Monday, September 11, 2006

A Summer to Catch Up...

Gosh, it's been a while since I updated my blog, and I have so much to share! Our summer has been so busy this year, it has just flown by. I can't believe it's already the second week in September.
Well, to update everyone, I have to go back to July! Parrish went on her annual vacation with her father, and this year, they went to Costa Rica. During the two weeks she spent there, she went whitewater rafting, surfing, and scuba diving. And saw lava pouring out of a volcano. I didn't even realize there were active volcanos in Costa Rica. She had a great time, but was ready to come home by the end of two weeks.

While Parrish was in Costa Rica, Kelly was in the Dominican Republic, building houses with Habitat for Humanity. He was there for 10 days, and had a great time, other than when he fell off the roof and dislocated and fractured his shoulder, that is. He didn't realize it was fractured until several weeks after he returned home, because he didn't seek medical care while there (can't say I blame him for that!). Fortunately, the orthopedist says no permanent damage was done, and it will finish healing on it's own just fine. One of the highlights of his trip was visiting the Viviana Cigar Factory, and watching Viviana roll cigars. He brought a whole box of them home.
Not too long after everyone recovered from these adventures, we were off on another--taking Parrish off to college in Honolulu. Oh my gosh, what a long flight! My feet were swollen for two weeks. And there were screaming kids on every flight. Really people--can't you leave your kids at home, or drive? No one wants to be stuck in an airplane for 15 hours listening to your kid scream like he's being tortured in an Iraqi prison. Seriously. It's not fair to the rest of us who pay a lot of money for these flights.
Anyway, the island of Oahu was a huge disappointment. There wasn't a whole lot to do, and you had to fight traffic like Atlanta or LA to do it. Honolulu is not a place I want to spend much time in the future! But Parrish seems to be all settled at U of H, and started classes a few weeks ago. She has already made quite a few friends. She is so excited about the cultural diversity on campus. Her friends are from Japan, Germany, South Africa, Hawaii, Vegas, Washington, Georgia, and Philadelphia. One of them has lived in 4 different countries and speaks 7 languages! Try finding that at MTSU! There are only 3 kids on the entire campus from Tennessee. She has a view of Diamond Head Crater from her dorm--how cool is that? She and her roommate, Jenny, seem to be getting along just fine.

While we were there, the three of us went scuba diving in Shark’s Cove, on the North Shore. This location is ranked number two in the world by Sport Diver magazine. It’s beautiful! Lots of caverns, and a wide variety of sea life. We saw sea turtles, too. We didn’t get to see the white-tipped shark that lives there, or any octopi, which would have been cool, but it was still a great dive. Scuba Drew, our guide, was wonderful, and has promised to show Parrish some of the other great places around the island. She has all her own gear, except for a wetsuit and tank, so it will be fairly easy for her to go whenever she wants. Several of her new friends want to learn to dive, too. And a few of them want her to teach them to surf. She doesn’t have a board yet, but plans to get one sometime this semester. Of course, they can be rented all over the island.
So Kelly and I have been adjusting to this thing called an Empty Nest. Two weeks ago, we went diving in Cerulean, KY. It was so cold that day! But we still had fun.

Last weekend, we went whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River. What a blast! We made two runs down the river with Jerrold and his dad, Carlis. I still need to develop the pictures from the little waterproof disposable camera.
Now Rebekah and I getting ready for our annual job of photographing all the kids at Forest Hills Baptist church Mother's Day Out program. Those kids are so cute! And Kelly is tearing out the tile on the kitchen floor and getting ready to lay the hardwood. So we continue to be very busy.
So that should update everyone fairly well. I hope it won't be so long before I update this thing again!

Monday, August 07, 2006


Last Thursday, I spent several hours downtown with photographers David Wright and Dave Pavol, and model Sara Wiedenhoeft (who looks a little bit like Misha Barton). The goal was to practice using available light, and try some new poses--things you don't have time for on a wedding day. Sara was able to get some great shots for her portfolio in the process. We specifically sought out some very dramatic lighting that wouldn't go over well with your average bridal portrait client, but has a very high-fashion feel.

It was nearly 100 degrees downtown at 5:00 PM, and we were dripping sweat. We were working outside of Merchants, and they manager invited us to use the empty dining room on the 3rd floor--with air conditioning! Thanks, Merchants!

Here are some of my favorite shots from the day:

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Good Friends, the Lake, and a Bottle of Red...

We had a great time at Percy Priest Lake Saturday afternoon with our good friends, Scott and Sarah. They have a nice boat, and are gracious enough to invite us out several times a year. When we woke up that morning, it was stormy and raining, so we thought for sure that our plans would be cancelled. But towards lunchtime, the skies began to clear, and we decided to head over to their house. We had a nice little picnic lunch on the boat, and let Logan swim while Liam napped. Kelly and Sarah enjoyed a nice bottle of red, we sat around chatting for a while. We went for a swim after dark, and finally headed back to the launch point at around 10 PM. The lake was so peaceful at night! Now Kelly is talking about buying a boat for next summer!
Sarah was nice enough to take some photos of Kelly, Parrish and I, since Parrish is leaving for college in a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Weekend at the Lake

Well, we spent the weekend at my parents' lake house on Smith Lake (Alabama). My older brother Jim, his wife Karen, and their kids Kendall and Jackson, my younger brother Ben, my husband Kelly, and my daughter Parrish were all there. It was hotter than hot, so the lake was quite appealing. I got some great photos of the kids, and of Karen jumping off the sun deck 12 feet above the water. Ben, Kelly and Parrish had jumped from there last year, and Parrish did so again this year. Jim, and even Kendall also jumped this year. Jax and I were the only real chickens, and he doesn't count since he's not quite 5 years old! He stood up there for the longest time before taking the walk of shame back down the stairs. I couldn't let 7 year old Kendall outdo me, so I stood up there, looking down those 12 feet (which look like 40 from up there!), and trying not to panic. I went to the edge and retreated so many times I lost count. When I finally gathered the courage and made the leap, I thought I would pass out before I hit the water. As it was, my left ear popped and I got water in my nose. But I did it! I didn't completely chicken out, and I didn't have to take the walk of shame with my 4 year old nephew!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A Lovely Couple...

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of photographing the marriage of Darla and Ryan. What a delightful couple! You can see in their eyes how much they adore one another. They were married at Cheekwood, which is also where Ryan proposed. It was an extraordinarily hot and humid day for an outdoor wedding, but the ceremony was short so it wasn't too bad. Congratulations, and best wishes for you both!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Newlyweds...

Ashlae and Andrew's wedding was this past Saturday. They were married at the small country church that Ashlae's mother attends, and Andrew's father officiated. It was a beautiful and very personal ceremony, during which both Ashlae and Andrew were nearly overcome with emotion.

After the ceremony and a few more pictures, the reception was held at Amber Leaf, in a very old building on the square in Gallatin. Unfortunately, it was the hottest day of the year, and the air conditioning in the reception hall was broken! In spite of the extremely hot and humid conditions, everyone seemed to have a great time. The DJ had a lot of fun activities for everyone on the dance floor, and there was no shortage of food.

My many thanks to Dave Pavol for all of his help that day--Dave, you are a fantastic photographer, and I couldn't have done it without you!

Here are some of my favorite shots from the day of the newly married couple:

Ashlae and Andrew--you guys are a great couple, I loved working with you, and I wish you all the happiness in your lives together as husband and wife.

Mary Ann and Larry--you guys are way cool! Love ya!

Ashlae's Bridal Portraits

I had the priviledge of creating Ashlae's bridal portraits a few weeks ago. We did this at the Opryland Hotel and Convention Center--the largest non-gaming hotel in the world. Our favorite images were from the Delta area of the hotel. Ashlae was great to work with, and David Wright was an indispensable help. (Thank you, David!!! ) Here are two of our favorite images from the session:

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Operation Donation

Wow, I didn't realize just how much scrapbook stuff I have! Then a CK Message Board Sister asked for donations to Mercy Ministries. This is a residential treatment program for girls ages 16-26 who have life-controlling issues like eating disorders, unplanned pregnancies, and depression. She wants to do some scrapbook projects with the girls as part of their therapy. So Jessica asked for all of her CKMB sisters to donate supplies. I started going through all of mine, trying to better organize, etc., and I am letting go of so much of my scrapbook "clutter", as Flylady would call it. I am so glad that I can bless someone else (many someones, in fact) with the abundance I have. Here's what I am taking over there this week:

Sunday, April 30, 2006

A Huge Scrapbooking Weekend!

What a weekend! I attended two days of Creating Keepsakes Scrapbook Convention. This was my third scrapbook convention, and my second CKC.
Last year, there were a lot of complaints about things not being well-organized. Class kits didn't always arrive complete--parts were missing, or they were short kits. Teachers were replaced at the last minute, so the presentation was not prepared. And the class content was weak in many cases.

This year was different! I took 7 classes over the course of two days, and only one was a disappointment--my last class which was sponsored by Deluxe Designs--Me, Myself, and I-A Mini Tag Album. The project was too simple, and the product received was pretty skimpy. I picked up the instructions & kit, and after a 10 minute presentation, left. She wasn't doing anything else after that except answering questions if you needed help.

My Rusty Pickle class was great! I took the Life's Friendship Garden class. We learned about 5 new techniques on one layout. And the product is really nice.

I didn't take any Junkitz classes, but after hearing people in the halls talk about them, I wish I had. Apparently, not only was the project fantastic (a mini ruler book), but you got tons and tons of great product to take home!

I took the K&Co Happy Hearts Mini Album class, too. We got lots of product, but I wasn't too thrilled with the instructor. It was a guy who basically read instructions on how to cut all the pieces of paper. But the final project turned out very nice, so overall I was pleased.

The Basic Grey & Bazzill classes sponsored by Embellish It! were very good. We learned some great tips about using rub-ons, and made several very cool layouts. And the teacher (Shelby Dredge) was great--very high energy in spite of the fact that she throwing up between every class because of morning sickness. Poor thing! She really deserves kudos for stepping up to the plate and delivering fantastic classes all weekend while feeling so ill.

I also took Power Packed Paper Projects sponsored by Scrapbooks 'N' Stickers. I have to be honest--I only took this class as a time filler because I registered late and a lot of stuff was already full. But I am glad I did! Renee Camacho taught the class, and I always enjoy her classes. We did two projects--a layout and an altered clipboard. Both were really cool.

But one of the highlights of the day was my Accordian Album class with Donna Downey. She is just soooo cool! She has enough energy for 10 people, and a great sense of humor. The project was really cute, and we used Chatterbox papers, which I love. I highly recommend this class to anyone, if for no other reason than to spend an hour with Donna Downey! In fact, here is a photo of she and I:

The vendor fair was very crowded, as always. I didn't have time for any of the Make-n-takes, and only a short time for shopping. But I didn't go for the purpose of shopping--I went for the classes. I can do most of my shopping on-line without all the crowds. I did buy a few things from the Embellish It! booth, and three QK dies. No real bargains to be had, but I wasn't expecting any.

I didn't attend any of the crops, so I can't give a review of those.

The one thing I do wish would be addressed for future CKC's in Nashville is the parking situation. The event is held at the Opryland Hotel & Convention Center, which is just ENORMOUS. On Friday, I was able to park just outside the Convention Center doors. It cost $10, but it was as convenient as you can hope for at this venue. However, Saturday was a parking nightmare. The parking lots on the convention side were all closed because someone had rented them out for an event later in the day. I had to drive around the hotel THREE times to find a lot that wasn't closed or full, and ended up paying $12 to park on the far end of the lot on the farthest side of the hotel from the convention center. It was a 30 minute walk from my car to the area where the CKC was being held. So if anyone who helps plan CKCs is reading this---Please see if you can secure the parking lots on the convention side of the hotel for your attendees in the future. All in all, the convention was a great experience, and I will definitly attend next year, too.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Finally getting back in the groove...

Well, I have been creating more scrapbook pages. I am working on a Book of Me--focused on things about me. My thoughts, feelings, opinions, like, dislikes, quirks, etc. Here are two of the layouts I completed this week. Thanks Cathy Zielske for the concept and templates on the first one!

I am also working on new promotional postcards and business cards. Here is one of the cards for wedding photography...

The new heat/air system will be installed this week, which is a relief, since summer will be here before you know it. Not looking forward to spending the money, but it has to be done.

OK--so what is up with all the reruns of shows like LOST, Desperate Housewives, etc.? Why do they show three reruns before showing each new episode? So irritating! By the time a new episode airs, you have forgotten all about the show and forget to watch it.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 the bad luck continues...

Here I am, on my way to a job, running late (as usual), and instead of being out there catching robbers, rapists, child molesters, drug dealers, and murderers, our local PD is hiding behind trees with a freakin' radar gun! Because, God knows, someone speeding is just the worst kind of criminal. And why is it, that my husband, who drives like a freakin' maniac, never gets a ticket? Life is soooo not fair.

And the heating/air conditioning saga continues...the latest quote we received on replacing the defunct system is $3,850. Quite a bit down from the $9,625 we got yesterday, but still an uncomfortable chunk of change that I would rather spend on scrap supplies, camera equipment, or a scuba trip. But if any of you have ever spent a summer in the mid-south, you know how necessary air conditioning becomes by late May!

Well, the Creating Keepsakes Convention is looming nearer, and I can't wait for all those great classes I signed up for--including one with Donna Downey, scrapbooking guru extraordanaire. I wish Cathy Zielske would be there, too, but nope.

I also joined a Book of Me group today, with some other lovely ladies from the CK message board. I have been contemplating a scrapbook that delves deeper into my thoughts, feelings, and impressions for a while now, and this group will help get me motivated. Thanks, ladies!

Thought I would share a photo of my favorite furbaby today. This is Woofey, my puppycat.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Gosh, it's been a while!

Mostly because I completely forgot my log-in information, if you can believe that! Our lives today are so cluttered with Personal Identification Numbers, log-in ID's, and passwords, it's truly amazing that any of us can remember half of them. And what really messes you up is when you have a password that has to be changed every three months, and you can't use a password that you have used before...just how many letter and number combinations do the powers that be think we can keep track of in our heads? OK--off that soapbox for now.

Would you believe that I have actually been creating some scrapbook pages again lately? After over a year of not doing any layouts, I have done a dozen or so in the past few weeks. Thanks in part to some Circle Journal Swaps, Not Your Ordinary Book Club projects, and classes at Paper Moon with Renee Camacho. It sure feels good to be creative again!

Mom and Dad were here for a couple days, up from Alabama. They had never seen Parrish perform for Winter Guard, so they came to see her competition at Independence High School. Her team placed first in both competitions. Yeah, girls! After the competition, we all went to Maccaroni Grill for an early dinner. The Penne Rustica there is just so good, I could eat it almost every day!

Parrish is on Spring Break this week, and she spent the day with Ryan, her new boyfriend. They have been together for about three weeks now. He seems like a very nice boy. And he seems to adore Parrish.

It's getting a little chilly here tonight, and our heat went out. Anyone else think there is something wrong with the fact that a heating/cooling unit lasts less than five years? And isn't under warranty? Looks like it will cost a pretty penny to replace, too. We are in the process of getting bids on the job now. Good thing we have the kerosene heater!