Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Another less-than Worless Wednesday: what's in a name?

I can hardly believe that it's already been a week since my post about changing up things up here on my blog! Wow this week has already gone by fast.

One of my first questions I have had to ponder since I decided to go ahead and try to complete my rebranding push before the first of the year is a new name for my blog and my "brand" of online photography classes. Like I'd mentioned in my earlier post I don't feel right moving forward with the same name as another photography blog and so begins the journey of trying to re-name and I've found that unless the name just pops into your head naming a business is nothing less than agonizing.

Pretty much everything having to do with Simplicity and Simply Photography is taken five different ways. As I googled different ideas for my blogs new name I realized that I would have to think of something dramatically different from my current name. I thought about naming my blog something along the lines of momtography but again that's taken, along with several variations. I looked at my sweet baby in my favorite sleeper and I think maybe something along the linese of the green striped giraffee. But then I think about the tone of my blog and somehow green striped giraffee Doesn't represent me or my blog well. I have crazy love for Madeline Bea and while I don't know how she ended up with her blog name I know that it's not her name - her name is Megan. That got me thinking - could I come up with something similarly awesome? Pretty much the only name I came up with in that category is Jane Adelaide - it's one of my all-time favorite names but my husband vows none of our kids will ever have it. So it might be a cool name for a blog. When I told my husband about that he just gave me a weird look. Plus I want the name to be easy to remember and flexible enough to grow with me as my classes ands website grow.

The name I am leaning towards at the moment is "Sweet Violet". Violets are my favorite flower and "sweet" just goes really nicely, plus I didn't find any "sweet violet photography" in a google search. I'm considering other options, Lady Violet is one. I thought about "Little Violet" but the hubs said that was diminutive.

Isn't that a great word? It's like something in an old fashioned child's poem or something. It's such a great word, but not exactly a word that I want associated with my photography.

Today I've had this one thought echoing in my brain - don't try so hard. Some things just take time, consistency, patience and perseverance. Sometimes all of this trying so hard does no good at all and just leaves me frustrated and exhausted. I am constantly surprised by the things that do and don't do well on this blog, statistically speaking. The links that generate revenue, the main sources of traffic. They all tell me to stop trying to hard, just be myself and trust that that is okay. At some point I have to stop agonizing and vacillating and just make a decision.

Sometimes you just have to take that next step.

Do you have any thoughts about my new name - I'd also love to hear how you decided to name or rename your blog!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

excuse me while I ramble

Everyone else is asleep... so I just had to burst in here for a minute and scribble something.

I just got back from the most extraordinarily wonderful night out with my birthday girl, Beth who turned ten today. We saw Hugo in 3D and it was perfect. It's very old fashioned feeling, lots of books, a mystery with a perfect little dash or romance. We were like two giddy girls coming out of that theater. If only every day could be her birthday... On our way home we saw the moon... the moon! It was low and orange and only a sliver of it was showing, so close you'd think you could touch it!

Now I'm sitting here, eating a bit of apple pie (it's not very good cold) and drinking a bit of coffee and waiting for my chicken carcass to boil into broth, which, it has just struck me, is an exceptional exercise in futility. It takes pretty much all day to get a good chicken broth. I think I was just desperate to get any good out of that disaster of a meal, plus I have an inordinate amount of work to do.

Eli is in his seat beside me, he keeps making noises, cooing and crying in his sleep. It's just adorable.

Good night.

Catching up

Happy Thanksgiving from the Raider Family!
Yesterday was a very Monday kind of Monday... it was rainy, my kids were tired, it was my first full day home from our weekend out of town and Eli pretty much wanted to be held all day long. So yeah, I'm pretty much trying to catch up on everything at the moment, and this week's photography challenge is just one of many things that is still waiting to be done.

Emma & Eli at my parent's house
So how was your weekend? We left on Thursday to visit with my parents (yay for time with my mom and sisters!!) and then spent the weekend with the hub's mom. I am so thankful that we live close enough to visit our families at every holiday (even some of the minor ones). I spent most of the weekend babysitting my niece because her dad is in the hospital with a possibly life-threatening infection, he's got type 2 diabetes and has had a really hard few years with a lot of sickness and infections so it hasn't taken anyone by surprise but that doesn't make it any less stressful.   We're also all waiting on pins and needles for my sister in-law to give birth to her second baby. It's at times like these that I hate living three hours away from our family. I love where I live at the moment but it sucks not being able to be really helpful. I've also found myself missing my brother a lot this holiday season. So long story short I'm wiped out and struggling just to keep up with necessities.

(L) Eli sleeping on the hubs  (R) Mum watching Beth play on the iPad

Today is my oldest's birthday - Beth (aka Big Sister) is already ten years old!! It sure has not gotten any easier now that she's older. It's less physically demanding but much, much  more complicated. She celebrated her birthday with breakfast out with her Daddy but ended up with her head in the toilet before leaving for school. Poor baby. This weekend she learned how to play chess with her Papa - I think it might be her new favorite game.

Papa & Katie-Abigail playing Chess
Did you end up doing any Christmas shopping done over Black Friday/Cyber Monday? I did not do one dollar of shopping. I kinda wanted to participate in Small Business Saturday because I so dig the concept but the timing didn't work out for me. Some of my affiliates are continuing their Cyber Monday sales through to today - Imagekind, Blurb, Tiny Prints, Zazzle & MyPublisher are all having big sales - now is also a great time to update your gear on Amazon as they have some killer sales going on right now.
The hubs took this pic on his iPhone4S at my parent's house
 Here are some photos I took of my Little Man at Mum & Papa's house:

This wooden rifle was made for my uncle and has been in the family for probable forty years. Josiah had a great time playing with it. I sat beside him and we used our imaginations for a good half hour. He was so quiet about it, I was really surprised. I guess he doesn't realize how much noise guns make.

Below are some photos - just an ordinary moment in the life here. I dug out a kindergarten workbook for Josiah to play with and we did a rock sorting activity.

Okay - so I'm not going to make any promises about what may or may not be happening at the blog this week. I've got some great ideas for posts this week which may (or may not) be published this week. I'm also working on a holiday gift and gear guide so if you've got questions and/or suggestions be sure to let me know!

Don't forget to get ready to participate in this week's SWAP at The Bartering Blogger on Thursday!!


There will be prizes!!! $10 gift cards to Easy Canvases for everyone who participates! Also a gift card to Bath and Body Works for one random participant.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My less-than-wordless-Wednesday

love this one
It's time.

I've been waiting, procrastinating. 

I said I was going to do it at the start of summer.

and didn't.

It's time to change.

Eesh. I don't like change.

But it's gotta happen.

During December I'll still be posting photos of my adorable kids and posting the weekly photography link up that you look forward to      all      week      long.       (ha!) But I will also be re-designing my blog, re-branding and eventually, re-naming.

You see there is this other Simplicity  and they are the real deal. They probably don't even know I exist.  I don't want to try to compete with them and while I have loved being "Simplicity" and "Simply Photography" it's time to move on.

and I'm a wreck about it.

I have NO IDEA what I'm doing or what I will do.

But as scary as blank pages are...

They are a place of new beginnings.

I'll be spending my time reading about writing ,  reading about business, and learning more about website design

I'll also be doing this insanely fun, though not at all original, thing on my blog. Someone who I follow on Google+ did it a few weeks ago and I have been dying to do the same thing ever since. I'll be stripping my blog down to nothing and building it back up from the ground up.

And I'm inviting you in on the process!! 

The hubs will thank you at the end of it I'm sure ;)  I'm sure you'll be saving him from endless conversations about fonts - and he only has the pre-loaded ones on his laptop. That's how much he doesn't care about fonts. He listens to me anyway, but it would be way more fun to have a go at hashing it out with other people who care about this too... like I could have an entire conversation just on serifs. Is that weird?

So there.

I've said it now.

Here we go!

P.S. The photo at the top is from my very first paid gig - it's loose leaf tea.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Photography Challenge: Gratitude

Thanks so much for stopping by to visit my blog! It means a lot to me that y'all keep coming back and keep participating. This week's theme is gratitude. Don't we have so much to be thankful for? Even during the rather suckish seasons of life there is always a long, long list of reasons for gratitude. 

I was totally planning to do a photoshoot of Eli to post this week - I'm sure I would have made you swoon. He is pretty much nothing but smiles these days - and the most adorable happy baby talk you've ever heard. I am so grateful for him and his presence in my life. But  the photo shoot didn't happen. So I was kinda shuffling some ideas around in my head. Then I was inspired by Tiffany's (of June Makes Six) photo from last week's challenge and decided to post an oldie.

This was from soooooooooooo long ago - like eight years ago. (Alright - you can stop laughing now) Beth is about two in this photo and she will be turning ten next week! This photo reminds me to be thankful that I've made it this far. 

This photo was taken just when our family turned a corner towards a brighter future. My hubs and I had gone through a pretty tough six months we had both suffered through some pretty serious depression and were living with my parents. A few months after this photo was taken we were back in our own place again, the hubs started a good job in the career he is still in and we got our first lesson on what a difference it makes when you have real honest friendships in your life. 

There have been times over the years between then and now when I wasn't sure I'd make it this far as a wife and mom or even just as a person. I'm battered and bruised but so much stronger and am a very different person (for better or worse - hopefully mostly better) than the 20 year old me in this photo. Today I am thankful to be married, to be a mom, to be alive. And of course - I'm thankful for you!! Having this blog and my photography classes has been a great experience and I have made such great friends here. 

If you haven't linked up with me before here are a few points of bloggy good manners:
Please link up an original photo one that you took, not something pretty you found on Pinterest. Those posts are awesome and we all enjoy them but it's not good manners to link that up with a photography challenge. 
Please link up your blog post/Flickr page url and not just your blog. So for example the link should look like this:  and not this:
Please link back to my blog you can do this by copying and pasting my button code (which you'll find the code for in the handy-dandy box at the top of this post!) into your post, a text link is also fine. Because I'll be choosing a top five please include the link back either directly above or directly below the photo you are linking up thanks - that will help me a lot.
Please leave comments on the other participants blogs - it's more fun if you get comments when you link up!  
You can link up either to your blog or to a Flickr page, you don't have to have any certain level of camera or skill to participate - everyone is welcome! 
The theme for this week is to share what you are grateful for, but that's just a suggestion. You can link up even if your photo doesn't really fit the challenge theme.
Next week's theme is "Eyes"

Monday, November 21, 2011

VOTE for your favorite!

Congratulations to Branson - y'all voted her photo your favorite of my top five!  Be sure to check out her submission from last week's challenge as well. It wouldn't be fair to everyone else for me to include her photos from last week in my top five again this week because she would definitely win two weeks in a row. No question or contest. Those photos are just too sweet.

A shout-out to Courtney as well. Her photos were SO adorable!! I hope you'll stop by and give her a little comment love. I also really enjoyed Autumn's photos this week as well!

Picking a top five was so crazy hard!! You posted some really wonderful photos this week. Thanks so much for participating... if you haven't linked up yet I sure hope you will this week!!


 Here's my top five in no particular order:

Austin Lee
Seeing Each Day

online polls

Coffee on a Monday

I'm sitting here drinking Golden French Toast coffee from the Holiday Coffee Collection for Keurig (click on the link to get the exact details) with Eli sleeping on my chest. 

The kids are home from school for the entire week. I enjoy having them home so much. I actually got a shower in the morning while Beth held Eli for me and Emma played with Josiah. Heavenly. I also loved not having to get up and make sandwiches and walk to the bus stop first thing in the morning. I sat on the couch while the kids watched Phineas and Ferb and I enjoyed not doing anything but hand out pop-tarts. It is more stressful and I feel the pressure from the added chaos of managing five little people simultaneously and sometimes I snap, but I'm really happy to have them home.

this photo is from Friday

The kids are playing outside (obviously except for Eli) I love it when I send them out "for a few minutes" and they get lost in play. It is such a wonderful, precious moment. The moment when they're not fighting  or complaining. That is magical. The hubs took training wheels off over the weekend and the littles (KA & Jojo) are trying to figure it out. They did brilliantly on Saturday but they are still not 100%.

Living in Georgia has it's benefits, one of which is that you can always count on cold spells to be short-lived. We had a couple days where it was threatening to be winterish but now today I'm sitting here next to an open window wearing a tank top and not the least bit cold. We still have not turned the heat on. On the one or two chilly days we have had I've said "if you're cold go put on a sweatshirt, it'll only be cold for a day or two" it's so much easier to be cold for a day when you know that the next day is going to be warm - and when "cold" is only maybe 60 degrees!

isn't he getting so big?!

Over the weekend Eli turned four months. Can you believe it?! Four months, already. It goes by so quickly. So far he's been exclusively breastfed, I haven't introduced cereal or anything yet - he just seems so little still. I'm sure I introduced juice and cereal to my oldest two by now - it just seems so superfluous at the moment. He's totally satisfied and growing like a spring weed. Plus I have the feeling that he's going to be one of my early weaners. Beth and Katie-Abigail both weaned themselves at about nine months. Emma & Josiah would have nursed until they were four! I had to cut them both off and it was quite a struggle with Josiah - I weaned him finally at two or three. Anyway - Eli only nurses for short periods of time and is easily distracted. I try to capitalize on his sleepy times to get a nice full feeding done (if only for my sake!) so I have a feeling that he'll only nurse as long as it's necessary and then be done as soon as possible. It just makes me cherish these sweet baby days.

I cut Emma's hair this weekend you can see the before & after photos above. She wanted to have less to brush and less for Eli to grab :) She is just the sweetest little girl.

The hubs managed to get all of the laundry done on Sunday - I honestly don't know how he does it! I guess he's more task-oriented than I am and I forget what it was that I was doing. He is amazing. Now just to get it all folded and put away!

Okay - my coffee is gone and it's time to make sandwiches...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Macro: eyes

This post originally appeared here

I just had to share these. They're more taken with my Macro Filter and 55-200mm lens. It turned my long lens into some sort of freaky super-macro lens with an insanely shallow depth of field.


Love the reflection in the photo above!
Below are photos of Eli - it's amazing that any of these turned out at all! These were SO tricky to get.

Friday, November 18, 2011

macro eyes

I just had to share these. They're more taken with my Macro Filter and 55-200mm lens. It turned my long lens into some sort of freaky super-macro lens with an insanely shallow depth of field.


Love the reflection in the photo above!
Below are photos of Eli - it's amazing that any of these turned out at all! These were SO tricky to get.

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