A few thoughts from today:

- I can't get warm. One of those down to the bone kinda chills that can't be cured no matter how many pairs of wool socks you put on.
- Went shopping today. Bath and Body Works was having a killer sale on their lotion. I bought three for the price of one (fyi - plumeria, night blossom jasmine, and clean cotton).
- Love my new water bottle. It's slightly smaller than my others, but it has a straw with a flip down spout. I only feel a little childish when I use it.
- Watching the Kennedy Center Honors. These passionate, moving speeches would be a whole lot more passionate and moving if the speakers weren't reading from a script.
- Hee hee... I've eaten an entire box of chocolate covered cherries in three days.
- I messaged my husband on Facebook earlier. We were only three feet apart.
- Waiting for magical fairies to come clean my house before we have friends over for New Year's.
- If it weren't for Ryan, every plant in our house would die a long, painful death.
- As of today I'm swearing off caffiene. For good this time. I mean it.
- Harry Connick Jr melts my butter.

And because every post is better with a photo... here's a pretty tree downtown from this fall.


Christmas chaos

Holidays are all about traditions. There's comfort in predictability. When I was little we celebrated Christmas Eve as a family. Together we went to mass, the church bursting at the seams. The sound of the congregation singing carols was incredible. Afterward we would race to my grandma's house. The first grandchild there got to put baby Jesus in the manger of my grandma's nativity scene. My dad likes to talk. And at Christmas Eve mass, there were a lot of people to talk to. I never got to put baby Jesus in the manager. But I was too busy playing with my cousins to notice. We waited impatiently for the supper dishes to be done, because that meant it was time to open presents. By the time the flurry of wrapping paper fell to the ground, we were fast asleep in the car on our way home.

The next morning, like many children around the world, we woke early to see what Santa left beneath the tree. Translation - what my mom and brother put together while my dad slept on the couch and my sister snoozed in the chair. Afterward, we packed up the car again to head off to my other grandma's house. And we enjoyed it all over again.

Eventually things changed a little. But it was gradual. I didn't even notice. This year, mother nature smacked into Christmas, turning it into seven kinds of chaos.

The meteorologists were predicting ice and snow and made it sound like the sky was going to fall. Even before the storm hit there was talk of postponing Christmas Eve at grandma's. I was crushed. More so than I probably should have been. They were talking about moving it to the day Ryan and I had decided to head home. We would miss it. I'd celebrated Christmas Eve at grandma's house every year for 26 years. You just don't mess with something that's been happening for 26 years.

As the storm approached, I lost count of the number of times Christmas Eve was postponed to different days and times trying to find the best time for everyone. We went to my grandma's Christmas Eve any way. It was a smaller bunch and we had frozen pizza instead of the usual chili and clam chowder. But it worked.

Surprisingly, it worked better than expected. Sort of. The storm hit Ryan's home town pretty hard. His parents were without electricity for about 8 hours. And it meant they had to postpone their traditional gathering at his sister's house. They opted to get together on Sunday, and we were able to make it. Since our families live so far apart we don't typically get to spend the holidays with both sides.

While traditions are loved, family is the only thing that matters. And spending time with both of ours was the silver lining to the Christmas chaos of 2009.


Small sampling

It's taken me a little longer than normal - but I have officially arrived smack dab in the middle of the Christmas spirit. It started when I finished my Christmas shopping. Wrapping presents definitely helped, although I'm not quite finished yet. But it was all on when I started making Christmas goodies.

Because it wasn't Christmas until my sister and I ate our weight in melted almond bark making chocolate covered peanut butter crackers. If anyone can tell me how to do it without getting it all over your fingers, I'm all ears.

Then again, never mind. That's half the fun.

I have yet to make sugar cookies. Baking and frosting and sprinkling until I can't see straight. But once that's done. I will be ready for Christmas.

Provided of course I finish wrapping presents.


Keninger wedding tin

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it seems like Michelle and Jason's October wedding was forEVER ago! I had a great time at their wedding. I love what I do. There's no doubt that being asked to photograph one of my friend's big day makes it that much more fun. I usually know the family. I'm almost gauranteed to know some (if not most) of the people at the reception. That makes it unforgetable.

So there's no doubt I thoroughly enjoy creating their CD tins as well.

As always, I wrote Jason and Michelle a little note on the inside.

I feel the need to apologize to Jason. With all the purple and flowers, it's one of the more "girlie" tins I've done. Hopefully he doesn't mind.

Once again, thanks SO much guys. Love you both!


Snow day!

Sunday evening:

Two and a half days later:

We are officially snowed in. Ames got 11.5 inches. Des Moines got 14.5! The snow is supposed to stop soon, but you won't be able to tell. The wind is blowing too hard. We're in a blizzard warning until 6 pm. Travel is not advised. Several portions of the interstates and highways are closed. They pulled the snow plows off I-35 from the Minnesota border to just south of us and on I-80 from Des Moines to Newton. The Iowa National Gaurd is helping stranded motorists. CaRAZY!
Personally, I love snow. I can't wait to go play in it... but it might not be until tomorrow. This is as far as I got today.

Ryan's off helping the city crew (all three of them) clean up. He's off on his four wheeler plowing the sidewalks. Meanwhile, I'm home in my fav hoodie and jeans with a hot cup of coffee, snuggled under a quilt. I'd LOVE to venture out this afternoon to take some more photos... but I'm not sure the weather is going to allow it.

Pretty snow makes pretty pictures!



I was hoping I'd be posting photos of fluffy white falling snow tonight. The weatherman said we'd be getting 1-2 inches after 3 pm. It's almost 6 pm now and no sign of the white stuff. I absolutely love snow. The simplicity of it. The purity of it before someone - or some thing leaves its tracks behind. Seemingly over night my world goes from dead brown to winter wonderland.

After every snow fall a part of me wants to run out and make a snow angel in the front yard. Or dig a snow fort out of huge piles of snow my dad pushed out of the drive way. I love the way it makes me feel like a little kid again.

But since it hasn't happened yet, I will wait. Hoping that tomorrow I wake up to a simple and perfect snow covered world.

And because every post is better with a photo... here's one of Ryan and I (plus Gus) a friend took this evening for a homemade Christmas gift for Ryan's grandma.