Friday, December 31, 2010

Project 365 - Days 361-366

Okay, so obviously, I miscounted somewhere.  But you know what!?  I can't believe I'm only one day off!  So, I'm actually rather proud of myself!  Here are the last few pictures of the year - all of which were taken on my new camera...

Day 361 - December 26

And here it is!  A Nikon D3100.  We were looking at other cameras but this one was a lower entry price compared to the others and has a fun 'guide' feature to help you get the perfect shot. Anyway, it seemed to have all the bells and whistles as the more expensive cameras just at a better price!  Hopefully my pictures will start reflecting a better camera, lens and photographer!

Day 362 - December 27

Here's our little resident cutie-pie.  I was playing around with my camera, taking some close up pictures and got this gem...

Day 363 - December 28

Just before they left to go home, we got one last picture in with the cousins.  Jack was feeling the effects of a cold and teething so his Mom had to hold him in the picture (otherwise he started crying ;-(  But we got one good one where everyone was smiling AND looking at the camera!  Yea!

On a side note, I think I'm going to have to research how to get the best optimized pictures to post on the web (without having a huge file size) as I notice the pictures are not looking nearly as good once uploaded as they did on my computer!  If anyone has any tips, please let me know!

Day 364 - December 29

We had three deer visit our backyard - two of them bucks!  The lens that came with the camera couldn't get too close of the deer through the window.  But I bought a new lens the other day with an awesome zoom so I'm hoping the deer return soon so I can take some new, close-up pictures! 

Day 365 - December 30

Warm golden sunrise.  Well, it wasn't warm outside but the colors were warm!  Already, I am loving the wide angle on this lens compared to my point and shoot.  NOW you can get a better idea of the vast expanse of the sky...

Day 366 - December 31

This is my view most of the time when I'm blogging or on the computer for anything and I thought it a fitting way to end this year of pictures - as it will most like begin the next year as well!

Happy New Year and thank you for sticking with me through this year of daily photos!!!

Until next time...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Project 365 - Days 354-360

Day 354/365 - December 19

I took Belle out today to let her stretch her legs and she found a pile of manure that she was very intent on smelling.  Then she would lift her head and make this face!  Funny girl!

Day 355/365 - December 20

While grainy, this photo shows that I've decorated most of the house so far.  The tree has been up for awhile but it might be it's last year since we can't get several rows of lights to work anymore!  We've had this monster 12-footer for 6 years now so it's definitely saved us money over the years (versus buying a live 12-foot tree each year!).  

Day 356/365 - December 21

This was actually from a few days ago (but I needed a filler).  We gave Ava my old Zire (one of the first electronic organizers they came out with - it had a Palm OS).  Anyway, she was/is obsessed with it!  Oh my, we might have created a monster!

Day 357/365 - December 22

Our holiday guests have arrived and the cutest one in the bunch posed for an adorable picture with my two girls.  The animal hat theme sure looked cute!  On a side note, I noticed after everyone left and I had a chance to look through my pictures, that my point and shoot took a lot of blurry, out of focus pictures.  I'm sure the lens just needs a good cleaning but I sure am glad I got a new DSLR for Christmas to hopefully start taking some better shots!

Day 358/365 - December 23

While not everyone was looking at the camera, this was the best picture I got of Grandma with the grandkids that were on hand this year!

Day 359/365 - December 24

Being the technologically advanced family that we are, I read the Christmas story (aka the story of Jesus' birth) from the ESV Bible I have loaded on my iPhone, after our Christmas Eve service and before opening presents!

Day 360/365 - December 25

Here is our family picture for the holidays!  Everyone but Jack is looking at the camera...but a pretty decent picture nonetheless.  We took this picture with my new camera and while I'm still getting the hang of the settings and such, I already appreciate the wider angle and finally a picture that is in focus!

Until next time...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Project 365 - Days 347-353

Day 347/365 - December 12

After a wonderful morning service at church, we returned home and in the evening made Christmas sugar cookies while watching/listening to our church's Christmas concert live on the web.  Fun, cozy evening!

Day 348/365 - December 13

Ava put the first gift of the season under the tree.  She used the money she earned over the year doing chores to buy a gift for everyone who was coming for Christmas.  So sweet!

Day 349/365 - December 14

Jason had some free time this week so we picked Ava up from school and headed right into town for dinner and a movie!  "Voyage of the Dawn Treader" was an exciting, good movie though reviews are mixed on how it followed the book.  I can't comment as I've never read the book!

Day 350/365 - December 15

Today was our follow up with the neurosurgeon at Children's Hospital in Dallas.  He reiterated what he said at our first appointment 6 months ago, that he feels Amelia is doing so well, that the risks of surgery far outweigh the potential benefits.  So, we are free to continue on in life.  No more follow ups needed unless we see a marked regression!  Yea!  A definite answer to prayer!

Day 351/365 - December 16

Every year, on the last ballet lesson before Christmas, Ava's teacher allows the parents to sit in on class so they can see how their child is progressing, what the dances the class is working on, etc.  A sort of informal recital.  Ava is doing much better in her dancing (she is the one in the bright pink in the front ;-)  and it's always fun to see all the other dancers together.

Day 352/365 - December 17

We made our annual trip to the Gaylord to see Santa.  Amelia was much more happy to see Santa and sit on his lap then she was last year! 

Day 353/365 - December 18

Another gorgeous sunset to end the day and end this week of Project 365!

Until next time...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Project 365 - Days 340-346

Day 340 - December 5

The girls made these cute ornaments I found at Target while I decorated the tree.  (And yes that was to keep them busy so they would not want to decorate our main tree ;-)

Day 341 - December 6

Is it just my bad luck that the same year we acquire 5 new horses, no hay gets mowed or baled on our property so now I'm having to BUY all my hay?  *sigh*  It's going to be a l o n g winter!

Day 342 - December 7

These are the ill-fated poinsettias I referred to in my last post.  Poor plants.  They revived a bit when I brought them back in but I don't really have much of a green thumb anyway so they were doomed from the beginning.

Day 343 - December 8

Amelia and I spent a long 2 hours at the car dealership waiting for the oil to be changed.  Luckily, they had some toys there that she made good use of!

Day 344 - December 9

I broke down and bought Jason a massage chair for his birthday earlier this year.  Yeah, I know, the salesman really had to twist my arm!  Anyway, there are few things more wonderful than this chair and recently, the girls have discovered it.  Here, my oldest comfort-queen, Ava, commandeered the chair with eye mask and blanket in tow.  Oh my. I think we're in for it!

Day 345 - December 10

The nights (and days) are getting colder around here so when I left a horse blanket laying on the cold, concrete barn floor for a minute, my cat quickly claimed it for his own warm, comfortable bed.

Day 346 - December 11

Jason and I were in downtown Ft Worth for his company's Christmas Party and I snapped this picture of Sundance Square as we walked by.  It was so festive and I really wanted to bring the girls back because one of the horse drawn carriages going around was a large, Christmas lighted pumpkin-coach, fit for a princess, that I knew Ava would love.  However, Christmas activities didn't provide us an opportunity but I hope to do that next year! 

Until next time...

Project 365 - Days 333-339

Day 333 - November 28

This was Amelia and a few of her friends taken last week at Ava's ballet class.  The cute blonde in the middle is Mylie, and she is also in Amelia's MDO class so they have fun playing while their older sisters are in class.

Day 334 - November 29

Sorry for another sunrise photo but they've just been so beautiful lately!  

Day 335 - November 30

A great verse and a wonderful promise to remember during hard times...

Day 336 - December 1

We had some deer wander into our backyard - very close to the house!  Including this buck, who was missing one of his antlers.  He is one of two bucks of seen so far...

Day 337 - December 2

Just another day at one of my favorite places...

Day 338 - December 3

This was my stab at trying to decorate the front porch for Christmas.  Looked fairly festive until a few days later when a cold night came in and (ignorant me) didn't pull in the poinsettias and they pretty much died.  I was able to salvage some and they limped along inside for awhile but this was definitely the best they ever looked!   

Day 339 - December 4

Took pictures for Christmas cards today and by the end, we were all getting a little nutty.

Until next time...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Project 365 - Days 326-332

Madly trying to catch up on posts before the end of the year!!!

Day 326/365 - November 21

It was my birthday and this picture was taken at the end of a very long day so we're all looking a little harried.  And even though Amelia has her eyes closed, I think her expression is so cute!

Day 327/365 - November 22

This was actually snapped the evening before but I needed a filler for today.  We were on our way to a church gathering and the sunset was just gorgeous!  

Day 328/365 - November 23

We were out to dinner with friends in downtown Fort Worth and I quickly snapped this picture with my phone as we drove by.  I'd wanted a picture of this for awhile because of the story behind it.  Looks like some piece of modern art, right?  Four bent steel plates... but what bent them is the story.  These four pieces of steel used to be girders for a billboard.  Then in 2000, an F2 tornado hit downtown Fort Worth and bent them to their current shape.  Rather than destroy them, they left them as sculpture.

This is a professional picture taken from here, so you can see what they look like in daylight with proper lighting and megapixels ;-)

Day 329/365  - November 24

Another gorgeous sunset.  The clouds and the sun have been amazing lately...

Day 330/365 - November 25

We had Thanksgiving Dinner at a friend's house then returned home for Pumpkin Gooey Cake, popcorn, a fire and The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe movie.  Wonderful.

Day 331/365 - November 26

Day after Thanksgiving found us at Disney's Princesses on Ice.  It was Ava's second time, Amelia's first.  They each wore their favorite princess dress and here they are after the performance with their one, overpriced toy they sell at this event.  Amelia chose the spinning Cinderella wand and Ava chose the twinkling Tinkerbell wings.

Day 332/365 - November 27

Who needs toys when you have a newly put-together shelving system?

Until next time...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Who Is Olivia?

You may have noticed on my sidebar a button that says "I Sponsor Olivia" at An Orphan's Wish.  She is a darling girl in a special orphanage in China.  We send a monthly gift to help support the money needed to care for her.  And you can do the same!  Either by sponsoring a child yourself, or sending one time gifts for specific items needed or towards a specific child's care.  Just click on this link here.  I can't think of a better Christmas gift.

This week, little Olivia was featured on their website and they have many darling pictures of her.  So jump on over to An Orphan's Wish to learn more about Olivia!  And prayerfully consider if God is calling you to help support one of these precious children...

Until next time...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Video of the Week (Week 45)

Love to see these types of videos.  This is why I do "Parelli" - David O'Connor does such a great job explaining in a few sentences at the end of the video why it's so important to me!

Project 365 - Days 319-325

We had some special events happen during and around this week and I'm working on getting those up in their own posts.  Until then, enjoy these snapshots of our life!

Day 319/365 - November 14

Ava wanted to ride Tinkerbell to show her Grandpa & Grandma how much she has learned and Amelia wanted to be right in on the action.  So we saddled up Butters and Amelia rode him around for awhile as well.  

Day 320/365 - November 15

Ava turned eight years old today.  Yes.  Eight years old.  I can hardly believe it.  She looks so grown up here!  I hope to do a separate post about her special day so stay tuned...

Day 321/365 - November 16

This was taken a few days ago (because I needed a filler for today) but shows how excited Ava is to go to Awana!  I went through Awana when I was her age and loved it.  It is where I first learned and memorized so many of the Bible verses I still know today.  We started late in the year so this was her first week wearing her new vest and bringing her little Sparks tote.  So cute!

Day 322/365 - November 17

Riding lessons continue for Ava though now that school has started it's just two times a month, usually.  Here is Ava going over her little 'jump'.  Ava begs her instructor, Denise, to start jumping every week so Denise has used this as an incentive for Ava to work on other aspects of her riding.  If she does those other things well during her lesson, she gets to start 'jumping' ;-)

Day 323/365 - November 18

Amelia's Mother's Day Out class had their little Thanksgiving party so I came to join in on the fun!  I think here Amelia is finishing up a mandarin orange.  She loves oranges!

Day 324/365 - November 19

This picture is actually to memorialize an unfortunate event.  That's my farrier on the far left working on Tommy's feet.  My farrier had his standing appointment to take care of all the horses today.  When I went up to the barn that morning to get everyone ready, I discovered Belle in her stall with her right hind leg completely swollen again.  Fearing the worst, I called my vet (on the far right) who in this picture is reviewing Belle's x-rays.  Yes, 2 days before Belle was going to be let back into the pasture, freed from her 2 months of stall rest, she showed up with a new fracture.  Same bone, different fracture.  We're not sure how she did it - though I suspect she did it kicking at the stall wall - but this time it is a more severe fracture and will require 4 months of stall rest.  We are unsure if this is a pathologic problem but if she fractures it again or has too many other complications during her stall rest, we will have to consider putting her down.  At 24 years old she isn't extremely old for a horse but she's not a spring chicken either...

Day 325/365 - November 20

Here's Belle waiting for her stall to be finished.  Because I think she fractured her leg kicking at the stall wall, I had to move Belle to an end.  The end stall, however, didn't have floor mats completely on the floor and because I want to it be as cushiony as possible for her and I don't want her to trip on the edge of an exposed mat, I spent the day going to the store to buy new mats, filling in and leveling the dirt floor and arranging the mats in the stall so it will be safe for her.  Fresh bedding and it's all ready for her.  You can see how 2 months of stall rest has really atrophied Belle's muscles and that she's lost some weight.  Because she's bearing a lot of her weight on her good back leg, it's better to have her weighing less than more but it doesn't make for the prettiest pictures :-(  

Until next time...

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

My Favorite Things...Wen Hair Care!

I'm a pretty simple girl when it comes to my hair.  I don't use a lot of products and I don't take a lot of time.  It's got to be fast and yet work well at the same time!  And up until this point in my life, I've always done the shampoo and conditioner routine.  And that is, I always have to use conditioner or there is no way I'm getting a comb or brush through my hair after a shower!  There was a time about a decade or so ago, that Shampoo and Conditioner combos became popular (and I believe you can still find those).  When they first came out, I was very excited!  How great to save a step but get the benefits of both!  Well, as most found out, it's really just a shampoo.  The conditioner element was a little lacking - at least for my hair.

Enter Wen Hair Care.  I'd heard or seen an infomercial on this product awhile ago and wrote it off.  A "cleansing conditioner"?  Right.  That will never work on my hair!  But then, I started seeing it featured on QVC.  (Ok, I admit it - I have been known to watch and buy things from QVC!!)  And I heard one of their popular hosts going on and on about it.  (Ok, I know she's paid to say those things but I really believed her!).  And there were tons of customer reviews that just raved about it.  So, I decided to try it.  

Oh my goodness.  I love this stuff.  It feels like a conditioner but it does clean your hair.  And it leaves it feeling soft, strong and manageable!  I ordered the lavender (there are 4 other scents, I believe) and it smells heavenly!  It is seriously like an aromatherapy treatment every time I use it.  You can check out the Wen website for info on how to use the product in more detail, but basically you scrub it into your hair (there is no sudsing because this is NOT soap, just a mild foaming), work it through to the ends, leave it on while you do the rest of your shower washing then rinse it out.  If you want to, you can use a dime sized amount at the end (do not rinse out) as a leave-in-conditioner (which I was skeptical of too but I tried it and NO greasiness!).  And one of it's great benefits it how it protects your hair color and doesn't fade the color (that is if you do something  like that ;-)  It's a fabulous product!  

I had a few areas on my hair that had gotten fried - either from highlighting or heat products (i.e. blow dryer, straight iron) that left it dried and frizzed.  But after the first use of this product, the fried areas were gone!  Now, they do return eventually, but only after a few days and they are gone again after I 'cleanse' my hair with Wen.  I think this product coats the hair shaft and the ends so well it makes the damaged areas disappear until they get 'dirty' again.

And the other great part - if you buy this on QVC, you can buy it with auto-delivery so it automatically is shipped to you every 90 days - no worrying about running out or forgetting to order more.  Love. It.  You can also buy the cleansing conditioner and other hair products on the Wen website, but the best deals are on QVC.  

And this why, my friends, it's one of My Favorite Things!

Until next time...

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