April 30, 2014


We had our second to last mi casa last night, that is just nuts! We talked about what we wanted our last mi casa to look like, what we wanted to eat, do, etc. SO crazy that after 4 years with these guys its all going to come to an end next Tuesday. Brennan didn't realize it was our last one coming up and she kinda freaked out  -I told her they were graduating, it wasn't my fault! :/ My little girl is going to miss these guys a lot, she is so comfortable with them after all this time and they adore her -I'm gonna miss watching their interactions. Sniff.

Well, I was putting off getting my home goods sale ready b/c I kept waiting for the appraisal -wanted the house to look as put together as possible for that but it looks like it might not happen until next week so I need to get on it! I need to pull out boxes, figure out what can go, etc. Not really looking forward to that so much. (Moving...ughhh!!!!).

I need to get some letters written and photos edited, if you wanna check out this cute fam head on over HERE! xo

April 28, 2014

the beginning of the end

This week marks the beginning of the end of our time here in Waco, (enter mixed emotion sigh). This week we have our appraisal, which is the last step in the home selling process. Also this week I'm hosting a moving sale (Wacoans: this Saturday, my house 10-2) so several things will be sold, my house will start to look like its in transition and boxes will start being packed up. In a way I'm glad this is happening since it makes it all seem real, but there is part of me that wants to fight it and keep my house exactly how it is....forever. I've mentioned on this here blog many times but I'm not a huge fan of change (understatement) and I hate the moving process (understatement) but I am excited for the next chapter and am eager to see what that looks like. Our next housing situation remains a big mystery at this point, its so daunting to look at buying as anything "reasonable" is in the ghetto or sells so quickly and for over the already high asking price that is seems next to impossible. Renting seems daunting as well b/c that just puts off another year of buying in which case things will be even more expensive so it seems that getting in the door would never happen. A catch 22 to be sure. Sigh. One thing at a time..............

Well, I've got my work cut out for me today, I'm buried in editing and have 5 more letters that need to get written this week to my mi casa darlings -gonna get after it. Happy Monday, all!

Head on over HERE to check out this cute senior! xo

April 25, 2014

fun family time

It was so fun having Aunt Robin and Uncle Lawrence in town the past couple days -it was sad to see them leave this morning! We didn't do much, mainly sat around and talked for hours and ate good food -so fun! Yesterday we went out to Homestead Heritage and walked around and ate a yummy lunch, that was great. Then, last night we watched the premiere of my friends' new show "Fixer Upper" on HGTV -did anyone tune in?! It was so great, Chip and Joanna looked like naturals and the house of course was gorgeous! (I've seen almost all of the fixer uppers and that was one my favorite -I'm a sucker for an old house!).

Having Robin and Lawrence here felt like a mini vacation, I didn't work for 2 whole days and it was fantastic! It was such a nice breather and a good reason to step away from the computer and just chill -we had a great time. But, all good vacations must come to an end so, today its back to work for me and I have a shoot tonight! (where did the past 2 days go?!). I hope you all have a great weekend, its pretty much our last weekend of "normal" until the end of the summer (that sounds so nuts to say!). Its a busy season here in the Winn house for sure, thanks for coming along for the ride! xo

Here's a peek at a lovely senior, more to come!

April 21, 2014

Easter 2014

I hope you all had a joyful Easter yesterday, we sure did. It was a holy day of celebrating the risen Christ with our church family, we loved it. UBC is such a gift to us, we always joke that if it didn't exist we're not sure we'd find a church in Texas! It is such a unique place and it is hands down the best "fit" of any church we've ever experienced (and between Adam and I over 35+ years, we've experienced a lot of church). We don't have words for how much we'll miss it when we move, a tough act to follow to be sure. Yesterday was emotional for me (shocker...story of my life these days), as I looked around  and thought of all the people we'd miss and knowing it was our last Easter in that holy place. Our pastor's son got baptized yesterday, and baptisms always make me cry, the dying to your old self and being raised new in Christ, its always so moving to me. And since we're Baptist and don't practice infant baptism, for us when you come to an age of understanding what it means to follow Jesus and you choose to get baptized, its such a neat thing to watch/experience/be a part of.

Following church we went to our friends house and a bunch of us brought food and spent the day lounging and in fellowship together, the family that we've all created in each other and done life with together over the years - it was so good. We didn't get home until about 7:45pm, we were among the last to leave...savoring every minute we have left with these people, such a blessing.

These are some lyrics to one of my favorite songs by Matt Maher:

Oh death! Where is your sting?
Oh hell! Where is your victory?
Oh Church! Come stand in the light!
The glory of God has defeated the night!

Oh death! Where is your sting?
Oh hell! Where is your victory?
Oh Church! Come stand in the light!
Our God is not dead, he's alive! he's alive!

Read more at http://www.songlyrics.com/matt-maher/christ-is-risen-lyrics/#KFHKXEtxtJppvSLG.99
Oh death! Where is your sting?
Oh hell! Where is your victory?
Oh Church! Come stand in the light!
The glory of God has defeated the night!

Oh death! Where is your sting?
Oh hell! Where is your victory?
Oh Church! Come stand in the light!
Our God is not dead, he's alive! he's alive!

Last Easter our pastor, Josh said "We get to stand at the empty tomb and almost mockingly say "Oh death, where is your sting?"

Christ is risen, He is risen indeed.

April 18, 2014

like comfy old jeans

Last night...I slept, and it was wonderful. I think I just needed to get through this week and I did and I am starting to feel normal again and I'm so thankful. Today B is off from school and Adam is off from work! Score! We get a relaxing day at home, just the 3 of us and I couldn't be more thrilled. I'm going to do laundry (something I've neglected for quite a while), wash the sheets (don't ask mom...its been a while on that too), and purge. I'm going to separate some things into a pile for sale and a pile for donation. I've decided that since we are on the verge of a MAJOR downsize, as much as I love some certain items...they need to go. I'm going to be selling furniture, home goods, etc. at a home sale in a few weeks (exact date TBD). I think it will be good, good to simplify and pare down. I know life isn't about things, but keeping in real, I do kinda love my "things" -so, it will be good for me to let some of them go. Sigh.

You know, life is funny...its full of so many twists and turns. Last night Adam said to me "I keep thinking about all the places this job search could have taken us, and all of the small Christian schools out there, etc. and yet, we're ending up right back at our favorite place to be -isn't that crazy?!" Yes, yes it is. Although we love Texas, and Waco in particular, and we were more than okay with it being home forever, I can't help but be overwhelmed with thankfulness and joy over going back home to Pasadena. I've never been quiet about my love for the dena, I tell folks all the time that "if I could afford to live there, Pasadena is where I'd choose." Well, I still can't technically afford to live there but it is my favorite city (right up there with Paris :) and I can't believe we get to live there again. Spoiled. I'm not gonna lie, I'm sad to leave my house - I love this house and its been good to us and we could have potentially lived in it forever, but...its just a house. I get excited when I think of trading in my 2700 sq ft house for a 1000 sq ft cottage, something stirs inside me and it just feels right, like comfy old jeans. It feels familiar and right and good.

These next few months are going to be challenging and busy, but its all pretty darn exciting. Happy sigh. I just updated my blog, head on over here to see a cute senior! xo

April 17, 2014

still here

Its only a little after 10am and its been hustling and bustling around here. We just had the a/c guys back out b/c something was going on in the tippy top that needed resolved (breaker issue, no biggie), the dish network guy has been out b/c something is going on w/ our TV service, and I've been placing photo orders and editing since I got out of bed. Oh, and writing mi casa letters which makes me feel emotionally drained and exhausted but the days are slipping away and its got to be done.

Sigh...moving, so draining! We had some folks out yesterday looking into inspection issues so, it just seems like our house is a revolving door of activity but, things are getting checked off the list which just means the move is actually happening. I think May is going to be here before we know it, any one else get that feeling? Well, B has early dismissal today and is out of school Friday and Monday for the Easter holiday so I gotta get going to make the most of my time today! Thanks for checking in! xo

April 16, 2014

chocolate peanut butter cheesecake & Wendell

Yesterday was intense, period. I didn't stop all.day.long. and I'm so thankful its over and that I survived. :) It was just busy with lots of stuff but the end result was this delicious cheesecake that I made for mi casa to celebrate Natalie's birthday -YUM. I would definitely recommend if that sort of dessert is your thing, it was SO delish. I didn't sleep well again last night, sigh. I think I'm at the point where I almost don't expect to sleep so I can't -I'm hoping to break out of this pattern soon. My darn mind is racing and its making it hard to relax and not create virtual lists in my mind. Anyhoo, today is going to be another busy one so I gotta get after it. Head on over HERE to see sweet baby Wendell! xo

April 15, 2014

done and done

So, that was crazy. I got home at 1am and woke up and instantly started working. I have a FULL week ahead and it almost seems surreal that I was in California yesterday (and for the several days prior). It was a busy trip but I purposefully didn't pack it as tight as I usually do, wanted some time to roam the streets, look at neighborhoods, visit longer with friends then I normally have time for, etc. I'm e.x.h.a.u.s.t.e.d. I haven't been sleeping really well lately, a lot on my mind that I can't shut off when my head hits the sheets but I think better days are ahead. :) This week is nuts but next week calms a bit and Aunt Robin and Uncle Lawrence are going to come visit us -we can't wait! The timing is perfect, right after the crazy and before the next wave of crazy hits!

Well, yesterday I officially enrolled B in school! It was a bit nerve wracking w/ the whole address thing but no one asked anything, I did have to write down her previous school and the location of it so...curious if that will ever come up but all in all, its done and I'm so relieved. Hooray for registration being done for the foreseeable future!!! Now...onto our housing! Yilkes!

Our inspection went fairly well, as expected with old homes there are a few things that may need addressing and some folks are coming out today to look into those...pray for smooth sailing! I just want it all to move along and for the new owners to love their new home!

I think that's all the news for now, I need to run to the store to get some ingredients to make a cheesecake per a mi casa kiddo's bday request...hope it chills in time!! Then I have a sr photo shoot this afternoon, lots going on over here! Thanks for checking in! xo

April 10, 2014

she's in!

So I STILL hadn't received "the call" and couldn't wait any longer, I needed to know as I had shoots booked this weekend, etc. Anyhoo, I called, they confirmed she got in and said I had until Monday to register her! WHO HOO!!! So, tomorrow off I go! It's going to be a crazy couple days but we are so.thankful. to have this taken care of! Our friend ended up not making it into town last night so, it was kinda nice to have a breather and just sit on the couch for a bit. The folks who bought our house said they loved it so that's great! Tomorrow is the inspection so the ball is officially in motion! I gotta go pack and get some things done before I fly out tomorrow, thanks for your prayers and for checking in! xo

April 9, 2014

I didn't get much sleep last night

Yesterday was a total zoo, running from one thing to the next with mere minutes in between each thing. After mi casa last night Adam and I both collapsed on the couch and watched some mindless TV for an hour before crawling into bed. Even though I was exhausted I was up and looking at the clock at 2am, my mind racing with things. Today I was up and at 'em, getting the beds made, dishes put away, picking up crumbs my munchkins left behind. :) Nothing like having a house of college students over the night before new owners are coming to see their house for the first time! Adam and I both had to be out of the house by 10am so the new owners could come hang out here and check every nook and crannie (can you just imagine buying your first house sight unseen and then finally walking in the door?!) -I hope they loved my house as much as I do. Sigh. (I really *don't* want to sell my house, sniff).  :( But onward and upward...right?!

Our friend Matt is in town from the UK, since I might be flying to CA tomorrow (still waiting for the blessed phone call) tonight is potentially the only night I'll get to see him! So, he's coming over tonight after he gets done with his dinner thing he has to attend. So, it will likely be a late night on minimal sleep and possibly an early flight tomorrow? :) (aren't you all just plain jealous of my life right now?? .....................crickets..................................................................).

Today is supposed to be a warm one, I have a shoot later this afternoon to throw into the mix! I'm thankful for the sun but wouldn't mind it a tad cooler while shooting. :/ Well, I just got home b/c the new owners have been in the house for hours so I had to make myself scarce, lots to get done! Happy Wednesday, all! Oh, really quick -I tried a new recipe for mi casa last night per one gal's request for her bday, google: sopapilla cheesecake -it was so easy and so delish! One last thing, I got a blog post up so head on over HERE to check it out! xo

April 8, 2014

a little wiped

Its been a crazy couple of days. We had someone here yesterday creating a hole in the wall for the new a/c unit to go into, today the a/c unit was installed, we had a house showing late yesterday afternoon so I spent all.day. cleaning and getting ready for it. The folks who are moving here ended up accepting our counter offer yesterday evening so the house is officially under contract (woot!) but they are seeing it for the first time tomorrow. So, that means we're trying to keep it tidy in the midst of workers in and out w/ dirty boots, etc.. I just feel mentally and physically exhausted. I've been doing so many "if this then that" scenarios with many different things and I'm just kinda wiped. I called the school district yesterday and they confirmed that "it was looking very good" for B to get into school but that they wouldn't make phone calls until Wednesday (probably). So, I'm still on standby waiting to see if I need to buy a plane ticket to CA this week. And to add to the crazy I'm shooting today and tomorrow, whew! The weather has been kinda nuts here and I feel like I'm running from one thing to the next and checking my phone calendar like a crazy person convinced I'm going to forget something and/or drop the ball somewhere. Sigh. Tonight is mi casa, which even though it brings some stress to make dessert and pick up the house in the midst of everything, I find that after my munchkins have left, I'm more relaxed and that it is a nice breather/distraction from my racing mind.

Well, stay tuned to see how everything goes down...we have an inspection on the house Friday, so prayers that would go smoothly are appreciated!! Thanks for checking in on our crazy. xo

April 7, 2014

2+3 = 5 ...............right?!

So this is crazy, but its also not b/c that's how God works, He is in the details. I was told by the Pasadena Unified School District that I needed to look at their website this weekend as the projections of spots filled would be posted, and they said it would give me a very good idea if B had a shot. So, this Saturday, first thing I pulled up the projections.... math has never been my strong point so I stared at the page a really long time before running downstairs to check with Adam to make sure I was understanding it all correctly.

Projected openings for 2nd grade: 5

Folks who registered by the deadline and took the spots: 2

Brennan's spot on the wait list: 3

3 + 2= 5

They haven't called me yet but if I'm doing the math correctly, Brennan is going to get the very.last.spot. at the school of our choice. WHAT?!!!! Is this for real?!!! Again, I haven't received the blessed call that will then cause me to buy a plane ticket and hop over to Cali but its looking REALLY promising. Please keep praying that this all pans out, we're SO close! I would love to move on with my life and stop dreaming about missing phone calls, re-scheduling things in my mind incase I'm out of town, etc.

When I think of B (potentially) getting the last spot it makes me chuckle a bit, this isn't the first time this has happened. When Adam and I took a big risk and up and moved to Texas out of a desire to do what was best for our family and to create a life amidst a lot of unknowns, we flew to Waco for a couple days. The goal of this little trip was to buy a house and get Brennan enrolled in pre-school. We found our dream house after 30 seconds, and Brennan got the last.spot. at the pre-school we wanted her to go to. I remember it being such a feeling of reassurance that we were doing the right thing in our leap of faith and that God would take care of the details, and He did. I had such a peace about the whole thing when I boarded the plane to go back to Oregon to pack up our life -I just knew we were doing what we were supposed to do. And now, nearly 4 years later, I think it is one of (if not "the") best things that has ever happened to our family. Leaving Texas is going to be really hard, but watching the Lord orchestrate this move is also another faith building journey and although nerve wracking to watch it unfold, such a blessing too.

Thank you to everyone for your prayers about this school business, it really has meant a lot to me. Clearly, its not a "done deal" just yet but I will keep you posted! Looking good!!! xo

Here is a peek at a senior I'm working on! More to come!

April 4, 2014

that angst feeling

I feel like I'm getting to that point in this stage of limbo where the angst creeps in a bit. Sigh. There are SO many unknowns that I just want.to.know!!!! B's school being at the top of that list. I have the Pasadena Unified School District phone number memorized as I have called them...a lot. Really, they should just let B in so we can all move on with our lives. :) I did learn some new information yesterday, the school where we're hoping B will go has projections of their openings, almost the whole school had ZERO openings except for 2nd grade! Amazing, right?!! That's the good news, the bad news is that there were only 5 projected openings and B is #3 on the waitlist, so the other 5 folks ahead of her in the lottery got those spots, so we technically needed there to be 8 openings. Sigh. (SO close!!!!) BUT, some folks may move, or go with a different school, or have forgotten to actually register, etc. I just talked to the district office and they said they'll know more this weekend about if I have hope or not...and then they said at the end of the month is the absolute deadline so I can technically keep hope alive until April 28th but after that its a done deal. So, PLEASE be praying she gets in and that we'll know this weekend, I'm a ball of nerves about it all. I'm all but taking my cell phone into the shower with me just on the off chance that is when they might call (I wish I was kidding). Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. This lottery business is no joke!

In other news, we got an offer on our house yesterday! That's exciting but we counter offered so its not a done deal by any means, hopefully we can work something out. So, a bit of angst from that whole situation too.

The weather this weekend looks just plain awful which is a huge bummer b/c I was supposed to shoot Saturday AND Sunday and at this time of year I run out of days to re-schedule as folks need their grad photos for announcements, etc.. It gets dicey, and clearly, there is zero I can do about the weather. Angst.

We found out we need to replace the A/C unit in the tippy top and that we need to have someone come in and cut a hole in the wall and add doors for a new access panel..that's going to be expensive. Angst.

Sorry if it feels like I just threw up on all of you, my mind is racing these days with lots of things and sometimes it just feels good to process through writing. I realize in the grand scheme, this is all no big deal, that most of the world would kill to have these be their "big issues," I know, its all perspective. Thanks for indulging me and my first world problems, have a lovely day! :) xo

April 2, 2014

the long goodbye begins

Last night at mi casa we had to bring up the fact that mi casa is almost over...it is April and all and they graduate in May -WHAT?!! It was hard, several of them wanted to ignore it and pretend it wasn't happening, several were in shock at the reality, and some were just plain sad. It was hard. We discussed some ideas for what we want the "last" mi casa to look like -they were adamant it had to be at our house and that I would cook, they said going out just wouldn't feel right. I agree. What they don't know is that Adam and I have committed to writing each one of them a letter, a personal heartfelt and dense letter specific to their strengths and hearts. To make this doable I've started writing a couple a day -its heart wrenching. I hate saying goodbye, let alone to kids who I've poured myself into for 4 years. I've been doing youth ministry for about 20 years now and what never changes is the goodbyes - I hate it. I always tell people photography is what I do to pay the bills, I do love it and have a passion for it -don't get me wrong, but my HEART, what my "calling" is, what I'm created to do, is pour into kids. Thankfully this is something I've known for a long time, the Lord placed this in my heart at a young age, its what I went to college for, what I was made for, and its ultimately what breaks my heart. I undoubtedly learn more from "my kids" than I "teach" them, and I'm always left amazed that they choose to share their lives with me, that they show up to my house each week when sometimes all we do is talk about random things and have no agenda, but they still come.

Our friends have started taking us out to dinners, inviting us over for our last this and that, that's hard and wonderful all at the same time. I'm so thankful for the many people Adam and I have gotten to meet on this crazy, long journey -such a blessing, I just wish I could take them all with me and not have to say the dreaded "goodbye" word. I'm a bit emotional these days and imagine I'll stay in this place for a while, and that's okay, but if you think of it we'll take your prayers. :) Well, I'm gonna go write another letter or two and then gather myself for the rest of the day. Whew! Thanks for reading and checking in. xo