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My father-in-law, Earl celebrated his 79th birthday a week ago surrounded by all his kids and grandkids. He is my photo of the week for Week 3.

And here is Earl with almost all (oldest, Brandon, is missing due to a speech tournament practice) his grandkids (including the new “grandpuppy”)

A few days before Grandpa’s birthday Ellie and her class went to Chuck E Cheese for lunch. It was her first time there and she loved the BIG Mouse. She brought back a handful of these pictures and shared one with each member of her family. Of course now she wants to go back.

Ellie drew this picture of her big sister and her together on the school bus.

She said it was a dream of her’s to ride the bus to school with her sister. Stop growing up so fast! your dream will come true in less than 8 months. 

Anna had both dental and orthodontic visits this past week. Both were good. We got done early from the dentist and had a little time to waste before school started. It was a good excuse for hot chocolate (not that chocolate every needs an excuse).

Just a random post highlighting digiscrap layouts that I’ve completed recently. First a two-pager for Ellie’s 5 year old book for the month of October 2009.

And another featuring Ellie’s first bike ride last spring.

I just had to document this quote. Ellie was asked by her big sister, Anna, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and this is how she responded

With goals like that it will be interesting to see what she becomes when she finally does grow up!

This one shows off our newest Christmas decoration, a gazebo and what it means to us

And I loved photographing this rose that Anna recieved at the UPA/Timberwolves Dance Competition (in which her team won a Grand Champion Award I’ll remind you)

That’s all for now.

The Good:

Austin is out of his knee immobilizer and is off to a great start with his therapy to regain range of motion and strength in his knee (he discolated his kneecap just before Thanksgiving).

A birthday party for a 4-year old friend and a party to celebrate the end of a great season on the MVC Ateam all in the same day.

The confirmation of our nephew, Blake:

Ellie took these photos of us during the service (taking pictures kept her occupied at least for awhile during the 1.5 hour service).

My sister-in-law’s family welcomed a new member over the holidays. Meet Reese.

And now on to

The Bad:

The only thing bad was all the sickness going through the house. First Austin, then Anna and then Brandon. Happy to report all are once again healthy, but it made for a long week.

and The Beautiful:

Three mornings in a row last week we were greeted by frosted materpieces that only God could create. Trees frosted in sparkling magic. I tried to capture some of the beauty in my photo of the week.

It started by pulling photos that I loved from the 2009 folders– Photos I loved because of their photographic excellence (at least for me) and photos I just loved because of the memories associated with the images. The plan was to create a layout showcasing my favorites. Well, at least that was the plan. I glanced through all 7,972 images in about 30 minutes.  Yes, 7, 972 are the number of images that Picasa tells me I have in my 2009 folders. No, they aren’t all mine, but most of them are. There are some shot by my girls (maybe a few hundred) and I know I have about 200 photos that were shot by Lorrie’s hubby of our Ateam. But other than that, they are mine. I do delete the obviously bad ones right away, but maybe I need to get better at culling the rest.

Anyway, of these I “narrowed” it down to 36 images that I love, 36 favorites of 2009. They didn’t fit on one layout (so much for the plan) so I made 4:

It was a great year. Yes, there were hardships but looking at these photos I know that I have been blessed beyond measure. I know that I am loved.

The kids are back in school. The tree is down and decorations packed. Bible study has started up again. January started out bitterly cold. Spent time helping Grandma get her new computer up and running. Austin got his knee immobilizer off. Anna spent the week at school camp. Brandon worked on preparing for his upcoming speech tournament. And Ellie (as you can see) loved being my model.

I “slurped” my blog to and have been spending time formating all the entries into a book. So that is why I haven’t been blogging too much lately. The process is not hard, but time consuming as I am going through each page to set it up the way I want it. A few more days and I should have it done. It’s been fun looking back at the past year and all that happened. In a way I am sort of reliving it all over again. I hope this book will give my family the same feeling once it’s done.

I’ll be back soon to report on 2010 week 2.

A new year, a new decade is underway. The tree and decorations from Christmas came down and were packed away until next December. I love the Christmas season, but when it’s over, it’s over for me. I want my house back to normal. I really don’t think I decorate that much (the tree, the piano, the mantle, table centerpiece and stairway garland) and I even got rid of a few things that I just don’t use anymore, but somehow the stuff just didn’t fit into the storage containers so I had to go out and buy another container to hold the decorations.  Oh well.

With a new year I guess I had expectations for change and yet life is the same. My expectations led me to a one-day pity-party last Saturday. Good thing a new day brings a new perspective. My same is pretty darn good, in fact, my same is pretty wonderful. I am blessed.

This is a time of year when people make committments to do or not to do things. I personally have never been big on New Year’s resolutions not really out of any fear of making a committment to something, but rather that when I am determined to do something I do it. 

Twice this week I have been presented with the idea of the importance of asking God what he wants us to do and how he wants us to spend our time.

In our BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) notes this week: “Beware of doing any good work that God has not planned for you to do. If we are overly busy or doing works, however good, that He has not planned for us, we will experience frustration. Also we will not even see the particular work He, in His soveign purpose, planned for us, let alone have time to fit it into an over-burdened schedule. Because of neglecting to seek God’s will concerning all activities, many a Christian’s life work is unfinished and God’s glory in human life only partially seen.”

Makes you think. I’ve come to know that when God puts the same thoughts in my path in mutiple ways I need to pay attention. I’m paying attention and I’m starting to ask God.

As is expected of me each Christmas I make calendars for all the grandparents as part of their Christmas present. This year I used templates from listgirl designs:

and added a few photos on the left hand side of each month that represent the highlights from 2009. They all love their calendars and I love seeing my work proudly displayed in their homes when I visit.

Happy 2010 to all!

Week 51:

And finally Week 52 (it was so good to be home!):

This “52” has been such a great project and one that I knew I could stick to. I plan to continue this project into 2010. I guess you could consider that a New Year’s Resolution (one of the few that I will make–maybe the only one).