I enjoy a busy winter

It distracts nicely from the dreary landscape. I’m not a big fan of doing update posts, not that they’re below me or something. I simply like to try and be more creative in my writing. However, today is a day for an update post.

1. We are likely going to be going to law school this fall.

I paused for dramatic effect. Did it work?
I’m not going to law school of course, it would be the hubby. He wants to be a Biotech Patent Lawyer. At least he’ll finally be getting his PhD and at least he now has a specific goal in sight. Honestly, I’m on board with it. Well, in so far as we don’t end up doing BYU. I’ll of course adapt if we go to Utah but all my dreams of experiencing someplace new will be crushed. :)

2. My oldest child will be turning eight very soon and I am planning on making this birthday a very memorable one. The eighth birthday is a special one for most LDS children. It’s the age at which they may choose to be baptized into the church. So anyway, I have planned a fun party for him.

I came up with some birthday themes for him to choose from and he decided to go with an outer space theme. Since we’re tight on money I am doing as much as possible from scratch. I cut out 50 poster board stars in varying sizes and as of today, they are all hanging from the ceiling. I also created all 8 planets (r.i.p. Pluto) using paper mache. The boys painted the various details on each planet and then I hung the planets from the ceiling as well.

Right now I have some fondant cake decorations drying on the counter top and I’ve put together goody bags for each guest. It’s probably crazy, all this work I’m putting into it, but I’ve found it very fun. I had never done any paper mache before so it was a great excuse to try it and it’s been a long time since I’ve made any homemade decorations. Made me feel like a kid again.

I promise to post pictures of the decor and the cake when it is all finished. I know Count Dooku we’ll appreciate my efforts someday when he’s looking through photographs.

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Nine years of Marriage

It was on December 19th of this last month, our anniversary, that our middle child started throwing up. Then we all followed suit. I was the last to get it and recovered just before Christmas Day. So much for celebrating our anniversary. Maybe in a week or two we’ll get to go out.

Anyhow, I was thinking today about an amusing thing that happened on the day we got married and wanted to share it with you. You see, if I could go back and do things over I would have rented a wedding dress. But for some reason I had it in my 19 year old mind that I wanted to buy an insanely expensive piece of clothing I would wear but once. So I went dress shopping, looking for the perfect dress and knew that if I found it, I must fit into it no matter the cost. Eventually I did find it, the dress that perfectly represented me. I tried it on in a size 3/4 (I was a lot smaller then) and it was too large in some areas. When I asked about alterations, I was told that due to the style, it couldn’t be taken in in the problem areas. So then I asked to try on a size 1/2. It was tight around the middle, but fit fine everywhere else so I bought it.

I had only worn it for a few moments in that dressing room and didn’t realize how very tight it was. I also didn’t take into account that I would be wearing the thing for around 7 hours total

As I dressed in my gown on my wedding day I felt really beautiful, but I also noticed that I felt light headed the longer I had it on. It was really constricting my breathing. It was pretty much the equivalent of what I imagine a corset is, but I knew I would just have to endure and take slow, deep breaths. What I didn’t realize was that during the entire ceremony, my slow and deep breaths were very noticeable and a little shuddery, as I tried to expand my lungs to take in the air I needed to stay conscious. I later found out that my soon to be husband was truly wondering if I was about to bolt from the room, leaving him at the altar. Poor me. Poor him.

So a word of advice for future brides. Just rent the dress and use your money for something better, like a good photographer, and never try to squeeze into something that might make you pass out on your wedding day.

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Photography Blog

This is just to let you know I’ve started a blog specifically for my photography and the things I’m learning. If you’d like to follow along here is the link:

Summer Owens Photography

I hope you all had wonderful holidays and that you have a safe and happy new year celebration!

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Playing with a new camera

It’s been 10 years since I had my hands on a really great camera. I was designated sports photographer for my yearbook staff at one point in High School and really loved it. I’ve been wanting a professionalish grade camera ever since but have never purchased one due to cost. But the urge to jump into photography has been steadily growing since then and this past Black Friday I made my move when I found a Canon XS with 18-55mm lens for an outstanding price. Since then (and in true “me” form) I have been learning everything I can as fast as I possibly can. Library books on digital photography? Checked out by moi. Online tutorials on digital photography? Researched by moi. And I’ve read/skimmed through them all this past month. I have a long way to go but here are some fun techniques I’ve been playing with:

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Zooming out/in while in mid shot.

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Making select objects look like ghosts. Whoooooooooooo…..

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The ‘making pretty swirling colors’ technique. Yes, I am aware that these things have official names but I don’t have them memorized yet. This is our Christmas Tree.

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This is also of our Christmas Tree. Shot using the ‘I forgot to focus while in Manual Focus mode’ technique. P.S. I actually like the lovely blurred light effect.

I have also been experimenting with shutter speed. With a very fast shutter speed I was able to get a detailed picture of a pot of water boiling:

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And after turning the shutter speed down just a bit, it captured the steam rising up from the pot as well:

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I am having a blast! More pictures soon to come.

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‘Tis the Season

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A Christmas Outing

Tonight we decided to visit the Washington D.C. Temple Visitor’s Center. If you’re not sure what an LDS temple is, you can read more about them here. We didn’t go inside the temple tonight. But it sure looked beautiful:

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Instead we went to the visitors center. The surrounding trees and shrubs are decorated beautifully every Christmas season:

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We went to a 45 minute hand bell concert. I don’t have pictures of that but it was enchanting. I love the pure sound of bells in harmony with each other. After that we went to the nativity display. Every year the visitors center sets up a large room full of nativity sets from around the world. We saw sets from the Congo, Bethlehem, Haiti, Germany, Madagascar, Ireland and many other places. This was my favorite camel, made all out of straw:

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And below is my very favorite nativity scene:

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It’s from Australia and is the most unique set I’ve ever seen. Made all out of sand and shell and real pearls. It’s just lovely isn’t it? We had a wonderful night!

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No Regrets

A few weeks ago my husband received a phone call from his mom. She was letting us know that Tom’s dad was being placed on hospice care. Hospice care is essentially end of life care. It’s an effort to make the patient as comfortable as possible as they are dying. Now please know that although Tom is only 30, his father is 80. Tom is the 12th of 13 children so this was not wholly unexpected. And at this point, though it will be hard to lose his father, we both agree that it won’t be a negative thing. Along with other medical conditions, Tom’s dad has Parkinsons and his quality of life is very poor.

Of course, it could be months before anything happens but Tom flew out to Utah for the weekend after the phone call to spend some time with his dad and family. His father can’t even get out of bed some days. Other times he has so little control of his legs it’s dangerous for him to try walking around the house because he stumbles badly. He’s had to give up his woodworking hobby as well.

It just breaks my heart and I will be none to sad when he his released from a body that has become a prison. I’ll be so happy for him when he passes on and is greeted by his first wife who died many years ago. You see, I believe in life after death with all my being. This crazy place we live in, it’s only one stage in our existence. There is so much to learn and do and become after we pass on.

Knowing he might pass soon has made me pause and think more closely about my life. If I knew I were going to die soon, what regrets would I have? What would I have wished I could have accomplished or seen? Would I feel too much had been left undone?

I look at Tom’s father, a father of 13 children, grandfather to 40+ and great grandfather to many. A man not without fault, but one whose intentions have been noble. A man who has performed hard physical labor all his life to feed his large family, one who genuinely loves them and all of his posterity. A man who is loved in return.

What I feel is most important to experience and do before passing on, I have already accomplished. I feel the beauty, every day, of unconditional love from my husband and children and I love them, every day, just as deeply. That doesn’t mean there aren’t other things I would want to do or people I would want to help, or ways I could be a better person. But if I should pass before old age has a chance to claim me, I would not want anyone to feel it a tragedy for my sake. Life continues on after this and the only ones we need truly sorrow for are those left behind on earth.

I’m glad Tom’s father has had such a long time to live and learn on this earth. We don’t all get that chance so it’s important to make the most of every day we are given. That doesn’t mean making radical life changes all at once. It means doing little things each day to better ourselves and the lives of those we love, so that whenever we find ourselves going back to our heavenly home, we’ll have joy in what we did accomplish and a clear conscience in knowing we were trying to do more.

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