Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tiny tots with their eyes all a glow!

It's here.  Can you believe it?

 It's the eve of excitement and there is no lack of enthusiasm in the house tonight.  The stockings were hung by the chimney with care........already dismantled and opened with full smiles.  Because that's tradition, and its now officially Christmas 2011.  Bring it.

The traditional lump of coal at the bottom.  Cuz it aint Christmas yo self!

It's been a crazy week of busy.  We've kept motivated by Christmas jingles, fa la la la la's, and sugar.
In the form of peppermint latte's and hot cocoa's "to go".  And go we have.....

School parties and crafts?  CHECK.

Impromptu living room dance parties?  CHECK

Bustin' some Christmas moves.

Personalized Christmas gifts?  CHECK.

Christmas program rehearsals? CHECK.

The stud in the hat?  That's my rock star.  Preparing for his skating rink debut. 
And when your 11, that's called THE BIG SHOW.

Presents wrapped?  CHECK.  

The migrating Christmas tree lights blackout of 2011.  She's just keeping it real.

Somehow it all gets done. And despite the many thoughts of,  'I'M SO DOING THIS EARLIER NEXT YEAR',  the truth is, it's 8:30 and I'm sitting on the couch watching a movie with my girl.  THAT my dear, is progress.

So take a load off Santa, I GOT THIS.

Monday, December 19, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things

I'm a pretty simple, non frilly girl.

Favorite attire: jeans
Favorite shoes:  flip flops
Usual hair style:  pony tail
Panty hose:  N E V E R

In fact, if it means dressing up I usually will subconsciously avoid it.  Kinda pathetic but true.

But my FAVORITE all time accessory?
My NIKON DSLR camera.
Pure.  Love.

Once upon a time in the dark ages of the 80's I found a love for photography.  I borrowed a 35mm camera from a friend to take a class in high school.  Our school even gutted an old closet to set up a dark room.  That dark room was a little piece of discovery heaven to me.  Playing with the light to correct a shot, enlarging and cropping to perfection, burning areas of an image....I can almost smell the chemicals and feel that initial eye adjustment when you kill the lights and fire up the red light for processing.  

It wasn't long and I invested in my own 35mm, and then, a nice zoom lens.


Shooting without a dark room?  Ya.  It kinda sucked.  Somehow getting those rolls of film back when 1 in 10 shots actually came out became a whole lot less fulfilling.  The process of crossing my fingers and rarely getting the image I attempted continued after I had my kids.  I became so frustrated I put the 35mm on the shelf and went to a point and shoot camera.  B O R I N G.

If I haven't mentioned it before, I happen to have the most AMAZING and GIVING husband EVER.  He's been trying to get me to upgrade to a DSLR forever.  And I really do mean forever.  He knew my original passion.  And he knew the slow death of it - complete with the strings of swearing I would mutter through every special occasion and holiday when my fully retarded point and shoot couldn't figure out if we were shooting on the beach at high noon, or the dead of night under full eclipse.  

Seriously.  I had had it.  I waved the white flag and admitted I was ready.  


I consulted my bro who was also shopping for an upgrade at the time.  After a full green light from the hubster, the Nikon DSLR came into my life.  

Ahhhh SNAP!

I've got so much to learn.  But you know what?  When I've got my favorite accessory around my neck and I set out for an adventure?  It's like crack and therapy all wrapped up in one nice package.  It's truly my passion.  And thanks to my husband, IT'S BACK.

You know who else I'm thankful for?

My photo peeps.  My heart is so full of love for amongst yourselves......
Thank you for mentoring me, encouraging me, and sharing the love baby.
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  

Ok, one last thing.  I can't let this pre-Christmas week of madness go by without sharing.  My heart about burst from happiness and a mother load of pride. 

You'll never believe who's teacher got her to do praise music in church recently.  I loved her little fidgety hands on her dress that couldn't stay still from nerves.  And that smile while she sang after she realized she was up there, and doing it, and it didn't kill her after all.  

Break out of that shell girlfriend.  Because to me, when you let a little glimpse of that talent out of your protective bag?  
Best.  Christmas.  Gift.  Ever.

Merry Christmas to you all ~

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Half Lit

I don't know what it is about Christmas 2011, but it seems to be tainted with a whole lot of ZERO motivation for mama Schroer.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas.  All that festive buzz that is in the stores, the extra pep in the step you feel when you catch your first whiff of evergreen, the arrival of the seasonal peppermint all puts a smile on my face, reminding me to slow down and take it all in, it's HERE.

But the decorating?  Not feeling it in 2011.  I tried Saturday night...cued the 6 disc changer of treasured holiday music, lit the fire, and after about three rows of pine branch fluff I through in the towel.  Our poor tree lay topless, and half smashed still from the storage bag.  It began to haunt me like some kind of Christmas sacrilege.  Evil grinch thoughts that wouldn't leave me alone in my list of to do's.

1.  Get groceries
2.  Finish the tree
3.  Help kids with music practice
4.  Finish the tree
5.  Switch out the laundry
6.  Finish the tree
7.  Make dental appointment

But then last night I found this music.  Instant love.  Downloaded the album, through some Festival Of Trees in the Scentsy warmer, and got 'er done.  The anticipated tree lighting however?  Not so much love.  The pre-lit tree that turns out is, half lit.  Perfect.

  After some strategic twists and turns of sections.  Perk of evergreen fakeness.

But before Kailey went to bed she excitedly said, "Mom! Do Derek and I get to put all the decorations on?  Because it wouldn't beeee like Christmas if we don't get to."  And 20 minutes later?  The tiptoeing of Derek's feet out of bed into the living room, "Mom, don't put any ornaments on ok?  Will you save them for me and Kailey?"  And just like that, it was all worth it.  A tree half lit = glass half full baby.

Addition to the Christmas deco this year?  Outdoor bling.  Half dead, but fully lit.

Cuz that's just how the Schroer's roll

But I am LOVING the drive by of the front door that offers this magic through the glass.  It seriously does something melty to my heart.

And the other night?  I turned off all the lights and sat on the rug inside the door taking it all in.  Catching all the colors and thrown angles of light through the different glass.  I broke out the camera and tripod.  It was like soaking up a rainbow.  My family asked if I had completely lost my mind.

                                                        Secret light show.  By invitation only.

You know what else makes everything worth it?  Scenes like this that I stumble on:

The conversation overheard? "Derek, you know I won a lot of races in this helmet!"  "Really Dad?"  

Catching moments of what could be a lifetime friendship

Chillin' with the sister watching Toddler's and Tiara's.  Because she asked him to.  True.Stud.Material.

Happy Holiday decorating, whether half dead, half lit, or just right.