We're livin' it up on the U.P. - that's Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Punkie is 6 and LOVED Kindergarten! Isaboo is 2 and she's a smiley whirl wind. We also call her Busy-Isi. This year we welcomed little Lorenzo to our family.

Life is great!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Turn To Be Creative (Part 3 - Photography)

I know I'm not going to start charging people for my oh-so-talanted photos over night, but someday I WILL. Taking up photography has been so enjoyable. When I think about, learn about and try photography it feels like I'm using a different part of my brain...it feels gooooood! I feel creative. Not like math, which also feels like I'm using another part of my brain, but that just hurts.

I have learned quite a bit in the past month and a half. I shadowed my friend Becky who is an excellent photographer and watching someone in action helps me learn so much better. Becky also let me borrow three books on photography and I'm reading those. With some help from Nathan, my trusty computer sidekick, I figured out how to publish nice big photos without them turning grainy.
We bought our camera in a kit which included an instructional DVD. This DVD shows the basics of our camera and all the different ways you can use it (auto OR manual). It also goes over the basics of photography like setting a scene, how to frame a good picture, making sure vertical lines aren't coming out of the top of your model's head, etc. It's very informative. The host of is award-winning National Geographic Traveler photographer, Bob Krist. Besides being very smart and talented in photography, and not talking down to amatures he is a very cute man. Look at him!

I got this photo at: http://www.nationalgeographicexpeditions.com/experts/80/detail

You should image search his name and check out his amazing photos!

One day I would LOVE to take a photography class. We have looked into it a little. At UNL you have to be accepted to their photography program to take ANY photography courses, LAME. SCC might have some during the day, but they didn't have any as part of their night/community courses...we'll see. I think I might just wait and see where we end up because I would love to take a course with Julie. I'm sure I wouldn't flunk because A) Julie IS photogenic and B) I just wouldn't, okay!

Well, you can't really get good at anything unless you practice, right? I have really good friends that are so willing to let me use them to practice. This is just one photo shoot but, there are more willing guinie pigs/people whose photo shoots will be coming soon!

This is the Higgins family.

This is one of my favorites!
We took these on the UNL campus.
I brought a 3 step step-stool with me so I could get some aerol views and try to get fresh clean snow behind them. Creative, right? It was hard to find fresh clean snow. This picture was taken on the "beach/snow" SCENE setting. I like how it turned out.
I actually tried all the SCENE settings from this angle so I could see the same shot with all the different settings. Smart right? The picture below was taken on the "sunset" setting. Interesting, right? The above and below pictures were the only settings I liked, for this photo anyway. The others were either too dark or made their skin look unnatural. This one is a little blue, but I like it.
This is another favorite of mine. I like this BIG tree behind them.
I had them bring their backpacks because they are both students. Good thinking, right?
The pictures got out of order while downloading. I'm going to have to be careful about the order of download because this big monster cool pictures are hard to move. I really like this picture too, with the snowy creek bed behind them.
With the backpacks but closer this time.
Love this one! I love their smiles and that she is looking at him. So cute!
Love this one even more...I think you know why. Happy!
Pictures on a bench.
Backpacks on the path, instead of through the snow.
The bench again, with the flash.
Professor Higgins (HA! My Fair Lady) is a Marriage and Family Therapist and this is one of the rooms in which he does therapy. Mr. and Mrs. Higgins are domonstrating how couples often look in this room.
Nice lip curl.
I think Christina should get an Academy Award for this one.
I really like this one too. I didn't think I would like the car and other lights in the back ground but I do.
I'm pretty sure couples DON'T look like this...well, maybe when they are totally done with therapy.
This is another favorite. They were great models. They were patient with me, even though it was COLD.
And, for fun, I decided that I'm going to have one of my models shoot a picture of me after every photo shoot. This is what I looked like during this photo shoot.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Our Christmas Present

For our 3rd anniversary (November 19) and for Christmas this year we got one gift.

A really nice camera.

Nikon D5000

We had been "shopping" and "looking" for over a year.
We found the sweetest deal and snagged it.

We got it November 25th from Rockbrook Camera, here in Lincoln.

We have been playing with it ever since.

It is so fun!
We wrapped up the box and I opened it Christmas morning, while Nathan took pictures with the camera!



I love the above picture, with Marley checking out what I'm opening and sucking in her cheeks.

Now I gotta get photoshop and figure out how to edit that double chin!
Stay tuned to get a glimpse of my first "Couple" photo shoot!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

So, I have some questions....

Here are my answers, opinions, and musings about yesterday's questions:

What has been your favorite FHE ever?

I loved the Extended family FHEs we had when I was a kid. I remember EVERYONE coming and loved actually having a lesson even though kids were wrestling with each other or just getting out of hand in general. I loved our my aunts and uncles (or parents) would give the eye and say with their face, "You better settle down and listen RIGHT NOW!"
Each year we had a theme and one year we learned about a different Apostle each month. I think it was my Uncle Greg(g) Wright that came up with a great way to remember them in order.
It was always a good time!

Nathan's family does it in Lehi, the exact same way my family used it. That is one of the things that attracted me to his family...tight, like unto mine.

I've heard that my family in Utah started it up again. Hope we live in Utah in the near future!

When do you take down your Christmas clutter and tree?

Nathan says, "It's definitely a New Year's Day activity." And he's pretty adamant about it. I'm itchin' to take it down. I even started collecting some of the nick knack patty-whacks and he totally caught me. And he wasn't even in the same room!

What is your favorite game to play with your family?

I love Cranium. But, it is getting old because you can only play one game so many times before you start remembering the answers.

We got a really fun game for Christmas! Pirates of the Caribbean DVD Treasure Hunt. The game board is a pirate map that is very colorful yet old looking. It even rolls up to fit in the box. The game pieces are really cool pirate ships. You have to collect Booty - GOLD, SILVER, and RUM! And when you've collected your booty you have to bury it! You can even battle with other pirate ships! It is so fun! Come play it with us!

Would you take a 20 month old to a movie?

Ok, many of you assumed I was asking this about US taking MARLEY to the movies. We would NEVER do that...in our right minds.

OK, yesterday, after trying to get out and have fun just to be chased back to our apartment by the cold, once again, I have to admit we did consider it for about 30 minutes. Dumb we know. I think all of your comments were appropriate and considered by us during that 30 minutes of insanity. I'm surprised nobody said they wanted to whack us upside the head. It was probably those that didn't comment.

AND

Do you Sudoku?

I go through phases with Sudoku. I like it. I really do think it helps your brain. I've actually heard any puzzle type games help with your memory...Kathy you're covered with the crosswords.

I have some more questions.... (Last day of questions for awhile I promise.)

Do you make New Years Resolutions?

If so, how many?

If so, have you ever actually accomplished any? All?

If so, what are your Resolutions for 2010? (if you are planning on blogging about this, you don't have to answer this question here.)

Can you believe it is going to be 2010!?!

Do you remember the Y2K bug?

HELLOOOO NEW DECADE!!!!

You know the drill....now get to the comments!

Monday, December 28, 2009

I Love Little Miracles

Yes, those are my real nails. And Amy called me on having longer nails than usual. I actually found that nail polish color and told Nathan about it. Growing my nails out before Christmas was my act of faith, that he was going to get it. He did! But, I think I will cut my nails tonight...they are driving me crazy.

My sore throat was 95% better when I woke up this morning! I felt so blessed. I had two hot cups of homemade cocoa (made by the Primary President, my friend!) last night. It was so tasty and it made my throat feel so good that's why I had TWO! I think that was the cure.

We are trying to take every advantage of this time in our lives when Nathan gets a nice big Christmas break. We tried to go Geocaching again today and returned to Mahoney park only to get stuck in the snow. Thankfully we were able to get out with Nathan pushing and me steering and backing out the whole way. Then we tried to find some caches around town but, the snow is just too piled up.

Returned home to work on a baby quilt. It's coming together slowly but surely.

Roma Stevens (1st Counselor in Primary, and my friend!) brought us dinner! Potato and corn chowder with ham and wheat bagel sandwiches. It was all SO good!

So, I have some questions....

What has been your favorite FHE ever?

When do you take down your Christmas clutter and tree?

What is your favorite game to play with your family?

Would you take a 20 month old to a movie?

AND

Do you Sudoku?

You can answer one or more of these questions....I will answer them too.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday

The talk went well...church wasn't cancelled. I only cried twice during the talk but that's because I had to swallow. My throat hurts so bad! I've never had a sore throat like this. Otherwise, I feel fine, just tired.

I'm gonna go take a nap and only wake for din dins, then back to bed. But, here is something I got in my stocking.


This color is called "Dear Santa."
PS - Any good home remedies for a sore throat? I looked some up online last night but they didn't work. I tried, honey cayenne apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. Didn't work and it was DISGUSTING! I also tried gargling with mouthwash, that helped a little. Maybe I'll go do that again.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Saturday Is A Special Day...

It's the day we write our talks for Sunday.

Tomorrow, Nathan is speaking at a branch in our Stake on Keeping the Spirit of Christmas with us throughout the year.

I am speaking in our ward on Personal Ministry. When given this topic and the invitation to speak I was referred to a BYU Devotional given by Bonnie D. Parkin entitled, Personal Ministry: Sacred and Precious. It's a wonderful talk and if you want to read it, click here.

Anyway, sorry for this possibly boring and disappointing post (not so disappointing if you read Sister Parkin's talk), but if you have any stories or experiences on either of these topics, please share them in-full in the comments. Preferably before 12:00pm CST, tomorrow.

If you don't have any stories or experiences to share on these topics please leave a comment letting me know of a special experience you had this Christmas OR the best gift you got OR the best gift you gave.

OR just leave a comment about anything you want. I love comments...who doesn't?

We love you all!

Post edit: The Seward Branch has cancelled their meetings tomorrow because of the crippling cold and snow. Nathan is SO lucky! He no longer has to speak tomorrow and now he gets to hear my freaking awesome talk.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dashing Through The Snow....

Yesterday we had a fun day!
We got a package from Aunt Kim and Uncle Scott!
Marley liked playing in the box of snow turds, until...

She fell backwards in it and then her mom took a picture.
She was so mad!

First we went to Shopko, because as you know, I still needed to get Nathan some stocking stuff.
That was fun because I worked hard to shop and avoid running into Nathan and Marley.
Because I couldn't find anything besides more food to put in Nathan's stocking, we headed over to Walnast. On the way, Marley fell asleep. Nate stayed in the car with Marley and I went in and shopped and got us some yummy popcorn chicken from their deli.
(Notice we still have that cat. We've been thinking of going out to the country and dropping it off.)

Marley's cute little boots. We got them from cousin Kelsey. We LOVE hand me downs.

While Marley slept we ate, but we saved her plenty. We also drove over to Mahony Park.

It was a Winter Wonderland.


At the park we tried our hand at Geocaching.
Nathan got a hand held GPS unit from me for his birthday!
If you're a Geocacher the next few pictures are SPOILERS.
Here's the cache. Not what we were expecting but it was still cool and fun.


We didn't get to add our name to the list because we forgot a pen. We are still armatures....we're learning. The last time someone had found this cache was just December 3rd. Cool!

Marley liked it. She's a natural cachet.
On to try to find the next one, while I ran to get a pen from the car.

I couldn't find them when I returned. I thought they slipped into another dimension, like Narnia or somewhere. So, I took some pictures.

Can you see the fat squirrel?


I finally realized I needed to follow Nathan's foot prints in the snow. When I ran out of foot prints to follow at the road, a few seconds later they came rolling up in the Black Pearl.
We kept Marley in the car, warm and safe while we looked for the next cache.

I was skeptical that we would find it.

Then a tree near us lost a limb. It was near the top and it crashed down with a loud thud.

Nathan was under the left tree, looking. The limb that broke off was from the tree on the right...freaky!

Did you hear that?

Geocaching is SO fun!

We didn't find that cache. We decided we needed to try again another day. It was cold!
But not in the car.


Then we fed Marley sour starburst gummies to try and get a funny sour face. No such luck.
She loved to dust her hands of the sour sugar.



We headed to Sonic for some happy hour drinks. Tried to take a picture of Nate to document our trip and what did he do?
GET THAT CAT OUTTA MY FACE!!!

He thought he was SO funny!



We went and sorted the recycling. Do you recycle?
We were totally avoiding our apartment all day and we ran out of things to do...so, we went to the mall. Nathan was so good at talking me out of buying a lot of stuff. We bought NOTHING!
Finally, it got dark and we went to watch a Christmas Lights Show.

It was pretty cool!

Then we just drove around looking for lights.
I loved this tree. Mostly for the big ornaments.

This was a really cute backyard.

This was my favorite! So pretty!

Then we busted home.

This is our neighbors balcony. I think it's cute and everytime they have that blow up Santa blown up Marley loves to stair at it and say, "Sana! Sana! Sana!" One hundred times.
Our tree caked in ice.
It was a great day!!!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE!!!