Monday, November 7, 2011

Sharon and Charlie - Hitched at Last!

This weekend, my baby sister got married. We're so, so happy with the great guy she chose, and we had a lovely couple of days with lots of great family and friends. I took a LOT of pictures and can't imagine ever having time to post them all, but I thought I'd hurry and post a few of my favs.

I really love this one of Mom and Sharon. So sweet.

Yay, the newlyweds!

Brynn and Ally are 7 weeks apart in age - they are like peas and carrots. When I told them that, Brynn said, "I want to be the peas, I only like peas". And then Ally said, "I want to be the peas, I don't like carrots either!" Oh boy.

Sharon was a beautiful bride - this was kind of an impromptu shot while they were greeting their guests, but I love it.

My brother Scott let me take a few fun shots of him.

And this is my other sister Laura with her awesome hubby, Craig - they've been married for 20 years, believe it or not. 

Their oldest daughter - beautiful Madison (she's a lot younger than she looks!).

And her big brother Justin, he's 17 - so handsome!

And my big boy, he's so handsome too.

The men.

And the little men. Double trouble: Luke and Nate. They were born 2 days apart. This was taken at the end of the day when these 2 were a little worse for wear. I asked Luke where his boutonniere was and he said he didn't know. And then he said, "But it's okay Mom, you can just copy Nate's flower in Photoshop and put one on my shirt. You'd never know he's the son of someone who spends half her life in the Photo-shop.

One of the best things about weddings is getting to see family and friends that we don't normally get to see. Like one of our very favorite relatives - Aunt Grace. 


The cake was made by Mom's good friend Margene. As long as I can remember, we've had flowers in our home that Margene made: framed and dried flower arrangements, toll painted dressers, flower paintings and crafts... it was very fitting that Margene made this cake with all it's handmade flowers on it. 

I wonder who first started the tradition of trashing the car? Anybody know? The guys took mercy on the car since it was a rental, but they still had to have their fun.

 And here's the couple heading out to catch a plane to Costa Rica - catching their first glimpse of the car.

It was fun, it was busy, it was wonderful, and now, thank goodness, it's OVER. Love you guys! We wish you every single solitary happiness.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Catchin' Up

I have been a very negligent blogger lately. I used to be a scrapbooker, then I became a digital scrapbooker and then I became a blogger and gave up scrapbooking completely. And now I've been sucked into Facebook - it's where I post daily photos and little snippets about our lives. But the problem with Facebook is that I can't print it and keep it in our home. So I need to either go back to scrapbooking or keep up better on my blog. The disadvantage of the digital age - it is sometimes intangible.

Also, Brynn really likes to read my blog and is always getting after me about my lack of recent blogging. So here's a little catch up post just for you, Sis.

I just realized that I Facebooked about Brynn's birthday, but never blogged about it. We have a tradition in our family that we celebrate birthdays with friends one year and the next year with family. This was our family year and the kids all got to pick something fun to do as a family. One of the things Brynn wanted to do was decorate her own cake.

She picked the colors and decorated it all by herself, I thought it was really pretty.

Something that Brynn's been up to lately is volleyball.  Betty has been teaching a volleyball camp to the 5th and 6th grade girls and they had their game on Friday. It was a very short game, but we were proud of her and are excited that she is liking volleyball so much.

Jenna and Dallin came to watch Brynn's game and he made her this poster:

How sweet is that?! He's a good guy, that Dallin.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fred, the best cat in the world

For about a year, Fred has had a funny ear. Most of the time it's fine, but every so often, he holds his left ear flat and shakes it and scratches at it. He'll do that for a few hours and then he's totally fine again. I've never taken him to the vet because it never bothers him for long and it's a bit tricky to get a vet appointment, and frankly, it's not all that fun or all that easy to take a cat to the vet.  But the other day he was having trouble again and I decided it was time. Fortunately, I am very blessed to work at the nation's largest animal sanctuary and one of the best perks of working there is that we have a great clinic and 4 excellent vets who will see our personal animals. It is a little hard to get appointments though, and the only thing they had for a while was today, a Sunday. I took it rather than waiting for several weeks, I normally wouldn't do something like that on a Sunday. Also, Fred got in a fight a few days ago and has been pretty gimpy and has a puncture wound on his chest that I thought might ought to get looked at.

Well, to make a long story short, we loaded Fred up and took him - complaining a little - down to the sanctuary and saw the new vet, Dr. Brooke. When we got there, she asked his name and I said, "He usually goes by "Fred", but his whole name is "Fred-the-best-cat-in-the-world". She laughed, but after she finished examining him, I think she realized that it was true. She cleaned his ears, shaved around his wound, scoped his ears, palpated his sore leg and examined him all over and he never, ever offered to scratch or bite.  He didn't even try to get away!  What an extraordinarily good cat!

So it turns out that he does have a bacterial and yeast infection in both ears and has to have drops in them twice a day for a week.

Brynn and Luke came with, they like Fred pretty well.  (This is the reason I carry a point and shoot camera in my purse - you just never know when you might want to take a photo.)

Brynn took this photo of Fred the other day and I thought it was cute. What a good boy.

So where do you find good cats like this one? At the dump, of course.

Monday, September 5, 2011

How Pinteresting!

First there was email, then blogging, then Facebook and Twitter. Now?


I know I'm probably one of the last people to get on board, but I gotta admit, Pinterest is pretty cool. For anyone who doesn't know about Pinterest, it's a virtual pinboard where you can snag things off the web and keep track of them in collections.  I've always collected ideas off the internet, but this way is a whole lot easier. And you can browse the Pinterest boards for amazing ideas and things that other people have already found.

I really need to do some painting, remodeling, and updating around here, but I've been so busy and so overwhelmed that I've just ignored all of the projects that need to be done. But my tolerance level is reaching critical mass and it's time to get in gear. In the search for inspiration, Pinterest is an amazing source. I feel inspired.

(Guess where I found that?)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How do you feel about housework?

I often blog about a single subject, which is fine. But since this blog is also my own personal journal/family history, I sometimes think I should blog about a typical day and even just what's on my mind. Today is Wednesday which is the day after Tuesday, which means it's the day after the day I work at the Sanctuary. Which means it's a catch up day. Editing, bill paying, mailing, shopping, blogging and HOUSEWORK. Ok, I've never done it before, but I'm gonna ramble on a little about housework.
Ever-present, never-ending housework. I've given a lot of thought to this subject over the 14+ years that I've been married and primarily in charge of keeping the house, and gone through many stages of feelings about it: denial, anger, acceptance, ambivalence, resentment, anger, satisfaction, denial.... etc. I've also come to believe, that while organizational skills and housekeeping skills can be learned and improved upon, being a truly excellent housekeeper is an innate characteristics and you either got it or - as in my case - you don't got it.

I have DEFINITELY learned to be more organized over the years and I really do enjoy a clean house. But it just always seems like there are more worthwhile things to do with my time.

Oh well, I'll keep working on it. And I have a theory - everyone has a different tolerance point for an  acceptable level of clean. I can ignore a certain amount of clutter, dishes and dirty floors and then all of a sudden, I've hit my limit. I have friends who can't stand the tiniest bit of clutter, or the minutest amount of dirt, but then I also have friends who can tolerate years worth of clutter piles and weeks worth of food crusted on dirty dishes. I would have to say, on a slob scale from 1 to 10 (1 being OCD Buckingham palace clean and 10 being "Hoarders") I'm somewhere around a 4 - the cleanest my house ever is: 2, the messiest: 6 - 6 is my absolute max tolerance level. The average is somewhere around a 4.  Except for the dishes and laundry, which I keep up on pretty well, I would have to say my overall style of housekeeping is "let it build up- while I work, edit, do horse stuff, etc. - until  I can't stand it anymore and then go on a big cleaning/purging binge" or, "someone's coming to stay so freak out at the kids and get in a housework bootcamp workout".

As I was typing this, I took a look at my desk and realized that the state of my desk is pretty indicative of the overall state of my life.

A whole bunch of "to-dos" and miscellaneous multi-tasking. Funny.

I'm glad I blogged about this stuff - it's cathartic.

How do you feel about housework? What's your cleaning style?

    Monday, August 29, 2011

    Captain America and His Girl

    I mentioned a couple of posts ago that


    I'm a little bit excited, can you tell? She is one of my favorite people in the world and she found a GREAT guy and I'm just so happy for her.

    In March, she moved to Austin Texas. She had been living pretty close to us and we were sad when she decided to move that far away. We didn't know the reason at the time - heck, I don't even think she knew the reason. But now we know, and that reason looks a little like this:

    She met him online soon after she moved out there and they are getting married in November. They came out here a couple of weeks ago and we got to meet him and I got to take their engagement pictures. So fun.

    He used to be a captain in the army, so we call him Captain America. And the Marvel Captain America's girlfriend's name is Sharon Carter - which is my sister's name! :)

    And they are really great together!

    He's a successful business owner, a pilot with his own plane, has multiple degrees, and is a certified journeyman electrician in 16 states. Oh, and he also just won a state-wide wrestling competition. 

    Marty says, "Oh great, another overachiever", like our other brother-in-law, the FBI director. (who also speaks fluent spanish, has 2 degrees including an MBA and went to BYU on a dual baseball and vocal scholarship.)

    But he would have to be pretty great to be good enough for our sister. And the most important thing is that he is a wonderful person, who loves her, and is a faithful member of our church.

     Isn't she purty?! That is her natural hair color!
    And even though this means she's never moving back, I suppose we can let her go to live with Captain America.

    Saturday, August 20, 2011

    Looking Back - Window Light

    I've been super-duper-whooper busy with photo shoots this summer. Which is great, but along with photo shoots comes a lot of photo editing and it takes up so much of my time that I don't have time for much else that I'd like to do. I co-taught a photography workshop this spring and we set up a Facebook group for our workshop attendees with weekly assignments. Our last assignment was window light and the ladies were struggling with it a little bit so I bribed Brynn to sit for me and did a little window light session with her the other day do demonstrate some techniques for the ladies.

    As I was looking through the photos, I was reminded of the very first time I attempted to do window light portraits. And, of course, Brynn was my model back then too.

     She was so stinkin' cute! It was fun to look back at these and reminisce a little. That first window light session was a real landmark for me. It was the first time I'd ever taken photos that I was really happy with and it started me on my photography journey. Somedays  I feel as though photography has taken over my life - it has become the tail wagging the dog. But mostly I'm so grateful to have beautiful pictures of my children and able to give other people beautiful pictures of theirs. 

    This little beauty is Jenna's little Allison - growing up and so much fun. She posed for me for mini marshmallows while I was tending her the other day.

      I do love window light, I love all the curves and shadows and highlights. Most of all I love how it puts such pretty catchlights in the eyes. And I really do love my camera.

    Sunday, August 14, 2011

    My Little County Fair Participants

    We live in a little bitty town and our whole entire county only has about 6000 people living in it. That means, of course, that our county fair is very home-towney, accessible and lots of fun. Every year we enter something that the kids have made and I always enter some of my own photos.

    I actually remembered to take photos of some of their entries this year:

     (Brynn won a sweepstakes ribbon for her cool watercolor painting.)

    Luke came up with the idea to put in a helicopter on his own, made it all by himself and then painted it with a little help from his big brother.  The rotors twirl really well!

    A couple of years ago, Jaxon came up with his own comic strip in which the characters are all insects. It's called The Buggy Backyard. I'm continually amazed at the ideas he is able to come up with. He can sit down and come up with cartoon after cartoon and most of them are really funny. He usually just draws them in pencil - we have them all over the place. I talked him into putting one down in ink for the fair and it won a blue ribbon. 

    Isn't that great?! 

      He's so good at expressions and body language.

    In other news.... My lovely little sister Sharon is getting married! I will put up another post about her and her fiance, but for now I'll show this one photo that I entered in the fair.

    I love small town living, I grew up in cities, but always knew I was a small town girl. I love the parades, the town dinners and the county fair. We're so blessed.

    Friday, July 29, 2011

    The New Toy in Town

    We've been thinking about getting a 4-wheeler for several years now, but have been holding out for a really good deal. And a KILLER deal just sort of fell in our lap the other day and we couldn't pass it up. It's was really meant to be a toy for Marty, but I have to admit, I've driven it a lot more than he has this week. And my mom-cool factor has gone through the roof since I drive fast over the whoop-dee-doo part of the trail with the kids on back.

    I taught Jaxon how to drive it last night, but he wasn't around for this little impromptu photoshoot tonight. We'll have to catch him another time - in action.

    But for now....

    Luke wants to drive it so badly he can't stand it. I don't know if his legs are quite long enough yet, but if will counts for anything, he will find a way.

    In the meantime, he just spends a lot of time sitting on it. And this morning, he told me had a sudden urge to go visit Bo, one of our horses who lives a couple of blocks away. I've been driving the 4-wheeler over there all week to feed, and, coincidentally, after sitting on the 4-wheeler all morning, Luke REALLY needed to see Bo. Interesting.

    Monday, July 25, 2011

    Luke's Baptism

    Another thing that's happened since I got behind on my blogging is Luke's baptism. He was really excited to be baptized, and I couldn't believe my baby was already 8 years old.

    I complained a while back that Luke was hard to take pictures of, but when I took him out for a commemorative photo shoot, I finally figured out the secret. I've tried telling him jokes --- no luck. But when I asked him to tell ME jokes, then I got amazing stuff out of him. BINGO!

    How stinkin' cute is that kid? I'm tellin' ya. He's killin' me, Smalls. That' little suit and "future missionary" pin were Jaxon's from when he was baptized. The tie is new, hip, happenin'. 

    This was probably the best shoot I've had with him in ages, there were a dozen cute, natural shots. Yay.

    Anyway, one of the nicest things about Luke's baptism was that my mom was able to be here for it. She even went out to California the week before for my sister's little boy's baptism - he was born 2 days before Luke. Those are the kinds of things she's able to do now that Dad's gone. We were so glad to have her here and she gave a talk about the Holy Ghost.

    Our good friend Molly came along to the baptism and took pictures, which was a big load off me. We had some great friends who came, and Jenna especially, helped out.

    Our kids are so lucky to have such a great dad. He's such a great example to them.

    It was a wonderful day, and we're really proud of our boy for choosing to be baptized.

    Sunday, July 24, 2011

    Our New Bishop

    There has been so much happening that last few months and we've been so stinkin' busy that I haven't had time to blog about hardly any of it. I've been starting to feel a little panicky that I've gotten so behind. I print my blog every year and it's my own family history - I can't tell you how many times I've referred back to my blog to check a date or help me with my Christmas letter. So I need to catch up a bit today. One of the BIGGEST things that happened to our family since the birth of our last baby, happened on Easter Sunday this year. (That's how behind I am.)

    The big news: Marty was called to be the bishop of our ward.  For anyone out there who isn't familiar with what that means, in our church, the ward is our local congregation and the bishop is like the pastor, or leader of that congregation. We have non-paid clergy in our church, so we all serve in our wards to keep things running along and to share the load. But the bishop is the go-to guy for sure. In other words, nobody in their right mind would ever want the job. But we're trying to have a good attitude about it, I'm sure there's a reason he's there. And I'm proud of him. He's a good man - he's a hard worker and has an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, which is a great quality in a bishop. And I know he's going to learn A LOT and have a lot of growing pains along the way.

    One of the cool things that he's able to do as a bishop is perform marriages. He got to do his first one last Saturday. It was someone we didn't know, they were visitors to our area. He had to get special permission to marry them because the weren't in our ward.

    I've photographed some weddings over the last year or so that were performed by bishops who, well... didn't do such a great job, in my opinion. So I took Marty aside the night before the wedding and asked him what he was planning to say. He wasn't too nervous about it, I was kinda nervous for him and wanted him to do a good job. I shouldn't have worried - he totally nailed it. He gave great advice, but kept it short. He was warm but didn't make stupid jokes. He was articulate and confident. And he looked great while he was doing it. :o)

    He wore one of my dad's nice ties.

    Another kind of cool thing about being at that wedding, I met a relative. The couple was actually from New Mexico and their branch president and his wife came up for the wedding. As we got visiting with them, we realized that he was from the same hometown as my mom's family and turned out to be a distant relative of ours. They were lovely people and he gave me a big "cousin kiss" on the cheek when we said goodbye. This is them with the newlyweds.

    Whew, I'm glad to have blogged about that, I feel a lot better now. I can move on and try to get caught up on a couple more posts while it's Sunday and I'm not working.

    Wish us luck with this bishop thing.