07 May 2011

Swap-Bot - My Life Photo Essay

One of the swaps that I've been delayed in getting out is Your Life Photo Essay.  Between camera issues and life issues, I'm more than a week late on this swap.  I've spent a couple hours trying to make a nice presentation for this, only to find that the file I've created is too large to e-mail and too large for Google Docs to like.  So, and I really hope my partners are ok with this, the only option that I could think of to get the presentation to them the way I want is to put it up here.  So without further ado, my Life Photo Essay!

First, I'm really sorry for the delay in getting his together.  As I'd PM'd you earlier, I had camera problems, followed by personal problems.  But now I've got everything together, so I'm hoping that you'll enjoy taking a glimpse into my life through the following pictures.

First, let me introduce you to my family.  My husband, Rich, is my biggest supporter and the best man in the world... at least to me.  

Love that Smile!

My oldest son, Teddy (who is 5), is a huge Pokemon fan (as he'll tell you right after he tells you his name) and my little geek. 

 Relaxing at McDonald's

Pete, my 2 year old, adores his big brother and tries to follow in his footsteps.  He's even started memorizing Pokemon and their moves so he can have battles with his brother.

He's a boy's boy alright.

L to R: Pete, Teddy, Rich, in front of the World at Bicentennial Park, Nashville, TN

Now for some of the pictures that I'm actually supposed to be sharing.  First, I'll take you through bits and pieces of my home.

I can't take a good picture of my home, per se, because we live in an apartment.  We are in a town home style apartment, though, so I've got a bit of a front area... more than I would in a flat, anyway.  Here's our front door:

Our nice little entry way.  Love sitting out in the evening.

Sticking with outside, here's a picture of our mailbox.  It's at the other end of the row of town homes that we live in, and is the perfect height for the boys to help get the mail.

I'm not sure why the empty box below ours is always open...

 While I love our apartment - partly because of the large two bedrooms upstairs, downstairs is a bit cramped.  Our kitchen, in particular, is really small.  I was only able to get one decent shot of a portion of it - because it really is a one butt kitchen.

My husband is the cook and he'd just finished making a yummy herbed rice for dinner.

I also don't have a separate crafting area.  It's one of my wishes for when we get a house of our own (some day).  For now, though, I do most of my crafting on the dining room table.

It's set more for dinner than for crafting at the moment.

I do have a designated craft shelf, though.  A majority of my crafting supplies reside on this bookshelf, though I still have some to go through in a three drawer cart that I used to use.

I try to keep as many things in bins or boxes as possible so Pete doesn't have a heyday.

Now to head into my wider world - the places I enjoy away from home. 

First, here's the way I get around Nashville.  Not the greenest, or the most exciting, form of transportation.  But it helps haul my family and all our stuff wherever we need to go.

As you can tell, it's been through a bit.  Teddy calls her Vanny and loves to decorate her with stickers.
We've cut back on going out to eat lately, trying to save money and be a bit healthier.  But when we have the money, we love to go to this local restaurant.  Raz'z has a wide variety of food and are incredibly kid friendly.  They've even taken our kids back to show them the kitchen, on one of the slower nights we were there.  (Though, I'll be honest - I went with my second favorite place because I wasn't able to get downtown to get a pic of my favorite Romantic restaurant - The Melting Pot of Nashville)

They were even featured on the Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate

Since we've cut back on eating out, I've been spending a lot more time here, picking up groceries.  Kroger is a chain store primarily in the south.  I'm pretty lucky that this particular store (where 90% of my grocery shopping is done) really close by.

The boys love it because they give free cookies to kids.

Getting away from grocery shopping, I love to shop for other things as well.  And one of the best places, in my opinion, is Big Lots.  They're a clearance store and they have everything from discounted groceries (non-perishable) to craft supplies to clothing to furniture, and everything in between and beyond.  It's just a great place to browse and find who knows what.  I have to be careful when I go there, though, or I could easily drop $50 to $100 a trip!

This isn't one of the usual Big Lots that I go to, but it was the closest one I could get a picture of at the time.

I'm not religious, so I didn't want to get a picture of the church Rich and the boys go to.  And it took me a little while to figure out what I would choose.  Then it dawned on me that I do have a place that I go to regularly for quiet.  And it's going to sound weird, but here goes: It's Starbucks.  Yeah.  Starbucks. 

See, I'm a stay-at-home mom with two preschoolers.  My husband works 3 jobs (fulltime job as a bio-safety officer, teaching one or two nights a week and tutoring 3 nights a week).  I spend a majority of my time with my boys, all by myself.  And they're rambunctious boys who know just which buttons to push on Mommy to make her a bit more insane.  I don't have a group that I can get together with or any other regular time to be an adult.  But what Rich does let me do is go to Starbucks every couple of weeks.  I have $20 a month that I put on my Starbucks card for a drink and a pastry.  I also bring along my netbook and my MP3 player.  And that's where I go to decompress, to relax and find my center.  It may not be a traditional place for meditation, but it's what works for me.

Iced Chai Latte Frappachino, please.

Now for the last bit of this photo essay.  I'm actually going to share two pictures with you for my last vacation.  The first wasn't really a vacation, per se.  We actually had to travel to New Jersey for a funeral.  It was time we were out of our home area and we were able to do some non-familial things, but it's not a traditional vacation.

This is from a rest area in Virginia.  We left NJ in rain and stopped in Southern Virginia in snow.

The previous summer, we had a more traditional vacation.  We took a trip to visit family in the Northeast, though even that was a combination of vacation and visit for something specific (namely, my mom's wedding).  We had a fantastic time with Rich's family in NJ and my family in NY.  Here's one of my favorite shots from that trip.

At my Mom's wedding, me holding my baby.

I hope you enjoyed taking a look at these pictures!  I really enjoyed putting them together for you (and my blog readership, it seems. :))