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!