Favoriate of ’08 Challenge

I’ve been having a harder time than normal this week trying to decide my favorite photo of 2008 for this week’s Exposaroonie Challenge.  I am seriously at a loss.  How do I choose?? Do I choose the one that I’m most proud of because I got the shot I was actually trying to get? Or do I go for the one that I think represents the best of what I have learned this year? (rule of thirds, textures, etc.) Or do I choose the one that speaks to me in a way that pulls at my heart like no other photo?  Do I choose one of the four animals I have?  How do I narrow down which animal?  Or do I choose the lucky shot that I got by accident but still love?? Or do I choose someone else’s beloved animal? Since I know that there is a plethora of super talented photographers out there with waaaayyyyy more talent than I have, it doesn’t make my decision any easier.  Maybe I’ve been over thinking it, but the photo I choose, I really want it to shine, ya know?  I want people to look at it and feel what I feel when I look at it.  Is that weird??  I’ve been putting A LOT of thought into this (captain obvious, here) and I’ve narrowed it down to a handful of pictures that I love for different reasons and I’ll be submitting one of them later today.  You’ll have to go over there and check it out (and vote!) after Saturday to see which one I chose.

In other news, Will and I are going to start packing this weekend in preparation for our move into the one bedroom.  I’m really looking forward to downsizing (something I’m sure you don’t hear people say a lot) because I’m really tired of having the laundry room on the ground floor in the garage and the bedroom and closets on the third floor.  It’s really tough when I do the laundry for just two people and it’s 4 freakin’ loads a week!!  That is a lot of laundry to cart up and down two flights of stairs every week.  Plus, vaccuuming the inside stairs and sweeping the others (outdoor carpet in the foyer) sucks big time.  I’ll be ready to have everything in a smaller area with less to clean.  Downsizing also forces us to re-evaluate what is important to us and streamline our possessions because we won’t have room for everything.  We’ve had the two beds that we each respectively had before we started dating, but we’ve been sleeping in the bed Will had because it was a king size and mine was a queen.  Now, we’ll be throwing out his mattress and box springs (because they suck) and downsizing into the queen because it is infinitely more comfortable, even if it is smaller.  Plus, my bed matches the bedroom furniture we’ve been using, so we’ll actually have a grownup bedroom again and that is something that we’re both looking forward to.  Unfortunately, the really nice bedding that we have is for the king, so we’ll have to remedy that situation.   Linen’s N Things is having a going out of business sale, so we may pop in over there this weekend and see what deals we can get on some new bedroom linens.  We also need a more grown up bathroom.  We’ve been using the same things I’ve had since college, and it’s no longer pretty and it doesn’t suite us.  (I saw shower curtains on sale for $7.49 at the Linen’s N Things website!!) Even though I really hate the physical packing, moving, and unpacking parts, but I love the organization and cleanliness of a new place.  Pros and cons, you know?

Some other plans for the weekend include a Thrasher/Panthers game Saturday with Trent and Nicole, haircuts for Will and myself (before and after pics, I promise!)  and possibly some other new items for the home.  I hope everyone has a great weekend!!

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on a little bit of everything

 

So, you might want to settle in, get comfortable, and be prepared to be here a while.  I’ve been absent for over a week because of holiday travel, general laziness, and returning-to-work-after-a-week-off responsibilities.  I’m sure you understand.  So let’s start with the holiday travel.  (I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, btw.)

Will and I left last Saturday morning, homebound to Atlanta (Newnan, actually, but most people haven’t ever heard of it.) to see family.  We were on the road at 5:30.  In the a.m.  I had forgotten we had one of those because I’m never up that early.  It was an 8 hour drive that turned into a 10 hour drive because of construction and stupid people who don’t know how to drive accidents on the interstate.  Enjoy some pictures from our drive:

Here is the best shot of the sunrise I managed.  It’s really hard to focus on ANYTHING when you’re driving 80+ miles an hour.  Plus, I may or may not have read the instruction manual for my camera.  Don’t judge me. 

 

sunrise

 

We took Will’s Scion XB and put the back seats down.  We had A TON of stuff to pack for 9 days for 2 adults and 2 dogs.  When we take the dogs anywhere, Guinness has a habit of standing up and putting his head in between the seats and drooling on Will and myself.  This is very annoying.  So we decided to put all the suitcases and luggage right behind the seats to create a barrier between us and the dogs.  They still had plenty of room, but of course they kept  sitting up to see us over all the bags:

Guinness is not amused by our craftiness, and Mia looks like she has a handlebar mustache because we were driving with the windows down.  It was nice and cool outside and this kept the car from smelling like dog too much.

We saw A LOT of this throughout the 10 hour drive:

 

This shows how much room they had back there.  Of course Guinness never let Mia have her own personal space, but how is that any different than any other time, really?

After a while, the dogs were getting bored and they were ready to be out of the car already (don’t worry, we made several stops for them to walk around and use the bathroom, we didn’t drive 600+ miles without stopping.)  We started to see more and more of this:

 

Will took this one from the drivers seat (I was holding the steering wheel) because it was so funny.  To me it looks like she is chuckling.

 

I can hear his thoughts “Are we there yet?”

 

“I’m booorrrreeeeed, Mommy, how long??”

 

We finally made it after a  loooonnnnnnggggg TEN HOUR car ride with two impatient dogs.  We went to my parents house and unloaded all of our things into the guest room and then we shot down to Will’s parents house b/c he was going to a Thrashers Game with his dad (Thrashers Won!!) and I went back to my parents house to RELAX.  While we were there, we got to see my Mom’s dogs.

Samson:

 

 

And Missy:

 

I love that little tongue!!

 

We spent the next 4 days at my Mom’s house, hanging out with family, eating waaayyy too much good food (I actually got my family to try edamame!! And they liked it!!!), and playing Wii Fit, Guitar Hero, Mario, card games, board games (Harry Potter’s Clue, anyone??) and Will and I went to see Bolt with his little brother and sister.  Oh yeah, we also cleaned up dog vomit.  Twice.  Because BOTH of our dogs ended up sick.  Mia was the perpetrator of the vomit and Guinness ended up with an eye infection and diarrhea.  What fun that was, let me tell you.  We had been invited to meet our first blogger friend  puddle of ink IRL (In Real Life, for those  of you who aren’t as nerdy as me), but unfortunately we couldn’t b/c the dogs were sick.  (Next time, I promise!!)

Tuesday night we opened Christmas Gifts with my parents.  My Mom bought us a Wii, Wii Fit, Guitar Hero World Tour for the Wii (she kept the drums and microphone, though) and the accessory kit for the Wii fit.  She also gave us a few games she had bought for the Wii and didn’t like, so we ended up with 6 games and a ton of accessories in the end.  My parents got CJ (my brother) and his wife Mandy a 42″ Samsung Plasma TV and the wall bracket.  She ended up getting a GREAT deal from HHGregg and got the tv for 600$ and the bracket for FREE!! My Mom is seriously one of the best bargain shoppers I know.  It amazes me sometimes.  Will was so freakin’ excited that my parents kept making jokes about Will kicking me out of the bed so that the Wii had a nice, warm place to sleep.  Or finding Will sleeping in the living room to keep the Wii company. Of course, before we got to open ours, Will was playing my Mom’s incessantly.  So much so that even Guinness protested:

So cute, right??  Anyhow, Wednesday morning,  we packed up the car again and spent the last 3 nights (was supposed to be 4, but Will wanted to go home early) at his parents house where our dogs got to see Riley, Will’s parents Great Pyrenees.  His breed is a cousin breed with Guinness’, the Bernese Mountain Dog, so we ended up with two HUGE, slobbery, high energy dogs in tiny spaces. Yay!  (on a side note, Will’s mom had a creme for Guinness’ eye that she had used when Riley had scratched his eye that she got from the Vet, and we used it on Guinness.  Within TWO days, his eye was pretty much back to normal.  The diarrhea went away, I think it was just from being nervous and stressed out about the traveling.)  Anyhow, check out Riley:

 

 

 

 

 

Adorable, right??

**DISCLAIMER**

I realize that I take a lot of pictures of animals, but that is only because NO ONE in mine or Will’s family really wants their pictures taken and EVERY time I put a picture of Will on here, he bitches.  But I’m standing strong and I’m posting some of the pictures from Christmas whether he wants me to or not (sorry, babe.  I love you!)

Christmas Eve, we had the gathering at Will’s grandmother’s house and then we spent the night at Will’s parents so that we were there Christmas morning to see the kids open their presents:

Morgan with her Tinkerbell Towels

 

And like any other 11 year old girl, 90% of her christmas was……

HANNAH MONTANA!!! OMG!!! I LOOOOVVVVEEEEEE HANNAH MONTANA!!!!! MILEY CYRUS IS THE BEST!!!!!!!

sorry.  the 11 year old in me was too excited to contain that much longer.

And of course, like any other 12 year old boy, Ryan got the typical Star Wars items:

We got him the first two books in a Star Trek series, just to round things out.

And like any good Christmas morning, there was one suprise gift for each of them:

Their very own Guitar Hero World Tour!!! Each of them got their own, because like true siblings, they would fight over just one.

And of course Will’s parents didn’t leave us out.  We also got Guitar Hero World Tour for the PS2, but since we’d gotten it for the Wii, Will’s Mom took it back and got us another Wii controller and the rechargable battery stand.  Will also got some socks, underwear, and boxers (staples from his mom every year) and I got a few shots of him opening his presents:

And hugging his sister:

 

Next up were Will’s parents.  His Mom got a new bracelet:

 

And his dad got a Garmin GPS System:

 

Everyone was pretty happy all around.  Can you guess what Will did next while we were waiting on his dad to make Christmas morning breakfast?? Did he help the kids set up their Guitar Hero??  Nah……..he did this:

 

Hooked up and played the Wii.   Because he couldn’t stop himself.  

We can’t leave out the dogs on Christmas.  Neither of our dogs got anything this year, but Mia wanted to make sure she got the proper amount of attention:

She started with Me before unwrapping began:

 

And then moved over to Will’s Dad for some affection:

 

And then over to Ryan:

 

And then over to Morgan:

 

And just to round things out, back to Mommy:

 

We spent the rest of the week at Will’s parents enjoying good food, good company, and LOTS of Wii. 

Friday, I saw some lifelong friends of mine for brunch, but I forgot my camera.  As soon as Ashley posts her pictures, I’ll link to them.

Saturday, we packed up and made the 10 hour drive home.  Since I was on the road and didn’t have any photoshop, I missed this week’s Exposaroonie challenge, but here are some Christmas-y pictures for your enjoyment:

A Nativity Scene from Will’s Parent’s front yard:

 

One of the blow up Santas with condensation from the rain on his face.  It made me laugh b/c it looks like sweat to me and he looks nervous.

 

And my favorite shot with the christmas lights.  This one was kind of accidental, but it ended up as my favorite.  It’s the one I would have chosen for the Exposaroonie Challenge  if I had made the deadline:

(Don’t forget to go over there and vote for your favorite!!)

 

And then I started “painting with light” using the Christmas lights.

 

I have a ton more of those, but I didn’t edit them and I figure you can only see so many before they get boring.  I did manage to get my tri-pod and my point and shoot camera w/ video from storage at my Mom’s house before we left, so hopefully I’ll be able to do a Vlog soon (video blog, for those of you who aren’t as dorky as me). 

Saturday when we arrived home, we got the key back from Trent and Nicole (they were checking in on the cats for us, did I forget to mention that??) and we walked in to find this:

 

 

 

Before we left, Trent had mentioned that they had bought Shae a new kennel because he was out-growing this one and I offered to buy the old one off of them, but instead, Mia got it for Christmas and we were able to throw away her old kennel that had a huge bump in the middle and now she has one that matches Guinness’, except smaller.  So, lots of thanks to Trent, Nicole and Shae!!  She likes this kennel A LOT more.  She has even started getting in it when she doesn’t have to and sleeping in there!!

Since this will be my last post of 2008, I thought I’d say THANK YOU to all the wonderful people I’ve “met” by starting this blog who have given me support and encouragement these past 7 months.  Here’s to another year!!

Time for some updates

* Wow, did this week fly by.  Will and I recently became friends with an awesome couple in our complex.  (You may remember Shae, the Vizsla from a previous post.)  Nicole and Trent are his owners, and this past week we have been hanging out with them a lot, letting the dogs play, and having a good time getting to know one another.  This is the first couple that Will and I have befriended together as a couple (I hope that made sense) and it’s a nice feeling.  Plus, they’re our neighbors and that is pretty convenient. 

Saturday night, Nicole was working so Trent came over and had dinner with us (veggie pasta and Caesar salad…yummy), and then Sunday night, Will was working, so they invited me over for dinner (chipolte-applewood bacon wrapped pork tenderloin w/ sweet potato fries and green beans…double yummy).  The dinner was delicious, even if it was double pork!!  I  am not usually a fan of sweet potatoes, but I LOVED those sweet potato fries and I plan on making them myself this week.  Since Trent travels a lot for his job and he is gone this week, we had dinner with Nicole again (home made pizza!) and then got ourselves lost in Guitar Hero until it was really late and we needed to go to bed.  Tonight, Nicole is flying out to meet up with Trent and go visit her parents, so we’re having Shae over for a furry sleepover!!  The dogs will be beyond excited and I’m sure I’ll take pictures.

** The official countdown has begun until I get to go home and see my Mom.  Will and I leave next Friday night and won’t return until the Sunday after Christmas.  We’re going to be home for 9 days and we’re driving in so that we can take the dogs with us.  My Mom has already planned on stealing Mia for the duration and Nicole and Trent are going to check in on the cats for us.  I can’t wait to go home.  Everyday I fax my Mom at work a “countdown” and today she beat me to it.

***I’ve been thinking about my Exposaroonie Challenge since I have to submit it by tomorrow and I have a few possibilities, and they are all items from my kitchen.  I don’t know if I’ll use one or if I’ll take something else at the last minute, but here’s what I have so far for Texture: (I wish I had a Macro Lens)

Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Raw Sugar

Raw Sugar

Rice Krispy Treat

Rice Krispy Treat

Scrub Brush

Scrub Brush

 Exposaroonie - Expose Yourself

 

**** This weekend, Will and I are going to a Christmas Party thrown by some of the regulars at Starbucks and we’ve been asked to bring something.  I’ve decided that I am making these Guinness Cupcakes.  I am changing a few things, though.  I read down through some of the comments and someone suggested using Bailey’s instead of milk in the frosting to give them more flavor and a creamier texture, so I’m going to do that.  Also, the recipe calls for brown sugar, but I’m going to use Raw Sugar instead.  I’ll let you know how they turn out and I’ll possibly take some pictures for you as well.

Furday Friday

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Will and I went to April and James’ and had a very nice time, but it wasn’t the same for either of us.  This was the first year EVER that we hadn’t been with our families on Thanksgiving.  We really missed them.  It makes me even more impatient for Christmas because we’ll be going home for 9 whole days!!

Anyhow, getting to the the four furry reasons I know you all visit here:

When we were getting ready to go to April and James’ for dinner yesterday, I had some trouble deciding which necklace to wear and I left the pearl one downstairs on the table since we were always running behind – and I came home to find the cats playing with them, so of course I snapped some pictures!!

sammy-with-pearls

 

 

One of these pictures with Olivia will be my Exposaroonie Challenge Submission – but you’ll have to head over there to find out which one!! 

Exposaroonie - Expose Yourself

Oh, Yeah…

I am using one of the wedding photos as my Exposaroonie challenge because I think that CJ and Mandy both look excited, happy, and full of EMOTIONS!!  So, don’t forget to submit yours before Friday! 

Exposaroonie - Expose Yourself

Exposaroonie Challenge – Framing

I have racked my brain all week about this challenge and finally I came up with an idea.  We have this playground in our complex that we have walked by when we are playing with the dogs outside and I decided to use the equipment there as a “frame” and take my photos.  Here is the one I am submitting for the Exposaroonie Challenge:

If I understood the challenge correctly, I needed to use outside objects to frame my subject to give depth and interest.  Hopefully, you can tell that she is in a tunnel and that the outside of it gives it some depth and a frame so to speak.  Go on over and vote for your favorite or, better yet, Expose Yourself!

Exposaroonie - Expose Yourself

 

And just so you can see, here are the other shots that I considered:

 

Since we were there, I decided to take some shots of the other equipment around the playground.  I didn’t want to edit out all the scratches and damage when I sharpened it so you could see them.  I may edit another version later and try to make it look ‘new’.

I think this one is supposed to be a hammer head shark?!?  I’m not sure what it is exactly, but it has a lot of acid rain damage on it’s head and it looks like it’s wearing a sailor’s hat and I’m not sure why it has polka dots on it’s side, but it’s definitely interesting.  I think I will go back and edit this one again later and try to get rid of a lot of that rain damage.  When I do, I’ll post for comparison.

Exposaroonie Challenge – Patriotic

I’ve exposed myself again….have you??

Exposaroonie - Expose Yourself

Stop by and vote for you favorite “Patriotic” Entry.  Here’s Mine:

This really cute mailbox is on my way to work and since the 4th, it has been holding these two American Flags.  I thought it would be perfect for this weeks challenge, but I felt really weird pulling into these peoples’ driveway and snapping a few photos of their mailbox.  I wanted to do it from the other angle to avoid all the distractions in the background, but there was a landscaping crew doing the neighbors yard and I would have gotten them in my picture instead and they were moving a lot, so I picked the best shot I felt I got(in a hurry, feeling like a weird stalker)

So, go on over and EXPOSE YOURSELF, why should I get to have all the fun??

There is a ringing in my ears

This past holiday weekend, Will’s family came into town.  I enjoy it when we have company, but for some reason, part of me also feels kinda hijacked.  I mean, our entire routine is busted, the television becomes property of whoever gets to it first and usually ends up on some kind of children’s cartoon that I do not understand, star trek, star wars, mash, airline documentary, or other falling-asleep-sitting-up-because-this-program-is-for-old-people tv show.  This weekend was no exception.  The house was filled with two yelling, whiny, kids filled with prepubescent attitude, two dogs terrorizing everyone with cold noses, wet tongues, and heavy paws on their feet, two adults yelling at the two kids, and Will and I yelling at the dogs, the kids, and the parents to “Sshhhh, be quiet, we’re right here, you don’t have to yell.” 

The weekend wasn’t all bad.  We had some good times when we got out of our tiny little townhome.  We went to the local turtle rescue, which honestly, I think I loved more than anyone because I LOVE turtles.  Especially sea turtles.  They were so cute and not only did I get to adopt one, but Will and I picked up volunteer forms!!(If this is a cause you are interested in, please donate.)  Of course, I in all the chaos of getting 6 people out the door, I walked right out and forgot my camera, so I didn’t get any pictures, but Will and I plan on going back, so I’ll get them then.

We also went to the movies, the boys all saw Indiana Jones and us girls went to see Wall·E which was super cute.  I loved it so much!!  A good time was had by all that day.  We took them to some of our favorite eateries such as Dune Dogs and Too Jays, and up to Stewart to play mini-golf and out for ice cream at Sloan’s.  The kids were in rare form most of the weekend with all the whining and fighting and crying and screaming.  I swear, it makes me so happy right now that Will and I do not have any kids.  I mean, the very minute that they left, the house went SILENT. Like a sonic boom in reverse. After Will dropped them off at the airport (at like 6:00 a.m.) he came home and we slept the undisturbed, perfect sleep of people without children until about 10:30.

Now, don’t think I’m complaining about them all the time, because usually they are much better behaved then they were this weekend, and usually I am not as irritable as I was this weekend.  This past visit was just a little hard on us all, I think, and we will have to all do better next time they come down which will be in October.  Will and I will be going back home at the end of this month for my brothers wedding on the first of August, so we will see them then.

Yesterday,  We took the dogs to the beach after we woke up, and of course I remembered my camera then.  I will post some pictures later from July 4th and the beach, I just have to go through them all.  Until then, go vote for your favorite photo in this week’s exposaroonie challenge.  I didn’t get a chance to take a photo this week, it was all to hectic, but I will be participating in next week.

Exposaroonie - Expose Yourself

Exposaroonie

Okay, I’ve offically entered into my first photo challenge at Exposaroonie. Go check it out! This weeks challenge is vibrant colors.  This is a photograph that I took in the cemetary where my grandparents are buried.  It is a very old, historic cemetary and this was the only real flower in the entire thing, so I laid down and took an undershot of it.  I really like how it came out, so I oversaturated it a little and brightened the hue, and added a border.  Hope you like it!! Go check out the other entries and vote for mine if you like it!

Orchid

 Exposaroonie - Expose Yourself