Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas with a camera

A couple of quick shots taken fresh after Santa's visit, the last shots taken in my
"life before the Rebel".

When the first gift you open, upon Santa's strict request, is a camera, the rest of a day is just a blur from behind an unfamiliar viewfinder. (Why yes.....that is my two eldest sons enjoying their new Snuggies, in lieu of Christmas Eve pajamas on Christmas morning!)

You know it's a great Christmas when you can't make it through the day without crashing for a much needed nap

and when the leftovers from the stocking suddenly look beautiful to me

the day is spent tinkering with new gadgets

(these ever cool magnetic "Bucky Balls" kept my 15 yr old busy all day....all week, actually, as he shaped them into all sorts of amazing contraptions.

And later, taking down decorations is suddenly a chance to capture a mix of beautiful tidbits

What began as a few cards pinned to a lovely bow turned into a curtain full
of Christmas greetings. Is it wrong to leave them up longer to enjoy,
although everything else is cleaned up?

Looking through the eye of a camera reminds me of something important.

Our life is full of beautiful images just waiting for us to capture them.

some of these images were inspired by challenges from the Digital Photography School website. Until I can get into a real class, it is just me, these posts, my instruction book, and my Canon Rebel working our way through the world. It is gosh darned fun, too.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The fire that's breaking my heart

A brief history as on file at BYU of the Provo Tabernacle
The Provo Tabernacle, located on the west side of University Avenue between Center and First South streets, has figured prominently in the history of Brigham Young University. It was built by the Saints of Utah Valley at a time when money was difficult to obtain. Fifteen years, from 1883 to 1898, were required for its construction, largely because of financial limitations. From 1930 to 1941, when the Joseph Smith Building was completed, BYU commencement exercises were held in the building, the procession proceeding from the Education Building to the Tabernacle, a distance of six blocks. The Tabernacle was used for lyceum concerts even into the 1950s, and organ recitals of the Music Department continued there through the 1960s. Some of the artists who have appeared there have been violinist Fritz Kreisler, pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff, baritone Paul Robeson, soprano Bidu Sayao, the Minneapolis Symphony (1918), the Metropolitan Quartet (1916), opera star Emma Lucy Gates (1923), the Bach Festival (1934), and dozens of others. The dome in the center of the building was removed later because of excessive weight.

The building has been host to countless ceremonies, concerts (as a high school student I sang there with my choir) graduations, weddings, church meetings and more over the years. Just last Saturday I marveled over the beauty of the building. It was my second concert of the season with my son singing.

And this morning we woke to this

It hard to believe that beautiful organ, woodwork, stained glass, and detailing that I captured with my silly little camera is gone.

For the record I must say that building had a spirit about it.
I performed and listened to others perform there.
It was place beyond many you might step foot in.
I am so sad at this historical lost, yet feel blessed we were there just days ago, and my son got a final chance, that we did not know was final, to be a part of that great heritage.

If you have a few minutes, I invite you to share in the spirit of music and Christmas by watching this song my son performed with the choir when we were last there. Merry Christmas. May the Lord bless you and keep you.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

We say "Merry Christmas"

Can you even believe this sweet picture?

Snapped at the mall in 2003, I believe this was the last year that all of my little ones still believed the "Christmas Secret". Strange, though, that that fact is not near as hard to live with as I thought it would be. They are sweeter and more grateful with Santa now than they have ever been....(and no more asking for a million dollars)

Christmas Card 2010

It’s all about the little things

This year, like any other, was full of family milestones and accomplishments; football and soccer games, choir and guitar concerts, piano recitals and vacations, church callings and work trips. As we ponder the year, however, we are overwhelmed by the little things….. The everyday things…..

~ The ability to walk into a building and vote ~ to read a book of our choice ~ to turn on a song and dance together as a family ~ to attend a worship service of our choosing each Sunday ~ to open a closet and have choices to make ~ to click on the mouse at the computer and be surrounded by family updates and photographs ~ to turn on the radio and hear voices discuss things that interest us ~ to send our children to a safe school with people and friends we love and trust ~ to have employment and the means to provide and be self-sufficient ~ to live with a roof over our heads and a bed for each of us ~
to gather together as a family and pray ~

As we observe the little things we realize they are not so little at all.
We take this time of year to reflect on the good lives we live and the blessings we all share,
and wish you a Merry Christmas

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace”
Isaiah 9:6

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Family Festivities

I am one of those gooey, sappy, holiday enthusiasts. I love it. I love the lights. I love the music. I love the fact that my kids still count down the days with me.

Love Love Love

Holiday around the house...
tags made for tag exchange
my outdoor nativity (proud moment: buying a spotlight to light this up at night)
my nativity I bought the first year I was married
a cry for Santa's attention on our porch
a few pictures and nativity made by sweet grandma

Family moments
favorite cookies for dipping and munching (so me..but very hard to find)
collection of Santas abound
reminder to Believe
boys enjoying a quick snow fall
a tree light up, chirping, calling for Christmas to come

Let me explain: my parents had an electric ornament that chirped like a bird when you plugged it in. When lights went on, the bird began singing. I remember visitors perplexed , trying to find it in the tree. After growing up with the Christmas bird I have missed it in my own home. Although it could be was part of Christmas. Last year I bought one, and we hooked it up. It was MUCH LOUDER than my parent's bird...but after figuring out how to open it and cover the speaker this year it is just right. It chirps whenever the lights are on. It makes me feel giddy all over again. I love my annoying bird.

My son performing with the choir. (the handsome guy looking at the camera above the mic)
Makes me cry every time.
I love that he sings unafraid, praises to Christ and songs from the Messiah

so excuse me for loving Christmas and feeling sorry for Hum Bugs.
I have reasons to rejoice...
don't we all?

Monday, November 29, 2010

And the season can start now.....

My brother reminded me that last night was the local sing along of The Messiah, by Handel.

I sang in our high school choir and chamber choir, and was directed by the notable "Mr. D". That man had a way of making us teenagers believe there was nothing more important in the world than a well sung song. Christmas was a blur performances and traveling and watching people dab their eyes as you sang your heart out for them. I loved every minute of it.

This video surfaced this year on You Tube, and the awe of this moment, of proclaiming something like this in public, still makes me cry after watching it at least a dozen times.

Mr D. always had a Christmas concert, and the last song was the Hallelujah Chorus. All the alumni who had sang in his classes before would come up from the audience to join the current choir, as students young and old packed the stage to sing this work by Handel. There was nothing like it.

(me-in the sunglasses- and my choir friends with Mr D. and his wife in Disneyland, where we went for our choir tour. 80's clothes and hair, just a bonus.)

Now when I sing it I can barely make it through the notes, which I still have proudly memorized, without a tear or two of my own.

Add to that equation a son, a teenager no less, who has suddenly picked up this love for singing, singing his part by my side, and excited about the song. We filled the chapel, and then some....shoulder to shoulder, hundreds of voices with the accompaniment of a full orchestra and none other than Mr. D. on the organ.

Moments like this seem almost surreal to me, the cycle that life is, the things that stick with us, the beauties of music and art. I felt truly blessed to experience this work (which Handel produced in it's entirety in a miraculous 24 days) and as we sat down at the end of the song (it is proper to always stand for this number) I leaned over and said to my brother, "Okay, now Christmas can come". He nodded, understanding me exactly.

On our way out of the church we noticed a new inch or two of snow covered the walks. The night was quiet, the feeling so son grabbed the shovel at the door and started cleaning the walkway "in case the old ladies come out this way."

Then I returned home to a clean house, Christmas boxes stowed away again, candles burning, dishwasher running, and the tree sparkling and glowing.

And the Christmas spirit is here........

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'll Wake Up Early For You

Why does a gal that loves to SLEEP IN (especially on rainy fall days), and usually hits snooze a few times, and always needs just a few more minutes get up at 6:00 am with no hassles?

Because 15 years ago this happened

and that sweet little baby is still sweet, but not so little anymore ,

....and he wants french toast today before leaving for early morning seminary.

....and I love that, in spite of me being the annoying parent, he will occasionally make my day and stand still for a picture with me. I love that he has a grown up sense of humor and makes me laugh when I least expect it. I love that he is a big brother and go-to guy when I truly need it. I love that he has taken to singing and enjoys making music with voice and guitar. I love that he is 4.0smartasallgetout and I have no idea how to help him with his homework.

Happy Birthday, Connley. I love you.

where in the world have the past 15 years gone?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Blog number 2 wins today

I promise I will be back with yummy images and fall musings soon. I have been hoarding photos and obsessing over magazines a little too much lately. You shall benefit.

What else have I been doing?

Oh yeah...reading.

As the year comes to a close I am in a panic. I really wanted to read 40 books this year, and I am at 29 right now. It is a goal I made with myself, and last year I only read 24, so I am already ahead, but I thought I could do it much easier! (Boo to those weeks of laziness I 'took off' from reading this spring).

I have been involved in a little book club for the past 3 years or so, and it has been a great thing. Great discussions, great books, great friends. I love reading things other people pick, because it gets me out of my comfort zone.

Last month we started a blog......I mean, I started the blog, and it was time to catch up for our Saturday meeting. If you want to see what's up visit my other blog, which won my attention today on posting.

Otherwise, stay tuned. Fall is in the air- and holidays are on their way!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fighting 40

Soooo..... the big day is here. I was wondering if it would feel weird, you know, old, to be turning 40. The only weird thing about it is I still feel so childish some days. Oh well.

This is how I turn 40

Get up and go running here
My favorite place to knock off 3 miles.

Order a little somethin-somethin from Hammering Redhead on ETSY
I picked my little ones initials for my own admiring. Her jewelry is the kind of stuff you see other people wear and feel jealous.. That will be ME when it arrives. (thanks Melanie for the nice correspondence, too!)

Break down and get the hair you have wanted all your life
Courtesy of REMY hair extensions.
these things.

Get a thrill in Las Vegas seeing Phantom (amazing, amazing, amazing) and riding the Big Shot on the Stratosphere during my girls only weekend

Lest you think the ride is not scary, please look again. Pay attention to my horrified face.

I guess a picture is worth a thousand words (or laughs, in my case) after all.

(for the record, my pants stayed dry, so I am not as old as I sound)

And that is how I am fighting (or not so much fighting, but relishing) turning 40. Hope I am having this much fun 40 years from now, too.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Eat Cake

photo by Sweet Tooth Fairy

"Cakes have gotten a bad rap. People equate virtue with turning down dessert. There is always one person at the table who holds up her hand when I serve the cake. No really, I couldn't, she says, and then gives her flat stomach a conspiratorial little pat. Everyone else who is pressing a fork into the first tender layer looks at that person who declined the cake and they all think, That person is better than I am. That person has discipline. But that person isn't a person with discipline, that is a person who has completely lost touch with joy. A slice of cake never made anybody fat. You don't eat the whole cake. You don't eat cake everyday of your life.
You take the cake when it is offered because the cake is delicious. You have a slice of cake and what it reminds you of is someplace that's safe, uncomplicated, without stress. A cake is a party, a birthday, a wedding. A cake is what's served on the happiest day of your life

Jeanne Ray "Eat Cake"

photo by The Chocolate

Thanks for the bakery stop on our little dinner date last night, honey. That slice of cake gave me the sugar sweats.
Worry not, the Diet Coke kept me focused. I finished the whole slice.

And thanks to authors like Jeanne Ray, who so eloquently express what my sugary obsessed brain can't seem to say, and makes loving the cake a matter of virtue.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Spooky Scary Windows

A few years ago I saw this idea in Country Home magazine (moment of silence in remembrance), and used it on my windows for Halloween. This year I am changing it up to make it a little more creepy.

You need to find black butcher paper. I got mine at a local party supply store. You will need enough for all your desired windows that you want to cover, but it can be pieced together as well.

With an exacto knife, cut out any shapes you like

You can trace it first with a white crayon, but I prefer to just free hand it. You can also look at a pumpkin carving book for ideas that won't punch out all the way. Then put it up in your window, covering the entire area with the paper.

This photo shows the effect during the day, as the light comes through.

And at night, a peek from outside, on my porch. Cutout door and dollar store Frankenstein with spooky streamers.

Now, I was able to snag some old creepy movie posters that finished off my scary windows. Video stores are not allowed to re-sell these, so if you know someone who works at a video store you may be able to sweet talk your way to a poster of your own.

Movie posters are designed to hang on a lightbox, so the image is reversed from the other side and light can filter through.
I covered two windows, one on the side and one on the front of my house this way.

The window at night, from outside

I love the creepy look on my old house, and have already had a few people comment on the spooky look.

What spooky look are you trying this year?!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

All About Me for Link Party

If you don't peek at Funky Junk occasionally, you are missing out. I loved this link party because I have kind of been lazy on my blog, and so between putting up Halloween decorations and sipping my Diet Coke I decided to play today.

Who am I ?

Messy Hair slightly blurry photo....the best

I am a mother of 3 boys and girlfriend to my hubby. I am artistic, religious, emotional, creative and somewhat fun. I love people, but cherish my alone time, and 40 is within weeks. How did that happen?

Where I live

A small town along the Wasatch Front, in a sweet home that was built in 1906. I walked through the house while pregnant with my first baby, and fell in love. We moved with dreams of fixing up the home to something fabulous....we are still working on those dreams!

What I love about my house

It has a story. It was built by immigrants from Iceland who helped settle the area, and every once in a while someone will knock on my door with a story to tell about the home's history. This shade tree that I have my little table under was planted side by side with another tree by the home owners when two sons went to war. One tree never grew or thrived, while the other sprouted up beautifully, and then the family received word that one son had died at war. They pulled the dead tree out and left this one, still alive, in the yard. symbolizing their surviving son.
When's the last time you heard a story like that at the latest development?

My favorite room
My Dining Room. It also is the home of my computer hutch and piano, so this is the heart of my house. I love it mostly becasue this is where we sit as a family for dinner, where we do homework, where I greet visitors. It isn't fancy, I know that, but it is just so real life.

What I like to DIY

Artsy tidbits and scrapbooks. I am happiest surrounded by photos and paper goods, making a scrapbook, or a charm for a necklace, a book mark, or fun tag for a gift. I tend to stick to small projects so I actually finish them.

I wish I knew how to.....

Be organized. I am a stacker, a saver, a "sure I will need this someday" kind of girl. I force myself to watch "Hoarders" every now and then just to light the fire of desire to purge (it works). But I wish that I had that neat-nik personality. My husband is neat. I am not. I defend my children's messes, and curse myself for not being tidy. I am not sure how to overcome that.

Why I love to blog....

to connect with other people, to write my story, and mostly, to sit back an take an objective look at myself on regular basis. I find it very therapeutic and my blog is a little bit random....but so am I.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I want, I want, I want

Some days I just kind of want to stomp my feet and beg for things.....

I mean, it is silly, considering I have lots of cool things already....BUT

I lust.

I keep telling my family that Santa better have one thing for sure on that sled for me

I am ready to move up from my point and shoot, but not ready to go full force photographer. The Rebel proves to be a good entry level DSLR.
I have tried to be very good all year, haven't I?

And because of the long distance business trips my secret stash is low.... I believe a visit to See's is in order.

We are starting to talk about the REMODEL. When the Ramsey effect has taken place, and we are fully debt free, including the mortgage!!!! ( sometime in the spring), we have decided we will do some renovating, and I can't stop pining over the idea of a new kitchen

(photo from Cottage Living). So hey, we will have a loan again at that point, but we know how to make mince meet of those silly debts, so we are not afraid. Long Live Capitalism!
Bring on the spring renovation!

I also have been thinking I need a cool pair of boots (these are from Elle)

I am anything BUT a cowgirl, but I just keep envisioning cute skirts, slouchy socks, worn jeans and tromping right over the muddy leaves all fall..... These just may be a necessity.

Speaking of fall...... let me sigh over the end of summer

I am a little bit mad at myself for wasting so many beautiful days this summer feeling tired and not chasing the sun as much as I should have...

but hey, there is always next year.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Almost a football fan

With little brother resting after his flag football game

And this guy working harder than I have ever seen him work

And the whole thing becoming a bonding moment between father and son

This girlie girl who has never really truly cared before
is becoming a fan
of football