Beach Photography

I have been MIA from the blog for sometime; 3 months to be exact!  WOW, how quickly time flies.  Hopefully that will change.  Soon there will be a post about my hair, the debacle and the process to recover.  I know, don’t get too excited.  In the meantime, I wanted to share my most recent little hobby with you.

If you know me at all, then you know I’m a beach lover.  It could be said that I moved my family 1600 miles to be close to the beach.  (well, that’s at least one reason anyway) The beach brings me peace.  It is my happy place.  Ok, after much  babbling, here’s the point.  I got this awesome lens set for my Samsung phone from my brother and sister-in-law for Christmas.  The set came with a wide angle lens and a fish eye lens. My Galaxy s6 Active already takes great photos, but this lens takes it up a notch. Plus, it’s super easy to use.  I can’t stop taking photos.

Here are just a few pics I’ve taken in just the last three weeks.  If you follow me on Instagram, then this will be a repeat.  If you don’t follow me on Instagram, please do.  You can find me at @mamanellie_.

surflines surfboard-pier sunset-view-rays sunburst-dance sand-view-clear-water nell-walking-up nell-walking-up-dress bird-up-close birds-sandbar clouds-reflection cloudy-lighthouse crooked-palm lifeguard-stand miami-beach-sunset bird-flying bird-flying-wings-up

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Twenty Years

nell_steve_holdinghands_fieldboca_resort_front nell_beach_arms_out nell_steve_swing_nell_laughing nell_waving_balcony steve_side_pool nell_looking_over_balcony photoshoot_looking_at_ea_other_laughing_sm steve-bodyboarding-close-up photoshoot_nellstand_stevesit_sm nell_wipe-out photoshoot-20-pic steve_bodyboarding_tongue_out steve_walking_to_beach nell_bodyboarding

It is truly amazing how quickly twenty years of marriage has flown by.  The first decade was spent having and raising young children and seemed to go by at somewhat of a normal pace.  The second decade has gone by in the blink of an eye.  It feels a bit strange and surreal; like a couple of years went by but definitely not ten.  It seems like we went to sleep one night with young children and woke up with older teens.  We now find ourselves embarking on being empty nesters with two adult children.  I really am having trouble wrapping my mind around this time warp.

Let’s back up over two decades for just a minute.  I’ve been told that my marriage and what we have is an anomaly; truly unlikely and almost statistically impossible.  The hubs and I met my junior year, his senior year of high school.  We became best friends and then started dating.  After dating for four years (on and off), we got married at the young age of 20 and had a baby right away at the age of 21.  Being together since the age of 16, getting married young and having a baby at a young age.  Any one of these factors alone sets us up for failure, but all three?  Impossible.  Right?  Well, somehow we made it.  Not only have we made it this far but we are happy; seriously happy.  We are just as happy now as we were way back then, maybe even more so.

I don’t know that there is any one “secret” to my marriage.  I am just as awestruck as anyone looking in from the outside, to be honest.  I feel incredibly grateful for what I have and I definitely try not to ever take it for granted.  I will say that getting married young and having children young as opposed to waiting until we were older and “set up” in life had its real advantages in our marriage.  In those early years, we truly fumbled through life.  We were so young and had absolutely no idea what we were doing.  I think when you get married young, you expect each other to change.  You expect each other to grow.  This expectation allowed us to come together and actually grow up together.  Neither one of us had the answers.  We just figured it out as we went, but we did so together.  It was an adventure.  It was our adventure that turned into an absolutely beautiful life with an amazing marriage and two awesome kids.

What will the next twenty years hold?  I have no idea. I do know that it will lead us into a brand new season in our lives.  We will have two adult children, become empty nesters, put our children through college and watch them spread their wings and start their own lives.  Then it is us again.  Back to the beginning, in a weird sort of way.  We still won’t have the answers but we will figure it out together.  It will be our next adventure.

* Steve, I cannot thank you enough for sticking by me all these years.  I absolutely love doing life with you.  I cannot wait to see what the next twenty years hold for us.  No doubt, it will be something beautiful.  I love you with all my heart.  😉

 

 

Lately

I have to apologize upfront for the lengthy post. If you’re bored, read on. (pictures below)

I know I have been MIA from the blog for a while now. Life has been quite crazy lately. To be perfectly honest, 2015 has been a “B”. Life is hard. Life is difficult. And sometimes life just plain sucks but on the flip side there are always bright spots and things to be grateful for.

You always hear that when you are pushed out of your comfort zone and endure many trials, this is when God can do the most work. All I can say is that God must be doing something big. I have no idea what, but something big. Life is hard. Life is tough.   It just is. If we allow ourselves to be swayed by our circumstances, we will most certainly exist on a roller coaster of emotions. I try to reside above my circumstances and see my life from God’s point of view, but I fail miserably all the time. I’m learning and trying to allow God to mold and shape me along this journey; to become the person that He wants me to be. It’s only April but I’ve learned many life lessons this year, and particularly two lessons stand out to me at this moment and time. First, you have to look at your blessings. If you’re busy being thankful for what you have, you have no time for complaints (I fail at this often – just ask my husband). Second, is to rise above your circumstances and view your life from God’s point of view. It’s difficult but when you do this, that issue that seemed like the biggest thing in the world, becomes only a small blip on your map of life.

Life has been crazy; some things good, some things bad, some things horrible and probably everything in between. Here are a few; my mom’s tragic car accident with a roller coaster of life and death moments, the long continual journey to her recovery, my Granny becoming sick twice, my Granny finally passing away, celebrating my daughter turning 18, celebrating my mom’s 59th birthday (which we weren’t sure we’d get to do), planning my daughter’s senior prom, planning for her high school graduation, planning a graduation trip and trying to land a huge 3 year long technology project at work (in which I am leading).

The topic of my mom; where do I even start? It is been miraculous, yet devastating. I have in some ways become a back up caregiver, supporter and mother to her this year and will continue to do so for as long as it takes (probably years). This area can and does easily become a big roller coaster of emotions but I am forever grateful to God for saving her life and slowly brining her back to us. I will say that celebrating her 59th birthday was the most special birthday celebration of all because, honestly, three or four months ago I wouldn’t have thought it would be possible. Then there’s my dad; my poor sweet dad. His life has flipped upside down and inside out. He had to leave his job, sell several properties, fight with insurance (daily), move across the country, take over the rental business, start paying all the bills and biggest of all has had to become the caregiver for my mom. The crazy thing is that he does all of these things simultaneously. He has always been the rock of our family and he still is but my brother and I have been there to help hold him up when he just can’t go anymore. He’s giving it all he has in an extremely difficult situation. As I tell him weekly, “I’m not concerned about mom. She’s coming back. I’m concerned about you.” (posting daily on her CaringBridge site)

My Granny. Oh, my sweet Granny. I’m not ready to talk fully about this yet but when I am, you’ll most likely see a blog post about it. I will state it simply like this. She was more than a granny. I was a daughter to her and she was a mother to me. I meant the world to her. We had a one of a kind special relationship. I have her wedding ring on my finger as I type this post and every time I look at it I cry. There hasn’t been a day that has gone by since Easter that I haven’t cried over losing her. She is by far the closest person to me that I’ve ever lost.

In all of this darkness, there’s the bright spots in my life. I get to watch my little girl turn into an adult, plan prom, pick out a dress, witness all those last moments of her high school career, plan for her upcoming graduation, plan an exciting graduation trip to celebrate, pick a college, pick a major, and plan her future. How exciting this has been. The excitement and joy on her face makes everything better. Yes, there are many difficult things happening this year, but on the flip side of that, there are all these exciting moments that I am so blessed to get to be a part of. This is the biggest, most monumental year Danica has ever had. I am loving every minute of it. These are all lasts to experience and I plan on being there for every one of them. For me personally, it is emotional for yet very exciting at the same time. I can’t think about all if it too hard because I will cry. I can’t believe we have reached this moment in her life. I feel like she should still be that sweet little sassy southern girl with a twang in her voice. I cannot wait to see what her future holds. There is no doubt in my mind that she will do amazing things.

Then there’s work. I never really talk about work on the blog but this year is a big year. My manta last year was that 2015 would be a big year for me (without my mom’s accident happening) due to the launch of this project, Danica graduating high school and going off to college. I work in technology for a local non-profit. This project is three years in the making and it is huge. We are literally replacing the entire technological infrastructure of the organization. God is in this and I am certainly trusting in Him.

When I reflect on everything that my life holds at this moment in time, I can easily get overwhelmed. What I have to remember is that God has a plan. Only He knows the big picture. I’m learning to take each day, one day at a time, which has been a monumental lesson for me as I am a dreamer and a planner. Honestly, for my own sanity, I have no choice but to operate this way and it works. Life is short and fragile. In a moment it can be flipped upside down. The people you love the most won’t be there forever. Your children will grow up fast and move on with their lives. Soak up every moment of this day. Let the ones you love know how much you love them. This may be the only opportunity you have to do so. Enjoy each and every moment with your children because before you know it, they will no longer be living under your roof.

All I can say is this.  Live for today. Life is short.

Here are a few pictures of life lately.

Mom and Dad at LaunchDee FAU ShirtMom and Nell at LaunchNell & GrannyMom & Dad on Moms BirthdayGranny RingNell & Dee at the Beach 18 BirthdayCR Beach

Celebrating 18

Danica Beach Jump Danica Showing off Laptop Danica Smiling Earl & JoAnnaNell & Papa Nell & Steve One Palm Papa & Priss Papa Dee and Priss Priss Trey the Thinker Two Palms Nell and Dee at Beach Nell in Hat at BeachEarl and JoAnna

My sweet Danica turned 18 this past week.  I cannot even describe my very fragile emotions about this occurrence, but we certainly cannot stop time.  All we can do is enjoy the moment that we are given.  We are only guaranteed today.  So, because of this fact and because 18 deserves a big celebration, Dee and I played hooky from school and work and spent the day playing.  We went to the beach, had a nice lunch and got manicures and pedicures.  It was certainly a day well spent.  I am so incredibly blessed that not only do I get to be this beautiful person’s mother but I get to be her friend.  I just love spending time with my Danica.

The celebrating didn’t stop there as we decided to do a cookout at my brother’s house this past weekend to celebrate this monumental birthday.  We were able to get my dad there as well.  It certainly wasn’t the same without my mom (it never is), but I think it was nice for everyone to step back, relax, actually smile and laugh a bit and celebrate this special day.

Well, Dee, this is it.  You’re officially an adult.  I hope and pray that I am still the one that you run to with anything and everything.  As we embark upon college, this will certainly be key.  You came into this world 18 years ago to a newly turned 21 year old with no clue what to do.  You radically changed my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  You have blessed me beyond measure and you continue to do so everyday.  I wouldn’t be the person I am today without you.  You were are my little girl and no matter how old you get.  That will never change.  I love you to the moon and back!

*Sorry for the disjointed post.  It is sort like my emotions these days.  Thanks for following along.  🙂

Eighteen

Danica 18

Today, 18 years ago, my life was forever changed.  Dee, my life is simply better because of you. You have brought more joy to me than I could have ever imagined possible. You are sweet, kind, loving compassionate, fun and just all around awesome! I am so incredibly proud to be your mom. Thank you for all that you are and all that you bring to my life. Happy 18th birthday! I love you with all my heart.

Also, I’m now officially the parent of an adult. I AM OLD!

A Much Needed Beach Day

Two Palms Two Surfers Catching Wave Umbrella View Water Slashing on RocksSteve under UmbrellaNell at the RocksLifeguard StandFather Son SurfersNell Head Shot GlowingNell Walking up from RocksSteve under UmbrellaSurfer on Big Wave

Steve had a wonderful idea to take the Friday off before my birthday/Valentine’s Day weekend to simply hang out together without people or distractions.  This day off was the first fun thing I’ve done since my mom’s accident two months ago.  We slept in, got coffee, ate a cafe breakfast, bought a hat I’ve had my eye on for months, went to the beach (oh how I’ve missed that) and then to dinner.  It was a day to refresh, recharge and reconnect;i t was absolutely perfect.  I don’t think the day could have been any better. He knew exactly what I needed. (love you babe! 😉 )

Mother’s Day on the Water

Coffee on the WaterD at beach in glasses D Throwing Football Earls Fish Hardheads and Crazy Faces A Man and His Dog Fishing Nana and Papa Hang Loose Nana and Papa SUP Nell the Lifeguard Papa Carrying Football on Beach Steve and Nell Fishing Steve and Papa Fishing Trey Carrying Board In Trey SurfingNana and Papa Fishing

Here are pics from a weekend on the water. My parents are in town and rented a house on the intracoastal. There was lots of fishing, paddleboarding, surfing and beachin’ it up. Good times were had by all.

February

A photo of my children every month :: February

Dee {16 years and 11 months} and Trey {13 years and 9 months}:
I thought I would post a video of both of the kids to represent February. We went to the Florida Keys to celebrate my birthday ending the evening with a dinner on the water. In the video the kids are trying to jump and touch every rafter all the way back to the car. All this happiness ended pretty quickly because after the video was over my daughters iPhone popped out of her sweatshirt pocket and landed face down on the concrete shattering. Nonetheless, it was still a great time.

January

A photo of my children every month :: January

Dee January 2014 Trey January 2014

Dee {16 years and 10 months}:
She never wears make-up at all because she thinks that she looks better without it (and I agree) but decided to give the no make-up with bright red lipstick a try.

Trey {13 years and 8 months}:
He got a new surfboard and hit a break through with surfing after many months of painful hard work. This is his Rocky victory punch.

The Board that Made all the Difference

Trey Carrying Board In Trey Paddling into Wave Trey Surfing 2 - for posting Trey Surfing 3 Treys Rocky Air Punch
My son loves to surf. You know that someone really loves something when they continue to pursue it no matter how many times they fail. This kid did exactly that. He owned a short board and would go out and try and try and try with hardly ever catching a wave. Man, was he ever persistent. I’ll give him that credit. Don’t get me wrong, he got down and out and even threw a 2 year old fit a few times, but all in all, he never gave up.

I tried to tell him that surfing a short board on Florida waves would probably never give him the satisfaction he was looking for. Out of sheer heartbreak one day, I decided to bring him to the local surf shop to convince him to potentially get a long board. The sales rep was quick to tell me that it wasn’t a long board that he needed but a fun board. Honestly, I had never heard of this type of board before. It is basically a board that is the length between a short board and a long board with a pointed nose like a short board. Luckily, my friend Mike, the owner of Bird Surfboards (the company I race paddleboards for) had a used board that he allowed my son to take and try.

This past weekend, we went out to give it a test drive. He paddled out and caught the first wave and then pretty much caught every wave after that. He must have caught 20 waves in an hour. I have never seen a smile so big on his face. All the hard work he put into the short board truly paid off. He just simply was using the wrong board. He ran out of the water to me and my husband and said, “I love this board”. My husband then looked over at me and said, “we are buying that board”.

There’s nothing more fulfilling that seeing the hard work that your child has done come to fruition.