Sunday, December 28, 2008

3 C's of Christmas

Let me start by saying that I take SNAPSHOTS at Christmas.
Among all the Confusion, Chaos, and Clutter of this holiday
I can hardly get anything other than a quick shot of the moment.
But I don't mind. Each of these makes me smile.

This is little Devon holding Presley. She was playing patty-cake with her until she started crying. Devon politely shoved her off her lap. Here is my little pal, Kelly. He is going to be my assistant some day.
Cousins.....Kelly, Peyton, Lexi, Devon, Brett, Chloe, Katie, and Presley.
Peyton loves his great Uncle Rol. He's got a great fishing lake with huge fish!

My nephew, David, with his baby girls Kaliegh and Kayleigh
Presley thinks three is a crowd on her blankie.
Baby aerobics.

This was the beautiful sunset on Christmas Day. Can you just imagine Florida in the distance?

Presley was all smiles.

Peyton was so happy with his super duper nerf blaster gun.

Chloe was glued to her new desk.

Peyton and Presley all dressed up for Grandma MaryAnnies on Christmas Eve.

Family photo op.
They are ready to go - will there be more presents?

Nicki, Baby Jade, Grandma Sharon, and Presley.

Eric, Cindy, Courtney, and little Grace. All shots of her are a blur......she's a work in motion!

Peyton showing his Grandpa his new Boy Scout Swiss Army knife. Good thing Aunt Cindy gave this to him. I would have been in hot water.

Just hanging out with the family. See Grace in motion again?

All Tim wanted for Christmas was a nap. Sara's shoulder made a soft pillow.

Presley crashed for a while too.

Will someone please give me a 100 watt bulb for my new Easy Bake oven?

Bird's eye view - just a little piece of the holiday season I was blessed with this year.
Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

On the 19th day of Christmas

I went to a concert at The Pit. I was most likely in the top ten "over 25" crowd and the place was pretty full. Thank goodness my mind still believes we are 23.

Doesn't matter. The reason we went was to see Ryan play with his band, He Who Dredz.

I didn't know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised at how very talented and good the band is! I loved the music. Couldn't really understand the singing, but I don't always understand U2's lyrics. Still - the music fills you. That's how I felt tonight.

I am so glad I took my camera along too. I've never photographed a rock band at an indoor concert before. Overall, it was a great evening.

Here are a couple of my fav shots of Ryan - our cousin's son. So proud of him, and I'm thinking we will be saying "We knew him when......."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Nostalgia

Before the Hallmark ornaments were around my mother had her own way of giving my sister and I our own special shiny orb to hang on the tree. Each year she got out the Elmer's glue, a jar of multi-colored glitter and some plain, round ornaments. She would then write our name and the last two digits of the year with the glue and shake the glitter over it until every bit was covered.
I don't have all of mine since some of them were broken. Not sure what year she stopped making these, but I'm glad I have this small collection. Oh look! Another "self-portrait in the reflection of a golden ornament" shot! Last one, I promise.

To the side of my front door sits this old wooden sled. It's not really mine, but as close as Glen could find to the original one (mine) that he threw out during our last move. He combed the antique (gasp!) stores to find this one. It looks identical, but it doesn't have my initials and address scribbled on the underside. I might do that one of these days.

9 more sleeps!

I'm so glad my friend, J, finally got her tree up.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Gift

I don't remember when it started, but Glen would take us to Main Street every year at Christmas time. I love going there any time of the year, but there is magic in the air during the holiday season. It's a trip back in time with period Carolers, Santa's from around the world, horse drawn carriage rides, and freshly baked cookies.
There were a few years when it was just the two of us. There were years when we all went. When "people" started complaining about going (too cold, boring, football is on) I explained that it was a gift to me that we do this tradition every year.
And once we are there, everyone gets into the spirit.
This past Sunday afternoon was the day of our annual trip.
I was not disappointed.
Just being there filled me with the spirit of Christmas and took my mind off anything else.

Peyton and Chloe were so interested in everything in the Irish shop that I couldn't have been prouder of them. They even started talking in Irish brogue to amuse me.
That got them each a chocolate covered strawberry and a soda. In and out of little shops, they didn't ask for anything.
At one point, Peyton saw a perfect gift for his dad.
Grandpa took him in to make the purchase.
See? The spirit of giving took hold.

They were even cooperative for photos and looked for good backgrounds for me.

The last stop was the giant Christmas tree. The ornaments were as big as a dodge ball.
Wasn't this a great shot that they saw for me?

I don't have many gifts bought.
I don't have many cookies baked.
I don't have anything wrapped.
But I do have a wonderful gift that my family gave to me.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Dec 9th

So, I've let a few days go by and haven't kept my promise to blog daily this month.
Do I need to even say how busy we all get in December?
I'm trying though.
Today I put the finishing touches on the front porch decor.
It looks so Christmas-y!
I wish I had added just one more electrical outlet when we built this house.
I don't remember how I plugged in my lit wreaths on the windows.
Oh, well. Glen will get it done for me.
This evening we all attended Peyton's school Christmas concert.
It was all of the fourth graders playing their recorders (or flutiphones, as they used to be called).
They were wonderful! I watched Peyton's little fingers move over the holes, making music, without looking at his sheet one time! After the concert I asked him how he knew the songs.
He told me that he just did. I guess he gets that from my mom and her mom. They both played the piano beautifully.
Went to Joe & Abby's after the concert (they watched the baby) for pizza.
Their house is so warm and decorated all pretty for Christmas.
I love their tree! It even has several wrapped presents underneath.
Mine has a tree skirt. That's it.

Now that everyone is in bed here, I was able to have some play time.
First thing I did was download this new set of actions that were generously
provided by Pioneer Woman

I decided to use this photo I happened to have already open in PS.
Here is the SOCC photo. Pretty cute kid, huh? After running PW's Heartland and Boost (from set 1) actions, I added this
frame from Pink Ink Studios.

Doesn't this look like something you would have received, oh say, maybe 50 years ago?

The Annual Christmas Card Photo Shoot

Each year the kids and I start thinking of what we want to do for our Christmas card way before Halloween. Since the baby was still pretty small and the weather was pretty cold we knew the outside one we had planned wasn't going to happen.
Plan B: I had it all envisioned in my head. The lighting would be perfect. I shopped for and found the perfect props and clothing. Even the book (Mary Engelbreit's Night Before Christmas) I bought had the perfect colors.
Plan C came into action when the baby was sick and she couldn't come to my "studio".
All the props were intended for a different place, lighting, and background than what I had to work with since the baby couldn't leave the house. (She's fine now, btw).
I also haven't worked a Christmas card with these three yet either. The baby LOVES books, so the minute Peyton pulled out the colorful "prop" the baby lunged for it and wouldn't look at the camera. Then she tried to eat it. We had to get rid of the book. ($19.99)
The pretty hand-crafted pillow also looked like a tasty morsel to her. We had to ditch that as well. ($16.99)
The snowy garland ($18.50) and the Christmas artwork ($24.99) didn't work so well on this set up and left glitter all over the bed.
Presley's 6' long, velvet santa hat, complete with jingle bells sewn on ($34.95) was too big for her head and kept falling over her eyes. Her mamma stuffed the hat with a pair of the baby's jammies, making her look like a conehead.
Plan D: Put the baby in her red Christmas jammies and give her Chloe's pearl necklace.
Finally, finally, I was able to get some decent shots.
Not the ones you see below.
I thought I would blog this for posterity so these little kids would appreciate just how hard I worked to make a stinkin' cute Christmas card!
To make the collages below was so quick and easy thanks to MCP Actions Blog-It-Boards.
I love those things. There are two sets with several templates from 2 to 9 photo spots.
There is even a one-step action to add branding bars with your title like I did here.

Can you feel my pain and frustration?

In the end, looking at these again, I think that I might like these collages better than the actual cards.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Dec 4

Just when I least expect it, he does something that touches my heart.
It might be a bag of peanut M&M's or a card left on the counter for no reason.
It might be a new ice scraper with a long handle or a full linen closet of clean, folded towels.
Today when I came home from running an errand this is what I found him doing.
I love my Christmas angel, but the last couple of years the lights have started to go out, strand by strand. Last year I didn't even want it put out.
Today he painstakingly re-strung and clipped all new lights onto the angel.
It stuck me that there were a million other things he could have been doing since his days off are very rare, but here he sat doing this for me.
I'm so glad my camera was handy.

I made him homemade soup for dinner tonight.

As we are in the hustle and bustle of the season, remember that all good things don't come in prettily wrapped packages. In fact, I don't think that the really important ones are wrapped at all.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Dec 2 & 3

Okay - I missed a day, but I didn't feel like straining my eye on the computer so I've combined them. My eye is much better today.

This photo template comes from Pink Ink and I used it for two of my photos I'll be putting in my JYC. I'm really loving those templates that their talented designers are creating.
The photo on the left is the collection of props for this year's Christmas card.
The photo on the right are my treasured ornaments that used to hang on my grandma's shiny silver tinsel tree. I kept them put away for years so that my kids wouldn't get their slippery little hands on them. Now I fill a giant apothecary jar displaying them in my dining room. The one box still has the original lid with a hand-written price (in pencil) of $1.29. I imagine that was probably a lot way back when, but I'm so glad that my grandma kept them all so nice.
I'm really loving any mercury glass that I see and there is a lot of it out this year. Maybe I should buy some pieces, leave the price tags on them so my granddaughters can cherish them someday.

I wonder if blogging will be obsolete for them?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Dec 1st

Time to start making cookie dough. Actually, I wasn't that ambitious today.
I left the house at 8:30 this morning to drop Chloe off at school, then ran my nephew back to college in Columbia. Not planning on more than that I left the house this morning in yesterday's jeans, hair, layered mis-matched sweatshirts, red holiday socks and slippers (Ugg's, but still slippers). The outer hoodie was Glen's that I had intended to wash today, but it looked warm and cozy on the back of the kitchen chair, so I grabbed it for the long, cold ride. Who would see the dried mud on the left sleeve? If only I'd had a crystal ball.......
Last night my eye was very sore and bloodshot. This morning it wasn't doing much better so on the way back from Columbia I called my eye dr. They could squeeze me in, but the time would mean that I had to drive (quickly) straight there from where I was. Okay, so the shower would have to wait. My eye was more important than my vanity, right?
Made it just 2 minutes late for the eye dr., had the exam, he removed some glitter from my eye (don't ask), and gave me anti-biotic drops. Irritated, scratched and infection, but I wasn't going to lose my site. Good news. As I was leaving there, my mom reminded me of her heart dr. appt.
We just had enough time to get there. Once again, I walked into a physician's office that day looking like a homeless person WITH a swollen, red eye. But my mom's heart was still ticking, and that's what's important, right?
Finally, after dropping off our prescriptions, I got home at 4pm. I threw some chicken in the oven to roast and went straight to a nice warm bath.
All of this reminds me of why I don't like to camp.

Need to do my Day 1 of the JYC.
It is my gift to myself for the month of December.
A good friend of mine would like to turn "duty to delight" this season.
I would like to do that too.
I also plan to post here every day this month.
Cross one thing off the list! was YOUR 1st day of December?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's that time again!

For the second year, I will be working on a special journal/scrapbook.
I will be among many others in an online group working on the "JYC".
One more thing added to the stressful December list of things to-do?
It is my stress-release.
It is my time I will look forward to at the end of each hectic day.
It is a record that I can look back on and enjoy past memories.
It is a creative outlet.
It is a gift for myself and my family. It all begins on December 1st.
I can hardly wait.
If you'd like to see my 2007 JYC, you can view it here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Stolen moments

I snagged Lindsay's cf card today and found some photos I thought I'd share.
Joey has been on me for not updating my blog.
Sorry......I don't know what I do with all my free time these days.

Here is Chloe at her friend's birthday party at My Girls.
What are these two laughing at? Do you still wonder where the baby gets those cheeks?

Presley was a pink poodle for her very first Halloween. She preferred the paci over the candy.

What a great big brother Peyton is. He adores his baby sister and she loves him too!

How can a girl be so lucky? Just when you think there's no room left in your heart to love another person unconditionally, along comes another grandbaby. And there's still room for more.
Until next time.....
have a Picture Perfect Day!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Remember this?
Here's the "after" shot.

She was definetly worth the wait.

Happy Happy

Guess who is TWO? Well, technically on the 18th, but we did her birthday shoot yesterday and had a cake for her.
This is our Sweet Baby Grace.
What a piece of work this little girl is.
She jabbers non-stop in a language all her own.
She also has the sweetest smile, don't you think? Thanks to Jodi's Blog-It boards I was able to share several photos from her session.
The frame in the top & bottom center are from Pink Ink.
Happy Happy to you Grace Isabella.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Sneak Peek

I photographed these delightful, lovely girls this weekend.
Here they are helping me to make their mom and dad smile for the camera.
I can use some good assistants like this! The three sisters are beautiful blondes.
I saw first-hand where the expression "hair like corn silk" came from. Just a little collage for mom and dad to preview.

Thanks for letting me have a little peek into your day.

Fun on the Farm

I received an email today about having "old-fashioned fun".
This isn't really old-fashioned, but it does not include video games.
The kids had so much fun that they didn't want to leave and are already
asking when we can go back.
Here's one of my favorites of the day, enchanced with this free overlay
from Holly
Little miss wondered if this was where popcorn came from.
Here's my big boy at the wheel of Jim's combine. I think he's ready to start looking for his own farm.

Here's how they dump the load.
This is Brenda's combine. She has the fancy one. :)
I rode with her.

Brenda showed them how the combine worked before we took off.
As you can see, Peyton and Mr. Jim are good buddies now.
And here's our pretty Abby - the connection that brought us our new group of folks.
Thanks, Abby.

Grandma and the sisters all made us a wonderful noon meal - including spiced candy apples!
That took me back to my childhood and dinner's at Romines with my mom and dad.
Thanks to all of our Pittsfield folks for your generous hospitality and a wonderful day!