Keeping up with the Longs

Hello, old friends. I know I’ve been somewhat absent these days. I was afraid that if I didn’t do a 365 challenge, I wouldn’t blog as much and it looks like I was right. Well, as my husband says, “It is what it is.” Let me tell you what I’ve been up to.

A few weeks ago my band, Friends of Giants, went into the studio to record a 5 song EP. This girl doesn’t like recording. I’m fine practicing and performing, but recording? Nope. Not my favorite thing. It was fun watching everyone else record their parts, though. I’m glad my parts are done and I’m really excited to hear the finished product.

There was lots of this (sitting around):

We had a practice room so we could tinker while others were recording.

We got creative when there was a strange buzz coming from the guitar:

And here are a few pictures from my iPhone…

(This is what makes me so nervous while recording. You’d be skeeered too, right?)

My aunt from Colorado has been in town this week so I’ll have some photos of that to share. And Ken & I had a neat opportunity to film some B roll for a commercial yesterday. More on that to come later.


A year in review

I’m filled with hope for the new year. I’m not sure why turning a page on a calendar signifies a new start in my life but it does. Every year. Sometimes I look back fondly on the year and other times, like this year, I can’t wait to flip over the page to January 1st. That got me thinking. How bad has this year really been? In looking through my blog posts, it hasn’t been bad at all. Yes, the last couple months could have been better but this year has held some amazing memories for me. If you haven’t been reading my blog all year, I encourage you to browse through these posts.

We went geocaching and got some interesting treasure. 

Visited the Florida State Fair for the first time.

Took my favorite picture of the year.

I saw the Google maps car!

I conquered a fear of mine.

Went on many Sunday outings.

Went to the beach (several times) and started our jumping picture tradition.

Went on a road trip to see Mumford and Songs (warning, this post is long, with lots of photos). This is a tie for my favorite memory of the year.

Went to Georgia, collected some rocks & jumped for some more pictures.

Threw Ken a 40th birthday bash! 

Celebrated my niece’s birthday in Crystal River.

Watched my friend’s movie screening.

Went to California to interview Roma Downey. My favorite posts about my trip can be seen herehere (my favorite day in California), here and this is my interview.

Recorded an acoustic music video. (Here is the link that includes the actual video.)

So, as I sit back an remember all that has happened this year, I’ve decided that it’s been a good year overall. Yes, the last two months can kiss my butt and I’m still looking forward to 2012 but 2011 & I have kissed and made up. I think I just needed some perspective.  

Have a great New Year’s Eve and may you experience more blessings than you can imagine in 2012!

Acoustic Alley with Friends of Giants

Last night, two thirds of our band, Friends of Giants, recorded an acoustic set on the beach. We met up with William who films a series called Acoustic Alley for The Blue Indian. He recorded us performing two of our songs. It was so much fun. We even had a few onlookers from the boardwalk. I love doing different things like this and hope to do it again sometime.

Since it was pretty dark, my pictures didn’t come out that great. Even the iPhone can’t create sunlight.

Once the video is done, I’ll update this post with a link. Have a great weekend!

The Grapes and middle school

Friends of Giants had a small show tonight; not open to the public. It was probably one of our smaller crowds most definitely our smallest crowd but I feel that it went really well. We played with one of my local favorites, Alexander and the Grapes. Such a talented group full of super nice guys as well. Here’s my brother, Jacob, with our drummer, Micha before the show.


So…the boys will be going back to school next week. Truthfully, until today, I wasn’t ready for the end of summer. Not ready for making lunches, helping with homework, sitting in car line…but today was just one of “those” days. One of those days where the boys were particularly loud and a tad on the annoying side. I’m still not 100% ready for the start of another school year but I do want to find out if anyone has any clever ideas for the first day of school pictures. I’m such a loser when it comes to those. No matter what time we get up in the morning, we’re always rushing around on the first day of school. But Ethan will be in middle school this year so I really want to remember it. Middle school. When did I become old enough to have a middle schooler? How did that happen?

All grown up

Know what makes me feel old? Seeing my kid brother’s friends all grown and adult-like. The kind of adults that hold down jobs and own businesses. Last night my band toured a studio owned by one of my brother’s friends. This “kid” spent countless hours at my parents’ house. He was in almost every band my brother was in when they were teenagers. And now he owns a recording studio. I think that’s just crazy. I still see some of those “boys” as…boys. According to the State of Florida they’re adults but according to me, they’re still sixteen. 

Here’s a little tour of the studio. The guys were interested in the equipment. Me? I wanted to check out the decor:


The missing voice

So here’s the deal: I use my voice. Don’t we all? I talk to my family, friends and sometimes to myself (don’t judge). And I sing, too. In the car, in the shower, in my band and in church. Not so much these days. Way back in June Jackson decided to share his sore throat with me (isn’t he such a nice son?). He was better within a day. My sore throat hung around for 2-3 days and when it was gone, so was my voice. I sounded like a 2-pack-a-day Pall Mall smoker. Then I lost it completely – I could only whisper. You don’t understand how hard that was for me. Who has two thumbs and likes to talk? This girl! (OK, so maybe I’m not good at jokes. Again, don’t judge.)

This has been going on for almost 2 months. I (finally) went to see a doctor. He put me on some meds. The initial thought was that I have a form of reflux that caused my laryngitis. So far, the drugs are not working. He also instructed me to see an ear, nose and throat doctor. *sigh* I’m not the type of person that’s at the doctor all the time. In fact, as an adult, this is the most I’ve seen a doctor in years. I’m also not the type of person that wants people shoving stuff down my throat (literally). So, if you’re the praying type, I’d really appreciate your prayers. I’m in no pain whatsoever but would really like to get back to singing. I miss my voice.


In proofreading this post, it seems a tad on the depressing side & that’s not what I wanted. So, to offset the sad tone of the email, I’ll leave you with this photo:

Who can be sad while looking at this precious face? My niece is the best!

Outdoor concert: take 2

Thankfully, Saturday’s Friends of Giants show was much better than Thursday’s show. No sound problems, no falling equipment. It was a nice show and we really needed that. We were invited to play for another outdoor concert in Tampa. This one was held in a neighborhood and it was their first one. Sometimes that’s great and sometimes it means that it’s not the greatest of circumstances. This time it turned out to be great. The sound was awesome the size of the crowd was pretty good considering it was the first one. Everything exceeded my expectations. 

They had a fountain behind the stage and that kept my nice, Molly, busy for most of the afternoon.

After the show, the guys in the band got in on the fun.

Right before we left, I snapped a couple of shots of the fountain in the sunset.