Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Crazy Busy New Year

It's been crazy around here lately. It was wonderful to have my family here. The kids got to go tubing for a little while on Christmas day. But mostly they enjoyed their gifts. I spent a whole lot of time cooking. C & B really helped with cleaning up. Tyler spent a whole lot of time digging us out of the driveway. My brother arrived on Christmas day. It's been a few months and it was good to see him again. Tyler had a great photo session on the 26th - super cute family! And they dressed perfectly - so that you can really focus on their faces and not their clothing. When it comes to big groups, solid color clothing makes all the difference in the world. They are coming over today to order photos. Tonight we are meeting with Chris & Leslie a wonderful couple we photographed last April - they decided to buy the disc and order a few more photos. I can't wait to see them again.

It's also been a tough week. We attended Erik's viewing on Sunday. Casey's sobbing often hushed the already very quiet but very large crowd. We waited 2 hours. Erik's mom grabbed me and hugged me so tight and told me how much she loved the beautiful photographs from their wedding and how the photos are so cherished by them. She told me about the large collage she had framed and matted for them for Christmas - Erik had peaked and said how much Casey would love them. And that Casey couldn't even look at it until the day of the viewing. It was displayed near the casket. Casey sobbed into my shoulder and she kept thanking me for the photos. She even hugged Tyler until her mom pulled Tyler away. Then Mitzi, Casey's mom hugged me and cried into my shoulder and told me how much they treasure the photos and how we created such wonderful memories for their family. I cried back and said how honored I was to be able to have taken those photos. They even used one of the portraits I'd taken of him alone for his obituary. They were all very tired from the long day and all the visitors. It was also a very reverent time. One thing really bothered me about the whole experience. It was very much like their wedding reception receiving line except that Erik was in a casket, no longer holding Casey's hand. I have a stronger distaste for receiving lines at weddings. Yesterday I helped the kids make home made cards to send to Casey and to Sophie. Sophie is Haeley's age and they were in the same class at church until they changed the ward boundaries a few months ago. Sophie is Jesse's little sister and Jesse's funeral and burial is today. Even though I am just a friend, I can feel myself moving through the grief process. Yesterday I was plain mad and spent a lot of time praying and listening to my church music playlist on iTunes.

Anyway even though it's been a tough week, I've been able to pull up the old boot straps and get to work. I've been working on specials for our photography business for the New Year; some for Mother's Day, some for Weddings, and Referrals. I'm working on a special package to give to clients at the end of their session as well and a special Maternity/Newborn plus Proof Book package. I've been able to get a lot done despite the tears and I can't wait to implement a few more ideas I've thought of. Check out our blog for 3 new ways to save on photography.

Friday, December 26, 2008

In Memory of Erik and Jesse

In August of this year, we photographed Erik and Casey J's wedding. Erik died Christmas Eve morning while snowmobiling. He was buried in an avalanche while snowmobiling. His friend, Jesse, a young man who went to our church, also died in the avalanche.

Casey and Erik were such a wonderful couple to photograph. And I am so pleased that his family have a beautiful wedding album to cherish and recent photos of this son and husband. I am so very sad for Casey, losing her husband of a few months and the Johnson's losing their son. And at the same time, I am so very grateful for Christmas because it is Christ who made it possible for families to be together forever and knowing that it's not just the birth of Christ, but the atonement of Christ that we really celebrate. This Christmas was a bitter sweet one for me. A few miracles happened amongst the tragedy for which I will be grateful for. My mom made it back on Christmas Eve day from Texas after being with her father who barely survived emergency surgery. And my friends Greg and Erin were able to be with his mom in the hospital for Christmas. They've been through so much. And my brother made it back from NYC and through the snow storm and walked in early afternoon on Christmas day. Tyler and I didn't give each other anything for Christmas, and we tried to focus on Christ more. We watched movies on Christ and read scriptures. We did give gifts to our children and my parents and family. But this Christmas I truly felt the Spirit of Christ.

And this is the final page of Erik and Casey's wedding album. I've never used this quote before and I am sure glad that I put it in Casey and Erik's album.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!

We just wanted to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. If you haven't read our Christmas letter and would like to, you can see it here. We hope you enjoy your Christmas and are able to focus on what really matters this time of the year. As I was watching Polar Express with my children a few days ago I began to think, "What do I believe?" Well, I believe in Jesus Christ, the true reason we celebrate Christmas. We watched the movie Joy to the World yesterday morning and then we watched it last night at Grandma's house. It was wonderful to feel the Spirit of Christ during Christmas. For more information on what I believe about Christ and Christmas you can watch this video.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Meaningful Gifts

The past two years, I've started doing something that really makes me happy (and if a burglar broke into my house at Christmas they'd leave pretty empty handed). I've made digital scrapbook pages for my family of their family history. I decided this year that I would make 10 per family and now that I've kind of got a layout idea for most pages, I can work on next year's early. I even had the added bonus of sitting with my husband's grandparents and asking them questions and seeing some really old portraits. The feeling that day was wonderful and I learned a whole lot more about them. And Grandma loved telling me all about her young self - who wouldn't! And my dad was nice enough to email me info. As well as the help I received from Tyler's cousin, B, and my in-laws. I even have some extra pages I can work on this coming year (along with photos). Now because I make them using Adobe Photoshop CS3, I can make several copies of the exact same page. For the parents I made 12x12 copies. For my sister and her family and then also for my bro I made 8x8 copies (I gave them albums last year). For my BIL I made 8x8 copies and bought them an 8x8 album. Digital scrapbooking has made my life easier and made sharing and keeping fun family photos and stories beautiful.

And I was able to send copies of the pages via email to Aunts and Uncles who want them so they can print them on their own. Saturday night we had a Christmas party with Tyler's Grandparents on his mother's side. I gave them an album and 8x8 pages I made for them. Grandma said to me, I thought you were making these pages for S (her daughter, my MIL). I said, "I did. I made them 12x12 pages. And I made 8x8s for you!" And then Aunt J said, "Oh wouldn't this be wonderful to display in your home for your Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren to look at when they visit." And then we got on the discussion about how sad it is that most important photos get hidden away as if they are protected by doing so. Anyway, here is a fun look at what I did. Tonight I will give the copies I made to my in-laws.

In answer to Marne's question:
First of all, thank you for your compliment!

I give them the album the first year I give pages. Not many people are going to run out and buy their own album and then those pages are sitting around with no way to share them safely. Then in the coming years, I just give them pages. This year for my family, they are just getting pages, since I gave them albums last year. But with my husband's family, we draw names, so each year for 5 years, I'll be buying and giving an 8x8 album with pages. Buying an album with slip in pages makes this sort of thing possible. I don't print these at shutterfly. The reason is because I need to add to it year by year. The pages you see here are actual chapter markers of a sort, or summary pages. And that also allows other family members to make and add more pages too. Oh and Marne, for those of my grandparents that have passed away (my Dad's side) I've just asked him for information. That way their story is not forgotten. And it's preserved with a photo of their face. So even though my children never met Emily or Briney, they still know who they are and what they did.

Friday, December 19, 2008

ha,ha, ha! where did the front walk go?

All I can say is, HOW COOL IS THIS? I love snow! It cracks me up that there are only hints of the stairs left. Now - how do I get the kids home in this blizzard?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rocky Road Popcorn

Some good news first. It looks like my Grandpa is going to make it. Meanwhile my mom is in Texas with her parents and sister. Hope all continues to go well for them. Emergency surgery around the holidays is stressful enough, especially in your 80's.

I just wanted to share this recipe with all of you. I've taken it to the church Christmas Party and served it at our Polar Express movie party in our theater room. And it was a hit!!! After some fine tuning I think we've got it where we really like it. I don't put the almonds in mine because I am allergic to nuts so I just call it Triple Chocolate Popcorn for me. If you need a higher resolution copy let me know. And you might take some copies of the recipe with you to hand out because you just might get asked...

fonts: American Typewriter and CK Becky - I made the popcorn elements and the background paper too.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Snow...at last

It's mid December and this is the first "real" snow storm of the season - the first one with any hint of staying around for more than 1 day anyway. It's beautiful. And while we are waiting for the snow to get deep enough to go tubing on Grandma's hill, we have a gentle slope in our own backyard, one that my little ones can easily push their tubes up on their own. But did you know if you tilt the camera a little, it makes that gentle slope look pretty steep! So 'no', CJ is not walking or tubing on something that steep - just a little camera trick. Too funny! It was great to see them so entertained in our own backyard - I love knowing there is baby grass and frozen ground under that snow. At Grandma's house we use an old snowmobile to ride back up the hill since even though it is a gentle grade, it's a very long hill and the kids get tired on the first ride. But tubing is definitely one of our favorite family activities.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Christmas Letter 2008

Merry Christmas!

First of all, I am doing well, December 7th marks two years since I finished radiation treatments (after finishing chemo in November 06) and began figuring out the whole remission thing. It's been great, sometimes quite a struggle, but worth it. I am enjoying more time with my children and husband. For those of you I am just catching up with I had Hodgkins Lymphoma and my tumors were crushing my heart and lungs. I love creating amazing products for our photography clients. I recently created two digital scrapbooking albums in 12x12 and 8.5x11 and part of the proceeds will benefit cancer research -with video instructions. I'm glad to have a holiday break and you'll see it for sale the end of December at Cottage Arts. I teach Relief Society lessons at church once a month.

Tyler is a counselor in the Elder's Quorum at church. He is a Certified Financial Planner and works with his Dad, Jim Vanderbeek, and his uncle, Gordon Nelson, at Keystone Wealth Management. He enjoys the market and trading and helping clients. He still photographs a few times a month and enjoys the creative outlet. He's amazing with the kids and helps me so much.

Haeley is enjoying 1st Grade. She is really enjoying reading the Magic Tree House book series and has finished a dozen in the past few weeks. School has definitely changed since I was a kid - those books used to be considered 3rd grader books. She enjoys dance as well and is very precise. It's fun to see her gracefully move around the house.

Coleton is having fun with sentences and practicing new words. His smile is contagious. He is beginning to resist nap time. He loves trucks and trains. We had to get him a new car seat and he loves the new one! He loves to 'help' me with the yard work. He's so sweet and keeps me busy!

Other than that, we're pretty busy with homework, errands, church callings, and all the wonderful things life is made up of. Hope you have a wonderful and blessed Christmas Season.