Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Champagne and Season's Greeting

Christmas is in full swing here at the Blanton casa and every hand is helping to make it something amazing!
This year Hubby we decided to go with a pink and champagne color scheme.
 I have to say, it turned out really pretty
 Even button seemed to want to join in on all the action (dirty dinner shirt included :D)

 These photos of the two of them putting thing together, together just makes me so in love.
 Did I mention being in love with this man. ha. Maybe its all the eggnog or Christmas music.
 Happy holidays and hope yours is are awesome as I know ours will be!

Monday, December 8, 2014

At the Top Looking Down

I learned something from my son today. He was standing at the bottom of the stairs struggling to drag a to-large-to-go-up-the-stairs toy up the stairs. As he tugged and cried at his failures I sat at the top of the stairs trying my best to not give in and just take the toy up for him. I cheered him on “you can do it", "that's too big to drag.. Try picking it up darling", "keep trying love... you almost go it" and things like that. As I sat there watching him I thought about Christ. I realized that I am so much still a toddler in my faith. So often I find myself trying to drag my worldly desires up the proverbial stairway to heaven. I frequently find myself crying, pouting at the bottom saying "why can't I have both", "it's to heavy God... Come get us so I can have both!” kicking and throwing a fit. Its ugly guys.
 But God is such a loving parent. He knows we need to figure it out on our own. So he sits at the top encouraging us all the way. We need to learn that it’s okay to leave those things at the bottom because (mommy) he will be at the top waiting to (snuggle) hold us. Those things will still be there... downstairs... for us to have, just not then. Sometimes we have to put aside the things we think we want to get the things we really need and desire; that doesn't always mean they won’t be waiting for us later (when we get up from our naps), just that they are weighing us down to get to where we need to go. It so easy to sit at the bottom and cry until someone comes and gets, give you a hand out and picks you up. But, sometimes it’s even more rewarding to learn that it’s okay to let go for a while, to overcome the tantrums and mature in our desires. I learned today, from my son, that I am so often that little toddler at the bottom of the stairs desperately struggling to drag my big massive toys up the stairs... when all I really want and need is the person at the top. 

Rose among Thorns

It's been a while, I know, I have been going through some stuff; Mostly about this here blog. I struggle with conflicting feelings. A part of me would never be satisfied without writing; without being heard, but another part longs to be heard and respected, to meet others and grow a community. That other part just doesn't seem to be happening here. So I stepped away for a while to try other things like vloging... but I miss writing. Even if I can't always get things right the first time and people give up on me.... I need to write. I find my emotions are clearer then when I do videos. I feel I can really say things and be myself while typing away. But the struggle is still there. People will come and go because "I have a hard time reading it"... well, I'm trying... and this place is for me too. I won’t be stopping because you are impatient or irritated. The ones that care will push though this struggle with me. I have challenges with writing and grammar... that doesn't make my voice invalid or unworthy; it means I'm human. If you don't like that, I get it. If it's "that bad" for you... move along. My words would be lost to your (most likely) shallow judgment anyways. For those that read regardless, that take me as I am (struggles and all), understand that I am human, I make mistakes... many mistakes, and still read, still sympathies with my views or find joy (or humor) in my story's, my life, then to you I hold the most gratitude. Thank you. Thank you for looking past my flaws and seeing the beauty in my words. Thank you for finding a rose among thorns and cherishing it enough to reach in again for more. You are my jewels; my passion. For you, and myself, I will keep writing. My voice is here.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

My Viking

I just had to share my adorable little viking with you all.
 We didn't have much of a Halloween since we live in DC and it turns out there is NO parking where the events are held and apparently children only go to the events not door to door (at least in our neighborhood) here. :( It was very sad and extremely stressful (to mommy and Button both) not being able to let him go door to door for his first Halloween.
 Alas, I dressed him up again the next day and took him to one of our favorite places, the arboretum, and had a fun little photo shoot just for the two of us (daddy was on a "me" date).
When I got home Darling took a look at them all and insisted I shared them :D. Button really is so animated and full of joy. Sometimes things don't go the way we want but usually there is always a way to make the best of things; and in this case, perhaps better then the original expectations. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Edgy Love

During the last week of Sep. I had the privilege of photographing my second wedding ever and oh my goodness was this couple fun! I had never actually been to a wedding were they had a cake fight but I highly recommended it to every soon to be bride! ha. it was hilarious and awesome to say the least! The couple is super into cars so it was fun to get a more modern and edgy look to this shoot than I normally do. I think it's stretched me in ways; to try and see things differently artistically. 






Friday, October 10, 2014

Compassion

As I watch my son interact with others I see how much compassion and changes that are going on around me and in him. Button is growing up so fast and there is just nothing I can do about it but to strive to encourage his caring, adventurous, and curious heart.
 We were at the park a couple of days ago and he was so enthralled with learning about and exploring the other children he hardly even played on the jungle gym at all. As always on our park dates, mommy sat back and snapped away while keeping a distant eye on things. What I captured, I pray, will never go away; that is, the spirit of an inquisitive and loving child. 
 There are so many changes and challenges that come with toddlerhood but I think we are both learning to grow and just find the joys of the little things. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Journey

We have just been taking the time to ring in the fall the right way, lot of outdoor time just enjoying the changing colors of fall and last strong hold of summer.

It's crazy how these photos were taken the same day! I'm really trying to soak in all that Dc has to offer (for free... because I'm a cheap mamma :P) before we head out to make the 'lone star" state home. I have only ever lived in one state all my life (if you don't count the District of Columbia as a state) so it will be such an adventure moving so far away. I'm just so glade we get to bring you all with us via the awesome mobility of the World Wide Web! Oh my goodness I'm getting jitters just thinking about it! :D Just that much closer to making our dreams come true! 
I will be posting some moving updates as the happen but I've got a baby shower to host this weekend and the fallowing weekend I'm shooting another wedding, that with chasing a munchkin (Button is totally in the toddler phase full on now!), keep the house tip top, editing photos, and prepping the house for a big move, life is moving so fast and I really want to take the time to make you all a part of that. This is so big for us. You all (or should I say "ya'll" now) deserve it and I wouldn't want to go on this journey without each and every one of you! <3

Monday, September 29, 2014

Just a bit of business

*I was not payed by anyone in any way at all to post these views of the products mentioned in this post. I'm just a photographer that is honestly excited about some nerdy photography job related stuff :P*

I finally took the big step from using Mpix to Millard's photo labs (Millad's is actually the professional labs for Mpix) and they sent me a whole pack on all the sweet details of what my products I can offer in the future!

Not only did I get tester prints but I also received samples of all the different papers and finishes they offer,
which, I can now show as examples to clients!

It wasn't long before I started dreaming of adding this and that to my print packages and thinking but new ones too! It was a lot to go over but it was nice to have a little business partner to help go though it all. ha.
For now I am going to hold off on any new changes to my business (other then where my prints are coming from) until we are all moved in to the new locations. But, I am so excited about all the possibilities that I just had to share it with you all!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Heavy Hearts and Little Woes

My little man has a fever. Its breaking my heart to see him this way but more than that it is breaking my heart to know it could be worst; Babies who are abused or neglected or starving or have to have extensive care and shots. :( I can't imagine the trauma those poor babies have been though in their short, first years of life. I thank God we didn't have to go through that or have our little Button hurt so much. Thank God our child is safe and has such strong woes over such small pains (his fever only got up to 100 and has been stagnant at 98.5 all day today so it has never been high enough to go to the dr. or medicate... which would be 100.2 or higher) and will never know what’s is like to only have ONE choice of food to eat or a snuggle-less day, or stronger pains then a icky stomach. My heart is heavy today.
I see my son crying, begging to be held and I rock him, shushing him and patting his back. He fell asleep crying last might, laying on my pillow beside me and holding my hand. There are children falling to sleep with no mommies hands. No soothing or comfort or hungry and restless or in pain. That child might be my child far away. One of my babies, safe in his mommies arms, sick and sad but comfortable and confirmed in his love, the other, far away, sad and longing. But it’s not just my children... it's all of them.
My little Button is sick, but I'm so blessed to know that this, only this has been the worst of his woes. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Moving Fast

Life has been good... but busy. I have had the blessing of shooting my sisters maternity photos, asked to be a bridesmaid in a wedding, and shooting two wedding within the next few months. That along with packing, trying to find Darling a job and a house for us, working out traveling planes, working on the garden, planning holiday gifts and treats (yeah... I know... way too early :P), and chasing around a 1 1/2 year old, life has got me stumped. Things are starting to look up. Even though I cry at the idea of even holding a baby (that actually happened *sigh*) I know our life is blessed and moving forward each and every day. I find that with work and being a stay-at-home mom, blogging is really something I have to MAKE time for. I want to do it more and I say that a lot... and really really mean it. This is my little escape. It's my referee after a long day and, in a way, my diary to look back on and remember fondly our life and how far we have come and how far we are going. I love it. And I love all my readers. So, even when it gets hard I will fall back on this.
I digress. I came here to share a little sunshine with you all. Here is a few of my favorite shots from my simple stunning sister's photo shoot. 




She really does have that "mommy glow". I think sometimes we get so caught up in the now that it’s hard to step back and really relish in each moment. These photos help me just take it slow. Soon enough this little child will be stealing my heart and playing with his/her cousin(s) and chasing chickens in our backyard. It will happen too soon and not soon enough but for today I am just so blessed to be a part of this baby’s and his/her mother's life. Life is good... and busy, but it’s the busiest moments that make me realize how truly important it is to capture those moments; because it’s the busiest moments that go the fastest. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

In a Pickle

One of the major reasons we want to move is to become more selfishness so we have been doing a lot of things to prepare ourselves for that new lifestyle. There is a lot of big changes that come with homesteading!
Yesterday we ventured into just a small part of what it’s like to create something of our own to provide for our family.

I had saved up a ton of cucumbers from our garden and picked up a few canning supplies. All in all, it DID end up costing more than if we had just bought the pickles but in hindsight, I'll never have to buy a pair of canning tongs, canning pot or jars again (we plane on re-sanitizing and reusing the jar and rings even though we still have to buy the lids) so all in all I say it was worth it.
I'm so excited we got to do this and look forward to putting all my future abundance of crops to good us (I'm think'n spaghetti sauce!). My house still smells of vinegar and it was a bit time consuming but all in all I think it was a labor of love and I can honestly say this won’t be my last canning experiment.


We made pickles! Bread and butter variety actually (which is my favorite but I'm not so sure now that I know how much sugar goes into making them!). 
As for how to make pickles and can them I used 'Simple Recipes' recipe/ guide. It turned out great. Our pickles are just a bit less crunchy than I would like but I know that that was my fault. The longer you keep the cucumbers in the hot vinegar bath the less crunchy the get. Let’s just say I didn't realize how long it actually takes jars to come to a boil (to sanitize them) and ended up having to let the pickles sit a bit while the jars boiled. -.- lesson learned. 
Sometimes when I think of being a homesteading wife I think 'Anne of Green Gables', living Amish, and using a butter churner. Save me! but when I step back and see what I can do and thank God for my washing machines several times a day and dishwasher, I realize it can be so much more than that. I think how accomplished I feel to provide something for my family and have made something of value out of my hands.
Yesterday we took a small step into the way we have always dreamed of living and you know what... it was a lot less scary and a lot more fun than I thought it would be. Now I'm going to have a pickle. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Planning In the Rain

It has been pouring all morning here. It's so much needed for my growing garden though so I don't mind. This gives me more time to get some much needed "little" stuff done. You see, Darling and I are planning on moving soon! To Texas! We have always dreamed of owning a homestead somewhere to raise our children and teach them about hard labor and creating a home not just a house. So, today, I have been planning some stuff for our future homestead. Manly I have been researching ideas on how to be more self-sufficient and sustaining like making our own cheese, raising chickens and cow (not sure about that one for now), making soaps and cleaners, and canning goods. There's a lot to learn if I want to be a good homestead wife! Part of what we plan on doing is owning quite a bit of land and only supplementing our food with store bought goods. This mean we need to grow, make, or raise most of what we will bring to the dinner table. So, I have been working hard to make a list of what we will need to grow, when they are to be planted, harvest, and how many to grow of each plant. To make things just a little easier I designed this simple spreadsheet to keep that that information easily accessible to find and use.
Here's what it looks like
You can download your own copy from the link above... you know... for all the other organize/ garden nerds out there ha. 
I know it’s simple but it's totally something I haven't seen around and thought would be useful for me... so I made one. I also used this site to assist with filling it in along with a few other random ones for the plants it didn't have (like blackberries and lavender). 
So who else is planning for next year’s adventures already? Any big vacations? weddings? A big move?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Healing

Summer is in full swing here. I know we are two months away from fall but don't tell my garden that! We have been in busy bee mode the last month just getting into the sprite of caring for our garden and focusing on the future together. It’s such a nice, relaxing, enjoyable thing we can do together as a family. Even Button has gotten in on some "helping" (i.e. picking up dirt and rocks and tossing or dropping them places). During a period of not doing much at all but being on bed rest and pelvic rest fallowing a period of depression the garden took a beating. No water made for wilting herbs and no weeding resulted in a vine burrower problem and over abutments of grass. 
So, we got to weeding. We cut dead plants back, did some much needed surgery on the squash and buried that part to allow for new growth, and started watering daily. We even decided to raise part of the squash vines up onto the fence with a little bit of picture hanging hardware and some careful maneuvering. 
I will have to get photos of how beautiful that looks now.
Our labor is paying off.



I even planted some things in the main bed at last. Though the summer is nearing an end and loss of these flowers will not yield much, I feel hope. We have three squash growing and a cucumber almost ripe. In a way, it’s a relief to see something growing and prospering in our lives... even if it’s just our garden. But, in a way, it’s not just that; our marriage is, our child is learning and growing out there and so is my spirit. Some days it’s hot... really hot and I don't want to go out and water plants... but I do. I do because when I'm out there I feel successful. I feel worthwhile and capable. I go into my garden and know that I can grow things. I can make something beautiful and so the healing begins.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Grieving

I miss writing. I have so much on my heart right now and not enough words to say them. 
We lost our third baby. I was five weeks and 4 days along and not even ready to open up and really tell people we were expecting but my heart is grieving... my body is hurting and grieving... and it will take time. Time to feel again, to not look at my son with longing sad eyes and dream of days that will not be. Two children I will never have missing from our family photos. Two siblings my son will never know or play with. I can't type it. Not now. I can't see though tear stained eyes. But I am not gone. Just grieving.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Garden Progress

The crops are finally starting to bloom and I am just so excited to see all the fruit we will yield!
I also found out something I didn't know abut squash... the flowers close at dusk and open at dawn! I love watching them "wake up" each day with new, giant, yellow flowers for me. There is about six flowers now and quite a few buds which I will inevitably and reluctantly have to pluck off before they bloom (so I get a full, healthier crop instead of a big crop with smaller fruit).

The green beans are even starting so grow fruit already. I had no idea the flowers looked so much like snap dragons but I love it!
You can see in the above photo that right now the green beans are smaller then the leaves. They have a while to go but it is exciting to see my diligence being payed off. Especially when the other side of the flower bed still has itty bitty baby sprouts of plants (zucchini, cucumber, and peppers to be exact).

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Just Keep Dancing

This is a post I have wanted to write for a while now but never felt like it was the right time and when it did feel like the right time I was, honestly, scared. I don't know why but something about announcing your goals and dreams to the whole world makes it harder if/when those dreams don't come true. I know that that is a negative way to look at life and that is why I am writing this. Hubby and I want to adopt. We have wanted to adopt for some time now (three years for him and a lifetime for me). I never wanted to talk about it, in part, because Darling has been on the 'fence' about it ever since we married. Even before then, when we would talk about it when we were dating and engaged.
Some people ask us why we want to adopt; in fact, most people ask us that. I can see it in their eyes. They look at me, then Darling, then Button and even when they don't ask you can see them "asking"... 'Why would you adopt... you can have children', 'don't you want your own children', 'aren't your biological children enough', 'why not save those children for people who can't conceive'. That last one bothers me the most! Why, because in this day and age adoption is NOT the first go to option for families that cannot conceive; in vitro fertilization is. Most couples now days make adoption their very last option if a donor or in vitro or pretty much any other means of conceiving is not possible. So no, I'm not going to sit by while my baby is overseas hoping he/she will be some infertile family's last hope. I’m not saying it is wrong for those families to do that. It is their choice; but that does not make me a bad person for knowing that God has put aside a child from another mother, overseas, just for our family. I know that. I know that my baby will be from China, I know that we want our baby to be a middle child (we are hoping for a large family, God willing). We don't know what our baby will look like; if it will be a boy or girl or how old he/she will be (we are looking between ages nine months- three years). We don't know how long it will take to bring out baby home or what it will be like when he/she gets here. But what we do know is that this is what is right for us. We love Button with all our hearts, yes, our biological child is loved. No, we will not love our adopted child more or less than any of our other babies. Yes, we want our "own" children... just, one of them is overseas. That is how we see it. That child IS our child. No he/she did not come from my womb but that child did come for our family, that child is in my heart... even now. Before he/she is even born just as all our other children are. In all intents and purposes, God made that child for us. That child is mine. Yes one of our babies will have two sets of parent and we may even find out who those parents are but to us, that does not mean that child was not a God given gift to our family.
I say all this because; though we cannot start the adoption process for some time (both parents must be 30... I just turned 25), it is on my heart a lot lately. I worry, like any parent, how I will provide and come up with the funds to adopt; I think about how my child will feel about me. I wonder what kind of big/little brother or sister our baby will be.
My sister gave me a gift a while ago, a little dancing panda for our car. 


Every time I get in the car I'm reminded of my baby out there waiting for mommy, far across the sea. I'm reminded to dance though this wait, to not become complacent but continue to live my life for the little one I have now but to never let go of that dream. That my God will provide once that time comes. Just keep dancing and one day our family will be whole.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

His Work

The landlord is having some stuff fixed up so I've had to stay home all last week and today instead of going out with Button. The up side to that is that the house is getting super cleaned and I have been able to take two more photography classes in the last couple of days. Sometimes I get negative thoughts in my head; 'no one likes your work, that's why you don't get work' or 'everyone you know is too cheap to see the value in your work'. I know that is not true. I know that more than ever. No one said it was going to be easy running my own business. No one said it was going to be cheap or quick success. It's hard. 
Then there are moments like this,

 where I see the beauty in simple life. When I get that passion again; that desire to keep that moment forever and share it with others. When I know what I captured is beautiful, not because of my work but because of HIS work that I get to capture. This is why I don't give up. These are the moments that make me keep going despite my own disillusions and harshness.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Rocky Situation

 Spring is starting to turn into summer. I really don't want to write this post because it is so pathetic but I gotta keep things real. I am still not done with my garden. *sigh* While I have planted all my herbs in pots already along with the blackberry bush in a large pot, removed the wood chips from all the beds, tilled most of all the beds, and planted the two smaller beds, this, is what my main bed still looks like. 
It is only partly weeded and tilled and rocks removed. The plus side is that I did finish on the other small, long side about a week ago and now it looks like this.


I mean, I would love to have all my garden looking like this...




but alas, I procrastinate, the rain keeps falling and making it hard to work in the soggy soil, and I'm fighting a hard battle with the slew of pebbles the earth spits at me. Yeah, my ground has so many stupid little rocks in it that I took a left over moving box and have filled it half way full of little rock! errrg. So, my garden is still not all planted.
I want to be honest with you all. Life isn't perfect even when its bliss. We will still have a crop; it might not be a large or multiple harvest but it will come and I will finish the garden...before winter. 

So far I have planted:

basil
thyme
parsley
oregano
cilantro
chives
blackberries
winter squashes (including butternut, spaghetti, and acorn)
green beans
sweet peppers
zucchini
cucumbers

In the big bed I plane on growing all the greens, tomatoes, sunflowers, and chamomile and in another large put, lavender.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Last Day

During our last day on vacation we all just spent time relaxing. We sat around on the big wrap around porch, grilled out for lunch and just enjoyed each others company in general.

It was such a nice ending to an amazing vacation.

Later in the afternoon my mother and I walked around main street 
(which was only about four blocks from their house!) and found one of the most unique books stores I had ever seen 

It was literally filled top to bottom and bottom to top with books. So many I would never even read all the labels in a life time much less all the books themselves!
When we got home my parent took us out to eat at one of their favorite local restaurants. It really was a great ending to an amazing time we had there. I can't wait until next time we get to come visit but, at the same time I'm so happy to be home; even if it has been raining almost every day.