December 31, 2012

good-bye 2012.....

dear 2012...

many people will be thanking you for all that you gave of yourself this past year, but not me. instead i spent too many days finding it impossible to get close to you. every time i tried, sometimes desperately, you shrugged your way past me with a grinch like smile on your face that made me want to slap you.

granted, you gave me a few {only a few that i can count} highs that were high enough to make me happy and which fit me beautifully, like my favorite pair of jeans {i guess this is where i say i "thank you"} but the lows...oh, the lows you threw me like an incompetent pitcher, couldn't have gotten any lower and will never be forgotten. unfortunately, i caught every one of them.

by now you're probably thinking i'm not being fair, but those are your feelings. you see, there were too many days this past year that you took my feelings and stomped the living pulp out of them. then you stooped over, picked them up with disgust in your eyes and discarded them like they were used kleenexes. it was you that wasn't fair.

after the first half of the year, i assumed that things could only get better and at a minimum, we'd be luke warm with each other, but i was wrong. instead, on a sunny day in july, you tied weights to my ankles and threw me overboard. i gasped for air, slapped at the water and begged for a life preserver, but it didn't work. you won. i drowned.

not long after that day, a thin layer of something i can only refer to as yuck, covered me like a sheet of saran wrap. it was laced with hate and mistrust and misunderstandings and questions and tears and pain and no matter how hard i tried to shake it off, it stuck to me like glue. i begged you for help, but all you did was add another month, and then another month to something i couldn't get out from under. i didn't wish you for to be gone, i just wished for you to be softer and easier on me.

september came and you did it again. this time not to me personally, but to our entire family. you created a level of sadness that no family should ever have to experience. unfortunately, we all now have a day in september with 2012 behind it, etched in our hearts. a day that never should have happened.

when the late fall and early winter days arrived, not one of them welcomed me. well, maybe they did, but in a snarly "can you see my fake smile" kind of way and i just wasn't in the mood to try to make nice. i knew just by looking at them, that they were way too similar to the earlier months of you, 2012. they had disguises on, made up mostly of cheap masks and paper thin capes, but they weren't pretty, kind or fast enough to get by my critical eye. then something caught me off guard again and like i had practiced it a million times, i caved. i looked to you and prayed that maybe, just maybe, you'd take me under your wing and let me fly through the rest of the year with everything around me feeling perfectly in tact, including my heart and all the thoughts in my head, but you didn't.

finally, the last few weeks of december showed up and suddenly you looked at me differently. actually you looked tired, exhausted really, and i could see that somewhere deep down inside of you, you didn't want to {or have the strength} to cause me anymore grief. you left me alone. you didn't taunt me, well not as much as you had, and you finally walked around me without sucking up every ounce of my self-esteem. {something you had perfected over the past eleven months} unfortunately though, my heart continued to do what it had done all guarded itself from you.

so 2012, you came, you were here and now {thank God} you're leaving. tonight, at midnight. i have high {like unattended balloons filled with helium soaring upwards into the sky} hopes for your replacement, 2013. mostly because i didn't like you, but also because thirteen is a lucky number for me...well, for our entire family. so go 2012. go away. i won't shed any tears for you, but don't take it personally, {well sure you's just that people always say "don't take it personally} take it instead knowing that you caused me so many tears while you were here, that i just don't have any left. buh-bye.

December 29, 2012

who gets married four days after christmas?.....

{favorite 2012 photo of us}

we do. well, we did. 
today is our 28th wedding anniversary.

i was twenty when we got married, and he was twenty two. wow, we were so young, weren't we? i don't know how we've done half the things we've done or how we've moved as many times as we have, but i do know one thing...everything i've done in the past thirty two years {we dated first} i've done with him. my best friend.

not only is he my best friend, he's my rock. he's my biggest fan and my loudest cheerleader. how either of us knew in high school that we were meant to be together is beyond me, but somehow we knew. call it luck. call it intuition. call it love. call it being in the right place at the right time. whatever you call it, we've been blessed. blessed in love and living and blessed with two amazing kids.

now before you start rolling your eyes, because i know some of you are, we've had some ugly days together, too. don't believe for a second that we live in the land of rainbows and glitter, because we don't. we've had fights and tears just like everyone else. honestly though, we hate to fight, so they never last very long. believe it or not, we've never gone to bed mad at each other or made the other one sleep on the couch and because i was born with the gene that prevents me from being quiet, well... silent treatments only last about an hour around here.

so today we celebrate. we celebrate love and patience, honesty and understanding, hand holding and back rubbing, secret words and nicknames, knowing glances and smiles, truth and openness, tears {happy and sad} and hugs, cuddling and making out. but even with all of those amazing things, we first and foremost celebrate putting each other first and making each other number one.

my hubby's dad {my wonderful father-in-law} told him years ago...."put each other first...make each other number one NO MATTER WHAT." so when life, over the past twenty eight years, has lifted us up and then turned around a few days later only to throw us back down {and stomped all over our vulnerable places while doing so} we've put each other first...we've made each other number one.
so, to the love of my life, happy anniversary. thank you for loving me the way you do.

December 27, 2012

warm, word and waiting.....

christmas arrived and then quietly disappeared, just like it does every year. there were lots of laughs, love, gifts, a funny song and yummy food. unfortunately, i made the mistake of eating too many tiny "pigs in a blanket" at my sister's house christmas eve and spent the whole night suffering with a migraine. i just wasn't thinking. i never eat anything with nitrates or nitrites and somehow my internal sensor that keeps me away from foods like hotdogs/sausages/bacon etc. wasn't on. thankfully, by christmas morning i was back to my normal self. granted, i was hugely sleep deprived, but i was migraine free and that's all that really matters after a night like i had.

i haven't been outside to take any photos for days. you see, i'm a wimpy winter girl and i'm not afraid to admit it. even after our beautiful blizzard, that dumped 19.5 inches of snow on us a week ago, i haven't been out "in it." our days have been in the twenties and honestly, if the sun isn't shining and the wind is blowing, i'd rather be inside. oh sure, i've been out with the hubby to run errands and obviously to go to my sister's house for christmas, but those don't count as far as being "outside." maybe this weekend i'll put twenty three layers on and brave the elements for a few decent shots of winter. or not. 

the photos in this post were all taken last sunday from the car. we were heading to milwaukee to take a family friend to the airport and i grabbed my camera for the ride. how i managed to get any photos through the dirty car windows {think salt and snow} is beyond me. let's just chalk these up to luck, shall we?

i'm assuming you all had an amazing christmas and are now anxiously waiting for the new year to arrive, no? are you a "word" chooser or a resolution maker? i've been a "word" chooser now for five years, maybe six and i'm waiting patiently for this year's word to come and bonk me on the head and scream "ME ME ME...choose ME." 
too often, i look for the perfect word and i hate doing that. i'd much rather have a "word" find me {claim me, strangle me, smother me, pick me} than for me to be in charge of finding the one that seems to fit me best. so "word" i'm ready...come and get me and together let's do this !!!


December 24, 2012

santa's on his way.....

dear friends, 
i don't know what most of you will be doing for christmas today and tomorrow, but i hope whatever it is, you're surrounded by the softness of love and the comfort of laughter. for those of you struggling, for whatever reason, to get through this holiday season with a smile on your face or happiness in your heart, i hope you find the strength you've been searching for.

christmas isn't my favorite holiday, as i get angry with so much of it unfortunately falling into the materialistic cauldron, that can burn your tongue or fill you up depending on how much of it you want to sip, but i do love the fact that it brings us all together. 

today we'll be at my sister's house, as we have been now for years, where laughter raises the roof, the singing hurts your ears {well only if you hear my voice} the food fills us up until we can barely walk and the games we play find out who's the most competitive. {oh, and there's a few presents in there, too...but just a few} and when it's all said and done, and the day has become dark and our eyelids are heavy, there's not one of us that would trade all of that for anything else in this world.

merry christmas everyone

December 21, 2012

i wish i could tell you.....

i wish i could tell you: that this is what our winter looks like, but it doesn't. instead we are buried in snow. 18.5 inches of very wet and heavy flakes fell on us wednesday night and all day yesterday and with the winds, that caused blizzard like conditions, we are surrounded by mountains of snow.

i wish i could tell you: that this hawk was sitting in a tree in my backyard before the snow came, but he wasn't. this is a picture from one of my walks around the pond, back in october, that i forgot about.

i wish i could tell you: that these words are mine, but they aren't. i found this on tumblr.

i wish i could tell you: that i took this photo before the snow came, but i didn't. instead, it's another forgotten photo from this fall.

i wish i could tell you: that i have a big christmas tree in another corner of my house, but i don't. this is my charlie brown tree {that now has lots of presents under it} that we've used for years. i still like it and  it still makes me smile. the self-portrait is in front of our vintage mirror, that is filled with scratches and pitting just like an old mirror should be. oh, and my funny hand, on top of my camera, is holding the lens cap which makes me look like a bit of a dork.

i wish i could tell you: that this furry baby is wide awake, but he isn't. so sleepy.

i wish i could tell you: that this baby is mine, but he's not. he's my grand-dog and i love him enough to let him lay on my kitchen island for photos. yep, i'm a cool grandma that way.

to all of you who are traveling for the holidays, may your paths be safe and filled with light. for everyone, i hope your christmas celebrations are filled with more love and laughter than you've ever imagined possible.

December 18, 2012

indoor lighting, ugh and cuteness overload.....

some very dear friends came to visit us last night and this is their adorable daughter.

she entertained us all night long.

to say that i hate indoor lighting is an understatement, but since i'm a natural light photographer i have to suck it up and just make it work. the only really good way to deal with it {and what keeps me halfway sane} is knowing that i can tweak most of the horrible lighting issues in lightroom 3.

seriously people, i can't even begin to tell you how horrible my original photos looked. most of these photos were taken around 7pm, with just canned lighting above us and a few lamps off to the sides. my ISO was usually on 1600 or 3200 and i overexposed the photos by 2 steps.

unfortunately with overhead lighting you tend to get horrible shadows and it's usually next to impossible to get any catch light in your subject's eyes. if you do get some, especially on a moving target like a two year old, it's usually just luck.

i'm showing both of these black and white family photos to show you the differences in editing. the top one is a little bit blown out or brighter and the bottom one is a more natural black and white. when you're editing, make sure to play around a bit and if you're not quite sure, make multiple black and white edits and decide which one you like best once you can put them side by side.

this photos melts my heart. that's my son sitting there with her. oh gosh, too sweet !

thanks E and D and L for playing with us last night. we loved having you here.

December 15, 2012


the light in many lives has dimmed or gone completely out after yesterday's tragedy in the sandy hook elementary school. sitting in my family room yesterday, watching the news from afar, my heart crumbled and heavy tears ran down my cheeks. the senseless death, of all those small children and their teachers, is something we will never understand, no matter how hard we try. my thoughts and prayers go out to that quaint and beautiful little town of newtown, connecticut. i have learned with death, that the ties that bind, to anyone who has ever died, cover miles and miles of terrain. scattered and sometimes forgotten, are grieving grandparents, aunts and uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins, godparents, siblings, best friends, old neighbors and babysitters...the list could go on forever.
to everyone hurting right now, the world is praying for you.

December 12, 2012


 12~12~12 is just so pretty, no matter how you look at it.
{but where is his other leg?}

i've been bad about posting this week. sorry. let's just chalk it up to holiday "busyness." the good thing is, i think i have all my shopping done. granted, there's lots of wrapping to do now, but that's the easy {and always the most fun} part for me. i love wrapping, wrapping paper, vintage ribbon, boxes and tape. seriously, if i could get a job as a professional wrapper, i'd love it !!

i'm sharing 12 photos today from our trip to florida. get it? 12 photos on 12~12~12. wow, sometimes my creativity just blows me away. snort.

if you saw the news, you probably know that we got 3 inches of beautiful and very wet snow this past weekend. well, snow photos will be shown here on my blog at some point, but certainly not yet. i have to pace myself you know. for all of you who know me well, you're probably amazed right now seeing that i just used "snow" and "beautiful" in the same sentence. usually i can't even bring myself to say or write the word snow, let alone call it beautiful and i always try my best to go all winter long simply ignoring it. but who knows. maybe this year i'll even build a snowman. wow. crazy talk today!!

seagull dancing, while in flight.

we watched the pelicans dive for their lunch and laughed in sheer amazement at how they do what they do. {i only had my 80-200 lens with me. sad face, as i would have loved to have gotten some close-ups} also, for the very first time ever, we saw stings rays jumping in and out of the water while swimming to their next destination. it looked like they were flying. we googled it when we got home, just to make sure we weren't crazy...and we weren't. they actually do jump out of the water.
i hope that your 12~12~12 is treating you like a queen or a king today.

December 6, 2012

i have a secret.....

remember last week when i said i was going to be a bit quiet in the blogging world? well, it's because i was in florida, dancing in the sand and breathing in the ocean air, instead of sitting at my computer.

the love of my life and i headed south to celebrate his birthday...and not just any a very special way. 

the big 50

i don't know what my fascination is with seagulls, but it's there and it's obvious. normally we fake them out, by throwing little scraps of whatever the ocean spit out the night before, into the air for them, but they're smart little birds and get tired of that game quickly. we have finally learned that almonds will make a seagull your best friend. for life.

there was a guy on the beach with his girlfriend and a very large and very expensive camera. i don't remember for sure what it was, but it was a canon and heavy enough to throw me off balance. anyhow, i took their photo for them and laughed a little inside when he told me it was set on auto and ready to go. {i so wanted to teach him how to shoot on aperture mode} 
then he wanted to take our photo for us. i said sure and told him i had the settings exactly where they should be and he shot away. unfortunately, most of the photos he took were absolutely nothing, as he thought he should use "flash fill" even when i told him not to. oh well. we got one great shot out of it and that's better then no picture at all.

these are our new friends. we met them on the beach and after a couple of conversations and a bike ride, they came over and had drinks with us on our last night in seaside. these are the kind of people you want living next door to you. seriously, you do. they're that nice. so fran and chris, here's your jumping photo...and chris, please tell me your back is better. i'm so sorry if the jumping is what caused your pain :(

this was taken on our last day in seaside. it's better that you see the back of my head instead of the tears that were streaming down the front of my face...well, not really. i wasn't crying, but that's how my heart felt. 
to my hubby, thank you for a week of memories that we will cherish forever. actually more than forever. wait, is there a word for that yet? anyhow, i love you so much and have now celebrated thirty two of your fifty birthdays with you. what a gift i have been given...and in case i haven't told you often enough, fifty looks amazing on you.

December 4, 2012

bent knees and blessings.....

my daughter sent me a text yesterday asking if i was ever going to get our thanksgiving photos edited and posted on my blog. she's a slave driver, that one. anyhow, here's jump one and um, did you notice that there are some older men in the photo that didn't/ couldn't bend their knees?

i don't want to point fingers {actually yes, i do} but it happened again in our second jump. let's go down the line shall we? starting on the left...son, knees bent and a funky "pointing at you" move. son's girlfriend, knees bent. hubby, knees not bent and a totally scary face. me, knees bent. daughter, knees bent with a bit of a dance move. daughter's fiancé, knees not bent. that noise you just heard was me sarcastically clearing my throat and then smiling. snort.
honestly, i'm laughing at both of these photos and loving them SO much!!

now for the regular photos. this one isn't so bad, but my daughter's hand is mysteriously and awkwardly growing out of my shoulder. but look at my grand-dog. isn't he adorable?

this ones a little better. the awkward hand has disappeared, but overall, the photo is a bit stiff.

finally, there's this one. ta-da. a photo that we all like. granted my grand-dog isn't looking at the camera, but who cares. he's an adorable little fluff ball that shows up often at my house and makes me happy, so he can look anywhere he wants to.

if you're still here reading and looking at my photos {i know i lost some of you a long time ago, as this isn't the most interesting post i've ever written} here are the outtakes of just me and my hubby. this first one above is okay and the second one below isn't too bad either, but it's a little blurry.

but i LOVE LOVE LOVE this last photo SO very much. as i scroll back through all of these photos, i feel so fantastically blessed. i have an incredible and loving family, that keeps growing in size and a man who i love more than life itself. it doesn't get any better than that. {thanks little sister for taking our photos. i adore you, too}