Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Review: The Language of Flowers

Somehow, despite having two boys, school, student teaching, and way too many interests for my own good (just ask my husband), I have managed to read quite a few books this year.  Regardless of any other loves I may have, reading will always be my first love (Babysitter's Club, anyone?).  

I recently finished Vanessa Diffenbaugh's novel, The Language of Flowers.  I had heard some buzz about the book and decided to give it a shot and I'm so glad I did.  The cover, title, and even description  do not naturally grab my attention, but the book is so enchanting and well-written.  I had a hard time putting it down.  

The protagonist, Victoria, is a teenager who has been emancipated from the foster care system.  She doesn't trust anyone, struggles with daily interactions, and meeting basic needs.  Woven into the story is the language of flowers-their meanings-and their relation to Victoria's life.  The starkness of Victoria's life juxtaposed with the beauty of the flowers is really quite interesting.  

If I sound like I'm talking crazy-talk, just read this novel and you'll understand. 

It is unlike anything I've ever read before. 

Perhaps the most telling aspect of my experience with this novel is that I find myself thinking about Victoria, the main character.  I need a sequel just so I can make sure that she is ok.  

Have you read this book? What did you think? And if you haven't, have you ever read a book that you couldn't stop thinking about weeks later?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Life Choices

When you stop and think about it, the college experience is a funny thing.  Most of us, at a mere 17 or 18 years old, are forced to think about what we want to do with the rest of our lives.  And then we embark an a journey to reach those dreams, all while hoping that we have made the right choice.  In the process we spend tens of thousands of dollars on a simple hope.  A simple idea of who we might be when we grow up. We sit through hours of lectures, hours of studying, and hours of homework, while dreaming of what will come next.

Our dream job, of course.  Our dream life.

But as we get closer and closer to reaching that dream, doubt sets in.  What if we've picked the incorrect path?  What if this path isn't the one that will make us happy?

What if we were wrong?

Since graduating in 2003, I've been working toward becoming a high school English teacher.  I've made my way into and out of various programs, have gotten married, and have had two little blue-eyed boys (with a third on the way).

I've been about 92% (very scientific number) sure that I've made the right decision every step of the way.  But I've always wondered if I would really be happy with teaching.  It certainly isn't the highest paying job and so many people seem to wind up in this profession because their #1 dream didn't work out.  Just because I like to read and write and study reading and study writing, what if I don't like teaching?

For the past six weeks, I've been student teaching with a 9th grade English teacher, and am happy to report that I've enjoyed every moment of it.  In fact, I feel that I've already become so invested in these classes and the students...I'm pretty sure I'm going to be sad when it's over.

The teacher that I'm working with teaches all of the freshmen who are remedial and have learning disabilities or some other attribute that makes learning difficult.  These students are filtered throughout all of her classes.  She's done a great job of modeling what it means to be compassionate, interested, and sincere.  It is possible to catch students before they fall through the cracks.  And, even if they have fallen, they can be rescued.

I know that there are those with a special gift for teaching Honors and AP students, and maybe I would thoroughly enjoy that as well, but for now, I am definitely seeing the rewards and success stories that come with teaching those who struggle with their education.

At this point, with the very minute experience I have gained, I am feeling that my 17-year old self knew what she was doing.  Or maybe it was just a lucky guess.  Either feels good.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Little Boys

Just stopping in with some pictures.  

I've been busy with student teaching, lesson planning, grading, and other school work.  

I totally love it. 

And I love these boys.  After looking at stinky freshmen kids all day (which really is wonderful), these boys are a sight for sore eyes.

Oh...and Baby #3 has been moving around the entire time I wrote this.  :)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

"Are You Hoping for a Girl?"

Hot Wheels are in nearly every corner of the house.  Soccer balls, basketballs, footballs, tennis balls, bouncy balls, and every other type of ball are thrown at me while I cook dinner.  Football is on in the background while I type, read, exercise, write papers, and sometimes, even while I sleep.  If you happen to find something pink in our house, you know it belongs to me.  I can't blame that stray bobby pin left on top of the microwave on anyone else and any random hair found over an inch long definitely came from my head.

I'm the only girl (except for Katniss-our kitten). 

During this third pregnancy (and even during my 2nd), I always got asked if I was hoping that we'd have a girl.  And while I didn't mind answering this question, I felt that people generally fell into two groups.  The first group of people who asked me this question were genuinely just curious.  They knew that I already had two boys and wanting a girl was probably inevitable.  Then there was the other group of people.  These people asked me with an edge of judgement in their voices.  Even though they were merely asking if I was hoping for a girl just like those from the first group had asked, these people were basically saying, "Are you selfish enough to be hoping for a girl when all you should want is a healthy baby?"  

And while I agree that having a healthy baby is the important factor, I don't think it is really all that unrealistic to long for a baby girl.  I think it's perfectly normal.  I'm not one of those girls who cries when the sonographer says, "It' a boy!" and gets all dramatic (don't worry).  I am always grateful for a healthy baby.

Answering that question, "Are you hoping for a girl?" was a bit daunting at times.  I never knew what reaction I'd get.  I was always honest, though.  My response, "Of course I would be thrilled to have a girl, but having boys has been wonderful and I would be so happy to have a third little guy if that's in the plan for us."  


Here is my favorite photo from the summer.  I took it while prepping to take the shot for our Baby #3 pregnancy announcement.  These 3 guys have become the center of my world and give me an entirely new meaning to my life.

And if you missed our Baby #3 Gender Reveal, you can see it here.

The Paper Mama Photo Challenge

Curtis and Sarah's Wedding: Part 2

If you missed Part 1 of Curtis and Sarah's wedding, click here.   

While the wedding was beautiful, the reception was stunning.  Everything was perfectly personalized and the cake was just right for this beach wedding.  Everyone had a great time dancing the night away and I don't think the bride and groom ever stopped smiling.

Beautiful beach cake by Cakes and S.E.W. On.

Catering by Splash Cafe located in Pismo, CA.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Baby #3

Because we couldn't wait to share...

We are very excited, but now I will be really be outnumbered.  :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

He's a Walker

I happen to think that the first few weeks of real walking-of real independence-is so sweet.  That sudden urge to walk over to that pile of toys or to follow his brother in circles around the room or even to waddle over to me and lay his head in my lap.  It's really so cute.  The way they stop and check their balance every ten steps or so.  The way their hands stay up in the air as they hone in on their target.  The way they plop down after they get what they want.

We've had a wonderful September up here in Seattle.  The sun has been showing off most days and it's been warm enough to let Lance practice his walking skills barefoot in the grass while Nate improves on his pedaling skills. 

I know I'm getting spoiled by all of the sun and the lack of rain, but I'm enjoying it while it lasts.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Summer Fun

There's a photo challenge going on over at I Heart Faces with the theme of Summer Fun.  While lots of submissions feature little kids playing in the sand or swimming or eating popsicles (and they are all just adorable-definitely take a peek), I thought I'd take a different approach.

I photographed my first two weddings this summer.  And what's more fun than photographing a couple on their big day having fun at the beach on a warm summer day?

I was extremely fortunate that the awesome people at ATS Rentals loaned me some fabulous lenses, including the 70-200 and 18mm.  If you are interested in trying out a new lens before purchasing or just want a special lens/camera for that big day, I highly recommend ATS.  They've been nothing but wonderful to me.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Curtis and Sarah's Wedding: Part 1

What a beautiful wedding! Held at the Avila Beach Resort on the central coast of California, this wedding was clearly Sarah's dream wedding.  Every detail was simple, but when placed together and in such a beautiful setting, the result was nothing short of stunning.

Sarah was beautiful.  Curtis was handsome and comfortable in his shorts and flip flops. And all of the guests had a great time.

Enjoy this glimpse into this special day.

Congratulations you guys! Thanks for letting me have such a special role in your big day. 

Looking for a camera/lens rental? Be sure to check out ATS Rentals. Quality service, fast shipping, and excellent gear.

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

It's been a while! Actually, I don't think I've participated all summer.  And I've missed it.

If you missed my earlier post about our Special Announcement, you can check it out here.  :)


I catch these little guys doing the funniest things sometimes.  Nate was spraying water into his brother's mouth (with a bottle he wasn't supposed to have that was left on the table).  But instead of putting up a fight, Lance joined in.  Little pranksters.  I wonder what mischievous things they'll do when they're older.


I'm constantly having to move toys out of the way to get a good shot, but this time, I was too lazy to get up and move it. Hey...real life, right?

Any of the 5 Senses:

Nate has quite a few different types of toys, but his favorites are his Hot Wheel cars.  He sleeps with two during every nap and bedtime and usually is carrying around a few in his pockets.


When it comes to pictures of my kids, I prefer to keep the post-processing minimal.  I don't want to look at a photo 5 or 10 years from now and know that it is over-photoshopped.  I want to capture the moment, their faces, their details, exactly as they really are.  But I had fun with this picture.  Obviously it's very processed, but I like it.  I'm sure there's a car battery in that hood somewhere.  :)


We saw these elephant seals (and many more) off the central coast of California during our trip this summer. Not the most beautiful of creatures, but interesting for sure!

Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy your week.