose blog inspires crafters everywhere to use their precious quiet hours of the day working on fun projects like these:

It was a super fun session, and I loved hanging out with them. Adrianna lives in Thailand (!) she was here briefly for a special visit. Being able to be a part of their precious fun time was a treat for me.


Check them out, they are crazy talented-

That's all for now friends, more summer-y blog posts to come. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Is for mothers. Happy Mother's Day to my dear mother, who raised me with high expectations and strong values. Who sought the very best education for me, and persevered to help all of her children achieve their potential. I admire my mother for her strength of character and her knowledge of right. My mother is the queen of art and culture, she taught me to revere beautiful things and to seek after them. She is a cultivator and nurturer. My mother is unwavering, kind, loving, talented, silly, funny and wonderful. There is no one like her in the world. I'm so glad she's mine. Happy Mother's Day Mom, you are simply fabulous. I love you!

Friday, May 4, 2012

May Musings

It's May and we've been a busy crowd here. I have been so busy lately my head is swimming. We have 24 something days left of school left. What????! I don't understand that. Ellie has her last dance competition for the season this weekend in Chesapeake Beach. Sophia's last month of preschool is counting down. The girls have their dance recital the second weekend of June. Chris is in the thick of surgery rotations. I think we have both discovered the inevitable, he is going to be a surgeon. He really is. I think this is very wonderful and exciting and terrifying! My expectations for medical school have been fulfilled in a way, its been a whirlwind of intensity for us, I knew it would be hard, but I didn't know how fast it would fly by, I didn't realize just how quickly we would need to start thinking about the next step. Can I just say I am so PROUD of my husband. I know we aren't supposed to say that we are proud, but I am. I don't know if you know our story and why we are doing this so late in life, but if you knew our story you would be proud of him too. We have a little while before we know for sure what we will be doing in the medical world, but I am pretty positive this is the path we will be taking. 

I have an exciting announcement. I created my photography webpage this week. It's pretty. It's simple. I am really excited about it. Its a little pebble that I have thrown into the huge ocean of photographers in the world, but I am pleased with it and pleased with where I am headed. I must say that learning the 'business' side of this is enough to discourage anyone...especially someone like me who just wants to take pretty pictures for people. I've got to be smart and practical as well. If you have a minute check it out.  

Here a couple of pictures we took at Brookside Gardens when my parents were here. I love that place. I think every time I discover something else that is a treasure.

My Dad had a birthday yesterday. I love my dad. He is the greatest. Happy Birthday Dad! We sent him a little treat to his work. I know he loves his birthday.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Baby Girl Session

Several weeks ago I photographed this precious little newborn. This baby was a dream. Such a dream. I had a great time. She was so tiny and new and sleepy. She snuggled right up in any blanket we put her in and did her job well. Thanks Tara and Dan for letting me photograph this little sweet girl.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Outer Banks

 For a long time I have seen pictures and heard about this amazing magical place called the Outer Banks. Once we moved here to Maryland I knew that we had to try to get there for a trip before we moved away. Last year I started scheming on how I was going to get there, and finally a situation presented itself, my parents were coming for a spring visit and I talked them into joining us for the trip. With Chris' schedule being so crazy and him really unable to take time off to travel with us, it was a great idea. The six hour drive back and forth would have been painful without them, and it was great to have them along to share the experience.

We headed down for spring break, and we were only there for three days. Looking back on it now, one more day would have been really nice, driving back so soon was kind of torture. My kids cried when they got in the van, 'can't we just stay one more day'? I wish we could. Our full beach day there, day two was heaven. The weather could not have been better, light breeze, warm, sunny in the afternoon, perfect. My girls and little boy had a blast. Ellie is my shell seeker. She spends her time searching for beautiful treasures. Sophia is my socialite, making new friends and planning adventures. Gradon, was my little satellite, roaming just so far away so that he could see me, and then run back for a hug. Grandpa snoozed and read the paper. Grandma popped in for a visit later in the afternoon. *sigh* I sat and watched and walked the beach a little. It was amazing. 

We arrived early evening on Tuesday. We went right to the beach. The next morning we had a lovely breakfast and headed out again!

In the later part of the afternoon my kids headed to the indoor pool with the grandparents and I took the baby up for a nap. Our first evening we ate at this fantastic local eatery: The Kill Devil Grill where we ate the best crab cakes of our lives. Really. The best. We all agreed. We liked it so much we went back for lunch before we left. Everything was tasty on their menu, and their service was great. If you are ever in Outer Banks, you must try it! 

                                           Ellie leaping in the afternoon sun.

          The morning we left the hotel was sooo cold and stormy. The kids begged to go down to the beach one last time. 

On our way out of town, we stopped at the Wright Brother's National Park. Now, you know our family, we are an aviation family, so we had to stop for a visit. I didn't realize just how much the story of Orville and Wilbur would impact me. These men were in love with the dream of flying. They were determined and committed to their dream. The Wright Brothers were originally from Ohio, and traveled to the Outer Banks because of the weather and empty beaches.One of the stories that I liked the most about the Wright Brothers was their commitment to their family and religious values. The day before their successful flight was a picture perfect day for flying, the weather conditions were perfect! But it was a Sunday. They promised their father they would never fly on a Sunday. So they didn't fly. The next day Monday December 17, 1903 was not a beautiful day. It was windy and colder, but still a day to attempt their flight. They were successful that day, and that made an impression on me.

We had a wonderful trip! There is something ridiculously calming about the ocean and the beach. I hope we can get back to the beaches of North Carolina again. I don't know that we will, but my kids had an amazing time. It was wonderful to share these moments with my parents.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Getting so big

I am finally getting caught up with some of the posts on my blog, and I must mention my little boy who is now 20 months old. I can't believe this summer I will have a two year old. Actually already he is turning into a fabulous two year old. His favorite word is 'NO'. He is very emphatic about voicing his opinion about everything. He is still particular about who he prefers, (me mostly) but he loves his daddy and sisters too. Still in a constant state of motion, he runs everywhere he goes. I have tried my best to get some decent pictures of him but mostly what I see is this:

He has discovered throwing and hitting and pushing and jumping, and besides his shoe and hat fetish, he is pretty much all boy. He loves to play outside and I can tell this spring and summer we will be enjoying a lot of time out there together. I love this little man. I love that he climbs on my lap with a book and turns on my radio to rock it out. He is such a funny little man.

Cherry Blossoms in DC

We've had an usually warm and early spring. I am sure you are having the same experience this year. I kind of wanted a little more winter, even a snow storm, but I am happy that spring is here, and the blossoms are amazing. I have had more daffodils then ever this year in my yard every day new ones bloomed. I loved driving around everyday looking for new trees that had opened. It seemed like this year it was a bit of an explosion, one two, then everything was blooming.
At the end of March a few of my favorite friends and I drove down to DC to the Tidal Basin to enjoy the early cherry blossoms. It was a very cool overcast morning. We struggled to find parking but finally found a great spot. We walked around for a while and then enjoyed a picnic on the grass. All of our kids had fun. Sophia did NOT want me to take her picture at all, but luckily I convinced her to take a few. It was a lovely day. I love this time of year.

Half Marathon Take 2

March 17th was my most recent race, the USA Rock N Roll Half Marathon. I was really excited about this race when I signed up for it, and then winter happened and my training got all messed up. I had been so sick this winter. I was constantly fighting illnesses. Luckily, I had just ran a 1/2 back in November, so I wasn't starting from scratch, I just wasn't able to work on my speed as much as I would have liked, and I was, at the end, behind on my long runs. I would have liked to have one more week under my belt, but that's the way it goes.
I was so excited the night before the race I couldn't sleep. I was exhausted, but my mind was going crazy. I was talking to my friend who ran the full marathon that day and he said that is typical for runners. Race day was a beautiful day, clear sunny, and a bit cold. 36,000 runners turned out that day for the race. I was doing pretty well on my over all time, in fact, until mile 11 I was set to beat my current race time, but I hit a wall and I lost a lot of time over the next two miles. I think this was due to my lack of training this time. I finished strong, but I finished slightly behind my 2:30 time. I wasn't disappointed, I was happy I finished and realized more than ever that no matter what, I can accomplish something I put my mind to, even with being so sick all winter. My friend Jodie also ran the half, she was a friend of mine from Naples. It was fun to meet up with her after the race and re connect. Chris and the kids were there to support me and cheer me on. It's a pretty amazing feeling to greet your family after a long race. My girls are pretty awesome and think it's amazing that I run so far in these races.

I think after my two experiences I like the smaller races better, they aren't so crowded. I am thinking more about a full marathon soon. I never said I would do it, but I am feeling like I should...I think. =) I am taking a break right now from training and enjoying spring with the family. I am not worried about my workouts and the next race. I think that will change soon, but right now I am enjoying some down time and no stress about thinking about training. Tomorrow we are heading to North Carolina and the Outer Banks. I am so excited!! I have been wanting to take a trip here for a while now. My folks are going with the kids and I, should be a great trip.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March Birthday Girls

Do you know March is almost halfway over? I know because my little Sophia turned five yesterday. FIVE! What is going on??! She is totally five, and so amazing. I can't believe how grown up and funny she is, and so sweet and sensitive and so intuitive and aware. We have lots of fun together. I must tell you about the surprise birthday party that my oh so amazing friend and I threw for our girls. Thursday afternoon my oh so amazing friend calls me up on the phone and asks me, 'what are your plans for Sophia's birthday?' I basically told her we had nothing planned, no party, just cake and ice cream with family on Monday. We began talking and finally concocted the most brilliant plan, a joint birthday party to be held in 36 hours. And so it began, crazy planning for a 4 year old and 5 year old to be's birthday. It was so fun. We came up with a fun and sweet rainbow theme. The girl's loved it, and also, it was a surprise for the girls. Sophia was so surprised. Do you see her coming up the hill with her polka dot coat?

So surprised!

                   Hunting for magical rainbow gems.

                                 Cupcake time! Do you see our little friend next to Sophia? She was the other birthday girl. We love her. =)

We make these crazy cute rainbow cupcakes, painted rainbow manicures for the girls, had a gem treasure hunt, awesome goody bags, and other good things. I was pleased with our efforts for putting it together in 36 hours. She came home after the party and hopped on her scooter and brought the balloons along on top of her handle bars. Crazy funny.

Monday  her birthday day, we had a busy day. I was the co op parent at preschool, and we had a fun time learning about dinosaur fossils. We took a special treat to her school, ice cream sandwiches- which Sophia loved sharing with everyone, all the parents, anyone we saw after school... I think we fed 30 people ice cream sandwiches. I love her giving heart. Monday night she requested lasagna for dinner, and I made this crazy blue swirly cake a spin on an idea found on Pinterest. It reminded Chris and I of Van Gogh's Starry Night, and so it was named. It was pretty, the swirls almost looked like glass. I hated to cut it! =)

Great weekend of birthday celebrations. Here are some of birthday pictures I took of Sophia. As usual she wouldn't let me take very many, she was in a big hurry to play outside. What a silly girl. "Love that pirate smile."

Next up, my half marathon on the 17th, and Chris starts his surgery rotation at the end of the month. Ellie has another dance competition coming up and my parents are coming out for a visit. We have some excellent plans in the works. We are going to visit DC and Baltimore and something I have been dying for: we are going take a beach trip to the Outer Banks in NC for Spring Break. I can't wait. Lots of great stuff coming around the corner...