November 21, 2014

B's Mustache Bash

My sweet girl turned 8 on November 2nd! For her party this year she wanted a "mustache party" which lovingly became "the mustache bash." We had a sweet group of girls over to celebrate, here is a glimpse of her special day. xo

(ignore the vertical blinds over by the couch, they are gone now :)


November 20, 2014

and they just drove off....

Whaaaaaaaaaa. Doug and Kemi were here for a day and a half and they just left to head home. Its always so quiet when company leaves. :( Doug spent yesterday putting up B's birthday/Christmas gift of a new trampoline, its HUGE. I had no idea just how big it was and well...lets just say we can ALL jump together if we want to! Yikes! I hope it provides years and years of enjoyment for MANY to come!

This week was my first "not crazy" week, its been busy but I can feel the calm and normal that is coming, even in the midst of the holiday season. I'm still adjusting and settling into life here, but with each day I feel a little more like myself. Tomorrow Adam heads to his yearly conference for 5 days, B and I always miss him like crazy and this year with grandma and granddad just leaving, its going to feel especially quiet. I'm trying to arrange some play dates, mom/B dates to keep us busy. I'm sure there will be lots of jumping too. :)

I made my grocery list for Thanksgiving, I'm halving some things this year and skipping mashed potatoes (I always just have way too many, time to pare it down). We're looking forward to having cousin Mike join us for the 4th (?) year in a row! Its always a fun, low key day.

That's pretty much the haps over here, still working on a couple house projects and doing some shooting here and there, just finding our new normal here in California. I just blogged another Waco mini session so head on over HERE to check out these cuties! xo

November 17, 2014

busy weekend

Whew! This weekend went too fast! Friday night Adam and a friend played in a poker tournament for charity so my friend Sara and I dropped our kids at our old (well my old, her current) church for parents night out and we went out to a lovely kid-free dinner! Saturday we drove out to Moreno Valley (a drive we used to do often but its been years since we've lived here and gone out to visit the aunts/uncles!) and had a lovely day of cousin time, and chatting and catching up with sweet family. Then we came home, I raced to the store to grab a few things, came home, and did some cooking before racing over to my friend's house to help host a shower for my dear friend Tracy. It was a couples shower in my friend's lovely home, full of sweet people celebrating God's miracle of a baby my friend prayed 10 years for. We got home around 1am, and then got up and went to our old church on Sunday morning (this is church #5 that we have tried, and we STILL don't know where we'll land). Then the 3 of us went to Montrose to have some lunch before coming home and napping and cleaning. Monday morning came too fast! Today I'm catching up on some work, doing some more cleaning to get ready for Doug and Kemi to come tomorrow (yay!), and going to the grocery store before taking B to gymnastics. I hope you all had a lovely weekend, thanks for reading! Now head on over HERE to see a sweet family that I adore! xo

November 14, 2014

November 13, 2014

behind on blogging

I've been a bad blogger...I'm SO behind on my professional blog BUT I did get a post up recently of a sweet newborn. Head on over HERE and check it out! xo

November 12, 2014

B on Halloween 2014

Better late than never, right? Here is our little gymnast on Halloween! xo


November 10, 2014

an intense season and 37

Lately when people ask "How are you?" I feel like I take a deep breath and say "I'm okay!" I try to sound a bit optimistic while being honest and also not wanting to go into a big ol' novel about all that's been going on if they were just asking to be polite and not if they don't have time to really hear. To wrap up these past several months the word that comes to mind is "intense." It has been non-stop from the moment we landed in California and the few months prior to that were pretty intense as well. Lots of travel this summer, lots of shooting, packing up a house and moving across the country, etc. Since August 1st its just been a whirlwind of moving, painting, house projects, birthdays, etc. and survival mode is how we've been living. I've said for a while now that "once mid November comes things will change" and I believe that. I think we have 1 more week of intensity and I think we'll slowly see the tides turning in our house...and I can't wait. I'm SO past ready to feel normal again, and to not feel like each day I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off just trying to make it until I lay down in my bed each night. Sigh. I'm ready for a breather. We all have seasons of life that are harder/more intense than others and we're just in the midst of one of "those" seasons of life right now. I feel like God has been working on my heart a lot in this time of my life and I'm trying to grow and be receptive to the changes he wants to make in me. I know at the beginning of this year I said I wanted to be more gracious, and I feel like the Lord is putting me in positions where I have that opportunity -and its hard. I keep having this inner dialogue in my mind about what I can do to be "better." I want to be a peacemaker, I want to put others needs before my own, I want to forgive when I've been wronged and move on and not be a grudge holder. I just want to be better, not because I'm so great but because I think its what God desires for me as a follower of his. Some tough life lessons I'm learning these days, but I think in the long run it will be good, life- giving growth.

I turned 37 yesterday...that sounds awfully close to 40 to me! (I still feel 27....that's normal, right?). It was a good day, very chill but good. I woke up to lovely cards from my family, made this Martha Stewart chocolate peanut butter cheesecake, went to church (where Adam and I realized we might not be totally ready to commit ...ay yi yi), went out to lunch, came home, took a nap, played a game with my little family, made some baked brie, and had a few of my nearest and dearest friends over for some cheese, wine and cheesecake. It was low key and a nice way to ring in year 37. I had so many lovely friends and family members email me, facebook me, text me, call me, etc. to wish me a happy birthday -it was such a sweet reminder of how blessed I truly am to have such special people in my life. I'm a blessed gal.

Well, thanks for enduring my ramblings...I feel like there's a lot going on in my head these days. I have loads of work to do this week but....calmer days are ahead and hopefully I can get caught up on photos of B, the house, etc.. As always, thanks for checking in. xo

November 6, 2014

Winns in D-land #Bturns8

Once we found out we were moving back to southern California one of the things we said to help entice Brennan about the move was taking her to Disneyland. Well, her bday came at a great time to make that happen so yesterday we pulled her out of school and took her to the "happiest place on earth!" Its no secret for those who know me that D-land is um....not my favorite place. I'm not a fan of rides - the older I get I get so nauseous! I'm not a fan of long lines, standing in the heat, battling the crowds, paying a lot of $ for bad food, etc. I'm just not a fan -there I said it! (I know, I must be a terrible person to not like Disneyland!). Well, yesterday really was the best experience I've had there (and I've been a lot since I went to college not too far away) so that's saying something! The longest line we waited in was probably 20 minutes, we walked onto several rides with no line, it was warm for a couple hours in mid-afternoon but otherwise the heat really wasn't an issue, and well, the food still sucked but hey, its one day. So, all in all a success! And obviously what really matters, B had a great time. She said "best birthday EVER!" so that made me happy. :) We rode every ride (that wasn't closed) except for 3 -that's pretty good for 1 day! I rode most of them, there were a handful I passed on but I thought that was pretty good for me too! :) The 3 of us had a nice time being together and I'm thankful for the memories. Here are a couple iPhone pics from our time. Happy Thursday, all! xo

November 4, 2014

an oldie but a goodie

Today is a rough one for me, I've had this song by Crystal Lewis on repeat. Its an old song but so good. Thought someone else out there might need this reminder today. xo

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

When sorrow seems to surround you
When suffering hangs heavy oer your head
Know that tomorrow brings
Wholeness and healing
God knows your need
Just believe what He said

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fearGladness for mourning
Peace for despair

When what youve done keeps you from moving on
When fear wants to make itself at home in your heart

Know that forgiveness brings
Wholeness and healing
God knows your need
Just believe what He said

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

I once was lost but God has found me
Though I was bound Ive been set free
Ive been made righteous in His sight
A display of His splendor all can see

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

November 2, 2014

Brennan Grace turns 8

My sweet girl, today you turn 8! Part of me can't believe it but part of me thinks you look 8, you sound 8, and I've thrown lots of parties so that makes sense! :) But wow...8. Brennan, you are funny -you have a great sense of humor and sometimes your snarkiness is so well timed I forget that you're only in 2nd grade. You are sooo picky about food....still. You pretty much don't like any lunch foods so each day when your lunch gets packed we're crossing our fingers you'll eat it. You love caesar salads and jimmy johns sandwiches (but you won't eat a home-made sandwich...grrr). You still pretty much hate shoes so footwear continues to be a hehem...challenge. This big move has been hard for you but you've been such a trooper! You mention Waco almost daily and tell me how much you miss it but you've made some friends here and I can tell you're starting to feel like yourself again. Its been hard for me to watch, this whole move/transition, I want to take away your homesickness and make everything okay but I can't. I'm so thankful you are strong and resilient and that you are finding your way. You are sweet as can be. Any time you've been at a friends house, or at church, etc. everyone always tells me how sweet you are -and its so true. You have a quiet and gentle spirit but once you "get going" you come out of your shell and you shine. I have never seen you be mean to any one and you always try and include others and I love that about you and it makes me so proud to be your mom. I could go on and on but I'll end with how much I love you and how I'm so thankful the Lord made you mine. I love you, B. xo

October 29, 2014

38 8 37

And...... breathe. I'm back from Texas, it was good. I kept telling people that I wasn't sure emotionally/mentally/spiritually it was good for me to be back so soon but that I couldn't pass up the gig I was flown out for, and really, it was just good to be there. Even though it was hard to leave, it didn't kill me and I'm so thankful for that. I prayed that I wouldn't be emotional and cry each time someone hugged me and asked how the transition has been, b/c although its been hard, we are good. I was worried going to UBC on Sunday would be really tough, and it was bittersweet of course, but it was good. Our children's pastor and worship leader both announced that they were moving at the end of the year, that made me sad b/c I like to think of everything I left staying the same but it was a reminder that life goes on and really, not much really stays the same. Even though we've only been gone a few months Waco isn't the same as when we left, and its a good realization for me to have. I only drove by our house once and it wasn't intentional, I had to pass it to visit a friend and I just glanced over quickly as I went by. I noticed porch furniture and a lamp in the tippy top -those were the only "differences" I could see. I didn't want to stare at it and dwell, we have a new home now and we're so thankful for it. All in all, it was just good to be there and hug my friends, eat some of my favorite Texas foods, and shoot some of my favorite families, good times. I returned with a full and thankful heart and I was so happy to kiss B's cheeks and hug my husband. Speaking of my sweet husband -he turns 38 today! HAPPY BIRTHDAY ADAM!!!! Today starts our string of birthdays, Adam is 38, in 4 days B turns 8 and in 11 days I turn 37 -whew! Always nutty over here this time of year but its fun. Momsie flies in tomorrow and we're all excited about that! Our carpet is being installed today in the guest house so hopefully we can get the bedroom all ready for guests! Yay! Well, I'm buried in editing as I worked a lot while I was in Texas so I've gots to go, more to come! xo

Peek from a mini session of some of my dear friends~

October 23, 2014

I'm off today

Well, today is the big day -I fly back to Texas this afternoon! This trip came fast, like I knew it would. I always hate to leave B when the day comes, it makes going that much harder. It still feels kinda surreal to me, I imagine the whole trip will pretty much feel that way. When I get back its going to be insanity for the next week and a half, I'm trying to mentally prepare. If my flight is on time, etc. I should get home around 11pm on Monday night, Tuesday I'll have to go to the store, get the house cleaned, laundry, bake Adam's birthday cake, etc. as his birthday is Wednesday. Our carpet is being installed in the guest house on Wednesday which means we have to get the portions of the garage cleaned out where the carpet will go, and then of course celebrating Adam's birthday on Wednesday night! My mom comes Thursday morning and we'll need to run around to get the last minute stuff for Brennan's birthday party on Sunday. This is a crazy time, I'm trying to just take deep breaths and take a day at a time. Tomorrow I have to be up early for my shoot project which was the catalyst for this Texas trip, its going to be a busy few days and I'm tired already!

In house news, my curtain rods arrived and Adam and I got 1 of them hung, so, we have 2 to go and then all we're waiting on is the kitchen hardware! The office valences and shelves in the kitchen window turned out great -just what I had envisioned (love it when that happens!). The Winn Cali Cottage is coming together!

Well, I've got a long day of travel ahead and still have some packing to do so I'm going to get after it! Would appreciate prayers for travel and sanity (and my heart with the whole being back in TX/leaving bit) the next 10 days or so. :) Thanks for checking in! xo

October 20, 2014

more like myself

Well, its been a roller coaster  -this whole journey, I'm tired. :) (I'm also tired b/c I've had trouble sleeping lately...grrr, however it did pay of last night when it hit me we hadn't taken out the trash so I got up and did that (and then proceeded to get covered in ants, a story for another day). I must say though, these past few days are the most I have felt like myself in months. We finally had people over! Our house is no longer covered in boxes and I actually went to the store and made dinner! Success! It feels good to see the old me showing her face again. We tried new church #4 this weekend, what was neat was seeing several folks we knew, made that first time church experience not so daunting. And more importantly Brennan liked it! Its been hard watching my girl who was out the door on Sunday morning before Adam and I say "I don't want to go to church" when Sunday morning rolls around. Heart breaking, really. So, watching her enjoy herself was life giving to me, made this mama's heart happy. The 3 of us went out to brunch afterward and I think we've decided this is where we are going to land. This church doesn't check all our boxes, and its no UBC (understatement) but as far as what we've experienced so far, this makes the most sense for our family at this stage in our lives. Adam and I both agreed we could go to a different church every weekend and never find "it" or we could choose to make a place home and move on with our lives, we are going with the latter. It feels good to have some resolve and to know that Brennan is happy with our choice.

This weekend was nuts, our sweet realtor/friend had us over to her lovely home on Friday night and made the most amazing 5 (or was it 6?) course meal! I think I'm still full! Saturday we took Brennan to this amazing pumpkin patch that we haven't been to since 10/07 and then cousin Mike had us over to watch the Duck game and eat ribs/brisket that he spent smoking -delish!! Sunday was church and brunch, then I ran to the store to get some fixins to make dinner for our friends. We were celebrating our dear friend's new job and just enjoying having our long time friends in our new home. It felt good to hear Brennan laughing and playing with friends - oh how I've missed that.

Sorry I still don't have photos to share, my contactor is coming tomorrow to do the office valences and to install the shelves in the window in the kitchen. I received an email that my curtain rods have officially shipped so  -it shouldn't be too much longer now. :) I realized I never mentioned my latest business blog post here so, head on over HERE to see my sweet friend's miracle baby! More to come. xo

October 15, 2014

coming up for air

Today is the first time in a long time that I've woken up and thought "today might not be so crazy." Up until this point our time in CA has been absolute insanity, running from one thing to the next, trying to get this house in order, etc. I ran errands yesterday and accomplished a lot that was on my to-do list, today, I still have stuff to do but it feels like today could be the first normal day here in my new life. Lets see...we've been hanging things, cleaning things, organizing things, setting up things, painting things, etc.. All time consuming but all starting to pay off. The house is still not done but its getting there. The main things we're still waiting on: hardware for the kitchen, curtain rods to be delivered for the kitchen and living room, 1 more set of curtain rods for master (one set came jenkity so we had to send it back), custom built valences for the office, custom shelves for the window in the kitchen and laundry room doors. I ordered the carpet yesterday for the guest house, once that gets installed things will REALLY fall into place. There is so much stuff we need to put/set up in the garage apartment but we can't until the flooring is done. Several boxes, etc. are in the house just waiting to go in there -so, the count down is on! I can't wait to get that place functional and get it cleaned out. Poor Adam still doesn't have his office at work so he's been in my office and his stuff is...all over. Grrr. Its hard b/c he really doesn't have any place to call his own for work but I can't get my work space together while he's in it! We're all eager for his new office at APU to be ready even though I'll miss him being around more. We're getting there. :)

Things here overall are going okay, we're all still pretty homesick but I actually made dinner the other night and used the kitchen and it made me feel more normal. I'm ready to get back into a routine. Yesterday B said "I want to go back to Waco." She'll say that out of the blue pretty regularly and its like a dagger in my heart .every.time. I keep wondering how long it will take for CA to feel like home for her...well, and for me too. I love California, I've never ever not loved Pasadena and thought its one of the best cities in the world, stopped being home to me a long time ago and so far that feeling hasn't come back. I know it will just take time. Waco is a unique place...its funny how so many people go there for one reason or another and think they won't stay beyond their initial reason for going (ie college, job, etc,) but they fall in love and don't want to go - I get it. I fly back to Waco next Thursday and I already don't want to leave it. Part of me thinks I shouldn't have taken the work assignment I was offered, that its too soon to go back, but part of me can't wait to land and feel normal again. I hate moving. Yesterday I was early picking B up so I parked in the pick up lane and I walked out to get her (I never park in the pick up lane and knew she wouldn't know to look for my car), I got back to my car and the crossing guard was yelling at me that she was going to call the police if I did that again -apparently you can't get out of your car in the pick up lane -oops. I wanted to scream "Do you see my TEXAS license plates?!! I'm new here and I'm still figuring it out!!" I wanted to get in my car and keep driving...all the way back to Waco and take B to her old school that never threatened me with the police for an innocent mistake. Sigh. Change is hard, we're all still adjusting and taking a day at a time.

Tonight we invited our neighbors from our 1 month rental house over, we told them they would be the first to "break in the porch" so that's happening. Normally I would want things a little more together before I entertained but the hostess of our group is heading back to New York shortly so it was now or never. I think its good though, forces me to get things whipped into shape and to fill my house with people, which is really how I like it. :) So, I've got my work cut out for me today. Thanks to those of you who keep checking in even though its been a pretty lame blog lately...I'm hoping that will change in the not-too-distant future. More to come. xo

October 4, 2014

We're IN!

Whew! Its been a CRAZY few days, I'm tired! We are officially moved in but living in chaos. Slowly but surely we're getting there and I think after today I'll feel a lot better. Today is should start looking a little more normal and we shouldn't be stepping over things and should be able to see some surface tops throughout the house. Its hard coming from almost 2700 sq ft to 1300, there are so many things that I love that just don't have a spot (#firstworldproblems). All in all we are loving it so far, it almost doesn't feel real. The neighborhood is SO quiet which is so nice! We've almost always lived in loud places and this is soooo peaceful. B is really loving her room and so far that is the space that is most put together. Well, I've got my work cut out for me today so I'm gonna get after it! Thanks for checking in! xo