Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Week 3 - 365 Challenge

This week has definitely went by in a blur! I finally withdrew Caleb from his old school and got him registered for his new one. (He will be having the same 1st grade teacher that both of his cousins had, how cool is that?!?) We finally got some photos and artwork up on the walls at the new house and we experienced one heck of a monsoon week at the new house too...complete with lots of rain, wind, lightning and thunder. Caleb finished up his last week of summer camp with a trip to a water park, a day at the movies AND his number one favorite place, Peter Piper Pizza. Our family joined a local gym on Friday and Caleb and I made our first visit the very next day!

And then we finished up the week with a fantastic family dinner at our house. I can't even put into words how awesome it is to finally live closer to our family...my SIL visited us twice this week after I got home from work, and we went shopping one day after work too. I wish we would have moved to this side of town years ago, but at least we are here now and we can start making up for lost time!

So onto the photos! This week has a few more landscape & architecture images than the last couple of weeks, but I am definitely taking this challenge to heart. I am using it as a way to really challenge my work as an artist and up my game a little, trying out new things and really trying to see the world in a whole new way!

15/365 - This photo pretty much says it all! 

16/365 - Bathtime

17/365 - I love modern architecture and this building at a local community college is just amazing!

18/365 - Beauty in the simplicity of nature

19/365 - A little nap after a long day at summer camp. 

20/365 - Just a little practice at the local park.

21/365 - Using the force on his cousin (ps. this is my favorite of the week!)

Thank you so much for visiting me this week...make sure to check out Tina Sparkes blog next for some absolutely amazing images! (Seriously...she totally rocks and you don't want to miss out!)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Week 2 - 365 Challenge

I can't believe it, but we are starting on our 3rd week in our new home! Time is just flying by...it seems like just yesterday that we were moving in here! It has been a busy week, one filled with school clothes shopping (Caleb will start 1st grade in just 3 weeks), getting back into the swing of things at work after taking time off to move then taking a long 4 day weekend over the 4th of July, and my husband & I got a much needed AND big surprise date night this past Saturday. Grandma offered to let Caleb come spend the night at her house so Chris & I went out to the movies and dinner...then we slept in. Did you read that...we SLEPT IN, a glorious extra 2 hours this morning until 8am. It's been at least 6 months since we last did that and it was much needed and appreciated!

Here is a little snippet of our lives this week...I can't believe that I have made it for 14 days without missing a day yet! And please make sure to head on over to Megan's blog for a glimpse into her week two...I am so proud & excited to be a part of my 365 Challenge blog circle. The women are all such amazing artists that I personally look forward to seeing what they come up with each week!

8/365 - Someone really hates losing  
9/365 - I absolutely LOVE that he wakes up this happy each day (he definitely doesn't get it from me!)

10/365 - I love how Caleb always put's his toys & stuffed animals "just so" each day

11/365 - Ranier Cherries...my favorite summer indulgence!

12/365 - I have a thing for little one's feet...this is a special little one that's turning 3 in a few weeks!

13/365 - Caleb is obsessed with his new running shoes...he has worn them each day since getting them earlier this week.

14/365 - Watching a dust storm roll through

I hope you all have an absolutely fabulous week!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Week 1 - It's a 365 Started in July

I did it...I finally accepted the challenge and joined a very talented group of women that are doing a 365 photo challenge. It's something that I always aspired to do, but didn't have the faith in myself that I would follow through and finish it. But through the support of my online circle of fellow 365ers I really feel that I can accomplish it!

One of the BEST things about this challenge beginning in July is that it coincides with us moving into our new home...so I will be able to document out first year in our home**, making new memories in this new place, experimenting with the lighting in the home and practicing my lifestyle photography skills. I am so excited to begin this journey!!! I will be posting once a week with my 7 days of photos, so make sure to come back Tuesday each week for each new installment.

(**Yes, I did mention a new home...It's been almost 6 months since my last post on here and quite a bit has changed for our little family. I promise I will share with you all the news and changes, doing this challenge has also kicked my behind back to regularly posting on here and I can't wait to get back into the swing of things again!)

1/365 - Cooking our first meal in the new home! 

2/365 - Exhaustion after water day at summer camp.

3/365 - What begging at dinnertime looks like each and every night.

4/365 - Early morning iPad time before getting ready for summer camp.

5/365 - To infinity & beyond!

6/365 - New haircut and missing 4 teeth! Pretty cute isn't he?

7/365 - Sunday morning chores.

As part of the my Project 365 circle, please make sure to take a spin over to Melissa at  Sweet Grass Moments  to visit the next very talented person in my group!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Living Life...Loving Life

For the past year my presence on this blog, in my little corner of the web, has been sporadic at best.  The last year we have experienced many things…some good, some bad and heart wrenching and some amazing:

Caleb started kindergarten, played soccer, took swimming lessons and went to Disneyland. We made new friends, lost friends through death and attrition and lost a man near and dear to us…my father-in-law Ken. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and birthdays all were experienced and enjoyed to the fullest. Getting the devastating news of my mother being diagnosed with terminal colon cancer and her first visit to see us in almost 5 years.  Day trips to play in the snow, holiday parties with friends, girl’s night’s out with my amazing neighbors, and photo shoots. I joined a non-profit and have since been appointed as co-chair of the Media Relations committee. My husband was promoted at work and my photography business has boomed. We enjoyed movie nights at home and campouts in the living room. Enjoying BBQs, picnics and pool parties with friends. Connecting and being inspired by other photographers, upgrading my camera gear and finding my “place” within the industry. Board games have been played, books read, and poems written.

The time has been filled with surprises, heartache, hugs, sadness, love and togetherness.  It has been a year of soul searching, learning about life and how to live it to the fullest. I learned more about who I am and what I want out of life…I learned how important family & friends are, along with how important giving back and helping others is. Through this time,  people I thought were friends turned out not to be, while others showed how amazing, thoughtful and supportive they were. The saying is definitely true that when the chips are down, people show their true colors. AND they did...and I am thankful for it, because while just a few are no longer a part of our lives, many, many more are and my life is richer today because of them. 

So, while I have been away...life has kept going. I have been living it and enjoying and, more than anything, I am thankful for it. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

All grown up

It's been a big week around the Schell house...drum roll please....

We've got a ourselves a KINDERGARTNER!!!

It seems like just yesterday that my baby boy was just that...a baby. But today he is in elementary school. His first day of school was yesterday and using the word "excited" would be an understatement! It's all he's been talking about for the last couple of weeks...he's gotten new school clothes (courtesy of his amazing grandma) a new backpack and his school supplies. We even made sure to go and get him a fresh new haircut the day before he started.

Yesterday morning, he helped me pack up his backpack and we headed off for his first morning. (After a quick photo shoot in the backyard of course!) When we got to school we headed over to the kinder's section of the school and found his teacher and waited for the bell to ring...when it did he got into line to get ready to head into his classroom. BUT not before quickly running out of line to mommy for one last hug. He made me so proud...he was such a big boy, no tears...just a HUGE smile as he walked into school! (I made it to my car before letting any tears spill!)

When I picked him up and asked him about his day he told me about how awesome school was...he went on to say that his favorite parts of the day was getting to go to recess 2 times, getting to drink chocolate milk with lunch and that there was a "real library AT SCHOOL!" It's the little things folks...the little things that make the world go 'round!!

ps. I think our next BIG thing is going to be his first lost tooth! He came home from school and informed me that he has his first loose tooth! Maybe the tooth fairy will be visiting us before the end of the week!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hope For Ava

Below is a blog post that I also have put up on my Photography Business website:

Have you ever had the chance to meet someone that changes how you view life and the way that you live it? Earlier this year, I had the chance to meet someone that did just that...Cynthia Dawson. She is a mother, a wife, a daughter and a budding photographer...all of that along with being an amazingly strong, wonderful, inspiring woman. The kind of woman that I strive to be each and every day.

A snapshot that I took of Ava & Cynthia from this past weekend. We met up and took Ava & Caleb to paint pottery...the kiddos had a blast, as  you can tell from the HUGE smile on Ava's sweet face!

I met Cynthia in an online Facebook forum for photographers. She put up a post one day asking if anyone in the group lived in the Phoenix area. Me...well, being me...I piped up and replied to her post, friend requested her and pm'd her that night! Within a couple of weeks plans were made to meet at a local restaurant in person and when we did finally meet, we began talking about everything in our lives...our families, our husbands, her move to Arizona and about photography.

This is when I learned about WHY she had moved from Texas to Arizona...she and her family came here so that her daughter Ava could participate in a clinical trial at Phoenix Children's Hospital. You see, Ava was diagnosed early last December with a brain tumor...and not just any brain tumor, a special one called DIPG. This is a very rare and aggressive tumor. It can't be removed because of it's location, and while radiation is the standard method of treatment, the tumor will grow back and nothing can be done at that point except to make the child comfortable. 90% of children diagnosed with DIPG die within one year and the remaining children die within 3 years. (Source: Hope for Ava)

Ava is a fun-loving, sweet little 5 year old girl. She is just like any other 5 year old...she loves her mommy, daddy and little sister; she loves Scooby Doo and even named her own doggie Scooby; she loves anything pink & girlie, has tons of stuffed animals and loves to play with her Barbies and her Barbie Dream House; she loves art and coloring; and she is adorable and quick to smile.

At the end of June, because her disease has progressed, Ava and her family were given the devastating news that they were out of the clinical trial here in Arizona. They will be moving back home to Texas soon...but in the short time that I have known them, both Ava and Cynthia made an imprint on my heart.

Cynthia and Ava have changed me. Knowing them has made me slow down and take in the little moments and treasure them. Cynthia's strength and ability to smile in the midst of one the hardest trials that life could send her makes me strive for more...She makes me a better mother and a better wife and friend. She has inspired me to be more giving and less selfish. (Check out this blog post on giving back that she wrote.) I can honestly say that my life is better for knowing them and I thank God everyday that he brought them into my life.

To learn more about Ava and how you can help her and her family, please check out the blog DIPG - Hope for Ava. Cynthia is using this as a way to keep everyone updated on Ava, her disease and treatment, along with sharing special moments from their life. You can help them out by making a donation, leaving a kind word on a post or praying for their family. (You can also check out Ava's Facebook page here too!)

ps. I am participating in an online auction hosted by Morgan Kervin that went live this morning! All money raised in the auction will go directly to the Dawson family to help with the expenses of fighting Ava's brain tumor. I have donated a free mini-session, along with over 50 others that have donated items from across the United States. Please make sure to check it out and help out by bidding on an item if you can! 


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Progress Report

It’s been 4 weeks since I started making changes to my diet and being more active. I have to be honest…it hasn’t always been easy but I really feel so much better. I feel better about myself, my body and my health. I have more energy. AND the big drumroll….I’ve lost just over 14 pounds!! That number is definitely an incentive for me to keep going.

I’ve been faithfully logging my food intake and exercise for the past 30 days by using My Fitness Pal (both online and my iPhone App) and it has really, really helped. It has made me more aware of what I am putting into my body and it has helped me to make the calories that I do consume more worthwhile. If I can have some grilled chicken, steamed vegetables and brown rice and have it cost me the same amount of calories as a piece of cake. I will definitely have the chicken meal…especially because it doesn’t leave me hungry 1 hour later, unlike the empty calories that come from the cake or chips or ice cream.

And I started exercising. I dipped into our savings and invested in working with a personal trainer for 4 weeks. I am starting my third week with him tonight and I have already learned so much. I am learning about nutrition, correct form and the right combination of exercises and strength/weight training for maximum burn. I am so glad that I invested in this…if not I probably only would have been doing cardio and no weight training and wouldn’t have known any better. Weight training is key to weight loss and helping to maintain any weight loss. It is my goal to workout at the gym 4-5 days a week...and while I don't always make that goal, I have averaged 3 days a week. (Which is a HUGE improvement over my never, ever excising for the past 6 months or so!!)

So my promise as of today is that I will post at least once a week about my progress. I need help to stay more accountable to myself and to others…and I need any encouragement that you can give me! I really want to be healthy and I want to stay motivated! Will you help me?

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