Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My very own tool man and crock pot pulled pork.

Nothing like a quick power outage to spoil a crock pot dinner only a few hours into the cooking process. That's how my life feels right in this moment, but it's a moment, and it'll surely pass. I was able to salvage the dinner, cook the rest on high (it was fully cooked when I found it, just not pull-apart), and enjoy pulled pork sandwiches with homemade coleslaw (I never knew it was that easy) on kaiser rolls.

Lemonade out of lemons friend.

Thank goodness I married my very own tool man. Home Improvement was a favorite show of mine as a youngin'. I always wanted a humorous husband who was good with tools... and that people, I got. Now, a truck to drive home such projects... we improvise. He at least knows how they drive in Compton now.

Miles has been enjoying cooking a lot. Beware, this kiddo is going to make some amazing meals when he can work with real food. He has been helping out in the kitchen and he's pretty spot on with his cake recipe.

Don't mind his reaction. He was in the middle of explaining his recipe for the soup on the stove there.

And most evenings and weekends I've spent cuddling with my Rubes. I cannot believe how lucky I am to have a pup who is so intelligent (already knows sit, down, stand) after one night of home training. I kept my notes from my 8-week course with Bambi eight years ago (alongside rotties and pit bulls no kidding); I've been using those and it's working perfectly. She walks on a leash nicely, looks at Miles like he's a nut, and has spent time with my mom's dogs without issue.

Ruby dooby, you're awesome.

I haven't gotten much in, in the way of working out, but those moments are starting to return to my schedule. I've been walking outside when I can; Ruby makes that easier. And I'm looking forward to the snow and getting out on a trail or two soon.

So much for better content, ha. This is all I've got for now, but spring is coming...

- kate -

Friday, January 16, 2015


One of the concepts I've been holding tightly too this winter is that life is a series of seasons. We go through time periods of change, stagnation, setbacks, and tremendous growth.

As I was mulling within a setback this fall, my friend Liz said, "it's just the season you're in." This age, this position, this season in parenting and in life. It's a season we'll be out of in a few years, but a season to be enjoyed nonetheless like any other season.

As days are sometimes difficult, I remind myself that this is just "the season I'm in" and that it will not last forever. Nothing is permanent. Everything is always changing.

Raising a toddler/young child is challenging. Deciding the next steps for your own professional life or path, on top of the transitions in other areas of life is also challenging. Put it all together and it makes for a messy season of change.

A season nonetheless. One that'll be over before I know it, but feels like it'll never end while in it.

- kate -
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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Thankful for the moments.

I'm always thankful to have Chris and Miles in my life. Often times, we are amused and surprised by Miles' thoughts and expressions.

I am thankful for moments like these...

One evening at dinner, Miles started throwing his dinner in the air to catch it in his mouth.

He of course missed each time to have food land on the table or the floor (thankfully, Ruby was a great vacuum).

Said dinner was homemade southwestern black bean egg rolls (my favorite!).

We did our best not to encourage his fraternity like habits before the age of three, but we couldn't help but laugh as we asked what he was doing. "Catching my food," he replied.

We have never done that ourselves, mostly because we miss, so I'm not sure where he picked up that idea...

Moments like these help me to remember the fun in life, and not to take it all too seriously. Thank you Miles for that simple reminder :)

- kate -
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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Slowing down to a halt.

It's so strange to be in a state of limbo. It's permeated several areas of my life, while I wait for the days to pass and the next step to reveal itself.

I've been spending time reading personal development blogs like Raptitude and Altucher Confidential while I wait to begin again. To start fresh. To remember what I enjoyed about my work before, and bring that into a new space once again. Hoping to be embraced and hoping to continually learn in the process.

Very few times in life do we stop and take a breath. It's hard for me to slow down, let alone sit in a standstill for any amount of time. It's provided opportunity for deeper reflection on my decisions, my values, and my desires.

I may have been slowed to a halt, stuck in the traffic of it all, but soon enough things will start moving along again. It's the perfect season for such a derailment, as the winer gets even colder and the days quiet down after the holidays, maybe it's the perfect time to say that it's okay to just stop, ponder, and listen.

Take a moment and listen. You might be surprised by what you hear.

- kate -
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Friday, January 9, 2015

Eat anything you want, just cook it yourself.

I've been watching a few RSA Animate videos, and I love this one I came across that includes Michael Pollan's thoughts.

Often times, I'm made fun of for cooking or baking things I could just as easily buy in the store and save time on (not usually money, if the ingredients are good). I like to cook and bake, one because I get to enjoy the process, but also because I can choose the ingredients and I eat far less junk food if I have to make it myself. Homemade banana ice cream anyone?

The entire week I've eaten probably the best I've eaten in the past year. Breakfast smoothies consisted of kale, frozen banana, chia seeds, flax seeds, natural peanut butter and almond milk. Snacks all day and lunch consisted of Granny Smith apples, carrots, dressing, celery, peanut butter, a few days of pita and pb, unsweetened applesauce, pineapple, nuts, and water. Dinner hasn't been perfect, but we did cook two nights this week, and I'm hoping to get in more homemade meals next week. We're still working out our planning kinks.

I'm not trying to be a perfect homemaker, but it feels good to slowly return to our normal and load up at the farmer's market again these days. I feel more energized than I did over the break, and I feel less bloated. Now, of course, watching him cook those fries put me in the mood for some... I might just have to makes some sweet potato ones this weekend.

Enjoy your weekend!

- kate -
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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Meet Ruby.

I started off the week with an amazing 1 mile run, with a 1/2 mile warm-up and cool down at 8% incline. Yep, I'm back to short miles people. It's okay, I'm embracing the 5k distance this year, so I'll be hovering under 5 miles for much of the duration. I sang and danced on the treadmill much to the laughs of those around me. I'm glad I could be the entertainment while people pushed aside their discomfort. A long cry from my first day in the gym, intimidated, ha.

It was heartbreaking to lose Bambi last year, as she was such an integral part of our lives. After she passed, I spent a lot of time visiting shelters, meeting dogs who never seemed interested in me, and being denied for adoption applications because I had a young child and most shelters do not want to adopt small dogs to families with young children.

Miles is different. He's been around small dogs since the day he was born. He treats them with kindness, but mostly ignores them. And I don't tolerate animal cruelty by any child, mine included. It's hard to convey that in a five minute conversation with a shelter, and thus I was left wondering if we'd ever find a perfect fit for our family.

We went on vacation to Florida for the holiday break, but came home to an empty house. Chris didn't seem to mind, but I felt the quietness grow louder.

Then, I applied for "Ruthie"... and was approved to meet her in her foster home.

She licked my finger the first time we met, and actually seemed interested in smelling Miles and finding out who we were. My mom instantly bonded with her. She is so gentle, calm, relaxed, and easy going. I'm sure over time she'll come out of her shell, but right now, she's just loving and sweet. And well, she reminds me of an old man minus the grumpiness.

The funny thing is, when I saw her photo I never got my hopes up. I thought, well, we'll see. I didn't want another fearful aggressive Chihuahua that I had to worry about grooming, or even being around other dogs and children. Bambi was great, but she came with a bag of issues that I did not want to deal with again.

My mom spoke to Miles before his nap yesterday about meeting Ruthie, but he kept correcting my mom and telling her that the dog's name was "RUBY!" not Ruthie. Up until this point, any time I took him to meet a dog, he said either the dog's shelter name or just, yep, it's "Dog" and showed little interest. We even met a big dog, but he said, "Nope, Mom, tooooo big." Which he was right. I'm not a big dog kind of gal.

Miles showing Ruby how much money he has in his wallet.

So, after meeting Ruthie for a half hour and getting to know her, realizing she's so easy going (wears a sweater with ease, you can touch her paws, collar, ears, teeth! without a snarl) and that she is crate-trained and almost housebroken... I uttered the words, "I'd love to adopt her if that's okay."

We did all the paperwork and Miles told her, "Your name is Ruby!" and then promptly asked the woman for a cookie (for himself). He's not shy, even though Ruby may be a little.

She's had a long journey from the south, but she's home now. She's funny looking to me with terrier white hair and chihuahua black hair, but I am looking forward to a long friendship together. She's already been to PetSmart to shop and I've spent more time outdoors than I have all winter... in single digit temps. We'll see how she does today.

And, like I mentioned earlier, we spent a week in Florida in slightly warmer temps over the holiday break visiting Aunt Bubbles and Uncle Jerry. Miles was a crack-up. He did so well during the 17-19hr drive each way, telling jokes and keeping us laughing. This kid will get to Disney in a few years :D

I feel like the Grinch... and my heart grew three sizes yesterday.

Happy New Year.

- kate -
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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2104 Wrap-Up and Looking into 2015

2014 was a year of ups and downs, but looking back it had more downs than ups. We started the year staying with my mom, unsure of where our forever home would be or when we'd find it. Throughout the winter, there were misunderstandings which compounded my seasonal doldrums. When spring finally came, someone I looked up to highly passed on without notice. We lost an amazing person in our family and it stings a bit to this day.

From that moment on, our focus shifted and our priorities were realized. We found our forever home and through a long bidding/closing process we settled in at the end of the summer. The school year started with a new job for me, closer to home with high expectations, in which I quickly realized expectations did not meet reality. The fall was filled with a lot of tears, confusion, questioning, loss of confidence, and finally hard decision making.

Bambi went on to a better place and I cannot wait to meet her at the Rainbow Bridge again one day.

We ended the year on a better note, with a new job starting for me in a few weeks even closer to home, and a trip to Florida. While the weather wasn't perfect the entire time in Florida, it was a good reflection of our year. Some warmth, some cold, some rain, some sun. We rang in the New Year in Florida by sleeping through it and the fireworks all around us.

Our 2015 started off with the best drive ever home from Florida in sunny weather that included zero traffic the entire way and a completion time of 17 hours on the nose (usually a 19-20 hr drive).

I'm a deep thinker, sometimes to a fault. This fall I was lost in misery and deep thought, wondering how I ended up in the situation I was in. I worked months to slowly bring back my confidence and realize my passions once again for libraries and this profession I hold dear to my heart. I questioned who I was at my core and if I should be doing what I am doing or if I should just give up entirely. I decided to persevere and place my faith and hope in God's hands.

Through quiet listening and mindfulness, I realized what I truly enjoyed about my profession and what was missing. I'm hoping this year to add back in those missing core library pieces and really grow professionally through more active involvement in conferences, meetings, and activities; as well as reading more books and sharing with others!!

Mindfulness is a word that kept coming back to me in the fall. Be mindful of the moment. Don't regret the past decisions, as they were the best decisions you could have made with the information you had. Don't plan out the future too far in advance, as something will inevitably surprise you. My word for 2015 is mindfulness. A close second is contentment.

I'd like to be more mindful in each moment in life, family, and work. I'd also like to consider seeking contentment, not superior happiness in every walk of life. If anything, we are so content and happy with our forever home, that is one thing I no longer worry about :)

This year may be filled with more fearless reflective writing and less photos, but I'm looking to refresh my photographic passions this year. I've grown stagnant and bored with photography the past few years. I'm sure you've noticed. So I'm taking time off of client work to stoke that little fire inside again.

With running, I am making 2015 the Year of the 5k. I'm tired of pursuing huge hairy audacious goals that don't fit our current lifestyle or priorities as a family - only to be terrified I'll get injured again and feel the pain I did before. I'd like to just find that contentment with running again.

There was once a time when a 5k was a far distance for me, but now I feel it's something I can accomplish and improve. There are a few 5k races I'm looking at and will share after I complete them.

Food is always a friend to me. I love eating strange or crunchy granola. It just feels good on the inside and is quite fun to talk about. I started off the new year with a lunch bag full of fruits, vegetables, and nuts. I wasn't sure it was enough food to keep me full all day, but man, I couldn't finish half of it. I felt so full, light, and energetic.

I'm not saying you won't see any fudge on the blog in the future, but it feels like Chris and I are finally settling back into our home cooking groove after almost six months in our house. We are planning meals again, I've rediscovered a favorite local farmer's market, and I feel excited to prepare meals. I'm also enjoying my morning juice/smoothie again.

It's been a ride. Odd years are always better years for me, so I'm just glad I survive the toils and troubles of 2014 to see the triumphs and excitement 2015 will bring.

Here's to mindfulness and contentment in life.

P.S. What's your word for 2015?

- kate -
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Monday, December 29, 2014

My Last Session of 2014: Sydney's Jersey Shore Newborn Portraits

My last official portrait session of the year has commenced. This year has been fantastic and full of surprises photographically. I ended the year on the best note possible: a precious little newborn... who, can I just tell you, was amazing during our session. Usually newborn sessions last around 2-3 hours, but Sydney was such a rockstar we wrapped in about an hour with tons of amazing images. Sydney really made me go out on top this year.

Congratulations Katie and Josh! You've got one beautiful baby girl :)

One of my favorite things to do for newborn sessions is to incorporate personal handmade gifts. I know family and friends have worked hard to create such nice things and it always warms my heart to give them a little spotlight, too! I loved the cute items Katie also bought on Etsy. It really gave this entire session a beachy theme which is one of my favorite places on earth :D

- kn -
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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays! Love, Us

This year the holiday season got away from us. We've both said we don't believe our family has hit "our stride" yet since we've moved into our new home. We're slowly getting back to our normal, but it'll probably take a good full year before we are back into our routines and feel settled.

Chris took on the task of writing out our Christmas cards last week, so I apologize to anyone who's card went to the wrong person, was missing names - maybe even ours - and well... we never got around to doing anything photographically with Miles to send out. Doh.

We did however finally paint a wall in our office for me to shoot semi-studio-style images. We took a few minutes to test it out.

Here's the closest we'll get to a holiday photo this year...

There's always 2015, right?

I came across this idea... might have to consider it for next year: How to Start a Cookbook Club

Are you in?

- kn -
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Monday, December 15, 2014

Slowing down to enjoy the final moments of 2014.

We've been rushing around to get ready for the holidays, and our (first forever home) annual holiday party was a success! We had our first fire here and plan to order wood to keep the fire going throughout the winter.

And Santa made a guest appearance on his fire truck to our party to give all the children a little gift. It was the highlight of our evening, and the kiddos were super excited to sit on Santa's lap! Go me ;D

My mind has been ruminating far too much. I'll be taking time off of social media for awhile, a few weeks (or months) break from posting and investing my time on Twitter, IG, and my Facebook Page.

I have a lot of creative projects to finish up this winter, and I'd like to put my focus into those. I will still blog and I am currently coming up with a schedule to continue into the new year. I don't believe I'll be here five days a week or every day as in years past, but I will be focusing on more interesting or useful content and a bit less of our daily family life.

I'm going to follow what my heart is telling me and get back to my roots here in photography.

I hope you'll join me on the adventure that 2015 brings.

- kn -
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