Call me narcissist if you must but this blog is all about ME. I have another blog about my kids, whom I love and adore writing about. But I was Nicole a long time before I was mom and I don't intend to give up being Nicole overnight.

You can read all about my kids at Naptime Optional.
Or you can follow along on our Arizona adventure on my 365 project blog.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Hard to part with

I wrote the above caption on that box 8 years ago, when we were packing to move into our home. In case you can't read it, it says "Nicole's tapes that she needs to chuck but she can't yet-still emotionally attached".

We were newlyweds, moving into our very first house together, with a baby on the way. So much was new and exciting, but a part of me just needed to hang onto those tapes. I knew they were outdated. I never actually listened to them anymore because, well, my CD's produced much better sound quality. Plus iPods and other mp3 players were all the rage. I mean NOBODY was still listening to tapes. But I still couldn't part with them.

Those tapes were the soundtrack of my childhood and teenage years. They contained the songs that got me over the heartbreak of losing class elections, or a friend who was gossiping behind my back at school, the songs of celebration when I aced a hard test. They were a part of who I was I just needed to hang onto them just a little longer.

Fast forward to now, 8 years later. I have spent the better part of 2 months cleaning, and dejunking and packing up my house. 8 years and 3 kids later we've accumulated a lot of "stuff." I found myself easily tossing or donating things I didn't want or need anymore. So many things in my house just seemed to be weighing me down, holding me back. I was looking forward to the new adventure ahead, to the new beginning that this move would mean, and much of that stuff I was content to leave in my past.

As I got rid of the physical "junk" a strange thing started to happen. I found myself getting rid of other things that were holding me back. Letting go of relationships that were no longer serving me. Saying good-bye to old habits that were draining my time and energy. Deleting blogs from my reader that no longer inspired me. Unfollowing people on Twitter who were just trying to sell me something. Anything that wasn't serving a specific, positive purpose in my life was slowly disappearing. It was like doing one of those popular juice cleanses, but without all the extra time in the bathroom.

But then the other day as I was packing the office I came across that box of tapes. They were still in the same box I had packed them in 8 years ago, the quickly scrawled sharpie marker message still (mostly) readable, a thick layer of dust on top. I haven't even opened the box in all the years I've lived here.

But despite my recent rash of purging I didn't toss this box in the garbage can. Instead I lovingly wiped the dust from the top, and carefully opened the box to glance at my past. And decided that part of my past still serves me. It is a part of me. And so I closed the box back up and placed it on the pile of boxes to be loaded on the moving truck.

Because no matter how far I move, or how many new adventures I start, or how many times I try to "re-invent" myself-the true inner me remains the same. My core values remain unchanged. And I think those things are quite alright to hang onto.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Daring to Dream

Dear Universe,

I get the message. You REALLY want me to stop making excuses, stop being scared, and to finally start following my dreams. I know it's taken me awhile, and I don't always pay attention to the messages you send me, but I'm paying attention now. How could I not be? You are screaming at me loud and clear!!!!

In ways too numerous to mention you paved the way and put all the pieces in place for our upcoming move to AZ.

Then you inspired Andrea and Jen to offer a two for one on Mondo Beyondo. And then you inspired my soul sister Andria to invite me to be her "plus one" for the whole adventure.

Then Saturday when we ordered Chinese food this was my fortune in my fortune cookie.


Then you used Sunday's post on Shutter Sisters to make sure I was REALLY getting the point. How could I not get the message when the post started with this quote:

"We need to find inspiration whenever we can, because when we're spiritually tuned in, everything is a clue pointing us in the right direction."- Sarah Ban Breathnach, Peace and Plenty

So today, as Mondo Beyondo begins I'm listening. I'm jumping in with both feet. I'm ready to find the path you are trying to lead me to. I'm finding the clues. I'm making room for stillness.

Let the dreaming begin!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

"You may be right, I may be CRAZY. But is just may be a lunatic you're looking for."

Most couples have a song. And, generally speaking, that song is romantic.

Billy Joel's You May Be Right is our song.

Even after nearly 9 years of marriage we frequently quote the lyrics to each other. "If I'm crazy then it's true, that it's all because of you, and you wouldn't want me any other way." That's just the way we roll.

And, truth be told, we both are a little crazy. But we are each our own unique brand of crazy, and somehow we compliment each other perfectly.

My husband is the type who washes his hands 10 times after being in a public place, and who will drive around the block 3 times just to MAKE SURE he closed the garage. He also MUST hear the beep the sound makes when you lock the car from the keyless entry 3 times before he is REALLY SURE the car is actually locked.

Me, on the other hand, will often walk out of Target only to find I never actually locked the car.

I have my own version of crazy though. For instance, when I was packing for our Disneyland vacation I would pick one day's clothes for a child (Shirt, pants, socks, underwear) and then roll that day's clothing all together, put the whole roll down in a gallon size zip lock bag, and then write the child's name on the bag. (Yes, I really did that!!!) That way each day I could quickly account for if I had packed enough clothes for everybody, plus then each day on vacation I pulled out one bag for each child and just handed it to them and knew they had everything they needed to get dressed.

So yesterday I called my sister-in-law and told her that packing to move was bringing out all my crazy. I said "I always knew I was a little OCD....." to which she proceeded to laugh hysterically, then between tears said "I love that you think you're just a little crazy." (I'd be offended, except that she is right!)

See, I was packing toys yesterday, and I couldn't bring myself to just toss all the toys together in a big box. I would first pack each individual type of toy in it's own zip-loc bag and then put the bags into a bigger box.

So as I sat on the floor of my daughter's room separating Fairy shoes from Princess shoes (because heaven forbid fairies should mingle with princesses) I realized just how crazy I really am.

Even the baby dolls got packed away in their own bags to keep them from getting dusty or dirty.

And yes, I do get that it looks like they are in body bags. Which amuses me to no end, which also makes me a little crazy.

Last week I had packed all the Lightening McQueen-type cars and toys, and clearly labeled the box. Then taped up the box and moved it to the basement.

Then yesterday, way in the back of a closet, I found Flo.

A normal person would've just tossed her in with the Hot Wheels since there is an entire box of them as well, and that box isn't sealed up. But no, my OCD required that I go downstairs, cut open the already sealed box, dig to the bottom to find the cars that are just this size, open the zip-loc bag, place Flo inside, reseal the bag, repack the box, then reseal the box.

Yup! You may be right, I may be crazy!!!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Practice! Practice! and then Practice some more!!!!


I always leave the house for a shoot feeling like it's going to be the BEST SHOOT EVER!!!!

Usually I just read a new photography book, or watched a creativeLIVE workshop and I feel like I now know everything I need to know to rock the shoot.

But then I get there and the baby is in a bad mood.


Or the sun is in the exact wrong place and everybody has to squint. (Okay, or maybe the photographer is just in the wrong place.....)


Or I take a picture that I love, only to get home and find that it is woefully blurry!!!!!


There are just so many stinking variables to account for all the time. The professionals make it all look so very easy! But I, at times, find it all so overwhelming.

Yet-the only way to get better is to practice, practice, practice!!!!

So, as always, a big thanks to all my guinea pigs who let me practice on them. Like the lovely Burton Family.


Sometimes the key is to just sit back and wait for the moment....






And let's be honest...sometimes I just take a ton and pray for one to turn out just right.




But at the end of the day I'm just so happy to be out doing something I love. (And I don't mean that in a cliché way. I mean it in the I really have fun doing it even if my pictures don't turn out 100% the way I had hoped kind of way.)