Making A Leap

I did it. I bought a new camera, and have upgraded to a “professional blog”…

You can now find my latest work here.

Thanks for stopping by friends! All things looking up from here!




Ice Ice Baby: 2011

As a teacher, my only hope and love for winter comes from the glorious feeling of having 2 hour delays and snow days…however, this year, we haven’t had a single. one.  This disappoints me thoroughly, as I long for the 5am automated phone calls that gladly wake me up with the best news a summer girl can hear; That 1: I either get to sleep in for 2 more hours, or better yet, 2: I get to sleep in and do whatever I want (which is usually absolutely nothing) all day long.

But NOPE, not this year…not yet anyway. Here we are at the end of January and I have yet to feel that excitement of seeing my school district on the TV for a delay or cancellation OR that startling waking-up-from-a-deep-sleep to see the contact “CANCELLATION/DELAY” show up on my phone, that I just can’t WAIT to answer, listen, and hang up as the happiest girl in all the land and go back to sleep.  NOPE, none of that. What’s going on here, mother nature?

What I’m waiting for now is just for winter to smack us RIGHT in the face, BAM, just like that, 2 to 3 snow days in a row. A lot like it did last year around this time.  The infamous ice storm of 2011 went down in the record books forever. In all my 26 (25 at the time) years of my life I had never seen anything like it. ICE..everywhere. Nothing existed outside that wasn’t covered in a blanket of ice.

So what did I do with my 3 snow days? Well, mostly nothing, really…drank a lot of wine, watched a lot of TV, stayed in my pajamas, and of course…took some photos.

In case you need a reminder of what winter may still bring us, (and though I’m hoping it’s not THIS bad again…I mean, all I want is a few delays..maybe one snow day, ya know? Is that too much for a teacher to ask?) Here it is, (insert “Ice Ice Baby” music here):

2 Years Ago Today…

Two years ago today was one of the best days of my life because it was the day that Justin proposed to me. It was our 4th year anniversary, when he took me to dinner downtown at Weber Grill and then we walked around Monument Circle and got hot chocolate at the South Bend Chocolate Company.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m kind of a picture freak, so of course, I had my camera with me and set it up on the side wall of the circle to take a “timed picture” of the two of us. After the second try, I pushed the shutter button for the third time and ran back to get in the picture with Justin. Just in time for the flash to go off, he got down on one knee and popped the big question while my camera captured it all…perfectly. (You can read more about our proposal and wedding story here.)

Since then, on our “proposal anniversary,” we try to recreate that same special night we shared together and retake the infamous picture we will cherish forever. Though he refuses to get down on one knee and confess his love to me again, I still enjoy every minute of it just the same.

With a little “fun” editing, here is the original picture from the night he proposed followed by photos I captured this year on our special night.

Happy 6 years of dating, 2 years since you proposed, and 209 days of being married, Hubby! I love you! Xoxo

Christmas Tradition

This year is my first Christmas outside of my parents house…not that I’ve lived at my parents house for 26 years straight by any means, but up until this year, I haven’t been married, so I’ve always stayed there Christmas Eve.

Thinking of this, I realized, it’s the first year things will really be different. Sure, it’s been different before; with 2 firemen in our family sometimes we don’t even get to celebrate Christmas on Christmas Day because one of them (or maybe even both) are at the firehouse. But this year, it’ll be really different.  Sleeping at my house on Christmas Eve…waking up at my house on Christmas Day…it’s a little strange and completely new.

This brings me back to my most fond memories of Christmastime at my parents house, and now that I’m grown, and married even, brings me to the memories I want to make with the future little family I’m planning on having.  My parents were the BEST at making Christmastime the most magical month or so that ever existed.  We didn’t just BELIEVE in Santa, we truly BELIEVED in him and everything that came along with his magic and the Christmas season.  When he visited our house, he brought us our “big” gifts, or the gifts we most wanted, and he didn’t wrap them.  They were always on display in our living room on Christmas morning which is why it was forbidden to go in there until my mom and dad said it was ok. 🙂

Christmas eve was always an exciting and sleepless night at our house, like it is for most houses with little kids. I don’t know that my little brother or I ever slept more than 2 hours at a time and would constantly run into my parents room asking, “Can we get up yet? Can we get up yet?”  When the time finally came, and we COULD get up…we would take the long walk hand in hand, down our hallway with our eyes closed to our living room where my mom would be waiting with her camera ready to go (wonder where I get it from? 🙂 )  She would count out loud:”1….2….3!!!!” And my brother and I would open our eyes at the same time to see what Santa had brought us. She captured the most magical moment every. single. year.

Looking at these pictures brings tears to my eyes for so many reasons.  Not only did I have a magical Christmas every year as a kid, but I am so thankful that my mom (and my dad) thought to start such a tradition.  I can’t imagine the countless hours they spent in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve assembling the endless amounts of toys we received every year just to make sure we still believed and were absolutely thrilled on Christmas morning.  I can’t thank them enough for that.

I also cannot WAIT to start this same tradition with my own kids someday. After all, if they’re anything like me, they’ll cherish the photos I capture…. forever.

Here’s a glimpse of our tradition. I hope you can feel the magic as much as I still can.  Happy Holidays Everyone!

And just for fun... 🙂

Instagram Challenge Days 11-20

Whew! It’s been awhile, friends. The holidays and a classroom full of crazy 6 year olds has kept me busy.  Anyways, back to my Instagram Challenge- Still sticking with the “gratitude” theme…so thankful for all these things 🙂

Day 11: Something Old: An barn in the country…my favorite place to photograph.

Day 12: Hands: My mom’s..hooking my wedding dress 🙂

Day 13: Written Words

Day 14: Movement: Driving down an Indiana country road…and a mini-windmill on the 4th of July

Day 15: Technology: Where would I be without my laptop on my lap every night and the blog that’s started me down the road I’ve wanted to travel?

Day 16: Animals: My precious little JuneBug-6 months old this week!

Day 17: Memories: Boating in the Summertime and Kings Island…both favorite memories I’ve had for years and years.

Day 18: Something New: Running shoes. New one’s keep me more motivated…is what I like to say 🙂

Day 19: Best Friend: All 7 of them…plus my 2 mini-me best friends on my wedding day.

Day 20: Seasonal: My favorite parts of our Christmas tree this year 🙂


Room 5- My Home Away From Home

Welcome to a little tiny glimpse of my daily life in room 5; a first grade classroom on the Southside of Indianapolis. At 8:45am, Monday through Friday, doors fly open and running feet, children’s voices, pencil sharpeners, and laughter can be heard for miles.

I get to be “the boss” of this learning environment. And it’s funny to me because I remember being in first grade like it was yesterday.  I loved it…more than that, I adored it. Ever since then, there’s no other job I could imagine myself doing (besides this photography thing I got goin’ on, right? 🙂 ). But I can’t help but admit, it’s weird to think I actually did it. I AM doing it…what I’ve always wanted…and I have a greater responsibility on my hands than some of you will ever know.

I am a lucky girl to call this my “job.”  I get to spend my days with 20 six year olds who look up to me as a role model for literally everything. From what it means to be a good friend, to how to zip a coat, tie a shoe, add 2+2, handle an argument, color inside the lines, stick on a band aid, wipe tears, READ, write…the list goes on. My students look to me to model all this and more for them…to show them what I would do in specific situations.  How many people get to encounter making such an influence daily?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine everyday, but for the most part, I truly can’t complain.  I am thankful..and when the “Mrs. Ray’s” are going in one of my ears and out the other, I just stop and remember…they’re little people too and they think the world of me 🙂

Enjoy this teeny peek into my “beach bum” classroom and as always..thanks for stopping by!

Instagram Challenge Days 1-10

Can’t get enough of Instagram! Here’s my photos for days 1-10. I love having a reason to use the App and reminding myself of what I’m thankful for! 🙂

Day 1: Favorite Food: I couldn’t pick between the two…. Pazookies (AKA a warm cookie with ice cream on top) from BJ’s Brewhouse and cupcakes from Gigi’s Cupcakes = DE-LISH!

Day 2: Smile: That’s my smile, at my home away from home…my desk at school.

Day 3: Happiness: Playing in the sprinkler in the Summer, of course. And the happiest day of my life thus far…my wedding day 🙂

Day 4: Leaves: It has been a GORGEOUS Fall here in Indiana.

Day 5: Morning Sky

Day 6: Books: Can’t get enough of them in first grade!

Day 7: Something Funny: Our dog Ollie riding in our jeep with sunglasses on 🙂

Day 8: Favorite Color: Turquoise blue..or any shade of blue, really. And if it’s beach related, that’s a plus 🙂

Day 9: Inspriring Person: My momma. Where would I be without her?

Day 10: Nature: Rainbows just amaze me.

30 Day Instagram Challenge

Well, I’m sad to say I’m officially facing the fact that winter is pretty much here in the state of Indiana which means not-so-friendly-weather for outside photoshoots. This also means I am searching for REASONS to photograph anything and everything. SO, I googled it. Literally, I Googled, “Photo Challenge” and this was the first one that popped up.

Incase you haven’t heard of Instagram, it is an App you can get on the iPhone. I have been completely obsessed with it since I discovered it existed, so when I found this challenge my heart jumped for joy not only because it involves Instagram, but also because it involves my iPhone…which goes everywhere with me except the shower 🙂

One of the best parts of this photo challenge is that it focuses on all sorts of things I should be grateful for…which fits perfectly for the holiday season and gives me daily reminders of the lucky life I get to live.

Here’s the lay out and thanks to Positively Present for coming up with the idea! Stay tuned for all my photos 🙂

Positively Present Photo Challenge


B, B, & C

Ben, Beth, and little Charlee came into my life less than a year ago and I can say without a doubt that I immediately adored them.  Charlee has the cutest little smile and Ben and Beth would do absolutely anything to keep her happy (even if it’s watching Sesame Street and 24/7:).

We drove out to Beth’s horse barn in Mooresville and tried to get the best photos we could before it got dark (which was WAY too soon) and Charlee got cranky.  Despite the short time we spent together, I could tell that Ben and Beth adore their little girl (how could they not?!) and she is SO super lucky to have them as her mom and dad.

B, B, & C, thanks so much for spending your evening with me.  I love you guys and can’t wait to watch little Charlee keep growing and growing. I admire you both as young parents and can only hope my future little family is as adorable as yours! 🙂



30 Day Photo Challenge: Days 22-30

Well, I am sad to say this is the last batch of photos from the challenge.  While it was a ton of fun, I have to admit it was hard for me to keep up with it. I am sad to see it go but happy that I’ve learned so much more about photography and made some “blog friends” along the way 🙂 Enjoy, and as always, thanks for stopping by!

Previous days photos:

Days 1-7

Days 8-14

Days 15-21

Day 22: Hands: A momma’s hand wrapped with her baby girls. I took this photo at a new born photo shoot I had recently and am obsessed with it.

Day 23: Sunflare

Day 24: Animal: This is my baby girl, Junebug next to a bottle of wine named after her. Is she not the cutest thing ever (despite her need to be groomed)?!


Day 25: Something Pink: Junebug’s name tag 🙂


Day 26: Close Up: My husband and I have these little cards on our bathroom mirrors…we found them at a seafood restaurant in Charleston, SC. Great daily reminders.

Day 27: From a Distance


Day 28: Flowers

Day 29: Black and White

Day 30: Self Portrait