30.4.12

Enjoy Project | People | Twins + Violins

you are
home, home
where i wanted to go
clocks - coldplay 
Photobucket
After all the smack-talk and big-mouthing I got about how nothing compares to Oklahoma... I must say I'm very pleased to have successfully convinced two cowboys to join me in the "big city."  My darling fiance' once again shares a room with his twin brother.  In the "big city." Muhaha. ;)

Besides having family in town, the best part of these two being together is their incredible musical gifting and talent.  Combined they have been playing music for 38 years, and it all began with teaching themselves piano.  In an effort to really make a living by playing music, The Other Twin (aka: Daniel) has set up a nice little facebook page.   Please don't like it "just because."  Listen to them and see what you think.  If you like - or dareisay love! - the sounds you hear, let them know!  Share their video or like their page or even send them a message.

They are available and eager to teach lessons as well as play for weddings.  In the "big city." ;)

(They had never heard "Clocks" by Coldplay.  In an hour they were playing this:)

(Caleb still hasn't heard "I'm Yours."  But he can play it.  They are freaks of nature.  In the "big city.")

Maybe I have to give Oklahoma some credit for raising these tall, gorgeous, disciplined, creative men after all.  Maybe they were right: maybe nothing compares to Oklahoma.


26.4.12

Enjoy Project | Southwest Knows What's Up!

"pointless play is fun."
jay heinrichs
Photobucket
I haven't been particularly subtle in declaring my "theme" this year.  Enjoy.  Play.  Fun.  Laugh. Enjoy. Yes.  It's been on my heart so strongly.  I've talked about blogging more (because quite simply! I enjoy blogging!), learning how to play again with my husband-to-be, group pinning and instagramming (because things are more enjoyable when shared) and more.

You can imagine my thrill when I picked up the newest "Spirit" magazine on my Southwest flight last week and the cover had a giant image of children with the colorful word "PLAY!"  I read the article on play twice.  The author wrote about children, kittens, companies introducing "recess" into their corporate work day and even some science. You should read it. It's very fun ;) Maybe this theme is on more hearts than just mine!

Enjoy my favorite quotes from the article and some of my favorite ladies at play :D
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket  
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket



16.4.12

Enjoying People + Videos | Oh My My My Video Series

when will you learn that there isn't a word for everything?
nicole krauss
Originally I had intended to show you friends one of my all-time favorite date nights.  I had recorded some video footage during the date and yesterday I set off to make those clips a brief and jolly moving memory.

Instead, however, I looked through nearly every video in my library.  I believe in the power of a still, silent photograph, but the movement and sounds in a video... wow.  It was very emotional!

So I changed my plans.  This video is one to coincide with part four of my story "Oh My My My." If you haven't read it yet, you should catch up while it's still relatively short and then come back and watch the video ;)

If you have read up to part four, you'll enjoy 180 seconds of the green kitchen, the blue-gray house, the last few days before "the good-byes" and the official departures of both families.  I had completely forgotten that I took videos of both their moves!  It is almost uncanny to watch now knowing what has happened since then.  God is great, life is good and people are crazy ;)

14.4.12

Enjoy Instagram | 30 Days of April Check-In

Photobucket
If you haven't joined in the instagram/twitter Enjoy Project fun, you're missing out!  It's been so very fun to see all kinds of little joys: from flying kites, to training for races, to snuggling babies and making wontons!  Please join in, even once or twice.

Here's a little check-in of the fun:

Wearing: Miss Lydia donned an adorable outfit the first day of April!
Photobucket
Smelling: Few things beat the garlic-y, cheesy smell of simmering alfredo sauce. Good call, Ahepburnl!
Photobucket


Eating: Hannah Braboy enjoyed her "pocket full of sunshine" fruit.
Photobucket
Touching: After a scare with her kitty, Lydia Jane was happy to have him home from the vet!
Photobucket
Giving: Diehard Red-Sox fan and one of my favorite mommies says she loves "giving her son firsts."
Photobucket
(We have a few other baseball sluggers enjoying opening week!)
Photobucket
Photobucket
Hearing: With The Kooks on in the background, Ambrosiaaaa_ enjoyed her roadtrip.
Photobucket
JC Mays has had one of my favorite EnjoyProject feeds.  But this one of her mother and hearing "her sweet voice in her head" particularly captured me.
Photobucket
Drinking: Kelzai's picture of her daughter (years ago) melts my heart.  God is good.    
Photobucket
Sometimes it's fun to get creative with the word of the day.  "Drinking" in the last few minutes of sunlight with my fiance'.
Photobucket
Using: Though I'm not the biggest "dog person," these couch potatoes cracked me up ;) Loved it, LydiasPics.
Photobucket
Looking at: Allix Ryan Brunson's bonfire picture made me salivate.  I love fire smells! And sights. And everythings.
Photobucket
What a sweet daddy/son shot of the guys looking at mommy.
Photobucket
Doing: Is bowling every a bad idea? I don't think so.  Allix Ryan Brunson knows whats up!
Photobucket
Waiting: Sweet wifey Allie Paredes took care of the car for her guy.  That's a woman right there ;)
Photobucket
Holding: The other night it felt incredible to "hold" onto childhood by playing foursquare until it was black outside.  
Photobucket
NamieElle5 had a great point: "It's the small things that bring the biggest smiles."
Photobucket
Making: Kendall_Glab seems to be up to something fun.  Look what she's making!
Photobucket
































   



13.4.12

Enjoy Writing | Oh My My My | Part 4

i was thirsty so I drank
and though it was salt water
there was something 'bout the way
it tasted so familiar
josh ritter | change of time
Photobucket
part 1 | part 2 | part 3 


There once was an August that changed everything.  An August where the climax began to build.  An August where life as I knew it was never the same.  And that is where we find ourselves in the story.  But, again, we must back up just a smidge. Soon we'll be done with setting and back story, and we'll find ourselves happily enjoying the drama and romance.

For now, we must go all the way way way back to 2006 where there was a little woman named Becca who married her best friend, and they moved into a small apartment with a green kitchen.  They lived the precious married life, where they cut coupons, made cookies, went on adventures and laughed hard.  They named a stuffed animal and brought said animal on trips.  They were addicted to local sports and potatoes.  They hosted 10 wiley and chattery 18-year-olds from church at their house every Tuesday.  They fed them, played with them, talked with them, welcomed them and made them like their own family.  I was one of "them."  We spent evenings in their green kitchen, laughing and doing dishes. Becca was a church secretary and her best friend was working in real estate.  Then he worked as a church employee.  Then he was a lifeguard.  And an Apple Genius. For the first few years of their quirky, young forever, Andree struggled to find his "career."  He always worked.  He always found and had a job, but he was searching for a career.  He wasn't a bum or mooch.  But most of us come to that point in life: what exactly do I want to do forever? What am I good at? What are my passions? Could I actually live off of my dream job and support a family with it? 

In the sneezy spring of 2008, this wondering heart of a husband got an e-mail from his mother that changed everything.  She had sent him some information about the occupation of Air Traffic Control Specialist.  The fantastic with technology, OCD, up for a challenge, fascinated with airplanes and flight Andree was intrigued.  Three days later he sent in an official application to become an air traffic controller.  When our little crew of now 19-year-olds found out, we were so excited for him.  We asked him questions.  Becca looked so proud.  He looked innocent - like a child who had was being publicly praised for a good deed.  He'd probably have to interview in exciting places like New York or Chicago.  Or at least that's what the forum online said.  After the interview (which he was obviously going to get, in our minds) he had to go to an strange place (Oklahoma) for five months (what do people do in Oklahoma?).  That's where the air traffic controllers get trained, at a huge training facility (the forum said so.)  But in the meantime he had a few meetings and perhaps a drug test to get through.  No big deal (at least I thought.)

Becca worked and waited.  Andree worked and waited.  Springs turned into summers more than once, and snow fell fast and grimly for some winters. There were tests, phone calls, little trips, scary reports, months, voicemails, tears, moves and prayers.  On June 11, 2010 (over two years after applying for the job!) there was a special announcement: the fun-sized, big-hearted, determined couple would be moving to Oklahoma in just a few weeks.  I think bells chimed.  Or tolled.  Whichever would be more celebratory.  We rejoiced through the merry land of Maryland.  We longed for our good friends to arrive at this day.  We waited hopefully with them.  We sometimes didn't know what to say when it was particularly hard to wonder about their future.  But God, as he tends to do every now and then, arranged the timing of these events perfectly.  So, here we are with Becca and her best friend packing up their world for a brief stint in the midwest.   

Photobucket
And me? Well, as for me, my life was a zoo.  Ever since my birth in August 1989 I had lived a silly, adventurous, full, athletic, diaper-y, warm life with my parents, who brought home six little people for me to love.  I had always lived with my eight favorite friends.  We moved to San Diego together.  We spent extended time in New York together.  We mostly live in Maryland together.  Just around the time that secretary and her man confirmed their move to Oklahoma, my parents confirmed their move to Florida.  My father's work was thriving.  The new Florida branch was opening and "corporate" wanted my dad to be the guy to head it up.  I made the hard decision to stay in Maryland and not live with my family.  In early August they packed up their house, sailed away in their cars and I watched little hands and wrists flail to me all the way down the road.  I think I sang Kenny Chesney's "There Goes My Life" 42 times that day.  Our large blue-gray country home was empty, aside from my bedroom upstairs and a few closets.  We thought it might take quite a while to find renters for the spacious, far for the highway, very, um, used home.  I worked hard to clean, paint, curtain-rod-assemble, Craigs-list and show our house.  On August 15th I prepared to be little miss real estate mogul (Bravo has done me well).  With fresh flowers, music, and crumb cake on hand, I greeted a smiling family and their big-eyed children.  We walked and talked and enjoyed the property.  Over two acres of woods, a hearty wooden deck with screened in porch, hot tub and grill set-up, an above-garage loft, wood floors, tall windows, and a master bathroom the size of four college dorm rooms: I loved bragging about my home, dents in the walls, stains on the carpet, "personality" in the appliances and all.  Within 30 minutes, they were sold.  "I'll bring the contract and deposit by in the morning." WHAT. "How much should I make the check out for?" WHAT? "Oh, and would it be possible to move in this weekend?" WHAT! I'm not sure what my face was doing, but my heart was running away through my ears (and scorching them.)  I was hot and queezy.  Right now? This is happening now? I was truly convinced this process would take months.  HAVEN'T YOU HEARD ABOUT THE ECONOMY?  And, let's be honest, this was no $899 studio apartment down the road from your university.  We were offering quite the treasure, at quite a cost! 

But, on August 16th, a lease was signed and I was on the hunt.  Mom and dad and the kids were in Florida.  Becca and Andree were in Oklahoma.  The rest of my friends were up at the shore for a church retreat.  I gathered my important documents and "I'm not intimidated by real life" outfits, and started to apartment hunt.  God rolled out the red carpet.  The latest and greatest strip of food and activity in my county is on Century Boulevard.  The movie theater, the library, the art center (complete with outdoor performance stage), a Chipotle, frozen yogurt land, Panera, grocery store, banks, Starbucks, dry cleaners, Five Guys, Moby Dick, Thai AND Chinese restaurants, camera shop, shoe store, Chick-fil-a, Italian dining, and more are all located on one road, about four or five blocks long (not to mention this road is one minute from the main highway).  The Pinnacle Apartments are located in the dead center of the road.  I was hooked.  I wanted to live there.  
Photobucket
I walked into the building and met a leasing office girl (named Brittany or Katie or Megan or something like that, obviously required by leasing office's everywhere) who was going to show me the apartment I was there to see.  A 2-bedroom (one for me, one for an office) space on the fourth floor, behind a dumpster, with a view of a parking lot.  I hated it. "No wonder it's so cheap," I thought. Kat-Britt-gan-ley saw my dismay written all over my face.  "If the second bedroom is really only for an office, I just might have a place for you."  She chatted with me as we echoed down the long four story staircase.  "Technically it has one bedroom with a den. But a den is just a room without a closet! And offices don't need closets! Right?! I mean, unless you want a closet.  Do you want a closet in your office? I don't have a closet in my office. I mean, at work I do, but not my home office. But I mostly work at work, and we do have closets."  

We crossed the street and she pointed out to me the apartment.  At the corner of a four-way stop, directly across from the library and catty corner from a Five Guys, was the Emerald City of apartments.  The second story home had wall-to-wall windows that overlooked the street corner, with a pint-sized wooden porch.  We went up into the building and I discovered that the back side of the place had a large swimming pool, complete with grill and umbrellas!  Inside was a sunny, white, window-ed space, with a kitchen facing the windows and a beautiful big bathroom.  Families passed by the windows with bags of books, professionals shook hands as they entered Sabai Sabai and a dog parked at a pedestrian's ankles.  I almost cried.  "It's perfect. I'll take it."  Credit checks, renters insurance, applications, key hand-offs, orientation meetings and packing ensued.  (As I re-read this, I realize how "factual" this part of the story is.  I have to get to the big stuff, so I can't marinate in my heart and tell you just how it felt to do what I was doing.  I was scared.  I didn't sleep much.  I missed my family awfully. I felt lonely.  But when I get "that way" I put on a brave almost smart-alec cape.  This just has to get done.  Don't think about it.  Just do it. You'll be fine.  You're a big girl.  Figure it out. Go.)  The night before my 21st birthday, August 19, I packed until I fell asleep on the carpet next to boxes.  August 19 also happened to be Andree's first official day of training in Oklahoma.  
Photobucket
When the sun rose it was time leave my country heaven and move to "the city", with the help of some boy muscles and a borrowed beat-up pick-up truck. The following day I shot a wedding and returned to my little home.  Lights shined outside.  I'd never fallen asleep to neon sign and street lamp night-lights before. I had a futon from hell, my twin bed, a kitchen table with one chair and lots and lots of clothes.  But it was my home. My apartment.  I had an apartment! I cried while I unpacked. There was something incredibly comforting about my new world, but it was still very very new.

My friends were feeling similarly.  "This is exciting!  God has provided! But wow, this is different." I texted Becca pictures of my key and my kitchen.  She texted me pictures of the Garth Brooks highway and cows.  I was so happy for them - oh how we'd prayed for that trip.  She was thrilled for me - God had answered prayers!  She couldn't wait to see my new place.  And I promised I'd visit her in Oklahoma…


---

(a few extras I came across...)
Photobucket
This was me headed out the door to a wedding! Not even 24 hours after i'd moved in.


Photobucket
And this is the dark and mismatched living room that greeted me when I came home from the wedding.
Photobucket
My first order of business? Stocking my kitchen! You might find it funny to note at my large sizes and quantities: the ketchups?, the peanut butter, the rice and olive oil?, the sour cream! I obviously was used to shopping for nine, not one ;)

12.4.12

Enjoy Weddings | Ben + Jaqueline | Stone Manor Country Club Wedding

"you should be kissed and often, 
and by someone who knows how."
rhett butler - gone with the wind 
Photobucket
Today, as you begin reading through this story, I am going to ask one request: look at the faces.  I don't know if I've come home with so many fascinating faces in my pocket.  
Photobucket
Much to the delight of boys and girls, and to the shock of old men and ladies, weather forecasters and certainly a creative bride, it snowed in October.  It didn't rain, which I suppose was a blessing! But quiet downtown Frederick was dressed in a slip of white, including the orange and red autumn leaves lining the roads.
Photobucket
Down in the dark basement of an historic church, our bride dressed and arranged herself.  
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
The schedule was thrown for a loop: the light was disappearing much faster than a normal October evening, snow was melting, guests were finding parking spaces, we couldn't take pictures outside like we planned.  But nonetheless, we were all here for a wedding! Carry on, carry on.

Photobucket
As beautiful guests thawed and creaked in their seats, a head-turning voice silenced the crowd.  She sang remarkably ironic and timely lyrics.
Photobucket
"Some say 'Love, it is a river,
that drowns the tender reed.'
Some say 'Love, it is a razor
that leaves your soul to bleed."

A few years ago I might not have understood those lyrics.  "Who thinks love is a sharp knife or tumultuous drowning water? Yikes." It's become more clear.  And Ben certainly understood that sentiment.  Life hurts.  To love hurts.  After facing life circumstances and emotional upheaval, Ben was left very closed-off, very hard.  Don't let this cause you to think that he wasn't an incredibly strong, successful or social man.  He was.  But there was that "point" - that ever famous wall - he did not let anybody get through.
Photobucket
"It's the heart afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance."
Her song rang out, meaningfully and loud.
The sick to his stomach ring bearer (who I just wanted to squeeze and feed soup to! He did so good.  And he was so sick.  Sweet child) almost revealed the calm heaviness of the words as he walked.
Photobucket
"It's the one who won't be taken
Who cannot seem to give,
And the soul afraid of dying
that never learns to liiiiiiiive!"
Photobucket
If you know this Bette Midler classic, you can probably hear this big build-up in your head.  The song erupts after a gradual build.  As she sang, the church seemed to tremble.

"When the niiiiight has beeen too lOOnely!
And the rooOoad has been too long!
When you think that loveisoooonly
For the lucky and the STRONG!"
Photobucket
Photobucket
The church doors opened and there was Jacqueline Rose.

"Just remember, in the winter,
Far beneath the bitter snow
Lies the seed, that with the sun's love
In the spring
Becomes a rose."
Photobucket
I may have talked about crying during ceremonies before. Good heavens.  I was weepy.  I was thinking about a conversation I had with Jacqueline's mother after their engagement shoot.  "She knows things about him that nobody else knows, and will ever know.  She chipped away into his heart."  I thought about the jokes before the engagement shoot, and how Ben only makes one face. "Good luck getting him to smile!" I thought about his simple one word answer when I asked why he loved Jacqueline: "She makes me a better man."  I thought about how deeply he loves that woman.  How his proposal caused her to sob.  How he is patient with her "high-strung."  How he looks at her - with a very particular face.  I thought about snow in October.  About the bride, Miss Rose, marrying her razored and rescued groom, Ben.  
Photobucket
What a beautiful wedding and what a beautiful love.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Are you fascinated by her cotton bouquet yet?  Jac was determined to pull off a wedding with all natural elements in the place of flowers.  So her bouquet? Cotton, cloves, burlap, lace and ribbon. Brilliant.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Don't forget: faces.  Look at these faces.
Photobucket
Once at Stone Manor, Jacqueline relaxed in the bridal suite, waiting to get bustled.
Photobucket
Photobucket
I decided to hop on over to the reception tent to detail-it-up.  I was in inspiration heaven.  Think Phantom of the Opera meet Gone With the Wind.  The cotton, country, plantation decor, on the grounds of a peaceful and stately manor home, couldn't help but take you back to hoop skirts, names like O'Hara and Rhett, and a passionate love story.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
If you have the time, I highly recommend watching (or re-watching) this clip of Phantom of the Opera's "Masquerade."  When I returned to the bridal suite, I had the song in my head, and it stayed their all night ;) "Maaaasquerade! Paper faces on parade! Maaaaasquerade!"
Photobucket
Because, you see, the reception was called "The Masquerade Ball."
Photobucket
Photobucket
"Flash of mauve.
Splash of puce.
Fool and king.
Ghoul and goose.
Green and black."
Photobucket"Queen and priest.
Trace of rouge.
Face of beast.
Faces!"
Photobucket
Photobucket
"Eye of gold.
Thigh of blue.
True is false.
Who is who?"
Photobucket
"Curl of lip.
Swirl of gown.
Ace of hearts.
Face of clown.
Faces.
Drink it in, drink it up
'Til you drown in the light.
In the sound."
Photobucket
"MaaaasquerAAAADE! Paper faces on parade!"
Photobucket
(I wasn't going to post this one, but it made me laugh so hard that I couldn't resist.  I love the things that boys "have" to do at weddings. Their faaaaaaces! Kill me!  Some obviously think it's kind of fun, other's don't at all.  Love it.)
Photobucket
Once the wedding party was prepared, the guests waited anxiously to "take your turn, take a ride on a merry - go - round, in an inhuman race."  The excitement was electric.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Fan. Freaking. Tastic.
Photobucket
"MaaaaasquerAAAADE!"
Photobucket
Photobucket
It thrilled me that they even danced their first dance in their masks.  
Photobucket
Photobucket
Following the best entrance I've ever experienced at a wedding, the thunder rolled on.  Mom's toast was absolutely charming and dear.
Photobucket
The besties played like they were at prom when "their" song came on.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Grandpa stole the show in his duds.
Photobucket
They cried.  They laughed.  They danced.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Guests raved and raved all night long.  "Everything is unbelievable.  Best wedding I've ever seen!"
Photobucket
They surprised the grandma and grandpa with a special treat for the birthday boy.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
(Just look at Jacqueline and Ben's faces in the background. And grandma helping blow the candles? Break my heart.)
Photobucket
Photobucket
And then that band.  Oh wow that band.  These were no "wedding singers."  The professionalism, talent, energy and crowd interaction of these large group made it feel like a Keith Urban concert but in a 1920's jazz club next to the hippest bandstand in town!
Photobucket
Photobucket
Everybody danced, all night long.  October has never had so much fun.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Incredible musician.  
Photobucket
Photobucket
Again, the faces.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Oh hey, past bride Jessica! You're just as fabulous as ever ;)
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Jac was one of my favorite brides to photograph while dancing.  Goodness, she was hilarious and animated.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
I love his "Ooooh, you" look and her "BAH!hahah! I got you!" response.
Photobucket
That's his smile for her.  He only looks at her like that.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Periodically Jac would run over and pounce on Ben.  Though startled, he'd grab her and squeeze her back.  It was a painful kind of happy.  A happy that your insides and outsides and all sides just ache from delight.  
Photobucket
"Some say love, it is a hunger,
An endless aching need.
I say love, it is a flower,
And you its only seed."