Happiness Is…{thanks and a wrap}

My true happiness for today is that JDubbs and I are heading to Portland, Oregon for a wedding sans children, and that we get to discover what I’ve heard is a very cool city together and catch up with great friends and family.  That is really where my happiness lies today, but I also want to announce that today is the very last Happiness Is…blog hop post.  To all of you faithful link-uppers, who came faithfully every week to share your joy and to meet new bloggers near and far, I am so very grateful to have shared in your happiness.  But the party is inconsistent and I am admittedly not putting the effort into it that it deserves, so I will end on a high note and say that today is the last day to share the wonderful things that make our lives so great, and I can’t wait to hear all about what’s new with you!

 So thank you all again.  It’s been my pleasure to host and I hope to see you all around these parts just as often!  Maybe one of you wants to take the Happiness hop over for me–feel free to steal it and I’ll spread the word for you!!  May the joy and happiness of our everyday lives continue on.  Lord knows I’ll still have my happy moments, and I look forward to sharing them with you, just in a less regulary-scheduled way.

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Happiness Is…{this magic moment}

Not only a perfect moment between my babies, but selfishly I’ve also always wanted to try to capture a reflection in the sand.  A picture and moment to love.

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Happiness Is..{a day at the beach}

JDubbs and I took the kids to the beach earlier this month to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary.  We went out to dinner later that night, but during the day we just wanted to be together as a family.

In fact, I wanted to be present in the moment and give my kids all of my attention so I left the camera at home and just did my best with the Iphone.  These are undoubtedly snapshots, not portraits, and although they aren’t photographically perfect, the day absolutely was.

And that’s what’s important about that day.

Sometimes being aware of how perfect a day is as it is unfolding is one of the best gifts a parent can receive.

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Happiness Is…{good work}

I’m not trying to brag, but I have been super busy with photo shoots this summer.  I can’t complain because it’s great experience and it feels nice to help out the cause with a little bit of cash every now and then.  But editing photos is just one more thing to add to my ever-growing list of things to do, and I feel like between photography and blogging I barely have a chance to say hello to my hubby after work every day!  Good thing I like them both so much!

So on that note, I wanted to share a few of my favorites from recent shoots–actually I have had four recently who preferred I kept their photos private, so this is only a small sample.  They will have their own posts one day when I get my act together, but until then, enjoy these great shots–now you have an idea of some of the other things I do all day!

This last shot is of a great up-and-coming hip hop group called JP Lime, whose photos I was lucky enough to take for their newly released album, Blue Star Boulevard.  Click here to head over to their site and hear or download some of their music!

Being successful professionally means a lot to me as a person, but it’s also important to me that my kids see me doing some work outside of the house.  Call me feminist (even though I don’t think that’s totally accurate), but I enjoy using my brain and learning something new–even if it’s a new photographic technique or pushing my limits on a shoot.  My kids may miss me when I’m gone, but it makes for a happy mama, and that’s a good thing!

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Happiness Is…{a family first}

On my birthday recently, we planned on taking the kids to a local lake and enjoying the sunshine.  When the weekend rolled around, it was just too hot to think about basking in the sun, so instead we headed indoors to the local bowling alley for an afternoon of bowling and air conditioning!

Neither of our kids had ever been bowling, so JDubbs and I were really excited about this family first.  Em was totally into it, especially once she saw the purple balls; she even made the shoes look good!

Jax, on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with those shoes, and so we explained that he couldn’t bowl without them.  We thought that bit of reverse psychology would work, but we were wrong.  He was fine with it and sat at the table to “keep score”–it’s all automated now, not like in my day–but he didn’t care!  We figured after watching his sister have so much fun, he’d eventually give in and join in.

We were right, but not the way we thought.  You know how you have to step up to the parquet floor on the alley?  Well, don’t forget, what goes up, must come down, and after about seven frames, Em fell off the step and whacked her head pretty good.  Combine that with the fact that it was close to naptime, she retired to the bench with her Binkie and Blankie for the remainder of the game.  At that point Jax was gracious enough to step in and finish her string and so he got a chance to play, too!

Sans shoes, of course.  Good thing nobody noticed!  He used the ramp to help guide the balls toward the pins, and between that and the bumpers, the kids nearly beat me!

But they did beat Daddy!  Bowling is the one of the only things where I am better than JDubbs, and it never gets old.  Perfect family fun!

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Happiness Is…{an online library}

I am so excited that this week’s happiness is something that I can share with you, near and far!  It’s a fabulous idea that I discovered on Pinterest that is even better than I could have imagined: an online library where kids of all ages and reading levels can read good books online for free, like Ladybug Girl, the Spot books, and more!  It’s called We Give Books, and what’s even better, for every book you read, they donate a book to a variety of campaigns that support children’s literacy–a cause that is dear to my heart.  You can watch a video all about We Give Books here that will explain the details.

There is also a summer reading program for kids ages 5-8 that provides you with a new book and activities, and resources for teachers.  My favorite part is that once you create a login name you can save your favorite books to your own library where they will be waiting for you and your child every time you return.  It’s like having a whole virtual library at your fingertips!  Jax and I enjoy reading them when we don’t have a chance to get to our own neighborhood library, and it changes things up and keeps reading fresh–which is one of the best ways to ensure your kids are reading rockstars!

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Happiness Is…{silly siblings}

Every now and then I think that JDubbs and I were crazy to have our kids 18 months apart.  But more often than not, when I see the fun that these two have together and how they are the best of friends, I can’t regret those sleepless nights or the few premature gray hairs I have grown!

All I hope and pray for in their future–besides good health and happiness–is that they remain such good friends.  Having siblings to count on is one of life’s blessings, and I can only hope that these two can always call each other their friend!

Such sweet, silly siblings!

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