My First Wedding!

Well, hi there, everybody!

(Or at least to the two people that still check this blog. :))

If you haven’t noticed (cough cough) there has been a dearth of posts lately.

So I am going to try to remedy that.

Are you ready?

Good.  Glad you’re on board with me.

All two of you.

So then.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of second shooting my first wedding.  It was my cousin’s wedding, and it was AWESOME!  Most of the time I focused on getting candid shots, not any of the formal shots, since the other photographer was getting them.  So that means that there are not that many “formal” shots to share with you all.  But I hope you enjoy the ones I do have!

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We helped with reception hall set-up before the ceremony

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They used these cool/weird water ball thingies.  They were great to photograph!

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Hello there!  Just affirming that I am here, cause you won’t see me a whole lot.  🙂

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My cousin and my grandparents

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Mother of the groom

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My aunt (mother of the bride) and two of my many awesome cousins!

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Junior bridesmaid (and another of my awesome cousins) Hannah

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Waiting

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Exchange of vows

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I LOVE her face!  Isn’t she so sweet?!!

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Hannah and Meiling

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Between photos

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Bouquet

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The flower girls – they were so cute!  You’ll be seeing more of them.

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My cousin Mark.  We had this thing going all day, where I was getting goofy photos of him.  I still need to finish the slideshow of funny photos.  It’s almost done!

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Bride, mother, and sister

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See? What did I tell you?  Cute or WHAT?!?

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The main photographer was having them make happy/fun faces.  As you can see, Hannah took to jumping up and down.

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They left the church amid bubbles

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*Happiness*

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Can you *tell* they’re sisters?

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My aunt (not the mother of the bride) makes a piñata for just about every family occasion.  The wedding was no exception!

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She even made a fancy bat.

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Scott egging on the crowd

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And that’s the end of that.

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Another tradition: the wearing of the piñata

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Fixing hair

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Almost everyone who had been there for the piñata (family and bridal party) had glow sticks.

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Mom, Grandma Jeane, and my aunt (the one that made the piñata)

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Centerpiece

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Greeting at the door

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These two were so cute.  They started dancing, then were break dancing, and now are slow dancing.

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Cutting of the cake (see the glow stick bracelet?)

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Head table (minus the bride and groom – hey, where did they go?)

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First dance

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At the end of the first slow song, the music changed, and the bride and groom did a choreographed dance to several songs.  They danced for almost 10 minutes!  It was a total BLAST to watch!

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They ended with a slow song

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Groom and mother

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Watching

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Bride and father

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Next they had all the couples come to the dance floor and dance.  The DJ then had couples leave the dance floor, by saying “Anyone married less than  ___ has to leave the dance floor.”  It was pretty awesome, because my grandparents were the last ones there.  All because of them.  🙂

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My parents

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When my grandparents were the only ones dancing, a bunch of us made a circle around them

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And then the dancing started

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Cousins

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Bridesmaids

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Scott and Sarah

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Us  🙂  (Thanks to my dad for grabbing this shot)

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The dollar dance – my dad and Sarah

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Noah and Sarah

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Drake and Sarah have always been special friends, since they share a birthday.  Drake used to hang out with her when he was little.

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And you want to see one of the goofy pictures?

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Too.  Much.  Wedding.

Hello, Seattle–Day 2

Saturday was when we did our sightseeing, since we had the full day in Seattle.  And we began it and (almost) ended it with some great food.

So let’s start with some food.

The breakfast at the hotel was pretty awesome, even though it wasn’t included with the room.  We both had the breakfast buffet, which had pancakes (regular and chocolate pancakes one morning, and tiramisu pancakes the next), some awesome sausages, scrambled eggs, oatmeal, bacon (cooked properly, too – nice and crispy!), local smoked salmon, salamis, cheeses (I think some at least were local), fruit, and a bunch of breads (which I totally avoided).  And omelets and smoothies to order – It was amazing!

The first stop we made was to (drumroll)…Costco!  We had some pretty sad luggage (my piece was over 30 years old, and Dad’s luggage had one handle missing, one falling off, and the other might have been cracked).  So we picked up two new pieces at Costco.

Next we had to go to Walgreens, since I had forgotten mascara and I had also run out of lip balm.  (???)  Since I get my mascara online, I had no idea what brands were good, so after some deliberation, I picked one out, making sure that it wasn’t waterproof.  Turns out it was designed to stay on for 24 hours, so I had quite a time trying to take it off.  And it clumped.  😦  Oh well.

Then we were off to Seattle.

First stop was the Space Needle.  I am just amazed that this thing is 60 years old, yet it doesn’t look dated.  Like, at all.  It still totally fits into the skyline.  And the view from the top?  Great.

Next we visited Chihuly Garden and Glass.  Chihuly’s glass sculptures are beautiful!  I love the abstractedness, and the bright colors.  Also, I love that he place several of his sculptures on black Plexiglas, and that they are in dimly lit rooms.  It just adds to the awesomeness of the sculptures.

After Chihuly, we walked over to the International Fountain.  A photo of this fountain had been featured on Bing a few weeks ago, and I thought it would be neat to see it.  It was actually much cooler than I had expected.  There was a water show to Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (Ode to Joy), which was neat to watch.  The water was well coordinated with the music.  At the end, the water went really high!  Shortly after, a group of people came and danced on the other side of the fountain.  Again, great to watch.

I had heard about Pike Place Market that morning (overhearing a conversation at breakfast), and wanted to go.  You can’t get much better for someone like me (local food, local artisans, and, although I didn’t know this to begin with, old architecture).  We walked through the market, but I (sadly) didn’t purchase anything (my #2 biggest regret, but my last regret – unless you count the fact that I got to the airport late for the trip home, and would have liked to change that).  It was great to see the local food movement in another city.  AND THEY HAVE FISH AT THEIR FARMER’S MARKET.  I am jealous.  The architecture of the place is beautiful, and it feels old, in a really good way.  The lights are beautiful.  And the variety is amazing.  There were several shops selling flowers – and all the bouquets were unique and beautiful!  Each one had a special quality about it that I can’t quite put my finger on.  The placement of the flowers, the colors, were different than any arrangements I’d seen before.  And they were gorgeous!

Then it was time for dinner.  Dad had made reservations at his favorite restaurant in the world – The Metropolitan Grill.  I have heard great things about this restaurant for years – and I have wanted to visit it, although I wasn’t sure when I ever would be able to.  And now I was!

Dinner was AWESOME.  The Met also had an heirloom tomato salad, which Dad and I split.  It was completely different from the heirloom tomato salad we had at Seastar, but it was just as good.  Slices of tomatoes topped with a perfectly-dressed green salad, feta cheese, and purple onions.  I got a fun fizzy drink, some ginger raspberry thing which had a fancy name, but I can’t really remember it.  The drink was really good, though!  For my main dish, I got steak (what Metropolitan Grill is famous for).  IT.  WAS.  A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.  Dad got prime rib, which he said was really good.  I believe him.  It looked beautiful.  We also got a side of asparagus.  For dessert, we shared a flourless chocolate lava cake.  Very, very tasty.

We had planned to ride the Seattle Great Wheel after dinner, but I was a little wary of going around and around in a circle after stuffing myself, but by the time we drove over there, purchased tickets, and waited in line, I was fine.  And it wouldn’t be honest to tell you that I didn’t get a little scared on the wheel, but overall it was great.  And the sunset.  Oh the sunset.  It was beautiful, over the Sound.

Then, thoroughly exhausted from a day of walking, we headed back to our hotel.  I drifted to sleep watching the lights of Bellevue from the window.

 

The next day I went home.

 

Seattle was beautiful.  I hope to go back someday and see more of it, as the little bit I saw only made me want to see more.  And taste more, too!  I feel so blessed that I had this amazing opportunity to visit this beautiful city!

(And if you ever get the chance to go, DO IT!)

 

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[breakfast – awesome sausages-the one in front is feta, spinach, and apple (I think), bacon, and potatoes]

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[breakfast, part 2:  clementine, cheese, salamis, tomato, onion, cucumbers, pineapple, cantaloupe, orange, and smoked salmon]

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[heading into Seattle]

Hello, Seattle, I am a mountaineer,

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[almost there, crossing Lake Union (I think)]

In the hills and highlands,

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[that is Seattle on the right side]

 I fall asleep in hospital parking lots,

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[Hello, Seattle!  I’m finally here!]

And awake in your mouth

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[buildings]

Hello Seattle, I am a manta ray

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Deep beneath the blue waves

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I’ll crawl the sandy bottom of Puget Sound

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And construct a summer home

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[at the Space Needle]

Hello Seattle, I am an old lighthouse

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Throwing beams of bright lights

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[on the viewing deck]

Red in the morning, blue in the evening sun,

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[Puget Sound]

Taking heed for everyone

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[Seattle]

Take me above your light

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Carry me through the night

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[Lake Union]

Hold me secure in flight

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Sing me to sleep tonight

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[walking to Chihuly Garden and Glass]

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[glasswork]

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[this is from his collection “Persians”]

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[if I remember correctly, this is supposed to resemble a garden.  I think it does.]

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[this walkway has a name.  I have forgotten it.]

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[Space Needle.  Love this thing.  It’s so photogenic. :)]

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[the glass sculptures in the garden]

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[selfie]

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[walking]

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[the Pacific Science Center]

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[Mural Amphitheater]

Oh, oh, I can’t even take it in.

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[at the International Fountain]

Oh, oh, I can’t even take it in.

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Oh, oh, I left my heart in metropolis.

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[at the end of Beethoven’s 9th, the water went really high (boy, do I sound intelligent tonight!)]

So far apart, I check but the coast was clear,

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[Experience Music Project Museum]

I feel like a postcard,

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I wish you were here.

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[Going to Pike Place Market]

Subway through the dark, carriage through the park.

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Taxi down the street, get out and use my feet

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[The fish counter – see, what did I tell you!]

Don’t matter much to me what it is that I do

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[the market]

As long as I’m coming home with you

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[people, lights, architecture.  love it]

Oh, oh, oh, as far as I can see

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You’re the only one, the only one that can get to me

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[out in front of the market – aren’t those peppers lovely?]

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[The Metropolitan Grill, where we had dinner]

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[my AWESOME fizzy drink, whatever it was called – I forgot before I even finished it]

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[heirloom tomato salad]

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[you know it’s a fancy restaurant when the butter comes like this, looking like ice cream]

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[my dinner – steak and a potato]

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[and dessert – a flourless chocolate lava cake]

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[there is interesting architecture all over Seattle]

Like a hijacked train

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[sunset over Puget Sound]

Or a runaway train

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[the Seattle Great Wheel at sunset – can’t decide whether I like this exposure…]

Or a speeding bullet

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[…or this exposure better.  I can’t believe I let that lamppost be in my picture.  grrr…]

There’s no stopping this!

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[the Seattle Great Wheel]

I left my heart in metropolis!

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[the sky put on a beautiful show for us]

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[Seattle]

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[blue umbrellas!]

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[What did I tell you?  I LOVE the Space Needle!]

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[colors]

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[sailboat coming home]

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[lights]

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[playing with shutter speed]

Like a hijacked plane,

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[going back to our car – street shots]

or a runaway train

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or a speeding bullet, there’s no stopping this.

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I left my heart in metropolis.

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[leaving Seattle]

Oh, oh, I can’t even take it in.

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[actually, this picture was taken last.  I just have to let you know that.]

Oh, oh, I can’t even take it in.

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[goodbye, Seattle!  I’ll miss you!]

Oh, oh, I left my heart in metropolis!

 

Songs:  Hello, Seattle written by Adam Young and Metropolis written by Adam Young and Matthew Thiessen

These two songs were songs I thought of, listened to, and had in my head while we were in Seattle.

Blueberry Summer

We went up north to Lost Branch Blueberry Farm to (you guessed it) pick blueberries a few weeks ago.  They have delicious berries, and we really enjoy going.  We were able to go once a few years ago, and I just recently finished the berries we had frozen from that trip.  I was really glad that we were able to pick more!

We have great timing – we went up on what was predicted to be the hottest day of the year yet.  And it was pretty hot.  I picked until 6:30/7-ish, but most of our group had already stopped by that point.  I ended up burning BOTH my arms and my neck (so I was a regular redneck, ha ha).

The heat really wasn’t all that bad.  Once you had gone out there and gotten used to it, the heat didn’t bother you.  Or at least, it didn’t bother me.

We drove up with some friends of ours, and picked that afternoon/evening (I can’t remember a date – although it was a Tuesday).  That evening we had dinner with the P. family (sweet friends of ours), and then headed back to the lodge to turn in stay up way-too-late talking.  But it was fun.

The next morning, Meiling, Mom, and I went to pick some more while Noah and the friends we drove up with went swimming in the pond.  It was a very nice pond, I would have gone swimming in it, too, except for two things:

1.  I hadn’t brought a swimsuit, and I had no spare clothes to get dirty.

2.  I was there to pick.

We left Wednesday afternoon, having picked 41 pounds of berries.

When we got back that evening, the grand processing took place.  We started washing and freezing the berries, and deciding how many we were going to leave out for other purposes.  We froze all but two colanders-full, which would be used for some canning (blueberry syrup) and a pie.

That night Mom wanted me to use up some apricots that I had been planning to use in a crisp, but were aging on the counter instead.  I pulled up a recipe, and cut up the apricots, but I didn’t have enough for a whole batch.  Mom added a few tired peaches, but we still didn’t have enough.  I threw in a handful of blueberries and a few pitted cherries.  Mom tried some that night and said it was really good.  I can’t comment, because I made it gluten and grain-ful and didn’t eat any, but Noah liked it too, and I believe Drake did.

On this past Wednesday I canned four jars of what was supposed to be blueberry syrup, but I think it is really jam.  I made a pie the same day, which used up one colander of berries.  I am hoping to can some syrup that remains syrup with the remaining colander full.

 

Thanks for having us, Lost Branch Blueberry Farm!  It was a blast!

 

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The blues

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Pom juice on manager’s special at Kroger – got to love it!

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My berry bucket

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Wednesday morning – in the blueberry patch

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Walking back to the lodge – A harvested wheat feild

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The fruit mixture of my crisp

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Lots o’ berries

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The crisp topping

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Mom had gotten several pineapples on sale at the grocery store…

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…so we dehydrated several

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A blueberry rolled under the oven, and Lucy was trying to get at it.  Poor Lucy.

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Apricot-Peach-Blueberry-Cherry Crisp

Friday

I had grand plans of posting about our trip to a you-pick blueberry farm this evening.

And then tonight happened.

But nothing really happened tonight.

I was in the kitchen prepping dinner semi-early, and Meiling and Noah were outside.  They had two Frisbees that they had gotten at the County Fair last night (we worked there yesterday).  They were the kind with the big hole in the middle – just large plastic rings.  They weren’t throwing them at each other, they were using them to…um…do things.  Like the put a long stick thing through both, then one carried one Frisbee and the other carried the other.  They hung things from them, dropped things through them, carried things with them.  And they showed us many of the poses.

Mom and Dad were behind me, just chatting, discussing (among other things) plans for tonight.  There weren’t a whole lot.

Once I had gotten dinner pretty much ready, I headed out the door to go pick up Drake from work.  On my way, I stopped at Sonic to get a medium cherry limeade, since Mom had a token for a free one, and she told me I could use.  So I got it.  A whole medium!  It made me feel so grown up.  A soda AND driving.  If myself 4 years ago could have seen me then, she would have asked who that person was, because there was no way that could have been her.

Earlier today I ran something over to a friend’s home.  After I had gotten over halfway there, I realized I had forgotten what I was supposed to take to them.  So I had to go home.  And it made my trip that much longer.  But I actually kind of liked it.  It was one of those beautiful days, not too warm, clear blue sky, just a few white, semi-wispy clouds, and all the colors oh-so-vibrant.  And there is just something  wonderful about flying down a country highway, windows down, radio playing, hair flying.  It almost made me half glad that nobody was home when I got there, so I just had to leave my things there.  No one needed to see THAT crazy hair.

That feeling carried over to my trip to get Drake, and the soda.  It was so beautiful.  After I grabbed Drake, we chatted on the way home.  He said that, since it was Friday, everyone there was joking, and having more fun.  It just added to my feeling of a relaxed, happy Friday.

When we got home, Mom and I were outside, when I heard some music.  And it sounded like it was getting closer.  Dad appeared around the corner holding the speaker from inside, music blaring, with Meiling and Noah behind him, bearing Frisbees.  We all started throwing the Frisbees back and forth, to the happy music.

And then Mom lit the burn pile, and the smoke outlined the sunbeams that were straining through the trees.  I ran inside to get my camera.

I took a few shots of the smoke, and then laid down in the grass, and took a few self-portraits.  They are among my favorites.  Not because they are amazing.  Because they capture the moment.

It wasn’t anything that we did, or really anything we did.  It was the feeling, the mood, that prevailed, that is what made it memorable.  The relaxedness.  The laid-backness. The love.  The feeling of family.  The whatever goes feeling.

We have been running almost nonstop for the past two weeks.  And I have been feeling pressured to do more school, and to be more busy (if that makes sense).

But the other day, Meiling and I were home alone.  And we were sitting on the floor in the family room, making friendship bracelets.  After that, we were going to read “Little House on the Prairie,”  which we call Laura.

While we were sitting there, I kept feeling like I should go do something productive.  School.  Prep for our trip.  Oh, I am sure that my room could have used a cleaning.

But I really just wanted to stay there.

And then it kind of hit me.  It’s summer.  I don’t ALWAYS have to be working, busy.  And this was one of those times that I was going to remember for a long time, if not forever.  And I don’t want to squish that, brush it out of the way, with “what-I-really-should-be-doing.”  School.  Cleaning.  All great things. 

But in the end, what do they mean?  What do they count for?

Meanwhile, I have a little sister who won’t be seven forever.  And what do I want her to remember about me in 10-15 years?  The older sister who was always closeted up with her books, saying, “SHH!  Please shut the door when you leave!”  or as the sister who took time to read, to make friendship bracelets, bake fun things, do projects.

Oftentimes, Drake, Noah, and I talk about all the things that we used to play.  The forts.  The games.  Like pretending that we were orphans (our parents had been killed by monsters – more specifically, their bites, I think), and we had to move from room to room, being orphans with no home now.  (Side note: we actually didn’t remember this one, but I found it in an old journal, and it TOTALLY sounds like something we would have played.)

And Meiling doesn’t have any of those memories.

Now we’re doing school, driving, going to work, running errands, cooking, programming, building, and other what-not, while Meiling is being her little self, at the same age when we were playing in cardboard boxes, cooking pretend food, and taping paper facial hair on one another (I don’t think I ever wore any of that).  And she doesn’t have any memory of that.

So I want to be the sister that takes time for her.  If not to play in cardboard boxes and make paper facial hair, but to at least take time out for her.  Read to her.  Participate in her make-believes.  And give her some of the memories that we have.

And tonight was one of those nights, in a way.

Just a random, fun memory.  Not perfect, but wonderful in spite of the imperfection, maybe because of it.  Or maybe because it seemed so great.

That was today.

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Just Got Back

We just arrived home this past Saturday from a long, three-week trip on the East Coast.  We spent a week in Plymouth, MA, 5 days in Washington, D.C., and 9 days near Charlottesville, VA.  It was a lovely trip, and I will hopefully be posting more extensive photo-posts soon.  But, just for fun, I took a bunch of self-portraits at different places we went.  Here they are!

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You can’t let a Midwesterner near the ocean, without them making it to the ocean.  🙂

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Smithsonian Museum of American History

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George Mason Monument

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Thomas Jefferson Memorial

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At the Smithsonian Museum of Air and Space…

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…with my bro

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World War II Monument

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At the Bureau of Engraving and Printing…

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…again with my brother.

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Mount Vernon

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The Library of Congress

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The Capitol

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Monticello

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Blue Ridge Mountains

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Montpelier

 

(If I look like I am only giving a partial-smile in some of the photos, it’s just because I am focusing on taking the picture and not enough on smiling.)

Snow, and a Bit More

A synopsis of today.

It snowed today.  I love the snow.  It was also really windy.  I walked outside to the mailbox, and brought my camera.  Some fun self-portraits ensued!

I had about half of a can of coconut milk left over from making something for the get-together, so I decided to make some coffee ice cream.  I chopped up some chocolate chips and threw them in there, too.  Coffee chocolate chip!  Mmmm…

Yesterday I put Christmas lights up on Meiling’s and my bed.  It is really beginning to feel like Christmas, with the snow and the lights and the baking.

Well, I guess that is about it.

Oh, one more thing.

After we already had some snow accumulation, I wanted to plug in the Christmas lights on the back deck.  I was wearing my sandals (since I was inside), and I didn’t want to take them out into the snow.  I didn’t want to have to dry them off when I came back inside.  I considered going around, but I didn’t want to mess up the lovely snow (laugh at me, I know, but I like the snow).  So I just went barefoot.  I knew it would be cold, but I have done bare feet in the snow before.  As stepped into the snow, I started yelping.  Man, it was cold!  When I picked up the cord, it was covered with snow.  So I had to stand there, my feet in the snow, and shake, wipe, and blow the snow off the cord.  And my feet just kept getting colder.  I thought, “Man, now I know what the dogs feel like when they go out in the snow!  Their poor little pads!”  I opened the door to come inside, my feet were all wet, and I didn’t want to walk on the floor.  Since there were a bunch of people in the kitchen, I just started calling, “Somebody, bring me a towel!”  Mom answered, “No!  Why do you need a towel?  What are you doing?”  I used my apron.  And then she brought me a towel.  🙂

Moral of the story:  Get a towel before you go barefoot in the snow.  Or at least tell people what you are doing, so they will understand when you need a towel, and they will also understand the yelling.

Well, that would be the end of that!

And now for a picture:

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My grandparents had Noel on their fridge during Christmas.  The letters were all separate, and when we had our family Christmas get-together, a group of the cousins (including me) would rearrange the letters to spell “Leon.”  I am not sure if this name had particular significance, but it was fun.  🙂  Remember that?  I have these letters rearranged after this tradition.

Also, my grandparents had some plastic mistletoe that they would hang up in different spots.  Once they hung it from the fan upstairs, and once they hung it over the stairs heading into the basement (the basement was were the tree was, and were all the cousins played/hung out).  All the girl cousins would try to get other cousins tricked into walking under the mistletoe, so we would have to kiss them.  🙂 It was funny.

Fond memories.

Anyone else have any fun Christmas memories?

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Snow clouds gathering

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It’s really coming down

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Snow

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I purchased this hat last night.  I LOVE it!  Lots of fun.

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“I love the snow!  And my hat.”

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At dinner tonight:

Meiling, coughing, “We were smoking our bazookas!”

Say what?

(Not.  She has a cold.)

Branson, Winter 2012–Part 2

I really need help with post titles.  They can be SO CHEESY.  Man.  I don’t think they even come close to qualifying for tacky (one of my favorite words).

Anyways.  Now for the rest of the photos of our trip to the lovely Branson, MO.

Where did I leave of?  Oh yes.  Saturday morning.

On Saturday, I woke up and was lying in bed for a while, and then I must have dozed off again.  Cause suddenly I looked around it was 11!  I have only slept in this late once before, and that was because I had stayed up until 2:15 with a friend (not sure if I told you that, Gloria, but I did sleep in that late).  So I exited the room, expecting to be immediately greeted with “Oh my!  Look who finally got up!  Sleeping Beauty!”  or something like that.  Instead, nobody said anything.  Dad and my siblings were sitting around the family room, eating breakfast and watching Animal Planet.  That is NOT normal.  At all.

I then went and made myself some breakfast, which was topped of with with not one, but TWO Pop-Tarts (ah, the awesomeness!).

Later, we all went to the Vigilante Zip Rider for the boys to ride the zip line.

You though I  would ride the zip line?  No.  Not at all.  If I go to an amusement park, I usually only go on tame rides, like the merry-go-round.  And I will only usually ride one or two rides.  I go more to take pictures.  🙂

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The view from the observation tower, where the zip line that the boys rode is

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Drake and his faces

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All the zip line riders

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“Make a scared face!”  Dad’s call  🙂

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The challenge

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Waiting to see the boys go

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There they go!

The boys really enjoyed the zip line.  I’m glad they did.

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This made me laugh.  Ha!  “A high speed cable ride with a sudden abrupt landing.”  That could make the ride sound unattractive to just about anyone.

We were planning to go back to our condo to have dinner before going to see Joseph, but there was such a line of cars going to Silver Dollar City (and that was the direction that we needed to go), that we just went out for dinner instead.

And I forgot to…but you probably know what I forgot (to take a picture of my food).

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Waiting for dinner

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Me and my Drake

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Siblings.  Friends.  Partners in crime.  🙂

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Window shopping (a few family members had gone to the other side of the window)

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After that was Joseph – enjoyed by all.

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The Sight and Sound Theater

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Excuse the odd lighting

Sunday was spent quietly at our condo.  In the afternoon we went for a walk.  And I took pictures. 

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Drake and Meiling had run ahead

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Self-portrait time!  I need to work on pointing that camera.

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The (second) observation tower.  This one wasn’t surrounded by glass.

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The view

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The other observation tower, where that boys had ridden the zip line

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Meiling running ahead

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Like father, like son

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A flower, in December

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Look!  They have weeds in Branson, too!  And I have a picture to prove it.  So there.

We also had chicken wings for dinner.

I LOVE chicken wings.  I know I have never ever discussed this extreme love here, but it is true.  I get so into eating them, and then end up making a TOTAL mess of myself (wing sauce all over my face and hands) and then my hands smell like wing sauce.

Dad always says that he likes watching me eat wings ‘cause I make such a royal mess.

But I just love wings, so I keep eating them and making a royal mess anyways.

We went home the next morning, after breakfast.

And that’s that.

Thanks for reading!

Love,
Allison

Branson, Winter 2012–Part 1

We spent a long weekend in Branson, and arrived home this Monday.  We went to a few shows, some of us rode a zip line, and we hung out.  It was a lovely time, just getting to chill together.

We drove down to Branson on Thursday, arriving around 4 p.m.  After unpacking and having dinner at Red Lobster, we went and saw the Chinese acrobats at the Shanghai Circus.  Very fun!

While we were at Red Lobster, I decided that it would be fun to take pictures of the food that I ate out at restaurants.  A fun thing to do for somebody who loves food, right?  Well, I followed this up by forgetting my camera the next day (which meant that I didn’t get any photos of that meal), and eating my entire meal at the next restaurant before I remembered that I should have taken a picture.  The third time I didn’t even think about taking a picture.  In fact, I didn’t realize that I missed the third meal until now.  I’m real great at remembering to take pictures of my food, eh?  I wonder what would happen if I tried to do a 365 – it would turn into a 100, if I remembered that often!  😛

On Friday, we went and saw Twice Adopted (it was great!) in the morning, then spent some time walking around downtown Branson.  We had lunch at a place down there, and I shared some AWESOME tomato basil soup with Mom.  I have to recreate that soon.  It was so good.  We spent the evening at our condo being together.

We also bought some Pop-Tarts.  Now, for all my trying to eat healthy, I LOVE POP-TARTS!  I so greatly enjoyed eating Pop-Tarts over the weekend.  Mmmmm…

Now for the photos.  I forgot my camera on Friday, for which I was most sad.  😦  Most of these are from Thursday, and a few are from Friday night.  During intermission at the New Shanghai Circus, Drake and I entertained ourselves with self-portraits, portraits, and random shots.  I sure had a blast with those, and I hope you enjoy them, too!

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Waiting for food

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I ordered the four-course feast, or something like that.  It was SO GOOD!  Creamy potato soup to start it off…

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…and then a salad

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The faces Drake often makes for me when I point that camera at him.

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What?

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ARRRRGH!

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Love him – he’s just so funny

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Meiling being funny – I’m not sure how to caption these

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I think they speak for themselves

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My main course, minus the shrimp, which I ate before I remembered to take a picture.  Sound familiar? 🙂

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Dessert – a brownie.  It was very good, despite the fact that it had too much chocolate and caramel syrups

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We drove through a Christmas light display before going to the Chinese acrobat show

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Meiling 🙂

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At intermission

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One of those moments

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Fun with the lights

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Little Peanut hands

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Toe shoes

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Now here begins the random self-portraits

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Siblings

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I know I said this before, but he is SO MUCH FUN

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Helooooooo

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Rows of chairs, red ones specifically, are fun

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Drake had a turn with the camera and took a few photos of yours truly. 🙂

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Now, photos from Friday night.

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Dad purchased this kit to mix your own chip flavors.  He likes chips.  I like him. 🙂

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Drake, making his epic face

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The chips, all ready to eat

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Playing games

Reformation Day Faire 2012

Last weekend was the Reformation Day Faire in Peoria, IL.  This was our second year, and it was very nice.  I especially enjoyed the dance that was on Saturday evening.

This year we rented a motor home, and stayed in that.  It was quite interesting.  Definitely very squishy.  It made for more comfortable traveling, I would have to say.  We also brought Lucy with.  Apparently she got out once while we were at the conference and ran around the church were it was held.  Mom had to chase her around and catch her.  I missed all this, and appeared right after she was caught.  Lucy really liked the motor home.  She was looking for it after we got home.

To give a brief synopsis:

Thursday Dad picked up the motor home and we packed it (this is also the day that I did these self portraits).

Friday we drove up to the Faire.  On the way, Dad surprised us with a copy of “The Avengers.”  I was so excited I started screaming.  😀  We watched that on the way up.  We made it there on Friday in time to hear one speaker.  The concert by the Wintons was that evening.

Saturday there were some talks in the morning, followed by the town square.  The boffer war was at 4:30, and dinner was at 5:30.  The dance was started at 7:30.

We stayed for church on Sunday morning, and left shortly after the fellowship meal.

And that’s that.

Here are some of the photos I took.  I didn’t take all that many during the conference, but I did take a bunch on the way home.  Why shooting through a dirty windshield while flying down a highway at 60 mph is fun I’m not quite sure, but it is.  🙂

Oh, and we also got to see the Wintons perform again!  I have the photos to prove it.  😛 I think this makes a total of 4 concerts in 8 days – 1 two Fridays ago, another the following Saturday, and then one this past Friday, and another this past Saturday.  I think we can definitely be called groupies.  🙂

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Getting packed on Thursday evening – Meiling being funny

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Friday – Lucy being her normal absolutely adorable self!

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My silly brother.  Just got to love him.

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Content passengers

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Relaxin’, and my view, in a way

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I worked on this post on the way up

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Lovely view

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[Does this need a caption?]

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Meiling playing and looking out the window

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*Smile*

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Hey, look!  It’s the Wintons!

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Meiling enjoying the concert

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Saturday – walking to the park

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An impromptu portrait session with two friends, Lily (pictured) and Josh (a fellow photographer) – see my Josh’s much better photographs here (and check out some of his other photos – he has some absolutely amazing ones of the Faire!).

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My friend Bethany  😀

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Sunday – on the way home, taking only too many pictures.  🙂

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Lu, sitting on my lap

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Self-portrait – these were so fun!

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Now doesn’t this look like I was standing all calm and serene on the edge of this pasture, instead of flying down the highway?

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“So away we go, down that forever road.”

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The cards I was using to play Solitaire before I hopped up front with Dad

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“Life is a highway…

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…I want to drive it all night long.”

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Bridges

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Crossing the river

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“…makes me want to take a back road.”

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Hi again!

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Lucy’s here!

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I love roads.  Oh, you could tell?  I wonder how you figured that out!

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I love the greens in this one

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This little blue car was so cute!

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I couldn’t believe it, but at the gas station we stopped at, they actually had A DARK CHOCOLATE MOCHA!!!!  I haven’t seen one of these since we went to Branson, and I have looked at several gas stations.  I am so glad I finally found one.  😛

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Meiling using her drink for a microphone

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Bein’ silly

Autumn Self-Portraits

Thursday was a beautiful day – in the morning the sun was out, but in the afternoon the clouds rolled in.  There was a brisk breeze and it was just a bit nippy.  The weather plainly said “Autumn.”

It was the perfect day for some self-portraits.  I headed out with my camera and got a few shots.  I only spent about 45 minutes out there, which, although it sounds like a lot, isn’t that long.  My first self-portrait shoot took about, oh, an hour, maybe a bit less.  My second self-portrait shoot took probably 2+ hours.  Which was very, very fun.

Anyways, there are not all that many different shots, so this post won’t be too terribly long (although I don’t need to tell you that, since you will find that out in a few seconds).

So, without further ado, here they are.

(Breaking news alert:  I just went and selected all my photos, and there will be more than I originally thought.  Many more.  Just thought you would like a heads up.)

 

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This spot is right in the front yard, and I could see it from the window.  It called my name all day, “Come.  You need to take some self-portraits right here.”  So I listened.

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Throwing leaves.  Yay!

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1…2…3…

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…Throw!

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I love this fence!  You may remember it from this picture.  This lovely tree has a few branches that bend over the fence.  This was another spot that was calling my name.

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Bare feet!

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At the edge of our property, standing on the road, looking up – the lovely orange and red of the maple and oak trees, respectively.

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See the leaves flying?  The wind was blowing quite briskly.

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I really like how these turned out.  I underexposed them some by accident, but I am quite happy with the resulting effect.

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I found this tree out in the woods behind our property.  Just a perfect place!

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I thought that it would be fun to jump.  I ended up only proving to myself that I can’t jump gracefully.  This is the only one that turned out.  All the others look extremely ridiculous.

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Just to prove the last point, here is an example of how the rest of my jumping shots turned out.  *Sigh*  Rather pathetic, and ridiculous.  But they made me giggle.  🙂