Sunday, November 9, 2014

Good-bye Blog Site

Hi everyone,

So, some of you already know that I've been working incredibly hard for the past couple weeks on setting up a new webpage.  What I didn't realize is that it doesn't link back to this little blog site, but instead, it imports everything from here over there and that becomes the new home site for this little space of mine.

So, it's with a little bit of sadness, that I say goodbye to this writing space.  If you've set up your account to follow me on here, make sure you head over to the new site and set it up to follow there, as this is technically my last post on this site!

So without any more ado, here is the new site, and this week's post (link below)!  Thanks for following!

New Blog and Post!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Photography 365 Project: (Days 297 - 305)

Friday, I remembered one of the many benefits of teaching piano after work almost every day:  You don't CLOCK WATCH.  Oh man, having nothing to do Friday evening other than hang out with awesome friends made the day just drag by.  Eventually the clock finally hit 3:55pm, and I was out of there!  My husband picked me up and we drove over to our friends' place and enjoyed snacks, hanging out, dinner, and then board games.  We stayed up way too late, though, to play that one last round, and I paid for it the next day since I'm still in the midst of a monster cold.

Saturday, I tried really hard to get up at 10:30, but there was just no way.  My cold was coming back with a vengeance.  I finally pulled myself out of bed just after lunch as I really wanted to go with Nick to the bank to pay down against our mortgage as November 1st is our anniversary payment date (the day we're allowed to pay extra without penalty).  We saved up all year, and even took a temporary loan from my dad in order to hit it hard and it was fun to watch the numbers drop down in a nice little chunk.

Afterwards, we had a chat about our no-buying-anything-for-a-month fast.  Nick was given a cash tip at a wedding he edited last weekend, and we talked about whether spending that would count in our fast or not.  We decided we were okay with it since it was an unexpected gift and not something that we would have put into our budget anyway.  We went off to the grocery store to pick up some treats:  a box of popsicles, a small bag of chips, and some drinks.  I don't think we have ever pondered so long over what to spend $20 on, haha.  We were truly thankful for the little treat!

Nick spent the remainder of the afternoon working on projects while I burrowed under a pile of blankets and waited for him.  When evening came, he joined me in my blanket fortress and we caught up on all our t.v. shows and even played a board game.  We are probably going to have to actually turn on the heat soon because living in our bed is not always practical!

Sunday, I was still feeling pretty sick so I stayed home and slept while Nick went to church.  He came home just in time to fetch me to run off to a friend's place for lunch.  We had a quick visit, helped them with some camera buying decisions, and then jumped in the car to head out to the valley for a funeral.  A close family friend of Nick's passed away, and since the whole family couldn't make it out, we went to represent the Froese clan.  We grabbed Nick's brother on the way, and made it just in time.  After the funeral, we headed over to Nick's Aunt and Uncle's place for dinner and stopped to chase some amazing light on the way.  We arrived back home around 8:30pm, and Nick had some emergency work to do until 9pm.  After which, we hung out for a couple hours, and then got to sleep to start another busy week.

Monday, I was finally feeling a lot better and covered the main class at work while my coworker took a desk day to man the phones.  I always get annoyed when I have to leave my cozy little desk, but then I remember that I actually really enjoy teaching and enjoy how fast the day goes by in the classroom once I'm there.  Monday, I was also feeling super antsy.  I'm excited for next year, and all the plans we have, and all the adventures we're going on.  2014 feels like it's limping along a little bit and I want it to be over already.  Let's just skip the monotony of Winter and the dreary cold rains.  Let's skip ahead to the new year with fresh unused vacation days, so many fun plans hatching in my mind already, and a gorgeous Summer ahead!  Let's wrap up this year of daily shooting, and branch out into new projects and fresh innovations.  I've never really been a "journey" person.  I'm all about the destination, and the winter blahs are not helping this!  I'm going to have to be even more intentional about observing the wonder in my everyday to get through this season.  Monday was also the last night we huddled in the cold before turning on the heat regularly, as illustrated by Nick's blanket photo here, ha!

Tuesday, was a long day.  I spent the morning helping with a project at a different work site, and the afternoon in a meeting.  I ducked out of the meeting early in order to catch the train home and teach a full load of 5 students.  Nick headed out to hang out with some guys while I taught, and came home around 9:30pm.  At which point, we quickly baked some cookies for guys' Life Group the next day as it was our turn to bring treats.  The good news:  I pre-made the dough and put it in the freezer weeks earlier.  The bad news:  I took out the roast beef instead of the cookie dough to thaw.  I would have finished the cookies way earlier if not for this sad fact.  So there we found ourselves, sitting on the floor at 10pm at night, willing the cookies to bake faster.  This photo is actually not that staged.  We really were sitting there like that, and I actually was holding my camera while we sat on the floor.  The only staged part was putting it on the counter behind us and grabbing the remote to fire it.  This is our real life.  In our pajamas.  Sitting on the floor.  Way too late at night.  Haha.

Wednesday, I was back working at the project site for the day, but finished my assignments way earlier than the rest of the group, so was told to just sit tight.  I used the time to write some of this blog and the rest of the time to research some piano music online for a student.  I got home, and quickly taught 2 students before getting Nick to drop me back off at the skytrain, so I could go all the way back downtown for a meeting with a wedding company I was hoping to second shoot for next Summer.  Four and a half hours of commuting later (2 trips to downtown and back), I was finally back home with Nick and ready for bed!  And, in addition, I had been added to the team of the wedding company, so that meeting was definitely worth the trip all the way back down town in the evening!

Thursday, was a nice quiet day at work since we had cancelled class and moved it to Friday.  I enjoyed some time back in my little corner catching up on stuff and meeting my good friend for coffee.  No, I didn't break our no-buying deal.  I used free coffee coupons I'd been saving from McDonald's for the last few months :).  Afterwards, I headed home to teach a couple students and settled down to "rest" for the evening while Nick caught up on projects.  I say "rest" because I decided to download the templates to start building our own website.  I thought it was going to be easy.  I was so, so wrong....

Friday, we slept in a couple hours and then headed out for Nick's wisdom teeth surgery.  I had taken a special leave from work as Nick wasn't supposed to be unsupervised for the remainder of that day or evening.  I finally got him home in the early afternoon after picking up his prescriptions from the Drug Store.  We napped on and off together for the rest of the day, waking up to make sure he was taking his pain meds and rinsing the blood out of his mouth occasionally.  Nick doesn't nap - ever.  I love naps.  This day worked out quite well for me ;).  No Halloween fireworks or adventures for us, though, unfortunately.

Saturday, we had set aside as a stay-at-home date day just for us - no work allowed!  We've been planning this day since late August, and were excited it was finally here.  Nick was mostly his usual self again as we trudged out to the couch in our pajamas to settle in for the rest of the day.  We made porridge for lunch and put on Netflix.  Nick painted some models to relax, and I "thought" I would relax by continuing to work on our website while we watched t.v.  This website has been, and still is, one of the more frustrating learning curves I've been through in a while!  I'm taking a break from it right now actually to write this blog post, but then I'll be back at it again for most of the night I'm sure!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

One Month Without - 3 Weeks In

Okay, so we're officially three weeks into our month of no purchases.  Since a month has slightly more than four weeks, we actually have 10 days left.  We're done on November 9th.  I'm trying hard to think of what to update on since week three was pretty similar to week two.  We did, however, make a tiny splurge when Nick was given a small cash tip at a wedding.  We decided we would use that to pick up a small bag of chips, some drinks, and some popsicles.  The amount of time that went into deciding what exactly we would spend that $20 on was humorous.  Other than that, we've been really good and haven't purchased anything other that business expenses.

I think what stands out the most to us is that we still think, "Oh let's go pick up...", almost daily when we go past a store.  It's interesting that the mere sight of a store almost instantly triggers us to shift into a consumerism mind-set.  We don't even NEED what we're thinking of picking up!  It's just stuff that would be nice.  I'm wondering how long we would have to go before we stopped doing that.  We've  also settled into a bit of a meal routine.  A big pot of beans, red sauce, and ground beef with random stuff thrown in is made once a week.  This usually serves us for multiple dinners and multiple lunches as I make a REALLY big batch at a time.  I wasn't a fan of week two's stew, but am loving week three's chili!

Another thing that stands out to me, personally, as the meal instigator is HOW MUCH FOOD we have in our house.  Seriously, we still have enough meat in the freezer to last months.  Literally.  We haven't even come close to using up our fresh produce.  Since we bought oranges and really hard apples, and have been keeping them in the fridge, they're doing just fine.  I'm also surprised at just WHAT I'm finding in the corners of our cupboards.  I meant to take the container of cookie dough out of the freezer to defrost and, instead, I realized the next day that I had taken out an identical container of sliced roast beef.  I didn't even know we had sliced roast beef in the freezer.  Next, I was lining up all our jams and preserves on a shelf to show Nick the ridiculous amount that we have, and suddenly discovered that one of them was pesto.  We LOVE pesto!  If we knew that was in there, it wouldn't have lasted this long.  I can't believe we live in society, in a community, in a house that has so much food that we forget even about really good stuff we have.  I kid you not - we could go another month easily without hurting.  We don't stock pile.  Heck, we don't usually even cook!  This is just the stuff that has accumulated over the weeks, months, and years.  I can tell you one thing - when our month is up, I have a very small grocery list of things we're missing (coffee, peanut butter, etc.).  However, I'm not going to run and stock up on everything.  My eyes have been opened to a lot of meal possibilities that I'm going to work on eating through first before I pick up too much else.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Photography 365 Project: (Days 287 - 296)

Tuesday, October 14th, I tried to shoot a bit more deliberately.  I've been preparing an application for the last half a year or so and had a friend review it for me before submission this month.  Turns out I have a bit more work to do, so I threw out a bunch of images and am starting to slowly replace them one at a time.  This is requiring me to think a little bit more before I fire off the shutter button - at least when I'm caring to.  Let's be honest, we're almost at day 300 of consecutive shooting and I could use a creativity break soon!

Wednesday, I fired a quick test shot through the car window on a rainy drive to Life Group, and I actually really liked it, and then couldn't duplicate it again when I tried as we were already moving away from that section of the street, so I just went with it :)

Thursday, I portioned out all the remaining fresh fruit into three bowls for the next three weeks since we were wrapping up week one of our One Month Without (buying anything).  So far, it's been working well and I don't think we're in any danger of running out of fresh produce soon!

Friday, I had a new friend coming over in the evening before teaching piano, so I made some cookies.  We were originally supposed to meet at Starbucks, but then I realized that wouldn't work with our month-long fast from consumerism.  Thus, I whipped together a quick recipe that was given to me as a wedding gift and is still my no. 1 go-to recipe (thanks, Jenna, if you're reading this!!).  I realized the eggs were already half gone, and it would be our turn to bring treats to Life Group before our buying ban was lifted, so I did a full batch and froze the extra cookie balls for a quick fix later in the month.

Saturday, you would think I'd have something more interesting for a daily since I was out at the church most of the afternoon.  Nick was at a wedding, but I was on the worship team, so we practiced from 2pm - 5pm, and then played for the Saturday night service.  Afterwards, I came home and sat on the bed in the empty house and didn't really move so much after that resulting in this uninspired shot :P

Sunday, we were up nice and early (for us on a weekend), and headed in to catch both the early service and the last service at church.  I was on piano, and Nick was filming the sermon, so while I was sitting down, he was up and vice versa.  

Nick had been feeling a bit sick all weekend and, as a result, neither of us had gotten any decent sleep.  So after church, I grabbed a quick nap before checking on the weather and heading out to do a family photo shoot.  You can check out more pics HERE, but this one was my personal favourite :).  We had a wonderful dinner and hang out with the family afterwards, but got home a bit late for a weeknight.  Sure enough, around midnight, I knew I had caught whatever it was that Nick had, and called in sick for the next day.

Monday, I woke up and realized that calling in sick was a very good decision as it had hit me full force by that point.  I promptly went back to sleep for the majority of the day.  In the evening, I received an email from a wedding client this Summer asking me if I had checked my mail lately.  I promptly did, and found a wonderful movie date for Nick and myself!  What a great surprise and how sweet are these clients?

Tuesday, I was not feeling any better and had, had a terrible sleep (less than 3 hours I think).  However, I really needed to be at work that day as we were going over a lot of new information, so I dragged myself downtown and huddled in a corner for the day to try to infect as few people as possible.  I also had a fairly heavy teaching load that night on top of it.  By the evening, I was looking for some homemade remedies and hitting the sack.  

Wednesday, I woke up around 3am, and called in sick again for the second time this week.  Wednesday was probably the roughest day.  In a 31-hour period I made myself be awake for 4 hours of it, but that's about it.  Nick brought me some lemon water and soup before heading off to Life Group solo.  I was sound asleep before they even began.  

Thursday, I was feeling on the mend again after so much rest, and headed into work with a jar of honey and bottle of lemon juice in my bag.  (No buying cough drops this month!).  I mostly stayed in my corner and away from people.  Thankfully it was a slower day to just pick away at emails and such as my coworker covered our one class.  I was feeling a bit sicker that evening again after another heavier load of teaching piano, but then decided to rest up.  We had a chicken in the crockpot all day, so we whipped up some mashed potatoes and asparagus (still left over from the anniversary dinner on the 10th!), and then watched a couple shows together.  I didn't get a ton of sleep, but enough that I can say I'm pretty sure the worst of this cold is over.  Or at least it should be since we have a pretty relaxing weekend ahead.  I needed to think of a photo, and my brain was still in a bit of a sick haze, so I grabbed a jacket and ran downstairs to take a picture of our neighbour's decorations as, even though I personally dislike Halloween, I think they're pretty cute.

69 more days to go!!  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lauwers Family Shoot

This past weekend, I had the privilege of capturing the Lauwers' family photos.  As it got closer to the end of little W's nap time, we kept a wary eye on the skies.  Thankfully, while it remained overcast, the rains were held at bay until we had just wrapped up the shoot!

This cute little guy had SO. MUCH. ENERGY.  He didn't have much time to look at the camera or even to hold still.  We let him have the run of it for the most part, and just captured him being him :).  He did, however, LOVE to look at my reflector, which is something I guess!  A few little tickles from daddy, got us one solid smiling photo right out of the gate, but he got wise to that trick pretty darn fast.

We walked him over to the park, and pretty much kept him moving the entire time (or rather, he kept US moving).  We would occasionally try for an "everyone smile and look at the camera together photo", but for the most part, he wasn't having it!

As the time for us to wrap the shoot drew near, he finally tuckered slightly and his energy levels waned.  We had booked an hour and a half to make sure we didn't force him to comply too much and ruin the natural shots, but then he just started being too cute to end it.  He stopped to admire flowers with mom for more than 5 seconds.  He even plopped himself down in the grass and happily made faces for almost 2 solid minutes!

We got mom and dad down with him, while he happily ripped up handful after handful of grass.  I told them to just keep looking at me and smiling because eventually little W would look up and I'd be ready.  It took a LOT of shots, but he finally glanced up for all of 1 second and I caught him in the act ;).  And then, for the last family "all together" shot on the steps, we resorted to bribing him with candy ;)

We grabbed a couple more candids to wrap up the shoot, and then headed inside where we all enjoyed a great dinner together and an evening of catching up :).  

Thanks to my wonderful husband for helping me out by carrying all my stuff, entertaining little W while I did some mom/dad shots, and also being a second camera to help me capture all the extra moments!