Tuesday, June 2, 2015

My Beautiful Girl ~ A Photo Shoot ~

Every year I like to do a photo shoot with my kids for their birthday.  Some years I forget or life gets in the way, and some years (like this one) I do it a few months late.  I'm so glad I was able to get away for a couple hours with my girl and get some shots of her in this eleventh year of her life.  I'm so proud of who she is becoming and I love watching her grow up.

She is spunky as ever and and a lover of life.  
She feels things deeply even when sometimes I'd rather she brush things off.  
She reminds me to stop what I'm doing and really listen to her.  
She forgives me when I fail at being the best mama I can be which happens more often than not.  
She loves to learn new things with this year's newest activity being fishing with her Dad.  
She loves animals, but especially dogs.  
She's an entrepreneur with her own dog walking business and I couldn't be prouder. 
She's silly and theatric (but only in front of those she knows well).  
She still plays with her little brother even though he has to beg a little harder these days to get her away from a good book, or her new Pinterest obsession.  
She still loves to climb things, run fast, ride her bike, and swim like a mermaid.  
She takes such good care of me when I'm not feeling well.  
She loves the beach and rolling in the sand and wearing her goggles to inspect whatever underwater world she can find.
She loves her bff and she texts her as much as I'll let her because I'm the meanest mom ever since I won't let her get her own phone yet.  
She likes to do her hair and play with makeup. 
She loves to draw and she's more talented than ever.  
She loves Jesus and I love to hear her singing along in the car to worship songs praising Him.  

Life just moves too fast sometimes, doesn't it?  I wish I could stick a book on her head to stop her from getting taller.  And wrap her up in a bubble so the hurts of this life won't wound her.  On one hand my instinct is to protect her as much as possible and on the other I want to give her a gentle push at every turn.  It's an exciting time in her life gaining so much more independence and responsibility.  It's a lot to expect for her to be a little girl and a big girl all at the same time.  I hope I make good choices when parenting her.  At least I know whatever mistakes I make she will forgive and love me anyway.  She's my girl and I love her more than I can ever express.  These photos just make my mama heart happy.  I hope you enjoy them!  I have so many favorites I had a hard time choosing so I'm just gonna share all of them!

I have always thought that she looks like a young Jennifer Aniston, but whenever I tell people that they don't see it.  Whatever, I still think so!

I had no specific locations in mind other than just wanting some shots on the beach at sunset.  So we just found a place to park and walked around to see what we could find.  I love all the spots we found!

I love the ones by the rocks.  I should've taken more there but I'm not gonna lie, it was like 90 degrees out and I was melting and there was a huge rope around it with signs everywhere saying keep off the rocks so we just got a couple.

We headed over to the little dock area instead.  It was deserted and in the shade, so yay for that!  My girl can still rock the serious face!

I do not understand the whole peace sign thing kids do in their photos these days!  Oh well, she's still cute!

She makes crazy faces all the time.  These are her signature ones.

She had to text her friend during our shoot!  We found that old chair just sitting on the dock.  I wasn't sure it was going to hold her it was so old and weathered.  I like how that shot turned out.

I love her teeny freckles.

Another favorite.  I like the bird on the post behind her and how natural her pose is.

I know I'm biased and wearing mommy goggles, but my daughter is gorgeous!

I thought we were going to miss the sunset because I had to circle the parking lot like 5 times looking for a spot, until I finally said a prayer asking to please help us find a spot and one opened up right after that!  Seriously, it's the little things I'm sometimes most thankful for. :)

Love this.

Love how this turned out!  I had her climb up there one last time after the sun had gone down and we were about to leave.  I originally didn't do this shot because some people had a blanket set up watching the sunset right where I was standing and I didn't want to ruin the sunset for them.  She was so sweet that night being cooperative for all the shots she knew I wanted.

I love watching this girl grow up.  I am so happy to be her mama.  She's my favorite girl in the whole entire world and always will be. :)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Our Life in Squares

I look at my blog archives a lot because when I do I immediately feel a drop in my blood pressure and can sense my body relaxing.  I think I read somewhere once (probably on the internet so who knows if it's true!) that looking at old photos really does relax people.  I believe it.  It works for me.  I am so glad I started this blog six whole years ago when I was staying home with toddlers.  It has been so therapeutic to me to be able to go back and read about moments I most certainly would have forgotten had I not written about them.  I have gotten out of the habit though and that makes me so upset with myself.  The first couple of years I blogged I wrote around 100 posts a year.  In 2015 I've only written 5 so far.  That's just sad.  There are so many moments worth writing about and remembering. 

One good and bad thing that I have done is to take a lot of photos with my iPhone and Instagram them.  I think it's been good because if I hadn't I would only have a handful of photos from our lives this past year.  It's been bad because I've gotten lazy about using my real camera and actually sitting down to write about the stories that go along with the photos.  

This is a catch up post.  I downloaded all of my phone photos to my computer for that past year and I picked out my favorites.  If I wrote about every single photo this would be the longest blog post known to man, so I won't.  I think these photos will just have to serve to jog my memory and I'm hoping that will be enough.  Luckily my kids are old enough to really help with the remembering now.  I read somewhere (I'm sure it was the internet again!) that kids' brains don't really hold on to memories until they are about 7 years old.  I guess I feel a little better knowing my kids are both older than that, so hopefully some of these moments will have stuck.

These are from Spring of 2014, when cousins came to visit, teeth were lost, there was lots of golfing, my kids' first boat ride, Easter, and a trip to Panama City Beach.

More from Spring 2014 with Panama City Beach, golf, and good friends visiting.

Summer 2014 with more beach fun, their first time on a plane, a trip to Ohio, some pool days and some napping on the beach.

Fall 2014 with fun at parks and the farmer's market, a bff visit, a trip to the Smokey's, short hair in preparation for chemo, and another trip to Ohio.

Winter 2014/2015 came with beautiful moments enjoying nature and a visit from family.

In Winter 2015 there were plenty of beach days, a birthday girl and a friend's wedding.

Winter/Spring 2015 brought more visitors from Ohio and lots of hanging out at Grandmama's house while enjoying the beautiful weather of Florida.

As I was labeling these I just had to laugh about how hard it is to tell what season these are from!  Florida problems. :)  Glad I did this before I really forget when they are from.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Easter 2015

Easter this year was super low key.  We had an egg hunt a couple days before with my niece and nephew who were still in town.  It was really hot so it didn't last too long.  We had dyed real eggs instead of using plastic eggs and the dye was melting off of them.  Next year we'll remember the plastic eggs for sure.  On Easter Sunday we headed to church to celebrate and worship and then went to my mom's for Easter dinner.  On our way home from church we stopped at home to change and my mom was gracious enough to take some photos of the 4 of us for me.  I have been avoiding the camera as of late because I feel like I look horrible.  I know people say I look great and when I see photos, I know I look fine, but when I see myself without all my makeup and hair in the mornings I look like a cancer patient.  And that image is hard to shake during the day.  I know I need to get in photos now more than ever though.  I mean, if this has taught me anything it's that you cannot take your life or health for granted.  I don't want to be just the person behind the camera watching my family, I want to be remembered on the other side as well, as a part of it, even when I don't feel like it.

I got a few shots of the kids too.  I haven't been taking my weekly photos of them like I used to and they were really not used to it and didn't have much patience for me.  I need to get back into the swing of things so we don't all get rusty!  Here are a few pics of us in our Easter finest.

I love this boy.  My kids hardly ever dress up now that we live in Florida, the land of shorts and flip flops, so it's nice to see him in a tie.  That's about as fancy as we get anymore.

My pretty girl.  She wanted to wear the dress that her daddy got her for her birthday, but I thought it was kinda plain so I found that sash at a fun French market they had one weekend near here.  It looks even cuter as a headband.

I'm glad I got this shot from the side so you can see how cute her hairstyle was.

Sorry for the extreme close up, but my boy took this photo of me.  He was having fun with my camera.  I think it turned out pretty good.  I hated it at first, because I can be one of those women who nitpicks everything about a photo of herself (the kind who drive me crazy when they are one of my clients, ironically!), but in the spirit of embracing photos of myself, I'm posting it anyway.

I just love his crinkled brow in this, so I'm posting it too. :)

Here's that photo of the 4 of us I was talking about.  See, we all exist, not just the kids!

Here's my normal shot...just the kids.  Gotta have this shot though, as every mama knows.

I'm actually all caught up on my blogging for the most part!  I hope to get back to a more regular schedule of posts soon.  I'm going to take my girl out for her 11 year old photo shoot now that I finally found an outfit I like for her.  I can't wait!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fun at Legoland

I know, it's like a miracle...I'm writing a blog post!  I've been busy, which sounds weird because I feel like I never get anything accomplished.  I have to go to radiation every weekday at 1:15 so it feels like a job.  Sometimes it takes 15 minutes and sometimes, like today, it takes over an hour. I also have physical therapy twice a week at a different location. It makes it really hard to get things done during the day.  It kinda reminds me of the year I had to pick my son up from kindergarten every day before noon.  Just annoying.  I feel pretty good though.  Everyone always asks, so I figured I'd throw it out there.  I just get tired.  I'm so sick and tired of being tired!  I know it's temporary though.  Only 4 more weeks of treatment and I'm done!  I've heard it can take up to a year to get your normal energy levels back though, but I'm going to work hard at eating right and exercising so hopefully it will be quicker for me.  I already feel so much better than I did just a couple months ago.  I'm back to doing photo shoots and we are still homeschooling.  I cannot wait for summer.  I just want my brain to be able to shut off for a while. No worrying about what appointments are on the schedule, what calls I need to make regarding medical bills, what I need to be teaching the kids, when I'm going to have energy to clean the house, and the always dreaded what to make for dinner.  I just want to have a clear schedule where I can say, "What do you guys want to do today?" and really have our options totally open.  Anyway, enough about that, I'm here to write a blog post about Legoland!  Sorry for the tangent.  I swear the chemo fried my brain and I am all over the place anymore.  Focus...

So, a few weeks ago my brother and his family came to visit!  I love when they visit.  I really just want them to move here already. I'll stop myself before that tangent though.  We decided to meet up at Legoland on their way to see us.  It's only about an hour from here and I'd been wanting to take my kids for a while on one of their homeschool discount days.  It is an amazing discount and it's on select Mondays throughout the year.  I was even able to get my brother and his family and my mom in using the discounted rate.  I just had to show our form from the county.  It was very easy.

We loved Legoland.  My boy is a huge lego lover and I love them as well.  The park was really beautiful too.  It was small which was good for me since I don't have the stamina for a large park right now like Disney.  The rides are all geared towards younger kids which was perfect for us since we had kids ranging in age from 5 to 11.  And there were Legos everywhere!  I loved looking at all the creations.  It was a wonderful day.  I took my old camera along in a backpack that my husband carried for me and I'm so glad I did.  It takes much better pics than my iPhone.  I hadn't used that d40 in so long that I had forgotten where all the dials and buttons were!  It's still a great camera though. I decided not to edit any of the photos because I seriously do not have time or energy or brain power for that anymore.  Here are some shots of the fun we had!

They have this huge section of the park with all of these landmarks made out of Legos.  This was LasVegas.  I could have stood and looked at them for hours!  It was much cooler than I thought it would be.  They had a big Star Wars section too but I somehow missed taking photos of most of them.

They had cars that you could really drive.  There was a lot of rear ending going on.

I love that my mom got to come with us too!

The double decker carousel was amazing!  The horses were Lego horses, of course!

I love this pic of me and my girl.  It took me forever to decide what to do with my hair.  I was afraid my wig might fly off on a rollercoaster!  So I wore my backup wig so as to not get my favorite one all windblown.  And then I secured it with a headwrap.  It worked out perfectly.

Mini Downtown Tampa.

These kids had so much fun.  Oh, and funny story, we saw that mini golf replica and we all said it looked just like Goofy Golf in Panama City Beach, and then we noticed a sign and it was a whole section of things replicated from there!

I am so glad that we were able to go enjoy a day away from the pressures of life.  I know it was extra special that my kids got to make those memories with their cousins.  Maybe next year it will be Disney, who knows?!


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