Experimenting with Macro

In an attempt to broaden my horizons in regards to photography, since I hope to have my own business / / company by the beginning of next year, I have been practicing macro photography with the SIGMA APO DG 70-300mm lens I rarely use. 
I used my favorite model, of course, for the practice.  Let me know what you think!
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Family Photos

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Here are just a few of my favorites, the rest will be on good ‘ole Facebook later.
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Notice the reaction my kisses get from Miss Penelope…
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Seriously? She is not even two yet – Mommy’s kisses should still be DELICIOUS!
That is all.
I would love to hear your feedback. Hope you liked them!

I. Love. This. Man.

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I never could’ve imagined that I would’ve met the love of my life in high school. There he was. I did not have that –WOW! – moment, I had a, I am going to marry him, moment in my head as I saw him walking the halls one morning, and brushed it off (because, well it was high school). I just knew. We did not talk much that first year of knowing each other, we did not have classes together. The first day of senior year he asked me to go see a movie with him. Just to show you that this was God’s decision and not my own- I didn’t even notice his vibrant orange hair until much later and I didn’t pay attention to his “style” which seem to be normal things to take note of, right? I knew his humor, interests, smells (not in a weird way…I can’t smell many things, so some things stand out in my memory), and how wonderful he was to his Mom – and me.
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We dated for two years before making a decision to get married. It felt like a no-brainer. No hesitation or nerves a’flutter. It just was. Sounds unromantic and boring, no proposal, no ring, no over-the-top story. We just knew. Three months later we were OFFICIALLY inseparable!
Over the next two and half years we grew closer and more as one, in our interests, goals, and dreams.
We found out we were having our first child (which was a decision, not a ‘surprise’) and began an even bigger journey together. It just keeps getting better in my eyes, and looking back on those high school days, I really could not have imagined this.
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Just as I am feeling frumpy, unattractive, undesirable, like I could use some make-up, and my hair is gross… He walks my way and drops a “You’re beautiful.” or a “Daaang girl!” and wraps his arms around me tightly making me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world. [and the luckiest]
I never go a day without hearing “I love you.” multiple times.
He listens to my advice and takes it to heart. I am blessed to have a man who values my words regardless of how deep or silly they may be.
He values God’s instruction over mine.
As a Dad : :
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My heart fills with joy and my eyes with tears when I hear him from across the house sing each bedtime story to our daughter, taking the time to make note of both the dramatic and silly parts as he goes.
Stern enough and playful enough. She shrieks with excitement when he enters a room and talks about him constantly when he is not with her.
He takes the time to show interest in the things she shows him and teaches her the proper way to do things (hold a crayon or spoon, wipe the table, put her shoes on, put her books correctly on the shelf, etc.).
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The Man: :
He is a man who is not above washing dishes, putting away laundry, or scrubbing the kitchen floor.
A man who sees something needs to be done and does it without a thought of “Ugh, maybe later…” (or does it despite that thought)
A man who never loses his desire to learn.
He has an awesome sense of adventure!
If our car needs fixing, he’ll find out how to fix it. Computer broken? He’ll take it apart to fix it.
Always eager to help someone when they ask, even if it means giving up his free time.
A man who cooks (well!) and sticks around to clean up his mess.
A husband who always thinks of me before himself.
Spontaneous foot rubs.
Brings me my favorite treats when he makes a run to the store.
Always gives me the perfect gifts – which shows he knows me well and takes the time to.
He is awesome.
I. Love. This. Man.

Exploring Independence

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Last night I decided today would be a television-free day for Penelope, and that we would just listen to music, giving her time to explore her independence and creativity. It is not quite ten o’clock and she has already “read” five books, had a dance party with her bath baby, filled a basket with tubs of Playdo, and lugged it into the living room and is now playing by herself with the Playdo on the coffee table.  She also picked out her own outfit- although her first choice was footed winter pajamas, which she isn’t tall enough for.
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Looking like Aunt Sarah
I have received at least twenty kisses and two “I love you”s!
I have had time to have a cuddle-fest in bed with Penelope before breakfast, hand wash a load of dishes, put on a load of laundry, and get dressed in under five minutes! Oh, and write this post 🙂

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These photos were taken in while Reese was going potty, but I do plan on spending time outside, playing in bubbles, swinging, and painting.
I plan to have the majorities of our days spent this way until the baby comes, to help me out during recovery.
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Hearing a choo-choo in the distance
Lets hope the rest of this day goes as smoothly. Off to switch over that laundry…
Happy FRIDAY!!!!!
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Doctors Visit

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What a day, what a day. I awoke to the giggles of a little darling who had crept into my room after Daddy went to work. 6:55 a.m. mind you. I couldn’t be mad- it was the best way I could’ve been jerked out of a deep slumber. I had a doctor’s appointment this morning at ten o’ clock, and planned to leave by nine. She has been waking up at eight, so I had not planned for the extra time this morning.
A train bustled loudly through town, which is why she woke up when she did.
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Anyway…. back to killing time, She watched her “baby movie” (Charlie Brown’s Christmas) after breakfast and we still had over an hour before we had to leave. Upon spotting the swing in the Elementary school playground “Weee!” is the only thing she seemed interested in. We loaded up the diaper bag with plenty of snacks, an extra pair of underwear (for her, not me), three books, my handy camera, phone, etc. and set off for the park.
We managed to get in 10 minutes of swinging before I hear “potty?” She saw the public restroom straight ahead, but for some reason I always think there are creepy men lying in wait for desperate ladies in need of a potty. Not happening. So, we went home to use the potty. A one minute drive is hardly out of the way and she is a champ at “holding it.”
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Reese acted like we had been gone for two days- 20 minutes? Really Reese? At least he wasn’t disappointed to see us I guess.
We left for the doctor at nine, arriving 45 minutes before my appointment. No harm done, between putting our new insurance into the computer, and all of the other pre-doctor things we had to do, it worked out for the best. Penelope was awesome, everyone was smitten. Nurses peeked over corners, and some even came to our room just to get a peek at her tiny bun, sparkly shoes, and to sigh at her delicate wave Hello.
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My doctor gets dumber every time I see him. Lets hope he know how to perform surgery without any trouble. That’s enough about him. I vented to my mom about it, so I am over it…mostly.
He asked if I had a sugar test done yet – nope. No I haven’t. Guess where we went next! Downstairs to the lab for another hour. The nurses there were just as great, the sugar stuff wasn’t bad- way better than the stuff I took with Penelope- and the hour went fairly quickly. Penelope, however, was restless. I can’t blame her. So so glad I remembered snacks and books at this point. She talked to Grandma Penny on the phone, but was not the usual chipper talkative girl she usually is with my mom. My mom could tell she was tired through the phone, and at that point the minutes seemed to go backwards.
We got through it, no potty accidents, all snacks were eaten, books read numerous times, no fits, and everyone we met was super nice, making it a great morning.
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When we arrived home she knew Daddy would be home for lunch and could not find that sleepiness that consumed her earlier, so once Daddy left we gave a nap another try. Second time was the charm. We ( I ) had just enough time once we woke up to cook supper. Now Penelope is at work with Daddy at the elementary school, and I have a heap of dishes to do.
Almost the weekend!! We plan on taking family photos this Saturday! I love family days.
Happy Thursday!
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Experiencing Playdo

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Okay, I have more photos than written content for this post, so we’ll see what I come up with.  One of Penelope’s friends, Mason, had a birthday recently and we bought a 24 pack of Playdo for him- but left it at home [realizing this fun fact as we landed on the off-ramp at the beginning of our 2 hour trip]. Instead of turning around, we bought a new one for him once we arrived and decided to give our first purchase to Miss Penelope.
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I love it when she gets to try a new activity! She wasn’t sure what to think of the texture at first, but quickly got over her discomfort and was eager to try every color. By try I mean squeeze each one and put it back in it’s tube.
This will be a great way to teach her colors. We have paint swatch squares that I stuck magnetic paper to on her white board and crayons, but she seemed to understand / want to understand better with Playdo.
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Penelope has been more and more aware and interested in her baby sister, often rubbing my belly saying “Baby”, giving my belly hugs, and sometimes having babbling conversations with her. I’m not worried about jealousy with these two ladies – at least not until much later.
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Penelope has been very independent the past few days. She has been playing quietly in her room and the livingroom with various toys she has previously not shown much interest in – along with old standbys like babies and books. Zack has been good about being in charge of helping her clean up once he arrives home each day. I think she enjoys it more than when I help her… Daddy is just more fun.
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Tonight is seeming like a calm one. It is 6 o’clock and the house is clean, television is off, laundry will get done tonight, Penelope will get a bath soon, and I might even get to do some sewing once she goes to bed!
I have such a terrific husband (the best possible husband in my opinion). Thought I’d put that out there. Maybe I’ll do a post just about him soon. 🙂
Happy Tuesday!

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Dancing Queen

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Boy, does this girl like to dance! With or without music, audience or not. I think dance classes are in her future!
Can you tell she picked out her own outfit today? I think the headband gives it away.
Happy Monday!

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A Big Weekend

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Saturday morning we drove up to St. Peters for my baby shower (thrown by my favorite sister). We had a lot of fun! Thank you to everyone who attended- “Baby” (I’m DYING to call her by her name!) received the perfect gifts – toys, diapers, wipes, washcloths, towels, adorable outfits, her first pair of shoes, a cook book :), and a giant bullfrog book.
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Afterwards I went fall clothes shopping, and to get some cleaning supplies from Target with my Dad and Mom while Penelope took a nap (much needed after an afternoon of fun with Grandmas Shooie and Deedee!). Zack’s grandparents, the famous PawPaw and DeeDee, took us out for supper at Chick-fil-a before we hit the road again. Delicious!
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Today I have been organizing all of things we received and cleaning as I go, although looking around I can’t tell that I did anything. Dog-gone-it. Back to work for me after this I guess.
Also, thank you Laura for all of the stuff you gave us, pretty sure I won’t have to buy clothes for Penelope at all next year! Wish I could somehow repay you with “hand-me-ups”…but they don’t exist…I’ll think of something 🙂
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Sunday’s are grocery shopping days for us (we haven’t quite gotten the hang of once a month trips to the store), Zack has been at the school all morning preparing for next weeks classes, and after lunch we’ll all head to Rolla for some shopping followed by, I’m sure, more cleaning. Oooh, or a nap! That sounds better.
We just got back from a walk, mapping out our way – preparing for fall walks to Friday night football games! So ready for that! It’s still weird to me that I’ll be going as a teachers wife instead of a student though.
Hot chocolate, hoodies, blankets, eating pre-game hotdogs and homemade chili, big cozy hats, and a red button nose proudly presented on Penelope’s face! SO EXCITED!

Happy Sunday!

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Off to a Good Start

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I decided to wake up with Zack this morning (6:00 instead of 7:30 can’t be that different, right?) and make him a nice breakfast. I’m pretty sure I went and laid back in bed three times before it was all said and done. I was nice, however, to spend that time with him before he officially began his day. Breakfast with Zack will have to be a weekend thing from now on though.…
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Having been so tired, and only having half an hour before I knew she would wake up, I was…what’s the word…concerned? Sure, concerned with how the rest of my day would play out. I had unrealistically high hopes for a magical burst of energy- and I got it! For a couple of hours at least. Since the park worked so well yesterday we went again this morning before it got hot, and brought some bread for only duck that decided not to sleep in. We also fit in some more swing-time and left just as it began to get hot.
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         Stuffing a whole slice of bread into her mouth.      / /       Enjoying the big-girl swing
We played in bubbles/ scrubbed the chalk off the porch before a failed attempt at a nap. This of course resulted in a sleepy cranky baby just in time for Daddy to arrive home for lunch. I’m not even sure he noticed, he was just happy to see her. Nap take two worked like a charm, and now she is watching Cars, eating raisins and wearing her old man hat (my favorite).
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This evening she is going to enjoy some Daddy-daughter time. I’m not sure if that will include painting, going to the play ground, or something she hasn’t done in a while, but either way I’m sure they will enjoy the time together.
We have one more day before we head up to St. Peters for my baby shower. It will probably be spent cleaning and packing (yep, you read right, packing for a one. day. trip).
Well, I’m going to cuddle up with Miss Penelope and watch Cars, until next time.
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Decorating and a Kick of Love

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Yesterday we tried something new: : : We went to the park. Parks are not particularly new for us, but we haven’t been to the St. James park yet. It still has see-saws! Penelope has upgraded, thanks Zack, to a “big girl” swing, you know the type where the only security is Mommy’s slower-by-the-day reflexes. She hasn’t fallen yet so I don’t know what I am so worried about.
We brought along her wagon, filled with her baby doll and jacket. We set off on a mission to find natural fall decorations, but also enjoyed swinging, a long walk, and squirrel watching.
We gathered “those pointy things” and some green nuts a squirrel was angrily tossing out of a tree (below) for our kitchen table center piece, and some pinecones for Penelope to paint, which will later be made into a wreath for our front door! (above)
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My creativity for decorating sans money is dwindling, but I am hoping music, foods, and other’s decorating ideas (via Pinterest and blogs) will spark some inspiration. I do love to decorate- I’m going full force with the Autumn and the upcoming holidays!
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Zack took some photos of his girls after supper last night. Penelope seems to love the fact that there is a baby in my belly (whether she understands what that means or not is beside the point…)  As soon as she gave her sister the first kiss, baby started kicking! It seems like every time Penelope intentionally touches my belly the baby starts squirming. A bond is forming – at least until the teenage years!
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I am so proud to have such a wonderful girl (make that two!).

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