Sunday, February 28, 2010

Absolute Photography

Our normal portrait studio is no longer in business so I was looking for a new photographer to snap pics of our girls. Luckily, I knew of a fellow Geocaching team that had their own studio in Holland. This couple has a great reputation, fantastic website, blog and sample shots that immediately drew me in...

Unfortunately, to get some of those outside shots that I craved, the weather had to cooperate. Each morning we were scheduled to meet, we literally had a blizzard. On our third try, still a blizzard, but we went anyway, because this is Michigan and trying to outsmart the weather would be pure folly.

Heather (the beautiful half of the team) trudged through snow banks, over fences and got right down in the snow to get the best shots. It was FREEZING out there since we were right on the lake and the wind was crazy, but everyone was in good spirits and had a blast! Then, it was back to the studio for more creative pics. She was nice enough (or mean enough) to post this one little shot of the girls from the in-door session on the studio's Facebook page. She's taunting me...I want to see more!

Next Friday I get to see the proofs and I'm so excited. Can't wait to share them...although I have a feeling I'm going to be spending a lot of dough in the process!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Like Father, Like Daughter(s)

video

Here is a short little snippet of the girls skiing on the "big" hill for the first time. On only their second day of ski school, they had graduated from the little beginner set-up, up to the main "bunny" hill and then onto the ski lift. Here they are coming down Boyneland with their instructor. By the end of the afternoon yesterday, he had them doing the terrain park!

Their Daddy learned to ski at Boyne Mountain when he was 5 and is an accomplished skier. So is his brother, Mark, and their entire family skis together. Now our daughters have joined in the tradition and they appear to be really enjoying it.

When asking Lauren what her favorite part of skiing is, she replied, "Practicing my pizzas (learning to stop or slow down) and going over the bumpy parts (little hills in the terrain park)."

Tara seems to like riding the lift and going fast. They have a great instructor and are already asking about next year! Can't wait to see how far they'll be after 3 more days of ski school!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

2 Year Anniversary

 ***This post is semi-copied from my previous post on the same date last year. I looked at the calendar today and did a double-take! I am in such a different place now than I was just two years earlier. A special "Thank You" to my wonderful husband, Mike, who continues to take care of me, worry about me, and love me unconditionally. I love you!

Today, February 11th, marks the 2 year anniversary of my contracting Guillain-Barre Syndrome. I can remember that morning fairly well...waking up as usual around 7:30am to the sounds of giggles and whispers from the bedroom next to ours. Something didn't feel right though...my right hand was kinda numb and tingly but I just figured I'd slept on it funny and the feeling would eventually go away.

As I started to go about my day, I realized that I was having a very difficult time doing ordinary things, such as getting the girls dressed or brushing my hair or standing up. I thought I was coming down with a serious case of the flu for sure! It got so disturbing that I actually had to call Mike and ask him to come home from work-something I never do, even when I am sick. We made an appointment to see the Dr. the following morning, hoping to figure out what was going on as quickly as possible before I felt any worse.

As many of you know, I did not get better, instead starting down the road to total body paralysis (with the exception of much of my face) and the need to be ventilated so that I could breathe.

I try to not remember those days. I was scared. I was lonely. I was confused. I had never been in the hospital, with the exception of giving birth to the girls, never broken a bone or needed stitches, perfect attendance for over 5 years at my past job and in school. "I" didn't get sick...why was this happening to me? What did I do wrong?

Of course, I know that I didn't do anything wrong and there is no answer to the "why" part of it. But I still asked myself those questions over and over-and ultimately it came back to my realization that everything happens for a reason, and although I am not always meant to understand it, it had a purpose.

I am here today, I am happy and fairly healthy, surrounded by loving friends and family and enjoying all the things that this life offers. And....I guess that's the whole point. So, today I am remembering, and also moving another step further down the road. Not the road of forgetting, but of living and loving and being happy...AMEN!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Too much happening!

Wow, if Winter is supposed to be the "down" time of year, I really hate to see what the rest of the Seasons are going to bring! We have been so busy that January just flew by in a blur and we're already a 1/3 of the way through February!

Mike and I spent last weekend in Detroit at a Geocaching Conference. It was really well organized, with some great presentations, and a lot of practical information on the sport. We also had the opportunity to go caching with some of our closest buddies Sat. night and all day Sunday. We nabbed 50 new caches and it felt great! Meanwhile, the girls had a wonderful time at Grandma K's baking cookies, going shopping, watching movies, cooking and just enjoying the snuggle time. I know that I really appreciate the time with just Mike and I, and it makes me even more excited to see the girls once we get back.

Friday we are leaving for Boyne Mountain to take the girls skiing for the week. Mike and I are only staying up through Monday evening and the girls will continue in ski school throughout the week and come home with Grandma & Grandpa B on Friday. This is assuming that all goes well in ski school and they want to continue all week! I'm not a big skiing fan myself, which breaks my husbands heart, but if the girls love it, then I'm prepared to support them 100%. Everyone in my family grew up bowling. In Mike's family, it's skiing. They're both cool in my book!

This will make 4 weekends in a row that we won't be spending at home. There's a real possibility that we're going to be gone the following weekend as well. Things should really slow down after that and maybe we can get some more work done on the house and start thinking about the exterior of the property. Spring is sounding better already.... :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Disney's PhotoPass

As soon as you walk into any of Disney's Parks, there are photographers everywhere. And once you get your picture taken by one of these fine folks, they will hand you a plastic credit-sized card with a unique bar code on it. Every time you encounter a photographer in any of the parks, especially at those very popular Character signings, the photographer scans your card. Once home, just enter your individual code and all your photos are available to you!

Neat, huh? I thought so too until I saw the price they were charging to get those photos. Now, most of the photos that we took with our own camera turned out even better than the pro's. However, there were a few pics that we didn't get, especially one of our whole family with Mike and Sully from Monster's Inc. and another one from Test Track, that I really wanted in my collection. Then I saw that they wanted $14.95 for a digital download of ONE picture...absurd. I won't pay it. I could get a 4x6 printed picture for $12.95- a real bargain. Not.

In all, there were almost 75 photos that were taken of us or the girls throughout our stay by the Disney Photo guys. I thought maybe they sold a CD with all the pictures that would be a little more reasonable. At $149.95, I think I'm going to have to pass....I find the whole thing really sad. It's expensive enough to take your family to Disney World for the week, add in food, Character meals, lodging and souvenirs, and the price can be downright staggering. Now you get home, and they want you to chalk out another $150 just to get a couple pictures put on a CD that would cost me nothing to take while I was there. Not gonna do it...

I did get some really fantastic photos though and I'll be sharing them with you in the next several days! They didn't cost me anything to take or edit or share. I think they turned out great-you can hardly tell the girls were so incredibly sick! You'll have to let me know what you think!