Monday, December 29, 2008

Sing, Choir of Angels...

It has been one of the busiest Christmas seasons on record for us. That is saying a lot, since I had two Christmas seasons in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. So, a Merry Christmas to all of you. We're back home in Colorado from a whirlwind trip, involving my baby-sister's wedding, Christmas, and one really nasty stomach/intestinal virus, which we spread with Christmas cheer to ALL of our extended family. (Can I just apologize for the 827th time - I'm so, so sorry.) If you'd like to hear my little sister's hilarious and witty account, click here.

The best day of the trip, for me, was the Sunday before Christmas. (After the wedding stress, and before the stomach bug). My most amazing and talented mother-in-law made dozens of costumes a few years ago for a children's nativity. She brought them to church that Sunday and since I'm the wielder of the ridiculously large and expensive camera, I tagged along to take some pictures.

This is one of the most angelic faces I know... Rebekah turned 10 the next day.

Three angel cousins...

Sam the Shepherd. He looks a little like Linus from
"Charlie Brown Christmas" to me.

And, I don't know these children. But they really spread my message today. The little Mary was so sweet and maternal as she held the little baby Jesus. And Joseph was so solemn and careful.

And most of all, I'm feeling so thankful that all the stress and craziness and throwing up and fevers and snow of our trip, and the way that so little went as planned are all okay. Because the Savior Jesus Christ really WAS born, and because of his Atoning Sacrifice, we may overcome all, and all hurts and wrongs and illness will be done away. One of my favorite scriptures from Isaiah chapter 41 says:

He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

So, Merry Christmas to all of you, late though my wishes are.

The Spirit of Christmas is the Spirit of Christ!

Friday, November 07, 2008

A Post for Grammy...

So, this next sequence of pictures aren't the best photos I've ever taken. But - they are pretty cute, so I'm posting them anyway.

When we went to Utah recently, Sarah got to meet her cousin Eli for the first time. Eli is half her age, and probably outweighs her - he's a real hunk, and cute as all get-out.

At this point, Sarah was just barely able to sit on her own for a few moments, so we propped up Eli, and sat Sarah down next to him. She thought his shoe was a great toy.

"Look, Mom - a shoe" - I don't think she'd noticed Eli yet - just his shoe.

"Can I eat this shoe, Mom?"

And then, Sarah's balancing prowess came to an end. Or maybe she decided to show a little love to cousin Eli.

Eli looks a little surprised, don't you think?

"I've fallen and I can't get up!"

"Eli's pulling my hair!"
"Serves you right for eating my shoe!"

I remember many family gatherings where 3 boy cousins my same age loved to torment the heck out of me. Looks like they start young...

Monday, November 03, 2008


Some invitations I've designed for a friend. If you know Julie - don't tell!!!

My Baby Sister... getting married! It's hard to believe - seems like just yesterday that she was a darling little baby running around the house! She was such a cute baby... sniff, sniff...

When we were in Utah for Fall break, I took these pictures of her and her cute fiance. They are so in love - brings back all sorts of fond memories...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Previews of the Pumpkin Patch...

In attempt to actually get something up, I'm going to try write less and post more. So, here's something new to look at, and more pictures are coming!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


So sorry, everyone... wow, what an embarrassing amount of time has passed since I last posted! Yikes!

So, here are the long awaited answers to the comments from my last post:

1. What camera do you have? I have a Canon 20D, which is already 2 versions out of date - you can buy Canon 30D and 40D still from retailers. I bought my Canon off of ebay, in brand-new condition. I had wanted a Digital SLR (single lens reflex) camera for about 5 years, so I had a lot of time to think about/research what I wanted. The least expensive DSLR that Canon makes is the Rebel series, but I knew that I wanted a little more. I opted for a used older model because of price - it cost me around $600 used, with no lens. The 40D is around $1450. Some people feel that it's too risky to buy camera equipment on ebay, but I've had good luck.

This is the lens (Canon 50 mm 1.8/f) that I bought when I purchased my camera. All the pictures on this site were taken with this lens - it's inexpensive (about $90), and is a great lens for indoor and portrait use.

I have been saving all my pennies for months, and I just bought this lens, the Canon EF 24-70mm L f/2.8. I'm not going to tell you how much it cost - it was a lot. I'll post a couple of photos I took the other day with this lens in a minute.

Here, I want to reiterate that you don't have to spend oodles of money to get great photos. SLR cameras provide great shots, but you can still get really great pictures from a non-slr camera. I used an Olympus C-3000 for 6 years, and it gave me some really fabulous shots. The most important thing is to really read your camera manual and learn some basics about photography. One of my pet peeves is when people see my photography and say "Wow, those are great pictures, you must have a really expensive camera." You'd never say to an artist - "that's a great painting, you must have expensive paint." To take great pictures, you need to learn the fundamentals of photography. The website provides a really great online photography course that's easy to understand, and doesn't necessarily require an expensive camera. The first 6 weeks are here, week 7, week 8, week 9, week 10, week 11 & week 12. Start with the camera you have, and learn all the features it provides.

2. What photo-editing program do you use?

I use photoshop 7.0 - and I edit every picture I post here. I wish I could say that I take pictures like that out of the camera, but I always do a little tweaking. Photoshop Elements provides all of the functions that a typical photographer would need. 7.0 is woefully old, but I already had it, and sometimes I need some of the professional functions it provides for my scrapbook design work. I would LOVE to get CS3, but it will have to wait until I save up my pennies again.

3. How DID you get such darn cute kids?
I wish I knew! I only got a "C" in Biology 100, so maybe I'm not the best one to answer that - except to say that I think they inherited a lot of great genes from my better half!

Do you use actions at all. If so, what are your favorites?

I use actions all the time! (FYI - "actions" are a series of commands in photoshop that are all grouped together, so you just have to click on them to make it happen - it saves oodles of time in the editing process.) My favorite actions are the ones I downloaded from They're great, and they were free! Pioneer Woman has a great photography section, too - I've learned tons from her. Lara, so sorry - I don't have any actions for Elements. But - you can download a trial version of CS3 for 1 month, and you can pick apart the actions, and then try to duplicate them in Elements. So sorry - that's all the advice I have to give. I did that for a month, and was able to sort of figure out how to use them in 7.0.

I'd like to buy some actions from Totally Rad Actions, but those darn pennies are still all used up from my lens splurge.

5. What do you say to get these kinds of poses?

A funny phenomenon happens when you take a lot of photos of your children. They turn into hammy little models - at least the girls do. I don't say a lot - they just do it on their own! I really love to get pictures of real life things, and do a lot of candid, uposed shots, too. When I photographing older children and adults, though, I usually try to get them to pull their chins down slightly, and angle their heads/bodies a bit. These tend to be a lot more flattering. My most favorite thing to photograph is families interacting with one another. I love to photograph relationships.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Photography Q&A (or anything else for that matter)

Hi, all! I've had quite a few of you post questions about my photography equipment/techniques/etc. over the past couple of months, and I haven't answered any of those questions (so sorry - I'm a procrastinator). So, I thought that I'd see if anyone else had any questions for me, as long as I was in the mode. I'll try to do this post on Thursday, so get me any questions before then.

And, of course, if you have any deep, burning questions about gardening in the septic field, the intricacies of scrapbooking, or how I got such darn cute kids, feel free to ask those, too. Just put your comments here, and I'll answer them!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Squash, Anyone?

We tried an experiment this year. After some reading on the internet, I figured we could make a try at growing part of our garden over our septic field. I know, I know, don't think about it too much. Most of the research I read said that if you have clay soil (which we do), then all the "yucky stuff" gets filtered out in the first couple of inches up from the drainage pipes, leaving all the "good stuff" (i.e. things that made us have the greenest, thickest patch of tumbleweeds this side of the Mississippi. Wait, do tumbleweeds grow East of the Mississippi? Never mind...) to feed the plants.

Point is, we've been eating off of the garden for weeks now, and no one has gotten sick. Sam growing a third ear doesn't count. No really, he's not, I'm just fooling with you.

Is this a jungle, you may ask? No, it's just the squash patch. You're looking at the butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and pumpkins. And it IS a jungle. I haven't been able to get in there for 6 weeks. I think I'll just wait for the first frost before I try to venture into that jumble of growth. The fuzzy patch at the bottom of the photo is our watermelon section. We have 6 lovely watermelon growing.

And these, my friends, are the cause of all my problems. These are the 5 bushes of summer squash. We have 1 zucchini, 2 yellow squash, and 2 patty pan squash. Pictures really don't do this justice. The patty pan squash, in front, is the largest I've ever seen. It's almost 6 feet in diameter (and was only supposed to be 3).

Here are my lovely butternut squash. I have no idea how many we have, since I can't get in there, but it's a lot!

And the yellow squash. They look tranquil and lovely, but don't be fooled!

Zucchini. Only one plant, so we're doing better, here.

This is the spaghetti squash. We've got a lot of these, too.

And bugs! Whoa! I think that there are thousands and thousands living in our patch. I'm not exaggerating. In the morning, there are so many bees buzzing around in the patch that I think we should get a cut from the beekeeper!

And here, my friends, is the problem. This is the squash that I have harvested in the last 24 hours. No joke. 45. Forty-five squash. We could be a math lesson for Bethany's kindergarten class. Wait, they don't count that high in kindergarten.

We have eaten in the past two weeks: summer squash gratin, 2 types of zucchini bread, sauteed summer veggies with herbs, ratatouille (so, so yummy!), stuffed squash, and just plain steamed with butter. I have grated and frozen 10 sandwich bags full of squash. I have 3 gallon sized bags full of cubed frozen squash. Please, send help.

Come to my house. And take some of our squash home with you. Please, please, please...
Or at least send your favorite summer squash recipe.

And, I think, that our garden adventure was a bit more success than I can handle.

Friday, August 22, 2008

First Day of School

Here are my three little munchkins. I can't believe I have three children in school. I'm starting to get looks at back to school night.

Sam is starting second grade. He's recently lost some teeth, which gives him that cute jack-o-lantern look.

Our big kindergartener, Bethany.

Bekah, who is too, too cool for fourth grade. Okay, so she really does like school. She'll be 10 in a couple of months. YIKES! When did that happen?

Waiting for the bus. Bethany told me after school that riding the bus was her favorite part of school! Whatever happened to recess?

Here it comes!

And, off they go. Now what do I do with myself?

Oh, yeah - I have this little gal to play with!

May you all enjoy your first day of school, too! And I wish I could send you all a fresh bouquet of sharpened pencils (name that movie).