looking back, looking forward

Of course whenever the old calendar runs out of squares to fill in, and we happily tack up the cute kitties calendar that came free with the pizza for the new year, we're prone to reflecting on the year that's come to a close, and ponder what the one we're about to embark upon will bring us.

2008 has been a virtual whirlwind, a year of great learning, and great friendships. When I look back at 2008 I will always remember it as the one during which I cemented relationships with my clients, built amazing new relationships with the 2008 DLS workshoppers, and made the late but wise decision to slow things down so I could spend more time with the people closest to me - my husband and children. I also will remember it as the year I reconnected with my beloved YoWoChAs friends, who may not ever truly comprehend how much their friendship changed the course of my life and shaped the person I am today.

What does 2009 hold? It kicks off with our anniversary - Bill and I have known each other for over 20 years, but have spent 5 of them as officially hitched as of January 1. There's definitely some travel (the Dominican Republic in January and Mexico in May). The end of a few Belly-to-Birthday packages, during which I have to bid a sad farewell to the babies I've watched from bumps to babblers. One shooting day a month, plus a handful of very exciting weddings (Billie's little brother is getting married!!!) And, of course, the 2009 Dirty Little Secrets Workshops, which I was counting down the sleeps to before I even started counting down to Christmas. My oldest child will start high school, and my youngest will start Kindergarten - I imagine September will be a very bittersweet month for me.

As I enjoy these last few days of R&R with my family before plunging into 2009 head-first with eyes closed and heart open, I hope you and your loved ones have had as lovely a holiday season as me and mine. Blessings to you all, and a very Happy New Year. See you in '09!!!

put in a good word!!!

The cookies that Sherry makes are nothing shy of amazing.  If you haven't tasted them you should.  I have seriously NEVER had cookies like these before - they are delicious and beautiful and totally built to impress even the harshest critics...

The photos of the cookies are all complete now, and will be appearing on Sherry's website sometime early in 2009.  In the meantime, she's got a blog on the go.  She just posted a 'what customers are saying' post and anyone who's tried them should really go and spread the word.

Sherry, here's to Sweet Temptations making a spectacular debut - I wish you all the luck in the world, and have no doubt your cookie business is going to be Something Big.  It's too late to order for Christmas delivery now, but for those of you hosting a New Year's shindig, please check out the cookies and ask for some business cards to put next to the plate!

a gift

I have a zoom lens.  It's a nice one, too, and it takes fantastic pictures.  It serves me well.  Sadly for me, I prefer prime lenses (fixed focal length) which although cumbersome make my heart flutter.  I drool over them online.

For some time now I've drooled over one specific lens, a compact prime called a 'pancake' lens that fits ever so sweetly on the front of your camera as if it's not even there.  It takes tack-sharp images.  For a girl who has her camera with her almost 24-7 (who will also be doing some traveling in 2009) and who isn't really big into Photoshopping her pictrues, a lightweight compact lens that takes tack-sharp images has OBVIOUS benefits.  That, and it looks really cool.

Alas, it wasn't in the budget.  Left to my own devices I'd have a 2nd and 3rd mortgage out on the house and nothing but mountains of photography equipment laying about.  However, some things are simply meant to be.  Thanks to the grads from last year's DLS series, who went out of their way and behind my back, dragging everyone including my husband AND 14yo son into it, I am now the proud owner of my very own pancake lens.  

I haven't had much of an opportunity to try it out, but I did manage to pester my kids a bit over last weekend.

You can't really tell from these websized images, but the originals are so sharp I could have taken an eye out with them.

And, I hardly feel the camera in my backpack these days, she's so sleek!

I will be the first to admit I'm not the best 'receiver' of gifts.  I'm also not the best receiver of 'surprises' in general.  But I'm getting better - I think I took it in stride as well as could be expected...  Suffice it to say the girls made me cry, made my heart swell, filled me with pride and gratitude, and totally rocked my December 2008.  Thank you to ALL of you, even those who couldn't make it, for the amazing thoughtfulness and crazy awesome gift.  I'm humbled, and overjoyed.  More pics to come over the holidays!!!!  ~Squee!~

my little gymnast

When I was young gymnastics was my life. We enrolled Serejane for her first round this fall and it nearly broke my heart watching her. I purposely left my camera in the bag for the ENTIRE SERIES so I could just sit, and watch, and bask. On the last day though I was the paparazzi Mom from hell... these are just a scant few of the plethora I snapped...

Getting a little coaching on how to properly do a plank.

Swinging on the unevens.

Strike a pose!

So much glee!  I am sad to be done but glad for a bit of reprieve from the craziness of driving everyone around on Saturdays!

beautiful beautiful beautiful boy(s)

I met Big Brother L when he was just a few weeks older than baby E.  I fell instantly in love with L, and E was just as easy to crush on.  He wasn't really into the basket or wings, but he sure loved time with Mom and L.  In fact, despite being asleep when I arrived, he was so content hanging out with L he fell asleep again... three times... 

Congratulations Mom and Dad and Big Bro.  I can hardly wait to learn when V3.0 is coming out ~smirk~

christmas boomwhackers

From Pirateyme, who always manages to find something fantastic! Thanks D!

a little something to look at...

OK - so the story is, my husband is allergic to real trees and I am allergic to (the dust that collects on) fake trees, so we put up a ladder instead.  For those of you who have not seen it before, voila:  the festive green ladder!

peek-a-boo and a sled, too!

Newborns are lumps.  Kael was no different when I met him 9 months ago.  Not so much now - he's crawling, clapping, standing, and even playing peek-a-boo!  He's such a handsome little beggar - his big brother's got competition.  I can't believe the next time I get to see K he's going to be a year old - it's flown by SO fast!!!  Merry Christmas to you and yours!  See you on your birthday, little man!

blast from the past

It's no secret I used to work at a kids' camp. In fact, it's where I met my husband. Thanks to the wonders of Facecrack, I've managed to track down a few of my former camp coworkers, with whom we're plotting a reunion over the Christmas break (squee!!!). This one, in particular, can't make it though because she happens to be VERY pregnant. As in 39 weeks, with no maternity pictures. So I spent the afternoon visiting with (and shooting) the lovely and talented C, her sweet hubby J, and her handsome son, J. She is one of thee cutest little Mommas I've ever seen. It was great reminiscing and catching up, C. I look forward to meeting the bean in a few days!!!

some Sunday Art

Snow dog.

About as durn cute as they come.

Art's perfectly content to sit on your lap and chew some rawhide.

However, he is not food motivated, which has made training him a bit challenging.  He'll eat off the floor if you're in proximity.

However, his preferred bowl is the palm of your hand. 

more little girls

Mads came over with a flashy new bob on Friday.

Always the perfect little lady....

Serejane jumped on the bobwagon.

She FREAKED out a few weeks ago when I trimmed her hair - barely an inch of the dead stuff - despite my reassurances it would grow back.

She looks adorable, but when she asked me to cut her hair it was a bittersweet pill to swallow.  I don't want her having the same hair hang-ups I do, so I acquiesced.  Scissors in hand, she must have picked up on my vibe - she kept reassuring me, "It'll grow back, Mama."

two too cute!

Y, D & A finally welcomed the twins on November 14, 2008.  There are many more pictures to come, but I had to share a little bit.  See, Y's Mom (aka Gramma) is the admin support supervisor at my day job.  She's more than just someone I work with though - she's kind of like a second Mom to me, and getting to know her and her family has been nothing shy of amazing.  

The twins are the newest of her grandbabies, and I feel blessed and honoured to be a part of them growing up.  Really, even if I wasn't in on the picture-taking process I'd have every detail imaginable - these are some very well-loved grandbabies.  Say hello and give a warm welcome to these two gorgeous little people:  Ryan Daniel and Sarah Treena.  Mom and Dad - your babies are beautiful little chickens!  Are they not totally delicious?  Y, D, and A, thanks for letting Heather and I invade your home last weekend.  Gramma S - sorry you weren't there for it...  ~snicker snicker~  Newborns are only sorta fun - I can hardly wait for the 3 months session, and for whatever it's worth the 6 and 9 and 12 months sessions are already planned WOOT WOOT!  (Come on - opposite gender twins?  of COURSE I have plans...)

Next time, instead of Heather ~I~ am leaving the camera at home so I can just snuggle the bebes... and A - thanks for humouring me with the cheesy hat picture - I totally owe ya one! ~smirk~

yes, I know, I know!!!!

Last weekend I shot the last of my clients for 2008.  My final exam was last night.  Tonight is Wil's birthday supper.  I know I have been pretty scarce around bloggerland the last week and a half, but I've been busy doing other Important Things.  I promise there is some blogging to be done over the weekend!  Until then, cheers!