Category Archives: Photography

Ten On Ten!

(If you click on the image, it’ll take you to one of my favorite blogs!)

So I haven’t done this since June!! I always plan on doing it and then completely forget about it! Today was different though. Yeah…I still forgot, but I happened to open Google Reader while the babies were napping and was reminded of it! Yippee!

Here is my first (and last) Ten On Ten post: Ten On Ten – June. Basically, on the 10th of each month, you take one photo an hour for ten hours. It’s such a fun way to document your day! I didn’t have my SLR camera with me today, so I just took pictures with my iPhone and made them look pretty with my Instagram app. You can read about that here: My Favorite iPhone App (it’s free!)

And here’s my day:

 Surfing the net while babies sleep

Babies still sleeping – starting to get bored!!

They’re awake! Yippee!!

Walking around with mommy

Theresa & Aylen come for a visit!

Dog vs. Scarecrow (RIP)

Resting after the scarecrow smack down

Going on a walk.

Me & P

Naptime again!

I took that last one about 30 minutes before I was supposed to, but I couldn’t chance waiting. I only have time to blog while the babies sleep ūüôā I hope you guys enjoyed this post – go check out A Bit of Sunshine, if you haven’t already!

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My Favorite iPhone App (it’s free!)

I’ve been using the iPhone for a little over two years now and I’ve found a lot of good apps along the way. A while back, I downloaded a photo app called Instagram because one of my friends posted an Instagram photo to Facebook that I really liked. Unfortunately, I totally forgot about it once it was downloaded and I didn’t use it for a pretty long while. I rediscovered it about month or so ago, and I’ve been playing around with it more and more since then. Let me just tell you, folks…it is awesome! Not only is it awesome, but it is also FREE!

I just wanted to share some before and after photos I’ve done with it and to tell you to download it if you haven’t already ūüôā It’s super fun!

Before

After

Before

After

Before

After

Before

After

Before

After

Before

After

Before

After (I LOVE THIS PICTURE!!)

Bedhead Before

Bedhead After

Before

After

Before

After

So…there you have it! It’s just a nice, simple way to turn an “alright” photo into an awesome one! I kind’ve love it…a lot.

It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to…

Cry tears of joy, that is. Good Lord, this is late! If you’re friends with me on Facebook, then you’ll know that we had Harper’s 1st birthday party on October 23rd. It…was….AWESOME! We had it at Chiles Peach Orchard in Crozet, Virginia and were impressed with how it turned out. I was so impressed that I even mentioned having it there again next year to Benji.

We had a turnout of about 35 people and it seemed that everyone¬†genuinely¬†enjoyed themselves while there. The party started with everyone going out into the orchard and picking apples. Afterwards, Harper (aka mommy & daddy) opened his presents and then everyone had cake. I enlisted the help of Harper’s aunt Marcy and uncle Nathan with cupcakes and the birthday cake. Nathan made the cupcakes because he rocks at them and Marcy made Harper’s cake. Here’s a picture of it:

Beautiful!

The birthday party package at Chiles was $150 and included:

√ė¬†¬†Party host to get things started

√ė¬†¬†Reserved picnic table(s)

√ė¬†¬†Container for each child to Pick Your Own fruit (in season)

√ė¬†¬†Cup of frozen yogurt or ice cream for each child

√ė¬†¬†Birthday Donuts and candles

√ė¬†¬†Party-themed tablecloths, napkins, plates, utensils

√ė¬†¬†Goodie Bags as take-home gifts

√ė¬†¬†Special gift for birthday child

In my opinion, it was a steal. There are some amazingly talented mamas out there who would die to plan their child’s party, bake the cake and¬†hand-make¬†all the decorations. I am not one of those moms (I won’t lie though…I sometimes wish I was one of them). I dreaded just the thought of having to plan a birthday party….especially a first birthday party! I wanted the party to be good for everyone, not just Harper, and I really didn’t think I had it in me to do all that was required for that. That’s why Chiles ended up being the perfect thing for me. It took all the worry and stress off of my shoulders. They pretty much did everything short of sending out invitations. My friends…that was TOTALLY worth $150 ūüôā

If you’re living in or around the Valley, I highly recommend the orchard for birthday parties. Heck…I highly recommend that place for just a simple visit. It’s such a fantastic peace of earth!

My friends…

…are amazing. Seriously.

Two things you need to know about me: I love mail. And I love birds Рspecifically cardinals.

Yesterday I got home and a package was waiting for me. When I opened it, I saw beautiful things. Ah! My favorite! My lovely friend Anna found this watercolor on Etsy and bought it for me:

And she didn’t stop there either! You see, Anna is pretty talented herself. She makes all sorts of pretty things. She decided to make some stationary to go with the watercolor:

Amazing, right?! Yeah…I thought so too.
If you like it, you should check out her website: http://www.annamichellecards.com/

Getting gifts in the mail is not an every day thing for me, so imagine my surprise when I received yet another homemade (aka VERY SPECIAL) gift from a friend today! My friend April made me a little birdy nest necklace and sent it my way:

Gorgeous.

These gifts are so very special to me! I am so thankful to know that my friends from back home still think of me even though we’re¬†separated¬†by some major mileage. What a blessing!

I couldn’t have asked for better timing on these little reminders of friendship. I’ve been super homesick lately. And bummed because my cat has been missing for a week. And stressed because we are moving…again.

These gifts just reminded me of what really matters in this life: my relationships. With people and with Jesus. Remembering that makes life a little less stressful ūüôā

Thanks, friends!

One Year.

We made it through the first year! Wow. I consider this a huge accomplishment. We survived. Harper survived. We made it! In spite of the doubt and straight up not knowing what the hell-o we were doing at times, here we are, one year later, with an amazing kid on our hands. Incredible. Thank you, Jesus!

As expected, I’m feeling many different things today. I’m joyful because I have a beautiful, happy and healthy ONE YEAR OLD baby little boy. Then there’s a part of me that’s sad because he isn’t an itty bitty baby anymore. He hasn’t been a newborn for a while, but today it’s really hitting me that all that stuff is over…gone! Blows my mind! And at the same time, another part of me is¬†SO dang¬†happy that he ISN’T a newborn anymore!

I know. It sounds stupid. I miss it and I don’t miss it all at once. I miss him being tiny and¬†cuddly. I miss the noises he used to make (click here if you want to here some of the cute noises). I miss the pouty lip he used to give me if I didn’t give him his bottle quick enough. I miss actually having to hold his bottle for him. I miss him sleeping on my chest.

I don’t miss the depression. the¬†loneliness. Or the anxiety. I don’t miss being so anxious about him waking up that I couldn’t sleep. I don’t miss being so anxious about the¬†possibility¬†of him never waking up again that I couldn’t sleep. I don’t miss his 20-30 minute naps (the longer ones are so much better). I don’t miss the jerky movements that would wake him up ALL the time even though he was swaddled.

I could go on and on about the things I miss and don’t miss from that time. I think the hardest part about having a newborn for me, was just not feeling like myself, not knowing what I was doing and not having support because we were in a new place.

As most of you know, we moved four hours away from friends and family a week after we had Harp. I was recovering from a c-section and Benji was at a new job so he couldn’t take off to help me. I just had to tough it out through the pain and the emotions. To put it simply: it sucked ūüôā

I never really shared what I was going through on my blog or on Facebook. In fact, if you were reading my blog at the time, you probably thought I was super happy. I certainly wanted to appear that way. I wanted to feel that way too…but I didn’t.

I had a few close friends that knew what I was going through, but other than that, I didn’t really talk about it. I wanted to seek help for PPD, but I didn’t have a doctor in Memphis. With a newborn on my hands, making a trip to the doctor for myself just seemed like one more thing that would make life harder. Looking back, I wish I would have sought treatment. Maybe then I would have enjoyed the first couple of months of Harper’s life.

Regardless…we survived. By January, I felt like myself again and I truly began to enjoy being a mom (I credit lots and lots of prayer for this). I didn’t feel like a zombie anymore and I was beginning to get the hang of things. I didn’t cry all the time and I began to feel happy about the¬†sacrifices I was making for Harp. I guess it just took three months to get over the shock of someone else depending on me 100% for their own survival.

Before Harp got here, I really thought I knew what this mom thing would be like. I spent the entire time I was pregnant reading and researching, but I still wasn’t prepared for it. I really don’t think you can be until you’re here. It’s amazing. There are times when it’s easy breezy and then there are times when it is incredibly hard. There are so many things that I love about it. And a few things I don’t really care for, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

With all that being said, here is a little video I put together for Harp’s birthday. You knew I would.¬†It’s just some of my favorite pictures from the past year.What an amazing year it has been!

Happy birthday, Harper! Your daddy and I are so blessed to call you our own.

The Great Grans.

My grandparents came up for a visit yesterday. It’s a short trip – they’ll be leaving tomorrow – but we made great use of our time together today.

We started the day off by visiting The Cheese Shop. It’s an amazing little shop that’s about two miles from my house. They have all sorts of things that you can’t find in a grocery store. We were there for a good 30 minutes before a tour bus decided to unload into the store. We quickly left once that happened.

Afterwards, we made a trip to the Shenandoah National Park. We just took the Grans to a couple of overlooks so they could really see into the valley. It was beautiful. And we made lots of pictures.

Like this one of me and Harp:

and this one of Harp & dada:

The little booger wouldn’t smile while we were at the SNP. He took a quick nap in the car and was much improved by the time we reached our next destination: Stonewall Jackson’s home. We had originally planned on going to Monticello (Thomas Jefferson’s home), but tickets were $22 per person. Benji and I had been before, so we decided to go somewhere that was a little cheaper and that none of us had seen before. Stonewall’s house was the same distance from our home as Monticello, so we decided to go there.

Harper decided to be my loud little baby bird while we were at Stonewall’s house. About halfway through the house tour, I decided to take him outside because he was being SO loud. I thought it was cute, but I’m sure the other peeps who paid $8 to take the guided tour didn’t share in my parental joy.

We had a good time outside while waiting on The Great Grans to finish the tour. There is a lovely little garden at Stonewall’s house so we spent most of our time there. It was lovely and I got a few more pictures of Harper while there:

Beautiful baby blues.

This one breaks my heart. When did he get so big?

After visiting Stonewall’s, we went to a little Farmer’s Market that’s right by my house. This FM is awesome because it’s open EVERY day and it’s all local stuff. I love it!

Now we’re at home watching Bama kick some Ole’ Miss booty!

Today has been great. I’ll be sad to see The Great Grans go tomorrow, but I’m so glad they got to come up for some quality time with Harper. He loves his Great Grans.

 

 

 

 

It’s Autumn, Yo!

Yeah. Amazing, right?! I know.

We came up to Virginia in October 2009 and I’ll always remember how breathtaking it was. That was the first time I had ever seen autumn outside of Alabama. We were only up for a week, but it was the peak week and oh…my…gosh! Words could never describe the beauties I saw that week. I constantly find myself revisiting the memories I have from that trip. Seriously. I can still feel the wind on my face at the top of Humpback Rock. Or close my eyes and see the blinding yellow of the fallen leaves in the middle of the woods. And the hidden staircase off the trail. Or the swarms of ladybugs at the top of Crabtree Falls. It was magical.

Since moving here in June, October has been on my mind A LOT. I’ve been so anxious for it to arrive! You’d think it’s because of Harp’s birthday, but no…it’s because I’ve been dying to see the leaves change. I was half afraid the change wouldn’t be as great as I remembered, but when it started last week, it didn’t disappoint. And it’s only gotten better with each passing day.

The trees all change at their own pace. Some change really slowly, and then others will change in a day. There is one tree by our house that really surprised me. When I left for work one morning, it was green. By the time I came home, the top portion of it was a deep red, like red velvet cake, while the bottom was still green. It looked like someone had dipped it in paint and was ready to put it to canvas. It was so pretty and intense!

And then you have the mountains. As if they couldn’t get any better! Normally a dark green, almost black, color in the sunlight, they are now speckled with reds, oranges, browns and yellows. It’s just….beautiful. Sigh. Fall in Alabama is pretty, but it just doesn’t compare to this.

I can’t wait until Harper is old enough to appreciate this season. I can already see the three of us jumping in giant piles of leaves together. Maybe by then he won’t be¬†obsessed¬†with eating leaves anymore ūüôā

Watching Harper’s Face Change

Some of you may remember my Baby Project 365 post from a while back. In a nutshell, I’ve been taking a photo of Harper’s face every day since January 26th (his 3rd month-iversary of life). My plan was to continue taking a photo a day until his first birthday.

I was actually pretty awesome at remembering the photo every day. Sometimes I would remember in the middle of a Harper “right before naptime/bedtime” meltdown, so I’d snap it during the fit. Other times, I’d remember it while trying to clean food particles off his face. In the end, there ended up being a nice variety of Harper faces for the project.

Towards the end, Harper caught on to the fact that he could avoid my flash by not looking directly at my camera. The daily photo began to be a major challenge because he obviously didn’t enjoy it, and well…I could never get a picture of him actually looking at the camera. If I did manage to get him looking at the camera, he looked drunk.

I really thought I’d make it all the way to his birthday, but then he got sick in the middle of September. It made an already unenjoyable photo session even more difficult…so I just decided to stop.

I thought I’d feel bad if I didn’t make it all the way to his birthday, but I don’t. While I do love being able to see the change his face made from January through mid-September, I’m kind of glad I don’t have to worry about that daily photo anymore.

Anyways, here’s the finished product:

(WARNING. I’m writing about snot down below)

In other news, Harper is still sick. He has traded his wheezing in for snot rivers – seriously, people! SNOT RIVERS – but he seems to be feeling better at least. Today was the first time since Thursday that he was actually happy! I sure was glad to hear his laughter again.

Back to the snot. I have officially passed the “handling of something really gross” mom test. Before having a baby, there were several things that grossed me out that I thought maybe I could conquer if I loved the little human enough (pee, poop, spit up, etc.). Snot was always one thing I thought I’d NEVER be able to handle. I mean…it’s snot. Green. Gooey. Gross.

Since Saturday, Harper has had some major snot issues. (I feel like I shouldn’t be writing about this, but hey…I warned you up above, so if you’re still reading and get grossed out…it’s on you). He has pretty much had a constant stream running down his face. Anytime he sneezes, he blows snot rockets out of his nose. And sometimes, when he is just breathing, he blows snot bubbles. You get the picture. Gross.

As nasty as it sounds, I haven’t gotten sick over it once. In fact, today, while at the grocery store picking up some medicine, I did something really gross and really motherly. We were heading back to the car and I noticed the river (which I previously thought had dried up) was running down Harper’s face again. I didn’t have anything on hand to get it with, so without hesitation I grabbed it with my sleeve. I mean…how many cool/gross points do I get for that?!

I know this is lame, but when I got in the car and thought about what I had just done, I was amazed and kind of touched. Having Harp has completely changed me in the best ways. I just love him! I REALLY underestimated how strong that love and the desire to protect him would be. It conquers snot, y’all. SNOT.

It’s sort of unbelievable.

Growing Boy.

Last night I sat down to blog about my soon-to-be ten month old, but got distracted and ended up not doing it…opps. I had a smallish freak out moment this past Friday because I realized in one week, Harp will be ten months old. That leaves two months to plan his birthday party. When Friday rolled around, I hadn’t really done anything besides pinning birthday ideas on Pinterest. I had a lot of ideas for invitations, cakes/cupcakes, party favors, etc. but I had one major problem – I didn’t actually know where I was going to have the party. Our house is a great size for us, but it wouldn’t be suitable for his birthday party. Not having a location was the main reason I hadn’t done any “real” planning, but on Friday, I decided I¬†needed¬†to do¬†something beyond Pinterest!

Pretty much out of nowhere, the idea to have Harp’s party at a local pumpkin patch came to me. His birthday is in late October and a lot of the kids attending will be older children, so having it at at a pumpkin patch would be perfect! I wasn’t sure if pumpkin patch farms do birthdays, but I researched it and luck would have it that the one closest to our house does – thank you, Jesus! Through just a couple of e-mails, I managed to get a date booked – Yippee! It’s a really great price and they pretty much do everything for you. The package includes a party hostess, themed decorations, plates, cups, napkins, etc. They also provide cupcakes/donuts and each child attending gets to pick a pumpkin from the patch to take home – it was just too good of a deal to turn down. This leaves me with sending out invites (I’ll probably make them myself) and getting/making his personal birthday cake. So it’s going to be easy breezy and I am¬†WAY¬†excited!

Here are some things Harp has going on for him nowadays:

* He has four new teeth coming in on the top row. Two (his k-9s) are already through the gums and the other two are just beneath them, but visible. He also has one coming through on the bottom row. They all started coming in at the same time, but he has managed fairly well…thank goodness! I didn’t want a repeat of Mother’s Day weekend ūüôā

* He appears to have a favorite color. Any time we give him a choice, he always picks green. It’s really cute.

* He has super curly hair. He’ll probably need a haircut soon, but I’m going to let it grow out because I think little boys with long hair are adorable.

* He is very¬†verbal. He isn’t saying words just yet (beyond da da), but when he is mad or upset, he’ll make a series of noises and it sounds just like he is yelling at you. It’s hilarious!

* The kid hates having his diaper changed. Oh…my…gosh. Throws a fit every time.

* He’s starting to pull on us to stand up. This is really neat because he hasn’t started crawling yet. I’m beginning to think he may skip that stage (Benji did).

*If you take anything away from him, he gets very upset…and he lets you know about it.

*He loves to swing with mommy and daddy

*The last one is actually a little annoying…especially when we are out to eat. If he sees anyone eating, he wants to eat…even if he has just eaten and is full. I made a video of him doing this tonight. He had already eaten and Benji and I sat down to eat and well…he didn’t like it:

So…there you have it! I can’t believe he is about to be TEN months old! Time is flying!!

Nite y’all.

The Photo Bomber

Harper’s “photo bombing” is never intentional. I’m not sure he can really be considered a photo bomber since he doesn’t actually plan it out, but I like calling him that anyways. This is just one of several pictures he has bombed. Most peeps probably wouldn’t want to frame this, but I do! It’s real…that’s why I love it. Don’t get me wrong, a smiley one would’ve been just as real, but there’s just something about this photo that speaks to me. I think it captures parenthood perfectly – ya know…going with the flow when things aren’t going as planned because well…they NEVER do go as planned when you have a little one (at least that’s been the case for us so far lol). Anyways…I’ll cherish this photo forever, and I imagine Harp will have a good laugh at it one day too.

If any of you are wondering why¬†he is crying, here’s the scoop. I put him down for his 9AM nap and he played instead of sleeping. These photos were scheduled for 11AM, so by the time they rolled around, he was WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY grumpy! That’s life ūüôā

Here are two of my other favs from our photo session with Kathryn Adams (Our Tiny Big Life):

^^^He reminds me of a dove in this photo. I just love it. So sweet, gentle and innocent.

^^^ I love his hair in this one (it’s just like his daddy’s)…and the fact that he is sucking his thumb.

 Kathryn, thanks so much for capturing my life and my loves! You did an awesome job!