Friday, December 6, 2013

Oh Christmas Tree.

I really need to do better about blogging more regularly. These past few months have been like a whirlwind in my photography business and I am so thankful. When my husband and I moved down here, we stepped out on faith, moved down here, bought a house and my business has grown. This is our first Christmas in our new house and this is the first year Buie is not working is retail this holiday season. For the last 6 Thanksgivings and the last 6 Christmases, B has dealt with the holiday crowds and has worked the long hours and had little or no time off to be with family. This year, though, we are enjoying every second of the holidays. 
 This is our first year to buy a real tree. Buie bought a bunch of colored lights and we spent tonight watching Christmas movies and decorating it. In the last 5 years of marriage this was the first time I remember us actually decorating the tree together.
I love ornaments that have a special meaning. I love old ornaments from my grandparents and parents that have been passed down but I also love picking up new ornaments with my husband as we travel. 
Aren't the lights just mesmerizing? I seriously wish we could keep colorful lights in our house up all year round. I mean, I guess we can. Who's stopping us, right?
The best part of Christmas is turning out all the lights in the house except for the tree lights...

Saturday, November 16, 2013

25 things.

There is a Facebook trend right now where people post certain little known facts about themselves. I've had so much fun reading everyones fact and it has me thinking about my own. Over the last few days, I've come up with a few. Maybe you'll get to know me a little better...or maybe you already knew these things...
  1. I'm obsessed with conspiracy theories, especially the Kennedy Assassination. 
  2. My former college boyfriend introduced me to my husband. 
  3. I buy random gifts for our future children: books, stuffed animals and even clothes. 
  4. When I was in junior high I wanted to play basketball for the Lady Techsters...but then I realized I was horrible at basketball.
  5. I broke up with Buie from Africa in a text message and he will never let me live that down. It's a long story but thankfully he stuck around and we got back together 6 months later. 
  6. I hate speaking to large groups where all eyes are on me. Hate it. Hate it. HATE IT. 
  7. I want my own pack of rescued dogs like Caesar Milan. We are well on our way.
  8. I have 3 tattoos. 
  9. I self diagnosed myself with ADD & dyslexia. If you know me at all, then you know this is an accurate assumption on my part. 
  10. When I was in 1st grade I choked on a candy corn pumpkin and my teacher saved me. 
  11. My favorite book in The Giver by Lois Lowry. 
  12. I took clogging lessons and had to perform a clogging routine in front of an entire audience. Still today, every time I hear the song that we clogged to, I get nauseous. 
  13. I hate roller coasters. I don't go fairs, carnivals or theme parks. I'll go with you and take pictures but don't expect me to get on a ride. 
  14. I have an irrational fear of part human/part animal beings such as mascots, talking animals, werewolfs, vampire, people that morph into animals and animals that morph into humans.
  15.  The last thing I ate that had gluten in it before giving it up was a bowl of Cheerios.
  16. I love pepperonis and I will eat them like candy straight from the package. 
  17. When I was much younger (like around 5 years old) I almost drowned at the Aquatic Club in Minden. My mom jumped in with a long denim skirt on and saved my life. I will always remember the skirt ballooning up around her like a mushroom.  
  18. I never finish books, like ever. This goes back to my ADD & dyslexia. If I can finish an entire book without getting distracted, I will announce it to the world & go celebrate. College was a difficult time for me as you can imagine. I much prefer reading magazines and short articles. It's all about attention span, people!
  19. I have an auto immune disease so if I don't shake your hand or hug you during flu season, please don't get offended. 
  20. I hate olives. They are gross. 
  21. I'm terrified of the idea of going on a cruise.
  22. I overcame my fear of elevators in college. I avoided them for years. 
  23. I DVR Kelly & Michael and watch it everyday.
  24. I have had seven stitches in my head because of a bed-jumping incident. 
  25. I accepted a job offer in Boston my senior year of college, but God had other plans. Instead, I moved to Little Rock and coincidentally, so did a man named Brent Marks Buie. :)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Tale of Two Paintings.

So I don't usually play favorites. I love my parents equally. I have two brothers and two sister-in-laws and I love them all the same. The same goes with my nieces and nephews.  I like to kid myself and say that the same rule applies to my animals....but we all know how that goes. If you have a herd like we do, then you know you have one animal that holds a special place in your heart. Conner is that animal for me.

I had gone back and forth about whether I wanted to have a portrait painted of any one of our animals because I didn't know if I really wanted a pet portrait in our home. I didn't know if I wanted to be one of "those people." You know, the ones that are crazy animal people. But let's be honest, with six animals, we are already "those people!" ;) 

So when deciding who gets their portrait painted, it was really between the two dogs we have the longest. Well, at the time we only had two dogs. It was before we adopted Lady. So I decided to have Conner's portrait painted first since he is the oldest and we adopted him before Scooter. 

The portrait of the left is the one I had a friend paint for me. I picked out the picture, told her what I wanted and paid for her services, and I could not be more thrilled with the results. 

The portrait on the right was a total surprise to me. Little did I know that at the same time the portrait on the left, was being painted, my cousin Lauren was having another Conner portrait painted for my birthday! I love it so much! 

Here are the two paintings of Conner::

 Both portraits are special to me and are completely unique. The first one is a more realistic image and it captures his happy personality. The second one is more abstract but yet still looks like him. I think he looks more like a puppy in the second one, innocent and sweet.
They both are amazing pieces of art. Completely different in style, both paintings still capture Conner's happy, loyal, loving (and sometime mischievous) personality. I will cherish them for years to come.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Our First Home.

I wrote this post weeks ago but I'm a bit superstitious so I didn't want to post it until it was here is the big news...

Our home in Benton has SOLD!!! WAHOO! After sitting on the market for roughly about 8 months, we could not be happier that we have an accepted offer on our Arkansas home. As of yesterday, it is closed, done, official, sign on the dotted line, OVER.

It was never our intention to own two homes in different states especially when my husband is totally changing careers. But God had a plan to get us down to Ruston quickly so we listened. Provided the inspection process goes well, we will close on that house in one month. You know what that means, right? We will be down to only ONE house payment! Hallelujah! Praise Jesus! 

While we were in Little Rock this weekend, we went by our old home one last time. We walked around sharing all the memories the two of us made in our first home. It was definitely a bittersweet moment. Buie even pointed out where the dogs would run over and over along the same path wearing a trail into the grass...the trail was gone and the grass had grown back. It was like the dogs had never even been there at all. When he said those words out loud, I got a gut wrenching ache in my belly because it pained me to even think about losing all of the wonderful memories made in that home. It saddened me think that the future residents of this home will always just refer to us as the future owners. They might even complain about the chipped paint and the nails we left in the walls. They won't know the wonderful friends that enjoyed a burger on the back patio or the countless foster animals who played in our backyard. 

This was the home we brought Scooter home to and later Charlie. This was the home where Buie and I buried George around the side of the house. I will never forget seeing the rare moment of my husband crying as he dug a hole and placed his body, still warm and slowing growing stiff, down in the ground. As we walked around the home, Buie and I said goodbye and looked at the spot where he is buried. The next owners won't know where he is buried because of the ivy that has now grown over the grave, but we will always know. 

If a house had a memory, what would it remember the most about us living there for four years, I wonder? That house might not remember us but we will never forget it. 

It was a wonderful first home. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Before & After:: Front Yard

I have said more than once that a home to me is like a giant canvas, on the inside and the out. It's like a piece of art to personalize and continually improve upon. When we moved into this 20 year old gem, we knew a major landscaping over hall would be due soon. I put some serious thought into doing it myself but after spending several Saturdays pulling weeds, and getting rid of poison ivy, I quickly learned the value of a great landscaping company. 

Our friends Josh and Jeremy started their own landscaping business a little over a year ago and they have done some amazing work for my dad's business and at my parent's home. Take a look at how they transformed our front yard. 

BEFORE:: All the hedges are overgrown and are randomly placed.

AFTER:: So much better, right?

BEFORE:: My least favorite thing about the whole front yard was this huge ugly overgrown shrub. I believe it was a Hawthorn? It was a home for about a million spiders as well as a huge possum who liked to harass Lannie Cat. 

AFTER:: A million times better!! No more huge shrub or big ugly tree trunk. We hung a front porch swing and now it is one of my favorite spots to sit and watch the sunset.

BEFORE:: See how ugly that shrub and tree trunk are? And the weird thing is about this tree trunk is that it's NOT a real tree trunk. It's pieces of wood formed in the shape of a cylinder and filled with potting soil. Weird, right? When Josh & Jeremy removed it, they said it was housing the largest ant bed they had ever seen. Bye Bye, Ants!!

AFTER:: Now the focus is the front porch instead of that eye sore. Before when we would sit on our front porch, we couldn't see over the top of that huge spider infested bush. But now everything is so clean and the conversation azaleas won't grow very tall so we will always have a great view. They left me a few spots like this one in front to add in some seasonal color. I have big plans to plant some pansies and maybe even try out some tulip bulbs for the upcoming Spring.

BEFORE:: This area right outside the kitchen door was just a mess.

AFTER:: Now all of those overgrown hedges are gone and gardenias took their place. Josh & Jeremy even got the little fountain working for the time being. We are planning on putting a little more moolah into the fountain and sprucing it up a little bit more in the near future. But for now, this area is SO much better than it was!

This area where the grass barely grows and people always walk through, we decided to throw down some flagstone. I love the look of flagstone and I love how the little pebble river turned out. When it rains, the water naturally flows right into the big part of the fountain and then drains away from the house down through the pebble path.

BEFORE:: This front bed was filled with a variety of things and none of which was very pleasing the the eye, including the big dogwood tree that was dying. :( Sadly it had to go bye bye.

AFTER:: But we replaced it with a brand new dogwood tree and a spiffy new lamp post to help improve visibility. Since our home is settled off the road deep in the woods, it gets pretty dark at night. Josh & Jeremy hooked up our new lighting system and set us up on a timer so it comes on and goes off everyday automatically. Modern technology is simply amazing. And speaking of timers, all of our new flower beds have a soaker system that are completely on a timer. I highly recommend doing this if you are like me and forget to water until things start turning brown. ;)

BEFORE:: The other side of the house needed some attention as well. 
AFTER:: We didn't do much but just a small bed with a few azalea plants made a huge improvement! 

We are so pleased with our new beds. It really improves the way the house looks. If you are in the Ruston area, check out Cutting Edge and let them work their magic. :) I'm SO glad we decided to hire them. That's one more thing I can check off my to do list. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Lady Luck

Can you believe this adorable little face has been in our home for almost THREE WHOLE WEEKS but has yet to adorn our blog? What is wrong with this dog mom? I'll tell you what is wrong with me! I've been busy potty training and entertaining this little bundle of energy...and maybe cleaning up poop and pee here and there! 

Lady came to us through two different families. It's sort of a lengthy story but I'll try to make it brief. 

I've always wanted a King Charles Cavalier. In fact, I was told that Conner is HALF King Charles so I started doing more research. They really are a great breed and I really wanted one. King Charles Cavalier Spaniels are known to be a pricey, well bred dog and are usually AKC registered. They can cost close to a thousand dollars or more if you get them from a good breeder. Because I am a big advocate of rescuing dogs and not buying straight from breeder, I knew that the only way I would ever get a Cavalier would be to rescue one. But of course, it's hard to find a Cav that needs "rescuing" because the owner that invest several hundred dollars in a dog are not as likely to either give them up to a rescue organization or heaven forbid, dump them, like so many people sadly do with their dogs they can no longer afford. 


So how did we find Miss Lady? Facebook. It's true. I saw her picture on Facebook. A friend of mine shared her picture and said that her friend could no longer take care of this picture and they were looking for a home for this little girl. I messaged the owners but sadly they had already found a home for her.

Flash forward several weeks and I was sitting around a table with some close friends of ours and the subject of our dogs came up. She showed me a picture of her King Charles Cavalier and mentioned that she had just recently obtained her. I, of course, freaked out a little bit and said something like, "OMG! I LOVE Cavaliers and have always wanted one! Where did you get her?" She told me she got her from our mutual friend on Facebook who was selling their Cav.

Ugh, SHE was the person who had already taken the dog that I wanted. :(  For a split second I was sad but honestly I didn't think anything else about it because my friend had obviously contacted her before I did. She was enjoying the dog that I had always wanted. I would just have to keep waiting for my chance to own a Cavalier.

Well, little did I know, I wouldn't have to wait long. My friend (who just recently obtained the dog) sent me a message and asked if I would like to have her. Well, DUH! Of course I would! I was shocked that she was giving her up but after visiting the dog at their house, it was clear that she needed more room to run. She needed a yard with a fence. Could she have been happy there? Of course! But I think it was meant to be. She is so happy at her new home! 

We took Scooter and Conner to visit her one day just to make sure they would all get along and they did. The next day, she was ours! We named her Lady and she makes animal number 6 at the Buie's Zoo. 

She is crazy hyper and rambunctious, a typical puppy. We basically had to start completely over with crate training so yes, there have been multiple accidents. She HATES the rain and REFUSES to go potty in the wet grass. She gets along well with our cat Hazel but chases Charlie for some reason. Conner and Scooter both like her and sometimes even try to play with her even though they are both old men. :)

Most of the time she does not live up to her name and does things totally unladylike. She eats bugs, chases frogs & lizards, steals Scooter's toys right out of his mouth and my least favorite thing she does is any chance she gets she will run out of the front door as fast as she can and as far away as she can. She's crazy but I love her!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Weekend Review:: Birthdays and Best Friends

Another whirlwind weekend in Arkansas has come and gone and exhaustion doesn't begin to cover what I am feeling today. My Saturday was filled to the brim with my favorite clients and my fabulous friends. After shooting six family sessions on the most beautiful day of the year at Pinnacle Mtn. State Park, I jumped in the shower and spent the evening with my favorite ladies, including my little Lady dog. (Which I am realizing as I am writing this that I haven't even blogged about our newest member of The Buie's Zoo! Yup, that's right, we adopted another pup.) 

My best friend, Alicia, turned 30 yesterday and Saturday night we tried out the new restaurant South on Main and it was FABULOUS! Everyone raved about the food, simple and Southern and so scrumptious.  It's strange to think about all (or most) of us being 30 now. When I met most of these ladies we were at some weird self-searching stage in our lives. I met Jessica D. our Freshman year when we pledged together at college. Although we weren't the best of friends DURING college, I always thought she was fun & super sweet. Little did we know that post-college, we would be roommates and become so much closer! Jessica A. & I met when she pledged the class right under me. We have about a million memories together working at camp together, floating the river and being roommates during the summer in college. Alicia, Andrea & I didn't meet until the last semester my senior year and I always say that was the best semester of college. Not pictured is Christen who is Andrea's older sister. It's funny because for months and months I always just knew her as "Andrea's older sister," but now I consider her one of the girls. We bond over our love of photography, DIY projects and all things crafty. :) (By the way, Christen is the one who took our wedding pics and did an AMAZING job!)

Together we have been through a lot and I love that we are still friends. :) I have a few other best friends from college but they live in Texas and I don't see them as often. I'm lucky enough to have a few childhood friends who live in Shreveport and surrounding areas. My Arkansas ladies are only a short road trip away. They always lift my spirits and make me regret moving to Louisiana just 8 short months ago.

Cheers to the best friends in the world.  

Here is a shot of me & Buie at the restaurant. This is officially my new favorite iPhone pic of me & the hubs. He's pretty darn cute, is he not? ;)
I hope you had an equally amazing weekend and even if your friends aren't as cool as mine, it's okay... there is someone out there who needs YOU as a friend. So go out there and make a new friend this week. :)

Friday, September 13, 2013

My Celiac Story:: a look back

Today is National Celiac Disease Awareness Day and as I was posting a little something about CD (Celiac Disease) in my Instagram account, I started thinking back about my journey.

I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease is 2007 after years of doctors appointments, blood tests, etc. I even remember having some sort of neurological test done where they stuck little sensors all over my head and monitored me for a certain number of awake hours and then several hours while I "slept." But I just remember thinking, "Who the heck can sleep with all of these things sticking to my head?" They were like little leaches sucking the life out of me like the very disease I was living with, yet had no knowledge of. 

I remember taking monthly plane trips from Little Rock to Love Field in Dallas to see specialists. This went on for years all while I was working at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. I hated having to call my boss each and every time I would wake up sick and have to leave to go home sick. They were so understanding of my weekly and sometimes daily migraines, stomach aches, body aches, etc. 

You see even though I was eating gluten free after my diagnosis, it was no walk in the park immediately following. For years following the diagnosis, I suffered the effects that gluten had ALREADY done to my body. For over 20 years, I was putting poison into my body, yet I had no idea. Sometimes Celiac Disease can be evident at birth or it can be triggered by physical or emotional trauma. In my case, I truly believe I had Celiac Disease from birth but showed little or no systems until my body was under severe physical AND emotional trauma from the loss of my grandmother and the loss of my best friend just months later. These events took place my Freshman and Sophomore years of college. College is stressful enough with moving, making new friends, pledging, homework, tests, etc. All of this stress, piled with the depression from the recent loss, my body began to show signs of malnourishment, fatigue, skin rashes, severe migraines lasting days and sometimes weeks, chronic, constipation (in college I honestly thought that it was normal to only have a bowel movement like once a week- this is NOT normal by the way), hair falling out, chronic back & joint pain, and the list goes on...

Flash forward to September 13, 2013. Today. And it all seems like a bad dream. A nightmare really. But I must remember how real it was because people all over the world are going through what I went through (and worse) every single day.  So am I 100% new and improved? No definitely not. There are still days where I sleep til 9 or 10am because I overdid it the day before and need about 3 cups of coffee to get going. But there are less days where I can't get out of bed at all! I rarely have severe aches and pains anymore. My migraines have decreased to about 1 every other week or so. I see a chiropractor twice a week and try to get a massage at least once a quarter. All of these things may sound like I'm spoiled but I have learned (mostly from my mom and my doting husband) to take care of my body because it's the only one I have! 

In the past 6 months even, my energy levels have tremendously improved with a recent change in doctors. With the help of about a dozen different supplements, most days I have more energy than I have felt in probably 15 years! I still have about 30 pounds to lose and my doctor says my hormone levels are still not exactly where they need to be but I have VASTLY improved.

My goal in the next few years: be healthy enough to have a beautiful healthy (gluten free) baby and this whole nightmare will have all been worth it. 

My encouragement for you: To anyone out there who feels like life can't possibly beat them up anymore, it CAN GET BETTER!  Take a look at your diet. It really is all about what you are eating. Do your research. Educate yourself. And most importantly, TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY because it's the only body you will ever have. God gave you a beautiful body, now go fill it up with wholesome, organic and nutritious foods! 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Weekend Review: Girls Luncheon & The GridIron

I guess it's time to post my weekend review post since it IS Wednesday night, huh. This past weekend was a full weekend with well rounded activities including a Mother/Daughter Luncheon and the first LA Tech home football game.  Friday night I headed to Minden to help mom set the table up and surprise, surprise, she had already done it all! Didn't she do a great job!? Each hostess was responsible for setting up and decorating their own table. It was so fun seeing all of the different tables. There were LSU themed, Back to School themed and so many elegant looking tables all decked out in the finest china. My mom used my grandmothers china and it looked spectacular. 
Friday evening mom, dad and I went out to dinner with a few friends and came back to my parent's house for a visit. We had the best time chatting on their back patio telling stories and listening to my dad sing silly songs (Yes, my dad was singing. He was in rare form!) I love nights like that. 

THEN...Saturday night came. We had all been waiting for this night for a while! Even Makaylan was so excited and had been practicing all of her Bulldog cheers & chants. She sat in my lap for a good portion of the game and we clapped for the touchdowns and the tackles! I taught her that our team was the BLUE team and I taught her how to do the "Move the Chains" chant. She's such a good little Bulldog. :) Landon had a great time too. His daddy got him a HUGE bag of popcorn so he was a happy boy. hehe.

This was Buie's first game as an official Bulldog. 

And guess what! There's another Tech game TOMORROW night! I could get used to this. ;)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Football Season is Here!

To say that my family are all Louisiana Tech fans would be like saying the Buies really like animals. ha! My dad is the biggest LA Tech fan that I know, have known, or will ever know. I love that he has so much pride in his alma mater. Everyone in my entire family graduated from LA Tech. We joke and say that we could build a small house with the amount of bricks our family has received through Tech. (For each degree you receive, Tech lays a brick in the center of campus with your name on it.)

From my immediate family, I am the only one who DIDN'T graduate from Tech. While I love my alma mater, I do like to pretend I'm a Bulldog too. ;) I mean, let's be honest I might as well be, right? When I'm at a LA Tech game I feel like I have as much pride as I do for my own alma mater. I remember growing up just as my nieces and nephews are wearing little Tech cheerleading outfits and attending the games with my parents. 

If you can't tell from Carson's expression (below) we are ALL super excited about Tech football season. Buie is registering for Fall classes tomorrow and we have our first home game this Saturday! 

It's going to be nice to take our family picture and Buie can actually be in it! (and he won't be working retail! Hallelujah!) This is one of my favorite family pics from two years ago but I was so sad that Buie wasn't there. Hopefully we can recreate this pic this year. Of course, it will be a little more difficult since we will have THREE more kids to add to this portrait! Crazy how much can happy in two years!!

Also, let's go back and reflect on this picture for a second, shall we? I remember thinking...Oh I want an auntie picture with my two cuties. Not happening! ha. 

Every year, my brother's family sends out a Tech football schedule with a picture of the kiddos in their Tech gear. The first year it was just Landon, year two it was these two cutie patooties: 

And this year we had a little mini LA Tech football session down on the field. It was so fun to actually go down on the field and watch them run around. These were the best pics and the ones they ended up using on their football schedule card this year. I might just have to get them printed up. 

So if I haven't said it loud or often enough...then here's one more GOOO DAAAWGS!! I'll have to get my niece, Makaylan, on video saying "Go Dawgs!" It's pretty darn cute.