Category Archives: Monday Love

Monday Love – First Day of School

Another edition of Monday Love…

A quote:  Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands. – Anne Frank

Something personal: Well, after a very short summer, the return to school started today (the other half will start school on Wednesday).  We now call Kylie our little “gummy bear” since the entire top of her mouth is missing teeth (4 total!).  It’s hard to believe she’s in second grade, but I’m reminded daily that she is growing up by her constant comment “I can do it myself!”  And she can.  But I don’t want her to.  Well, sometimes.  I don’t know.  It’s all very confusing!

Bottom line, I love this gummy face.  XOXO

Something I love:  Core Foods Meal Bars.  It’s hard to find a snack bar that doesn’t have junk ingredients, AND tastes good.  This is my new addiction – and it’s hearty enough to be breakfast (which I struggle with).  The Defender Meals are Dairy Free and the Warrior Meals are not.  I love the Defender Raw Almond Raisin and Raw Cashew Cacao.  YUMMO!  And the company has a great story too!  I buy them at Whole Foods in the refridgerated section.



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Monday Love – Home

A quote:  “Be grateful for the home you have, knowing that at this moment, all you have is all you need.”  Sarah Ban Breathnach

Something personal: We moved.  Need I say more?  We left our first family home of 8+ years and we are now renting a townhouse temporarily while we decide where to go next.  People often ask me why we moved, and it’s a multi-layered answer.  We loved our neighborhood and friends, and the location, but the schools are a problem (as most people know).  Jeff and I have also changed quite a bit over the last (almost) nine years of marriage.  We place less value in the things that use to be important (cars, clothes, shoes, jewelry, home theater, motorcycles), and more value in having less “things” and more quality time together.  We choose to spend our money differently (clean food, family vacations, more couple time) and we are trying to stay focused on how to best incorporate all of this into our lives.  Don’t get me wrong, I still drool over the Anthropologie catalog and Jeff points out every nice car on the road, but we’ve earned an A for effort!  :)  I’ve learned a lot during this move.  Mostly that a house, without your family in it, is just walls and a roof.  I miss having a bit more space and fewer stairs, but that’s about it.  I have everything I need (and more), and I still see my friends on a regular basis.  Downsizing is hard, but also liberating.  We are excited about the next chapter of our lives.

Which brings me to a personal project I’ve been working on.  Photographs used to be more expensive, and harder to have at your fingertips (remember film, developing, etc).  We didn’t take 100 pictures, just to pick the 5 that we love.  And so, with old pictures there is often lots of “background stuff” that tells more of the story (and holds so many memories).  I talk about this in My Love Story, and I’ve wanted to find a way to incorporate the importance of these kinds of images into my work.  I’m not saying that beautiful images at the park or a studio or not important, but I wonder what the memory behind those images will be.  Hopefully not the argument that happened between Mom & Dad just before arriving at the session.  (Did I say that out loud?)

So, I took some pictures of our normal everyday life during our last few weeks in our home.  I didn’t do any editing (I’m trying to embrace the fluorescent lighting and grainy quality) and I left most of the background in the images (yes, that means random shoes and toys all over the floor and un-matching sheets on the bed).  The result?  I love them.  Truly.  I could tell you a story about each one – and all the other things I see that aren’t in the pictures (namely, ME).  Here is a look into my world over the course of a couple days.  It’s kind of like being a fly on the wall – although I’ve never really wanted to be a fly.  ;)


The family room.  What can I say, the place where we spent the majority of our time.  The place where we always took a family Christmas picture.  And right outside the front door, the place where I always took a picture of my kids on the first day of school.

And morning play time.  We love our lazy mornings playing games, wrestling, dressing up.  Kylie has had that winter hat for over 2 years now, and no matter where I put it, she finds it and wears it.

The curtains.  THE CURTAINS!  They took me two years to find during the time in my life when I became a stay-at-home-mom and didn’t know what else to do, and I love them (now they are in a plastic bag in storage).

The Superman pajamas.  We have an annual tradition to get new pajamas at xmas each year.  The kids and I picked out the Superman pants on a whim at Target – because Daddy is our Superman.

The Football.  Do you see it under Jake?  He still sleeps with it every night.  Awe.

This picture needs no words.  ;)

The kids’ rooms.

The curtains that I loved so much (and Jake pulled out each and every plastic stick that makes them pull up straight).

His table (from IKEA) that Daddy and I designed and painted together.

The mess.  Because I’m just keeping it real.

The legos (that both kids love so much), and Kylie’s green knitting bag (no idea where it came from, but it works).

The picture of her first birthday.  You know the one, where you invite all your friends and make a big deal and your kid has no idea what’s going on.

AND, the tissue box.  My kids are never far from a tissue box (If you look through all the pictures, you’ll see a tissue box in most).  It’s a James family thing – long story.

Daddy and Kylie doing meditation and “Rainbow Breathing” while Jake does gymnastics.  This is a normal scene at our house.  Anytime the rest of us want to do something quiet, Jake has other plans.

Our table.  The place we eat.  The place we say our “Gratefuls and Thank Yous”, and watch the birds.  The site of so many family meals and birthday celebrations.

And, of course, Dasher.  Always trying to get in on the action.

We love family games.  Sequence for Kids – AWESOME!

Friends that come to visit and warm my heart.

Giant puzzles on the floor (when we had floor space for giant puzzles).

The formal dining room turned play room turned craft room.  It has been so many things over the years.  In the end we just had an inexpensive IKEA table where we could draw, paint, play, and make forts to hide from the tickle monster!  And Dasher can watch from his tower.  But when I see this room I see all the years raising my babies.  The ball tent, the endless tracks, cardboard houses, legos, push toys, music instruments, and so much more. *sigh*

And through it all, our kids have been so resilient.  Loving our new house and excited about the adventure of it all.  I’m glad I have pictures our home (including the mess), from when it was built, all the way through until we moved out.  The stories and memories will last a lifetime.



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by Crystal

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Monday Love / Giving Back

Another edition of Monday Love…

A quote: “The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to them their own.” -Disraeli

Something personal: Yes, it’s been a while.  This year I decided that rather than sacrifice my family time, I would sacrifice my blogging time.  My husband is happier.  ;)   When things slow down a bit, hopefully I will catch up with lots of updates, session peeks, food rants, and other fun stuff.

In the midst of all the craziness the holidays bring, I’ve had a burning desire to GIVE.  Not only to my friends and family, but to those less fortunate as well.  I’m excited to be going to the Atlanta Children’s Shelter Holiday House event this week, and I’m even more excited to announce a very special gift that I want to give.  Do you know someone that has had a difficult time recently?  Someone that isn’t busy trying to shop for all the latest toys, but instead, is barely making ends meet?  Or maybe someone that has been very ill, or someone that is always giving to others and rarely has time to do special things for him or herself.  I know you know these people.  Please take a few minutes to write to me, and share the story about someone you know that would be surprised and delighted by the gift of custom photography.  Let’s make the holiday extra-extra special for a friend in need.  :)

HAPPY MONDAY!!!!  (Well, on the west coast it’s still Monday!)

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Monday Love / The Sun and my Point & Shoot Camera

Another edition of Monday Love

A quote: “Here comes the sun, and I say it’s alright…”  George Harrison

Something personal: As I mentioned before, it’s crazy busy right now.  I feel like I’m swimming in quicksand sometimes (not that I have any idea what that feels like, but I’m just imagining).  You can look for some sneak peeks coming up soon, but for now, I wanted to share some more pics from our beach vacation.  Last year, I used my iPhone almost exclusively for our family beach vacation.  Mostly because I forgot the charger to my point & shoot, and I was too lazy to drag my big camera around everyday.   This year I was more prepared, so I did bring my trusty Canon S95 (Point & Shoot Camera).  It does a really good job capturing sun flare, which I love to play around with.  It’s so nice now, in the digital age, we can take lots of pictures just for fun and see what the results are, rather than wasting rolls of film.  Here are a few fun pics that I got, with the sun behind my subjects.   I love having just the silhouette in focus, with the beautiful blue sky as a back drop.  Try some of these when you are outside playing with the kids in the early evening, when the sun is low in the sky.  You’ll be surprised what your point & shoot camera can do!

And that is my Kylie Bear, flying in the sky on the swings at the Boardwalk.  We were the only ones there (off season) and the kids had a blast.  She was beside-herself-excited about this ride, shouting from the sky: “THIS. IS. SO. AWESOME!”

Something I love: For my foodie friends out there, I just thought I would share two sites that I really enjoy (blogs and facebook).  The first is 100 Days of Real Food.  She has so many great (simple) ideas for eating “real” food with a family in mind.  I finally took her suggestion for the Smoothie Pop Molds, and we use them almost every day.  We make smoothies a lot, so now I put the extra in these molds and freeze them.  Kylie loves having them for a snack, and I love that they don’t have any added sugar or artificial ingredients (like the yogurt tubes) – AND I can put some spinach in there too!   I also like the posts from Deliciously Organic.  She has great recipes and I enjoyed reading about her journey with food, and returning her body to a healthy state.  She has a great discussion about fat here.


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Monday Love / Photo Bomb

Another edition of Monday Love…

A quote:  “Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans. It is lovely to be silly at the right moment.”  Horace

Something personal:  I know I’ve been MIA, but it’s the crazy fall season and I took a vacation to the beach in the middle of it all.  So, some humor for your Monday evening.  I think this is what it means to be photo-bombed!  My kiddos are so silly.  I was trying to get a nice, simple, family shot for my friends last week……

I think I like the funny one the best anyway!  :)


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by Crystal

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