Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Memories, Dreams, and Reflections: 2012

Yikes.  I know I've all but abandoned this blog, but I didn't realize that my last post was the MDR activity from last year!

One of my presents from my husband this Christmas was Photoshop Elements - finally, I can edit with something other than Picasa!  I really want to continue to learn how to shoot and edit better, so I'm going to recommit to this blog (and Ashley's SHS!).  I may not do it every week, but I hope to not have my next post be on January 1, 2014. :)

1. ME: I am most proud this year of losing weight.  I joined Weight Watchers in a post-holiday slump, half-sure that I'd quit after 3 weeks.  Nope.  I stayed focused on my eating habits and managed to lost 30lb and achieve lifetime status at WW.  And, the biggest accomplishment?  This September, some of my friends and I did the Color Run.  It was my first 5K and though I didn't run the whole time, I ran a decent amount - certainly more than I ever could have.  Yay me!

2. I LOVE YOU: My favorites. :)

3. STILL LAUGHING: My youngest's birthday is in July so we often hold his party in the backyard with a sprinkler, blow-up pool, etc.  This year, we added a slip-and-slide to the mix, and I think some of the grownups (mainly my brother and brother-in-law) had more fun than the kids!

4. WINTER WONDERLAND: Believe it or not, NJ has seen very little snow in the past year!  A picture with our favorite North Pole resident will have to do.

5. BIRTHDAY: Not a great pic but here are my boys helping me blow out my candles as I celebrated my 32nd birthday.

6. FRIENDS: I hadn't seen my good friend Jen in ages, but we finally arranged a little get-together this summer before school started.  All friendships, grown-ups and kids alike, picked up right where they left off.

7. I WAS INSPIRED: In February, we took a long weekend trip to Disney World, primarily to see my sister- and brother-in-law race in Disney's Princess Half-Marathon.  While we were waiting along the sidelines to watch them, I had fun taking pics of some of the costumes the racers were wearing.  I happened to catch this woman as she sped by, and I was so inspired by her.  I was at the very beginning of my weight loss journey at the time, and I felt so motivated.  If she could put aside her difficulties and race in a half-marathon, then I could surely get off my butt and focus on a healthier lifestyle.

8. SPRING FEVER: This photo was taken in March right before spring started.  It was so refreshing to see short-sleeved weather so early!

9. TRAVEL OR VACATION: Our first few minutes in the Magic Kingdom!

10. SUMMER DAYS: For the past few years, one of our favorite family traditions is to go "balloon chasing" - we load up on ice coffee and munchkins and park somewhere to watch the Quick Check Balloon Festival.  When they lift off, we watch their direction - and chase them!  We've been lucky so far and have always been able to watch some land.

11. A DAY IN MY LIFE: A cell phone selfie of me and my buddies.  Yes, we do this often. :)

12. ALL SMILES: Chocolate is one-third of the trifecta that makes me happy (the other two would be my kids and coffee).

13. AUTUMN HARVEST: Funnily enough, last year I posted a snowman picture from October - and this year I'm posting a beach picture from October.  New Jersey is weird. :)

14. FAMILY OR HOME: We are so lucky to live so close to one of the hottest cities in the US, maybe the world.  Yet, interestingly enough, until this summer I had only been to the Statue of Liberty once, and my husband not at all.  So this summer, we did a bunch of day trips and took the kids to visit Lady Liberty.

15. CELEBRATE: Another cell phone shot from the Color Run.  We did it!!

16. LET'S DO IT AGAIN: For our anniversary this August, my husband and I ditched the kids in favor of a night away at the Revel, a new hotel in Atlantic City.  It was the first time we ever left the kids to actually go AWAY and it was wonderful.  We missed them, of course, but we thoroughly enjoyed some time for each other.

17. I MISS YOU: Ahh, the beach.

18. BEAUTIFUL: What can possibly be more gorgeous than Disney World at night?  Not the sharpest photo, but I love the colors.

19. DRESS UP: Another Disney photo!  I think it would be so much fun to have a job where you got to dress like a princess every day.  And yes, I wore my Snow White shirt (and a tiara!) to have breakfast with the princesses.

20. MACRO: I think this is the closest one I have this year.  Interestingly (?) it was originally shot to be used for a Scavenger Hunt that I never followed through with.

21. HOLIDAYS: I have a great one to share but haven't put it online yet.  Hopefully later today!

22. MY FAVORITE: Fav coffee + one of my fav places (the hair salon)

23. DON'T EVER CHANGE: My life is crazy.  My life is stressful.  But I love every second of it and I hope that never changes.

24. JUST BECAUSE... SO THERE! I have driven past this farm twice a day, every day for YEARS.  Yet, until this past summer, I'd NEVER seen them cross (which they apparently do twice a day).  My kids were so excited!

25. HOPES AND DREAMS: More of the same.  I'm a lucky, lucky woman.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Memories, Dreams, and Reflections: 2011

One of the things that inspired me to even start this blog was Ramblings and Photos and her weekly Scavenger Hunts.  I've obviously been slacking, but I still love perusing her blog each Sunday and checking out everyone's shots.

This past week, I was on winter break and so I made it my mission to participate in the Hunt.  Of course, with my luck, the Hunt is on break too!  Bummer.  I did, however, find this awesome activity and couldn't wait to get started.

Me! - I am definitely most proud of simply starting this blog.  It has made me more aware of what I'm doing and given me the opportunity to meet some awesome new people.

I Love You - These three handsome men are my world, and I just love them to pieces!

Still Laughing... I can't help but crack up every.single.time I see this shot.  And you know why he was crying?  Because I tried to wipe the sauce off of his face and he wanted me to "leave it there."  Silly boy.

Winter Wonderland - Funnily enough, this Winter shot was actually taken in October!

Birthday - Ryan turned 5 this year.  I didn't want him to wait until dinner to blow out his candles, so I stacked some cinnamon rolls and threw on a few candles for a little birthday party.

Friends - We are missing a pal here, but this is a shot of me and 2 of my 3 closest friends.  Love these chicas!

I Was Inspired... This cell phone shot was taken the afternoon after Hurricane Irene ransacked much of New Jersey (and other parts of the country, of course, but I only live in one state!).  If this isn't a symbol of inspiration and hope, then I don't know what is.

Spring Fever - My monkeys love hanging out on their swingset!

Travel or Vacation - I love this shot of the CN Tower in Toronto!

Summer Days - I think this shot speaks for itself. :)

A Day In My Life - Another cell phone shot!  I really don't know what I'd do without my daily cup-o-joe.

All Smiles - I have yet to decide which face makes me smile more. :)

Autumn Harvest - It was so freaking hot that day that it hardly seems appropriate to share this photo under the "Autumn" tag, but hey - pumpkins aren't very summery!

Family or Home - This was taken on Ryan's birthday at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC.

Celebrate! - Happy Birthday, Ryan!  These are slices of the delicious cake that my awesome sister-in-law made for him.

Let's Do It Again... - Yay beach!

I Miss You - This is my youngest, so I technically don't miss him because he's right here with me, but holy cow, do I miss this age!  I love where my boys are currently (5 and 2-and-a-half) but I sure do miss these teeny, squishy babies!

Beautiful - My mommy.

Dress Up - May the force be with you.

Macro - This is from the butterfly exhibit at the Bronx Zoo.

Holidays - Danny takes a break from the egg hunt to give me a little smile.

My Favorite - One of my favorite memories might just be from a few days ago when I was about 18 inches away from Daniel Radcliffe.  And dudes?  He totally autographed my nook for me.

Don't Ever Change - Cliche, I know, but I just adore our little family so much and while no one is perfect, I hope we're always this happy.

Just Because...So There! - This picture still cracks me the hell up.

Hopes and Dreams - This isn't my photo (see below) but it's a great representation of what I hope to achieve - balance.  I wear multiple hats in my life, and it's a constant struggle to keep so many balls up in the air.
(photo from Breaking Muscle)

Wishing you the best in 2012!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Best of 2011

I don't like to make New Year's "Resolutions" because the word alone lends itself to failure, and who likes failing?  So instead I'll just discuss my "To-Do List for 2012."  Among the obligatory weight loss and more quality family time, I really want to get back to blogging.  I maintain 3 blogs that mean a lot to me (this one, my cooking blog, and a family blog), though I apparently use the word "maintain" loosely.  But I love to blog, and I love having these creative outlets, and I really want to give myself some kind of routine in the coming months.

To start off, I figured I'd share my favorite shots from each month during the past year.  They might not be my best work from a technical perspective, but each one not only makes me smile, but also taught me something.  Enjoy!

January: For Christmas last year, my husband gave me a new lens.  I couldn't wait to host a little photo shoot with my kids... and Ryan couldn't wait to explore with his new telescope.

February: This isn't even that great of a shot, but I am in love with the look of concentration on his face.

March: This shot is a little distorted but how can you look at that face and not smile?

April: Another shot that's distorted since it's so wide, but I love it.  It's hanging up in my family room.

May: I don't remember what captivated Danny's attention (presumably a plane or helicopter) but I'm sure glad I captured that sweet expression.

June: This is another that makes me laugh - taken during a little dinner al fresco.

July: This is one of the shots I took when my "baby" turned 2.  It didn't make the frame, but he's holding a giant ballon in the shape of a 2 and is enamored with it.

August: I love this shot of my two landscapers!  And the glare is truly indicative of how beastly hot it was.

September: Ryan looks so official and dedicated in his soccer get-up!  Too bad his David Beckham stint only last a practice and a half.

October: He was determined to carry his own pumpkin, and only after he dumped it into the wagon did he finally admit to it being heavy.

November: I have nothing to say about this shot except that it makes me giggle every.single.time I see it.  You can practically HEAR him saying "aaarrrrrrrrrrr."

December: I just love this.

Bonus: This was taken on Christmas morning, and I snapped it before my flash was ready to go off.  This resulted in a super dark photo that I nearly deleted before doing any editing.  I'm so glad something told me to hit that auto-contrast button - their faces are PRICELESS as they see Santa's bounty for the first time.  This photo serves a reminder to me that photography is not about capturing the perfect photo - it's about capturing the perfect moment.

Happy 2012!