Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Have a very Disney - er, merry - Christmas!

Merry Christmas! We're enjoying trees lit up, classic Disney cartoons with a holiday theme (courtesy of the "Holiday Celebration with Mickey & Pals" DVD), El Hub made breakfast, and there's a kiddo kicking away in my belly. I hope you're having a lovely morning as well.

A couple of days ago I threw out the idea that we could do a homemade breakfast on Christmas morning, since we aren't due to make the family rounds until the afternoon. El Hub made it happen, even after the first three stores we went to on Christmas Eve were closed. Thank you 7-11 for being open and for having pancake mix and syrup!

Christmas pancakes.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lists that say a lot but basically boil down to me being awesome.

I would like to preface this post with this thought: I am freaking awesome. Continue on to find out why.

Projects I've completed around the house during these past few weeks when I have clearly begun nesting*:

  • Cleaned off the dining room table and found a home for everything on it
  • Set up the two curio cabinets with their shelves and new, non-broken dowels and put knickknacks in them to display
  • Moved a bookcase from the living room to be with its matching curio cabinet the dining room, cleaned it out, and put dining room-appropriate knickknacks in it
  • Dealt with absolutely everything on the floor of our bedroom that didn't belong there and found a home for it all
  • Tackled the master bathroom and got rid of five bags worth of hair products, makeup, and random toiletries
  • Cleaned out the guest bathroom to make a clean slate for Butternut's arrival and eventual takeover
  • Literally emptied the pantry and got rid of an embarrassing amount of expired food
  • Cleaned out the kitchen cabinets and sorted through all our small appliances, cleaning supplies, cutlery, etc.
  • Whipped the junk drawer and junk cabinet in our kitchen into shape
  • Reorganized the living room media center
  • Tackled the mountain of papers on the living room desk and filed everything
  • Sorted my nail polish collection and gave away a third of it
  • Perpetually reorganized my office, which is where a lot of random stuff from elsewhere in the house made its way during this process
  • Started plotting out the arrangement for the photo frame mosaic for the nursery
  • Sorted the baby stuff we've received so far and stored them in a laundry basket in the nursery closet
  • Sorted stuff in the garage for Goodwill donations and straightened up the shelves
  • Decorated the Christmas tree
  • Decorated the rest of the house with Christmas stuff
  • Wrapped Christmas gifts
  • Wrote and mailed holiday cards
  • Donated a TON of stuff to Goodwill
  • Sold a couple of bookcases via Craigslist
  • Sold our old television via Craigslist
  • Cleaned out El Hub's car (why I did his and not mine, I have no clue)

And that's on top of my usual day job, the most amazing sinus infection ever, exercising regularly, physical therapy for my neck injury from that car accident in June, my other health issues, and oh, BEING PREGNANT. Which is really hard work, ask any woman who has been pregnant.

Projects I still need to wrap up before I can put my feet up:

Master Bedroom
  • Sort jewelry (sure to be difficult thanks to all the history I attach to each piece)

My Office
  • Sort photos (same issue as jewelry)
  • Buy curtains and curtain rod

El Hub's Office
  • Buy curtains and curtain rod

  • Buy curtains and curtain rod
  • Put up a decorative clothesline - Buy two hooks, clothespins, twine, and decorative paper (and glue?)
  • Make a no-sew crib skirts - buy fabric, stick-on velco and Heat N’ Bond Ultra Hold hem tape
  • Hang photo frames. And maybe put stuff in them
  • Find a green or teal lumbar pillow for the IKEA Poang chair
  • Find and hang a mirror over the crib
  • Buy wrapping paper and use it to line drawers
  • Buy drawer knobs to switch out the old hardware on the dressers

My Car
  • Clean it out (don't want mine to feel neglected after I took care of El Hub's)

Projects I can't do a darn thing about until El Hub paints the nursery:

  • Everything in the nursery.

Projects on El Hub's Honey Do List, which he has forbade me from even mentioning to him:

  • Finish painting
  • Hang curtain rod
  • Install blinds
  • Put together crib
  • Install light switch

  • Fix the evil rattling that happens whenever the heater is on, conspiring to make sleep even more difficult for me.

Living Room
  • Pick up the coffee table from my mom's house to bring here

  • Clean out tools/odds and ends shelves
  • Move one of the shelves to make room for the freezer in the next item.
  • Pick up the freezer at my mom's house to bring here so I can start making freezer-friendly foods in preparation for Butternut's arrival

El Hub's Office
  • Install curtain rod and curtains
  • Install blinds
  • Deal with the many boxes piled up.

My Office
  • Install curtain rod and curtains
  • Install blinds

*nesting, aka a convenient phrase for realizing, "OH MY GOSH, there's going to be a little person in the house soon who is going to make this place look and function about as well as if a bomb had been dropped here."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Thing Is by Ellen Bass

Thank you to Mighty Girl Maggie for introducing me to this poem.

The Thing Is

to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.

(From Mules of Love, via The Writer’s Almanac.)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Who doesn't listen to music while cleaning?

*quiet scene on the couch, each of us on our respective laptops*

El Hub: What are you going to do?
Me: Huh?
El Hub: Are you about to do something?
Me: Uh, I was going to sweep, mop, and finish sorting my paperwork... Why?
El Hub: You're sorting a ton of music in iTunes. That usually means it's "Serious Victoria Project Time."
Me: Oh. Well. Yes.

He knows me.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Simplifying Life: The Pantry Edition

I honestly don't know if it is the phenomenon of "nesting" that has me going crazy with our house, or if it is simply the the realization that our lives are going to become exponentially more complicated once this kiddo joins us in the world outside my womb. Either way, the reality is that I am experiencing an intense urge to clean out our house, set up organization systems, and decorate the areas I have neglected since we moved in over two years ago. An excellent example from this weekend alone I finally set up the curio cabinet that had been sitting empty with the glass shelves disassembled. I also tackled quite a few other projects and have many more on my list, and I plan to share those that I found especially valuable.

Before: The pantry. A disorganized, cluttered sty.

Like this project. One of my personal development goals is to learn more about cooking, and one part of being successful in that endeavor is having a kitchen that actually functions. Our cabinets and pantries are bursting at the seams with hand-me-downs, gifts, and items we thought would work for us but didn't. The cabinets will probably not get sorted out until I can get El Hub to help me out with installing a certain storage device, but the pantry? That I could tackle immediately.

Everything that was in the pantry. Eek.

And I did. I started by taking everything in the pantry, out. Spreading everything out allowed me to see it all and sort it all. This made it so much easier to sort like with like, set aside items to be donated, and trash expired food.

Expired food.

And there was a lot of expired food. It was depressing, humbling, and a learning experience. So much wasted food, either because we could see what we already had, lacked the cooking skills or motivation to make it. My mother also has a bad habit of bringing us random food that isn't the type we would ever usually want to eat, so that food languishes when it should be donated instead. I cannot stop my mother from bringing us stuff, but I can organize what we have so we can plan meals effectively and stop buying duplicates (and get on top of donating whatever food we know we will not be eating). Yes, I feel shame, both for not eating it or donating it prior to expiration, and also for my limited cooking skills stopping me from using some of these items in the first place. I hope this will serve as motivation to live differently in the future, and I still feel very proud of the end result.

After: The pantry officially cleaned out and ready for action.

In the end, we have an organized, functional pantry with clearly delineated areas for different foodstuffs. Beverages on the floor, small appliances on the first shelf, baking supplies on the second, breakfast and storage items on the third, pasta and random meal-in-a-box type supplies on the fourth, and plastic utensils (for our Game Night parties) on the top.

After: Cutie approves of the newly reorganized lazy susan.

Above is the lazy susan that I cleaned out at the same time, and it is divided into soups, broths, and El Hub's lunch snacks. It was much easier to tackle all the food-related areas of the kitchen in one go.

Every time we come back from food shopping, there is no struggle to put away groceries since everything has a "home" and there is room to grow in the future as I work on my goal of cooking more. Simplicity accomplished.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Simplifying Life: The Living Room Media Center Edition

I honestly don't know if it is the phenomenon of "nesting" that has me going crazy with our house, or if it is simply the the realization that our lives are going to become exponentially more complicated once this kiddo joins us in the world outside my womb. Either way, the reality is that I am experiencing an intense urge to clean out our house, set up organization systems, and decorate the areas I have neglected since we moved in over two years ago. An excellent example from this weekend alone I finally set up the curio cabinet that had been sitting empty with the glass shelves disassembled. I also tackled quite a few other projects and have many more on my list, and I plan to share those that I found especially valuable.

Before: Living Room Media Center with our old television, stand, and bookcases.

Like this one. This is unfortunately the best true "before" photo of our living room I have. You can see our old TV and the oak bookcase on the right (not pictured is the matching one on the left). It was not our style and El Hub had been hankering for a new TV for a long time, so for his birthday several weeks ago we bought a new television, stand, and bookcases.

Halfway point with the new television and stand but with the old bookcases.

That first one was a pathetic before picture. Here, have another one, this one from when we were partway through switching out the old furniture for the new. Again, this happened several weeks ago, but it wasn't until recently that I was able to take the time to properly organize everything.

Before: Living Room Media Center with items haphazardly shoved on the shelves.

For the purposes of this project, this is an appropriate "before" photo. We had all of the furniture in place but had not yet taken the time to figure out a long-term solution that would keep everything organized and pleasing to the eye. So I made a quick trip to Target before buckling down for a few hours...

After: Living Room Media Center looking sleek and sex-ay.

...resulting in this. One of the fastest projects I have worked on so far with one of the biggest payoffs. The "after" looks a million times better, and for the amount of time we spend in the living room, it is wonderful to be able to look at something so much more visually appealing. For $28, I snagged four multi-tasking storage cubes that give a pop of color as well as hidden storage. I went with red to make the retro-pop Mickey painting (a giclee edition of a painting by Trevor Carlton and Stephen Reis) stand out more and brighten up all the dark furniture. These storage cubes were the perfect price and they provide the perfect amount of hidden storage. Right now, one holds video game controllers, another holds Nintendo Gameboy and DS equipment, the third holds batteries, and the fourth is empty to give us room to grow.

And speaking of growing, this setup will easily grow to accommodate a curious toddler who wants to grab everything within reach. The top shelves intentionally only hold decorative items that can be shifted to the top of the bookcase, then everything else can move up one shelf. We will snag four more storage cubes that can hide our Gummi Bear's toys and stuffed animals.

Other than that, it was simply a matter of going through all the DVDs and sorting like with like (of course, there's a Disney shelf full of movies!). It looks cleaner and easier on the eyes, so for a couple of hours of my time and $28 for our storage solution, I consider this well worth it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The seemingly impossible search for seating for the nursery.

Why, why, why are gliders so ugly? The exposed wood screams nursery, which doesn't bode well for the furniture's future in our house. The padding tends to read as dated. And the cost! I refuse to spend $300 or more for something I would only use for a few years since it would never be allowed to live outside of our kiddo's room.

I'm sure it is uber comfortable, but I just do not want to spend that much money on something I will loathe looking at every day.

So, I have been on the hunt for a safe, comfortable, aesthetically appealing, budget-friendly seating solution for the nursery. Safe, since it seems like a good idea to minimize the number of doctor and hospital visits for my future kiddo. Comfortable, since I like to actually sit in seats, and if it is uncomfortable, then I do not sit very long. Aesthetically appealing, since I am a picky, picky lady. And budget-friendly because, well, I try not to make my credit card cry TOO much.

I was hoping to magically find the perfect solution when El Hub and I were registering at Babies "R" Us the other day. In fact, I did end up registering for the Newco Jayden Upholstered Recliner after 1) sitting in it, 2) being wowed at the all-in-one design with the popout foot rest, and 3) not going into cardiac arrest at the site of the price. But after sitting in it and reading the reviews and remembering I want to use a nursing stool instead of an ottoman-style footrest, I still think it's pretty pricey for the quality, comfort, and aesthetics, so I think I will end up taking it off the registry.

Newco Jayden Upholstered Recliner

Everything else at BRU was too pricey for my liking, so that leaves regular furniture stores and, of course, the internet. And, of course, which option have I pursued? The internet, because I am tired and vastly prefer shopping from the comfort of my couch. Searches for non-ugly gliders lead me a few options, including the Urban Outfitters Mid-Century Rocker, Ikea's Poang Rocking Chair, and Dorel Monaco Bentwood Rocking Chair.

Urban Outfitters Mid-Century Rocker

Ikea's Poang Rocking Chair

Dorel Monaco Bentwood Rocking Chair

I love, love, love the look of the mid-century rocker, but it has its downsides just like every other choice. The cushions like the play slip and slide, but I would happily slap on some velcro before calling it a day. A more considerable concern is that the back does not go up very high, so it is not possible to rest your head. As one reviewer commented, that is a feature exhausted parents might desperately want during those 3 a.m. feedings.

The IKEA and Dorel rockers are certainly more to my visual liking than most options, but I cannot say I love them as much as the mid-century rocker. I just feel a bit meh about them. The price is nicer (especially the Dorel), but not even that has me hopping up and down for either of them screaming, "YAY! MY CHAIR SOULMATE!" 'Cause they're not. We'd eventually hit some tough times in our relationship and get a Craigslist divorce, which completely annihilates my goal of finding a piece of furniture that would have a permanent spot in our home.

So, any recommendations? Help a gal out here.

Monday, November 1, 2010

An enticing buffet, I hope.

An enticing buffet, I hope.

Cutie and I have been together her entire 16 years, and I am very sad to say she was diagnosed with kidney failure on Friday. I've gotten her different prescription foods and I am trying to find something she will be willing to it, hence this little buffet. Unfortunately, she's still not really eating too much in one go, less than a quarter of a can. Her medication we started her on Friday was upsetting her stomach, so hopefully this new one she started today won't do such a terrible number on her stomach.

Someone said to me this weekend that I must have been preparing myself for her eventual demise, but honestly? No. I've always said she needs to live forever. When it comes to Cutie, at heart I am still just the selfish, nearsighted kid I was when I adopted her. Kidney failure isn't a "painful" condition, which makes me glad, but I am afraid of trying to understand the line where her malaise becomes too much.

Until then, my life will be cleaning her bodily functions from the carpet, trying to find food she's willing to eat, and possibly learning how to administer water under her skin (picture my reaction when the vet told me that. Hint: I was confused at first). Hers will hopefully be comfortable. Wish me luck on figuring out how to achieve that.

Love you, Cutie.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hello, Monday and goodbye, vacation.

Hello, Monday and goodbye, vacation.

El Hub and I just got back from a seven-day cruise vacation. Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas with stops in George Town, Grand Cayman; Costa Maya, Mexico; Belize City, Belize; and Cozumel, Mexico.

I like to cruise. It is my preferred method of travel, the excitement of beautiful locales with the added bonus of lots of downtime. But people, there was not enough downtime on this last cruise. I guess the pregnancy, on top of everything else, just conspired to make me even more in need of rest.

I did my best to rest, and I did my best to enjoy the vacation. I think I succeeded.

Happy anniversary to me and El Hub - two years last Monday. It was a wonderful way to celebrate our marriage, on a beautiful trip with a little Gummi Bear kicking it up.

Photo from our first at sea day on our way to Grand Cayman.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What's this?

Happy birthday, Rob!


Or a Gummi Bear, as we like to call the baby. I have to say that I am very grateful to be pregnant, to be pregnant with Rob's offspring, to be pregnant with a seemingly healthy baby (and I have had a lot of ultrasounds to document this), and I am grateful that we have every reason to hope that I will be giving birth to a healthy baby in March 2011.

It has not been an easy road, but I am unspeakably grateful to be where I am.

Vital stats? 14 weeks pregnant. First trimester has been a cavalcade of my own physical misery tempered by good news after good news about the baby's development. Still working on my own health now that I am in the second trimester, but I am enjoying this period of lessened morning sickness before I get too big to move around easily.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mark in the ICU after open heart surgery.

Mark in the ICU after open heart surgery.

The past few days have been very trying for our family, but certainly the most trying on my brother Mark. Imagine waking up one day, going to the doctor for what you think is a pulled muscle, and being told you're having a heart attack and need to go to the hospital immediately.

Life changes very fast sometimes, fast enough to (literally, if you're me in my car accident in June) give you whiplash, but it's a certain kind of strangeness to have it change while you're totally aware of it.

Mark has my admiration and respect. His strength (and his sense of humor!) during a time like this is something I hope I remember for the rest of my life.

Fortunately, he is no longer in the CVICU and now he is on the regular floor with the other cardio patients. We're hoping he will get to go home on Monday or Tuesday. That's when the hard, lifelong work of recovery begins.

Thank you all for your well wishes.

Monday, April 26, 2010

National television debut, all in the name of pie.

Check out the 1:40 mark for my national television debut in which I reveal that I eat way too much pie. El Hub and I went to the Great American Pie Festival this weekend with friends and family, and we were interviewed by the Early Show on CBS. Our family and friends' interviews were cut, poor guys, but I was deemed awesome enough to have a sound bite.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Beautiful Baby Boy Ben portraits.

If only I could have thought of a feasible synonym for "portraits" that started with a B, then the alliteration in my title would have been complete.

Today I had a wonderful session with Allison and her (beautiful baby boy) Ben! It was a blast. Both mom (and baby!) were up for anything - I honestly don't remember ever knowing such a mellow little dude as this one.

Thank you, Allison and Anthony for letting me take photos of Ben!

Nom nom nomming on that hand.

Two hands.

Tummy time!

Love and Ben.

Mother and son.

Ben has had enough of the papparazzi.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A different sort of wedding flowers.

A different sort of wedding flowers.

Our wedding in October 2008 has been on my mind lately - or, my wedding dress has been, since I'm trying to get up the motivation to sell it. I'm not the sort of person to hold onto the dress for sentimental reasons - I have tons of lovely photos of me in the dress for that.

I had almost forgotten about this picture. These are hair pins that I bought for the wedding, not realizing they didn't quite go with the champagne shade of my dress. Just a relic, hanging around my office. It's too bad they never got their turn to be worn, but they're not my style. Perhaps I should throw them in as a freebie for whoever buys my wedding dress. This is what I wrote about the hair pins when I received them, before I had compared them to the dress:

"I'm picky about how I like my flowers. I only want them in my home if they're in a vase, not adorning my walls or my bedspread or my keychain or any other place you can slap an applique. But I love these hair pins.

"But I love these hair pins. I think the color will match my dress perfectly, and the pearl in the center will match the pearls I will wear (appropriate for my June birthday as well).

"No clue how I am doing my hair yet. I am waiting for the two-tier veil to come in so then I can do a hair trial with my stylist."

I love time traveling through my photography and writing.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A flower with your Thai food.

A flower with your Thai food.

El Hub and I went to lunch at SEA Thai today, and anyone who knows me will not. Find. This. Shocking. Seriously, we go at least twice a week. The staff knows us by sight and brings us our "usual." I would go more often if El Hub and my wallet weren't stopping me. Man, I love SEA Thai. I went from Thai food mild spicy skeptic to hot spicy enthusiast thanks to this restaurant. If you're in the Orlando area, I highly recommend it.

I dragged out my Nikon 55-200mm VR telephoto lens yesterday to challenge myself. The minimum of 55mm has always felt stiflingly close, so forget about kicking it up to 200mm! Plus my 35mm lens is so wonderfully fast that it suits my indoor photography. I didn't have room to do more than 55mm at SEA Thai today with this flower, but I did get a nice DoF by blurring out the wine rack in the background. I didn't like the coloring of the original, so I tweaked it to give it a softer edge.

Taken on a Nikon D40.

Photo originally taken on January 18, 2010 at at SEA Thai in Orlando, Florida.

Photo posted on the same day.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

2nd Annual Parramore Kidz Zone College Night.

2nd Annual Parramore Kidz Zone College Night.

Last night's second annual Parramore Kidz Zone (PKZ) College Night was fantastic.

During one of our PKZ tours in Parramore, a large group of teens were asked, "How many of you want to go to college? Raise your hand." Every single hand went up.

Those same youth were then asked, "How many of you think you're going to go to college?"

Only a few hands remained in the air.

PKZ is an amazing project. We want to see more of those hands in the air. Last night I think we saw a few more go up.

Click here more information on the City of Orlando's Parramore Kidz Zone project.

Taken on a Nikon D40.

Photo originally taken on January 13, 2010 in the Parramore community of Orlando, Florida.

Photo posted on January 14, 2010.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A view of the Little Mermaid.

A view of the Little Mermaid.

My father was almost as excited about our honeymoon as Rob and I were just before we left. My dad traveled all over the world before his strokes thanks to his job, and all my life he's wished for me to see the sights he has seen. He also shares my love of stories and reading, so he wanted me to see the Little Mermaid statue. This homage to Danish author Hans Christian Andersen's story of the little mermaid was well worth seeing.

She was smaller than I expected - more the size of an actual young teenage girl than the giant statue I had envisioned. And she was a little sad in her posture and the way her view gazed. But it makes sense - this is Hans Christian Andersen's mermaid, not Disney's.

Taken on a Nikon D40.

Photo originally taken on September 14, 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Photo posted on January 9, 2010.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Hello 2010.

A year has gone by. When I first began trying to think of what I had done this past year, it paled in comparison to 2008 - moving to Tallahassee, getting engaged, buying a house, graduating with my master's degree, getting a job, and getting married. But the more I thought about it and looked over my writings and photographs, I realized that this was a year of growth instead of simply change.

January 2009

Oh, January. We had just gotten married a couple of months before and been through the whirlwhind of splitting holidays between our families. I think I may have spent much of this month in a stupor. I did try to wake up enough to snap this photo of the cats being sweet to one another for a change.

A Kitty Love Story: Cole and Cutie Kiss

Once we got our pictures back after our wedding, I started working feverishly on a photo album we could gift as a gift to our families. I ended up only finishing Rob's mother's in time to give it to her for Christmas - this one pictured below is the copy I made for my parents. is awesome and I highly recommend them for your book-making needs.

Wedding Album for Mom and Dad

I met Orlando Magic player Dwight Howard at a work event. Normally I don't ask celebrities for a photo, especially not when working, but I knew my dad was going to geek out big time over this. And I was right. Whenever anyone visits him, he points out this picture that I gave him. Thank you, Dwight, for taking this picture with me - you made my dad a very happy person.

PKZ Teenz Shack Grand Opening

February 2009

Our dating anniversary is February 12th, which Rob says I am not allowed to celebrate now that we are married. Conveniently, Valentine's Day is only two days later, so I will settle for just pretending we celebrate both together. He sent me flowers this year.

Valentine's Day Gift from Rob

The note reads, "I love you so much. Having you in my life makes me truly happy."

Valentine's Day Gift from Rob

Later in the month we went to the AMC Best Picture Showcase for the 2009 Oscar Nominees. Rob and I had one of our first few dates at the very first AMC Best Picture Showcase in 2009. It's an exhausting day of movie after movie, but we've been every year because we enjoy it so much. I wonder if they will do it again this year now that there are 10 nominees. I can't imagine how it will work, but I am hopeful.

AMC Oscar Movie Marathon 2009

Our friends Gibby and Damian joined us for part of the marathon. People tend to drop in and out - 12+ hours at a movie theater can be a little too taxing.

AMC Oscar Movie Marathon 2009

Rob trying to punch my camera? Give it daps? Show off his wedding ring? I'm going to go with the punch, seeing as it drives him up a wall when I take pictures of him.

AMC Oscar Movie Marathon 2009

Spent a day in Safety Harbor with Rob's family.

A Day in Safety Harbor

March 2009

For more than a decade, I had I been coping with chronic earaches and sore throats. No one ever had an answer, and the earache pain especially could be incapacitating at times. An ENT recommended I undergo a couple of days of allergy testing. Yeah, I'm allergic to a lot of stuff. I ended up not going for the allergy shots they recommended because I would have to go to their office every week to have them administered and the cost was overwhelming. Plus, I had another plan up my sleeve that I hoped would be more effective than shots, which you'll see a bit more about down in May's slot.


We watched a shuttle launch from our backyard.

Watching Space Shuttle Launch

Major work project finally came to a conclusion - building a playground in one day. It was an exhilarating day.


Finally got a picture with the Mayor.


Continued taking photos as a (smaller than I would like) part of my job.

Dickson Azalea Park

When we moved into our house, Rob tasked me with decorating it. It was a slow process for the typical reasons such time, money, and energy, but also a lack of inspiration. The front area of our house was the first to come together, and this is our freshly cleaned and tidied dining room, sitting room, and foyer just before a party we hosted.




More decorating. The cost of home decor annoys me. The cost of a lot of things annoys me. So I went the DIY route for a large painting to place over our couch in the living room.

Blocks Work in Progress


The party was a game night party - myself and a couple of other friends try to take turns hosting.

Game Night Party 3-28-2009

April 2009

Spent a day at Disney's Hollywood Studios. I love Disney and I wish we spent more time there.


Spent a day in Safety Harbor celebrating Easter with Rob's family.

Easter 2009 - Safety Harbor

Rob joined me at a free art workshop sponsored through my work. We opted to do the pottery instead of the photography walk.

Employee Art Workshop Day 2009

May 2009

We spent a day at Epcot to enjoy their Annual Flower and Garden Festival.

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2009

My point-and-shoot Canon broke - I pulled it out of my pocket to find the lens was permanently stuck halfway open and it would only take blurry pictures such as the one below. I sent it off to Canon and they quickly sent it back to me, good as new. Thank you Canon!


Remember those earaches I mentioned and how I decided not to go the allergy shot route, despite my numerous allergies? Instead I decided to go the surgery route. Out, out tonsils! It was a long, painful recovery, and unlike many other people, my second week was actually worse than the first. I lived on buttery, mushy noodles that would slide down my throat so I could avoid chewing and swallowing. And the earache during my recovery was worse than any other I had had. But after the recovery? I've only had two earaches since then. Two. I used to be in pain two weeks out of the month, easily. Best surgery ever.

Tonsillectomy Day!

My mom's cat Charlie went through a really bad health scare the week after my tonsillectomy. Charlie, we are very glad we still have you with us, and we are sorry you had to go through so much pain while the vets did their best to figure it out. Charlie on (one of) the rides home from the vet.

Charlie, our little trooper

My friend Katie, her husband Mike, and their baby Addy were in town. We haven't seen them since their wedding, so this was a long overdue visit. It was Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios, so this is Addy meeting her first Jedi Mickey as Katie smiles in the background.


June 2009

My birthday month! Rob got me my very first DSLR, my Nikon D40. It was the most basic DSLR on the market - I think we were both unsure how much I would use it and how much I would be willing to lug it around, so that was one of the reasons we went low-end. Plus, money. As it turns out, I take it with me everywhere. I love it. As you can see in this photo below, I hadn't quite figured out white balance yet (the reason why the photo is a warm yellowish tint). I've learned a lot with my D40 over the past several months.


Friends joined us at Kobe steakhouse to celebrate my birthday. Thank you guys!


July 2009

My sister-in-law moved herself and my niece and nephew to my parents' for the summer while my brother stayed in Texas to work and oversee the house as they tried to sell it. Rob and I took the kids to Magic Kingdom. Disney!!!


Ugh, teacups. I suffer from motion sickness, but this was one of the few rides that both of the kids were excited to go on. Rob maintained eye contact with me to keep me from getting too sick. It was surprisingly effective, and surprisingly hot. Thanks, Rob.


Friends who work in a downtown highrise helped me get in to take photos of Lake Eola. I was still painfully new to my D40 - if I had this shoot to do over again... C'est la vie.

Copy of 2009-07-16 Lake Eola from Dynetech 204

August 2009

Took my first, and so far only, photography class.


Traveled to Tallahassee to visit my friend Kelly and celebrate her graduation with double graduate degrees. Congratulations, Kelly.


Katie and her family were in Orlando again, so we were able to hang out. And I got to have my picture taken with the adorable Addy.

Katie and Mike are in town! Here's me with Addy.

I'm a native Floridian but had never gone to Kennedy Space Center to see a shuttle launch. I finally made it happen, with excellent timing seeing as there are only a few more launches left.

Discovery Space Shuttle Launch at Kennedy Space Center.

September 2009

Oh. Oh. This was a good month. This was the month of our honeymoon. I would love to time travel back to this and experience it all over again. Since that's not possible, I will settle for photos. See more pictures here.

Day 1: Traveling Across the Atlantic

Honeymoon: Nyhavn at sunset.

Day 10: La Coruna, Spain

Day 10: La Coruna, Spain

Day 14: Tunis, Tunisia

Day 15: Valleta, Malta

Day 15: Valleta, Malta

And then we came to a house that our friends had "decorated." I think the streamers and post-its is the more mature version of TPing.


October 2009

This was a particularly memorable month too. We celebrated our first month wedding anniversary at the Gaylord Palms.

Happy anniversary, Rob.

As a very special, lucky, unplanned (for which we will be forever grateful, thank you Mike S.!) part of our wedding anniversary celebration, we went to Disney's Yacht & Beach Club and got to ride on Breathless II, a replica of a 1920's Crisscraft speed boat.

Breathless II on the Epcot Canal Waterway at Disney's Hollywood Studios - take two.

I traveled to Clearwater for my friend Mara's bridal shower and bachelorette party. I was snapping away when the groom showed up and I was able to capture this perfect moment of him peeping in on the proceedings.

The Groom-To-Be peeks in on the bridal shower.

Halloween! My brother Michael sold the house and his family officially moved here, so we were able to go with them to take my niece and nephew trick or treating.

Here, Halloween  Kitty Kitty.

November 2009

My friend Mara whose bridal shower I attended the month before? I was a bridesmaid in her wedding. Beautiful wedding, and one of the coolest venues I have ever been to.

Mara and Franco's wedding reception.

We went to Festival of the Masters with some friends - here they are, focusing on a drawing class. I've attended every Festival of the Masters since 2004. I miss the days when Stephen Reis and Trevor Carlton did their life performance painting.

Festival of the Masters 2009: Alex and Elizabeth in student mode.

My first non-work photography gig - the wedding of my friend Kelly's mother. It was a very last minute proposition, and I was ecstatic to be able to do this.

Kathie & Ed's Wedding: The Cake.

December 2009

My computer inconveniently died just before Thanksgiving. Rob had been plotting to buy me a Macbook Pro for Christmas, so my desktop's untimely demise sped things up a bit. It's my second Mac, but since I've only ever done my photo editing on a PC, it's still feeling like quite a switch.

Excited! I can finally get back to editing photos thanks to my new laptop.

I met up with my friends Gibby and Allison - Allison just had her first baby a few months ago, Ben pictured here with Gibby. So. Cute. I think Gibby agrees.

Deirdre and Benjamin.

Rob and I got dolled up to his work's end of the year party.

Victoria and Rob in party mode.

We celebrated my dad's 74th birthday.

Ron on his 74th birthday.

I took one of my favorite photos ever at a friend's 30th birthday party.

An Ode to Trinity.

Christmas day! We made a point of starting the day with my family since its been ages since we had a Christmas with little kids around.

Some of the family at Christmas.

Then we traveled to Safety Harbor to celebrate a second Christmas with Rob's family.

Christmas #2.

So that's the wrap-up of my year, with loads of pictures to boot. I'm looking forward to 2010 and hoping it's the best one yet.

Happy New Year to you all.