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Sweet princess…

July 26, 2011

One major thing on my list is done… typing up a year’s-worth of chicken scratch lesson plans.  Can we say “procrastination?”  I mean, I could read them, but the teacher that’s coming to evaluate Nathan on Thursday would probably look at them in disgust and wonder about my abilities to teach handwriting. 🙂

Unfortunately I’m not completely done with the portfolio and other things I have to get together, but I’m going to try my best to respond to comments and check out your blogs.  Because I was attached to my computer yesterday typing up those lesson plans, I also didn’t get laundry done… that blessing is waiting for me today, too 🙂

On with today’s picture… I tell ya what, a princess party is a never-ending source of sweet pictures, laughter… so many things.  This is a shot of my resident princess, Miss Ashlyn.  She was looking out the window at the pool at my friends house.  The dogs were playing in the pool, splashing and while Ashlyn had this beautiful flooding of natural light in her face… well… momma just had to capture some of that goodness!

And here it is with Kim Klaussen’s Stained Linen texture applied…

Sweet Shot Day kimklassencafe


Good to Wow: SOOC

July 25, 2011

I made my list of stuff to get done this week and it’s long.  LONG.   I’m sure yours is, too.  Sometimes there’s things that HAVE to get done and some things that you’d like to get done.  It seems like my list is stuff I HAVE to get done or else.  Things like work on typing up lesson plans from last year so that the evaluating teacher can read them for my son’s homeschool evaluation.  Finish some final editing work for some photography clients.  Pay bills, work on my part-time job stuff, send emails, work on our taxes before school starts so I don’t have that hanging over my head.  Begin some long-term lesson planning for my 2nd grader and kindergartener.  Etc.

So, this week will be minimal at best.  I’ll try to keep the blog posts going, but emailing responses and blog hopping will have to wait until I’ve checked enough off of my list for that day.

Luckily today’s pic link-up doesn’t require any editing; in fact, it is required to be SOOC (straight out of camera).  Awesome 🙂  It is from the princess party I was telling you about yesterday.  This is my daughter with an assortment of little princess friends, demonstrating this week’s theme of LAUGHTER.

Aren’t they adorable???

Well, I’m hopefully working on my list right now, bleh.  How’s your list???

The gift of insight…

July 24, 2011

I just have to have a picture that goes along with a post, you know?  Otherwise it seems lacking.  This was yesterday… a friend of mine held a princess party for several young girls in our church (she was babysitting two of them) and had the cutest little shindig complete with cookie decorating, find the glass slipper games, etc.  Us grown-up women had to dress up, too 😉

Anyway, several months back I had written a post called “I Am Beautiful.”  It wasn’t a statement of vanity; rather it was an affirmation of the acceptance of the way God made me despite my years of self-loathing and self-criticism.  I had written it after being inspired by a post from my friend Courtney who had written a post about her journey of self-love.

Since that post, Courtney has created a meme on Sunday called “Revolution: the road to self love.”  I had been faithfully reading these posts but didn’t get around to writing one for Sundays until last week.  Because I often wonder how transparent I’ll be on this blog, sometimes posts like these are hard for me.  But I’ve really been praying about today’s post and decided to go ahead and bite the bullet and do it anyway.  Maybe someone will be inspired or affirmed.  Maybe a lot of you couldn’t care less.  But here it goes…

Like many of you, there are certain parts about myself that I haven’t liked, be it physical or personality-wise.  What can often be your best attribute is usually your biggest fault.  I’m a very sensitive person; I’m sensitive in spirit, yet I can also be sensitive situational-wise, so I have to constantly keep that in check.

Physical-wise, I think I’ve discussed some of that.  I have this crazy curly hair that will always be that way.  I’ve received a lot of compliments on it through the years, but there are times when I wish it wasn’t so different.  I have also been… ahem… blessed in the upper torso region.  Not to go too far there, but I’ve struggled with everything that goes with that for years.  There are other things that go along with that, but for right now I’ll just stick to those two.

You see, in the last few weeks I’ve received a huge lesson of self-acceptance when it comes to those two aspects of myself.  After a doctor’s visit, I discovered that…

 … I had a lump in my breast.

I was ordered to have a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound to further check it out.  I scheduled it for as soon as I could (about 6 days later).  For those 6 days I wondered whether or not I had cancer.  I knew the statistics: about only 1 in 10 of those are actually cancerous.  But when you don’t know… you don’t know.  I wondered what my life would be like a month down the road.  Would I undergo chemo/radiation?  Would I be bald?  Would I  have to have a mastectomy?  Worse… would I not beat it and make my husband a widower and my kids without a mom?

You might think I was overreacting, but I really think it was God giving me a gift.  I found out that I did NOT have cancer (praise God!), but through the experience I saw a little insight as to what was really important.  You see, I learned that:

  • For every time I have cursed my hair, there is a woman out there who has lost hers from the harsh treatment for cancer.
  • For every time I have cursed my upper torso region, there is a woman who is dealing with the loss of femininity from having a mastectomy.
  • For every time I have dreaded getting older (on Friday I will turn 37), there’s a woman with unresponsive cancer making videos for her young children (so they’ll remember her) who wonders if she will see her next birthday.

My prayer for you today is that you will truly see yourself the way God sees you; as a unique creation, beautiful in His eyes.  Try not to curse the things that make you, you.  And live each day realizing it is a gift…

Joining this week’s link up at

Perfect Imperfections

Trip to KY

July 23, 2011

Yesterday we got back from our trip to see my parents in Kentucky.  We spent a week hanging out at my parents, going to various children’s entertainment establishments (read: Chuck E Cheese and the like), spending time together and enjoying each other and the kids.

I usually fly into Nashville but decided to save about $300 and use Allegiant Airlines to take a direct flight from a small airport near Orlando and fly into one in a small town in Kentucky.  I had no idea what to expect at the Kentucky airport.  I grew up about an hour from this airport and had never heard of it.  Neither had my parents.

So, as we flew into Kentucky… NO JOKE… people were standing by the fence waving at us.  That was the waiting area for visitors.  Here’s a back view of it.

A ramp was rolled up to the airplane to let people off and on…

Below you can see the airport pretty much in its entirety.  To the left is the loading area.  To the right is the building that houses the ticket counter, baggage claim, and gate.  There is an office building on the other side that you can’t see, but I think the size of the airport is probably about the size of my house.

Ticket counter… this angle probably makes it look larger than it is.  I should be a realtor.

This is the baggage claim conveyor belt.  You can see where it disappears on the left… that’s it.

I didn’t take any pics of security or the gate waiting area because I didn’t know if that was illegal or anything.

Anyway, here are a couple of pics of me with my mom and dad.  I took these on the day we left to come back to FL, but I thought I’d post them first to give you an idea of who we visited… for some reason my right eye always opens up bigger in alot of photos.  All these pics were with my point and shoot (I left my DSLR at home) so I have alot of nasty flash and red eye stuff to deal with 😉  Here’s me and my mom…

Here’s me and my dad…

We had a family member that was going through surgery the day we arrived, so the kids and I went to my grandmother’s house (Nana) and hung out there a little bit.  Here she is with her hubby Ray (who she married about 4 years back or so).


At my parents house, they bought an inflatable pool and set it up in their back patio area.  The kids had a blast playing in it… Mom and Dad called it the “cement pond” via Beverly Hillbillies style. 😉

Here’s our at-home version of a splash park.  We did make it to a real waterpark when we were there, however, but they also had fun getting the water hose treatment from my dad…

Unfortunately while we were in KY my parents lost one of their furry companions, their dog Tigger 😦

After 7 days it was time to head home.  We went to the same small airport to take off.  We waited in the airport restaurant (read: four tables and a vending machine).

This is the best picture we could get in a hurry of the kids with their Grandad and Grandma T (Ashlyn wasn’t having any of it)…

I honestly don’t think it’s that she’s being pouty… she genuinely doesn’t like goodbyes.

The plane was nice and each kid had their own portable electronic device.  Neither Ashlyn or Joshua liked to wear the headphones that their mommy packed so diligently for them in their backpacks, so they put their ear up to them.   Nathan had his Nintendo DS, Joshua a DVD player, and Ashlyn a Tag Reader.

I didn’t plan so well for me.  I didn’t have a portable electronic device.  My dad got a free copy of GQ in the mail, so I stuck it in my backpack and read some of it on the plane.  It was kind of a weird read for me because: 1. I’m a female and the topics aren’t really geared for me (but the ads far beat the emaciated models that grace the pages of female magazines  AND 2. The language was pretty bad and there were stories like “What Do I Wear to My Atheist Friend’s Third-Wife Commitment Ceremony?”  (yep, real article in the June 2011 GQ, p.66).

After we arrived in FL, we were greeted by smiles and hugs from my hubby who didn’t like an empty house for too long… sorry, this is the only pic I have (it was a little crazy trying to get everything gathered and keep the kids in tow).

Good to Wow Part 2

July 22, 2011

Because I can’t leave well enough alone, I’m linking up some Photoshop edits… I feel a little better about these…

So, here’s the BEFORE

AFTER: CLEAN EDIT: curves adjustment, hue/saturation, Coffeeshop Baby Powder Room

AFTER: CREATIVE EDIT: Paint the Moon’s Urban Delight

Okay, there, I feel better. 🙂

Good to Wow

July 21, 2011

I promise I will be a good little “Good to Wow”-er next week and watch the tutorials that go along with them.  My flight last week was on a Thursday and my flight today (I’m probably on a plane as you’re reading this) is on a Thursday.  However, once I get back I do have a little work assignment waiting on me and probably won’t get around to blogging the rest of the day, so this will have to be it!

So, when we last saw Nathan he was up in a tree on Monday.  This was the shot taken.  I may try to see what I can do with this in Photoshop, but for now while I am away I’m using Picnik.  Here’s the before…


The exposure’s too low, the skin tones are a bit too grey… but I still LOVE this shot and will treasure it forever.  Here’s the after…


Again, I’m not too sure I’m 100% happy with this… the highlights are a bit blown out.  I’d still like to see what I could do with this in Photoshop.  I used Picnik for this, adjusted the exposure to brighten his face (but I really couldn’t control the other highlights like the house and the shirt without them getting too white).  I used the cross-processing filter again (very low) and also used a softening filter.  I may revisit this photo again sometime in the next couple of days…. 🙂

I lied…

July 20, 2011

Well, I said I was taking a couple of days off… I got the laundry done and bags packed for our trip home.  Since home is Eastern time and this part of KY is on Central time (and my flight leaves early tomorrow morning) I was bound and determined to get my kids in bed by 7:00 pm.

It’s 7:40 now Central Time and I’m hearing less talking from the bedrooms.  Hopefully that means they’re drifting off.  Otherwise we’ll have quite the battle come 5:00 am when we’re all up and getting ready to leave. 🙂

So, with the stuff packed, kids in bed… I was itching to get a post up.  I’m on my laptop with no Photoshop… I decide to try my hand at Picnik.  It’s a great program for quick editing online.  It does have some settings like contrast, exposure, sharpening and does have some things that you can get creative with.  So, I decided to try it out on this week’s “Edit Me” challenge from Branson at My Reflection of Something.

BEFORE (photo courtesy Ginger from My Life Just As It Is)


I edited this in Picnik… first I adjusted the exposure slightly (the sun was bright on the legs so I didn’t want to blow it out too much).  I then sharpened it a bit, did a cross-processing action (at about 75% I think) and added a vignette.  It was fun to play around with Picnik and see what they had.  The best part about it… it’s FREE! 😉
My Reflection of Something