Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Favorites

Christmas music is something that really makes the holiday for me. I have more Christmas CDs and ahem, cassette tapes(!) of Christmas music than the rest of my music library combined. I have many favorites, the first being, the classic:

The next is an album (yes, vinyl) that DeAun and I listened to every Christmas Eve to help us fall asleep.

This one isn't music, but if anyone can get me a copy, I would love you forever. All I have is the record jacket- see how old I am? I know the term record jacket. My kids have never even heard of a record jacket, they only know CDs with digital extras. (I digress.)- It is the story of some kids going to the north pole, and it is narrated by the Sugar Plum Fairy. Even a digital copy would be o.k.

Enjoy- I could list a lot of other Christmas CDs- like the Carpenters, Amy Grant's first Christmas one, and Mariah Carey (surprisingly good!) but I can't list them all. I love Christmas, and the right music really sets the mood. Here's to a great and productive Christmas weekend! I am a busy little elf!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Favorites

I want to add a Friday Favorites feature to the blog, and today is my first day. One of my favorite things about Christmas is wrapping presents- I love paper of all kinds- it's why I started scrapbooking. My very favorite Christmas wrap is from The Container Store. It is thick and glossy and beautiful stuff.

The first one is my favorite from this year- you can't tell that the background is kind of glittery/prismatic.

The next one I debated in the store for a long time, but I kept coming back to it. It isn't my typical style, but I can't wait to wrap something in it.

If you want to buy some for yourself- it really is the very best wrapping paper out there- go here: the container store

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wednesday Words

After a week off for Thanksgiving prep- here is my quote for this week. I am starting to feel like I am doing pretty well on the Christmas plans, and then I realize there are only 23 days until Christmas, so I'd better be on it.

"Christmas! The very word brings joy to our hearts. No matter how we may dread the rush, the long Christmas lists for gifts and cards to be bought and given--when Christmas Day comes there is still the same warm feeling we had as children, the same warmth that enfolds our hearts and our homes."
~ Joan Winmill Brown, American author and editor.

Our church is starting a series this week called Artificial Christmas- should be interesting.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Words for Wednesday

I am trying to start a few new things on my blog- I think if I have some sort of form/organization it will help me become a more regular blogger. On Wednesdays, I hope to publish a good quote (I love a good quote!) with an image.

This week I am heading into Christmas prep full force, so my quote is about planning.

"Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning." - Winston Churchill

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New Holiday Class- and it's FREE!

Jessica Sprague- I love her- is offering a free class for the holidays. She is the guru of all things digital for scrapbooking, and she is an awesome instructor. You can get an account for free if you don't already have one. Join up- I plan on it. The great thing about her site is that all of your classes are available to you FOREVER- so if you can't possibly add one more thing to your holiday schedule, this class will be there for you whenever you want it- even if it is next spring!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Lutes Family

Here are a few images from the Lutes family shoot- it is so easy to take pictures of good looking people!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Photo Shoot 3

Here, finally, is the third sibling photo from the other shoots I've shown. Christina is a beautiful girl as well- very nice looking family as I've mentioned. Their mom chose the sitting down pictures, we printed them as 16x20s, and they look really good. She has taken them to have them framed and I can't wait to see them when they are done.
The mom and dad are moving this summer (soon!) and all of their kids will be in college or living here on their own. These photos will be priceless in a quiet house.

I love taking photos for people, because I love taking photos for me. I am working on a collage of framed photos for my basement. I am having a hard time picking the pictures and everything. I will post photos when I finish it (don't hold your breath).

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tony is Home

The college boy is back. He (and all of his friends) are having trouble finding work. Aren't we all? This leads to a boy with nothing. to. do. So far, this has been o.k.- he is working out, helping a litte around the house, etc. His biggest accomplishment of the spring, apparently, is the beard. It has inspired jealousy in many of his guy friends. It doesn't bother me too badly, but I am looking forward to it going, now that I have some photos to look back on.

It is good to have him home, but the grocery bill has already gone up. The milk especially is disappearing at the rapid rate. Funny how quickly you adjust to a new normal, and now I will be adjusting back to this for a few months.
So much going on right now with the ending of school for another year. Many posts to come on spring activities.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

On Mothers

For finding your mother, there's one certain test. You must look for the creature who loves you the best."

From "Little Miss Spider" by David Kirk

I like this quote, and I certainly find it to be true in my own life and the lives of my children. I have the world's greatest mother (who doesn't even know I have a blog lest you think I am buttering her up!) who always made me feel as if I could do anything. I still think that most days. I try to remember all of the things she said to me that made me feel that way, but I can never think of anything specific. The things I remember her saying are things like, What a life, what a war! and Life's not fair. Hardly the inspiring you to do anything quotes. I suppose it was more in the way she lived, then, always believing in me. She was always happy for my successes, and she never acted surprised over any accolades I might receive. Believe me, I have thought about it in an attempt to recreate that feeling of confidence for my own children. Hopefully, they have gotten a bit of it through osmosis. I remember the day Tony was about 5 or 6 days old, and I was in Hawaii, and Mama hadn't come out to see me yet. I called her and told her I thought I was wasting time, that I needed to be teaching him something. (can you believe any of my children turned out semi-normal?) She told me I was teaching him that I would always be there when he cried. That is a pretty awesome responsibility, that being there whenever someone cries. I know my mother would still be there for me if I were crying, and I hope my children know the same thing when they are parents, too.
Happy Mother's Day- tell your mother that you love her if you still can.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Georgetown Cupcake

When Alyssa and I spent Friday of Spring Break week in Georgetown, this was the motivation for going. I had followed the "Cupcake Wars" in the Washington Post Food section during the fall, and Georgetown Cupcake had pretty much wiped the floor with any competition. I had been wanting to go ever since- finding time to take such a small trip took a lot longer than I thought.
Alyssa was lured by the prospect of shopping in Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie- and checking out this successful cupcake bakery, since she would really like to own one one day. The cupcakes were indeed lovely and delicious. We brought these 6 home, after having one each sitting in Georgetown. So we tried 8 flavors- our favorite was the coconut and for me, the chocolate squared came in a close second. My only complaint was that most of the vanilla frosting is all cream cheese, and I prefer buttercream. I think the cherry blossom had buttercream. We split every cupcake we brought home so we could both taste all of the flavors.
The bakery didn't open until 11- we passed by it around 10:45- already a line forming. I thought it would die down after they opened. Wrong. We waited in line for about 25 minutes to get in to the tiny place to order our cupcakes. Definitely worth the wait- no fake frosting, or tough cake mix type cakes. yum...
Shopping in Georgetown was a lot of fun, and I wish I had more time to do stuff like that with the girls. Alex was on her way to Myrtle Beach with the school chorus this particular day. Those Saturday dance classes really mess with our available time for fun. I would like to plan more fun (I am starting to realize that if I don't plan it, it will not "just happen" like it did when they were smaller and unscheduled.).
I have photos to edit,and I must get ready for my day and start thinking about more fun to be planned.

Friday, April 24, 2009

one of my favorite things

Gardenias are probably my favorite scented flower. I remember my mom cutting a blossom off of our gardenia bush and floating it in a bowl in the dining room. It would scent the entire house. Well, gardenias do not grow in Virginia, so I am unable to have that lovely aroma in my house. However, in the spring, we do get some beautiful lilacs. These are from my neighbor's bush. (I asked first!) I clipped them last evening and they smell heavenly. I may have to buy a bush so I can clip from my own in future years! Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Easter Musings

With Spring Break right after Easter, I didn't get the photo editing done that I wanted in order to post on the blog. I did do it this morning, however, so I am happy to finally be documenting Easter. Tony was able to come home for 21 hours, so we enjoyed seeing him. And, he brought his girlfried Kelsey, that I had never met- although she was already my friend on facebook. We dyed Easter eggs, and hid Easter baskets, and the whole thing, and hopefully didn't scare Kelsey too much.

Alyssa and I spent all morning (6am-1220pm) at the church, singing and playing the piano, respectively. It was a long morning service for us. Thankfully it was a good one, so it wasn't hard to sit through four times. Then we had a lovely Easter lunch, and our friends Janet and Sarah Dix joined us. I even made a cheesecake- first time in a LONG time- and it was incredibly yummy.

Alex had her wisdom teeth out on Good Friday, so she is a little swollen in this picture. Not a good time for getting them out, but there is apparently no good time, as I had been trying to schedule this since October.

I took Christina's portraits this weekend, and I will post those soon- also some I took of Alyssa and her friends over Spring Break. Have a great day!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Photo Shoot

Here are some of the pictures I got of the brother of the lovely girl I showed you last week. I was pretty pleased. We had a bit of trouble with some fake smile/grimacing in the beginning- but once I started talking about jamming with Metallica and girls in bikinis- we got some real smiles. This is obviously a nice looking family. There is one more sibling- the oldest sister, and I get to do her pictures when she returns from Europe, lucky girl. I really do enjoy this job. I am hoping to increase my business to the point it is the only job I need. Pray for that.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mount Vernon

This is beautiful Mount Vernon- I got to meet my friend Shellie and her family for a quick tour of the mansion last week. There are some beautiful places to take photos around here- I enjoy visiting them all. The McLeans were a little jet lagged (although you can't tell from the photos) and the kids were being quizzed on everything they were supposed to be learning during their week away from school. It was great fun getting together with them, and even more fun when they came to my house for lunch on their way out of town (literally the last stop on the way to the airport). It is nice to have friends all over the country, but it is even nicer when they are close by.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Photo Business

Since I have been unsuccessful thusfar in my job search, I am choosing to focus some energy on my photography business. I would really love to build it up into something that could actually take the place of working somewhere else. I got a new logo- isn't it cool? and I am working on a really cool website. I'll let you know when it is up and running. You'll be able to access this blog from the homepage.
I had a great in studio session with a senior a few weeks ago and I thought I would share some pics.

Such an easy subject to make look good. I shot her brother last week, and I will post some of those next week.
Friends from California are coming on Sunday for lunch, so I am planning on cleaning and cooking tomorrow. Can't wait. Making yummy stuff.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

Today is Friday the 13th- I have mixed feelings about that date. I don't really have many superstitions (any that I can think of), but I was a bit leery when I dropped off my puppy to be spayed this morning. That was supposed to happen a couple of weeks ago, but with her fabulous sense of timing, she went into heat the day before her appointment. So as not to go through that again, I scheduled her appointment as soon as I could. Hope everything goes well- I don't like that I can't really explain to her what is going on. She is going to be freaked out!
Here is what it looks like here this morning. Keep in mind that when I walked the dog on Monday, I was in shorts and I got sweaty. (80 degrees)

This is crazy- I enjoyed my 8-9" last week, but we are into the second week of March, and I am finished with winter. The sad thing is I would have loved this in January or February. It is too late, winter, and you can't make it up to me now! Now you have to wait until December. Please plan better for next year, and get the snow up earlier and more frequently. (think several 3 inch snows instead of only one 9" snow, KWIM?)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Why am I a single parent when I've been married for 21 years?

As a Marine wife, I am used to being the only parent a lot of the time. The only times it really gets to me is 1)when I need to be in 2 places to pick up kids at the same time and 2)when the kids are sick. Well, Alex is sick and I am on week 2 of Mark being gone, and I don't like it. I hate seeing her feeing so bad. It is rather pitiful.
The other day we were watching The Biggest Loser (my one and only TV show) and one of the women was crying because she had been away from her husband for something like 3 or 4 weeks. Both of my girls thought she was such a wimp. This military lifestyle has seriously warped my girls. I was trying to explain why it might be difficult if your husband never traveled and was home every night, and Alex said "Never traveled? You would have no time by yourself? Oh, I can't have that kind of husband!" I guess that means I haven't made being alone seem too bad. Luckily for Alex, her intended, Joe Jonas, will have to travel some of the time for touring, so she has that to look forward to! :).
Trying to get motivated on a Saturday, but my headache is making me want a nap! Off to do something...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Oh yeah- I have a blog!!

I am going to skip the mea culpa for not posting, and just start posting again. Two snow days this week (now that it is March) have put me on an odd schedule. Add to that a husband traveling,and my to-do list is not taking first priority. Hard to stay motivated when the kids are home from school- which is why I love snow days- no expectations for productivity. Anything you accomplish is pure bonus.
Now everyone is back to school for a full day, and I have high hopes for my day. I am working on a few things, some of which seem contradictory. The first thing is- I am looking for a job. This is more difficult now that half a million other people are also looking for a job. I am trying to stay positive, but it is a bit discouraging, all of this applying on line with no response. Hits the ego kind of hard- I am not asking for a top level job, here. The second thing is- I am trying to improve my website and photography business. I guess if I can't find a job, I can at least try to up my income from my preferred business. I am working with someone to design a logo for me and also on getting a slideshow on my website.
My weight loss is slooooow but steady. I am hoping to be down 6 more pounds by the middle of April. Don't know if that is going to happen, but I really want it to stick. I will say it is a bit dismaying how little you actually need to eat in order to keep yourself alive and not gaining. I like food- really! I don't like the limits, but that is the reality. Alyssa is working on it with me, and Alex starts and stops- she says she wants someone to bestow the will power upon her. It will be a while before that happens- I've been waiting for 18 years or so, since I had a kid and had my first experience of weighing more than I wanted to. Noone showed up with the will power for me.

Lent began, and with the dietary changes I had already made, I didn't want to do anything with food for Lent. I have decided not to spend any unnecessary money on me. No magazines, books, cds, scrapbooking supplies, clothes, shoes, etc. for me. Target profits may be down this quarter. I am hoping for two things out of this- one-more space in my day because I won't be running around to stores so I can use that time for Bible Study and self improvement, and two-I will break the habit of running around and shopping for no reason, and will eventually spend less even after Easter. Pray for me- this is much harder than giving up soda.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Training- the dog and me

Today was Summer's 4th doggy training class. We have both learned a lot, I think. She is a real performer in front of the instructor- continuing that performance at home with all of the distractions is another thing entirely. Much like her mother, who has always performed well in class, but real life- that's another story- too many distractions for me, too.
Purchased this today. I am looking forward to getting in another day of yoga every week. I hope Bob can help me really lose weight while doing yoga. I have been wanting a second day of yoga for a while, and hopefully I can be consistent in getting it done. I am also enjoying my Wii Fit, but I have a hard time getting time on it between the kids and the fact that it is on the big TV- the TV used for football in this house.
Lots of reading to do, and I am currently spending way too much time playing word games on facebook...
Got out a lot of clothes today to get ready to pack for the cruise- I am getting really excited. Looking for some cute shoes to wear- will have to go to DSW this weekend or on Monday. Looked at Target, Ross, and TJ Maxx already. Nothing in my size.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Year, New You

Well, recording my December didn't go so well. Only one blog post and a few journal entries. Far from the completed Daily December album I was hoping for. Oh well. Have to let a few things go. Am now working on self improvement, as I am wont to do at the beginning of every year, the beginning of every school year, every time we move, and generally any other time I think would be a good Starting Over point. The changing of the calendar really makes that appealing to me.

And how does Andrea go about improving herself? That's right, she reads a book about it. Currently on the rotation- Eat This, Not That; It's Hard to Make a Difference if You Can't Find Your Keys; Suze Orman's 9 Steps to Financial Freedom, and Breaking Dawn (o.k. that one's not about improving me, but I have to have an escape.) My stack of library books is large and I have an order on the way from Amazon.

Tomorrow everyone returns to school and work, and as you know, that is the real first day of the New Year. The cookies I have been eating since the girls made them on Friday do NOT count against me in 2009- these are 2008 cookies, people. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. I am planning to go on the no sugar part of the Sonoma Diet starting tomorrow- and after the past week and a half or so, it will be quite the shock to my system. So easy to get hooked on the sweet stuff. It really helps to go cold turkey- but boy, it makes me grumpy!! Watch out family. They will be glad to be back at school and work, I imagine. a compelling reason for my no sugar- I am going on a CRUISE. My very first one- and it is for my friend Shellie's 30-10th birthday. I am flying to San Diego on Thursday, the 15th of January. I cannot believe how close that is. If you do the math, I will be finishing my no sugar time the day before my trip. Good timing, but I don't want to undo all my work on the cruise.

Here's to blogging more in 2009, getting just a little bit thinner (not asking for the moon here), improving my finances (saved asking for the moon for this), and getting rid of stuff in order to organize my life and home.

p.s. My word for 2009 is FINISH. I am great at starting things, but I need to learn how to finish what I start. If I finished everything I started things would be pretty amazing around here.