Hi there!

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You miss me? Haha Well, I just wanted to let you know that I am over here now. Yep, I started a new blog. My life is heading in a very different direction and I felt it was appropriate to create a new space to document it. I hope you all understand! Please follow along over at the new blog and check out my new photography endeavor (I am on Facebook, too!), as well.

Thanks so much for your love and support over the years. It truly means the world to me.

Love, Erin

My nephew, Ryder Lee, had a spinal surgery on Thursday. He isn’t even three yet and has proven to his whole world just how strong and resilient he is. Ry is definitely a hero of mine. He, of course, isn’t the only one. Zack is a pillar of strength for my sister and nephew. I am so proud to call him a brother. Rach is so calm and comforting for her little boy. The way she is with him is beautiful.

My whole family constantly astonishes me with their courage, strength, and perseverance. I love each of them deeply and it brings me so much happiness when others comment on our closeness. It has been an exciting journey to watch our family grow as we dated, married, and had children. With each new brother-in-law that joined, we inherited their families as well. I was reminded on Thursday and Friday of how blessed we are that we all have this huge “adopted” family that keeps supporting each other through all that comes our way.

Ryder has had so many people in his life who have helped him progress to where he is today. A lot of them, he may never know. Nurses. Doctors. Friends. Family. I have thought of them a lot over the past few days. I have been overwhelmed by the many people who have sent well wishes and said prayers. They mean so much to my sister, my brother-in-law, and to the rest of us who love Ryder so very much. I hope you all continue to do so in the coming years as Ry has more surgeries grows into an even stronger young man.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Will and I took a trip to the YMCA Trout Lodge near Potosi, MO two weeks ago. We were arriving in celebration of Will’s parents’ anniversary. It was just what we needed. We were able to see his wonderful family and disconnect from our everyday lives for a couple days. It was beautiful at this lodge!

The first day was spent just enjoying the family and focusing on what is most important. The next day was spent saying goodbyes and then exploring a little with our cameras before going back to Nashville. It was the first time in quite a while that I picked up my film camera. It was the first time that I really worked hard at learning how to use it. I used some “play” film I bought at Urban Outfitters and a light meter to try things out. I also wrote the camera settings I used for each photograph I took. [The main goal with this roll was exposure. I wanted to focus on learning that because I already knew this camera had its issues. This was my dad's camera for many, many years (He loves photography, too!). He gave it to me as a Christmas gift two years ago. While it is my only camera right now and a prized possession, there is something wrong with the focus. Yes, I realize that it is all manual but my Dad and I have both noticed something off about it. Also, there are light leaks. Anyway, I say all this to acknowledge the fact that some of these photographs are just not focused right. However, they still make me so happy when I look at them. This is what I have to look back on from our trip. Focused or not, they are special. :)]

Will was there to help me a bit. He is so patient and has been great about answering even the silliest questions I have.

We spent about an hour at the lodge and then started making our way toward TN.

I didn’t finish the whole roll. I’ll be honest, I don’t like wasting exposures just to finish a roll. I want to really work on my skill (I totally said that in a Napoleon Dynamite voice.) and taking no-good photos just to be done with a roll seems silly to me. Anyway, I waited to use up the rest of the film until a trip out to a lake area near our apartment a few days later. It was rainy and everything seemed to have a fog to it.

I felt completely at peace. I realized that afternoon that I didn’t have to drive hours away to get the same feeling I had at that lodge. I could rest at home, too. :) 

Today would have been my mother’s 54th birthday. My family, spread throughout the country, released balloons in celebration of her life. Below are some photos from my release.

 

While shopping, one balloon stuck out among the many “birthday” others. It screamed Carmen. I know she would have picked this one out herself. I could fill up pages about her struggles, her triumphs, and all the memories I shared with her. I love her so very much. While I selfishly wish I could still have her here, I am so thankful I had her for 16 years of my life.

Starting in November, people pick up the pace. They rush around preparing for the holidays not realizing that they are also rushing into the next year. It seems that most don’t give thought to much outside of the holidays until after they are watching them end. Then the review of the last year starts. This is not so for me. Instead, the holidays bring about a whole season of reflection, thought, and gratefulness. Life has been hectic and unpredictable since we moved to Joplin in January. This year has brought almost constant transition and has changed both Will’s and my life. We have made so very many friends and have started patching up last year’s wounds. Things are looking up and our hearts are so full. I have never been so excited for the things to come. I have never had better friends. I have never been more in love. I never understood true happiness…

… but I am sure I do now.

This is currently what the majority of our apartment looks like right now. It’s very “bare bones” around here.I am itching to decorate this place!

THE AGENDA

- For the dining area: 1) Cover our half-mirror, half-wall with some panels. 2) Build a dining bar.

- For the live/work area: 1) Build the base for a couch and sew cushions, pillows and throws. 2) Build a large work/dining table. 3) Build a two-compartment coffee table. 4) Sew curtains and maybe a rug or two. 5) Build a coat rack and shoe caddy.

- For the sleep area: 1) Build a headboard. 2) Build an accessories area. 3) Sew curtains and maybe a rug. 4) Sew about 98,357,928,475 blankets, quilts, and pillows for our bed (I like a lot of blankets to sleep with).

- For kitchen area: 1) Sew or buy more towels and other kitchen utensils. 2) Sew a rug.

- For all areas: 1) Hang wall decor. 2) Build or find appropriate lighting.

When I look at this list, it overwhelms me a bit and I become anxious to have it done… two months ago. What makes the situation even more challenging is that I currently work 45+ hours most weeks and Will and I hardly ever have a day off together. I refuse to allow all of these factors to send me to the closest furniture store and pick out what “will work for now.” I want this place to be the home I envision.

A delightful little twist to kick-start our motivation is that we recently found out that a new friend will be staying with us for 10 days in a couple of weeks. TEN DAYS! =D November 7 will be here before we know it! If that isn’t enough to get us moving, I don’t know what will. I am very excited to see what all we can accomplish between now and then. We plan on sharing how to’s and photos and all that jazz as we finish projects. So be watching Twitter, Facebook, and here for links to check out the progress. :)

Oh yeah! And if any of you Nashville friends have a truck and would be willing to help transport some of our supplies for these projects, that would be the best! A meal and a high five would be waiting for you. ;-)

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I guess this was just a bit of a vent of how I have been feeling while at home lately. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not all bad. For instance, I am currently listening to The Shins sing through my record player, my cute cat is sleeping in the sunlight and I am getting ready to (finally) organize our closet. It is a good day. I just can’t wait until things are even better around here. :)

love, erin

* I promise that I will stop using Photo Booth photos for all of my posts. I guess I have just been lazy. Ha!

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