Sunday, July 24, 2011

That Mom, Toenails, and Style

The moment I gave birth to Griffin I knew that I would let him try things.
Things that may seem a little "out there" to some.
Things that interest him.
As long as these interests won't hurt him, I'm all for it.
My first thought was the inevitable kid mohawk.
I knew I'd let him try it.
But this came first.
 He has noticed my toe nails. They've been sparkly lately.
He wanted paint on his nails too.
We went with a manly color. Black.
I know in my heart that if I just say no no no no to things that he wants to try
that are really quite harmless, it would drive him to want it more than anything.
So I want him to try different things.
Either he likes them or not.
But he gets it out of his system.
 He even did a fabulous job of being patient and waiting on the couch until the polish dried.
 While we were at it, we painted Daddy's nails too.
 He loves them.
I love that he tried something new.
And it made him feel good about himself.
I'm comfortable being this kind of mother.
I mean, I did name my child Rockstar.
Hubs and I can't be sporting tattoos and not be open-minded.

Before you get all judge-y, I'm here to tell you that I'm not crazy.
We don't let him stay up late and eat mounds of sugar and let him watch shoot 'um ups.
We are relaxed in our house.
We are loud.
We love to create.
We love to wrestle and dance.
But we have rules.
He have schedules.
We teach manners.
We love.

And we are just giving this crazy kiddo a small sense of his own style.
Totally observed.
Totally approved of.
Totally honored.

(Why do I feel I must defend myself?)
(Do you other mothers feel this way often?)

Happy Sunday!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Heck of a Long Post - Q&A, Thank Yous, and Challenges

First of all I want to say
Thank you for stopping by my little blog, reading, and leaving comments.
I read every one.
And thank you to those of you who email me or leave comments of Facebook.
My little blog is growing and you all make me feel like a total rockstar.

I've had a few questions recently about photography.
I thought I'd answer them here.

Q: What camera do you use?
A: I use two. Professionally, I use a Canon 7D. The three pictures below are all with my 7D. I love it.
I'm still learning (always will be!) but I learn best by teaching so if anyone has any questions specific to
the 7D I'd be happy to answer best I can. The other camera I use is a Canon Rebel xsi.
That was the first DSLR I purchased when I knew I wanted to be a photographer and I'm quite proud
at how far I'm able to push it. I still use that camera. I mainly use it for the "everyday" pictures of life here. It pretty much goes everywhere with me.

Q: What lens do you use?
A: Just one, actually. I have a 50mm 1.8. It's a low-end lens on the professional front but again, I'm
pretty proud at what it's been able to do for me. Currently, I'm saving up for a new lens. I do rent several lenses. The work horse for me for, say, shooting a wedding, is the Canon 24-70. Renting is a great way for you to try out new lenses and figure out what will work best for you! If you are local to the St. Louis area, Schillers is a great resource. But I'm pretty partial to fixed lenses.

Q: What editing software do you use?
A: Great question! I use both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. (Although I've been
told by many that I NEED to get Lightroom!) :) I use MCP, PW, and Florabella actions.
Actions are an amazing tool for both professional and non-professional photographers.
They really speed up my workflow, which ultimately allows me more time with my family.
I am in love love love with Florabella.
I just adore sun-drenched images and the Florabella actions just accentuate my images.
The three pictures below are all hand edited and then run with Florabella actions.
© Cassie Allen Photography
© Cassie Allen Photography
© Cassie Allen Photography
I'll do another post with different questions.
Keep them coming! :)
And THANK YOU for all of your amazing comments about my haircut.
You made me feel so incredible!
And that leads me into the other topic today.
My health.
And yours.
Here's the thing.
I always thought I could be "that mom". You know the one.
I would be able to do it all.
Have the stressful, nasty day job. Keep the whole house clean 24/7. Never lose energy playing
with Griffin. Be there emotionally for my family. Start a photography business.
Cook. Smile. Run about.
 I'll just inhale whatever Griffin doesn't eat.
Naw. Stress'll take care of that.
And I'd still be Captain Awesome.
Reality check.
I am overweight.
By a good 20 or so pounds.
I keep telling myself I don't have time to work out.
And it's true!
I work a full time job then I come home and start my 2nd and 3rd jobs.
Photographer and Mom and Wife.
I wake up at 5:45am and fall asleep at 11pm or 12ish.
Every second is full.
I eat on the go.
All. The. Time.
My dinner is actually right next to me now as I'm typing this.
Eating habits?
I keep telling myself that we have the tiniest budget for our family so we have to get
things like pasta that will last several days.
You know what?
I feel awful.
Physically I feel awful.
It's not because of my diagnosis.
It's because of the way I treat my temple.
My body.
It's not that I am delusional and think I can eat whatever I want when I want.
Nope. I've just been too busy to even think about me.
There is one thing that I will preach to ANYONE who will hear me.
I firmly believe that if you do not take care of yourself then you will be empty.
And you can't take care of anybody else when you are empty.
When I'm not emotionally and physically fuelled properly, I have nothing to give.
I firmly believe this.
Oh but.
I have not practiced what I've preached.
Bad girl.
All day, every day I feel like I could curl up and fall asleep anywhere, anytime.
I feel heavy.
Weighed down.
I get dizzy. A lot.
My knees ache.
I get winded climbing the stairs.
And when I feel this way, I make poor judgements when it comes to the high stress of my days.
I let the bad people get to me and break me down.
No more.
This has been on my mind so often but I read this blog today and there it was.
The line in the sand.
I don't know how I'm going to find the time.
But that's all it is.
Finding the time.
No one is going to give me the time or permission to better myself.
I've got to do it.
If I fail or succeed it is all on me.
So, I'm in.
With this challenge.
I thought I wanted to show Griffin what it looked like to totally attack life.
Just squeeze it dry.
But I have been going about it the wrong way.
I'm ready for a change.
Want to do it with me?
Come on. Let's show 'um how it's done.
Long long long post.
Happy happy day!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


We finally
had a slight break in the weather a few nights ago.
I got home and announced that we had TWO minutes to get Griffin changed
and into the car for his 3 year portraits.
Matt and Griffin were both awesome sports.
It was beautiful outside!

This is what 3 looks like.
Be. Still. My. Heart.

We made it!
Another year of awesome under our belts.
This kiddo is my adventure of a lifetime.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Virtual Coffee - A Simple Day

Happy Tuesday!
It's time for Virtual Coffee.
Or, in my case, Virtual Smirnoff Ice.
If we were really together for coffee libation right now, I'd tell you that
starting this week, I've gone down to working my day job 4 days a week.
This is mondo huge for me as a mother and wife.
And yesterday was simply perfect.
No work.
Just play.
And I cleaned the house like a madwoman.
It was good.
So good.
 We couldn't really be outside for too long because of the heat
(The devil called. He wants his weather back. Eeeesh it's hot here!)
so we just stayed indoors and played with new toys that my sister brought with her from TX.
Like a pop up tent.
That fills up the living room.
I could just look at him all day.
 We read and read and read.
And watched movies.
And made cookies!
Griffin wanted Double Doozies.
Chocolate Chip cookies with vanilla buttercream sandwiched in the middle.
Oh. My. Thighs.
They are good.
 Every time I make Chocolate Chip cookies, I first roll the cookie dough in some raw sugar.
Then bake.
Hubs won't have it any other way.
You should try it!
"Fust you have to roll out the dough, Mommy! It important!"
He was telling me all about how to make frosting.
 Remember that awesome fabric I nabbed?
I made a simple apron and I luuuuurve it.
So cute.

Dude wanted green frosting.

It was a simple day.
Fun, lazy, snuggly.
The kind of day I've been so needing.

And to end the day on an even higher note, Hubs bought me a DVD of Rachael Ray.
We recently got rid of cable so I lost all the Rachael Rays that I used to watch.
When I went into labor the only thing that would keep me calm were her shows.
Now I can watch them again!

Thanks for listening to me ramble about my day.
Normally people wouldn't blog about such a boring day.
But in these times.
Times of worry.
Times of anxiety.
Times of struggle.
It's nice to post about the simple things.
The little things.
Because the little things?

They aren't so little.

I'm linking up with Amy today.
For more Cawfee Tawk, head on over to hear blog!
You will love her.
I promise.
Oh happy day!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Few Thoughts On Grass

I live off of a country road.
I live in a now quite developed town
and that poor road, which was not made for heavy traffic or construction,
is just awful now.
We are getting a new road.
A wider, more stable road.
What stinks about that is that the cornfields that run along the length of the road will lose
several feet in.
A few weeks ago,
big, loud machines first mashed down all the corn that needed to go away.
Mashed. Flat.
A day or two after that happened,
something caught my eye.
Several stalks of corn had popped back up.
To full attention at that.
 It made me think of something that I heard long ago.
This particular stretch of land is under attack.
And yet there are several stalks that right themselves.
I passed by this stalk every day for about a week before big machines
came again and tore up the land.
Every time I passed that stalk I smiled.
Here it is. Tall and proud amidst chaos.

There are miracles in this world.
There is beauty in this world.
All of the most amazing things about this world are seemingly effortless.
You can burn it.
You can flood it.
You can tear it up.
And after a long rest, it will grow back.

Right now, my days are wracked with worry and anxiety.
I don't like to talk about my fears too much.
I don't want to give them power.
But seeing that stalk of corn and what it reminded me of has been a great comfort.
No matter what I'm going through.
No matter what tomorrow brings.
God works way bigger miracles all around me.
So much of a miracle that it seems effortless.
Like growing grass.
So my problems?
My worries?
My fears?
He's got it.

Try to rise above your life and look down.
We don't strain to grow.
Our hearts beat.
Our hair grows.
Our skin freckles.
We encounter hurdles.
We overcome them.
One way or another.
Over a day's time.
Or over years.

I'm going to be okay.
And so are you.

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Virtual Coffee - Birthday Edition

It's time for some Virtual Coffee!
In my case, however, it will be Virtual-Late-Night-Snack-Of-Birthday-Cake.
Won't you join me?
Today Griffin turned 3.
I spent the entire day thinking about that day 3 years ago.
Do we all do that?
I hope so.
Let's not forget our toughness.
At 6:32pm I gave birth to chaos.
And joy.
We named him Griffin Rockstar and he is the funniest, kindest, most polite,
opinionated, fiercest, loudest, best kid I know.
He easily tests boundaries but is always quick to amend with a stern look from me.
How did I get so lucky?

Matt and I both took off work today.
It was a fabulous day from beginning to end. 
 We got him a bike for his birthday and he just loved it.
Hugged it.
Kissed it.
Sat on it while watching T.V.
 We went outside first thing this morning to ride for a few minutes before it got nasty hot.
 We went into his room when he woke up and the first thing out of his mouth?
Cake it is, sir.
For breakfast.
(Don't judge.)
 It was a simple cake but I loved it.
Dude loves sprinkles.
Luuuuuuuuuuurves sprinkles.
Puts sprinkles on everything.
So I just baked a cake, iced it, and put every last sprinkle I had on it.
(yes...fist pump to myself)

 Dive right in, bud.
Happy breakfast!

 Every now and then I get in front of the camera.
 For his special birthday treat, we took him to his very first movie at the movie theater.
Cars 2
He. Was. Psyched!
Wore his Lightning McQueen shirt and sat through the whole movie like a champ.
Better and more fun than I could've imagined.
No foolin'.
It was awesome.
The kid that can't sit still and talks and talks and talks just sat there.
And every now and then would get out of his chair and just stand there in front of it.
He was ready to go about 15 minutes before the end of the film so I'm glad I brought
Mr. Frog and some juice with me.
Content once more.
 Hubs said it best.
Today was the kind of day that made you really stop and take in every moment.
It was such a good day.
Such a special day full of firsts.
The kind of day that will get you through bad days when you think back on it.
We had our cake and ate it too.

Happy birthday to you, my little Rockstar.
God knew exactly what I needed in a child when He sent me you.
We just get each other.
I so so so love that.
I will never take your genuineness for granted.
I will always strive to let you be loud when you need to let it out.
I will always be there to listen.
I will strive to breathe in every squeezy hug you give me.
(Because you give the very best hugs)
I will strive to be the very best person I can be for you.
I will strive to lead by example.
I will always give you my last BBQ potato chip.
I will always kiss your ouchies.
The ones on your knees now.
And the ones on your heart later.
And I will fiercely love you.


I am linking up with Amy today.
(Hi, Amy! Soon we are going to try to make ice cream in zip lock bags! Love!!)

Oh Happy Day!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Grant's Farm, Turtle Tongues, and Sprinkles

Rachael visited us a few weeks ago.
Matt took the whole week off work and I took a day too.
It was actually one of the very last awesome weather days here in St. Louis before it
turned dangerous hot.
We went to Grant's Farm.
For all of you who might live near the St. Louis area, check out their website.
It such a neat place to take your family!
It's free, the only way to get there is by a little TRAIN (awesome),
there's a carousel, brats, free beer tasting for the adults (it's owned by the Busch family),
and you can get SO close to the animals.
So close.
 The only lens I had with me was a 50mm fixed.
So yeah, CLOSE.
The picture above makes me laugh every time!
This Llama was just like a cat, rubbing his lips and gums along the edges of things.
 Excited to be on the train headed to the farm!
The ride there is awesome.
You get to see lots of animals roaming around and pass the cabin that 
Ulysses S. Grant built himself!
Awesome stuff.
Yay history!
 The owl was beautiful.
Carmelita is her name.
Rachael and I were there with her and her handler and we found out that she is
14 years OLDER than Rachael!
I didn't know owls could live for so long!
 Griffin had his first ever carousel ride.
He LOVED it.
Then about half way through he didn't.
Did. Not. Love. It. Anymore.
It was a long last few minutes.
 You can feed all the animals too.
Griffin giggled when the Llama's lips tickled his hands.
 Oh the mist machine.
I might get some more housework done if I just built one of these for the backyard.
Griffin went through it about a million and one times.
Dragging him away from it was quite a scene.
 Happy to be soaking wet on a hot day.
I love this picture.
I don't think I've ever seen a turtle tongue before this.
I don't think I've even thought about a turtle tongue before this.
What do I think now?
It's kinda gross.
But how cool is it that this turtle is almost 60 years old?!
So cool.


Today Griffin is 2.
Tomorrow he will be 3.
Tonight I'm baking him a cake.
A cake with as many sprinkles as I can get my hands on.
The kid puts sprinkles on everything.
Dude is going to love it!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

10 on 10 - My First!

My first 10 on 10!
Rebekah at A Bit of Sunshine started this and I think it's awesome!
On the 10th of every month, take 1 picture an hour for 10 hours.
Love that.
Here we go!
 8:00am: Good morning!
 9:00am: Out and about.
 10:00am: A rare getaway for some girl time and a movie!
 12:00pm: The movie lasted more than an hour, so I had to skip an hour. Ah well. Laundry.
 1:00pm: Vacuuming.
 2:00pm: Silly pose time for Mommy.
 3:00pm: Dishes.
 4:00pm: Our weekly library grabs.
 5:00pm: Inspiration for my evening photo shoot from my favorite photographer.
6:00pm: The set up for this evening's photo shoot. Love!

There you have it!
Thanks for tagging along on my day with me!

I'm linking up with Rebekah.
Head on over to A Bit of Sunshine for more 10 on 10 eye candy!

Happy Sunday!