Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking Back at 2009

At the beginning of the year (I still can't believe today is the last day of 2009!), I set several goals for myself. Let's see how I did.

Goal #1: Start a photography blog
Attempt failed. I had the blog ready to go but chickened out. I get nervous when it comes to my photography. I'm not worried about others liking my work, I'm worried about me liking it. As the blog became more real, I got concerned that I wouldn't like any of my work; I convinced myself that I wouldn't have any photos that were blog-worthy. I shied away from my camera and the learning process that comes with hobbies. Rather than dealing with the possibility of doing poorly, I didn't even bother trying. I know that attitude is silly because you don't grow or improve if you don't try; I also understand that not every photo I take is going to be ingenious or beautiful and that's how it goes for everyone. Knowing and accepting are two different things, however. So, while I may not have started a blog this year, I have learned a thing or two about acceptance and that is going to take me a long way on my photography journey. I'm not perfect, my work is not perfect, but photography is art and art is not meant to be perfect. Writing in Light will be up and running in 2010.

Goal #2: Complete one photography course
Success! During the summer I took an online photography class, focusing on photographing people. While I didn't find the photography techniques all that informative - the instruction was pretty basic and I already knew most of the information he had to share (apparently I knew more than I thought!)- I did learn quite a bit about Photoshop and how to edit my people photos. Those lessons were well worth my time and money.

Goal #3: Run one organized race
Success! While I had my sights set on a half-marathon, I ended up running a 5K instead. I'm excited to have one "official" race under my belt and look forward to completing more. Running new distances and breaking personal records is going to be a fun challenge.

Goal #4: Host one party
Success! We had several gatherings here and while they weren't what I had originally planned, I'm counting them! Mitch and I expect to be in this house for quite a while (read: forever), so there is still time to host those parties I had in mind.

Goal #5: Watch one movie on my list
Success! I actually watched a couple of movies on my list, but the film I deliberately set out to cross off the list was "Deliverance." Horrible, horrible movie. I also got to cross off "Changeling," which I highly recommend. I don't normally care for Angelina Jolie, but she did a wonderful job in this film and the story was incredible (and true!).

Goal #6: Read one novel on my list
Success! I actually read several books on my list, but the novel I deliberately set out to cross of the list was "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." AMAZING book. Other great reads of the year: "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein and "My Sister's Keeper" by Jodi Picoult.

Goal #7: Read one book series on my list
Success! I read the Twilight series. I know this series is all the craze right now, but I honestly do not understand why. I do not recommend the books - in fact, if you asked for my opinion I would tell you to stay far, far away from them. Ugh!

Goal #8: Read one instructional book on my list
Attempt failed. I checked the book out a handful of times from the library but only got a page or two into it before I got distracted with other things and then before I knew it, it was time for the book to go back. I will tackle that book in the near future.

Goal #9: Celebrate 25 days of Christmas
Success! I definitely had the Christmas bug this year! I just wish I would have documented each day. I guess that's something I can challenge myself with next year.

There you have it, folks. While I may not have accomplished everything I set out to do, I'm happy with what I did achieve. I'm calling the year a success! 2009 was a good year and I don't doubt that 2010 will be even better!

Have a safe and happy New Year's Eve!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

We Have a One Year Old

On December 12, our little girl turned one. To celebrate Crickett's big day, Mitch and I threw her a party. Perhaps I should say that "I" threw the party - Mitch thought I was a bit ridiculous for wanting to have one. What can I say? I love my puppy and enjoy spoiling her.

Crickett got some very nice presents from her guests. She received several Christmas shirts (yes, I'm guilty of occasionally dressing up my puppy), toys, and treats.

There is a lady in town who makes homemade dog cakes and I couldn't resist. Isn't it adorable? Both Crickett and Rockie seemed to enjoy it. Crickett especially liked the frosting.

Ms. Rockie Balboa, all festive in her Christmas collar.

Crickett with Grandpa and Grandma W.

Crickett with Grandma and Grandpa F. and auntie Ann.

It was a fun little evening for dogs and people alike. Sometimes you just have to celebrate the "non-traditional" events.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas 2009 Recap

Christmas 2009 was like no other Christmas before it. For the first time in 28 years, I didn't get to spend Christmas Day with my father's side of the family. An intense blizzard swept through the state, leaving any travel plans that a person had from the 24th through the 26th in the dust. So, celebrations changed and while it was a still a nice holiday, it just wasn't the same.

On the evening of Christmas, Mitch, my sister and her boyfriend, and I joined my parents for festivities. We ate a delicious dinner, exchanged gifts, and played a couple of games of Mad Gab. It was a fun evening and though it wasn't what had originally been planned, it was a great change of plans.

Yesterday, Mitch and I spent the day with his parents. We exchanged gifts, did some Wii bowling, ate a delicious dinner, and played a couple games of Hearts. I'm very lucky to have in-laws that I enjoy spending so much time with.

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from me and my family to you and yours! God bless!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas in the Park

Mitch and I took a little drive this evening through Christmas in the Park. Is there anything more magical than Christmas lights? I don't think so.

Monday, December 21, 2009

First Day of Winter

"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home."
~Edith Sitwell~

Happy first day of winter! I think this is probably the first time I've ever been excited about this day! To help us celebrate the new season, Mother Nature has blessed us with a quiet, snowy day. As crazy as it sounds, I'm happy to see the white stuff - it makes the Christmas season much more magical.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Cheer

Our house was filled with Christmas cheer this afternoon.

Mitch wrapped presents

and I made some treats.

Oh how I love the Christmas season!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

2009 Ornaments

2009 was a special year for Mitch and me, so we decided we had to get two Hallmark ornaments to celebrate the events.

New Home

You know it by the windows
sparkling bright this time of year . . .
A new home's quiet, joyful glow
that whispers, "Love lives here."

Special Dog

A wagging tail, a welcome lick,
and waiting by the door
are some of the endearing things
that dogs are famous for.
They'll look at you with trusting eyes
and don't need words to say,
"You are the best!" "I love you so!"
and "Let's go out and play!"

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Find

While my scrapbooking room is no where near completion, I have the itch to decorate it. Last week I did a little browsing online at our city's "rummage sale" site. I could hardly contain my excitement when I found:

This butterfly lamp

and these tins!

These things are going to be so much fun to look at while I'm working away in my own little space!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving Recap

Mitch and I spent Thanksgiving Day with my father's side of the family. The day was gorgeous, the food delicious, the company fabulous.

My cousins and I spent the majority of the day outside enjoying the beautiful weather and pretty North Dakota surroundings. We began the afternoon by taking nice photos like this one of my husband and me . . .

and then we decided to play "America's Next Top Model." We found countless photo opportunities. Here I am strutting my stuff by the wheelbarrow of fat (every Thanksgiving my family makes homemade meat products),

Cassie making kissy faces by the chicken coop,

and Mollie demonstrating the "farmer wave" in a John Deere.

As you can see, we're a talented group of girls. There are already plans in the work for a summer session. Stay tuned, folks!

Unfortunately, I was having too much fun being ridiculous that I didn't take many other photos that day. Here is one of the few I did manage to get. I love spending time on my grandparent's farm; it's such a wonderful place.

On Friday, Mitch and I celebrated round two of Thanksgiving. We joined my in-laws and brother-in-law for a delicious dinner and a game of Mexican Train Dominoes (great game if you're looking for a new one to try). We enjoyed more family time on Saturday with some bowling, pizza, and a movie. I married into a wonderful family - I love spending time with them.

Another awesome Thanskgiving. Now bring on Christmas!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you have a wonderful turkey day!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkey Time

The Christmas bug has hit me full force this year. I think it's trying to make up for not coming last year. I'm trying not to be one of those people who skips right over the Thanksgiving festivities (because Thanksgiving is great, too), but it has been difficult. I can hardly wait until Saturday when our turkey celebrating has concluded and I can start going crazy for Christmas. Expect lots of holiday cheer here at this blog!

It is, however, the day before Thanksgiving so I thought I would share this photo with you. In college I was a volunteer with the "Big Brother Big Sister" program. This was a project my "little sister" and I worked on one afternoon during my visit. I was pretty proud of myself for looking at the school's collection of craft supplies and coming up with this turkey puppet. It was probably one of the coolest things we did together. Isn't he a beauty? (Humor me, please.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

You Know Your Husband and You are Nerds When . . .

after watching an episode of "Friends" in which Ross is trying to name all the 50 states, you two decide to play the game. Cheap thrills for this couple, folks.

I sucked it up and missed SIX states! I knew I'd miss some along the east coast (not my strong suit with U.S. geography), but I cannot believe I missed Pennsylvania (my father-in-law is from there!), Mississippi, and Missouri.

Mitch missed only TWO states so he won the game. He walked around all evening exclaiming "Wyoming and Utah! I never would have thought of those!"

Monday, November 23, 2009

You Know You're a Math Nerd When . . .

you buy a shirt thinking the pattern is circle graphs and your husband has to inform you that it's actually peace signs. Oops.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

BB - Part 3

October 1, 2009: Fall Book Sale

Normally my father and I visit our library's used book sale during the last hour of the last day when the price is $1.00 per bag of goodies. (Check out the deals I got at the last sales here, here, and here.) This year, however, we weren't able to attend on that last day during that last hour so we ended up going on the first evening of the event.

Boy was that sale very different than the previous sales I'd been to. There were oodles and oodles of people, nothing compared to the handful gathered on the last day. These people were also VERY serious about finding good reads. I'm not even kidding when I say there were people there with lists. I assumed everyone went into the library flying by the seat of their pants like me, but I guess I was mistaken.
In addition to all the people, there were also oodles and oodles of books. Books were covering every square inch of the tables and the floor space under the tables. I've never seen that many books at the sales which I guess makes sense when you attend the first day versus the last. There was definitely a bigger selection, which to the ordinary person would be nothing but wonderful, but for me it was a little overwhelming. Too many choices and my strong point is definitely not making decisions.
The price at this book sale was $1.00 per pound for paperbacks and $0.50 per pound for hardcover. I found eleven paperbacks, weighing in at a 6.6 pounds, so my total bill was $6.60. That translates to $0.60 per book - not quite the $0.06 I once paid, but nothing to complain about either. I was happy to hand over the money to my dear library - I can't think of a better place to shop. Plus, I still came out ahead - you can't put a price on the magic of books.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Blue Skies, No Blizzard

A year ago today, we got our first blizzard of the season. Currently it is 65 degrees (with an expected high of 70 degrees), sunny and no wind. It's an absolutely gorgeous fall day. What a difference a year can make.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Under the Weather

Crickett and I have been a bit under the weather this week. We've been spending most of our time under the covers, wishing we could be outside enjoying the beautiful fall days that have finally arrived. Until we feel better, though, we're happy just being cuddle buddies.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

BB - Part 2

September 19, 2009: Race Day

One of my goals for 2009 was to run in an organized race and on September 19th I did just that. I had originally set my sights on a half-marathon, but I just could not get myself prepared mentally and it affected my training. It's amazing how large a role the mind plays in physical endeavours; if the mind isn't in the game neither is the body. So, instead of the half-marathon, I ran the 5K.

This was the second race I've ever run and the first time with a chip so that was kind of exciting. I felt like a real racer. (Hah!) Mitch and I arrived at the race site while it was still dark and very chilly and I have to admit that I was kind of crabby that morning. I didn't want to be there - I was tired and cold, but most importantly I felt intimidated by all the "real athletes" and was disappointed in myself for not being one of them. I felt as if I had no right to be at the event. After watching the marathoners, half-marathoners, and relay-marathoners take off, I started to get excited. I could feel the energy in the air and some of that magic rubbed off on me.

My nerves got to me as the 5K-ers lined up, but after we started moving I was nothing less than thrilled. I was now happy for the cool temperatures and realized that those "real athletes" I had been watching earlier had started out where I was and that only meant I could get to where they were.

I had a lot of fun at this race - more than I thought possible. While I wasn't thrilled with my time (33:02), I was happy I ran the whole thing and realized that now I have a time to beat. You can't set records if you don't have a starting point, right? In any case, it was a wonderful morning and I can't wait to race again!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Find

After I finished reading "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," I didn't want to read anything else because I felt that no other novel could compare to the beauty of the one I had just finished. Nothing seemed good enough and I didn't know how to make that leap from extraordinary to ordinary. (I have since recovered and discovered plenty of other wonderful books.) I decided to ask Google for help, so I searched "what should I read next?" I couldn't believe it when I found a website called exactly that! All that is required of you is to type in the title and author of a book you liked (I obviously used "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn") and you're given a list of 10 other novels that you might like. I'm so excited about this site! Oh how my list of books to read keeps getting longer and longer!

Happy reading, everyone!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

BB - Part 1

So, I have been nothing short of a horrible blogger these past few months (okay, okay - this whole year). This has got to stop! My current goal is to get caught up on past events that I have yet to blog about, so today I start the "Bad Blogger" series. Here is Part 1.

September 17, 2009 - September 25, 2009: Dog-sitting

While my in-laws were in Hawaii celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary, Mitch and I did a little dog-sitting for them. I didn’t take any photos of Ms. Rockie or Ms. Crickett together (shame on me!), but I did get this video which makes me laugh. Rockie is eight years old and had just had a stroke; Crickett is 10 months old and in great health. As you’ll see, their activity levels differ just a bit.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Arizona, Here I Come

Apparently, Mother Nature wants North Dakota to have nothing but a whole year of winter. Our last snowfall of the 2008-2009 winter season was in JUNE and our first snowfall of the 2009-2010 season was this past Friday, OCTOBER 9th.

I'm moving.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday, mom! I hope you had a great day! We're looking forward to celebrating with you on Thursday!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Pumpkin Patch 2009

On Sunday, the in-laws, Mitch, Crickett, and I headed out to the pumpkin patch. It was a very chilly day, but great nonetheless. I love visiting the pumpkin patch; it's a wonderful celebration of fall.

Mitch and Crickett playing on the hay bales.

Crickett enjoying the fun festivities.

A happy family.

Crickett by the peanut pumpkins. Aren't they neat?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Anniversary

Happy 30th Anniversary to my wonderful in-laws! Hope you're having a wonderful time in Hawaii!

Autumn Arrives

We have officially entered the fall season! I can honestly say that I'm not disappointed to see summer go. It wasn't an impressive summer and I adore autumn. I'm excited for all that is fall: crisp air, vibrant colors, the pumpkin patch and corn maze.

Every year I proclaim spring as my favorite season. Somehow I always manage to forget what an incredible season autumn is and how beautiful it makes me feel. I'm going to have to reevaluate my choice.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Tuesday Morning

(Okay, I know my title says "wordless," but I have to share that I absolutely LOVE morning thunderstorms. They are so exciting! I think they are a fun way to start the day.)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Getting Green

Yesterday, six days after we seeded, Mitch and I saw a few blades of grass sprout up in the yard. Needless to say, there is nothing but excitement at our house - you'd think we won the lottery or something! Who knew grass could make a person so happy?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to my wonderful father! I hope 56 is a good year for you!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hitting Home

Living in North Dakota is often like living in a bubble. Things that are affecting the rest of the nation don't seem to affect us and if we are affected, it's rarely to the same degree as others. The recession, for example, is not something by which our state has been drastically affected. Today, however, the recession has shown us that we won't be excluded.

My father, and nearly 500 other employees, learned that they will be without a job by the end of the year. The plant at which they work will be closing and only a few of those jobs will be transferred to the remaining plant in a different part of the state. When I heard the news this morning, I could hardly believe it. My dad has been with this company for over 30 years and to know that he will no longer be there when the calendar reads 2010 is nothing less than shocking.

I feel awful for my dad and the other men and women who received this news today. I can't even begin to imagine what they are going through. All I know is that these people need our thoughts and prayers.

As they said on the news this evening, "The bubble has burst."

Monday, August 24, 2009


Okay, so I know I already have a sweet little puppy but I have fallen in love with another adorable girl. Her name is Lizzie and I found her on the Cavalier Rescue site that I peruse every so often. Read about her here and then help me convince my husband that we should try to adopt this sweetheart!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Just the Girls, Part Two

Ms. Rockie Balboa, my in-law's boxer, will be staying with Mitch and me this weekend. Until Mitch gets home tomorrow, it's still just the girls at our house.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fenced In

My dad finished the gate for Mitch and me tonight. This was the last part of the fence that needed to be completed. It's finally all done!

I'm beyond excited to see this project come to an end (and I didn't even work on it) and I know Mitch will be thrilled to see it when he gets home on Saturday. Crickett got to run around in the backyard without a leash this evening for the first time and loved every minute of it. It was a great evening.

Now we just have to finish the sprinklers and then we can plant some grass. It's going to start looking like a real yard here soon!