In Bloom

Lately I’ve been thinking about two things 24/7: tennis and gardening. This is very bizarre to me, and I’m not sure how I’ve become this person. It all started last fall when Joseph encouraged me to take tennis lessons, and I fell in love instantly, even though I was/am truly tragically bad. Gardening came a few months later, when my parents visited and helped me bring a dream to life–creating an English Garden in my backyard.

I had never planted a single thing in the ground. Our front flower bed has a few boxwoods and a knockout rose the builders put in, and I couldn’t have cared less about either. But I mentioned to my parents how I’d been thinking up designs for the backyard, and they immediately drove me to a nursery to get started. And I’m so glad I did! Although my English garden still looks pathetic (so many baby plants! Confederate Jasmine and Japanese Boxwoods take SO LONG to grow!), they gave me a start that I know will pay off big time in the long run.

My mom has a green thumb, and I was hoping she would pass it on to me. So far I’ve been pretty successful, though I’m still on the phone with her twice a week to ask about gardening ;)

I initially wanted to plant only native plants, but I ventured into the world of rose gardening forums and blogs. I was immediately hooked! There’s just so much variety and history in the world of roses. And all the work to grow roses totally pays.

I could say a lot more about gardening than I already have. About how gardening is an investment into the future, yada yada yada. But instead I want to show off photos of my very first blooms.

Lastly, my babies I’m caring for more than any others (and the first roses I ever planted): the everblooming climbing Cecile Brunner roses I’m training to grow along my fence. The tiny blooms are so pretty, but I want the plants to concentrate on growing tall instead of flowering.

Tori & Avery Take Over

I’m currently getting ready for a trip to San Francisco (!!) for my dear friend Genevieve’s wedding (!!!), and I found my backup memory card with tons of pictures yet to be uploaded!

My parents, sister, and niece came to visit over spring break, and it seems Tori and Avery had fun with my camera while my parents and I were out one day. They took some really wonderful photos! I remember my sister mentioning they played with my camera, and I remember promising I would upload the photos for her, but it completely slipped my mind. It was a nice surprise to find (and a nice distraction from packing and getting the house ready to leave).

Leonardo might not look enthused, but this is actually a major improvement over the last time Avery held Leonardo.

I love these photos. They both look so happy! I’m sure Cory was trying to jump into Avery’s tiny lap even though he’s much too big–he always tries to be a lap dog!

Left: Any time we go outside Leonardo watches through the tiny window by the door.
Right: Avery playing with the bird feeder stand we had just unloaded from my dad’s truck.

I had to leave you with these photos of Avery wearing my favorite mask. Hope these don’t haunt your dreams tonight (just kidding–I totally hope they do. Because I’m mean.)

Two Weeks of Winter

These photos are the result of the project I gave myself to use my camera every day for two weeks. I feel like a lot of my blogger and photographer friends are encountering the same problem–our cell phones are so handy and take pretty good pictures, so why carry around a heavy DSLR (not to mention the work it takes to get the perfect shot)?

I miss the years I used my camera every day, sharing the photos even if they weren’t very interesting or important. So for two weeks I made myself pick up my camera. I loved doing this, but I have to admit it was a couple months ago, and I’ve still barely used my camera since.

Here’s a glimpse into my daily life for two weeks in November.

Holidays With Family

I wanted to share just a few photos from my family’s holiday festivities.

This year was the first time since we got married that Joseph and I got to be with family while they celebrated the holidays. For the first few years of our marriage we lived overseas, and once we returned to the states I had a job that didn’t allow for much flexibility. I felt awful having to make our families reconvene weeks after Christmas to celebrate with us, so being with our families during their normal celebrations was wonderful! We spent a few days in the Houston area last week and hosted some of Joseph’s family this past weekend.

First up was my mom’s family gathering. There are so many of us now that my generation has added spouses and children to the mix (one is missing, though–my cousin Payton couldn’t make it).

This is my niece Daphne. She apparently got this headband at the Rennaisance festival several years ago. She told me, “It was very expensive. But worth it.”

My mom made my brothers and sister and I cross stitched stockings when we were young. Each took several years, so our spouses and children didn’t get the same treatment ;) I always loved that mine and my dad’s stockings were the only ones hanging to the left!

My nieces Alena and Avery playing with their bracelet making kit on Christmas morning. Joseph unfortunately came down with a bug that day, and I told the girls they weren’t allowed upstairs while he recuperated. When I went to check on him a few hours later, I found one of those bracelets around his wrist… Avery snuck upstairs and gave it to him.

Four generations on my mother’s side. I was excited to find a photo where everyone had a nice smile, and then I saw Daphne (in purple)… that made me love it anymore. That sassy face is just so Daphne.

Brent and Avery – like father, like daughter.

I keep reading articles about how “selfie” was the word of the year, so I guess it’s appropriate to include this photo of Joseph pretending to take a selfie with a fake fold-out camera.

Two of my three nieces (the third took the photo).

Two photos from my cell phone: Joseph with the soju my parents found for him, and my selfie with my niece Alena.

For fun, here is a photo Alena and I took with my Macbook in five years ago. Breaks my heart how much she’s grown up!

This past Sunday we had Joseph’s family over. There were 15 of us in total–I’ve never had so many people in my house before!

Leonardo is a total ham with visitors and was very happy to have Joseph’s family doting on him 24/7, but he got a good night’s sleep once it was just the three of us again :)

McCoy Holiday Video

I’ve made a short video of my family’s holiday gathering. It was so nice being in Houston with them on Christmas day–that hasn’t happened once since Joseph and I got married!

Going through my Vimeo account I remember how much I love making videos of special occasions. This is the first time I’ve done so with my new DSLR, which is extra exciting. I’m going to try to make a point to take more videos; they capture something special photos can’t.

The video starts out with clips of my parents’ new kitten, Little Bit. No one is going to complain about unnecessary footage of an adorable kitten, are they? Little Bit was nice and relaxed for most of my visit, but she hid away during the main Christmas festivities, which was upsetting to my nephew Lennon.

McCoy Christmas 2013 from Alyssa Young on Vimeo.

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