Saturday, December 31, 2005

Before 2005 ends ...

Before 2005 ends I want to share some of my favorite photos from the year. Some I like because I'm proud of the photo and how it came out and others, while technically imperfect, I like because of the memory they represent. So, without further ado, here are 20 of my favorite photos of 2005:
The quintessential photo of Paul - cheers!

I love the depth of field in this one and the memory of the day that Hannah spent with her friend.

I had a lot of fun taking photos on Easter. This is one of my favorites.

Love the depth of field on this one and Hannah's smile.

Just love the colors and depth of field on this one.

Hannah had a party at Libby Lu for her birthday.
This shot of Emily was one of my favorite photos from that night.

Love the subject and I like how the shot turned out too!

My favorite of the shots I took of Hannah on her 8th birthday.

Hannah ready to perform

Emily ready to perform

This was my favorite shot from the Spring Dance Performance
(even though neither Emily or Hannah is in this one)
I just love the lighting and backdrop on this one.

Love the joy on Emily's face in this one
Our future star!!

Hannah let me take some practice shots of her while waiting for Emily one day.
This is one of my favorites because of the angle and depth of field.

I love the lighting in Karen & Mark's guest room
This one just said "black & white" to me.

Not the best photo but the memory is awesome!
Emily's a teenager!!
(oops, I didn't get any great shots of Emily on her birthday
I need to do that before she turns 14)

Not technically a great photo but we have to document Back To School!
Emily started 8th Grade & Hannah started 4th Grade in September.

I love the "pop" in this photo of Emily at the Middle School Halloween party.

I take a lot of pictures of The Cowsills and love that I can get decent results in low light.

I just really liked how this photo of 2 ornaments on the school Christmas tree came out.

Twice a year I take photographs of ballet and other dance performances.
This is one of my favorites from this year's Nutcracker.

There you have it - some of my favorite photos from 2005. Enjoy them and I'd love to see some of your 2005 photos too!

Happy New Year!!

Friday, December 30, 2005

What are you doing New Year's Eve?

Emily's going to a friend's house and I'm sure she'll stay up too late (okay make that not sleep at all) and eat way too much junk but she'll have fun welcoming in the new year. Paul, Hannah and I will just stay home and probably watch too much TV. We had Dish Network installed today so now we have lots of channels and probably still nothing on. lol! Oh and I'm going to be doing tons of photo editing. The first deadline for the yearbook is at the beginning of February and I need to get all the pictures that I've taken so far edited and uploaded so the 8th grade can get to work on it. Wish me luck.

No matter what you're doing for New Year's Eve we wish you a very Happy New Year!! And, please, say a prayer that Barry Cowsill shows up soon. His family and friends are very worried about him and it would be a great New Year's gift if he were found.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas 2005

HannahChristmas Day was fun but exhausting - presents both at home and at Paul's parents' house, good food and spending time with family. We all got a lot of really great presents and ate way too much food so I'd say that Christmas 2005 was a definite success. One of the happiest gift recipients this year had to be our cat, Nemo. I bought him a collection of stuff in a stocking from one of the pet stores and he kept trying to rip it open even before Christmas - apparently the cat nip in it is just wonderful!!

Sad to say but I didn't take many pictures on Christmas Day - bad mom - but after taking tons of pictures at the Nutcracker and the school Christmas Program and the school Christmas parties I just didn't have the energy for it. I did manage to take a few of the cousins playing in Grandma & Grandpa's backyard after all the present opening was done.

Backyard Fun: Blowing bubbles, collecting nut shells & searching for bugs!

Two of Emily & Hannah's cousins had to leave before dinner to go to their other grandparents' house so before they left we gathered all the cousins together to try to get a good photo of all of them together.
The youngest cousins
The two youngest cousins

All of the cousins by the tree

With 3 or 4 photographers and 6 kids from age 3 to 13 it's not easy to get a photo especially when I had a lens on my camera that made it tough just to fit them all in and there wasn't time to switch lenses. Oh well, none of them are perfect but it did capture the moment in time. Which is your favorite?

Sunday, December 25, 2005

The Children Were Nestled All Snug in Their Beds

Okay, so that's the plan anyway but our oldest daughter is still awake which makes it tough for Santa to come. I have to confess that we were extremely disorganized about decorating this year and in fact we only got our tree up on Christmas Eve - YIKES! We've never been this late before but I was insanely busy with school things and trying to get the shopping done, etc. and Paul was working 60+ miles away for the last week and a half so it didn't get done. But, I'm happy to say we did get a tree and we did get it decorated. Since we got it so late, there wasn't a lot to choose from so it's smaller than our typical tree but it's amazingly not that dry and it smells like Christmas which to me is the important thing.
Here's the tree
(all ready for Santa to come and add his gifts!)

Every Christmas Eve we go out to dinner with Paul's family and then back to his parents' house to open one (or two) gifts. But, before dinner, we always each open one gift before we leave for dinner. What's in the gift? New pajamas and a new ornament for the tree. And, just before we leave, we take our traditional Christmas Eve photo in front of the tree (which we mostly hide this year).
Us on Christmas EveOur Traditional Christmas Eve Photo
(Complete with a lovely Got Beer mat in the background LOL!)

We would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and we hope that you find everything that you have wished for under your tree this year.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Another Annual Christmas Event Done

Every year, there is a Christmas Program at the girls' school. This year the program was written by the music teacher at the school, Joseph John. It was a story about the true meaning of Christmas. Emily had one of the speaking roles in the program this year. She played a poor mom who was staying in a homeless shelter with her son and she had a solo singing part on Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

Emily Emily as Pat w/her son

Hannah's class and the 5th Grade were a Jamaican choir and they sang two songs: The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy and Song of Exaltation. It was very cute - the girls all wore red robes and the boys wore white. If Hannah were any shorter it would have been a big problem since the shortest robe was all the way to the ground on her. It's also a good thing they were paired with the 5th Grade or Hannah would have been the only girl since she is the only girl in the 4th Grade this year - it's just her and 10 boys.

Hannah Hannah and 2 5th graders

At the end of the program the entire school (Kindergarten - 8th Grade) sang four songs together: Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Silent Night, We Wish You a Merry Christmas and Jesus is the Rock. The program was excellent and it's sad to think that this will be Emily's last year and this was her final Christmas Program at her current school since she'll be going to high school next year.

Now it's on to the class Christmas parties next week and then Christmas itself. I'm still madly trying to get all the shopping and wrapping finished before the girls are out of school. It will be interesting to see which happens first.

Speaking of Christmas, to me it's always been a magical time revolving around family and friends. As a friend of The Cowsill family, I am praying for a Christmas Miracle this year. Barry Cowsill has been missing since Hurricane Katrina and it would be a wonderful gift for the Cowsill family and all of their friends and fans to have Barry safely return for the holidays.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Wow only 12 days until Christmas!

Nutcracker CastRZBC 2005 Nutcracker Cast
For me, the Christmas season is really here once my daughters have performed in the Nutcracker and that happened last weekend. Starting with dress rehearsal on Thursday followed by a Friday night performance, two Saturday performances and a final performance on Sunday, it was a busy and exhausting weekend. I attended the Saturday night performance and helped backstage at the other three performances and the dress rehearsal. I also take a lot of photos at the rehearsal and the performances and in fact this year's promotional materials for the Nutcracker used my photos from last year.
Ready for the stage
Hannah (dressed as Mimi the Mouse) & Emily (dressed as a party guest) ready to go on stage!
Neither Emily or Hannah is advanced enough in ballet to have a starring role yet but they still have fun and are looking forward to the day when the get to do the bigger parts. They're already talking about what parts they think they may have next year.

Emily as a mouseThis year Emily was a party guest and a mouse in the battle scene. The mouse was a new role for Emily. She has been a party guest every year so far. Next year, she's hoping to be able to be one of the skaters.

PolichinelleHannah was a polichinelle, an angel and an enchanted butterfly. Hannah has been a polichinelle and an angel for three years now and in fact she wasn't going to be an angel this year but there weren't enough angels so Hannah volunteered to do it again. The enchanted butterflies were a new role this year as part of the Waltz of the Flowers. Hannah also was the understudy for Mimi the Mouse - Mimi is part of the party and battle scenes and is a larger role than either of the girls have ever had. The girl who actually had the role this year was unable to make either Saturday performance so Hannah actually played the role of Mimi for two shows. When she was Mimi, she wasn't able to be a polichinelle or an angel but she was still an enchanted butterfly for those shows too.

Enchanted Butterfly Angel
Hannah as an Angel & an Enchanted Butterfly
Now that the Nutcracker is over it's time for the school Christmas Program & Christmas Parties coming up this week and next. And, oh yeah, there's that pesky thing called shopping that I need to get done sometime before it actually is Christmas.

Okay, I've given in and started a blog!

I have resisted setting up a blog because to me it has seemed like just one more thing that I should do that I just know I won't update as often as people expect. But, I've had a family website for years that I update as I find time and I intend for this to replace that. So, it will get updated when I have time. Don't expect daily updates or even weekly updates - there may be times that I do update regularly and then it might be a month or so without much of anything happening. If you can live with that then so can I!