Labor Day – A touch late

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What is more fun than spending Labor Day with friends and family? Nothing! That is the answer, because it is true. Surrounding yourself with friends and family who support you is a win-win situation. Labor Day was spent with friends who have 100% bounced into our family category.

Growing up, I dreamed….dreamed about having these kinds of get-togethers with family and friends. You know the ones you saw in the movies. I wasn’t so lucky, in fact, I got the short end of the stick until I moved and started my luck.

I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on family and what it means to me. I have a lot of “family” but if you asked me one question about them, I wouldn’t know what to tell you. I have exhausted my emotions trying to be a part of the “family” that was given to me to the point that I give up.
So… I’m starting to grow my new family. Family isn’t blood. It’s respect, investment, and love.

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Labor Day got a little crazy for him…

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The Leap from Summer to Fall

Yesterday was the NFL kickoff (insert girly squeal), and I lighted the first Pumpkin Spice candle of the season, and to top it all off we had a rainstorm. We’ve arrived! The leaves are about to change colors, and I am already planning out the holiday season.

As I usually do this time of year, I start to clean out my closet and put away the Spring and Summer clothes and accessories. But this year, there was one piece I didn’t want to put it the Summer box. A sweet friend of mine handmade me a rope bracelet, it’s the first time anyone has made me something special and sent it my way…just because. So while I stared at it, I thought, I can’t be the only one who doesn’t want to retire a “summer” piece.

Now, how do I turn it into a fall piece?

My solution… Layer it!

I started digging through all of my fall pieces and it clicked… Pair it with some gold.

How about you? Do you have pieces you transition? How do YOU do it?

bracelets

Diaries of a Working Mom – Photo Sessions

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Does everyone remember my secrets of photographing a one year old? Well, I hate to tell you, photographing an eighteen-month-old is much more of a challenge. These littles are in their own world; they want to do their own thing, and they do not care about this so called photo shoot.

I get it though, as a photographer and as a mom, I get it. You have a vision in your head, the perfect picture for the mantle and then the morning comes, and they’ve scratched their face or a bruise magically shows up. Then you have to deal with the fact that they do not want to wear the clothes you picked out and just take off butt naked running down the hallway. Take a deep breath, wrangle them into their outfit, and then cover it with a bib.
As a photographer, I know that it’s stressful for moms to get everyone ready for the family or even just an individual picture. Just know this, if you pick the right photographer (i.e., a professional) they know what to do and they WILL get that picture for you. I remember spending over an hour and a half with a family just to get one just one smile out of their little guy. It was so worth it and I would do it again if I had to. The battle is getting your family or your child to where they need to go; the rest will be a lot easier than you may think. So breathe, relax, and know there will be some great shots waiting.

As a mom… Screw photo shoots. OMG, they are so much work. My child just happens to pick the day we wanted to take his pictures to have a teething attack and full on meltdowns because he couldn’t have graham crackers for breakfast. But, I am so glad that I follow through because I get great pictures and they are memories that I can’t replace.

Passion – Pass it On

Passion

What happens to grown ups?
Where does our passion run off to the older we get?
Do you remember what you were passionate about when you allowed passion in?

It seems that adult days are filled with survival instincts. We all need to get our kids to school, excel at our job, pick up the kids, cook dinner and then try to take one second to realize another day of your life has passed. You wake up and repeat without any passion.

What can be done?

You have to continue down your path because that is what pays the bills and secures your family’s sanity (for the most part). Where is the passion? Can it be as simple as it was before we had to become responsible? Can we just pick up a basketball and let it all go, can we read a book while the sun rays warm your face?

Maybe

It depends on if you let passion in.

My passions consist of gymnastics, blogging (here we are), my son (there he is, up there), jumping on trampolines, photography, baking, painting (walls not actual portraits… this one I may be alone in) and walking.

I do not make enough time just to soak into my passions. I am just as guilty as the next person. I get stressed out that I haven’t checked my work email in an hour, and I’m constantly thinking that I am going to miss something important. But, what I am missing is passion and being so dedicated to what I am doing at that moment that nothing else matters. Just like my son, when he see’s a basketball… it’s him and the “BaBall.” The passion he has when he plays is envious and I want to be more like him.

So I am challenging you – find your passion and Instagram it to me (megbailey6510) with the hashtag #violetsage

Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football 2 Fantasy Football

Are you ready for some fooootttbballll. This is my favorite time of the year. Football starts, Halloween kicks off the holiday season and that can only mean one thing in my world, Fantasy Football.

Every year people try to get in and every year we turn them away. Not because we are rude, but because the same group has played together for the last six years, give or take one or two people.

The best advice I can give a girl who doesn’t know a lot about football but wants to… Start a fantasy team and do a couple of parlay bets each week.

The number one draft pick in our league was Lesean McCoy followed by Peyton Manning. It may not be conventional but it sure makes the season even better.

My Team this year:

QB – Colin Kapernick
RB – Giovanni Bernard
Shane Vereen
WR – Calvin Johnson
Victor Cruz
Flex – T.Y. Hilton
TE – Greg Olsen
DP – JJ Watt
D – Giants
Coach – Patriots
Kicker – Mason Crosby

To all of my fellow fantasy players – Good luck this season.

Dr. Pepper Cupcakes

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Let’s talk about caffeine infused chocolate cupcakes. A family friend of ours had a birthday, and I wanted to do something special and unique to her so of course, I went to Pinterest. I found a recipe for Dr. Pepper cupcakes, and it went horribly wrong, everything was dry, so so dry. What did I do you ask, well I improvised and came up with a desert friendly version.

1 Box of Moist Cake Mix – I used chocolate, but I’m sure you could use Vanilla
3 Eggs
1 1/2 cups of Dr. Pepper

Mix, Pour and Cook 13 minutes at 375 degrees.

For the Frosting

I like cherry Dr. Pepper, so I made my frosting cherry flavored, but it worked both ways :)

1/4 Cup of Butter
4 Cups of Powdered Sugar
3 Tbsp of Dr. Pepper
1 Tsp of Vanilla
2 Tsp of Maraschino cherry juice
Mix Well.

When the cupcakes came out, I poked holes with a toothpick and drizzled the frosting so it would seep in. Then when it was a little cooler, but still warm I put another dollop of frosting and rolled it around. I also carved a tiny hole in the top for the cherry!

Let me know if you try these, they are divine!!!

p.s. the holder are made from the can’s of Dr. Pepper. Carefully cut out the bottom of the can and fold the edges in. I also cut out the logo and taped it over the UPC code.

Finding Joy

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joy
noun
1.
a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.
“tears of joy”

This morning I sat drinking a cup of hot chocolate and staring at the greasy handprints that covered my kitchen. Somehow, no matter how many times I wash them away they return and multiply. It made me smile and reflect on joy. The first nights of parenthood all you can do is drink red bull and pray that you will figure out this parenting thing. This is some the roughest times you can experience. I used to thing “this isn’t what I thought I signed up for” and I would often get frustrated. Then something clicks, it get’s easier, and joy starts to creep through the day four hair and the shirt you may or may not have worn twice.

Over the weekend, Wes and I took Logan to the splash park for the first time. Being the analytical kid he is it took him about five minutes before he would even let us put him down. Then he took off and started to play. We followed him from the splash pads to the swings, then to the slide and finally back to the splash pads. While he started experiencing something new I looked over at my husband who was gleaming with joy while he ran around in the water with Logan, just like best friends do. It hit me; this is what is it, this is what Joy is. It’s the time you can experience life with the ones you love. It made me think back to when Logan was a newborn, and it was hard; I hated it…but now that I look back, there was that same Joy, i just couldn’t see it. The look that he would give us after a bottle, the afternoon naps we would all pass out together because of exhaustion and the gleam in his eyes when he woke up.

So find joy.

Joy is deep in the heart.

Joy is free and it’s everywhere.