August 27, 2014

its ALMOST a done deal

Well, after MUCH back and forth we finally got some good news today -the seller of the house we're in escrow on has agreed to some of our terms! Hooray! It looks like this house will close after all and I think we're ALL thrilled! That was a LONG process! I'm so relieved, I can't wait to get in there!

Not too much to report other than that, we're in our last handful of days in this sweet rental home, B is plugging along at school and I'm not as emotional as last week so -a win on lots of fronts! I finally finished the wedding I've been working on...it was good for me. I needed a project, a distraction, and something familiar in these last few weeks, this wedding was a blessing to me in a lot of ways. It was also bittersweet because it was my last wedding in Waco (well, as a resident anyway) and it was in my church...I found myself getting nostalgic and homesick as I worked my way thru these images but it was cathartic too. Sigh. Moving is hard.

We tried a new church this past week, leaps and bounds better than our previous experience here but still a far cry from what we're after. The pastor was on vacation so I think we're in agreement it deserves another go. Today B and I are meeting some friends for ice cream after school, looking forward to that. :) Baby steps toward normalcy over here, thanks for checking in. Now, head on over HERE to see a wedding I just blogged! xo

August 21, 2014

house stuff

I get asked about the ol' house situation a lot so now is a good time for an update...since I actually have one! It's so funny to me that any one other than my mom still reads this ol' blog...but you do, so thanks for that, folks!

Okay, so, after 3 attempts we FINALLY got under contract with the 2nd house we've tried to buy here in CA. Well, the seller of this beloved little house is an investor who has never lived in the house, he just bought it, flipped it, and put it back on the market. The problem with this is, he has lots of properties like this and this house isn't his big priority -BUMMER for us. Timelines comes and go, and his motivation to do ANYTHING seems quite small to non-existent. Couple that with his realtor who seems to be eternally out of the office/on vacation and its just maddening getting any form of communication going. Well, my realtor has been casually showing me houses here and there "just incase" we can't get this deal closed. What's so crazy is I asked her to show me a new listing yesterday and she thought I was talking about a house 2 doors down (similar address so easy mistake), so, I showed up in front of the house and she was 2 doors down, so we saw both! What's crazy is I hated the house I wanted to see but was SO INTRIGUED by the house she thought I wanted to see! (I would have never even looked at it based on the HORRID photos online). Well, its a bank owned property that needs some serious work BUT, it has GREAT bones and TONS of potential. So, it got me thinking. I came home and told Adam about it, he was intrigued as well, but we are both still married to the idea of "our" house working out. Well, FINALLY yesterday the seller made SOME movement. Its looking like "our" house will end up working out but we're still waiting to make sure some things get fixed before we dive in. Its so nice having a "backup" plan though, just incase! Up until this point there hasn't been anything I would even consider making an offer on, so its nice knowing options exist (esp as we're getting down to the wire on our temporary housing situation).

So, hopefully in a matter of days we'll have a concrete plan - that would be great. A house just came up for sale on this beloved rental street of ours, sadly its listed at $799K -no can do. :( The neighbors keep telling me "did you see a house is for sale???" Um...yeah, I do SEE it but, a TAD out of our reach! Sigh...I wish!!! B has made friends on this street and its so great seeing her having fun. I let her stay up late last night b/c I couldn't bear to make her come inside and stop playing -being tired at school seemed like a way better option to me. :)

Things have gotten better as this week has progressed, but its been a tough one for me...the moving has definitely hit me and its been a big adjustment. I miss Waco every day, badly, but I love waking up to the southern CA sunshine and feeling the cool morning as I take B to school (which daddy will resume tomorrow :). Lots to be thankful for, but allowing myself to be sad and feel the weight of this move too, as one of my friends put it "if you weren't sad then that means you didn't truly LIVE in Waco." Agreed. xo

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY SISTER, STEPHANIE!! 40 AND FABULOUS!!!

August 19, 2014

today was better

Well, I just did drop off #2 and today was a better morning, I didn't even cry! (probably b/c I'm all cried out after yesterday...3 hours straight will do that to ya). B said her first day was "good" -she said she didn't meet any one new and she played alone at recess but she said that was "okay" too. She went to her first gymnastics session yesterday and I think that was really good for her! They wanted to see what skills she has so they know which class to place her in. I think it made her feel really good that they said she was "so close to moving up to the next level" -they want her to take a couple more beginner classes and then they'll move her up to the next class which she is pumped about. I think its safe to say yesterday was way harder on me than her, I just keep praying she'll meet at least 1 new friend soon. Sigh. I also think yesterday was so hard for me b/c I'm also dealing with my own feelings and sadness about our move. Its been so nuts since we left Waco and I don't think I've had too much time to process my own sadness about leaving. I LOVED Waco and would have been happy to stay there forever, so I need to grieve and allow myself to feel sad and miss my friends, home, church, etc.. As good as it is to resume life with my "old" friends, there is still a lot of heartache there about leaving a place I love so much and that's okay. This move is a big adjustment for all of us, it was weird not having Adam home until around 5pm last night! I know that's how a lot (if not most) of how the world works, but we've never had traditional schedules like this so, its going to take some getting used to. I heard B tell Adam this morning "I hardly saw you yesterday" and I'm sure it feels like that! We're used to Adam being home all the time with us, even though he's in his office working he's still present and we both miss him.

In other house news...........we still have NONE. Ay yi yi, we STILL have nothing in writing from the seller about the "fixes" we requested so that is just maddening. We are really hopeful this sale will go through, but this waiting is pretty much torture. Meanwhile we have 12 more days in this house, its been a soft place to land and we're thankful for it, but also ready to move on. Life in the in between is just plain hard.

Well, I've been neglecting a wedding that I NEED to get after today so I'm gonna go do that. Thanks for checking in and for your prayers for B, means a lot. xo

August 18, 2014

that was hard

Its been a pretty busy time over here, we've been out and about a lot visiting with friends, taking B to explore LA, spending our evenings with our neighbors, etc.. We've been intentional about using these 2 weeks to really do things that are going to be harder to do once real life starts. Well, real life started today, and thus begins the "new normal." I just got back from dropping B off at school, that was really really hard. I thought the first day of kindergarten would be the hardest drop off, I was wrong. Typically Adam always comes to B's first day and our family of 3 does it together, well, today was Adam's first day of orientation which began at 8am so he couldn't make it  - I needed him. On the way to school I got a text from one of B's friend's from school in Waco (well, from her grandma, not from her) and it was a photo of Brennan's best friend and her other really good friend from school on their first day, I think it may have been a mistake to show B but I also felt like I was supposed to. It ripped my heart out seeing her 2 school friends in their uniforms on the first day, B should be with them smiling away and with no cares in the world, but instead she handed my phone back to me, with a hurting look on her face and I fought back the tears as I said "It looks like Alice got a haircut!" And B said "and a new backpack."

I hated the way B's new school did the first day, we hadn't met B's teacher and all the students are looking for a sign with the teacher's name on it and it was total chaos. We had the hardest time finding her teacher and it just felt awkward to not have a proper introduction. I went with B to her class (along with the whole herd of parents/students, etc.) and they had B sitting at a table with 2 boys and 1 girl but the girl wasn't there! I kept praying she would show up, how hard to not even have a girl at her table!! I knew I had to leave quickly b/c I could feel the tears coming and I didn't want to break down in her classroom. I kissed her on the cheek, told her I loved her and literally ran to my car where I collapsed into tears as soon as I got in. That was hard. I know kids are resilient, I know in a matter of time this will seem so silly and like a distant memory, but today, in this moment, I feel like I just left my heart in a strange place and walked away, and it kills me. I hate moving.

Yesterday we tried a new church, and it was just plain awful. I know we won't be able to replace UBC and I had no illusions coming here that we would, but I was reminded yesterday of just how unique UBC is and how that community was one of a kind. All 3 of us walked out discouraged and B said "I know where the perfect church for us is, in Waco." I agree, B, I miss it too. I hate moving.

Sorry, for not blogging for a while this post is a big downer, but I'm admittedly not in the best mental/emotional place at the moment...I'll get better, it will just take time.

I took photos of my loves on their first day, can't wait to have them both home and hear how everything went...big day of firsts in the Winn household today! Thanks for checking in, all, prayers for my girl today are more than appreciated. xo

 
 
 
 
 
 

August 9, 2014

Day 9

Well, we moved...and its been pretty crazy ever since. Leaving Texas was hard, like I knew it would be, but truth be told -the actual leaving was much easier on me then when we left Pasadena 6.5 years ago. I'm not sure what to attribute that to but I do think hiring movers and cleaners helped with a lot of the stress that comes with moving but the leaving friends/house/life part didn't throw me into the emotional tailspin that leaving CA did. Don't get me wrong, it was really hard and I don't ever want to do it again but it was bearable. I miss Texas every day but with each day I am reminded of how much I love California and am so thankful to be here. Hands down the hardest part of all of this is watching B. When my mom left on Wednesday that "vacation' feeling came to a quick end and her demeanor hasn't been the same. I miss my spunky, happy girl. :( I know it will just take time, change is hard...I get it. We went to my friend's in-laws house the other day, that was lovely. I've spent a lot of time with those folks and they welcomed B with open arms and she spent all.day.long. in their pool playing and it made this mama's heart happy. Yesterday we took her to the Getty, Adam had never been and I had only been once so it was fun to see the art and take in the gorgeous views of LA. When we got home I asked B if she wanted me to make her favorite pasta dinner or if she wanted daddy and I to take her to our favorite pizza joint, to my surprise she chose for me to make dinner -I think she wanted something familiar more than she wanted the meal, that girl never turns down pizza! She walked into the kitchen and said "it smells soooo good" and I said "does it smell like home?" and she said "yes." Sweet girl. She made 2 wishes with pennies at the Getty, she didn't tell me her wishes but said they were the same, I asked if they involved Texas and she said "yes." Sniff. I miss it too, B.

It really has been a crazy 9 days, we hit the ground running with house stuff -lots of inspections, vendors coming to the house to give bids, etc.. We are currently waiting for the sellers to respond to our list of requests as far as repairs...fingers crossed. It needs a new roof which we knew, but it also needs some major chimney repairs that are spendy! Yikes. Meanwhile I'm day dreaming about all the changes I want to make...most will have to wait but a few will get done before we move in and I can't wait to see the small transformations to make it "ours."

Our current living situation is a bit of a dream... I refer to this neighborhood as "the land of nod" -its almost magical here! The house is an absolute GEM and the folks on this street have been SO nice to us! We've had drinks with our neighbors several times already and they have brought over toys for B to play with, the neighborhood girls have asked B to play, etc. They keep saying how they're plotting to keep us on the street! I'm sold! Except...there is NO way we could afford to live here, boo! The house we're renting would sell for over a million easily...its so great. We're just trying to take in each day and be thankful for the month we get to call this place home. :) (B actually isn't a huge fan of the house (odd) and she says she likes our house that we're moving into better -glad to hear it! :). I think she's just eager to live in her own space, and I totally get that. As much as I love living here I am really really eager to have my "own" space and things surrounding me.  My girl and I are definitely two of the same in many ways.

Well, that's pretty much what's been going on with us, a lot of house details and checking out LA to show B all that it offers before she starts school. Tonight we're having dinner with friends so that will be great, really looking forward to that. Just diving back into our new life and trying to feel at home as soon as possible. Prayers for B would be so so appreciated. Thanks for checking in. xoxo

July 29, 2014

3rd times the charm

This is nuts, we bought a house! This has to be brief b/c the big move is tomorrow and I've got lots to do but...we're not homeless any more!! WHO HOO! The crazy thing is, this is the second house we tried to buy...on three different occasions, and finally by the third time we all got on the same page. We're super thankful, it is the most sq footage our money could buy and we have 2 full bathrooms!! We feel so spoiled! The only "checklist item" it didn't have was the laundry situation I had hoped for but we've got plans in the works to remedy that so we're super excited and thankful! Can't wait to show before/after photos and get in there! Its going to be a while yet but some time in mid September we'll get the keys and off we'll go! Would appreciate prayers for the next several days, lots of goodbyes, moving, driving, etc.. This is crunch time and the worst part of moving. :(

Thanks for checking in, here is a peek of a lovely bride and her groom, more to come! xo

July 24, 2014

shelter -3x strike out

So the big question I get asked these days is about housing -fair enough, its kinda a big deal right? Well, the truth is....we still don't know where we're going to live and yes, we are moving in 8 days. Big sigh. The good news is we have temporary housing for 2 months, the first month we're renting a super cute furnished house that we could only dream of owning, the next month we're staying in temporary housing that is akin to an old apartment. So, the clock is ticking BUT we have some time. Adam and I just didn't feel at peace about signing a year lease and being that much further out from buying, esp should the "perfect" thing come along during that time. So, we have 60 days to find a house! Its ON. We have now made offers on 3 houses and came in as the runner up every.time. This last house was the least emotional for me...it checked a lot of my "boxes" but the living room was SO tiny and the dining table space was an after thought at best. I don't think I'm being too picky, but I've made a list of must-haves which I'm going to share. :) (*each of the 3 houses we've tried to buy has been a miss on 1 of these items so I realize compromise is in order).

*At least 1000 sq ft
*some back yard space
*at least 2 toilets
*1930s or older
*decent neighborhood
*in Altadena or Pasadena
*a laundry situation that can accommodate a side by side washer/dryer and not in a horrible place (ie right next to the fridge or something lame like that)

This doesn't seem like too much to ask, does it? House #1 only had 1 bathroom but I was willing to deal with that, house #2 had the laundry outside the house and accommodated a stackable only -I was willing to deal with that but had a plan to change it, house #3 was less than 1000sq ft! Ay yi yi. I'm sure we could have gotten house #3 but we decided not to max out our budget due to the sq footage and not having a/c, the line has to be drawn somewhere I think. :/

So, we're still on the hunt and are hopeful that in the next month or so we can find a place to call home but man the real estate market down there is TOUGH!

So, that's where we're at, limbo land continues. Adam gets back into town tomorrow and then we head to Texas early on Saturday -a busy week coming up so my blogging will likely be slim to none. Thanks for checking in, as always, so appreciated. :) Head on over HERE to check out a beautiful
bride! xo

July 22, 2014

that was a big blog lull there...

Whew! Sorry for the big blog lull! As usual its been a little nuts around here, our summers always are. We had a lovely time at Black Butte (well, once Adam passed his kidney stone!). Nothing like a trip to the ER to get the week started off! Ay yi yi. I flew from Dallas to Portland and then drove to the Butte, it was a long day for both Adam and I. The night before I flew out two of my mi casa kiddos said their "I dos" in a lovely ceremony that I was so thankful to be a part of, it was good to be back in Texas even if just for a few days. Adam and I fly back to Texas for the last time this Saturday, I'm already dreading saying goodbye to that special place. :( I hate moving!!!

Well, I've got a load of editing staring me in the face so I'm gonna get after it. Head on over HERE to check out my latest engagement session! xo

July 7, 2014

a day at a time

I'm tired, and I'm tired of flying. Its been INSANE for Adam and I and I think we're both a bit weary. California was just plain stressful, it was 3 days of running all over town trying to meet with realtors, home owners, etc. to view properties. Needless to say, it was also kinda depressing...most things were super spendy and not well kept. We were in negotiations over a house we had tried to purchase a while back and after much back and forth it fell through b/c the seller wouldn't let us move in prior to escrow closing and we didn't want to be homeless for a stretch. Sigh. In hind sight I kinda wish we would've just said "fine" and lived in a hotel or something for a while. Its just hard, renting for a year, versus putting all that money into home ownership...but also, the timing being right for both -tricky. Ugh. We still don't really have a solution and haven't signed a lease yet...ay yi yi.

Well, we got back from Cali on Thursday afternoon, our luggage once again didn't make it!! This time it wasn't completely lost (like before), it just didn't make our layover in time so, we had to head back to the airport hours later which put our drive into Washington pretty late. We went straight to bed, got up early and headed to Seattle for my sister's wedding! It was a lovely afternoon and it was fun to see her looking so happy and to be a part of such a special day. Then we headed back to my parent's house for a day before driving back to Oregon. We've been here for a day and I've been doing laundry and re-packing as I head back to Texas tomorrow afternoon -whew! I am going to spend the night at yet another hotel (we've been in a lot of those lately!) in Dallas as I'll be attending a photography workshop all day on Wednesday, then that night I'll make the trek back to Waco.

I know this is just a crazy season of life but I tell ya what, I'm feeling it and am SO ready for a reprieve. Its also just really hard to work in the midst of all of this and the wedding editing seems to have no end! I'm trying to just take it a day at a time and rest when I can, thankful for the little breaks we've had here and there.

Well, I need to finish packing so I'm gonna get after it. Head on over here to see 2 weddings that I've gotten blogged! Thanks for checking in! xo

June 29, 2014

Aloha

We are back from Hawaii, tan and happy. :) The 5 of us had a great time, the weather was perfect, the beach -1 block from our hotel, the pool lovely, etc. Adam and I really enjoyed our 2 nights away as well, it was fun to celebrate our 14th anniversary in the same place we had our honeymoon (albeit a different island :). I haven't had time to look through the photos I took (which were few) but I did edit this one of the ninner - I think she is about the most beautiful thing I've ever seen! (biased? :) I hope everyone is doing well, I'll try and blog more next week but its nuts around here! Adam and I fly to CA tomorrow morning to try and find housing (as always, prayers are appreciated!). More to come!! xo

 
** Head on over HERE to check out some photos I did for a sweet musican

June 17, 2014

3 steps forward, 2 steps back

I wouldn't say my back was completely back to normal but it was getting there.... until yesterday. I think standing on my feet for 6 hours, lugging my gear around, shooting a wedding on Saturday was the catalyst and then yesterday I bent over and stood up quickly...and that was it. I'm not near as bad as I was last month when I initially threw my back out, I told Adam it felt like I was on day 6 of last month's ordeal. So, last night I slept in the guest room, have my back brace on, and called the urgent care office that saw me last month and asked if I could have some more drugs. I explained I didn't take all the ones they gave me last time but I was going out of town and didn't want to run out. Sigh. So, today, its delegating to Adam and me moving quite slowly. Sigh. I'm starting to think I'm jinxed when it comes to Hawaii, the only other time I've been there was my honeymoon when I got crazy sick and had to go to 2 different doctors on 2 different islands. WHAAAAAA. As a friend pointed out, you can still lay on the beach with a bad back -true!

Today is our last full day as a family of 3 in Waco, B is currently on her last play date and Adam and I are packing our bags. I come back to Waco by myself in mid July to shoot a wedding and Adam and I both fly back together at the end of July for the final move so...its not goodbye just yet but it is for B. :( I hate moving!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, lots to do! Head on over here to check out a lovely bride who got hitched on Saturday! xo

June 16, 2014

the final stretch

Whew, this weekend was nuts. Friday night some friends had us over for dinner, Saturday I hosted a yard sale with some friends, then shot a wedding, yesterday we went to church and then out to lunch for Father's Day, then our friends had us over for dinner/swimming (and rooting the Spurs onto victory -WOOT!) ~ all in all a busy and fun weekend. Yesterday was bittersweet, it was our last Sunday at our church, the place we've called "home" the whole 4 years we've lived here. As we said our benediction of: as we approach this week may we "Love God, embrace beauty, and live life to the fullest" my eyes got all watery as I knew it would be the last time saying those words in that sacred place with those amazing people who have become like family to us. It was really hard watching B say goodbye to Jeff, Jeff has been like a grandpa to B and you could tell neither one of them wanted to let each other out of that hug -heart wrenching. I can tell I've emotionally shut off a bit, its just getting too hard and I'm too tired and worn out. Since I'm coming back to Texas twice in July I've put off some of the "final" goodbyes just to make this transition a bit easier. I feel emotionally spent and physically exhausted. As crazy as it seems to go on vacation in the midst of so much going on for us, I'm so thankful for the respite I know is imminent....we really need it.

Well, today is one of two we have left here and I have so.much. to get done so I'm gonna get to it. Head on over HERE to check out a super cute family that I am going to miss. xo

June 13, 2014

nearing the end

Yesterday I had a massage, Adam got it for me for mother's day and it was (mostly) lovely. She tried to work on my back issues some and that was pain.ful. but all in all, a much needed respite amidst this crazy season. Our friend had us and some other folks over last night to grill and chat the night away, it was a good time. B had to say her final goodbye to her best friend yesterday, that made me cry. I hate goodbyes (have I said that before? :). B has her last play date today with her best friend from school, so we're officially wrapping things up here. :/

I have lots of running around to do today, I'm starting to think hosting a yard sale and shooting a wedding in one day wasn't my brightest move...prayers for tomorrow are appreciated. :)

As always, thanks for checking in on us, we're doing okay, just taking lots of deep breaths and taking a day at a time. T- 7 days until vacation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is a peek of an engagement session I'm working on, more to come! xo

June 11, 2014

workin' away

Today is going to be a day in front of my computer, I'm buried in editing! Sweet B is having one last sleepover at her bestie's house right now (sniff) so I'm trying to maximize my "alone" time to get lots of work done. Vacation is just over a week away...I can almost taste it!! Adam and I are going to get breakfast burritos at our favorite hole in the wall for one last time today, Waco life really is coming to a close, crazy.

I just blogged my last senior so head over here to check it out! xo

June 9, 2014

last full week

Today begins our last full week in Waco, bittersweet is the only word. I was talking to my sister yesterday and explaining that the long goodbye needs to come to an end. We're at the point in our leaving process where we've "almost" had the "one last" xyz but there's still a little more time so it drags on a bit...does that make sense? For instance, at church on Sunday our worship pastor said "I thought ya'll had your last Sunday already?" But we technically still have 1 more. The transitional period is starting to wear a bit and it just feels like its time to wrap it up here. Due to Texas weather being Texas weather, I'm still shooting this week even though I hoped to be all done at the end of May. And the weather is still nasty so...it continues. I had a shoot scheduled for tonight (that has already been re-scheduled like 3x due to rain) it is POURING outside! Sigh. I'm not gonna lie, I won't miss this weather! It looks SO dark and dreary outside and yet its like 80 degrees and humid -ick! I have lots of shooting this week so fingers crossed the sun comes out as my days to re-schedule are quickly coming to a close!

Today Adam and I hope to wrap up the packing and get the loose ends squared away. I really need to spend my time working on MWP and not just moving stuff as vacation is quickly approaching (praise God!). Someone should have told me that owning/operating you own business during wedding season while trying to move would be a bit of a nightmare. ;) Sigh.......

Speaking of weddings, this past weekend we piled in the car and drove about 3.5 hours east to Center, TX -aka: no mans land! Cell service was pretty much a joke and the streets were unmarked which made for some of the most stressful 35 minutes of my life as we got lost on the way to the reception (nothing like the wedding photographer not being there!!!!!). Needless to say, it was such a sweet day to be a part of and it was cool to be in a town of 5000 people where sweet Casey and Ben grew up. They each got ready at their grandparents house and there was so much history there, really neat to witness. B did a great job of rocking her flower girl role, so she's pretty much an expert now. :) All in all we had a great weekend celebrating Ben and Casey, happy sigh. Well, I have my work cut out for me this week so I'm gonna get after it!  Here is a peek of one of my favorite photos of Ben and Casey from their big day! More to come! xo

 
P.S. Head on over HERE to check out a cute senior! (who is also one of my mi casa darlings :)