And That Was That.

I took a look back at 2008 and realized that I took pictures; at least once or twice a week throughout the entire year. So I created a set on Flickr that includes a picture from every day I picked up a camera and snapped a photo - good and not-so-good. One bummer is, some days I took pictures all day for a variety of  events and/or reasons and since I was only choosing one a day, I left out some good picks.

Hope your all having a wonderful New Year's Eve.

Christmas Giddyness!

Hope you had a nice Christmas, we did. I've been enjoying my new Camera case [I really needed one!] and my macro filters [can't afford a new macro lens so they're the next best thing.]

My husband also got me a pair of Sock Monkey slippers that Harrison happily pointed out matched my Nick & Nora Sock Monkey flannel pajamas. I L.O.V.E. pajamas - and I love my new, much needed, slippers.

They're so cozy! (I give credit to Kat for spotting them at Target last month & blogging about it. Hope you don't mind if we have matching slippers!) Slippers were on my Christmas list and I had NO idea what style to ask for until I read her post and marched the hubby right down to Target to show him the exact size and style. On that note, he got the wrong size and style and I took a trip to Target on Friday; well, three Targets all within an eight mile radius and the last one had ONE pair left in the right style and size! What luck! Worth the drive. [It was worth the drive for Harrison, too. he picked out a gift to get with his gift card from his Aunt.]

...but I think best of all, my husband surprised me with season passes to Disneyland. I had resolved myself to not having passes this year, but I was starting to feel sad as several [and I mean several] of my friends are getting season passes. [It doesn't hurt that Disneyland started a payment plan for Southern California residents.] So he splurged. After all, it really is the gift that keeps on giving all year long. 

I. Am. So. Excited!

Merry Christmas!

since I don't have a picture of us laying around on our sofa holding our stuffed stomachs, I leave you with this...

Here's wishing for more sugar plums to dance in your head tonight. Sweet Dreams.

More Christmas Card Antics

Here are a few of our other cards over the years.

In 1999 I did a Christmas letter written to the 12 Days of Chritmas only I substituted the 12 months of the year. It was the year we were married - a very busy year!

In 2001 Duke came to us as a rescue dog. He plopped down, exhausted and scared, under our bedroom window and the rest is history. By that time we already had a rescue fish, from the year before, named Hyper. Big Borther named him that because he would swim around the fish tank like a lightening rod and he ate all the live plants within a week of buying them. [they weren't meant to be fish-food]

(If you're wondering about a rescue-fish, he was left behind in a nursery classroom by a teacher that unplugged the tank and went on a permanent leave of absence. Our maintenance man found him still alive amongst in the mucky water and brought him to the office in a water pitcher - I took him home and he became family.)

With that, our 2001 card was to the theme of Barney's I love you. I no longer have the original file so I scanned a card.
Plenty of embossing and gluing. I thought I had learned my lesson about gluing...

Hyper was the "ball" that dances over the words of the song.

Our newsletter was on the final page. Since this is only 4.25 x 5.5, it was a short & sweet newsletter. and on the inside back cover was our greeting.

In 2002 we experienced a lot of stress in our lives so I did a quick postcard type card with velum over the top of a beach picture (not taken by me) with a smiple paper ribbon. We did manage to find the positive in a trying year including the fact that we changed Hyper's name to Sushi [and did he even know because he was a fish after all] I didn't have Photoshop back then so I punted. The copy below is one of my proofs.

 Oh yeah, we did utilize that Top Ten in a Dog's life. Here's the end of our Christmas letter - that actually went out in January of 2003.

By December 2003 Mike Myer's Cat in the Hat was out in theaters. I saw the perfect opportunity. This was my favorite card. It was newsletter and greeting card all in one. Reading through it still makes me smile, although I can see room for improvement with some of the lines. Isn't that always the case? I tried to turn this into a slide show or something but that didn't work out so if you want to read it, just click on the pictures to enlarge them.
See? I didn't learn my gluing lesson...

In 2004 I created an easy card, a fold over 8 1/2 x 11. I took pictures of Christmas bulbs and Christmas lights and put pictures of us as children at Christmas. It seemed easy, but I had my printing challenges. I didn't send it out to some fancy online printer, I did it all myself.

Here's the other cover. I printed some of each and sent them out. The Guy-I-Dig comes from a large family and didn't have any childhood pictures by the Christmas tree, so once again, I got to work in an editing program and "photo shopped" him in front of a tree. Yes, that's a school picture.
You saw the 2005 card in yesterday's post; and just when I was about to throw in the towel and not send cards in 2006, I came up with this idea...

It's printed vertically on 8 1/2 x 11 in green and dark red. I love the earthy paper, too.
And no, it didn't cost more to mail.

There you go, a brief history of the Pierce Family Christmas Card extravaganza. I'm open to ideas for next year... I think I should start working on them now.

Have a Merry Christmas!

The Little Reveal!

My Christmas cards are all in the mail as of today and although not everyone has received it, I'm finally posting it!

This is the front of the card. You may recognize the angel.  I printed 2-up on 8 1/2 x 11 card stock and then cut them in half.
I took picture of candy canes and then played with the image in Photoshop because I wanted it more rounded. Then I took pictures of each of us and added them into my candy cane heart. Harrison has a Bug pop-up book that I used is a folding guide. I'm not sure where I got the idea for the card this year. I think I just buckled under the pressure to come up with something "good". I did go for a clean, white look - hence all the white space.
 After that I printed the inside, cut close around the edges, folded and glued them inside.I now know which stick glue truly does hold the best. The strongest permanent hold is the Avery permanent glue stick. this after trying three different brands. ( I accidentally left the lid off my Avery stick to go Caroling and it dried out. Elmer's permanent bond craft glue just isn't as good.)

And here is kind of what it looks like all finished. (actually, I forgot to get a picture of a completed one, this one isn't fully glued down at the bottom.)

Christmas cards have morphed into something much bigger that I had ever imagined - and I can't seem to cut down my list. I usually send out some sort of not-too-wordy newsletter either incorporated into the card or in addition to the card. The year Harrison was born I didn't send out a newsletter - I figured it was a no-brainer. We did a top ten list shortly after we were married and I had done one a couple years before I was married. So it was fun to ressurect the Top Ten...
 Only we didn't. I think these went out around Valentines Day 2006! No joke.

This year once again, no newsletter. I have released myself from doing one. (and relieved my firends from having to read one!) Seriously, I don't see the need to send one EVERY year.  Pluse, I didn't feel like doing one for so many reasons; but mainly because I was too busy, too tired, too rushed to be witty about the past year.

Infact, last year I swore I would just do a photo card, but I had to play around with the idea and create my own template then fill it with toy versions of us (toys that consumed our lives at the time). I did include a newsletter with pictures of the past 20 years in SoCal with n updated family picture- quickly taken by the Christmas tree for said newsletter.

Maybe next year I will finally REALLY be boring and do an honest-to-goodness picture card or even old-fashioned boxed cards. What a relief it would be!

Then again maybe the friend that emailed me this year  will once again turn up the heat for me to come up with something new. 

Most likely the later...

Crafty Thursday! A Sneak Peek

We're in the final count down and I'm bringing up the rear!

This is what my dining room table looks like. Scary,eh? You should see the rest of the house after this week. It sends me running to the hills! 

 I'm in the final stages of Christmas cards so as soon as they hit the mail, I'll post one for you.  I'm not doing a catch-you-up-and-brag-about-our-perfect-family newsletter this year.  No offense intended toward anyone, as I do write short and sweet newsletters most years and I enjoy reading most of the newsletters I receive.(yes, I said "most") but I just don't have the time and anyway, I blog. They can stop by here.

OK then, back to the Christmas cards.

Photo Story Friday - Dinged Up But Still Standing

Last year I tagged a photo from SoulMama's flickr pool that just spoke to me.There, in that picture about a glued little creamer dish, sits a little one-winged angel holding a tree - not unlike the 6 little angels  I keep stashed away in my box of Christmas ornaments.

 Those dented, beat-up little angels don't get to come out very often anymore -  a few years have passed since I've set them out - but they are well-loved. I refuse to get rid of them and this year I resurrected a new love for them.

They are all that remain from a box of 12 clear snowglobe Christmas ornaments that my parents had. As I grew up each year we would open the box to discover another one had seen it's demise, all that would be left was the paper angel glued to the base.

Then we began displaying the angels or hanging them on the tree. A perfect project for a little girl who loved to help decorate. As I grew and moved out on my own, my mother gave me odds and ends until I finally inherited all of the Christmas decorations.Including these well wore angels.

It's amazing what "pieces" of things we will hold onto in the name nostalgia.

In this case, I'm happy I did.

Photo Story is Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek
PhotoStory Friday

Crafty Tuesday - Because that's all I could do.

My camera is in the shop and the internet has been down for days [yeah! it's back up - at the moment!] which leaves me feeling behind the eight ball and out of touch.

So Harrison and I sat down the other night and [ I ] made sweet little Christmas stars out of sticks that we collected.I found the idea on a blog that led me here. (So sorry I can't remember the original cool blog I saw it on...)

We have since added twinkle lights and garland - but the camera is not available...

I didn't have luck using the clothespins to hold the stars together but Harrison enjoyed creating a twig and clothespin sculptures. 

All in all we hung out on the floor and worked with sticks for about 2 hours.

Who knew it only took a handful of twigs, a pair of scissors, and twine to keep him quiet and occupied for TWO FULL hours!

I love sticks!

Togetherness - Nine Years Ago Today...

I married the Guy I Dig!

Here is the bridal party. I couldn't ask for a better group of women to surround me that special day. We chose not to see each other before the wedding. Yeah, it changes up the picture taking - but well worth the wait. He really wanted the first moment when I walked down the isle.
(Back in 1999 we weren't using a lot of digital quite yet. I had to scan all there pictures. Photos by Shawn Jolicoeur)

The Groom's party, the best man would be the tall gorgeous blonde to the right of my hubby (her husband is flanking my husband's left side). I love this picture.

This adorable flower girl is now 16 and GORGEOUS!! [She is also God-sister to Harrison. See her all grown up at Harrison's 3rd birthday.] How about that breeze, I couldn't keep that veil down to save my life.

Check out handsome nine-year-old Big Brother! Not so big there. (hey is that hair on hubby's head?)

The music I chose still to this day moves me to tears. I found that out as I listened to it last night as I was putting this post together. Then the internet went down for 24 hours and all was lost. I'm starting all over tonight - before we retire after a yummy dinner at our favorite Japanese restaurant sans children.

Anyway, most of the music came from the movie soundtrack Much Ado About Nothing by Patrick Doyle. If you haven't heard Patrick Doyle, check him out. You won't be disappointed.

The runner above got messed up when the flower girl stopped to turn around and spread out some of the rose pedals she had dropped.  I love it. Those are the moments most remembered.

Seriously I never thought I would get married. Never. Nine years later, well let's just say it still feels like yesterday sometimes and I still pinch myself that he married me.

My favorite photo of our rings. Back then I hadn't looked at a lot of the wedding photography I've seen in recent months. If I had I would have requested more of the small details. I'm a details girl.

It was supposed to be a 3-tier round cake. Made for us by a friend. A little accident happened on the way to the reception hall and the bottom tier (my favorite part - chocolate with raspberry filling) bit the dust. The cake maker was devastated. I made a couple of calls to friends with Costco cards and one rushed a cake over to the hall. The caterer had extra frosting from another event and my florist decorated it with the fresh flowers we had planed on using in the first place, so all was good. No one knew the difference. (No I didn't care that much. I was getting married and I just wanted to celebrate - that we did.)

Our program, I was going for an old fashioned theater feel with a twist. Sort of.

Our "cast" in order of appearance.

The lyrics from our special song sung by Harrison's God-father, musician Jerry Lansdowne.

My parents each passed away before they could see this special day; but my brother walked me down the isle and my Godparents stood in my parents place along with my brother to give me away.

Nine years ago today my life changed for the better becuase I met the love of my life, the man who loves me unconditionally, the man who supports me and my dreams. The man who would lasso the moon and give it to me if he could.

And I wouldn't change a moment of it.

Our first dance was to At Last by Etta James. (yeah, everyone uses that song -blah, blah, blah) because the lyrics rang so true for me. I waited for a long time. When my mom was ill with cancer I longed for someone to hold me in his arms and comfort me. I leaned into God and I waited. As I watched and celebrated with each of my friends as they got married - I waited.

Until ~
At last, my love has come along
My lonely days are over
And life is like a song
Oh, yeah, at last
The skies above are blue
My heart was wrapped up in clovers
The night I looked at you
I found a dream that I could speak to
A dream that I can call my own
I found a thrill to rest my cheek to
A thrill that I have never known
Oh, yeah when you smile, you smile
Oh, and then the spell was cast
And here we are in heaven
For you are mine
At last

And then we realized that WE were the ones who were supposed to kiss when the spoons clinked against the glasses at the reception. 

At last.

Best Shot Monday - Giving Thanks

I love spending Thanksgiving with our good friends in San Diego. We always have a wonderful time [and eat FAR TOO MUCH FOOD]. It's the next best thing to being with our own family. Which makes sense considering they're like family to us.

I do admit, we have no appreciation for the traffic we contend with on the way south though. Fortunately, the day was beautiful so we could at least enjoy the view over the ocean. (and through the rear view mirror.)

We're truly thankful for such gracious friends and their never ending hospitality. (Diane had a dinner layout for 22 people, including 5 Marines.) Twenty-Two blessed guests who spent Thanksgiving together because of the embracing heart of one person. I have always been impressed with Diane's ability to reach out and befriend others.


She deserves an award.

Visit Tracey at Mother May I for more thankful Best Shots.

Summing It All Up

Over the last month I've been ending my daily posts with a final salutation in another language. It was kind of a boost to keep me going. November is traditionally a very busy month and this particular November proved to be no different. I didn't get an opportunity to get around to all the other blogs participating in NoBloPoMo, but I have time to pop in on them now that I won't be posting EVERY day. Will I do this again next year? Hard to say; but right now I'd say, "NO WAY, BABY!"

If you were following along here is the full list of goodbyes throughout the month.

Nov 1 - Oop! Not one for this day!
Nov 2 - Caio (Italian - informal)
Nov 3 - Dasvadanja (Russian)
Nov 4 - Aloha (Hawiian)
Nov 5 - Auf Wiedersehen (German)
Nov 6 - Hasta Lavista (Mexican)
Nov 7 - Shalom (Hebrew)
Nov 8 - Au Revoir (French)
Nov 9 - Cheerio (English - Northern Scotland)
Nov 10 - Sayounara (Japanese)
Nov 11 - Viszlát ( Hungarian)
Nov 12 - Zaijian (Mandarin Chinese)
Nov 13 - Tot Ziens (Dutch)
Nov 14 - Farvel (Danish)
Nov 15 - Adeu' (Catalan - Spain)
Nov 16 - Paalam (Filipino)
Nov 17 - Hamba Kalhle (Zulu)
Nov 18 - Hajda (Swedish)
Nov 19 - Arrivederci (Italian)
Nov 20 - Valete (Latin)
Nov 21 - Le'hitraot (Hebrew)
Nov 22 - Hyvӓsti (Finnish)
Nov 23 - Yasou (Greek)
Nov 24 - Slán go fóill (Gaelic - Irish)
Nov 25 - Do Widzenia (Polish)
Nov 26 - Let Manggu-nanda (Wagiman - Australia)
Nov 26 - See Ya! (bonus salutation: English - American Slang)
Nov 27 - Don adagohvi (Cherokee - American Indian)
Nov 28 - Ake wachia kin 'kte (Lakota - American Indian)

Nov 29 - Uz redzēšanos - (Latvian)

With 250+ languages across the globe, there is a lot to choose from - I made some choices based on where I work, where I've been, who I know, what I love and this month's holiday.

Maybe next year I'll start with "Hello".

And since today is November 30th, well let's just say-
Good bye!

For now.

More From Latvia

While I'm away for Thanksgiving I thought I would leave you with some more of my favorite images from Latvia.

This photo was taken from the front of an old school building we stayed in. We walk down to the end of this path take a left and walk a mile to the beach of the Baltic sea. I gave this an Orton photo effect.

 Here is the original.

This next shot was taken on a solitary walk I took through the cobblestone streets of Tulsi, Latvia. We spent the bulk of our stay in Tulsi and I fell in love with the timeless, peaceful beauty of this country town. The cat in the window just reminded me of images I had only seen in books up until that moment - images of villages untouched by modern times

The architecture of some of the older buildings in Latvia's capital, Riga, is like most any European city - simply magestic and breathtaking.  I took several pictures of buildings; I was fascinated with them. Riga's history dates as far back as the 12th century. I also have pictures of the Powder Tower, the only remaining tower of the original wall that once surrounded the city in the 14th century.
The thing that saddens me about So Cal (and the US in general) is the lack of regard for history and historical landmarks.  You always have to make way for all things Modern. But that is another conversation all together.

While traveling down the coast of Latvia, we stopped in a little village, in the upper room of a small school I saw these children intently working on something - the light streaming in gave the room a warm, red glow and I took my camera out for a quick picture hoping I would capture the moment.
Since I traveled to Latvia back in 1995 and only had a film camera (on loan) I scanned these pics in to the computer. But they are straight out of the camera!

Did you know that the Latvian language is one of the most difficult languages in the world to learn? Well, that was the case some 10+ years ago. It was still fairly rooted in it's ancient past and only a small percentage of Latvians were speaking it as Russian was the official state language during the Soviet occupation. When Latvia regained it's independence in 1991 the task of reestablishing Latvian as the official language began.

Latvia is one country I wouldn't mind returning to again someday.

Uz Redzēšanos
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