Theme Thursday ~ Holiday Aftermath

I don’t know if this qualifies as “aftermath” necessarily, but I’m using today’s theme to catch up on the third, and I believe final round of family Christmas pictures…until next year.  Or would that be this year, considering it’s already 2009 and I’m just getting around to posting now….Hmm?!

It seems like the theme for end of the year holidays was togetherness.  For Thanksgiving, we had my entire family together for the first time since January and for Christmas this year, Garth’s entire family was together for the first time in a while as well.  We thought we’d celebrate by capturing some great family shots.

Today you get to feast your eyes on the “formal” shots of our holiday gathering.  Just curious if anyone else has trouble with their images getting “goofy” when the size is adjusted to fit the display window?  In some of the shots below eyes are squished, lips disappear among other oddities.

Great and Grand kids

Little ones + sugar + crowds – naps = a very real snapshot!


Think they’re proud grandparents or what?!

Cornwell Clan

The entire family!

First Christmas as a Family of Four

I really like this family picture!  Seneca’s expression is such a reflection of the little personality she’s starting to flaunt! 


I wanted to try a texture here because the picture was too bland by itself.  I like the sepia tone of this background, but forgot how to replicate it for the one of them together.  And, I know I erased too much, but I had to run and was too lazy busy to come back and fix it.  I also wanted to fix her hair where the light was hitting it, but I was having no luck with the paintbrushes!  Believe me, it wasn’t pretty!

Holiday Smiles 2

This “surprised” look was the best I could do to get them together.  For a good laugh, take a peek at this outtake!  I’d love to hear ideas or suggestions about better ways to use texture to enhance images.  I’m all ears! 🙂  If anyone wants a hand at processing these images differently, I’d love to see other interpretations!

Family Christmas ~ Round Two

With inclement weather in the forecast for the following day, we decided to head northward late Saturday night, following our Christmas get-together with my family.  The darkness and snoring from the backseat made it a little dicey to stay alert, but we managed to down a few Coca Colas and keep each other talking….until I too succumbed to the slumber about an hour south of the bridge.

The first few days of our arrival found me feverishly typing away to finish our Christmas novelletter and the festive atmosphere and family fun provided the perfect breaks!  Growing up we always spent Christmas Day with my mom’s side of the family and while the fun used to take place at Grandma and Grandpa’s it’s now moved to Aunt Meri and Uncle Jeff’s house.  And, as I’ve learned over the past seven years, our “tradition” is in being non-traditional.

I recall my mother-in-law showing me a picture of Garth’s second Christmas.  Not only was I struck by the adorable toddler, but also by the place settings with crab salad and either pineapple or tomato juice.  Even if the red table cloth hadn’t given it away, the meal would have signified Christmas. 

The fact that our kids get to grow up with both the long-standing practices of Garth’s family and the ever-changing ways of mine gives them a very unique opportunity.  Having a full two weeks of break this year was great!  It allowed us to spend a full week up north and still have a good amount of time to come home, recover, and ring in the New Year with my family.  We still battled some sleepless nights again – but this time they were courtesy of our newest addition.  We’re already looking forward to relaxing evenings of next year when both kids will be consistently sleeping through the night!  (I know, I’ll likely be eating these words 12 months from now!)

Here’s a whole host of family fun, U.P. style!

Christmas Morning 7

Papa and Grandkids

Kegan and Grandma

Holiday Smiles

Smile Pretty Klaire

Gretchen and Deacon

Family Fun 2

Family Fun

Christmas Table

Emily and Papa

Dad and Seneca

Sweet Lily

Concentrating on Presents

Christmas Fun



Family Christmas ~ Round One

Is it just me, or did anyone else hear a bell?  While we did go see Four Christmases with our family on Thanksgiving, and we might have related to a few small parts of the film, we really do look forward to family get togethers!

We began our holiday celebrations with my dad’s side of our family way back on the 20th.  With more than enough food to feed a small army we ate our way through the afternoon and enjoyed the laughter and lounging that family and holidays often provide.  With a few shutterbugs in the bunch and a whole bunch of crazy characters, here’s a glimpse at the afternoon.

Family Christmas 1

Family Christmas 2

Grandpa and Seneca

Grandma and Calder



Alec 2


Miranda and Seneca

Family Christmas 7

Opening Gifts

Family Christmas 3


Family Christmas 5

Family Christmas 4

Family Christmas 6

Best Shot Monday ~ Wonder

What a difference a year makes!  From the wary glances shot around the room to the less-than-thrilled attempts at pulling out tissue paper and crinkling the festive wrappings we now have a very intent toddler.  His eagerness and interest are still thoughtful as they have not yet turned into the frenzied tearing and thankless playing that I fear may be lurking somewhere, waiting to emerge at the next birthday or holiday.

From across the room I can only image what words of encouragement Daddy’s whispering to him as he searches for the perfect place to begin the unveiling.  Perhaps he too senses my unspoken desire and is offering sentiments that instill thoughtfulness, gratitude and patience. 

Calder and Dad

Slowly, he pulls back the wrappings and shares the joy with those who found joy in giving.  This was the manner in which he opened most of his gifts.


I’m not sure what he was watching here.  It may have been wrestling cousins or uncles or crisp white snow piling up outside the patio door.  Whatever it was, I adore his expression.  The innocence and excitement, the near disbelief that he gets to have this much fun.  That he is surrounded by so much love, generosity, and happiness. 

When life gets to be too much to handle and the weight of responsibility rests heavily upon my shoulders, I pray that this image of freedom and joy will help me find my center.  And for you, my precious boy, I long for your wonder to grow as you continue to learn about the true meaning of Christmas and one day accept for yourself, the greatest gift ever given! 

Christmas Wonder

This is my best shot today.  To see what is brightening the lives of others this week, head on over to Tracey’s.

The story continues…

I don’t know if you even remember teasing me about taking my ring off at night.  It was right around the time it started to fit again this fall, after losing baby weight for the second time in twelve months!  If you haven’t noticed, your comment made an impression.

For that brief moment a few weeks ago, when I thought I’d lost it after the race, my heart hurt.  Hearing you say it was safely on my dresser, was the greatest relief!  But it got me thinking.  The hands that wear these two rings are stronger and yet more gentle than they were five years ago.  They have wiped away tears of joy and sorrow, and recently come to ache for the tight grasp of a timid toddler.  These rings have a history, and a future.

I meant every word of my vows when I spoke them.  But now, living them, seeing them unfold before us, the meaning they carried is only beginning to be realized.  So now, when I snuggle in beside you, and twist my ring around my finger, I smile, knowing and loving all it represents!

Happy Anniversary, Love!