Wednesday, December 30, 2009

plans for 2010

so with the incoming new year, i took a look back at my resolutions from last year and revised them. well, really, just updated them. several of them are staying on the list, and a couple are being TAKEN OFF THE LIST. (that always makes me happy--goal accomplished? check!)

so--the 2009 list--updated for 2010

1) take care of myself--this means in general, exercise, eat better, take vitamins, get sleep.

this one is staying on the list. honestly, i feel good. but the scale would disagree with me. i just got the EA sports active game for the wii and have good intentions of using it consistently this year. and i'm very intrigued by the commercials i keep seeing for skechers shape-ups. one of my friends from work just got a pair and loves them--claims that they are helping her with better posture. i just like that they come in numerous cute styles. and in person, that crazy heel does not look as crazy as you'd think. especially if you're already short and your jeans are consistently too long anyways...

2) read the Bible and keep up with daily devotions.

this one is staying on. i need to make better use of my morning time. less time spent reading blogs/facebook and more exercising and doing devotionals. hold me to it, internet.

3) compile a family tree for me and justin for six generations of family (up to our great-great-grandparents.)

staying on the list just to follow-through. i actually have a good deal of information for justin's side, and my side's information is pretty easy to get to. AND i found the way that i want to display it! i really was looking for something more modern that would fit in our decor, and when dooce was doing her holiday lists last month, she linked to this website that has several cool, do-it-yourself ways of creating your family tree. now, we'd need two of these to fit both sets of information on it, but i could see pairing them side by side on a wall or above a bed for a really neat display.

4) finish my provisional status for my license for clinical social work.

CHECK! off the list. thank goodness.

5) go on a big vacation with justin.

CHECK! i'm pretty content with small vacations now. long weekends for our anniversary, to visit friends, and maybe a trip within the state with family. i've done disney--and now we can dream big for many years further down the road. we still talk about wanting to do another cruise, maybe even a european one. for years i've dreamed about this itinerary around the mediterranean, going from barcelona to venice....

a new one to add...
6) don't stretch myself too thin.

i need to get in the habit of saying no when i really need to say no, rather than making myself crazy and stressed trying to fit everything in. this especially goes with volunteer opportunities at church and in the community, and my photography. there were several weekends this year where i realized i was just trying too hard to do too much. and having several relaxing days recently...well, it made me remember what that was like. and i've missed it. so here's to more relaxing, stress-free days :)

so--what are your plans for 2010?

2009 recap

jo-lynne over at musings of a housewife is hosting a blog recap carnival for the year, and i really liked the idea. this year was when blogging became more than a weekly/monthly event for me. and i love it--i think most anyone that tries to post daily must love it. i love the community that's been created, i love the outlet for my writing, my photography and other creative expressions, and i love sharing our lives (or at least a small part of it) with family and friends that may only get to see us every now and then.

so, in following jo-lynne's set-up--the first line of the first post of every month.


so for the past month or so, my extracurricular reading activities have consisted of this: (picture of twilight)
and the three other books in the twilight saga.

ahh, yes. my love affair with the twilight books last holiday season. those are what got me through thanksgiving and christmas. i still need to go see new moon. may have to wait til DVD...


so it's finally that day....
a celebration of the two top teams in the league (and in my case, the beginning of having my husband back on sundays, monday nights and some thursdays or saturdays--during playoffs, of course.)

ahh, yes. a superbowl that fell close to/on my birthday. with the steelers playing. actually, as i think about it, the steelers won the superbowl the same year that UNC won the NCAA championship for the past 2 times. coincidence? i think not. we just have awesome teams that we cheer for.


i feel like jonah's name has been lifted up across the country today.

the little man that got me blogging more. jonah's birth (and my involvement in documenting it) is really what made me get online and posting more often. i love that kid, i love his parents, and i love sharing his story.


rainy, cloudy days make me and pepper lazy.

pictures of pepper. she is one well-photographed dog. and this post reminds me of the "remember when" photos i did earlier in the year... may have to go back and scan some new ones in to use in the future...


just a few shots... from our first day in charleston.

our awesome anniversary trip. i still love traveling, and planning our anniversary trip each year is something i look forward to. (i'm already looking at some options for this year--savannah, baltimore or NYC--what do y'all think?)


so much like the rest of the blog world, i picked up a copy of jillian michael's 30 day shred.

well, this is sorta embarrassing. cause i can count the number of times i've done the 30 day shred on two hands. i'd do it once, hurt for three days, do it again, forget about it, and then not play it again until two months later, when i'll do it once, hurt for three days... you get the picture. (next up to try--EA sports active for the wii!)


it's been a somewhat hectic week around our house, with both of us having short weeks and plenty of work to fill those four days.

a post about our art that we pick up on our trips. as many photos that i take, i actually don't print very many. and i hang even fewer. i need to work on that.


so as mentioned in the previous random post, i was craving sushi for dinner last night.

this is a random post with a bunch of different stuff. sushi, planning for disney, photo locations. what a hodge podge! the only time i mentioned our disney trip, by the way, and we never gave specific dates. can never be too careful...


so i made a quick trip to fayetteville this past weekend to celebrate my mom's birthday with my family.

another mix of stuff. a trip home where i got to see elizabeth and write about my gang green girls from high school, and showing off my new office. funny thing is--my office was so much neater in that picture. i need to clean my desk--fo' real.


okay, so my big "photoshop" lesson this week has been learning how to do textures.

i love to see how my photography has progressed this year. i used to be such a snob about not using photoshop--"oh, my photos are great just out of the camera. photoshop is like cheating." nope, couldn't live without it now. i'm converted--i just need to keep learning!


a couple of months ago, we talked about planning a mountain weekend during the fall.

we decided to get away for halloween weekend this year, and i loved it! we're looking at going back up to the mountains at the end of january and probably up to WV in february. as much as i love the beach, you can't beat the mountains. as long as i don't have to drive... :)


thursday morning, we made our way to fayetteville to do thanksgiving with my family.

another traveling/trip to fayetteville post. we do that a lot. (this one was fun because it got picked up by the downtown fayetteville facebook page people and they featured it on facebook that day. i had to double-check my editing that day...)

and that's it. i cannot believe how quickly 2009 went! what does your blog recap say about you? head on over to musings of a housewife to see other blog recaps and join in :)

worship music wednesday

one last Christmas song...i just heard one that i had to share. love it so much. there's not an official video for this one, but this girl did a great job with a cover of it, so i'm including that along with the lyrics.

i guess it's an updated "mary, did you know?" it's by francesa battistelli, who is just awesome and has a couple of great songs we've used before with our girls' ministry. what do y'all think?

Hold on now, I gotta take a deep breath
I don’t know what to say when I look in your eyes
You made the world before I was born
Here I am holding You in my arms tonight
Noel, Noel, Jesus our Emmanuel

You’re here, I’m holding You so near
I’m staring into the face of my Savior, King and Creator
You could’ve left us on our own, but You’re here

Don’t know how long I’m gonna have You for
But I’ll be watching when You change the world
Look at Your hands, they’re still so small
Someday You’re gonna stretch them out and save us all
Noel, Noel, God with us Emmanuel

You’re here, I’m holding You so near
I’m staring into the face of my Savior, King and Creator
You could’ve left us on our own, but you’re here… you’re here

Someday I’m gonna look back on this
The night that God became a baby boy
Someday You're gonna go home again,
But You leave your spirit and flood the world with joy

You’ll be here, I’m holding You so near
I’m staring into the face of my Savior, King and Creator
You could’ve left me on my own, but you’re here… You’re here
Hallelujah… You’re here… Hallelujah... You’re here

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

more "fun with the christmas tree" photography

i told you i had some more to try...
(note to self--you really must clean your sensor. there is definitely not a large spot above the mantle in real life. c'mon on now...)

those gorgeous starbursts that i wanted to capture--finally got 'em!
swirls--my "go to" doodling shape. love love love 'em.
the happiest place on earth.
our most recent anniversary trip, along with some pirate pride. ARRRRRGH!
the only snow we'll see in eastern NC this year... but so pretty.
my favorite one from tonight. shared this with the pioneer woman's photography assignment group on flickr --maybe i'll get featured!
and this one, too. had a tougher time with the lighting on this one. not quite sure why.
i'm not sure when we're taking down the tree...maybe this weekend? i'm still having fun with the lights!

and while we're on the photography subject, i was interested in starting a 365 photo project for 2010. there's an easy way to do it at this website but flickr is also always an option. i just like the idea of purposefully taking a picture every day and having 365 of them at the end of the year to represent the whole year--and maybe turning that into a book or something. anyone else want to get in on it? i wouldn't share those photos all the time on the blog, but i think it could definitely be fun. just an idea...

(edited--i'm getting interest in the 365 project, so i went ahead a set up an account at their website. if you'd like to join in, they have a really nice, neat interface that combines some of the better networking tools of facebook and twitter. you can follow other users of the website, and their new stuff shows up in your feed when you log in. you can find me here on their website!)

Monday, December 28, 2009

wanted to share...

at our youth group parties before the holidays, we took group pictures of all the kids both evenings. then we had the fun task of making it look like everyone was at the same party--middle schoolers and high schoolers. after a quick photoshop lesson with justin (he has more experience in cutting and combining images than i do) and another fun evening on picnik to cover up the spots where we merged the photos, we ended up with this...

(you should be able to click on it to enlarge it. i think.)

and i've missed these guys over the past week. on sunday, it was so good to see everyone. i loved seeing my family during these breaks, but i missed my church family. and "my kids." after seeing them several times a week since september, i had a bit of withdrawal :)

(that doesn't mean you should start texting me multiple times a day.

yes, you.

you know who you are...)

i heart faces: hilarious outtakes!

it's the last week of i heart faces and they've decided to end the year with those photos that aren't picture perfect, but make you smile just the same. honestly, most of my outtakes get deleted in the editing process. i had some photos, though, that just make me laugh when i see them. so here are my five top outtake photos--at least, the five ones that i could most easily identify :)

i'm especially excited to see what the guest judges have to say this week! i regularly follow a couple of them and love their work. check out the other hilarious outtakes this week over at i heart faces.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

our merry little christmas

with a lot of our vacation days used up during the disney trip, our holiday vacation started wednesday night. we managed to get packed up and on the road by dinner time and made our way to fayetteville without too much trouble. alan and rachel, my brother and sister-in-law, brought their two cats to stay as well, so we had a full house of people and animals!

thursday morning, we were up pretty early (because of the animals) and mom and i headed out to do some last-minute shopping. i made a trip to use a coupon at the local "pet supermarket" and stocked up on goodies for pepper and the cats, including this festive (on clearance) t-shirt with a stuffed reindeer on the back. quite amusing...

the other shopping stop was at the local craft store for some more shaped hole-punches. i knew my grandma had colored tree lights, so i wanted to have a couple more options for doing more of the shaped bokeh. so much fun!

i had to settle for white paper here, so i think that affects the overall lighting of the picture. i'll do black paper this evening, along with a tripod.
and some fun non-shaped bokeh. love those colors!
my aunts and cousins came in town, and rachel and i were enlisted to teach my oldest cousin, carmen, how to use hot rollers for her hair. she has gorgeous thick hair that was taking way too long to style--so we ran out for one more trip to pick up a set of hot rollers and taught her (and maria) how to put them in. some fun girl time with some truly beautiful results--look at those curls!
that evening, we went to the Christmas eve service at church and came back for a delicious dinner. before we knew it, it was time to go home and get a few hours of sleep before coming back the next morning.
the big items this year were iPod touches--3 in total, with one going to each of my cousins and another one purchased secretly for my very surprised aunt nancy.
alan was also surprised by a carolina hurricanes jersey...
and he was able to sneak in a nintendo ds for rachel.
justin and i aren't so much for surprises--we had already gotten our big gifts a couple of weeks ago. my 35 mm lens came in handy for all of my last minute christmas card shoots, and justin has been using his surround sound headphones for the xbox (which has also been a huge gift to me--no more huge explosion sounds or gunfire coming from the gameroom!)
we opened presents for a couple of hours...

til it was time for a late breakfast and playing with everything we got. even midnight (carmen and maria's dog) got in on the action.justin and i headed back home mid-afternoon in a heavy rain and a couple of traffic accidents along the way. but we made it just barely to head over to his mom's house for dinner and an evening of rock band.
i was having fun taking pictures of the tree while i sat out on rock band. i want to set up my tripod tonight with our tree to see if i can get better starburst shapes on our lights.

and then this morning...we took it easy. a big pot of coffee to go with the homemade cinnamon rolls from lindsay--
and lounging on the couch as we watched "it's a wonderful life." justin had never seen it!

pepper joined us in the lounging--we had missed her a lot over the weekend since we didn't want to introduce her and midnight, but she's had plenty of cuddle time today. she's now sporting her new collar from the pet supermarket (and i just love it--went with something other than pink) and a sweet pet tag that i got during my Christmas shopping that is a cross with a paw print that says LOVED.
curled up with us on the couch...
such a sweet sweet dog.
we've used the rest of the day to get the house back in order (somewhat) and to take it easy. i love that we've had no plans or schedule and can just enjoy the day together. it's been a long time since that's happened.

so, how were your holidays?

Friday, December 25, 2009

just a reminder...

of what today is all about.

a very merry Christmas

to you and your family...

from us.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

it's christmas eve...

can you believe how quickly it got here?

we're just hanging out today... visiting friends and family... enjoying a peaceful break from work...
and modeling our favorite holidays sweaters.
stylish. we know.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

worship music wednesday

today's song is one of my favorites--a beautiful one that i heard on an avalon cd a couple of years ago. though this particular video isn't interesting (i think it's just the same scene the entire time) the song is worth listening to.

"He is light, He is love, He is grace--born on this day."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

the rest of our holiday festivities

so after our lovely wedding on saturday, we enjoyed a beautiful cantata at church on sunday and then had tickets for this...

(10 super star CFRT points if you can name that gladys. i could.)

the best christmas pageant ever was a mainstay in our house for five or six years--from about fifth or sixth grade until 10th for me. i believe alan participated for a couple of years in there, too. our local community theater would hold auditions in october and then select 2 casts of about 35 to 40 kids to do a dozen or more performances during december. i started out as a member of the angel choir when i was younger and eventually made my way up to one of the bigger speaking parts by the time i was in the 8th grade. i loved doing theater (still would if i had the time for all of those rehearsals!) and this was a great way for kids to get an easy introduction to doing community theater. the coolest part was doing the school performances--we would have 4 or 5 days during the week where we'd do the show for local school groups. we always got the best laughs from them.

at any rate, it's been years since i'd seen the christmas pageant, and we lucked out that two of my second cousins (my mom's cousin's kids) were doing their last performance sunday afternoon. one of them was cast in the part that i had always done, so i was excited to see them perform and to introduce justin to one of our holiday traditions.

a quick snap of the main scene for the pageant--it is such a sweet story. you can read the book, too. (by barbara robinson)
and the curtain call, where they've added snow falling to add to the holiday scenery!
there were some slight changes that i noticed--a lot done just to update the music and technology, but some that i wish they had kept the same. they used to use the mannheim steamroller version of "silent night" all the way through the last scene and monologue, which was one of my favorite parts. they added in a different song this time and faded in some parts, and they also changed some of the staging with the characters. but overall--still a wonderful program and one of my favorite memories of past christmases.

we left just in time to make it back for the kids' program at church, titled, "shepherds, sheep and a savior." so cute to see a couple dozen sheep dressed up on stage!

the room was packed, and even though i might not have had any kids in the play, i still feel like some of these kids are worth coming to see. like some of the sweet, adorable kids that i get to photograph...
and kids of my friends and ones that i see during VBS every year.
it was adorable. i just can't get over those sheep.

alright, last project that i had to share. i'm sure some of you photography buffs clicked over to this post at kevin and amanda's. so i found the one shaped-hole punch that i had in the house and gave it a shot.

let me tell you, i took many photos that looked like this:

before i got to the ones that look like this:
it's amazing what a difference the right lens will do. (my 50 mm one instead of my 35 mm one, for those who are curious. different apertures.)
and then trying to do one like amanda did with howie--honestly, i'm not sure how she did that. i couldn't get pepper in focus and have decent heart shapes in the background without getting her right up to the camera (thanks, justin!) i might have to try with an inanimate object next time...
alright, that's it for now. one more day of work! then it's time to relax :)