Well we made it. Survived the summer of mom working more than usual, just a couple of days of camps, no vacations, and just pure imagination and a back yard. I asked them in a perfect world if we could do anything in the last couple of weeks what would it be. They said, just more of what we’ve been doing. No requests for water parks, or anything flashy. Just more time outside, lizard hunting, swimming and NO errands or schedules. LOL. They truly value being home, and not having to race out the door. In fact, one day last week I told them I would do zero work, and they could choose what we did all day. It wasn’t anything crazy, but Alivia must have asked about 20 times “Are we in a hurry mom? Do we need to finish this soon? Are we allowed to take our time at this?” My children clearly are aware of the hustle and bustle of our life!
I started the tradition of back to school pictures when Caden entered kindergarten, and have been taking them every year since. I love going to school the week or 2 before we start back up, so we can take them without people being in the background, and I don’t have to worry about having my camera with me on the first day. It also helps having over an hour to get them to cooperate, because Lord knows I have to take 500 pictures just to get 100 good ones (oh those fake smiles). Every year it tests my patience to the core, but each time I look through the pictures I’m glad I put up the good fight.
This year’s pictures were so much more special to me, because it’s the first time they will be in the same school. I imagine, much like the yearly bluebonnet pictures, I will try to keep this tradition going until they graduate and they will no doubt fight me on this once they hit the “too cool for mom” phase. Hopefully bribery never goes out of style. She’s just so excited to be in this big kid school, and they’ve already started mapping out when they are going to see each other in the halls. In the pictures where he’s holding her hand and walking he was giving her the low down on lunch, recess and pajama day (I wish I would have videoed it). And sister with her rolling back pack. My word ya’ll. Knowing she had to wear a uniform this year, she spent WEEKS trying to figure out what backpack she wanted. She wore the edges down on the Pottery Barn backpack catalog, and INSISTED she have a rolling one. She had seen girls rolling them down the halls and thought it was the coolest thing her little eyes had ever seen. She finally landed on this pink and navy puppy dog which just fits her personality so much.
I’ve officially got one kindergarten melt down under my belt (mine, not hers) and fingers crossed I got it all out of my system. She’s just so strong, brave and fierce. She’s been counting down the days until we start up, and since meeting her teacher this weekend she’s been talking about her new teacher non stop. My sweet girl I pray you never lose that fire. The one that drives me up a wall most days, but will no doubt be used to rule the world one day.
There are times when I’m at church, and a message speaks so loudly and so clearly to me that it brings me to tears. Not boo hoo tears rolling down my face (well sometimes), but soft subtle, single tear drop down my cheek type tears. Moments where I know God is using one of our pastors to speak to me and let me know He hears me, in all my prayer and supplication. Yesterday was one of those days. We had a new youth pastor who spoke on the power of prayer. Praying not just in the big moments, when you need God more than ever. But in the small ones too. The times you may think are insignificant, are never that way to Him. It’s something I’ve been practicing for the past couple of weeks in my business. In fact, I have a post it note on my laptop that simply reads “pray first.” Before I dive into emails, before I open photoshop, before I grab my camera, I pray. Simply pray. For guidance on what to do, the words to speak earnestly, the ability to accomplish the goals asked of me, all to glorify His name. He iss who gives me my talents and He is who blesses me in every aspect of my work. It’s made me feel more fulfilled, and more at ease in my day. Knowing He’s guiding my path. As I listened to our pastor speak these words yesterday, “Pray humbly, pray frequently, and pray persistently,” I had a vision of these printable cards. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t get it out of my head, with the quite whisper to make these for anyone who needed to hear His message. I scribbled these 3 lines down, along with the verse he followed it up with and made a mental note of what to do. I have no clue if anyone will want these, but I felt called to so I did. I put them on my website as a free download. You can print them, download them to your backgrounds, share them, whatever you may want. I made a 4×6 version and an 8×10. I may make some more later as laptop background screen sizes. We shall see. Until then, this is what spoke loudly in my heart, so I’m doing what I felt called to do. I hope it brings you peace and is just what you needed on this Monday!
Well it’s been a blessing that I’ve been so busy with work that I haven’t had much time to focus on my own projects, but things finally calmed down just enough for me to play catch up! At the end of January I was able to take a quick two day trip to San Diego with a dear friend of mine. She was going out there on business and even though she was working from sun up to dinner time, she thought I would love a chance to explore with my camera on my own. I can’t stress this enough, have friends who know your needs and love you enough to suggest such a thing. It was a perfect break from the chaos of work + mom life. No one needed anything from me, for a blissful 48 hours. I loved every minute of it.
I rented a car and drove up and down the highway bouncing from beach to beach breathing in the fresh air and feeling the ocean spray on my face. ALONE. I can’t stress the alone part of that enough. As moms/wives we tend to hear a constant stream of noise that starts from the time we wake up (usually to a kid staring us square in the face) until our eyes close at night. As much as I love my husband and my friends, I had never been on any type of trip like this where I found myself alone for a large portion of it. I didn’t think I’d like it that much, but turns out it’s pretty amazing (for a couple of days that is).
I hiked the hills of Torrey Pines, alone. I visited the Japanese friendship garden in downtown San Diego, alone (ironically with my best friend in town). I bounced from La Jolla children’s pool to Scripps pier, back up to Point Loma to watch the tide pools crash into the walls of the cliffs, ALONE. I didn’t speak to a single person for most of the day, listening to any song I wanted on Spotify (no angry children hollering they don’t WANT to listen to my choices). I didn’t pressure myself to photograph anything in particular, to get a certain amount of images. Most of the time I didn’t even take my camera out of the bag. I just enjoyed God’s beauty all around me and enjoyed the freedom. I guess I shouldn’t say I didn’t speak to anyone, I had an ongoing conversation with God throughout the entire trip. Every 5 minutes I was praising Him for everything. All His amazing works in the cliffs, the waters, the formations and praising Him for allowing me to be able to be there. It was truly a blessing He provided, and one I will forever be grateful for!
In the end I did come away with some images I deemed worth of adding to my Etsy shop. Here are the ones I added, if you click on the images they link you to my Etsy shop to purchase them online.
With or without kids, the sea lions at La Jolla children’s pool are definitely worth a visit. I could have watched them flop around all day.
I spent one of the days doing nothing buy hiking. From Torrey Pines hiking trails to The Scripps Pier beach area, and rounded it out with the Point Loma tide pools hiking trails and historic lighthouse. I have to say, with as much hiking up cliffs as I did I totally thought I’d shed a pound or two, but alas this trip couldn’t be that perfect.
The Japanese friendship garden in downtown San Diego was worth the trip. The flowers were starting to bloom and all of the koi ponds, streams and water features were incredibly peaceful and relaxing. I went here towards the end of the day (after hiking all morning) and basically sat around falling into a trance depleting what energy I had left.
I somehow managed to muster up enough to zip across town to the Sunset Cliffs to watch the sun go down. My marathon exploration trip of San Diego was such a fun little treat! I gave myself a super quick recharge of the batteries, added some works to my Etsy shop and had a couple of great dinners with one of my best friends. Praise God for all of it!!
I go through ebbs and flows with my photography. There are days I’m unloading the dishwasher and inspiration strikes, clear as day and off I go excited and energized, camera in hand. Other times I hate the camera, and the idea of shooting ever again annoys me (maybe it’s just hormones). When the latter seems to have dragged on far too long I force myself to break out of it any way I can.
Sometimes I start with a general idea, I want to shoot a certain color, or type of flower. Other times I have no concrete ideas at all, I just know I want a flower, and I want the background to be white or black. I’ve been feeling all the white and pink rooms coming through my feed lately so my brain was stuck on farmhouse inspiration with simple pink flowers and white backgrounds. I’ll usually spend an hour carefully walking through the floral section of the grocery store (Central Market is my fave). I’m pretty sure the employees think I’m crazy as I crouch down and examine the shapes, the inside, looking for anything I think might photograph in a unique or interesting way. I’ve been wanting more exotic plants lately but being that none of them are in season I was limited to the roses and ranunculus today.
I also love walking through Hobby Lobby or Michael’s hoping something will peak my interest or inspire me. On this particular visit I fell in love with this tiny birdcage. I had no clue what I was going to do with it, I just knew I loved it. I thought about filling it with greenery or flowers. I even had it styled with linens, then paired with a bouquet of flowers, but I kept being drawn to it alone. Something so beautiful in its simplicity. the gold detailing, the fine lines. I just loved it. I played around in post production with some fun textures and ended up liking this antiqued one.
Even as I was shooting everything I felt flustered. I didn’t like the set ups, I wasn’t sure it’s what I had envisioned. The self doubt seaped in and I thought to myself, none of this is good, I haven’t captured anything I like. Honestly, I just wanted to quit and try again another day, when I felt more inspired. Or wait until the flowers I wanted originally are back in season. But I kept going, and I’m glad I did. I love what I came out with. I could see these in the all white rooms with pink accents, or in modern spaces with lots of color looking for more white space on their walls. No matter the style choice, you can now click here to buy them in my Etsy shop.