Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day 2--30 Day Challenge

Day 2--What I wore today
Lens: 10-22mm
Settings: F/10, 1/3s, ISO 800

Obviously I was wearing other items too but I am in love with these new shoes and LOVE that when you buy a pair, they donate a pair! I am not going to lie...I thought they were ugly when I first saw them but then I put them on my feet and decided otherwise.

30 Day Photography Challenge

I am following in a dear friend's footsteps to try out this 30 Day Challenge!!

Day 1--Self Portrait
(not fun---I do not like taking pics of myself---this was the end of the day hair/makeup--wait, do I have any make-up on---ay yi yi!!)

Lens: 10-22mm Settings: F/10, 1/3s, ISO 800

I am working with a wide angle lens here too so the edges are a bit skewed but I am trying to figure this lens out and want to use it as much as I can. I think I will stick with it throughout the 30 Day Challenge, so be prepared for some interesting effects! I should add that it is a bit fuzzy, kind of like it but I was having trouble with lighting so my settings were a little off and the joyful camera shake. I took it from a high angle so I was having issues!!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Heavy and Light

I know it has been some time (darn--almost a month) since I have written. Life has definitely been interesting this past month. Some of these changes are hard to handle and are not appropriate to talk about now. So I will chat about surface material until things (my mind) settle.

It is interesting how when life throws you curves, you can really start to find clarity in other places. It is funny how things that once were so stressful and frustrating now seem comical and irrelevant. Dave will be out of Afghanistan very soon and will be making his trek back to the states in the next couple of weeks. We are all so excited to get him back home and in one piece (mostly)! Fears of the unknown linger and will for some time until we know that we really have him back.

On a lighter note, I have been a bit busy doing the following: reading (The Help and Down Range), running (not far but actually running), biking, photographing (www.nemkinsphotography.com), editing, driving, "working" (on getting a job---that actually probably shouldn't be in quotations), hanging out (with Hazel, the fam, friends), Angels Camp extravaganza, road trip to Yosemite, hiking, Big Trees, wine tasting, random Sac Fair trip, vacuuming dog hair (we have a shedder!), picking fruit off the trees before the birds get it (discovered that the tree that I first thought was a nut tree, then thought was a plum tree, now is actually a nectarine tree---LORD, help me!), gardening (attempting to grow tomatoes, carrots, beans, green peppers), couponing (CVS mostly), estate sale-ing, getting excited for...Dave's return, three weddings to photograph, and seeing my sweet baby sister and niece in 5 days!!!

I will be posting some pictures shortly of some of our latest escapades. Thanks for reading :-)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Afghanistan (picture/video) Update!

Group shot...Dave is in the back center (sort of)! There is a mixture of AF, Army, and Afghans (yes, that is PC, that is what they like to be called)!

Ok, so I have been asking Dave to send me a picture of these HUGE ants since he got there. He said they are too fast and the other 200 pictures he took were blurry---booo!! They remind me of the bullet ants in Costa Rica that carried green leaves to build their homes. Also known as "hormiga veinticuatro" because it had a bite that would literally sting like heck for 24 hours (they are not lying--it was a throbbing hurt). Not sure what they are dragging here? Looks like a sponge but I think it is actually some form of food. Dave did say that he once saw a single ant carry a whole M&M!! It was the plain chocolate kind (yes, I asked)...can you imagine if they could carry a peanut M&M!!! I asked him to try it so I'll post pics if they can make it happen :-)

And now, the moment you have all been waiting for....Happy 4th of July from Afghanistan!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I hope this makes you smile...

Some things that have made me smile lately---I hope I can pass it along...

He looks so small---no, I did not shrink him!! My AWESOME wide-angle lens gives such a neat effect to photos. Notice the rounded/stretched edges. This is a SOOC (straight out of the camera) file meaning NO EDITING in photoshop! So fun :-)

Saw these beautiful flowers in the side of the highway between Davis and Dixon. Had to stop!

Isn't he the cutest...he is trying so hard to love his backyard. He had a rough transition. Going from having over an acre of land with no neighbors to less than a quarter of an acre and a shared fence line has not been easy. Poor guy has such anxiety when anyone gets too close. To top it off, we are a block away from the park and we are a corner house so we get lots of traffic.

I wanted to also give a shout out to all of you who have supported the creation of Nemkins Photography. We are having such a great time learning about the photography business and our cameras. It is definitely not an easy hobby to pick up! So far we have completed/booked six mini-session family/kid/maternity shoots and we have two weddings on the horizon!! We would love to count you in but as you can see we are getting busy :-) We are still shooting at a hugely discounted price because we are trying to fill our portfolio! Please let us know if we can be of service to you!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

First photo shoot...

Julie and I will be shooting our first mini-session this evening in Davis, California!! We are very excited to be taking photos of two, brother and sister, cutie-pies and I am asking for your advice....can you give us a little last minute encouragement and technical advice?!?!
We will be posting post some pics on www.nemkinsphotography.com tomorrow. We would LOVE constructive criticism, seriously! We would also love your insight on our web design. Please be truthful. We are struggling finding that perfect feel for the main page!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

No words...

Awesome giveaway!!


Wow---how fun is this!! I hope you (I) win ;-)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Running! Lemonade! 16 and pregnant

OK---I know these three things have nothing in common but stick with me...

Running...This is not my favorite topic of conversation but I am learning to like it. I am NOT a runner and those of you who know me know that this is completely true. I wanted to post that I hit a milestone today. I am proud of myself....I ran my route (about 1.5 miles--I know it is not much but let me remind you, I'M NOT A RUNNER!!) without stopping!!!!!!!!

Now, I will say that some people might walk faster than I run BUT that is not the point. I was desperate to stop and walk so many times but I didn't listen to that devil on my shoulder, instead I thought of what I wanted to look like in a new bathing suit. I am really liking the vintage inspired suits and can't make up my mind!!

Interesting fact: I never thought I would be able to run because I have knee problems from many years of dance and jump splits BUT Peter introduced me to the Reebok Realflex and my knees don't hurt. It is a miracle!

Lemonade...I made homemade lemonade thanks to a dear friend who shared some of her lemons. These lemons were the size of grapefruits, I kid you not---yes, welcome to California!!

16 and Pregnant...Is it just me or area ALL the guys this season worthless OR am I the only one who watches this crap?! And by the way....its FRustrated NOT fustrated....ay yi yi!!!

Monday, June 13, 2011


Julie and I have been working overtime to get a photography business together!! We are very excited to work together and spend time capturing precious moments!! Julie has some formal training and is outstanding at getting Hazel to laugh so we can take cute photos. We have both been doing online tutorials to learn how to use our equipment and technology to the best of our ability. We will also be taking a class this summer to perfect our skills!! Although, I am working on a learning curve, I am truly loving discovering something new and can't wait to really get started.

Please check out our Facebook page Nemkins Photography and our website www.nemkinsphotography.com when you have a chance!

We are really excited and would love to practice on you ;-)

Friday, June 10, 2011


Our last day of kids was June 2nd....as you can see, I am still recovering or I would have posted this much sooner! This was a very different year for me and I have learned more than I thought was possible from 24 - 5th and 6th graders (and one 8th grader)! I will not be returning to my current school for many reasons. I hope to make it back into school for my masters?! I am absolutely positive that I will miss teaching so I am going to hurry back as soon as I can get back.

What I learned this year:

I've learned when I ask, “Would you please pick up the paper or pencil from the floor?” They don’t belong to anyone. (I can guarantee you that it is not mine!)...

I've learned when there is anything hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the hall, students will jump up and try to hit it...

I've learned planning lessons and staying in my classroom until it is dark outside AND coming in on the weekends occurred far too frequently this year...

I've learned that in education, change happen often. New techniques, new ideas, the rewriting of curriculum, new technology and the growing size of classrooms are only a few. Therefore, I have learned to be open-minded...

I’ve learned to manage mountains of paperwork (one word for my friends at DMCS, CUMES)--every school is different and it is a bit ridiculous at times, but we all still do it AND manage to teach kids simultaneously...

I've learned that my job is both satisfying and challenging (emphasis on the challenging)...

I've learned that I am able to draw out the good qualities of my troubled students...

I've learned that elementary school kids are VERY different from my comfort zone of middle school students...

I've learned that I dearly miss and LOVE school sports and the camaraderie it brings to a school and its students...

I've learned that I don’t have much free personal time. Taking a "sick" day is more work than just sucking it up and being there...

I've learned that there are always papers to grade, lessons to plan, parent contacts to make, meetings to attend, emails to answer, and mounds and mounds of paperwork to sort through...don't let it get to you...

I've learned that while I may know about the subject matter, I am continuously learning about how students learn. I did A LOT of learning this year (5th/6th grade--6 new curriculums EACH--makes me tired just typing that)...

I've learned that kind words and looking for the positive in students produces improvement of work and encourages students to do their very best to please me as well as themselves...

I've learned that even though I tell the students, “your grades are your business. If you did your best, that is what matters.” No sooner are those words out of my mouth, than students are whispering and comparing grades (DRIVES ME CRAZY)...

MOST OF ALL, I have learned that educating children is where I belong...

I feel that every moment of educating, and every day as a teacher, I learn more ways to make my classroom a better place for my students. I intentionally seek ways to build a sense of joy into my lessons. You must be flexible. Quality of educating is more important than the number of pages covered in a textbook.

The most important thing that I learned this year is that even when you feel like you can't go any more, there are people who will pick you back up and carry you along your way. I have been blessed, my God have I been blessed this year! I am honored to have worked and stood next to some of the greatest people I have ever met. I cannot explain the connection we all have made this year, it is indescribable. I know that I will be friends with these people for the rest of my life. I am humbled.

This is not everyone....I MUST get a group picture ASAP!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011

What junior high taught me...

I was sent this beautiful post by one of my dearest friends who is now a middle school administrator. This was written by one of her colleagues and is well said. I identify with her in so many ways and feel these feelings (except with a math mind) and love that I can share this with you!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Canon!!

I will tell you more about my new toy when I figure it out BUT I did want to share a couple of my newest photos. I do not have Photoshop yet so these are naked!!

Kind of fun :-)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May Fair Week

Yes, I did say week...my dear Texas friends, you know how serious we take our Texas State Fair and I will say that these Dixon folks do the same!! Everything is bigger in Texas...this still holds true. They May Fair is only a fraction of Texas' but the excitement is much the same. I have children who are out the whole week to take care of their animals, clean their cages, show, and sell their cows, pigs, rabbits, etc.!!!

The May Fair is full of excitement. We actually have a pretty nice list of entertainment! Some friends and I talked about going to see Trace Adkins but believe this...they are sold out!

If you are near by, let me know when you want to go. You can park at my house and we can walk!! I am excited to go see all of my kids and to witness the hard work they have put into caring for their animals.

P.S. I will get a funnel cake (Danielle, I know you are with me)!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Aggie Muster

I am going to give you a link to the background of this beautiful and sacred ceremony, one that I was so blessed to be a part of in Sacramento this year!

Having served on the Muster Committee for three years in college, it made me appreciate the amount of heart and soul that is put into this amazing ceremony. I cannot express in words the feeling I get when I hear Silver Taps after the Roll Call. **chills**

I had the honor of reading the Muster Tradition to our group and it was hard not to tear up at the memories and the wishes for family, friends, and Dave to be closer. I love my school and am excited to meet all these new Aggies!!

Julie took the photos of our group of around 50 Aggies that came to Muster! It was also Hazel's first Muster! (I will post them when she sends them my way!)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Land of the free, home of the brave?

It looks like we may be safe for another day with this crap government ridiculousness!! I received two calls yesterday that told me to expect to only get half of Dave's paycheck on the 15th and that if things didn't change that I should expect no paycheck until the mess was resolved. I was in shock to say the least.

How could the "land of the free, the home of the brave", be so unwilling to support those who named it? I do not fear for our survival because we have support and I have a job but I fear for my friends and the other military families who live paycheck to paycheck. These guys have a job that they will not walk away from even if they are not getting paid. They are not ABLE to walk away even if they wanted to.

On a happier note....here are some pictures....enjoy :-)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Great post from the heart of a military wife...

Thank you to Candace for writing from the heart.

Please read her post,

The Return From Iraq: When Coming Home Is Not Homecoming

Monday, March 21, 2011

Love this...

Ok, guys...I needed a mental break....so I am shopping (in my head)!! JOIN ME :-)

Dutch Wax Collage Cuff--Anthropologie
(not sure that this actually goes with the dress below but I LOVE it!)

Butter Stone Earrings--Anthropologie

Blooming Goldenrod Dress--anthropologie

NOW I need SHOES!!!! Help ME :-)

Sunday, March 20, 2011


WOW---we have a cram-packed week ahead of us....

We are nearing Spring Break (thank YOU!) but before we can breathe, we have a million items on the "to do" list that we must check off. I am working on two weeks of Work Plans (which I should finish today), Tuesday we will meet with chaperons for our Science Camp, after that meeting we have a school board meeting, Wednesday we always have teacher meetings after school, Thursday we have a staff meeting, after that meeting we will host "Sharing Night" for parents and students at school. My MIL and Ken will be here this week, which I am thankful for because my personal "to do" list is getting long too and they typically help me with this! Next week, we have one normal school day (yeah right--it's the day before their trip), and then we are off to Science Camp at the Alliance Redwoods for the rest of the week. But then.....GREATNESS.....yes, I AM GOING TO AUSTYN (yes, Austyn not Austin)!!!!

I NEED this break in a bad way....Sully will be hanging with his cousins: Hazel, Jasper, and Emmett!! He is excited too :-P

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

More pictures from Afghanistan...

Talking to the Commanding Officer...
Taking the oath...
What are you thinking with that mustache....scary!!
This is the grape hut that is about 100 feet from their FOB.
What do you think they had to do with that??
Maybe....blow it up?!
So they sold "Billy" to the locals and bought this cute baby goat!!