I think I am in desperate need of a vacation, a change of scenery, a new place to explore to recharge my batteries. I dream of just getting in my car and driving somewhere, anywhere… of hopping on a plane bound for a quiet beach where I can read, relax and contemplate the state of my life, my mind, my heart (all of which have been battered and bruised a bit these past few months, to put it lightly). It scares me a bit to go it alone … what if I come back more melancholy than I already am ? I am most definitely not good company these days.

I’ve been kind of introspective lately. Ok. Lies. VERY introspective. This frame of mind is completely not the norm for my bubbly, social butterfly self. I normally love being around people, sharing my thoughts and ideas, laughing and reminiscing. Lately, I find myself detached, even in a crowd of close friends. It’s not that I don’t love them, it’s just that I’m finding it hard to be transparent and sharing of myself. I’m being a horrible friend lately, but I just can’t help it. I don’t really feel like sharing.

I have a four day weekend which begins tomorrow. I was supposed to go to NYC, and that isn’t happening. I could still go. Normally I would still go, I adore NYC …  but it just  seems so … noisy. I definitely do not need to add to the noise already going on in my busy brain.

So maybe I will wake up tomorrow morning, get in my car and drive somewhere. A beach. A lake. A mountain. A spa. I wish I could go on a weekend yoga retreat b/c that seems to be my only saving grace lately, my only way to focus my thoughts. Immersing myself in yoga practice for days would just be … lovely.

I have so many obligations this weekend – a get together in the evening for a good friend who’s in town, a 45th anniversary party for one of my bestie’s parents, church on Sunday, School shopping for Con, editing photos which I need to finish up for a client … the list always goes on.

I’m so tired of that list. I’m just so tired period.

Sieze the carpet of cherry blossoms …

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The sun was setting and it was a gorgeous evening in late May. I was enjoying myself immensely, playing outside with my favorite littles, Naomi & Jude. My sister in law noticed that her neighbors yard was gloriously carpeted in pretty pink cherry blossoms and hinted that I might want to run home to grab my camera. I took one look, and knew I had to seize this moment. In fact, I’m so happy I did, because it poured cats and dogs over night, ruining the delicate blossoms.

After bribing Naomi with promises of candy, she happily obliged donning a pretty princess dress. I ran home to grab my Nikon.

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I was so happy she chose this dress, it was perfect for the delicately pink petals carpeting Ms. Kathy’s yard. I think I bought this dress for her for Easter last year. (N’omi has a penchant for pretty dresses, the more tulle, the better ;)) Fancy frocks are her play clothes. It is nothing to find her playing in the sandbox, running around the yard, or riding her bike dressed to the nines. One of the traits I love most about my funny little niece is that every little thing she does is full of drama and imagination. She is always full of songs, belting them out at the top of her lungs, always dancing around, creating a story with her toys. I wish all humans could keep this sense of wonder about them as they age.

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My only sunshine had a ball rolling around and tossing the petals in the air. Even the adorable Jude joined in on that fun. It was such a perfect evening. I might be a wee bit biased, but I think these are my most favorite images that I have ever shot.

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There is not a day that goes by that I don’t send God a prayer of thanks for sending me all the kiddos in my life, my own boy and my nieces and nephew. They are all quite amazing, with funny little quirks and huge personalities. I enjoy watching them grow with the years that pass and often wish I had found my passion for photography earlier in life, when C. Monster was wee. However, I am happy it is my passion now, and that I get to use that passion to freeze moments like that perfect evening in May. :)

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The lighthouse at Charlotte

We met at the old lighthouse behind Holy Cross in Charlotte. I’ve been dying to take some photos there. Plans were changed last minute because the beach was completely mobbed with Wednesday night gazebo concert go-ers.

B ran out of the van to give me a hug. I haven’t seen him since he was a wee baby of 8 months. It was super sweet ! I think July is my favorite time of year, because it’s usually when I get to photograph the Mullins family. Jill is the sister of one of my best friends in the world, and July is when they pay a visit from down south. I’ve known her for 20 years and love that I’ve gotten to watch her grown from a freshman in high school into an amazing mom of four :)

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Not only are they absolutely gorgeous, ALL of them, but all are just really really good people. The kiddos always make me smile and are super into “helping” me stage the shoot. Alivia is usually the director, always giving me dramatic poses. This year, Noelle stepped in and had some pretty great ideas herself, along with some super funny faces :)

It’s always fun to take their photo year after year and see how they’ve all grown. I can’t wait to work on this session over the weekend !

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Adventures in Vegas

 

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A great friend turning 40 and wants to head to Vegas to celebrate ? Count me in ! I was super excited to travel with some amazing people to ring in Holly’s big 40.  We had a complete blast. :)

It was my first visit to Vegas, and I can definitely say, I am not really a Vegas girl – I’ll take the beach, a comfy beach chair and a pile of books over the hustle and bustle any day ! Or quite possibly a week in Paris, Italy or Ireland (these places begin my travel bucket list). Or even a weekend sitting by the lake or on a mountain top. I need nature, water, and green trees like I need air.  However, I am happy I got to experience things like Ghost Bar, an excellent dinner at Tao and an evening enjoying Cirque du Soleil’s Mystere with some of my favorite people ! The performance artists were absolutely amazing ! I was in awe !

Speaking of Cirque du Soleil,  why did I not know that being an Aerial Ribbon Dancer was a career choice ? I so would have chosen this, had I known. I would have totally run away and joined the Cirque du Soleil. Completely bummed about this ;) I think this shall be on my photography bucket list, along with having the chance to photograph ballerinas, I’d love to photograph aerial artists ! Anyhow … moving on … ;)

It was hard being away from home on Easter. I missed out on our annual family scavenger hunt, which looked to have been a hit again this year ! I always enjoy watching the kiddos trying to figure out the clues.  My sister is great at making it awesome every year ! I also missed being away from my kitty cats (this is ridiculous, I know, but I do love them). I found it strange that I got SO homesick when I am always dying to go somewhere, anywhere ! I am the sort of person who could travel the world, soaking in all the various cultures, but Vegas makes me homesick ?!?! I definitely think it was more an issue of timing than anything else.

Above is a photo of the Eiffel Tower at the Paris hotel. I loved that place ! It was SO COOL ! I am dying to go to the real thing, btw ! We all went all the way to the tippity top observation area, and even I got a little scared of the height. The view was spectacular ! I wish we would have made the trip to the top at night, the lights would have been awesome ! If I ever am in Vegas again, I’d love to stay here :)

 

I haven’t posted anything in a while … no photos, no updates. I suppose I’ve had a bit of writer/photographer block lately. I’ve been working very hard editing some wedding photographs, which I finished up last week. My clients loved them, and that made me feel so great ! Wedding photography is hard. Wow. But the reward is so worth it. I just love getting to capture a celebration of love like that :)

Sometimes I write these little update posts because I want to be able to look back and remember certain things, certain moments, random thoughts and memories, likes and dislikes… here are a few that have struck me lately …

My sister in law’s father, whom I always call “Pap”, mostly because all the kiddos do, has been having some major health issues lately. Dementia at any age is an awful thing, for someone in their early 60’s, it is particularly devastating. We have all been reeling with how fast this thing is progressing, but we have been trying to revel in the happy memories and moments with him over the years. Pap always took a particular interest in C. Monster, and taught him some tunes on the guitar. Conno plays them often and after sharing that thought with my SIL, she told me that he never taught anybody else those things. It brought a tear to my eye thinking that Pap’s music will live on in Connor. Maybe Connor will pass them down to future generations. Maybe one day Jude will pick up a guitar and want to learn and his big cousin, Conno, can teach him Pap’s tunes. That thought brings a little smile to my face, because boy does my nephew adore his Pap !

Speaking of my nephew … Jude is 3. Do you happen to know any 3 year olds who are obsessed with the Titanic ? This is not a normal thing. Although a wee bit morbid, it is rather amusing to me. Jude-ah loves it. He wants to watch the movie (with most parts fast forwarded by the really-tired-of-watching-that-freaking-movie grownups in the key places, you know the naked lady drawing and ummmm, the people dying everywhere because the boat is sinking ? Ummm. Yeah. Jude things the Carpathia rescued all the passengers and everybody lived happily ever after.

I walked in the house last week and he grabs my hand and says “Aunt Michelle, help me !” and drags me upstairs to his room. He then has me carry ALL his Titanic books and about 20 pieces of copy paper with various Titanic pictures he has colored printed on them. He carries around this pile of papers everywhere. He then instructs me to read all the books to him, complaining when I say “S is for Sea Captain and not the correct line in the book, S is for Captain Smith” (yes, he knows the captain of the Titanic’s name). (Random thought … the ABC’s of the Titanic … really ???) After making me read the books to him (I really didn’t mind), he then instructs his mama to draw him the Titanic. He is a 3 year old dictator in the drawing instruction process, let me tell you. Below is the Titanic “Family” he ordered me to draw for him a few weeks ago … haha !

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He’s shouting “NO ! It needs lights ! Where’s the crow’s nest ? More lights !! Draw a hole ! Draw an iceberg .. NO!  The iceberg has to be bigger and make the hole ! … ” and on and on the instructions go … He is such a funny little boy. :)

Meanwhile, Naomi is as dramatic as ever. That little girl is destined for Broadway. I took all the kiddos to see Frozen a few weeks ago, and she came out singing. So did Hannah Joy, actually. Nay sings “Let it Go” with all the gusto of a professional, complete with arms dramatically thrown above her head or open wide, eyes closed, singing to the heavens. She has always been a little song bird. I remember when she was two and obsessed with The Sound of Music and would command “Sing ‘A Female Deer’ !!!!!!” (Do Re Mi) and you’d sing a long with her over and over and over again … it was hysterical !

Hannah Joy is getting more grown up by the day. She will be taller than me at 12, I’m sure of it. On Friday night, she asked if I’d stay and watch Thor 2 with her. I love that even though she is 11, she still wants to snuggle with me on the couch. We snugged and watched the movie, which was awesome ! There was a shirtless Thor scene and Hannah says “Oh, he’s shiny !” … Indeed, he is ;)

Melissa and I are always trying to share with her the most glorious things of our childhood, like hair curlers and making friendship bracelets and other various stuff of the 80’s … Sunday was Boy Band day. We played her Backstreet Boys songs and New Kids on the Block songs. She wasn’t impressed. I think that Hannah wouldn’t have been our friends when we were younger  ;) We definitely weren’t cool enough for her !

This posting turned into a total random and rambling update about my family … but I love them all to pieces and want to remember every detail. I’m so bad about cataloging it all … I want to be better, to write more about them and how amazing they all are :)

Here are a few photos :)

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I’ve recently begun going through some older photos that I haven’t had a chance to edit or photos that I’m simply not happy with, files which I’d like to re-edit. Sometimes, revisiting the old ones makes me feel more inspired, more creative and makes me want to give those “meh” shots new life.

I shot this one while on a walk in Turning Point Park on the River. I remember that day because it was freezing and windy. Getting down the icy, steep hill to the path was treacherous. It was a rather grey day, not much color to be found anywhere. Not even in the sky. I love when I find a pop of color like this in a dull winter landscape … :)

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