Graduation Photos!

I don’t know why I didn’t think to post these sooner. Honestly, I’ve kind of been avoiding blogging lately. Maybe I’ll talk about that later… maybe. Anyway, here ya go! Thank you to my awesome nephew, Tristen for being my official photographer! <3






That awesome chick between Ashley and me is Hanna of Frazzled Mort. (: Go check her out. She’s very intelligent and funny and she has curly hair like me and we both majored in the same thing and we’re both headed to the same state this year.

Graduation-19(That’s Tristen. (: So obviously he didn’t take this photo. But seriously, look at that outfit! He’s the coolest and most talented kid I know.)


And there’s my girl. <3

I DID IT!!!!!!! :D :D :D


Merry Christmas Eve (:

I was thinking tonight about when I “realized” Santa Claus wasn’t (literally) real, that it was really Mom and Dad putting the gifts under the tree each year.

I remember the denial I felt, trying to hold onto that magic I had felt each past year, and the disappointment and hurt that came with the realization those kind of magical things ‘just don’t happen.’ I felt the same sort of pain when I graduated high school.

The worst part of growing up is the loss of the childhood magic and view of life. 

But somehow I found it in my young, immature, and denying mind to face the fact that *that* stuff wasn’t and isn’t real, and that there are bigger reasons for the season: family, togetherness, love, joy, & gratitude – especially gratitude. I forced myself to be thankful for the things I did have, and to enjoy being around the people I love. Because that is what really matters.

There are deeper things in life then material things, then immediate reinforcement and rewards. And the realization that Christmas wasn’t the magical event my childhood mind led it out to be was a huge lesson in that.

Of course I still have my barriers and lines I have yet to cross. There are times I find myself jealous of the apparent ease others get what they want. There are times I get annoyed and angry that my family doesn’t have enough money to go on vacation every year. I’m only human, and I have many many weak points in my character. I am trying my best to strengthen those, to better myself.


On a lighter note, I have been baking up a storm the past couple of days and my artsy-crafty side of my personality has been revealing itself. Perhaps this is because of Pinterest. I’ve become slightly addicted to the DIY pins I find, and the recipes. It’s inspired me to attempt a few crafts (I made mom’s Christmas present – homemade photo coasters – from a pin I found), and to cook. Pinterest actually makes cooking and baking look FUN! For instance, I’ve tried about six new treat recipes in the past  two or three days, and even cooked dinner for mom and dad the other night. And tomorrow (tonight) I am making Crock Pot French Toast for our Christmas breakfast and Sweet & Spicy Cocktail Weenies for a pre-dinner snack. I never knew I was so into cooking until I started looking up recipes on Pinterest. Who knows, maybe I’ll start doing some recipe posts to share! (:

Merry Christmas Eve everyone. (:



Winter in the Midwest

I took my camera out with the dogs today and snapped some photos in the snow. I really liked how these turned out. They all had minor adjustments only: switch to black & white, upping the contrast, and increasing the saturation if needed.







And my sweet nephew, Kyler. (: The light was horrible in our living room, and my camera doesn’t handle it’s ISO well. But I *love* how this one turned out, grain and all. <3 this kid.



Oh and Hawkeye was fascinated with Mr. Kyler. It was the Hawk’s first exposure to a baby, and he was fantastic.


I have lots more photos of Kyler and the dogs in the snow, but not much time left to post. And I think this is enough photos for today. (: Oh and I’m still trying to choose which watermark I like best, but I’m really leaning towards the green one I used in the above photos (excluding last, obviously). Hmm.. might still go in and mess with it a bit more.


Where are the Dog Days of December?

This nice weather is seriously throwing me off. Of course, I haven’t given it much attention because I’ve been busy with other things, but 56 degrees on December 4th? I hope we have a white Christmas at least. :P

Speaking of that, I need to take my camera out and photograph more. I need to broaden my horizons, try to see things in different ways. Especially for this blog, so I have something to share more often instead of just my dogs.


I finished Susan Cain’s book today. And all I can say is wow. The first part of the book was about the extrovert ideal in our society. And the last chapter was about the parenting of an introverted child. Now nothing against my parents, but looking back at my childhood, I was definitely pressured and prodded to fit into the ‘extrovert’ mold. I never enjoyed going to school events, I’d rather sit at home and read. I didn’t like team sports, I did better work by myself when I could think on my own and not worry what the other people around me were doing. I played soccer as a kid. And I hated it, because of the social aspect of it. In high school, I dreaded getting up. I dreaded everything about it, but especially the people/social part. Being pushed into rooms with a bunch of kids all talking at once about pointless drama, and never getting time to be by myself. Looking back at that, man it’s crazii to see.

It went so far that I began thinking something was honest-to-God wrong with me. Why didn’t I enjoy going to support our high school football team? Why didn’t I have lots of friends that came over all the time? Why didn’t I have a boyfriend or even a big group of friends to sit with at lunch? I remember a time in elementary school when my mom’s biological son, who’s a pilot, came to talk about his job to my class. Man, I was so proud and excited. But then we went to recess (which I had always hated). And all I remember about that day is the look of confusion and dismay in his eyes when I didn’t rush off to play kickball or have a big group of kids to play with.

I felt ashamed. Not just then, but lots of other times as well. Ashamed in myself, for not being “normal.” I thought there was a ‘right’ way to do things and a ‘wrong’ way and I was getting it all wrong. But every time I did something MY way, it *felt* wrong, leading to more confusion. I never really accepted myself because I genuinely thought I was wrong, as in who I was & am as a person.

Quiet really opened my eyes to a lot of things. I’m sure if I re-read it, I’ll find even more information and stuff about me. A friend told me the other day how she avoided books that “explained who you are.” But Quiet didn’t explain who I was so much as explain how I did things, why I did things that way, and that IT IS OKAY TO BE THAT WAY!

Relief. Still a learning process, but relief.


Best friend && favorite book <3

Even though I was 40 minutes late (yes, 40: overslept 20 mins and took me 20 mins to get ready) this chick stuck around and waited for me at our favorite crack house. She’s just awesome like that. What would I do without her? (: I will say, I super enjoy our Tuesday Starbucks talks, but road trip talks are pretty rad as well. Seriously, I am so lucky to have this girl in my life. Everybody needs a best friend like her. Unfortunately, this girl is mine, so good luck finding someone as awesome as her. ;)


I’m reading my favorite book of all-time (so obviously it’s my favorite book, by my favorite author). The Pact by Jodi Picoult. This book drew me in the first time I read it, but I feel like this time that I’m reading it (for the third time) there’s more. More, as in I feel closer to the characters, to the dilemmas and confusing feelings they face. I feel pain, love, joy, and anger right along with them, directly from my gut, two characters in particular but in different ways. ((That might sound strange – it is “only a book” after all – but the feelings aren’t new to me because I felt sort of the same way with my favorite show.)) It’s almost like I relate to them, in scary ways. Of course, that’s way off because I’ve never (thank gosh) been in the situations talked about in the book. But I can’t shake the feeling that I connect to this story, these characters somehow, as if they’re a part of me.

The irony of this is that romance novels have never ever been my thing. They bore me, really. But on the cover of this book it says, “A love story.” A love story. If there is anybody that can change a love story about two teens into something deep, intriguing, controversial and REAL, it’s Jodi Picoult. That lady has a magical touch. And I’d like to meet her someday. That’s going on my bucket list.

Is anybody else a fan of Jodi Picoult? What’s your favorite book? I highly recommend her, if you haven’t read her already.


My day, in a nutshell

Today went something like this:

Picked up Dustin & Parker, who were visiting family in a town about 45 minutes away. Went to Starbucks (where they were out of the salt for the salted caramel mochas) and then dropped Parker off at home. Dropped Dustin off, went to class. In class we reviewed for the exam.

After class I talked to the prof for a while longer about my exam, then picked up Dustin again and went home. Relaxed, did homework, played with the dogs. Then… the highlight of my day.

Uncle Rick took me out shooting

I’ve only been shooting one other time in my life, and that was with him last summer. He taught me the bare basics and safety rules about guns and shooting. The first gun I shot (last summer) was a .22 (don’t remember the model) and this time he let me shoot a .45 Springfield and .40 Glock. Holy. Crap. Let’s just say this time – today – was what I expected shooting to be like the first time I did it. The kick. The recoil. And the 5 seconds of silence after pulling the trigger because your ears are ringing so loudly.


I wore my Girls with Guns shirt today, too. (: Yeah, I’m a nerd. But in my defense it is my favorite long sleeved shirt and it was cold and windy today.

The rest of my day wasn’t all that interesting, though. Meeting with a professor who basically told me I have to catch up on 7-8 weeks of work in 2-3 weeks. Wonderful. Then we had a family dinner of Mom’s homemade meatloaf, cheesy potatoes, and squash. (Btw, who else in the midwest remembers eating chili and cinnamon rolls for school lunch in elementary & middle school?) I procrastinated did homework until Dustin got off, then we hit up Blockbuster and are now watching the original 1980 Friday The 13th. There’s just something about scary movies in October (well, all of the time for me xD). Tomorrow we’re visiting Dustin’s mom, taking Hawkeye to the vet, and I have to work. Friday – crossing my fingers for haunted house & Paranormal Activity 4 with Ashley & Madison. (: Saturday, AMBER! :D :D


This is an important day, folks

Because on this day 22 years ago, my BB4L was born. The girl I met in 9th grade through English class & a CSI book (the current ‘rave’ show at the time of ours) who eventually became my best friend and is as close to me – if not closer – as a sister. The girl who has taught me and put up with me through all these years, who shares so many likes and dislikes, who has rubbed off on me in a lot of ways. I really couldn’t see my life without this chick in my life. <3

I could say thanks, Ashley, for all these fun years. Sharing my joy of 24. Giving me some of your sarcastic attitude. “Anthony was not a stupid man…” Sharing the love of forensics and scary movies. And for just being you. Because you balance me out perfectly. You keep me grounded, remind me to chill out, and keep the bullshit of things from getting too heavy. Long talks over coffee and those crazii, random videos we used to make back in high school. Stealing the salt shaker & greasy carpet. And so much more.

But thanks wouldn’t cut it. So Ashley, eat your chocolate and know that you’re stuck with me for the rest of your life. (:


Here are a few Instagram pics from today, then I’m off to watch a scary movie with Ash. (:



(Btw, the guy in the above photos is my Uncle Rick. He’s pretty awesome, to say the least. You *might* be hearing more about him tomorrow. (:)