Friday, November 22, 2013

Underwear Drawer

One of the best things about having kids is how much more fun they make your life.  At least that's my own personal opinion.  I happen to have some incredibly funny, witty, silly kids though.  Like the other day when I went to put away some laundry and I opened my son's underwear drawer to find this...

Never a dull moment around here!  My daughter did this to make her brother laugh.  She's always doing fun things for him.  She's a really thoughtful big sis.  And we all had a pretty good laugh about it.  Yeah, it's definitely more fun having them around.  Even though they make me crazy sometimes!

Have a great weekend!  We'll hopefully be going to the beach. ;)  Sorry...sometimes I just can't help myself and I have to rub it in just a little!  A tiny bit!  You know you would too.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mountain Kids ~ A Photo Shoot ~

I was going to try to post something witty and super interesting for you guys to read, but I just have to share some photos first.  After all, I love photography and I love sharing photos.  And I happen to love the subjects of these photos more than just about anything, so you'll have to forgive me for the massive amount of photos today.  I was wondering if my readers would like me to post photography tips when I post pics from photo shoots.  Anyone?  I totally can, but if no one cares, then I will just post the normal "I love her face in this pic" type of stuff.  I don't want to bore you with stuff like posing and lighting and all that if it's not what you are into.  But if you are sitting around wondering why don't I share my secrets, then all you have to do is ask!  I'm totally not one of those photographers who guards my secret locations or anything like that.  I'm pretty much an open book, so it you have a question, feel free to post it in the comments or shoot me an email!  Now...on to the pics.  I'm pretty proud of these.  I love them.  I love the warmth, the outfits, the location, the kids :), pretty much everything.  You just might see some of them on our Christmas card this year.  I still haven't decided.  This photo shoot was done while we were on our super short fall getaway a few weeks ago.  I love the downtown of the town we go to and have always said every year when we go to the little shops how much I'd love to do a photo shoot there and how perfect certain spots would be.  This year I actually planned ahead and packed some photo shoot worthy outfits that coordinated for my kids just in case we had time to squeeze it in.  I'd like to thank my mom for encouraging me to do some things on this trip that would make me happy and not just make the kids happy.  I didn't want to hear them whining that they were bored and so I was just giving in and only doing things that they wanted to do.  But my mom pointed out (I guess mom's do have some good wisdom sometimes!) that it was just as much my vacation as it was theirs' so I should do things I want to do too.  After her pep talk we ended up taking a drive to another small town to go to a shop I love and the kids actually really liked it.  Feeling empowered after that I insisted that they let me do this photo shoot because after all, we did tons of things they wanted to do and this is what I wanted to do.  The kids were very cooperative and I promised I'd only go to two spots I had in mind and I would keep it quick if they promised not to whine and make tons of silly faces.  It worked and I got some of my favorite photos of them in the 30 minutes or so we took out of our day to make this happen.  Moral of the story...listen to your mom. :)

My cuties.  Oh, and I am fully aware that these photos are on my header right now.  But when I change my header for next month they will be gone and I wanted to put them in an actual blog post so if I ever want to look back and see what I wrote it would be here.

This is totally my favorite.  I love how her pants are forming a heart!

I love this too.  I like how he's almost winking at me.  And I like the sliver of light from under the fire escape.

I posted this on Facebook so you've probably already seen it, but I still love how they coordinate so well.

The many cute faces of my girl.  It makes it really hard to pick favorites!

I like his frowny eyebrows in this one.  And the pose.

Little boys with hands in their pockets is my favorite pose.

Normally I would hate that this is crooked, but how can you not love those smiles!

I know that some people don't like serious poses on little girls, but I love, love, love this!  I love the reflection in the glass, the blur of the brick in the foreground, and her serious face.  It just works.

This kid, on the other hand, really doesn't get how to do a serious face.  I will tell him, just do nothing with your face.  Just don't smile.  And then he'll proceed to make some sort of super ridiculous face and tell me he is doing nothing with his face.  This smile, however, I'll take it!

So technically I counted all the previous spots as 'one location' since they were all within the same city block.  Then we headed out to this bridge over the river because I really wanted some mountains in the background.  I love the one on the bottom left.  It's got a few cars and the street in the background.  I like that it gives some context to the shoot.

The sun had pretty much set at this point and I like how the lights in the background made some pretty bokeh.

Last one.  I love this smile.  And the glimpse of the sun through the tops of the trees.  Perfect.

I hope you enjoyed them!

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Chalk Art Festival

A couple of weekends ago we went to a Chalk Art Festival.  It was over by the beach and I had read about it on a local website that has things to do around Tampa for cheap or free.  It was free, my favorite price point, and it was by the beach, so I was determined to go!  One thing I love about Saturdays here is that we are always trying to go somewhere new as a family.  And we can because the weather is always nice (I promise I'm not trying to rub it in, it's just true!) and a lot of stuff is free.  We are much more active now that we live here and that makes me really happy because that was one of the appealing things about moving somewhere with a nice climate.  Anyway, back to the Chalk Art.  My girl loves to draw with chalk and it said there would be a space for kids to draw so she was very excited to go.  The parking turned out to be a challenge but other than that I think it was really fun.  I must admit that I had visions of seeing some of the cool chalk art you see on the internet that looks like there's a giant hole in the ground but there wasn't anything quite that amazing there.  The art was still pretty cool though and the people who did it are definitely talented.  My husband talked to the lady who was in charge of the festival (seriously, that is so like him to find the person running the thing and just chat with them) and found out that next year they are going to add a kids' division to the competition so he signed our daughter up for her own space.  How cool is that?  Here are some photos from our fun day!

Some of the art that we saw.  I love the underwater one.

We were there on a Saturday and the judging wasn't until Sunday so most of the artists were still working on their pieces.  It was really cool to see how they did it.  There was lots of rubbing and shading done by hand.  They were all covered in chalk!

The kids space was big but it was mostly filled up when we got there.  My girl still found some spots to leave her mark though.  That guy in the photo above was recreating that giant billboard thing in the pic below.

More art.  I loved the variety of styles that were represented.

The aspiring artist hard at work.  She would have been there all day but she was running out of chalk and space to put it.

My view from where I sat watching her.  The beach right across the street!

My little artist got a little bit dirty too.  They even had baby wipes out for you to wipe off!

They also had bubbles out for the kids.  My boy had fun with them.  He really liked sitting on that starfish on the top of that pillar.

As we walked around checking out the art we spied a McDonald's right by the beach.  It was the smallest one I've ever seen in my life and it blended in with the other buildings and didn't even look like a McDonald's!  So we were able to have our cheap ice cream and look at the beach while we ate on the patio!

This was one of my favorites.  They were so big I couldn't get the whole pieces in the photos.  I would have needed a ladder, and a way to get everyone else out of my way. ;)  Also, I needed a wider angle lens on my camera but I didn't bring all my gear with me because I wanted to keep my bag light.  Oh well...

This was a fun one!  My girl felt silly doing this because there was a whole crowd of people around, but isn't that cool how she looks like she's in the scene?!

After we checked out all the art I couldn't resist walking across the street to get my toes in the sand.

Neither could they, of course!

He was having fun running around.

The waves washing over my toes. :)

Some people were setting up for a wedding on the beach so I couldn't resist a shot of the beautiful flower arrangements.  I like that there is a palm tree in the background.

There is a little open air shop right on the beach and the kids wanted me to take their pictures with these guys.  Notice anything about the photo on the right?

My baby. I can't believe how big he's getting!

Family shot as we were headed back to the van.  Love this!  Note to self though...don't leave your camera bag on your hip or they will look even more giant than they already are! 

I'll be back soon with more House Tour pics...just gotta get the kids to clean up their room first. ;)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

House Tour ~ Part 1

I know a few of you are curious as to what our new place looks like so I've decided to do a few house tour posts for you.  While we've unpacked almost everything and gotten all of our pictures hung I still don't really feel like it looks 'done'.  Part of that is because we are renting and every single wall in our condo is painted white.  Another part is because the ceilings and windows here are taller than the ones at our old house so all of my curtains are too short and I don't really feel like investing money in curtains for a place we are just renting.  There are things that annoy me about this place, but it's temporary so I try not to let them bother me. I don't really like posting photos of my home that much because it kinda feels like bragging in a way to show off our home.  That is not my intention at all.  I love to look at photos of other people's houses because I find it inspires me to make my own place more beautiful and inviting.  And I'm super nosey, so I want to know what other people's places look like. :)  While I don't think any of you will be particularly inspired by my boring white walled condo, at least your curiosity will be satisfied!

 Welcome!  This is what it looks like when you open the front door.  I hate that we don't have a proper foyer, but hey, it's temporary, right?!  There is a coat closet behind the front door in this photo and to the left is a hallway to the family room and kids' room.

Moving into the kitchen.  I love our new table.  I've always wanted a white kitchen table and chairs but then with everything else being white I decided this would look better (and it was a better size than the white one I found) and I actually love it.  It goes great with our granite counter tops.  Yay, upgrade from our old house, but boo, we still have a galley kitchen.  One of these days I will have a big kitchen I hope!

The  curtains are all wrong the way they are hung but the curtain rods were already there so I'm just going with what I've got.  I'm so glad that my white cabinet fits perfectly in the corner of our kitchen.  Another thing I love is our deep windowsills that I can put stuff on.

I love the view from this window.  It's just really tropical and always sunny.  The sun also sets this way so it's a nice view when you are eating dinner.

I'm totally skipping a bunch of rooms because they weren't quite ready for photos yet (translation, they were a mess!).  This is our living room/ my office/ our guest room.  This is the room we weren't expecting to get when we downsized to a condo.  Really though, square footage wise, this place is about as big as our house was.  Just laid out completely different and missing a couple bedrooms.  If you come to visit us this is the room you'll probably sleep in.  I'm thinking about replacing the couch with a day bed with a trundle.  Someday, when I find an amazing deal on Craigslist. :)

Standing on the balcony looking in.  Still got a box in there...oops!  That doorway leads to a hallway that connects to the main bathroom to the left and our master bedroom and bathroom to the right.

This is from standing in that doorway looking the other direction.  You can see our family room is connected so it's very open.  Our balcony runs the whole length of these rooms.

Speaking of the balcony, here it is. :)  The owners left the swing which we love.  I want to get an outdoor rug for here at some point too.  I will probably need two since it's so long.

I was sitting on the swing looking the other direction when I took this one.  We are going to put a table out here eventually so we can eat.  We had to leave our old one in Ohio since it was too big.

This is our other balcony which is off of the kids' school room.  It's the one I sit on the most.  It's smaller but I like looking at that awesome tree.  And it has lights so at night it's very cozy.

That's all I got for now.  I'll try to clean up a bit and get photos of the other rooms soon!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Weekend in the Mountains

Our weekend in the mountains this year should be re-titled "World's Longest Drive for the World's Shortest Vacation".  We had planned this trip way back in the summer the same as we do every year.  It kinda crept up on us and when my husband asked off from work, someone else on his team already had those days off and they wouldn't let him go (don't get me started on how annoying I find's not like he is a doctor or some job where they have to have you there...he works in an office).  Since my mom and grandpa were going to meet us at the mountain house I really didn't want to cancel.  I also didn't want to disappoint the kids so I decided that I would do the 9 and a half hour drive by myself.  Never again.  I repeat, never again will I drive that far by myself and if I get a hair brained idea to do so, please make sure you remind me of this!  It was long.  The stops took forever because I had to pump gas and take the kids to the bathroom and no one was there rushing us (wait, maybe I liked that part, the no rushing part) and so it just seemed to take forever.  When all was said and done it took more like 12 hours to get there.  Ugh.  I was exhausted.  BUT...I am still glad we went.  We did have fun and we got to see my mom and grandpa which made it all worth it.  Not counting the 2 entire days it took to drive there and home we were only there for 2 days.  The best part was that we got to see fall.  It wasn't quite late enough to be perfect leaves, but it was still way more like fall than anything here in Florida.  Although Florida is making me an even bigger wuss when it comes to cold weather.  I was freezing!  I still enjoyed the beautiful scenery though and we are already planning to make sure we make it a yearly event (it already was, but missing out on fall here is making it a must do event).  Only we are for sure making sure my husband is with us next time to help with the driving.  Plus, we love him and missed him!  :)  I took some photos while we were there, but I didn't get as many shots of the mountains as usual since we drove there from the south we didn't actually drive over the mountains like we usually do.  We still did drive through some, just not the normal ones and I didn't want to prolong the drive any further by stopping anywhere to take photos.  There was the most amazing fog on both the drive there (going through the Florida farmland) and on the way home (through the mountains of Georgia) that I wish I had some photos of.  Oh well.  I'll just share what I did get.  Here you go!

This was parked right in front of the house when we got there.  Can you spot the kids?  My cousin was having a new house built right across the road.  I cannot believe I didn't take one single photo of her amazingly beautiful house!  Anyway, trust me, it's gorgeous, but it wasn't quite done when we were there and the road was still a mess.  The kids didn't mind though because it was the weekend and there were two different digger things for them to climb around on.  Also, note that my son scared me to death climbing up on the top like that, especially since there is a creek right next to it making the drop even further, so of course, I did what every normal parent would do and took a picture and told him never to do it again. :)  Oh, and he did manage to fall in the creek this year while playing tag.  Never a dull moment!

Silly girl.

We took a drive to the "Road to Nowhere" one day to enjoy the scenery.

The road ends at the other end of this tunnel.  It's way bigger than it looks. And it was freezing inside it!!

Our cousin and her favorite guy, Rabby.  That on the right is the view from the road driving up to the tunnel.

We made it through the tunnel!  My watermark is blocking it, but he's jumping in that pic.

Cutie cousins. :)  

Most of the leaves were still green, but there were still some pretty ones if you looked harder.

I love this shot I took on the way back through the tunnel.  He looks like a zombie or something to me. Kinda spooky.

Some more shots of the pretty leaves.

I really am glad we went.  It is nice to be back in sunny Florida though.  I really, really do miss fall, but I think I miss mostly the colors and the sounds, not so much the reality.  Like I really don't miss the cold and I don't miss raking leaves, and the dampness and fact that it means winter is on it's way.  So yeah, I think a weekend trip in the fall is pretty much the perfect solution!  I can't wait for next year's trip!


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