Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Oh my goodness! It's been a month since my last post. In the last 3 weeks, we have been to Miami, to the Caribbean, to El Paso, and back to east Texas. I had 7 out of town photo shoots, plus a wedding in the Caribbean, and a wedding in El Paso. We have been BUSY, and have had SO much fun with family, friends, and vacationing. Not to mention an AMAZING time cruising through the Caribbean. I have SO much to document!


And in case I don't make it on here before Christmas, Merry Christmas! I am grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ, and for the opportunity we've recently had to teach our children about His birth, His life, and how He is our Savior. The busy-ness of the month has tried to drown out what we are truly celebrating this time of the year, but I am grateful every day for the birth of Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas!

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An update is on its way, but for now, a little Christmas cheer from my babies. Emerson was a little freaked out by Santa this year, but no tears were present. She had her brave face on.

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While we were waiting in line, Santa got up from his chair, looked around, and came over to Emerson. He picked her up, and started to dance with her. It was so sweet! He briefly greeted the boy in front of us, but it seemed like his sole purpose when he got up from his chair.

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And this boy is always full of giggles, smiles, funny faces, and witty comments.
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Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thankful.

I have so much to be thankful for. Most things I am thankful for relate to, or remind me of this:
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(more to come from this mini shoot)

It's hard to remember what life was like before our kids. And I mean that in a good way. We were talking about our first Valentine's Day. We did some fun things (don't you worry, I won't go into detail ::wink wink::). My first thought was, "What did we do with Stone that night?" DUH. He wasn't around for another year and a half after that. They give us SO much joy. This morning, Emerson was giving us her little wink, and it just warms my heart. Can they be difficult? Oh yeah. Do they bounce off the walls? Sure. But they are the best, and I love them with all my heart. More than I ever thought I could love. Needless to say, I'm thankful for them.

Speaking of "more than I ever thought I could love"....leads me to my man. He's a MAN. A man that I love. A man that makes me laugh every single day, a man who happens to be an awesome father. He's romantic. He's hot. He's kind. He's smart. Needless to say, I'm thankful for him.

I'm thankful for our good health, and the fact that we can all be so physically active, and enjoy it. I'm thankful for our house, and the roof it puts over our head. I'm thankful for technology to share pictures and stories with my friends and family at any given minute. I'm thankful for my camera and the fun business it has allowed me to build. I'm thankful for my college degree that enabled me to put Cliff through law school while I stayed home with my children and worked while they slept. It also enabled me to build a great, functional, and successful business. I'm thankful for Cliff's multiple degrees, and the opportunities he has received because of them. I'm thankful for my parents that made me who I am, and for my in-laws that raised Cliff to be the amazing man he is. I'm thankful for all of our siblings and their spouses. ...thankful for all our family members. Most of all, I am thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that my family will be together for eternity, and that makes me one.happy.girl.

And this just scratches the surface for the my many blessings. Believe me, I count them every day, and thank Heavenly Father for everything he has given me. We all are so blessed.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bye Bye, Mullet.

For the last several months, Emerson has been in danger of fitting in perfectly with A.C. Slater and MacGyver. As her mom, I just couldn't bare to cut the curls off her sweet, sweet mullet. I was afraid they wouldn't grow back. But it got to the point where pigtails were the only thing we could do to hide the horrible 80s phenomenon, and the mullet would no longer cut it. And so we did {cut it, that is}.


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And now she has a sweet little bob. It is perfect. I love it!

THANK YOU, KAMI!
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Stone and his bike!

How did I not share this yet?! Stone learned to ride his bike with no training wheels several weeks ago (for my own records, this video was taken on October 22). No, we don't dress up when we play outside. This was taken right when we got home from church. Stone had actually mastered this the day before, but it was too late to get it on video.


He learned how to do this in a matter of a few short days. He got his bike for his birthday , but if you are not familiar with east Texas summers, and particularly this past one, you CAN'T play outside! We went all summer in the triple digits, and spent our time at the pool, and sadly, not riding his new bike.

The temperatures finally cooled, and we pulled out the hardly ridden bike. The training wheels were a joke. We had to adjust them every few minutes. It was a frustrating experience for us all, so we said, "Welp Stone...you're going to just have to learn to ride it." And SO HE DID. Give this kid a challenge, and he takes it.

I learned to ride my bike before Jordan's neighborhood friends. I was four, but I think Stone beats me. This kid is awesome.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Operation: Caribbean-Part One

Wanring: This is not a cute update on Stone and Emerson. There aren't even pictures of them! This is a long, WORDY post (I rarely do those kind of posts!) on fitness and nutrition.
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Next month, Cliff and I are heading to Florida, where we will jump on a cruise, and I will photograph a destination wedding. STOKED. Ya think? I am absolutely thrilled to take my business to the next level, and I couldn't be more excited to shoot in the Caribbean.

Well, with the Caribbean, comes a swim suit, and comes "Operation: Caribbean", which I am calling my fitness and nutrition decisions and goals, and I thought I'd share some insights with you.

Let me preface this post by saying, I am NOT a nutritionist or dietitian. I don't think I call myself a fitness professional, although I'm a fitness ENTHUSIAST, and a group fitness instructor (I teach Zumba, "Just Weights" (which is obviously a weight lifting class), Spin, and I sub for several other classes). I've taught classes for several years, and I absolutely love fitness. So those are my credentials. Now, let's move forward.

I don't usually share my fitness goals with people. Not that I'm secretive about it, it's just not necessarily a regular topic of conversation. But I'll open up a bit throughout these next few weeks.

So my goal is to loose about 5-8 pounds. I hate to state it like that, because it's not necessarily pounds I'm looking to drop, although it's always nice to see the scale go down a few. I judge "weight loss" by the way my pants fit (literally). As you begin to work out, you loose fat, and simultaneously begin to build muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat, so you might not actually loose weight, but you are loosing fat. ....and that's what we want. If you have more weight to loose, then sure, you'll see that scale drop (think Biggest Loser), but if you're looking to just shape up a bit, don't judge your improvements by what the scale says.

"Weight Loss" (I put this in quotes, because again...it's not necessarily weight you will loose) comes down to ONE thing. You BURN more calories than you CONSUME. So essentially, there are 2 ways to accomplish this: 1. You eat less or 2. You exercise more.

Now, the two (nutrition and exercise) go hand in hand. To REALLY accomplish any "weight loss" goals, you need to make adjustments to both your menu and your exercise schedule. There are SO many ways to do this. Eating well is much easier for some than others, and likewise, sticking to an exercise schedule is much easier for some than others. Tweak either or both areas, and you can see results. I will share how I am doing it....

There are several different classes of people at the gym, but I tend to break it up into 2 groups of people. 1. Those looking to really loose "weight", and 2. Those looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. For the most part, I fall into that 2nd category. I LOVE food! I have a sweet tooth. I love flavor. I love spicy. I love steaks. I love melted cheese. I LOVE Mexican food (which is the greasiest of 'em all!). I typically love the kinds of food that are bad for you, and NOT good for "weight loss". I don't buy soy milk. I don't add flax seed to my recipes. I don't eat hummus. And I really should eat more fruits and veggies. Last week, my family went through 3 gallons of milk and 3 loaves of bread in 4 days. Okay, you get the point. HOWEVER, I absolutely LOVE fitness. If I miss a day at the gym, I feel lazy and unaccomplished for the day (except for Wednesdays...that's my day off, and my day to sleep in!...and even on that planned day off, I still feel weird that we don't make it to the gym). So for me....I pretty much eat what I want, but I work my tail off at the gym! So it's a wash.

In Caribbean Part Two, I will discuss my changes to my eating habits. But in this post, I will talk about fitness, since that's my forte between the two.

I exercise a lot. Want to know my schedule? Mondays, I teach "Just Weights" (1 hr. class), followed by a :45 Spin class. Tuesday-Zumba. Wednesday-Day off from gym (I try to run in the morning before Cliff leaves for work, unless I choose to sleep in!). Thursday-Zumba. Friday-"Just Weights". I usually add some cardio exercise onto each day. ...running, elliptical, etc. So I'm usually at the gym about an hour and a half. I could be there longer (Mondays is a little longer), but my kids go with me, and for their sake, I leave at about the 1.5 hour mark (even though Stone sometimes asks me to stay longer. They've made some good friends there). So with this schedule, there's no reason I shouldn't be able to loose a few. But again--I eat what I want, so it's usually a wash. So the major change in my daily routine, will come to consuming less calories. Again--I will talk about that in my next post.

I figure I need to "up" the intensity of my work outs and try to burn more calories in that time I am at the gym. I am a runner, so I have decided to intensify my running schedule. Last week, instead of running 1 to 2 miles after my classes, I added 3 to 4 miles. Now, I know to non runners, that probably sounds crazy. But as a runner, adding 1.5 to 2 more miles than I usually do, is not impossible. It's just an extra 10-17 minutes. That's doable, AND it's beneficial. That's a handful of extra calories burned. It's just a little challenge--something I need to do to burn more calories. AND, I increased my pace to try to try to get more mileage covered in a certain amount of time (I have a little case of OCD when I am on the treadmill. I first decide if I'm going for time or miles that day. Do I want to just run as much as I can in 30 minutes? Or do I specifically want to run 4 miles? Whatever I decide, I always have to end the miles/time/calories on happy numbers. WEIRD, I know. So, if I decide to run 4 miles, and I finish in 32 minutes, I have to keep going until the treadmill says 35 minutes. But then if the calories say 416, I have to get it to 420, but then the mileage is at 4.15, so I need to get it to 4.2 if not 4.5. You get the idea. OCD.)

It all comes down to challenging yourself!

TIP: So for those that may not have an exercise schedule, I encourage you just to CHALLENGE yourself. You don't need a gym membership to loose weight. MOVE more than you do in a typical day. Work HARDER than you typically do. BURN more. You don't need to run 4 miles. But if you usually take a walk around the neighborhood, add on an extra 15 minutes. Or add jogging intervals. And if you're not moving? THEN START! Think you don't have time because your a busy mommy? Throw that excuse out the window NOW. Wake up before your kids do, and get in some exercise. It's not easy, but it's possible. And I promise you, as you exercise, you will be begin to FEEL good. As Elle Woods says, "Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don't kill their husbands."

For the record: I lost 3 pounds last week. However, we went to Dallas, where we ate too much bad (and by bad, totally yummy) food, and I gained a couple back. But overall, I still dropped. This week, my goal is to eat better. And I will share those goals and tips with you next time.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Impromptu Photo Shoot.

I love impromptu photo shoots, and as a photographer, I know I should have more of these with my family on a regular basis. People pay me to do this, so that they have photographs to last them a lifetime. I know I should give my family the same.


Our family lasted about 10 minutes, but I love what we got.

We came home from church today, and it started by asking Cliff to take a portrait of me to update my photo site with. Then, it turned into Stone wanting to play photographer.

I LOVE the following photo. I love the motion blur, and I LOVE that Stone posed us. He said, "Daddy, you pick up mommy and kiss her." He must be a photographer's son, right?
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By lack of presence, you can tell who was behind the camera today (Stone and Cliff).
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Stone obviously took the next one, too. Instead of "one, two, three", he said, "action!"
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Okay, okay, I know it's weird that our 4-year-old took our kissing pose. But he directed the shoot.
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Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011!

This year, we have a pirate...

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And a puppy...
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We started a Halloween tradition of matching family costumes with Stone's first Halloween. It continued the 2nd Halloween, and then the next year, we were lame, and only dressed Stone up. I had been out of town with Stone, and work was absolutely crazy that month. Lame excuses. We picked the tradition back up last year, and then this year, after pondering our possibilities, I thought, "Do we really want the pressure of a family theme every year? There's going to come a year where the tradition breaks, and then my heart will break. Do we want that pressure??" And I decided no. I figured if we do a theme here and there, that would suffice. OR, maybe that's just my excuse of not being clever this year with a family theme.


We may have not had a theme, but we still went all out. We can thank Stone for that, because he LOVES costumes. He is a superhero or power ranger EVERY day. He thinks we have to dress up as something on our birthdays, since he does.

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I must say, after 4 days of costumes and festivities, I'm ready to welcome November.

This past Thursday, we hosted our playgroup's Halloween party. We made Frankenstein cups:


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And I made some ugly dead string cheese fingers (which surprise, surprise, didn't really get eaten):

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and a carrot hand in some dip with baby carrots.
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All the moms brought yummy treats, and we played games and chatted, and had a nice time.

Thursday was ALSO Cliff's birthday...which I will dedicate a post to that. :) I surprised him with BYU vs TCU football tickets, and our friends Chelsea & Dave watched our kids while we went to the game Friday evening (thanks again, Chels!!).

We had our church party...


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and tonight we took the kids Trick-or-Treating.

....and they were a hit at every home. Emerson tried to go INSIDE every home, especially if there was a dog (there's a reason she was a dog this year! She is obsessed!). She'd wave, and when the people weren't looking (while they were talking to Stone), she'd hurry and grab a few more pieces. Every home we went to, whoever opened the door and saw her, would call to the rest of their family to come see. We were so pleased with trick-or-treating this year. The last couple of years, hardly any porch lights were on. This year was a different story.

So if you endured this post, Happy Halloween!