April 17, 2015

2 days in Waco feels like 2 seconds + Yvonne

This was a crazy-fast week. I flew to Waco early Monday morning and got back later afternoon yesterday. The purpose of the trip was to meet/photograph my sweet friend's new baby that many of us have prayed long and hard for. While I was in Texas I had 4 shoots, a meeting with a bride and a handful of lunches/dinners/coffees where I got short visits with dear friends. Two days was of course not near long enough to see all of my favorite people and I hate feeling so rushed but its always good for my soul to be back in the 254. For some reason, it was especially hard to leave Waco this time, this was my third trip since we moved and I already know I'll be back there in 8 weeks but still, it was hard getting on that plane (I mean, of course I couldn't wait to love on A and B) but I had an ache in my heart as I took off. Texas still feels like my home, and California still doesn't, one day at a time. {Sidenote: THANK YOU to those of you who prayed about the weather, the thunderstorms kept getting pushed back and the 2 days I was in Waco were GREAT, great for shooting, great for eating outside, just GREAT so thank you!!}

When I was getting on my plane to head home I got the sad news that my aunt had passed away from complications due to alzheimer's. It's always hard loosing someone but alzheimer's is so cruel, and the person we know and love slowly disappears over time so its like someone else is leaving, but there is a void all the same. Its like a slow death as you watch them morph into someone completely different and it makes the final death feel like they are finally at peace and "themselves" again. My aunt was always sweet to me, she was always so happy and smiley even though her health has always been an unfair dealt hand. I will remember her that way, happy, with a smile on her face making jokes about how she can eat like a horse (and she could!) though she was always so thin! Today I will picture her running with Jesus and being freed from all her health maladies and truly being at peace. So thankful this earthly end is not the end, but just the beginning of real wholeness and real joy. xo

Here's another new beginning that is God's faithfulness....

April 10, 2015

playing "realtor" today

Its been a good week! I feel like I've gotten a lot done which is always nice! We had Adam's students over Tuesday night, that was a lot of fun, I haven't cooked dinner for college kids in a long time...felt good. As much as it felt "right" to have my house full of students I'd be lying if I said it didn't bring an ache to my heart, those kids weren't "mine" and it made me miss mine all the more. :( I posted a photo of my full kitchen on instagram and several of my kiddos made comments like "imposters!" and "I'm jealous right now" or "wish it was me" and all I could think was "me too." I don't think my heart is ready to dive back into youth ministry just yet...I think I need more time, which is good to know. *(people ask me regularly if I'm doing that so...there you have it)

Today I get to play realtor! Most people that know me personally know I stalk real estate, I have for years, its definitely a passion of mine and yet, I really have no desire to be a realtor -too much pressure/stress! (esp in southern CA where things sell in 1 day for at least $75K over asking most of the time!). Anyhoo, my realtor has an inspection today for a client and has another meeting she has to get to so she's paying me to stand in her place for a few hours! So, I'll get a taste of realtor life today, sounds kinda fun, :) I'm hosting a small baby shower brunch at my house tomorrow morning for a dear friend who is getting ready to welcome a baby girl so I've got lots to do today to get ready! (I was planning on spending my day doing just that until my realtor called so now....I really gotta bust it!). I head out to Waco on Monday so have lots on my mind, if you're of the praying kind I'd welcome your prayers for weather...it keeps showing thunder storms when I'm there which, clearly, doesn't work so well for photos!! Today it looked more promising and in Texas the weather can change by the minute so....fingers crossed! Thanks for checking in, all!! xo

** I just blogged my first CA wedding, check it out HERE!**

April 7, 2015

Full House

Adam invited a small class of his over for dinner tonight, it will be fun to have our house full of college students again...although, I must admit, just thinking about it makes me long for my students. I've made 2 kinds of cornbread, a jalapeno cheese and a plain, and then I'll make my chili that feeds the masses. It hardly ever rains in southern California and its supposed to rain tonight -boo! Our house is so much more "fun" when the sliding doors are open and the light is pouring in and we can be on the porch and in the kitchen. Tonight is the only time its suppose to rain for the foreseeable future, boooo (although, we desperately need it so I know I shouldn't complain). This morning I got up early and met my friend for breakfast, we celebrated her birthday and caught up on life -so good to see her. Its amazing how her living 30 minutes down the freeway makes it so hard to see each other. Life is busy. Well, I've got just a little time to edit before I need to start the chili and then need to pick B up from school so I'm gonna get after it. Happy Tuesday! xo

April 6, 2015

Easter Weeekend

I hope everyone had a great Easter weekend! We sure did! Adam had Friday off work so we went on a date, out to a movie and to a yummy lunch (public service announcement: if you go to the Cheesecake Factory any time in the near future try the lemon meringue cheesecake...to.die.for.). Came home, then I went to my friend's house and she helped me make sugar cookies for Easter, and then we went over to some of our new church friends place for dinner, it was fun for the kiddos to play and the adults got to eat a YUMMY dinner outside on their lovely patio -so fun! Saturday I made Joy the Baker's lemon blueberry pie and her chocolate brownie pie (for Easter), then we went to Home Depot and purchased a shed for our backyard (so we can FINALLY get the guest house up and running!). After all that we used the Easter Bunny's money eggs (thanks mom!) to go on a family date! We saw Cinderella and went to this Italian restaurant that we hadn't been to before. Sunday was Easter! Christ is risen, indeed! We went to church, then came home and grabbed the food and drove out to Riverside to spend the day with our cousins/aunt/unlces and celebrate our risen King ~ it was a pretty great day! As always Monday came too soon and I've got my work cut out for me today (since I haven't done any since Thursday! :/) ~ have a lovely day, all! xo

March 30, 2015

I feel like a slug

This weekend was fun, I did a lot of eating so I'm feeling very sluggish today. :/ Friday night I made Ina's roasted chicken and veggies and Joy the Baker's chocolate peanut butter pretzel layer cake for our friends that came over. Saturday B and I had a lazy morning while Adam had to go to a workshop at school, then he came home and the three of us drove to Santa Monica and walked around third street, the pier, went to a movie and went out to dinner. It was a lovely family date and we all came home tired and happy. Sunday we got up early (grrr) and went to church, some friends asked us to go out to lunch with them so we went to Wahoo's Fish Tacos (I'm the only one who actually got a fish taco -yum) and then we came home and it was such a gorgeous day so Adam and I hung out on our front porch and just relaxed. Around 5:30pm we headed to South Pasadena to meet cousin Kyle for dinner, he treated us to YUMMY BBQ at Gus' (he's been telling us how good it is for ages and he was right! SO good!). Kyle has a new girlfriend so it was fun to meet her briefly before she had to get going...ah young love. :) Then we got home, put B to bed and Adam was off to "man night" with some church guys. A busy weekend but so so fun. Monday came too soon as always but I've got lots of work to do so I'm gonna get after it. Hope everyone had a great weekend, thanks for reading! xo

March 26, 2015

Mundane Faithfulness

I didn't know Kara Tippetts but I wish I did. I started reading her blog recently and was so moved by her words of grace and encouragement in the midst of her dying of cancer. You can tell she was a person that everyone wanted to know -clearly magnetic in her personality and full of Jesus' love to whomever she encountered. I just read this morning that she passed away a few days ago, I knew it was coming but I thought she would have more time, it kinda feels like a punch in the gut, I wasn't expecting to see that news when I went to her blog today. My take-away from Kara the past 2 months or so that I've been reading her blog is to not sweat the small stuff, to not waste this precious life harboring resentment and anger, to move on from past hurts and embrace life and the beauty that it is. This season of life has me more introspective than usual, being uprooted when you're close to 40 will do that to you, I guess. I want to live out my church's (in Texas) benediction of: loving God, embracing beauty, and living life to the fullest -I don't want to just say it. Kara was 1 year older than me, that's it -this could just as easily be my story and although I pray its not, if it is I want to know that I lived life intentionally while evidently loving Jesus and others well. Thank you Kara for your example to me and so many others, run with Jesus. xo

(You can read Kara's blog here: mundanefaithfulness[dot]com)

March 25, 2015

An Unexpected Tuesday

I think life hasn't really felt "real" to me for a while now. This whole move has felt kinda surreal, and since Adam and I were working SO much in Waco and our lives look so different here (in that regard) I don't think its felt entirely real or normal to me yet. Also, going on vacation in February kinda threw me off, and then going to the beach with friends shortly thereafter also just felt like a fairytale and not real life. Then B had spring break so it was another week of not-normal so now that she is back to school, its just still doesn't feel like "life as usual" to me yet. So, all that to say, yesterday I picked up some donuts before getting B from school (b/c she asked if we could go to the park after school) and we went and played. I texted my friend to see what she was up to and before I knew it, we were at her house playing and chatting the day away. She has a lovely big yard and the kiddos seem to be in the land of nod back there and play outside happily for hours -its lovely. Her husband came home from work early so the 3 of us hung out and talked while the kids were playing and then when Adam got home from work he texted to see what our plan was for dinner and our friends said "have him come over here and we'll order pizza!" So, that's what we did! It was so fun to be spontaneous on a school night and just choose to enjoy our time, throw bedtimes and homework out the window and just play. I really think these are the moments that life is really about, homework can wait, being tired the next day -you can rebound from that, being intentional and doing life with people -that's the good stuff. We haven't known these new friends long but we feel like we have, we just get each other and have such a good time hanging out and I loved that we made a memory last night versus rushing home to do homework and get to bed on time. I hope these are the memories that B will tell her kids about and that she will choose to do life with people and throw caution to the wind every now and again.  I want her to grow up investing in people, I know that is where my treasure is, in the relationships I have made and am making, all the other stuff passes away but people are what matters and this life journey is meant to be lived in community. Amen. :) xo

March 24, 2015

everything hurts

This weekend was really good! We hosted a dinner party on Friday night and that was a lot of fun, we're really enjoying getting to know our new friends better and we're so thankful for them! Saturday I purposefully didn't plan anything, I wanted a day to just chill and get my thoughts together for my wedding on Sunday. Adam took B to a museum for this dead sea scrolls exhibit that he heard about thru APU so I had the house to myself a bit. I cleaned my lenses, charged my batteries, packed my shoot sack, etc. Then Adam and B came home and we all hung out for a bit and then our friends called and said "Come over as soon as you can and join us for dinner!" So, we did! Our weekends are so nuts (for months in advance!) so I knew this opportunity likely wouldn't work out if we didn't take advantage of it right then. I'm SO glad we did, we don't see these dear friends often enough and it was so nice to be in their home and eat yummy food and just catch up on life. I woke up early on Sunday and was gone all day shooting a lovely wedding. When I left the venue that evening I could barely walk to my car -every.thing. hurt (and still does!). Its no secret I'm SO out of shape, but man! I haven't stood on my feet for over 8 hours in a while, and my neck was radiating pain all the way down my arm from my bag full of gear hanging on me all day. My wrist was hurting from holding my camera and I just felt like an old lady! Shooting weddings is no joke! The venue was also pretty vast and my timeline was blown with late arrivals, etc so I was r.u.n.n.i.n.g. from one place to the next (with said gear) which made for very sore legs the next day(s). I'm getting old!!! :(

In other GREAT news, our dear friends who have been waiting and longing for a baby welcomed their baby girl yesterday!!! We've been praying with B for this little one to arrive every.night. for over a year and we're all so excited!!! We went out to dinner and celebrated last night! B asked "are we still going to pray for her every night?" Sweet girl. Welcome to the world, Josephine!!! Which also means that I get to go to Waco next month to photograph this sweetpea!!! Can't wait! Its a quick trip but I'm already looking forward to being back in the 254 with some dear friends. :) So fun to see prayers answered through the eyes of a child, when we started praying for this baby my friend wasn't even pregnant yet, such a neat, tangible way for B to see how God does hear us and answers our prayers. Pretty cool.

Well, I've got my work cut out for me as far as culling and editing the next few weeks so I'm gonna get after it! Here is a peek from the wedding this weekend! Happy Tuesday, all! xo

March 20, 2015

I think she's made the turn...

Poor B, she's been sick almost her whole spring break! I'm glad we made it to the beach this weekend b/c poor girl has been sick since we got home. :( Her fever has been gone since yesterday afternoon and when I woke up today she was crafting in her room...all good signs of recovery for the goose. :) She is so rarely sick, but it really takes her down when it hits! Tonight we're having a dinner party with our new church friends, sooo looking forward to that! I'm making this yummy baked risotto with caprese chicken and Ina Garten's eton mess for dessert -hope it all turns out! So, today its laundry, cleaning and cooking for me! This weekend I'm shooting my first California wedding...I'll take your prayers, I'm admittedly a bit nervous as its been a while since I've shot a wedding and I feel a tad out of my groove...I'm hoping its like riding a bike! :) Hope you all have a lovely weekend and do something fun and relaxing!! xoxo

March 18, 2015

busy fun things part 2

Whew! This poor blog...its hard to keep up with it sometimes but I also feel like lately its been just be spewing what we're up to without much depth...sorry about that. I think its the season of life we're currently in, we're still "new" and are trying to figure out what our weeks look like, we're investing in new friends while trying to keep up with old friends and its a tough balance sometimes. I'm not complaining, one can never have too many friends, right?! Its just the balance of figuring out what our new life looks like while maintaining a bit of our old life that we had when we lived here nearly 7 years ago. Its also just been a busy year I think, last year was a blur and I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water, this year has been more calm but busy with fun things -like travel and making new friends and playing with old friends, investing in church, etc. Its been a busy season of life, and I'm thankful for it. Today I spent the morning talking to one of my dear friends in Waco and catching up on her life, that was good. Poor B is a bit under the weather so we had to cancel our play date today. :( Poor girl rarely gets sick so, I guess it was high time! Last night she had a fever and was lethargic and blah all day, today she has more pep in her step and her fever is gone so I'm hopeful that a day of lounging around the house will do her good. I think this weekend just wore her down, our sweet friends invited us to the beach with them for 3 days and it was lots of swimming, sun, eating, and not enough sleep...it took its toll (worth it though, of course! We all had a great time). Yesterday B and I went downtown LA with my friend Lauren to scour for fabric (Lauren needed some supplies for work and I found my long sought-after ticking stripe for a duvet for my bed! Hooray!), then we had a fabulous lunch at Bottega Louie and ate amongst the stars (Amy Smart was right in front of me -hooray for celeb spotting!). It was a fun day. Hopefully B will be up and at 'em tomorrow and we can resume spring break play dates! Such a bummer to be sick during spring break! I'm in denial that Adam has to work this week...I think we should all still be playing! :) (I know, spoiled!!). Well, I'm gonna go get some laundry done and bake some banana bread for my sickie, thanks for checking in! xo

March 10, 2015

busy fun things

Its been busy around here, my bestie Kelly was in town this weekend from Maine to throw our friend Ginger's bridal shower -fun! So, Saturday was the shower during the day and then several of us gals went out to dinner that night to celebrate our dear friend. Friday night we went to our new friends house (from our new church) for a lovely dinner. It was such a gorgeous Pasadena night and the 8 of us ate on their back patio while the kiddos played outside  -so so fun! Sunday was church and then our sweet friends just up the street came over to hang out for the afternoon, fun. :) Adam is on spring break this week but B's spring break isn't until next week...boo, always a bit of a bummer when that happens. Anyhoo, this weekend some friends invited us to go to the beach with them so that will be fun! It will feel like a mini vacation for spring break which is always nice. :) The weather has been gorgeous lately, Adam and I have been on our porch almost every night just enjoying the warm evenings, love that! Okay, my house is dirty and I have a friend coming over for lunch so I'm gonna get after it, happy Tuesday, all! xo

March 4, 2015

Good for the Soul // Cabo 2015

We're back! It was such a good week with our friends! The 8 of us did this exact trip a year and a half ago and we modified some things this go around and we think we'll have it down the next time (assuming there is a next time, fingers crossed! :) It was a lovely week of sunshine, food, friends, and lots of pool time. We felt so spoiled, we stayed at the "highest level" of the luxury villas thanks to our friends' timeshare points, this place is amazing! There are only a handful of them built so you feel so fancy staying there, a big treat for sure (and I could get used to the daily maid and pool service! :) It was so fun being with our dear friends from Waco, 2 of the 4 couples (Adam and I included) recently left Waco so we all so enjoyed being together and just soaked up each others company. Many times we were asked if we were related and it was often that one of us would say "We're friends that are like family" and its true, it was good for the soul and a life-giving trip with dear friends. 2 of our friends came back to LA with us due to a layover so we got to keep them at our house for 1 night, only wish we had more time! Then yesterday..... it was back to reality (boo). A HUGE thank you to my sweet in-laws for watching B, they are so good to us and I always come back to a clean house, I'm a blessed gal for sure!

This week is pretty low key, just trying to get back in the swing of things after a lovely week of Mexico life. Some new friends invited us to dinner on Friday night and my best friend is flying into town today from Maine so I'll see her some this weekend! Who hoo!! Today I'm getting spoiled, my friend is an esthetician and told me to come into her spa and she's giving me a facial! I can't wait, its been years since I've had one! Thanks for checking in, if you haven't checked out this engagement session head on over HERE! xo

February 22, 2015

I'm off!

It was a busy week! Lots of cooking, baking, meeting with friends (one who I hadn't seen in 7 years!- so good to catch up!), Bible study, making new friends from church, etc. Adam actually got sick this week, he had some 24 hour bug that caused him to cancel class and stay home, poor guy. Thankfully he's on the mend and B and I both avoided it! I'm sitting at LAX waiting to board my flight to Cabo!! It was SO sad leaving B this morning, I always hate saying bye to her! Poor thing cried, broke my heart. :( I'm sure once grandma and grandad arrive tomorrow all will be well with the world but, my sweet girl has a sad heart today. :( I already can't wait for Adam to join me on Wednesday! I prefer when we're together on vacation (well, and pretty much any time :). I'm excited to hug my friends tonight, it'll be a great week! The ol' blog will be quiet until March, so see you here next week! :) I blogged so head over to mollywinnphotography[dot]com/blog to check out my latest engagement session. Have a great week, everyone!! Xo

February 16, 2015

4 day weekend

This weekend was so fun! Friday B had off school so the 2 of us went with my friend Sara and her 3 kiddos to this fun trampoline place where the kiddos jumped their hearts out, we got ice cream and went to Costco to grab hot dogs before meeting up with our husbands (who both work at APU) and we all watched APU's first baseball game of the season! 3 of the 4 of us went to APU so it was fun to be on campus rooting the cougars onto victory! Saturday morning my sweet valentines cuddled in bed with me and we opened our sweet treats from each other and then I made pancakes before heading to Glendora to meet with a bride to go over her wedding timeline. Later that afternoon I decorated the table and got my "LOVE" lights turned on for our dear friends that came over. We ordered take out from our favorite Thai restaurant, my sweet friend made raspberry mojitos and we had such a fun night hanging out while the kiddos jumped in the backyard  -a great way to spend valentines day! Sunday we went to church, came home, hung out for a little bit before dropping B off at a birthday party, then Adam and I went to our pastor's house for a super fun afternoon of lunching outside with new friends. 8 of us had a great time talking and getting to know each other, there were many laughs and I look forward to more time with our new friends. We came home just in time for cousin Kyle to come over and spend the evening with us. We sat on the porch and chatted, jumped on the trampoline and had leftover Thai food for dinner. :) Good family time! It was a BUSY weekend but so so fun, the weather was AMAZING and we were just enjoying the long weekend. Today we were thinking of going to the beach but I think B decided she'd rather stick around here and go to a movie and get some lunch, so a chill day with our little family of 3 it is! The countdown is officially ON for our vacation next week! T-6 days until Cabo and we can't wait!!! I've got lots of cleaning to do before my sweet in-laws come next week, I've been too busy playing to do much of that! :) Thanks for checking in, hope everyone is enjoying a lovely holiday today! xo

February 9, 2015

annnnnnd we decided.

It was a good weekend, lots of fun. Friday our friends had us over for a yummy dinner, Saturday we had my long-time friend and her husband over for dinner, and Sunday we went to church and then our friends from orange county came up here to spend the day with us. I went to the flea market with Meg, Adam and Matt wrangled the 6 kiddos and then we all joined together had lots of fun playing at the park and jumping on our trampoline. Monday morning came too soon!

Hands down the best part about the weekend was FINALLY deciding on church. It has been a long 6 months of searching and listening to my friends thoughts/opinions/suggestions and having them listen to my frustrations/desires/hopes, etc. We decided on church #9, otherwise known as San Marino Community Church. It feels good. We've tried it the past 2 weeks and yesterday was even better than the prior week. The worship leader was back and it was hands down the best worship experience we've had since moving back here. The people were again, so welcoming and inviting and this week the pastor was a woman, which Adam and I are all about. B enjoyed Sunday school and has already made a friend and said she wanted to go there (although she wasn't so sure when we had to be "up and at 'em!"). The 9am start time is admittedly going to be hard for both of us but...its a sacrifice I'm willing to make so, there it is. I'm going to my first Bible Study with the ladies on Thursday morning and am looking forward to diving in an making new friends. When I walked out of church on Sunday I got a text from one of my mi casa darlings and it said "Why do Sundays have to be so hard? We leave church each week just kinda scratching our heads, hoping the next week will be better. Am I crazy?" I wanted to scream "No, you're not crazy!!! Starting over is crazy hard, especially after UBC!!" But, for the first time in a long time, I was hopeful. Walking out of what we had decided would be our new church home, it made me hopeful for what could come for her and her new husband. But at the same time I felt her frustration and disappointment, what we had as a group and collectively as a whole body at UBC was unlike anything I've experienced before, and its hard to get over that/let that go.

With that said, this church doesn't "tick all the boxes", and the wealth admittedly makes me a bit uncomfortable, but, I'm a firm believer that you don't go to church to be comfortable so, here we are. I'm excited for the end of a long search and hopeful for what God is going to do with us there. One step closer to feeling more at home here, after a long season of life in the in-between.

Well, you've all heard my ramblings about how I don't think B really goes to school here, and this week is no exception! She has Friday AND Monday off so, we're going to do some playing which will be fun. :) So, a short week in the Winn household! I hope everyone has a lovely Monday, thanks for reading. xo