Catching up!! OR something like that!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I'm so sad that I look back and see I haven't blogged since October. That means one full month has gone by and then some! Things have been busy, good, but busy!! I try my best to keep up with The Pink Porch, but sometimes the ease of the "share on Facebook button" on my phone lures me away from taking the time to actually write and share with you readers! Here's a quick recap in pictures (because we all love pictures right?!) of our past month.

Halloween ended up being a success!
One of Caroline's Very Best Buds came to Trick-Or-Treat. They got TONS of candy, and in the end both wanted to eat a yogurt! OKAY WHATEVER!
We had a niece! Ellie Grace Turner 11/16/13!! Is she not the cutest thing EVER!?

Headed to Florida for our Thanksgiving Family Vacay! Made a pit stop along the way at the Oak Alley Plantation in Louisiana. It was pretty cool actually. SHH! Don't tell Ryan. It was his idea, and I wouldn't want him to think he ever has any good ones! ;)
Caroline took "FRY" in his stroller all around the plantation. She even stopped for a photo op of him. Like mother like daughter.
WE HIT A DEER!! Ripped off Ryan's Driver's side mirror. Not a scratch on the car besides that. $500 to fix that stupid mirror UGG! I'll spare you the real picture of the deer!! It's pretty bad!

We finally made it to Rosemary Beach, Florida. There is a cute candy store called "The Sugar Shak" that Ryan and Caroline visited every day while we were there and spent our life's savings (JK!). She loved it! We still have candy at home from there we are trying to eat, along with the Halloween

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! A little family photo time.

Did a little Black Friday Shopping. Ryan is happy with his new TV. *SHHHH! I like it too!*
After Thanksgiving, Frenchie came to town. She has been up to elf shenanigans as usual!

Been working my Plexus business! What a blessing it is!! Signed an ambassador this past weekend, and another joining my team this week. I have learned so much about MLM's through training and reading, and I'm in love!
**PROMO MOMENT** Visit if your interested and let me know!!

...and lastly, this past weekend we spent 3 full days cooped up at home for the 2013 ice storm. Had TONS of great family time. I was going crazy by Monday morning, but now that life is getting back to normal, I'm thinking "COME BAAAACK!"
This week I have gotten most of my Christmas shopping done, sent out Christmas cards, and managed to learn a Photographers "life lesson" and it's only Wednesday!!
Last night I went to take pictures of my parents. We had planned this last week, weather and outfit adjustments changed our plans. Before leaving I talked myself out of bringing my backup camera, mainly because it's bulky and I have NEVER used the backup. I grabbed my two "fully charged" batteries, and was out the door!
We got to the place to take pictures, and BAM "no SD card"! WHAT?! Okay, no biggie, I have more in my bag, problem solved.
*Click Click Click* 50 pics in (for a session that's not many) and BAM my battery died.
"WHAT THE HECK" I'm thinking to myself, as I KNOW those were fully charged. Whatever! I have my second battery.
I pop that sucker in, and in the corner it flashes "low battery". ARE YOU SERIOUS!? At this point, I'm mad, confused, annoyed, and feeling sick! We got about another 50 photos or so in, and that was it! DEAD.
I was MORTIFIED! I literally wanted to crawl under the table and cry. I know it was just my parents, but seriously! How can I expect them to be proud, when the one time they are exposed to my profession, I FAIL! UGH. Too angry to proceed, Ryan stepped in with his trusty IPHONE and snapped some more pictures just in case for whatever reason those didn't come out. Even though they kept telling me not to worry about it, YEA RIGHT, do you know me?! I can't help it, I want perfection!! I got in the car and cried all the way to dinner. Cried because I was mad, confused, and embarrassed.
They were great sports about it (AS ALWAYS). I'm thankful it happened with them and not one of my three session this weekend. If it had happened then, I may have just asked God to take me right then, because I wouldn't have been able to handle that humiliation.
I'm still trying to figure out what lesson God was trying to teach me: is it "always be prepared"? OR "Don't get too big for your britches. Carry the extra camera."? OR "Perfect isn't possible, I am the only perfect one."
It could be a million things!
 I do know one thing though.... I will NEVER again leave home for a photo shoot without tested batteries, a back up camera, and a little prayer!

...and that my Dear, was all she wrote...


Remembering the Details

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dear Cinnamini Jo,

 Tonight was night two of our usual "girl's night", when Dad is out of town working. I picked you up from school, we RUSHED RUSHED RUSHED to get our picture stuff together, (you insisted on standing in front of your fan for 5 mins to "cool down"), and then went to your favorite field by the house to snap some shots (you like that field because you can see 'Appa Pinna Beach' AKA Hawaiian Falls). I wanted to capture you in your little cupcake costume BEFORE the Halloween craziness that will engulf us undoubtedly on Thursday.

We had fun taking pictures. I had fun playing with my gear. You mostly just had fun picking the grass and collecting it into a bushel. At one point you wanted to play swords with the grass... I think I ignored you. I'm sorry.

After pictures we dashed to the Mall to run 'quickly' into Bath and body works to buy just four little wall flower refills. In the short amount of time we were there, you happened to drop one of those bulbs, sending scented oil and glass all over the floor. The people were very nice about it, but I was not happy that you had been swinging it so carelessly before it unavoidably was dropped. You must have said "I'm sorry" 30 times. I think I ignored you. I didn't want to say "it's okay".

We paid and went upstairs to eat. You chose Sonic (for the burgers). We got our drinks to which you exclaimed "I GOT ONE OF THOSE?!" referencing the mint on the lid of your cup. You were SO excited, but I talked you into putting the mint in my bag along with mine, so we could eat them later.
There we stood with our cups in one hand, holding each other's with the other. You just looked up for no reason and said, " I love you". You tell me that for no reason a lot.

I let you pick the table, and we ended up at one of those tiny two seaters. We had to switch the chairs because you wanted a sparkly one. We both ate our burgers, and talked, and sat. We must have eaten for 35 minutes ( I fed you almost every bite until your burger was gone because you said it tastes better when I feed it to you). You had begged me over and over and over to ride the carousel after we ate (like you haven't ridden it every visit to the mall since I don't know when). I said "possibly" many times. We made our way over, you paid for your coin, and I watched your eyes light up as we waited in line for your turn. A girl from school was behind us, and you and her rode horses, side by side, like you were best friends. That 120 second ride made your night.

We headed to the door, where you trailed ahead and turned into Barns and Noble towards the kids area, where you turned and looked at me like, "pleeease?" I grabbed a photography book off a nearby shelf and agreed. As I sat with my knees to my chest at the short lego table, you built stuff, examined all the toys on the shelves, and arranged about 10 stuffed animals into what you considered to be a "sleeping" scenario. After about 30 minutes you were not ready to go, but I convinced you that we needed to get home. So we headed back.

We got home, you lead me by flash light to get the mail, we looked at your new magazine, and then you got in the bath. You played in the bath for about an hour and a half, so long that you had what you called, "Grandma Feet". I edited pictures, you played, we jammed out to some new songs, and at what most people would consider absurdly late for a 3 year old you got out. We played the you-shout-letters-and-I-tell-you-what-they-spell game, until eventually we were jumping on the bed and you were spelling silly words over and over just to hear me say things like "booty". Then, as if it wasn't already late enough, I let you play a couple ipad games in my bed to calm down while a took a bath. I hollard into you and said, "Do you know how much I love you?" to which you answered, "more than your stuff? Oh wait, no, more than you take pictures?! Is that the right answer?" I agreed.

I got out, we told the ipad goodnight, and you settled in for sleep. I was telling you goodnight when you suddenly remembered, "what about our mints?!" Your sweet excitement and memory melted my heart. I told you I would pull them out of the bag and put them on the counter for you and I to eat tomorrow, which I promptly did.

A few minutes later I walked through the room and you asked me why I wasn't smiling, why I wasn't happy (you ask me this a lot). I told you I was happy. You proceeded to prod (because you are your mother's daughter) and you asked, "it's just that your still mad about me dropping that thing and it spilling everywhere?" I stopped, put down what was in my hands, and came to you and assured you that it was okay, and that I wasn't upset, and that I understood it was an accident. All of the good things that had happened for you tonight, all the smiles and laughing, and you were STILL bothered by the thought that I may be upset at you for breaking a $5.00 something. It just broke my heart.

I'm so proud of you. I'm so lucky that God chose me to "lead" you, even though you are my teacher each and every day. I know your wondering why I gave you every detail of our evening, and why that's relevant to anything. I just want you to know that I truly do value every day with you. I store your actions, words, thoughts, feelings, worries, fears, joys, and much more in my heart and my memory. I try so hard to preserve what you are leaving behind. I want you to understand how much the little things you say matter to me, how the random "I love you" s don't go unnoticed. Every detail of who you are and what you do is important, and you should know that I'm doing my best to remember for you. I hope some day you read what I have written on all these posts. I hope you can read and learn about what life was like in the time before you could remember things for yourself.

...and you better believe that tomorrow, you and I will be eating Sonic mints like we have never had anything like them before.

...and that my Dear, was all she wrote...

She won't be like this for long

Friday, October 25, 2013

Any of you who follow CJ Squared Photography on Facebook already know this, but for some reason this week I have been on a Black and White/Sepia love addiction lately. Everyone loves those vibrant, boastful, rich colors that we are always trying to capture. I'm no exception, however, I know exactly what I love about stripping the color AWAY from pictures. Removing the color makes pictures feel more like a "moment" to me, and isn't that what having pictures is all about? For me, it's all about capturing a moment forever, that you'll never get back!

Watching Caroline grow up, I constantly find myself saying, "she won't be like this for long." THAT is why, from almost every time I break out my camera to capture her doing something cute, funny, sassy, memorable, etc. I end up walking away with a picture that completely "SUMS UP THE MOMENT".

Check out some of this weeks memorable moments:

These sweet pictures speak for themselves. I love that girl.  I know "She won't be like this for long", but I will be there to capture whatever she's like next!

...and that my Dear, was all she wrote...

Lessons on Rain

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Rain Rain please do stay, it's a nice break from 100 degree days

These past three rainy days have been FAB.U.LOUS in my opinion!! 

1. Our yard is smiling

2. While building pools is tough in the rain... it's been a great opportunity to catch up on some stuff in the office.

3. I needed some lazy nights, and nothing says "lazy" like the patter of rain on the windows. 

Yesterday I was circling the shark tank of a parking lot at Walmart, and like everyone else I was looking for that lucky front row spot while it was pouring down rain. After a few minutes, I finally gave up and resorted to a parking lot near the back of the lot. Around me everyone was running in, sheltering their heads with purses and bags, and crowded around the door waiting for a break in the rain to dart to their cars. At first I was dreading the un-defeatable walk inside, then I submitted to the weather and walked slowly inside. I was wearing my rain boots, I was definitely dressed for the weather, and in that moment I just took in the coolness of the day, the refreshing feeling of the rain, and loved that child like feeling of unconcern for how my hair looked, if my make up was "fixed", my shoes were dry, or anything at all for that matter .Went in, got my stamps, and weaved my way out the door. 

Today, it was raining when I picked Caroline up. The second we walked out the door she said, "It's raining, oh no, ruuun!"

My first reaction? "RUUUN" My second reaction? "Oh no! She doesn't know how to walk in the rain!"

When we got home, we geared her up, and went straight back out for some hands on learning. At first she was not into intently walking out into the rain (this is the same girl, that picked her "smash" cake apart one bite at a time at her first bday party). After a minute of encouragement she realized, "MAN, this is great!"

 "I don't know about this?! Oh, wait, yes I do!"


 Life really is this simple

Who doesn't want to play a Kazoo in the rain?!

I love this little "Thang"

Some how in just three short years, a mentality was formed in her little head (undoubtedly due to our influence) that rain is undesirable to be caught in, it's a signal to hurry to your destination with the goal of staying as dry as possible. 

We often hear the expression "stop and smell the roses", but it's usually not raining on your head when your out in the rose garden! Somewhere along the line we loose that child like CAPABILITY of initially finding a joyful experience in something so insignificant. Maybe we feel that I'm-an-adult-and-I-should-be-acting-more-mature mentality, or possibly we forget HOW to enjoy being out of our element as we settle into the "norm". Whatever it is, I want to make sure that Caroline has a fair shot at those childhood desires to splash in a puddle, and make mud pies, run through a sprinkler, and pick those little yellow yard weeds and call them "beautiful". 

As a parent who seems to always be in a hurry, it's so easy for me to "grow her up" too fast. I don't always look for the opportunities to allow her to be a kid. Sometimes I say "no" to things that have no reason not to be a "yes". I don't want her to stop "dancing in the rain" and relishing the Moment in life. 
Plus this should really help her on a rainy day in the Walmart parking lot in a few years.

Proverbs 15:13 - "A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit."

... and that my Dear, was all she wrote...

Labor Day Cuteness Overload!

Friday, September 13, 2013

I know I'm a couple weeks (weekends) behind here, but September is a busy month around this house: two birthdays, start of football season, start of soccer for Caroline, and of course kickball for us. Regardless, I have been meaning to post some pictures of our Labor Day weekend with family up in Arkansas.

We went up for the long weekend for the first 2013 Razorback game, and to spend some time with family. I hadn't seen anyone since the wedding in April, and with the kiddos all growing so quickly, it was a much needed catch up!

Ryan's oldest sister (Karrie), her husband (Rob), and their crew live up in Bentonville, and his middle sister (Lorinda), her husband (Chuck), and her fam came up from NORTH Little Rock ( ;) your welcome, Chuck). We had quite the group at Ryan's parents: Ryan, Myself, Caroline, Rin, Chuck, Ali, Trip, Ryan's mom and dad, and of course Moe. It was a little crazy, but totally fun. The kids always have a blast together, and we even managed to play a couple "parents only" board games. All us "adult" kids went to the game Saturday, where we sweat our booties off, but got to watch Arkansas premier for a seemingly great season with a win! Ryan's parents are so amazing. They kept Brooklyn, Caroline, Ali, and Trip while we were gone. Yes, they are brave, and yes, we are quite lucky to have them!

Sunday Funday us girls got together and cooked 3 Taco Rings (from one of my previous posts). They turned out great! We played some games, laughed a lot, and took some pics of the kiddos.

Speaking of pics. I snapped some shots on Sunday, and I just love them all. We have some posy pics, but most of all, I just love catching these sweet kids in their element. All 5 of them are completely different, but all 5 also have huge hearts, and are such a blast to watch grow. See for yourself :

 Can't wait to show them this some day lol. Poor Trip.
 Caroline Loving on her Savannah
 The Crew
 Brooklyn (3 years old): The Sweetheart. SWEETEST girl you'll ever meet. She is truly happy-go-lucky at it's finest, such a joy. But don't take her Ipad away!
 Trip (1 1/2 year old): The Heart Throb. Handsome as can be, always smiling, eating, and trying to keep up with these girls!
 Look at those eyes!
 The kids being themselves
 Gotta have a silly face pictures of course. Trip just wants to get up!
 Totally Brooklyn
 These are the sweetest sisters. They are buddies.
 Little Too Much Love
 Steel the Show girl!
Caroline (3 years old): The social butterfly. She loves everyone, is so curious, and always ready to learn something new.
 Ali and Trip, showing some sibling love!
 I love how Trip is looking at Ali here like "What are you doing?" !
 Sweet Smiles!
 A Popsicle before nap time!
 Ali (3 years old): The Firecracker. This girl is going to do big things! She is strong willed, opinionated, outgoing, and she just may be your boss one day. Watch out! ;) Such a sweetie. Her and Caroline have the same music tastes, so they spent the weekend teaching each other songs, like Ali's version of Katy Perry's *Firework* "Fairy Firework".
 Savannah(6 years old): The Gentle One. Savannah is such a smart girl, and a wonderful oldest cousin. She is so great with all the little girls and Trip. The girls definitely look up to her, and she's an excellent role model!
 My Sweet Caroline!
 This is intense popsicle eating!
 The Girls doing their "thang"!
 The Middles
 Popsicle Face!
 MOE. The crew wouldn't be complete without her
Moe giving Rin Kisses. Only dog people will understand this! ;) (Which is why I don't!!! hahaha jk)

Needless to say, I feel so incredibly blessed to be apart of this family. It's full of love and some super sweet kids. They all get along so well, and have a blast together. I love these crazy family weekends. We don't get many with us all living spread out across the south, but it was such a sweet treat to get to do this in September, instead of just at Christmas!! 

I Love Our Family!

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong doing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

So often I feel that we relate this verse to an intimate relationship, but never forget that this verse is about LOVE not just MARRIAGE. Loving your family isn't always easy (especially if you don't have as cute of kids as ours all are ;) HEHE), but practicing love with your family changes everything! 

I am one LUCKY girl!

...and that My Dear, was all she wrote...

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