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Friday, December 31, 2010

Day 365

Wow. I made it! Day 365.

I had a vision for this photo and of course the picture in my mind couldn't be created in reality. I finally found Anna a pair of jeans ("jeggings") so I wanted all three kids to wear jeans, take off their shoes and socks, and sit on the dock at the pond near our house. I had this vision of them dangling their feet and holding hands while I got a photo of them from the waist down with maybe a hint of their reflections in the water. Well, the water is high and their feet would've been in the water had they sat down on the dock! So, plan B. But I didn't have a plan B!

Instead we wandered. I had them sit on a picnic bench and dangle their feet.. then hold hands. Nah. It was 4 p.m., so the lighting was harsh but it was the only window in which I could have Jenny today. So I tried getting all the kids to jump at the same time. Oh my goodness, this is much harder to pull off than it looks! But I got a shot that I didn't hate (though I wish the dock wasn't behind Pickle, oh well) so here it is... my last photo of the day for Project 365 of 2010.

It's been an amazing journey. As I look back over the year, my eyes fill with tears. I've watched Dominic grow from a fidgety 5-year old kindergartner into a mature 6-year old first grader. He is SO smart, seriously... he's doing algebra already in his head... and he is so very patient, loving, and kind with Anna. He reminds me so much of Jenny when she was his age. Anna started the year in a premature puberty caused by the medication she was on which we've since changed. Her health was poor, her behavior was all over the place, and she was not very happy. She turned nine this year, had a big academic setback, but is now, finally, healthy and happy. Moving her to Life Skills was the best move we could've done for her to help her cope at school. She hasn't had a seizure at all this year and she continues to get us all giggling nearly every day. Jenny graduated from high school, moved away to attend college, celebrated two years with her boyfriend, Chris, and turned 19. What a year! Seeing her drive off in August for Corpus Christi was gut-wrenching. It turns out that it was hard for her too and she has moved back to Austin to attend school here. We couldn't be happier.

Curtis and I started the year separated. I wasn't sure we were going to make it. We celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary this year and though we have some work ahead of us, we are stronger than ever. He has made huge strides in his job, has been to India and rode an elephant, and has gotten a promotion. I too have made big leaps this year. Starting the year shooting in auto mode or on P mode with my Nikon D40 and kit lens to now shooting in full manual mode with a Nikon D300 and a 35mm f/1.8 prime lens has been a big learning curve and I've loved every second of it! I discovered a photographer living inside of me and I have HUGE goals for 2011. I can't wait to see what this next year is going to bring me and I can't wait to share some of my exciting plans with all of you. Thank you for being such a great support as I photographed my daily life, documenting the mundane, the boring, the holidays, the celebrations, the scary stuff, and the everyday joys. This is what life is about.

For those who've wondered if I'm doing it all again for 2011... not quite. Doing the photo a day was a huge commitment of time and though I've loved doing it, I want a few evenings back to myself. I have committed to doing Project 52 where I'll share photo(s) once a week so be on the lookout for something from me in about a week or so!

I hope you all have a very Happy New Year and that 2011 brings you as much contentment as 2010 has brought me. Life is good. :)


Thanks for looking!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Day 364

In thinking about what photography goals I had at the beginning of the year, there are a couple of shots that I haven't gotten yet and this was one of them. I wanted to try a night scene capturing headlights and taillights in motion. It took me 18 tries to get this but I'm pleased with the result. Next time I try this, I'll get a better location but since this is in our neighborhood, it will be fun to show the kids when they are grown up.

I can't believe tomorrow is the last day of this project! I'm hoping to end it with something really special.


Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day 363

Feeling a little blue, a little bleak, a little blah... Christmas has passed and the sky is gray. I let the dogs out this afternoon and looked up at our chinaberry tree to notice all of the leaves have finally surrendered to winter. The berries looked so stark against the winter sky that I felt compelled to take a photo. I wonder how many others are feeling a little like me right now?


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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day 362

Well into the second week of Christmas break from school, the kids are bickering and we all are getting a little edgy. But in between "stop it" and "noooo" we get sweet little moments like this. This is what makes playing Poke Park all day on the Wii with Dominic and having the same four conversations over and over again with Anna worth the effort.


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Monday, December 27, 2010

Day 361

Anna LOVES her new baby reborn doll, Zachary. So much so that it reminds me of a new mother! She gets anxious if someone else holds him for too long and she has hardly put him down at all. We took a little road trip earlier and of course we had to take him in the car with us. We have a tiny baby doll carseat (it was almost too small for him) and she buckled Zachary in rear-facing in the middle of the back seat then sat next to him. It was the cutest thing I have ever seen. She keeps saying, "Santa rocks!" It is very nice to see her so happy. :)


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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Day 360

My family spoiled me this Christmas! Curtis got me the Epiphanie Belle camera bag that I've been wanting since June. It's huge! It fits my camera and lens, extra lens, speedlite, cords, wallet, calendar, and other essentials and I haven't even touched the outside zipper pockets. Wow! Thank you, honey!!! I have been wishing for this bag for so long that I actually had my camera strap custom-made months ago to match it from PhatStraps. :)

Jenny got me the BaLens white balance lens cap. It makes setting custom white balance a breeze! Thank you, Jenny!

And my mom got me Lightroom 3!!! She lucked out and got the Amazon Gold Box deal of the hour on Black Friday and got it for a steal! I have soooo much to learn, but luckily I've been studying and practicing editing RAW files in Adobe Camera Raw so hopefully the transition won't be too rough. Thank you, mom!

I feel so blessed, I really do! I can't believe this 365 project has led to me becoming so interested in photography. I'm so happy!


Thanks for looking!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Day 359

Merry Christmas, everyone!!! I had SUCH a hard time choosing which photo to pick for the photo of the day today but I think this one really conveys the wonder and magic that was brought to Anna today by Santa. For you see... he brought her the most coveted possession that she has been obsessing on for months... a baby reborn doll.

What is a baby reborn? It is an incredible detailed sculpt of a realistic looking baby which is hand-painted, filled with heavy tiny glass pellets to make it about the weight of a newborn, then mohair is micro-rooted one to two strands at a time to look and feel like real hair. Baby reborn dolls are collector's items and are incredibly beautiful. Anna discovered them a few months ago and fell in love. (You know about George and Audrey, right??? This girl LOVES her baby dolls!)

Santa brought her baby Zachary. Born on March 25th, weighing 4 pounds, 4 ounces, Zachary is 18 inches long and came with a magnetic pacifier and bottles of milk, formula, and apple juice. Anna has been entranced all day. So have we.

We will share many more photos tomorrow but I had to share this one of the new mommy. She has not let him go all day. He really is beautiful!!!


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Day 358

I was playing around with my Speedlite trying to see if I could get a good setting for tomorrow morning and I caught our old Lab, Rocky, snoozing in front of the tree. He is 11 now and having trouble with his hips. I hope this isn't his last Christmas with us but I'm very happy I got this photo of him. We are ready for Christmas!!! :)


Thanks for looking!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 357

Jenny got all dressed up this afternoon to go to a church function with Chris. She's been such a huge help since she's returned and I've seen tremendous growth and maturity in her. Plus, she's drop-dead gorgeous! I <3 you, Jenny!!!


Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day 356

I had a full day playing with Anna and she was in such a good mood most of the day. We even got to play with some of the neighborhood kids. Here we were outside just before the garbage truck came (she is very afraid of the garbage truck) and we were getting ready to give the crew some Christmas cookies. This is one of the best genuine smiles with perfect eye contact photos I've gotten ever. Out of the 20+ photos I took of her, this is the only one where she is looking right at me. I *super puffy heart* this picture!


Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 355

I haven't done a creativity challenge for Clickin' Moms in quite a while but this one really caught me... Creativity Challenge #7: Off with their heads! "One of the first things to draw the viewer’s eye in any given image is the human face. For this exercise, your image has to draw the viewer in in other ways. Present a portrait of a person that EXCLUDES the head. Cut off should be no higher than the neck, no lower than the waist. Do your best to include some clues in the image that tell us something about the subject’s personality (even though we can’t see his/her face), tell a story, etc."

So I caught Anna in her typical stance. She often stands like this, with her hands on her hips. She gets distracted by the simplest things. Today she was watching SpongeBob on TV while standing in the living room. She was so still that I got enchanted by her for a moment... watching her absorption in the show. Then I noticed the friendship bracelet on her wrist. Jenny made it for her a few days ago. In fact, Jenny made matching bracelets for herself, Anna, and Dominic to wear. Isn't that the sweetest thing? This seemed like the perfect thing to capture for this challenge.


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Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 354

I didn't get any good photos today and nearly skipped it altogether. We started the day early at the dentist where both kids got good checkups. It was a warm afternoon so we played outside. I'm super tired so I'll just share this semi-cute one of my pickle. Night!


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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day 353

Curtis finally triumphed over the outside Christmas lights and our home is a beautifully lit homage to the season. Well done, sweetheart! We are truly in the spirit here and are anxiously awaiting Santa Friday night. :)


Thanks for looking!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day 352

Curtis took the kids out to run errands and get some lunch today, as he usually does on Saturdays (he is so sweet to me and such a good daddy!). The kids came home with Santa hats and I couldn't be more tickled! The first thing I thought of was posing Dominic for a photo... but this one was totally spontaneous. Look at that big, cheesy grin! :) My mom and Jenny are keeping the kids tonight... that's why I'm getting my photo done early, so I can go on a date. Yay!


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Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 351

Have I mentioned how happy I am that Jenny is home? Today I wasn't feeling well (fibro+head cold+very swollen knee {surgery is booked for January 4th}) so Jenny and her awesome BFF, Anessa, went to the school for me today to attend Dominic's and Anna's holiday parties. Yesterday she went to the grocery store. And tonight, she gave me the sweetest appreciation speech about how much she learned by living away from home about how much we did for her. Awww! Jenny is uh-mazing!!!


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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 350

Jenny is home!!! She got home last night and she is home for good, WOOT! Dominic is beside himself with happiness and declared that Jenny could not have possibly missed him as much as he missed her. It was so cute! They had a who missed who more contest. It is wonderful to have her here.


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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 349

The holiday party went great and I only flubbed up in an obvious way on the first song (of course!). Curtis was so sweet to attend and take some photos with the D40 (on auto *wink*) so maybe if I'm brave later, I'll upload one to share. But I have to brag on Lupita who heads up this division of HHSC at my mom's office. She did all of these table decorations herself and they were so beautiful and elegant. I just had to share. :)


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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day 348

I mentioned earlier today on Facebook that I volunteered to play a flute duet with my mom at her office holiday party tomorrow during the lunch hour and also said, "What was I thinking?" Ha. I've been practicing a lot today. It's funny how quickly playing comes back to you, especially when you play a song you've played hundreds of times. My mom reassures me that I won't embarrass her but I am really nervous! At least most of the songs are traditional holiday tunes that have very easy melodies. I hope we have a great time!


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Monday, December 13, 2010

Day 347

Just playing outside this afternoon on a brisk, winter day. I love my sweet Booski so very much! I am super DUPER excited about her Christmas this year. Trust me, this one is going to be very, very special!


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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Day 346

I was feeling a little under the weather today but nothing could stop me from trimming the tree. Dominic and I have been a power team! We put the tree together Friday after school, got the lights on it yesterday and put out the house holiday decorations, then Anna joined us today to decorate the tree. I think it has over 1300 hundred lights, 8 strands of beaded garland, countless snowflakes and other ornaments, and some pretty red bows. So here is a photo of most of the living room with the mantel and tree. :) I got some other shots too that will be in my Flickr photostream.

I've also been on a cleaning out kick so I can count another closet finished. I'm hoping to have the whole house really cleaned out (like throw away a LOT of junk) before Christmas.


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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day 345

So I'm finally getting up the Christmas tree and decorations this weekend, yay! Dominic has been so helpful, especially with the tree. We got the tree up yesterday, got over 1300 (!!!) lights on it today, and will put the ornaments and garland on it tomorrow. So you have a Christmas tree photo to look forward to for tomorrow. :)

I used to cross-stitch a lot when I was younger. This is a photo of my masterpiece. It took me nearly a year to make and it's my mother's stocking. She has always loved music and is a musician in her spare time (jazz flute, cool, eh?). I thought this would make a pretty photo. I still need to make Dominic a stocking, I got one started when he was a baby but haven't picked it up in years. Maybe I'll start working on it in 2011.


Thanks for looking!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Day 344

Every year in our neighborhood, our community has a luminary event complete with lighted trails and an authentic Santa. I didn't have time to take the kids tonight, but my mom was generous enough to hang out after the kids went to bed so I could take some photos. Pretty, isn't it?


Thanks for looking!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 343

Dominic was exceedingly sweet with Anna today offering unsolicited hugs and kind words. After school, he climbed into Anna's lap and snuggled in. She sometimes won't hug him back but today she did. Lucky for me that I had my camera nearby. This makes my heart go pitty-pat.


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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day 342

Outside playing this afternoon, Dominic spied an airplane way up in the sky. I swear he gets as excited about seeing one as he did when he was two! You can see the wonder in his eyes... maybe he'll be a pilot when he grows up. Though right now he wants to be a fireman. :)


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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day 341

Another basketball practice tonight! This was the third one and I see a bit of improvement though he is still miles behind the other kids. Dribbling is not coming naturally yet so I see lots of practice on that this weekend. He is having fun though and that is all that matters. :)


Thanks for looking!