The Teacher Side

I don’t update this blog site as much as I would like to from August to June, and that is because I am a teacher… Anyone who has ever done this job knows that it takes up a lot of your free time – A LOT.  This year – just three years in – I went all out for Spirit Week as we prepared for our high-stakes state testing – the DC CAS.  Here are select images from Spirit Week that show the other side of me – Ms. Payne.  We had Jersey Day, Best Dressed Day, Superhero Day, Pajama Day, and Nerd Day.  Perhaps my Nerd Day look was most exciting of all, but I don’t know if I want it coming up in Google search results, so I won’t post it here, but just know, I had the part nailed!  (All photos were taken with a cell phone).

The best part of Spirit Week was actually the week after Spirit Week 🙂  The 4th grade teachers made breakfast for our students right before they took their first test.  I guess this has been a tradition for me, since I have done it for the past 3 years and the kids never forget it!

bball-challenge Best-Dressed food-spread jersey-day shero

Wreaths by my Aunt Sandra

I come from a very talented family.  When I was younger, my mom used to make my clothes.  One of my Aunties made another Auntie’s wedding dress.  My dad is very gifted with wood, and some of the furniture around their house is the fruit of his labor.  One of my Uncles is an amazing artist, and he passed these skills down to his son.  I have a cousin, who is a phenomenal rapper and unpaid comedian :).  And now another Auntie of mine is showing off her talents as she creates beautiful Christmas wreaths.  See images from 2 of her wreaths below.


Wreath 1Wreath 2Wreath 3

Rest in Peace (R.I.P.)

Today marks the end of another long term relationship in my life… Today, I put to rest the first USB disk that I ever used.  I remember that Christmas Day in 2003, when my dad gave me this small purple odd looking thing.  I had no idea what it was or what it was used for, but he showed me that day how I could actually save documents on this disk.  This was so different for me as I had spent so many years using the 3 1/2 disks to save documents… Do you remember those and how sensitive they were?  He gave me this new drive, this new freedom, this new space saver!  And today, after almost 9 years of life, my purple USB disk died.  Just like that!  There was no warning… I just looked and noticed that the green light no longer came on and the computer no longer responded to the disk’s insertion.

I am just thankful for 9 years of file storage!  Let’s take a moment of silence for my drive 😉

My Dead USB


Birthday Celebration with Friends AND Their EGO’s

The first birthday party I remember was at the age of 4 when Mom and Dad got me a Rainbow-Brite cake, and invited a few of my friends, but a whole bunch of theirs.  I am not knocking their choice – I was 4, and I really did not feel like I got the short end of the stick.  By the age of 13, I had scored big!  That year, Mom and Dad had my birthday party at Pear Apple County Fair, which later became the building for my old church back in TX.  But I remember that birthday party because all of my closest friends were there with their siblings, and the food was great… and even though I look back at pictures and wonder how did mom let me out of that house like that, back then, I think I was looking good for myself.   For another pre-teen birthday, I got to take several of my closest friends ice-skating, and I can’t remember if The Preacher’s Wife had come out yet, but I did feel like Whitney when recall how many times I fell on the ice.  What was even more memorable that birthday was when we listened to “Not Gon’ Cry” by Mary J. Blige off of the Waiting to Exhale Soundtrack, and we sang it like we’d sacrificed 11 years out of our lives for a man.  But that still wasn’t the best part… the best part was when Mary J. was about to curse, and all of us stopped singing because we KNEW we were not going to get away with that, especially not while my Mom was driving!

Well, birthdays have come a long ways since then, from the Sweet Sixteens on MTV where parents are dropping “Meet Me at the Alter with Your White Dress” money on to Alter Ego Birthday Parties! I recently had the pleasure of photographing a group of friends in an Alter Ego Session as they celebrated a milestone birthday.  Some of the ego themes we came up with on the spot, but they all came out nicely and provided a nice contrast of their personalities.  The highlight for me was laying out the keepsake Photobook that they ordered with all of their poses and merges.  See the pages below!



Free Spirit

Special Delivery

Business Woman

The Diva

Back Cover