Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I am listening to James Taylor Christmas music, drinking a glass of wine, and wrapping the final gifts to be given to loved ones.  It is Christmas at it's finest.  Not to mention I am now off work for 12 days!  I just wanted to wish each and everyone of you a very Merry and Blessed Christmas.  I hope you are surrounded by family and friends, and your heart is filled with joy, and that you remember the true reason for the season! 

I am headed to Texas tomorrow to spend the holiday with Dwyatt's family, and I am so excited!  As we prepare for our vacation, I thought I would share a few photos of my decorations this year...

 Dwyatt gives me an ornament for our tree every year... this was last year...

 This manger scene was given to me by my grandmother.  She bought it in Germany over 50 years ago...

Merry Chrismas everyone!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Moments of Peace

This Christmas season has been one of the busiest I can remember.  Perhaps its because my work schedule has been crazy, working nights and weekends to get Devon's gas plant started.  Perhaps it's because I am in the middle of finals and all my evenings are consumed with studying.  Or perhaps it's also finding time to edit photos, and design wedding albums.  With everything going on, I find myself thinking, "Ahh!  I still have to go shopping, I still have to send Christmas cards, I still have to wrap stuff, I still have to make cookies, I still have to clean, decorate, and attend Christmas parties!"  The list goes on and on...

I find myself in the middle of all this hustle and bustle, and I just stop and think, this is not what Christmas is about.  I feel like I can hear the Lord whispering in my ear, "Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).  So I stop, I let the world melt away, I listen to my favorite Christmas song, smell the fresh pine scent of my tree, I hug my husband, and cherish the moments of peace and pure joy when I can feel the presence of the Lord all around me.  And I remember that this, this perfect quiet moment, this is Christmas.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Hand Family Portraits - *Oklahoma Portrait Photography*

A few weeks ago I had the honor of spending a few hours with a wonderful family.  Although it was freezing, we bared the cold.  Ok they bared the cold... I had my big coat on :)  Despite slowly turning into popsicles, I was surprised how happy and excited the little girls were!  Kielyn and Taylor ran all over the place, and Kielyn held my hand and helped me pick out all the best places to take photos!  And when they weren't running around they were clinging to their brothers' sides. 

This was an opportunity to capture a family, at a moment in time, happy and full of life!  I found out during our session that Ben, who is in the military reserves, is actually getting ready to leave for Afghanistan for the next year.  Knowing this it makes me love and appreciate my job so much more.  I hope that these photos are something they can hold on to during their time apart and I pray that time goes quickly and that Ben comes home soon! 

Hand family - Thank you for the sacrifices you are making to keep this country free, and thank you for letting me be a part of capturing your memories.  Enjoy!

 Throwing leaves!  Kielyn picked this spot :)

 It's easy to see why they have such beautiful children...

Also, I want to share with you all a new feature!  I am now able to create slideshows and put them right here on the blog to let you see a lot more pictures!  So, if you are interested in seeing a bunch more photos from this session just click play below.  My favorite feature is that you can also email the show... at the bottom, under the controls bar, there is a little envelope.  Click that and you can send the slide show to anyone you want to share it with! 

Happy Friday everyone!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Coming Soon

I am in the process of finishing up the portrait session of a beautiful family.  We took these pictures over Thanksgiving weekend and I wait to share them with you, because there are so many cute ones!  I couldn't help but share one of my favorites with you...


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Full of Thanks and Turkey...

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Today I am overflowing with thankfulness.  I have so many things to be thankful for that it truly astounds me.  How come I am so blessed?  How come I am so fortunate when there are so many who are struggling?  As I reflected on the meaning of this day I started making a list of things I am thankful for.  I decided I wanted to share them with you, partly just because, and partly to help me remember that no matter what storms may come my way that I am so blessed.  Blessed beyond what I deserve. 

As you know I am more of an organized list person than a lengthy paragraph person, so here is my list :)

  • I am thankful for the grace God has given me in his Son, Jesus Christ.  This is by far the thing I am most thankful for.  God's forgiveness and love for me goes well beyond my comprehension and I am overwhelmed by his mercy.  I know that the sacrifice that Jesus made for me literally means the difference between heaven and hell.  For an eternity with my Saviour, I am so thankful. 
  • I am thankful for my family.  I am so thankful that when I go home I can hug my grandparents, and still hear my parents speak the words "I love you" to one another.  I am thankful that my little brother is one of my best friends; and I am thankful for all my aunts, uncles, and cousins who would be there for me at a moments notice. 
  • I am thankful for my amazing husband.  I often wake up in the morning and while Dwyatt is still asleep I think "how did I get so lucky that this wonderful man wanted to marry me?"  Dwyatt is my best friend and my partner in everything that we do.  We have been together for 5 years now (married for 2!) and he still brings me flowers, writes me love notes, and gives me foot rubs.  He holds me when I cry, and makes me laugh daily.  He has completed my life and with him I know exactly where I belong in this crazy world. 
  • I am thankful for all of my friends.  Though we are now scattered all over the country I know what it means to have best friends.  The kind of friends where you can go a year without seeing each other and then within 5 minutes of talking, its like you were never apart.  These women are amazing and I know that I wouldn't be the same without them.  I love you girlies :)
  • I am thankful for America.  I believe in America and the principles it was founded on.  I am so thankful for my freedom and that I was blessed enough to be born in this great nation. 
  • I am thankful that my family is able to have such an extravagant meal on Thanksgiving when I know there are others who are suffering from hunger. 
  • I am thankful for my health and the health of my family.  It seems to me that being healthy is often something taken for granted until suddenly it's taken away...then it means everything.  I know other families that are struggling with sick family members and again it makes me think, "why am I so blessed?"  I hope I can remember to be thankful for my health every day, and be a support to those who are struggling.
  • I am thankful for my two little furry kittens who bring so much joy to my life :)  Even if that joy comes along with scratched leather furniture and pillows covered in hair...ugh! 
  • I am thankful for my career and the opportunities I have had to grow and mange projects in my 2 short years of experience. 
  • Lastly, I am thankful for cranberry sauce.  Even straight from the can this is one of my favorite Thanksgiving treats :)  And I'm thankful that my Grandmother knows this because she always buys me extra!! 
I hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you are able to reflect of what you are most thankful for!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Contest Winner!

I want to say thank you to everyone who participated in my first contest!  I really enjoyed this contest and I appreciate all of you who participated.  CMP would be nothing without the support and interest of people like you :)   So, without further ado, the winner of the contest is... Moriah!  Congratulations girly, I will be in touch soon!

Today I am headed to Colorado to spend Thanksgiving with my family.  This is one of my favorite times of year!  Each year I am in awe of how many things I have to be thankful for...more on this tomorrow...  :) 

Have a safe day of travels everyone!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

First Ever CMP Contest!

Yay, the first ever CMP contest is here!  I have been wanting to have a contest on the blog for the past couple months, but I have been struggling to figure out exactly what I wanted to do, or what prizes I should offer!  So, after much debate, and just in time for the holidays, the contest is here! 

To be honest, I have been so busy the last couple months that I feel I haven't really spent enough time focusing on my photography.  For those of you who don't know, I am currently working "my other job" as an engineer for Devon Energy, in addition to running this business.  To top it all off I decided to also go back to school for my MBA this fall, so time has been a rare commodity.  I finally feel like I am starting to find my balance, and while life it still really busy, I am ready to start pouring myself into Caitlyn.Marie.Photography again.  Besides I just got an awesome new iPhone, so now I can Facebook, blog, and check emails all the time!  Oh internet, I think I'm addicted to you!  :) 

Up to this point I have been very happy with the growth my little business has seen.  I have photographed several weddings now, and I have grown so much in just the last year.  That being said, I still have so much more to offer and big dreams ahead of me!  I am hoping to spread the word about Caitlyn.Marie.Photography and introduce myself to as many new people as possible.  My hope is that through the use of this blog, Facebook, and Twitter everyone can get to know the real me.  Thus the reason for this contest...

The contest will start today and end on Tuesday, November 23rd at midnight.  The winner will be announced on Wednesday the 24th. 

First and foremost:  the PRIZES!  A drawing will be held, and the winner will receive their choice of either:

          -  $30 Amazon gift card  (you can find anything here... even purchase other gift cards!)
          -  $75 off a portrait session with Caitlyn.Marie.Photography

Ok here is how you enter:  It's actually really simple... there are 4 ways you can gain entries:  
  1. Go to my Facebook page and "like" CMP - 1 entry
  2. Click on the "suggest to friends" button in the upper left hand corner of the page and suggest CMP to your friends - 1 entry for every 2 people
  3. Update your Facebook status, or write a post on your blog, telling friends about CMP and this contest.  Please include a link to my blog - 1 entry
  4. For those of you who know me, comment on this post a memory or fact about me that you think describes who I truly am.  I am not fishing for compliments here, I simply want to help others get to know me!   - 1 entry
Note that this is a "honest policy" contest.  I have no way to track how many people you ultimately suggest my Facebook page to, and I may not have time to look at everyone's blogs or Facebook status updates.  I ask that you please shoot me a quick email, telling me the total number of entries you have achieved through these four options, please be honest, and I will get you in the drawing!  

Finally, thank you all for taking the time to participate in this contest!  I know it will take a few precious minutes out of your busy day but I really appreciate your help spreading the word about CMP and I wish you the best of luck in the drawing! 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Colors of Fall

One thing I love about Oklahoma is the fall.  It is such a gorgeous time of year filled with crisp leaves, colorful mums, and perfect weather.  The thing I find so fascinating about fall here is that it seems to last for such a long time!  September, October, November they are all gorgeous months!  Growing up in Colorado I always loved the fall, and the changing colors of Rocy Mountain aspens was beyond compare, but it seemed like fall always passed within a matter of weeks.

One of my favorite things about fall is the leaves.  I'm sure most people say that, but I just love how they change colors, crunch under your feet, and dance in the wind.  Last spring Dwyatt and I planted a couple trees in our back yard.  One is a crab apple tree, another a maple.  This fall they are just so beautiful that I had to go snap a couple pictures of them to share with you all. 

I hope you are enjoying this special time of year as much as I am :) 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Starbucks: The cure for anything

I love Starbucks.  I absolutely love them.  Don't get me wrong, I love unique local coffee shops too, and they are usually my first choice if I have one, but Starbucks is just so darn dependable!  I love that I can find one just about every where I look.  Whether I'm on a road trip, on my way to work early in the morning, meeting with potential clients, or about to endure hours of shopping and lines at Target, Starbucks is there to save me. 

In fact I have gotten so good at ordering my "grande-nonfat-2 pump-toffee nut-latte" that I don't even stumble over the tongue twister of words anymore!  And on days like today, when I'm coming down with a cold, Starbucks is there to provide me with as much Passion tea as I can possibly consume. 

Thank you Starbucks, thank you...

Taken w/ my Blackberry

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

*Sweet & Sour*

I've been thinking for awhile now about coming up with an idea for a weekly post.  I want to have some way to talk about my daily life happenings.  I want this post to start taking place every Wednesday.  Why Wednesday?  Because Wednesday is right in the middle of everything. 

I don't know about you but on Wednesdays I look around and find myself surround by so many things and I'm stuck right in the middle.  Still remembering the week before and busy with the work week it often feels like the week has flow by with so much left to do!  On the other hand the weekend is just ahead and I'm busy starting to plan activities, events, and check off my to-do lists before it gets here!  Since I often have little time in the middle of the week, and I'm the nerdy engineering type, I think I will give you bullet points :)  Oh how I love bullet points!  If only my MBA professors would understand if I turned in papers comprised of only detailed bullet points...

So... the first rendition of *Sweet & Sour* is born.  Why call this post *Sweet & Sour*??  I thought it sounded cool.  Much better than "My World Wednesdays" which was the first title that came to mind.  And also because I love Chinese food... and they have sweet & sour sauce.  :) 

  • The Container Store:  this place is amazing!  I am in the process of redecorating my office and I have found so many amazing organization and decoration things here.  For overly organized people like me, the Container Store is like a addictive one.  Now I kind of want to organize every corner of my house... maybe the kitchen can be next :) 
  • My Nalgene water bottle - I found my nalgene the other day hidden away in the bottom of a desk drawer at work.  I have been looking for it for months!!  So excited to have it back because I actually drink the recommended amount of water when I carry in around all day.  And it's red... with polka dots... make me smile :)
  • K-Love radio - I have been listening to K-love all week and it is such an inspiration!  For those of you who don't know K-Love is a nation wide Christian radio station whose slogan is "Positive, Encouraging K-Love".  They are such a blessing.  Whenever I'm stressed out at work or with life in general, I can just turn on the radio in my car and it helps me get centered again, remember what's important, and focus on the Lord in the mist of my crazy life.  For this I am so thankful. 
  • My cell phone - ugh!  This thing is seriously about to die.  It's almost two years old (my contract is up for renewal next week!!) and it's a good thing because my phone is going down hill fast.  It drops calls all the time, has recently decided to eliminate the T9Word text capability, and now the touch screen is getting faulty to the point where I have to push a button about 3 times before it actually does anything.  Next week, I am getting and iPhone.  No doubt about it. 
  • Oklahoma wind - a couple nights ago the wind here was blowing so hard that it blew all my flower pots over, and knocked my Texas stars off the house.  My Texas stars are made of metal, and screwed into the brick.  Yes... crazy wind.  It also kept me awake all night... I blame the wind for making me buy Starbucks lattes the last 3 days in a row :)
  • Houdini (aka: Rigby) - my little white kitten, Rigby, has discovered how to rip off his collar in record time.  He and Remington wear break away collars outside in the neighborhood to help prevent a neighbor from just picking them up and keeping them, thinking they are strays.  However this plan has quickly fallen through as Rigby has figured out how to tear off his collar less than a minute.  Now what do I do?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My Z

This post is for Dad... last week when I shared my photos from our Route 66 outing, I mentioned that we were driving our new little Z around, and Dad emailed me to say he was bummed that I didn't actually share a picture of it...

As you may have guessed, I got a new car... a new little 350Z.  Well, new to me at least.  You see, I have driven a Toyota Avalon my entire life, until now.  It was a great car, very reliable, and with plenty of room, but unfortunately it wasn't that stylish.  In fact my friends often teased me about driving a grandma car... well the grandma car is gone for good!  I found this cute little Z on Ebay, and since it was used I practically swapped my Avalon for it. 

So the girl that's always practical went crazy and bought a sports car!  I now have only 2 seats, and a rather small trunk.  Although they promise me that you can in fact fit 2 sets of golf clubs back there... I'll believe it when I see it.  That doesn't really bother me though, because this is the perfect time to have my cute little car.  And I plan to drive the wheels off of it for a few years before it's time to trade it in for my future "mom car". 

So Dad, here are the photos I have been promising you...  meet Z...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Route 66

The historic highway of Route 66 conveniently runs through the middle of Oklahoma.  Today Dwyatt and I took our new little Z out for a spin.  It was a gorgeous fall day, perfect 80 degree weather, and all the trees are starting to change.  We drove through the countryside, past some gorgeous ranches, a tree farm, and a pumpkin patch! 

I totally wanted to go to the pumpkin patch, but when we pulled in the parking lot we quickly noticed that there were about 3 kids for every adult, and absolutely no one there without kids.  Dwyatt wasn't keen on the idea of me fighting small children for the prize pumpkin, so we left, but not before I made him promise that when we have kids we get to go to the pumpkin patch EVERY YEAR!! 

We continued along and finally ended up at the historical stop known as Pops.  It has all kinds of old fashioned soda pop and some pretty amazing hamburgers!  It was a fun evening, and the place was so colorful that I just had to snap some pictures! 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Oklahoma - the land of extreme weather!

So yesterday I experienced my first earthquake... and I was in Oklahoma City.  Absolute craziness!  I have decided that Oklahoma has the strangest weather I have ever seen!  Apparently nothing is out of the realm of possibility on the plains of Oklahoma. 

The earthquake yesterday was registered as a 5.1 on the Richter scale.  That is a pretty sizable quake if you ask me!  I was sitting in an elementary school where I tutor 4th graders every Wednesday, and all of the sudden the whole place just started vibrating!  It lasted long enough that people stood up, wandered around, and were looking out windows and whatnot... very strange... 

Anyway, within the last year in Oklahoma we have experienced: 

  1)  A blizzard - with record breaking snowfall
  2)  An ice storm
  3)  Tornadoes - these are common place
  4)  Hail the size of softballs - literally
  5)  A 500 year flood
  6)  Extreme heat advisories
  7)  A dust storm
  8)  A tropical storm
  9)  And an earthquake!!!
10)  ??  - Surely we'll round out the year with a #10, I just don't know what's left on the list!!

Oh crazy Oklahoma... at least you keep life interesting :) 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Study, study, study...

Some of you probably already know this, but I am back in school... again.  I started my MBA program in August, and while I am so happy that I am working towards this degree I have to say I am already tired of studying.  Part of it is probably just trying to get back in the swing of things, and part of it is pure laziness.  I mean who wouldn't want to sleep in and watch movies rather than study for finals?

The program has courses that are short, only 8 weeks apiece!  All along I have been thinking how fabulous these short classes are, until this week... it's finals week already!  Who knew that 8 weeks could fly by so fast?  However, I have to say I have really enjoyed my classes this semester.  Studying subjects like Organizational Behavior is so different from Thermodynamics and Physics that I am actually loving school again!  Well except for finals, and all the reading, and writing papers, and all the extra stress... 

So yesterday when I should have been reading these books I took pictures of them instead :)  Hey, a girl just has to take a break sometimes!  And in just a few short years I will be able to look back at this post, comment on how fast time flew by, and how happy I am that I just pushed through and did it!  I'll have my masters degree that I've always wanted, and I'll be able to confidently say that I never have to go back to school again! 

Well, knowing me I will go back... but I plan to only study subjects like cake decorating, Spanish, or pottery :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kauai - Part 2

Time for more photos!  I know that these aren't exactly showcasing my business, but I really enjoy also using this blog to keep in touch with my family and friends, as well as create a "digital diary" for myself.  I spent some time looking back over my older posts and it was so cool to see what I was thinking and where I was at just two years go.  So sometimes posts, such as this one, are just as much for me as they are to share with all of you.  I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoy looking back on the times shared with my wonderful family...

About a month before we went to Kauai, my Mom turned 50.  For her birthday I wanted to give her something she would always remember.  So instead of just more "stuff" I decided to take her on a adventure that would make memories to last a lifetime!  I surprised her with a powered hang-glider trip :)  It was an amazing way to see the island.  Here I am getting ready to take off!
Mom flying high through the sky!
We flew up to about 5,000 feet.  So amazing to still be 'outside' and flying that high.  Definitely a surreal experience!
Looking out over the sugar cane fields and toward Mt. Waialeale (this mountain gets more rain than anywhere else on Earth!)
Over Waimea Canyon - the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific"
And finally up the Napali Coast!
These beaches are where they are filming portions of the 4th Pirates of the Caribbean!
So much fun!  We didn't even get scared once... the boys were so proud :)
Another favorite part of my trip... a visit to the coffee plantation!
I am a coffee addict... I bought about 5 lbs to bring home with me :) 
My gorgeous Mommy :)
These were my favorite flowers.  There was such variety on the island, but these ones were just perfect... and felt like velvet.
This one was pretty cool too... I have never seen such a fuzzy flower!
I have to say this is probably my favorite photo of the entire vacation.  To me it captures the simplistic beauty of Kauai.  This is Evan strolling toward the shore to check out the monster waves...
They look kind of big...
The waves won... after being rolled around in the sand and water he gave up... no snorkeling here :)
Ev took this photo of me... I did lots of walking on the beach.  Just soaking up the feel of the sand, the sound of the waves, and the smell of the salt.  I'm such a beach bum...
This little guy joined us for a picnic on the beach... I fed him an apple core :)
The Napali Coast!
Our last full day on the beach.  Trying to soak it all in!  Dwyatt had to swim all bandaged up... such a funny sight!

Last sunset.  Enjoyed with a margarita and the love of my life.  Nothing beats times like that.
On our last day we explored Hanalei town some more.  This adorable church is on the edge of town, and attracts many visitors.  It's easy to see why, there couldn't be a more beautiful setting to praise the Lord!
Family photo... oh good memories...

This trip was filled with such joy and so many great memories.  I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to enjoy such a beautiful place.