I was able to get home in time to catch the sunset yesterday.  I was literally driving and saying “come on, come on, come on” to the sky to hold that last bit of pink before everything went black.  I live near the water but certainly not on it.  I drove around in the neighborhood across the road that lines the water and found the perfect spot that I knew had to be there.  I always get a little nervous when I’m out taking pictures, especially when I’m literally jumping out of my car and running toward the water, that people are gonna yell at me to get off their property or whatever.  Needless to say I didn’t dilly-dally.  I hopped out of my car, walked swiftly over to the water’s edge and tried my best to get a beautiful shot.  I actually took several, I always do just in case, but this one was my favorite.  This is my favorite time of day.  When the sky looks like a painting and everthing else in the background is black.  I wonder what a fish eye lens would have done with this shot.  I think that will be my next camera purchase.  For the past few years I’ve had a wedding to do and I only charge them enough to get a new lens or something.  It’s affordable for them and I get a new toy.  However, I don’t have any lined up so I’ll just have to ask for one for my birthday or something.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do.  It’s now the background on my computer at work.



I realized I was behind on posting my photos here.  I’ve  been putting them two places on Facebook so that’s thrown me off.  I think I’ve figured out how to only have to post it once on FB and then remember to post here.  We’ll see. 

Day 3: The spooky old tree!  Sometimes trees are more beautiful without all the leaves.  This tree is in the yard behind our house and has a weird looking branch that I’m not so convinced is a branch.  You can probably see what I mean.  It’s sticking straight up.  It looks like it could be a bird feeder, but why on earth would anyone put a feeder way up there.  How the heck would you refill it?  So, my next thought is it’s some sort of camera device spying on the neighborhood but mostly my house.  Yes, I’m a little paranoid. LOL  If you knew me well you’d know I have these random daydreams that are usually dramatic in nature.  For example, when I first spotted this “thing” in the tree, I day dreamed that someone was spying into my bedroom through that thing and I was a detective who figured it out and brought the person to justice (like a mini movie playing in my head).  I’ve been getting after Bill about installing some curtains but that hasn’t happened yet so I must still have my sanity and not really believe I’m being spied on. LOL  (And yes, I know how ridiculous this seems and I can laugh at myself.  I must watch too many movies. 🙂  I remember in Elementary School I used to get scolded by the teacher for day dreaming and not paying attention.  So, I still do it, I just found a way to not let teacher-type people realize it.  Anyway, enjoy the beauty of the tree and try not to think of my crazy day dreams…although some of them can be quite interesting and would make great movies. 😉


Day 4: Angelic tree stump. This stump was cut from an oak tree that fell in my dad’s yard after a major storm.  We brought some of the wood back to our house because Bill thought it was cool and had some big plan to do something with it like make a table or just a seat for parties in our back yard.  Big plans, little actual work on said plan.  Anyway, I noticed that at a certain angle it looked a little like an abstract angel.  See if you can see it.  I’ll keep it around like it’s a good luck charm.  My Aunt Linda is gonna love this picture since she collects angels.  I’ll have to send her a postcard of it now that I got my picture printer refill paper.  So excited!


I found this little cutie while walking around my yard.  It looked so lonely among the dead grass.  It must be so confused by all the warm weather we’ve had so far this winter.  The seasons have been really odd this past year.  It will be interesting to see how much they shift this year.  Maybe the world isn’t coming to an end, but maybe coming to an end as we know it as far as seasons go.  You can’t ignore the changes going on.  Scary stuff.  I tend to take lots of pictures outside so maybe I’ll be able to document this craziness with this project.

Either way, you can’t deny this is an adorable little buttercup.  🙂


So a friend of mine did this “365 days of photos” thing last year and I thought it was totally cool but I didn’t do it.  I love photography.  I started taking pictures when my mom gave me a “Le Clic” 110 camera when I was probably 10.  I lived in the country so I took lots of landscape photos at the farm across the street.  I was hooked!  I even won a few awards at local competitions and fairs.  I stuck to mostly landscapes and didn’t really branch out until I went to ODU to get a Photography degree.  I started dabbling a little in abstract photos but mostly stuck to nature and landscape photography.  I have done 5 weddings and have been pretty happy with the results.  I ended up switching my major because I wasn’t happy with the program and I got hooked on Women’s Studies.

Recently I have been talking and thinking about how much I miss photography.  Sure, I take pictures of Jackson all the time, but it’s not the same.  When I take pictures, and I tend to take a lot, it’s also time for me to clear my head and relax.  So, when my friend Morgan said she was doing the 365 days of photos again, I saw it as the perfect opportunity for me to pick up something I love and make some time for myself.  Soon I’ll have two little ones so this it’s good to start practicing me time now.

Today when Jackson went down for his nap I took my Cannon Rebel outside and took pictures of flowers and things around my house.  The warm weather has really thrown off the flowers so some of them are starting to bloom already.  While I was out there I heard a raucous.  I looked up and saw a crow chasing a hawk away from its nest.  It was really cool to watch them flying around trying to peck each other.  After the hawk was gone the crow flew over my head and I got this really cool shot.  I ended up getting several shots I liked but I chose this one because the Baltimore Ravens are playing today and I took this as a good omen for the game today since crows are related to ravens.  Enjoy!

I know I am WAY behind on this whole blog thing.  I blame the first trimester blues.  I am 12 weeks pregnant with our 2nd bebe and finally starting to feel much more like myself.  When I was pregnant with Jackson the first trimester was a breeze.  No nausea, no exhaustion, just excitement and confusion about what I could and couldn’t eat.  This time I spent most of my time eating celery trying to get rid of the nausea and holding my head up with my hand at my desk trying not to fall asleep.  I was not prepared for that.  I’m not sure why I thought this one would be as easy, but I was way wrong.  I can only hope that the delivery will be much shorter and easier.  I am due June 30, 2012 along with two other friends. It’s random being due the same time as two other folks.  I guess that was a good night for all of us. LOL

Anyway, I’m happy to report that now that I’ve passed the 12 week mark I am not so exhausted and very rarely feel queasy.  I am starting to have little cravings.  Pickles and ice cream.  Yep, the old stand by.  Although, I do not crave these at the same time thank goodness.  You should have seen me scarf down the vanilla cone I got yesterday.  Usually it takes me a while to eat an ice cream cone.  Not this time!  Didn’t matter that it was cold outside.  I did share some with Jackson.  He was amazed that I ate the cone too.  He didn’t like the taste of that part.  More for me!

Jackson has been really sweet when I’ve talked to him about the baby.  He’s lifted up my shirt and put his head on my belly and said “aww I love you too baby” and “what are you doing in there baby? are you growing up in there?”.  He’s SOOOO cute!  I showed him the ultrasound picture and he said “oh you’re so cute!”.  I have the best little boy ever!  I just hope he does well when the baby arrives.

On a side note, I have to tell you I was super nervous before the first ultrasound.  Since I had an ectopic pregnancy the first time it made me wonder if it would happen this time.  Fortunately that was not the case.  Whew!  Big sigh of relief.  I had my first ultrasound with the same doctor that delivered Jackson.  However, she is retiring and that practice is no longer doing OB after January.  I was quite upset to find this out.  First of all it meant I was going to have to find another practice with female OB’s/midwives.  I am not cool with having a male OB.  Personal preference.  They gave me some suggestions and I did my research.  In the end, I chose a practice that my bestie Lisa and friend Morgan go to.  It’s near work and not far from home so I should be good. 

I had my first appointment with that practice a couple of weeks ago and really liked them.  Everyone was super nice and when I mentioned my ectopic pregnancy to the doctor she didn’t flinch when I told her I had the shots to expel the pregnancy.  I mean, that’s the only way to deal with an ectopic.  There’s no continuing it…the little bean was not alive and could have done some serious damage to my lady parts.  If I had been farther I would have had to have surgery to remove it.  Since they’re affiliated with a Catholic hospital I wasn’t sure what reaction to expect.  It was a planned/wanted pregnancy so it’s not like I chose to have to go through that.  It was hard and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.  But, luckily she was very understanding and knowledgeable about that whole process.  No funny looks so I was quite happy. 

I had the option of having the doctor to deliver me or go with the midwife practice.  I’m signed up to meet with the midwives this week.  I think I’ll try that and see if I can have this baby without the epidural.  Hopefully that will speed up the process.  I took the tour of the midwifery center and really liked what I saw.  The midwives I met were super nice and I’m excited about the shower and the huge tub options.  She did say that the majority of the women that start out there risk out or want an epidural.  I guess it’s not for everyone but I’d like to try it.  I think I could have delivered Jackson without the epidural if I had practiced my breathing before hand.  It was working to ease the contractions until I lost concentration.  Plus I was tied to the bed so there was no moving about.  I would have like to have been able to stand up and sway or something.  This time I will have the option.

My goal with this blog is to start posting belly pictures and doing weekly updates.  Now that I’m not so exhausted I should be able to accomplish that.

I have been putting off updating y’all about the end of birthday month because, well, I didn’t want it to end.  You can probably see why after having read all the fun things I’ve done to celebrate my special day.  Seriously, this is not just something I think I should be doing.  This is something everyone should do, and I’d be happy to help you celebrate!  We don’t give ourselves enough pats on the back and little treats here and there.  I’m not talking about being conceited or buying ourselves extravagant presents.  I’m talking little things to make ourselves happy so everything else in life seems a little bit brighter.

I’m not going to go day to day for the end of the month, I found out I don’t enjoy the daily updates as much as I thought I would.  It’s too much pressure.  I’m thinking a weekly blog is plenty, unless something noteworthy comes up in between.  So, I will tell you of the last few things I did to celebrate the big 3-0.  The day after my birthday when I returned to work we had chocolate cake to celebrate.  It was delicious, but SOOO sweet I could only eat a little piece.  I got a nice card signed by everyone in the office and a travel ODU coffee mug.  Bill has already confiscated that since he drinks coffee everyday and I only have it some weekends.  We had our weekly dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant with Brad and Stephanie and this time Emily joined us.  Jackson was smitten with her.  He’s such a flirt!  We were all aflutter about the impending hurricane, Irene.  None of us knew what to expect.  We heard it would be bad, but then maybe not so bad.  So, we talked about our plans to hunker down.  Because of Brad’s job he had to be at work during the storm, so Stephanie was happy to have Emily stay with her so she didn’t have to be by herself.  I had Jackson and Bill with me and I was a mess through it all.  The storm was mostly on Saturday and for a large chunk of it they were talking about tornados in our area.  I kept one eye on Jackson and the TV and the other out the window looking for a funnel cloud.  It was not a fun day.  The wind and rain was pretty bad, but we got out of it with only two little leaks that we need to fix.  Our fence got pulled a little more loose, but we’ve been talking about replacing it anyway.  So, in my birthday week I had an earth quake, a hurricane, and oh yeah the wild fires in the Dismal Swamp sending smoke over here.  What the heck?  We were supposed to go to Joe’s Crab Shack with Lisa and Kevin, Stephanie and Brad, and Momma, but the storm delayed that to the next week.  I was also supposed to have a special dinner cooked for me by my daddy at his house.  I had requested fried fish or chicken and white gravy.  That’s planned for next weekend instead.

We did finally make it to Joe’s Crab Shack.  We rode the ferry over (for free, thanks ODU!) with Mom and Steph and Brad.  That was a really nice ride.  The weather was perfect!  Lisa and Kevin rode The Tide in, which we have still yet to do.  Dinner was DELICIOUS and so was the spiked sweet tea that I drank.  I can’t believe they came up with a sweet tea vodka.  I’m not a big drinker, but that was tasty.  Jackson was having fun looking around and watching people.  Then he discovered the little “park” inside the restaurant and had to go play.  Luckily he was with a bunch of his favorite people who happily took him to play on the slide.  He does love a good park.  We had a good time and luckily nobody sang.  That part is always a little awkward.  It would be more awesome if they sang The Beatles version.  Like this, from Sixteen Candles:

The ferry ride home in the dark was pretty cool too.  I was happy to have spent the evening with awesome friends and of course my momma.  LOVE my momma!  Without here there would be no birthday month.  And we get along so well.  Probably because we’re a lot alike.  We even wore the same color shirt to dinner.  Not planned of course.  It just happened that way.

Anyway, I had a fantastic birthday month and I thank everyone who helped me to celebrate!  It’s not about the presents, it’s about spending time with people you love and who make you happy.  I’ve got the best family and friends a grrrl could ask for!

Here’s some photos from our trip to Joe’s:

Ladies in Lavender


Taking a ride on "Jackson's boat"


Stephanie & Brad


Love my boys!


Ship in dry dock


Stephanie got a Shark Bite!


Lisa & Kevin


Check out Jackson's Dennis The Menace cowlick LOL


The gang


Lisa gone crazy legs!


Let's Get Crackin'!


Love my little family!


Love these girls!


Stephanie and Momma


Thanks for Birthday Month Momma!

Day 21: Sunday was very relaxed.  Bill’s mom brought Jackson back home and we went shopping.  She bought me this really pretty purple dress (yes, a dress!).  I can’t wait to get it hemmed so I can wear it.

Day 22: Monday I had to work but I spent my spare moments thinking about what in the heck Bill had planned for my birthday.  He was really good about keeping it a surprise.  I just knew that we would be getting up early and getting home late.  I love surprises and adventures so I was ready to go.

DAY 23!!!!!  The Big Day!  I am officially 30 years old!  I don’t feel any older.  I love birthdays and don’t dwell on the fact that I’m getting older.  We all do, so why not just enjoy it!  We woke up at the butt-crack of dawn to leave.  Literally, it was dark outside and the moon and stars were very clear.  I was pretty awake though because I couldn’t wait to see what Bill had in store for me.  I really wanted my tea, but Starbucks wasn’t open that early.  We stopped at the WaWA and got coffee.  I usually only drink it on the weekends, but in this case, if I was going to keep conscious, I needed a little help.  We headed up 64 and as we passed different cities, I narrowed down my thoughts of where we might be going.  We finally found a Starbucks open in Williamsburg.  I was SO ready for that tea!  It was delicious!


After we passed Richmond I kinda figured we were going to DC.  From there I wasn’t sure what he had planned.  I’m glad he kept the surprise going.  We hopped on the Metro at Springfield and headed to Capitol South.  I don’t know my way around DC pretty much at all so I just followed along.  He made a secretive phone call and then we continued on.  When we got to where we were going he told me that our friend David, who he used to work with at Starbucks, was going to give us a private tour of the Capitol building!  David works for Congressman Bobby Scott and has given a few tours when he was an intern.  I was happy to see him, but even more excited to walk around.  I had watched that special on CBS about what all was in the building, but it’s nothing compared to when you see it in person.  They aren’t kidding when they say that place is a maze.  It was cool because David would tell us little factoids you probably wouldn’t get in a regular tour.  We got to pass by tour groups too so I felt kinda special. 🙂  It was, however, my birthday.  There were lots of “old-white-dude” statues and such.  Every time we went in to a new room, I would scope out the women’s history marker and make a b-line.  For example, he showed me this statue of Jeanette Rankin, the first female congressperson, who was from Montana.  She was the only person to vote against WWI and WWII.  She said “I cannot vote for war. If I can’t go, I’m certainly not going to send anyone else” (I’m paraphrasing a little).  Can you imagine the courage she must have had and the pressure she must have felt to take a stand like that.


We also saw a replica of “Freedom” which is on top of the Capitol building.  Throughout the day I noticed that women were present in the building, but mostly as figures like “freedom” or “progress” etc… and very often showing lots of skin.  I know this is not news, but I was just struck by the juxtaposition of these female (mythical) figures next to all these old white dudes who ran our country.  The female form is used to represent things like “justice” and “freedom” while women had no say in the matters of state).  I have to admit I was aggravated, but I know our history and it wasn’t a shock to me.  I guess it bothered me because it was right there in my face.  Talk about getting inspiration to reveal women’s history to the world!  I left there thinking I was going to re-read my women’s history books, and I will.  I just hate that there’s so much of our history that we’ll never know because it wasn’t thought to be as valuable as men’s history.  We’re sort of like a side note or a foot note and yet you know women were there living their lives right along side men.  I want to know about their lives.  This is why the whole idea of a blog appeals to me.  Maybe only a few of my friends will read it, but at least a portion of my history is out there for the world to stumble on.


We went through this really cool educational area that had all kinds of pictures and artifacts on display.  Of course, you couldn’t take pictures in that area.  I saw pictures from the Women’s Suffrage Movement.  I saw their parades and their protest outside the White House.  I’ve seen these pictures before, but I guess it was the context of where I was that made it so powerful.  There was a mural and a sculpture dedicated to the Women’s Suffrage Movement that I really enjoyed seeing.

I thought the quote was a great choice

Hangin' with the ladies who made it all possible

For those of you who don't recognize these glorious faces

We were able to actually go inside the House floor and sit while David pointed out a few cool factoids.  No cameras allowed in their either but I will tell you I wonder how the heck they fit all those people in there for State of the Union speeches.  Not long after that David showed us a portrait of Shirley Chisholm.  I was so excited about this one!  I just love the pose they have her in.  It’s kind of sassy.  She was the first black congresswoman and ran for President in 1972.  Amazing woman!

You tell 'em Shirley!

We saw a lot while we were there, but that was my favorite part.  The building is very ornate in spots but pretty photogenic all over.  I had a blast taking pictures.  Here’s a few random ones:

Where lots of broadcasts are held by members of Congress

A great view pretty much out of every window

I see you Washington Monument!


This place was made for having its picture taken!

Just beautiful

You never know what you'll find when you look up


Me and my honey

From there we went to lunch at this great little place called “Good Stuff Eatery”.  They had the BEST burger and fries!  OMG delicious!  I just got the cheeseburger, but it was so well seasoned and juicy.  And the fries, wow!  I wish they had one of those around here.  It’s owned by Spike somebody who was on one of those Food Network competition shows.  I didn’t think much of him on the show, but I liked his food this day!  After lunch Bill told me we were going to see the Niki de St. Phalle sculptures at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.  I have been wanting to see these sculptures ever since I found out they were on display.  I learned of this artist in my Women in Art History class when I was still an undergrad photography major.  I fell in love with her use of bright colors and full figured women.  Never in my life did I think I’d get to see them in person!  I tried to go see them when they were up last summer but never made it.  I’m so glad I have a husband that pays attention!  On our way there we walked through the outside garden at the Botanical Gardens.  The day really was beautiful.  I couldn’t ask for a better day weather wise.  We walked along the National Mall and saw people flying kites and riding the merry-go-round.  I saw a little girl jumping off a step while her daddy held her hand.  She was so happy just to be jumping, even if it was just a foot high.  I guess I got caught up in the simpleness of that moment or either the sensory overload that is DC because I totally missed the earthquake.  I didn’t feel a thing!  It wasn’t until Lisa texted me “Earthquake!!!” and I looked up and saw people streaming out of the IRS building that I realized there was something going on.  I thought maybe it was a fire drill or something.  We don’t get earthquakes in Virginia!  Bill and I kept walking to our destination but noticed a drastic increase in the number of people on the street.  We heard the word “earthquake” several times as people told their stories of how and where they felt it.  I couldn’t believe it!  How did I miss an earthquake?!  Everyone was being very friendly which was nice, but as I looked up I noticed that I was surrounded by tall buildings and was definitely not in the best place to be in case of after shocks.  I worried that we should walk back to the Mall since it was in an open area.  However, I had waiting a long time to see those sculptures so I was going to walk over there if it hair-lipped everybody in Boykins!  We were only a block or two from the Museum anyway.  As we rounded the corner by the museum I saw the statues displayed in all their glory in the street median.  Being that it was still a beautiful day outside, it made for great picture taking.  The statues weren’t as big as I expected, but they were still much taller than me.  I forgot all about the stupid earthquake while I walked around looking at the sculptures.  10 years since I discovered this artist and here I was standing in front of my favorite of her sculptures.  I was pretty damn happy.  Now, that’s a birthday present!  I didn’t even care that now the Museum was closed for the day because of the earthquake.  I had seen what I really wanted to see.  I can come back another day to see the rest of the Museum.

Seriously? An earthquake on my birthday?!


My favorite pieces!


It was a mess getting home.  We had to take the Metro out to Springfield to our car.  We were packed in there like sardines.  I was worried about after shocks and could barely reach the ceiling or any of the bars to hang on and it was only going 15 mph.  But, everyone was friendly and we made it out alive.  On the way home we stopped Angela’s Italian Restaurant which was delicious but I’d never heard of before.  We also stopped at a rest area on the way home and they had this random art installation.  It was the perfect way to end our trip.  One of the songs in our wedding was “All You Need Is Love” by the Beatles and this day and this photo proves, that’s still all you need after 12 years together.

Love you Bill!

Now, you know this means that since I technically got half my birthday adventure that I’m going to have to extend Birthday Month by at least half a day.  Also, with this hurricane a-comin’, I’m thinking Birthday Month will go til Labor Day.  Batten down the hatches people!






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