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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye, 2014

My desk at the end of the year.

My third entry of the day and the last for the year. I wanted to write a little bit about the year because it was such a great one. I'm always a little apprehensive about starting a new year and all the unknown that it brings with it, but I'm particularly sad to see this year end. So many exciting things happened:  Lauren got into the GATE program, started playing trombone and had her room re-decorated. Mark's garden was featured in the annual garden club tour, and he got a new car.  I was appointed an officer at my company and was accepted as a contributing photographer at Stocksy. My dad retired. We got see dolphins swim in the Atlantic Ocean and visit with our awesome cousins in Michigan. And that's just off the top of my head!

I don't know if I have any resolutions this year, but I do have a few goals in mind. The picture above is what my desk looked like this morning. You can see I'm still working on this year's sketchbook journal. I got so very far behind, but I'm determined to finish it. Next to it, is my new journal for 2015. I am committed to keeping up with it this year. So I when I saw this scene, I thought it pretty much encapsulated how I feel today. Not quite ready to close the old book, but still looking forward to filling up all those blank pages in the new one. Happy New Year!

Christmas 2014

 Coco guarding the gifts.

Here I am once again on New Year's Eve writing about our Christmas. It's practically become a tradition!

Since Mark's extended family were celebrating elsewhere this year, we had just a small gathering at my in-law's house. I didn't take a whole lot of photos, but here are a few of my nephews Noah and Jacob acting cute.



 Jacob with his mom and dad.

 Noah and grandma.

Lauren thinking those are her gifts too.

When Lauren woke up Christmas morning, she thought all these presents were hers too. She was disappointed to learn truth: Mommy and daddy also give each other gifts. Somehow, she has overlooked this fact during her last nine Christmases.

 Lauren on Christmas morn.

Of course that disappointment was fleeting once she started opening her own gifts (Pj's courtesy of cousins Nick and Noreen).

Lauren got a tablet case. But where's the tablet.

Look at that happy face! Why is she so excited?

Lauren looking at her tablet case.

Because she got a tablet case. But she doesn't have a tablet. Yet.

 Lauren looking for her tablet.

Where could it be...

 Lauren opening her iPad Mini.

Found it!

 Lauren and her iPad mini.

It was actually the last gift that she opened. We took a page out of A Christmas Story and hid it towards the back of the tree like a BB gun.

Laurne showing Coco her gift.

Kitty Coco finally gets rewarded for guarding the presents all night.

Some guy.

As usual, there was lots of present opening on Christmas night. This guy was peeking out of a gift bag for Mark. I thought he was a long lost relative or something.

Mark opening presents.

Here's Mark digging in.

Mark and his chamois.

To summarize, Mark got lots of nuts and car wash supplies.

Lauren choosing a chamois.

Lauren got really excited when Pappy told her she pick out a chamois to clean her iPad mini screen.

Me and my mixer.

I got an ice blue hand mixer - YAY!

Aunt Phyllis and her iced tea maker.

Aunt Phyllis was my latest victim in the great Takeya iced tea maker giveaway. It's a really awesome product!

Mel C and her "UGG boots."

Here's Mel C with her UGG boots, or so she thinks. Many of the ladies at work, including myself, wear them, and she's made it clear to me how much she loathes them. I've been leading her to think that I was going to get her a pair for Christmas.

But of course, I would not do that to my BFF.

Mel C and her special post-its

Inside, she got a nice soft throw blanket, a nail polish set, a card game and some really lewd sticky notes that she's holding up here.

 Craig opening his gift.

Speaking of lewd, it was time for Uncle Craig's gift. But first, we have to reenact a scene from the Godfather.

 The godfather.

 Pap pap's ring.

This is my Pap Pap's ring. There's a whole story about how it was likely stolen (Not by my grandfather, but by the guy that sold it to him.), but we won't get into that. We had a good time teasing Mark about how he was going to inherit it and be the next Don of the family.

 Hollywood Nudes in 3D.

Do we know how to honor our Godfather, or what?

Uncle Craig enjoying his gift.

Yes, they really are IN 3D!!!! It is unfortunate that you have to look like Where's Waldo while enjoying the nudes.

Lauren checking out the 3D action.

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree in this family, does it? I mean, what kid can resist the magic of 3D?

 Grandma and her pj's

Moving on back to the PG part of the story, here's Grandma hiding behind her new pjs

 Mom's corno

But she was really excited to get a corno charm for her Pandora bracelet.

Lauren and Pappy.

And lastly, here's Pappy opening his two tablets - a custom one with pages printed with Kitty Roxy's photos and a Kindle Fire.

I think that finally wraps it up! Back in September, I was thinking about how Christmas was just around the corner and questioning if I had the energy to do it all again. Nonetheless, I had nothing to worry about because a wonderful Christmas came together in the end.

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 52

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 52

Oddly, Christmas week (last week) was week 52 and the conclusion of this year's project. So we end with a photo of the front door to my house decked for Christmas. I've shared photos of our wreath before, but this year Mark added pine cones!


Coming soon -  Week 1 of 2015!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

25 Days of Christmas - Day 25

25 Days of Christmas - Day 25

Exhausted from a wonderful Christmas, so this one will have to do. In the coming days, I'll post more photos of the festivities. I have to say that I'm happy that I decided to do this project again. It seems like it gets easier every time. So until next year...Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

25 Days of Christmas - Day 24

 Everyone's waiting for Santa...

25 Days of Christmas - Day 24

Is Santa here yet?

Looking for Santa.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

25 Days of Christmas - Day 23

 25 Days of Christmas - Day 

I took these photos of Cookie a couple of weeks ago, but I only got around to editing them now. There were so many cute ones that it took some time to go through them all!

Looking good modeling my sweater.


I forced her to pose for me in various positions for a good ten minutes or so. She was very patient, even though I was likely stressing her out. At least she didn't piddle on the floor like she's prone to do was she gets nervous (and sometimes just for no reason at all).

Who turned off the lights?!

This is why they say that modelling is hard work.

Monday, December 22, 2014

25 Days of Christmas - Day 22

25 Days of Christmas - Day 22

Lauren made these cute, funky snowmen last summer when she attended arts and crafts camp. I didn't get a chance to take of photo of them last year, so I made sure to squeeze them in here.

Tomorrow is the last day of work and school before Christmas. Got all but a few of the presents wrapped this weekend, and baked two batches of cookies tonight, with four more to go. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it's called December 26th.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

25 Days of Christmas - Day 21

25 Days of Christmas - Day 21

One of the great things about having the tree in the living room instead of the dining room is that I can get them both together in one photo. :)

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 51

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 51

The temperatures have been warm enough here to keep our pond from freezing, and our neighborhood birdies are loving it. Speaking of warm temperatures, look like no white Christmas for us. According to the weather forecast, the highs are going to be in the 50's on Christmas Eve!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

25 Days of Christmas - Day 20

25 Days of Christmas - Day 20

Only five more days to go. We're supposed to have sun tomorrow, so I have a couple of shots lined up that will take me up to Christmas Eve. I actually had a lot ideas that I didn't get to this year. Two of them involved snow, and we just haven't had any yet. I'll have to write them all down, so I can use them next year.

This seat is saved.

Friday, December 19, 2014

25 Days of Christmas - Day 19

25 Days of Christmas - Day 19

After Mark set up our tree, I noticed that there was a very big bird's nest nestled inside. I like to think that former occupants moved to a oceanfront condo in Miami Beach.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

25 Days of Christmas - Day 18

25 Days of Christmas - Day 18

This weekend, we went shopping for a Christmas tree at the nursery that's located just down the road from our house. As you can see, they have a huge amount of trees. You could barely walk around!

Tree love.

Normally we would buy nothing more than a 6 foot tree, but this year, we went big.

Is this the one?

Here's Lauren and Mark deciding if this is the one.

Yep, this is the one.

Yep, this is the one.

Stuff it.

The only problem is how to stuff a 7+ foot tree into a MINI Cooper Clubman. The irony of this is that we just recently purchased a brand new Subaru Forrester that would have easily contained this mammoth tree, but we didn't want to go back home and exchange cars for fear someone would claim our tree.

Obviously, I got the short end of the stick.

Lauren wasn't thrilled about squeezing into the 6 inch space left in the backseat, so took one for the team and let her sit up front since we were traveling just a short distance. I guess you could say that I got the short end of the stick. *rim shot*