Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring is in the Air

Spring has been in full swing here in Phoenix. The trees have been in bloom and my allergies are kicking my butt, but the smell of blossoms fill the air and I love that smell. Last week I cleaned the rock out of this table display and added some green tea scented figs that my mom gave me for Christmas. Isn't it pretty?

Last weekend I did a family photo shoot at Indian Steele Park in downtown Phoenix. The park was created after Indian Steele school closed down. The buildings were kept on the old school grounds and I discovered these doors that I love.

Clara decided to help daddy mow yesterday...

Just cute...

Here's a couple of pictures of our aloe plant blooms. They remind me of honey suckle blooms...

Friday, March 30, 2012

Words that Warm My Heart

Lately, when I talk to my Nana on the phone, she will tell me to let everyone know that she loves them very much. I love to hear that from her because sometimes, when she is not having a good day and she seems so confused, hearing those words makes me feel like the Alzheimer's hasn't completely taken her. "Make sure to tell everyone that I love them very much"... it just warms my heart and puts a smile on my face. When I hear her say that I think "there she is, there's my Nana". Nana was always good about telling us how much she loved us and she always put little xxx's and ooo's on the bottoms of all of our Birthday cards. Sometimes the number of x's and o's would reflect how old we were (i.e. if we were six then we got six x's and six o's). I remember I always opened the card right away to see those hugs and kisses at the bottom of the message.

Yesterday, I talked to my Nana on the phone and she seemed in great spirits. I love to hear her happy. She immediately wanted me to quiz her on her spelling. At first I gave her easy words, thinking that she would feel disappointed if she misspelled something. She spelled everything correctly so I started to pick more difficult words. I was completely impressed... She's a darn good speller. I wonder if that part of the brain is normally affected with Alzheimer's? The part that helps you problem solve? Something to look into anyway.

Nana still knows who I am when I talk to her. I may have to repeat my name a few times during our conversation, but she still knows me. I will be so sad when she no longer knows who I am, but I know that day is coming. I feel like time is slipping away and I desperately want to go see her again. I hope to make it to Chicago this summer, but it will be difficult with working full time still. Aiyana keeps asking about her "other Nana" and she keeps saying that she wants to go to "Cago" to see Alisa (my sister) and the "other Nana".

Nana told me on the phone yesterday that she loves to dance and that she wanted to go dancing. She use to do that a lot when she was younger. She also use to sew and do a lot of projects around the house. As she got older she started to paint and go to BINGO, but she continued to love re-arranging her house and decorating it. Now Nana can't keep up at BINGO and she doesn't have a house to decorate anymore. It seems like she is reverting back to some of her older hobbies, like dancing. Alzheimer's has a funny way of bringing someone backwards... like they are child again. Victims of Alzheimer's even relive much of their past as if it happened all over again (i.e. deaths, births, etc). My Nana has recently mourned the loss of her parents who have passed many years ago. It is very sad.

Anyway, this is basically a bunch of ramblings. I wanted to document some of things my grandma said on the phone before time slipped away and I forgot what her and I talked about.

Thanks for listening!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What I've Been Up To Lately

Life has been busy lately, but it has also been exciting because I'm starting my new business venture. As I stated in an earlier post, I am starting a Photography business and I couldn't be happier about the way that it has taken off. I have already hit over 100 "Likes" on my Facebook fan page and I started a new website at Plus I am booked into March for photo sessions... yay!

Since putting in my notice at work, and realizing that Dana and I will need to cut costs wherever possible, I started up couponing. Not my favorite thing in the world to do, but I got organized with it and started a binder. The front pocket holds the store ads for the week, the purple pouch holds my miscellaneous coupons and then the remainder of the coupons are sectioned out into categories and organized by plastic baseball card collector pages. I have only managed to save 25% on my last two shopping trips, but I am okay with that because I don't compromise on health and I still manage to get produce for the family and gluten free products for myself. I still hope to find a way to save 40% some day... Dana beat my best percentage by saving 36% last weekend. I'll keep you posted on my next trip :o). Here's my binder...

Here are a couple photos from a recent photography session...

I photographed several products for a locally run business. I was very meticulous about the way each product looked in these photos so I took a picture of what I saw through the lens 80% of the time... my hand :o). The final shot did not have my ugly thumb in it, so don't worry ha, ha. It was a lot more work than I anticipated, but I had fun doing it. I wanted to devour all of these products. They look so yummy and I cannot wait to buy some for my family. If you are interested in specialty jams, jellies, pickled produce, dipping sauces, syrups and much more... I suggest you visit Cotton Country Jams and check out this woman's products... yummmm!

Her best sellers...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Aiyanaisms and Claraisms

Every once in a while I like to keep track of things that Aiyana and Clara say by jotting them down and documenting their exact quotes in their baby books. I thought I would share a few of those things on my blog as well.

Here's a few things that I have caught recently...

Aiyana: While looking at her Barbie, in the bathtub, says "You're so pretty, I hope I'm as pretty as you when I grow up"... Cute, but I don't want my daughter thinking that she needs to look like a Barbie when she grows up :o/

Aiyana also used the words "delicious" and "tasty", both in the same day, while she was eating something. It was just precious to hear her use uncommon, descriptive words.

Clara: After peeing in her diaper (I assume) said "My pee fall out".

Clara has also taking a liking to calling everyone by their first name, including herself. She will say "Mommy.. Amer, Daddy... Dana, Me... Clara".

I love these stages... when they are so impressionable.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Scoping Out a Spot

Today, after church, Dana and I brought the girls to The Farm in south Phoenix so I could see if it was green enough for some upcoming family photo sessions. I'm not crazy about the location at this time of year, but I am sure it will be photography worthy in a month or so. In any case, here's a collection of photos that I took...

They were setting up, or taking down, a wedding so someone brought over some wedding bubbles for the girls to play with.

This was my favorite picture of the trip. I would almost go back with a family just to get some photos of their kids right in this spot. I LOVE the lighting...

An orange flower...

Clara picking the flowers... shame, shame.

Aiyana smelling the flowers...

Friday, March 2, 2012

Visit with Uncle Denny

My Uncle Denny and Aunt Cheryl are in town visiting family and looking at houses (Denny is my dad's brother). We went out to eat at Aunt Chilada's. Here's a picture of my dad and Denny...

Here's Denny and Cheryl with the girls...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What's New Around Here...

There are many changes on the horizon in the Cumming's household. As mentioned in a prior post, I started a new business venture as a photographer and I am super excited about it. Here's my new logo...
I am also going to be a SAHM starting in September. For those not familiar with the acronym, that means I will be staying at home with my kids instead of shipping them off to daycare five days a week. I am extremely excited about this change. I feel like this bit of news deserves an entirely separate post so I will reserve the remainder of my thoughts for a later entry, but I just had to get the news out there for now especially since I've made it official with work.

Last weekend, Aiyana got her second haircut ever and it was done by Stylist Mwa :o). It was a long over-due haircut, but I held off only because every time I mentioned cutting her hair she would give me a pouty face and say "no, it will hurt" or "no, I don't want my hair cut short". I didn't want to cut it for selfish reasons (i.e. it's a pain in the booty to comb through). I finally decided to bite the bullet and bought some good hair cutting sheers. I set her on our bathroom counter and snipped a few sections. The look on her face when she saw the cut pieces almost made me cry :o(... almost. She soon got over it and seemed excited that she was getting a new look. Remember... she's my girly girl. Here's a collection of photos that Dana took of the process.

I love how she is sitting because I use to sit that way when I was little :o).

She kept herself entertained wrapping tissues around the candles.
Here she is checking out her new haircut...

Her hair looks so thick and healthy now...

Another bit of exciting news... WE HAVE ORANGE BLOSSOMS!!!

Our citrus trees took a hard hit last winter, but they are coming back. I think the lime tree was hit the worst which sucks because it was bigger than the navel orange tree. The key lime tree produced a ton of fruit the first year we had it, but it doesn't have any new buds sprouting this season. I am thinking we will see the key lime tree come around next year. In any case... Our orange tree is still pretty small, but we can at least anticipate a few yummy oranges this year.

Amber Rose Photography

I am so excited to introduce Amber Rose Photography

Please click on my business name above and hit Like on my new photography Facebook page.

This business venture has been on my mind for quite some time and I am finally making it happen. Yes... I am a crazy full time EEG/IONM Technologist, Mom, Blogger and now... Photographer, but I have been giddy since I started this journey. I am so excited to continue providing amazing photos that will be cherished for a lifetime .