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  • Monday, December 28, 2009
  • Toya
  • Since I was a young girl I have had an interest in photography. Knowing that my family just didn't have the money for such an interest I didn't even bother to tell anyone. After adopting Jasmine into our family, I gained an extended family I never dreamed would be so wonderful. They introduced me to the world of scrapbooks, which led to taking more pictures, which led to my pursuit of my interest from years ago. I have been blessed with a wonderful husband who has supported my many interests over the years. He is coming along for this ride too. He bought me my first (and only) digital slr camera. I love my Canon. After taking a class recently to get to know my camera more it left me hungry for more. I still have so many questions and I am slowly finding the answers to some of them thanks to the world wide web. I have met (in my head they are all totally my friends cause they let me into their family by way of a blog) Mckmama . She is awesome. She is a well known and loved blogger. She happens to have a section on her blog about photography. Woo hoo, I was on cloud 9. Finally I found someone to explain the cool tricks I see people do online. I was wondering why the eyes in everyone's pictures look so clear and brilliant. She totally let me know that I'm not just a sucky photographer. I too can have clear and brilliant eyes in my pictures if I have photoshop. It just so happens that I do. The next question I had was about how people put pictures together in a layout. Guess what I found out last night? Mckmama knows how and she was willing to teach me how for free. So, I grabbed some shots of my nephew that I posted earlier this month and tried out the instructions. It may seem like a small thing but by golly it was one of those small things that bug me. So I can mark that one off my list of things to figure out. Now I'm gonna hop on over to The Pioneer Woman's blog and read her photography lessons.

    Merry Christmas

  • Friday, December 25, 2009
  • Toya
  • Merry Christmas Everyone! We actually went to bed before midnight last night. This is an unusual thing for us. Christmas Eve is usually a very late night for Jeff and I. We always spend that night charging, building, wrapping, and setting up santa's stash. Well this was the first year we didn't have anything to put together. No one needed or received a bike/scooter. The kids all got exactly what they needed/begged for. I spent the day in the kitchen and got rave reviews from my hubby and children on the dinner. Daddy spent the day playing wii with the kids. The kids are all tucked in bed now probably wishing they could do it all over again tomorrow. I am tucked in my recliner under two blankets wishing I could smell. Daddy is still playing wii. Good night. I hope you all had a Merry Christmas.

    I'm Santa's Head Elf

  • Thursday, December 17, 2009
  • Toya
  • For the last 8 years I have put together the children's party for our rescue squad. I look forward to it all year. Swalker, Catie, and I head up to Roanoke for a day of shopping. My favorite thing is the look on the cashier's face when we walk up to her register with buggy full of toys and gift cards. It has become a tradition to guess the amount. A huge brunch is prepared the morning of the party by Ricky.

    The kids show up giddy with the excitement of seeing Santa. They get started on crafts and activities.

    Mrs. Claus always makes an appearance first to read a story. Twas the Night Before Christmas, of course...

    While she is reading, the kids hear the sounds of hoofs on the roof. As she gets to the end of the story a loud "Ho, Ho, Ho" comes from the hallway. The squeals of happiness are deafening. Santa walks in the room and some children run to him while others run away. The kids quickly get silent so they can hear from the big man. There is the occasional child who just can't help but ask Santa to be the first to get his gift. Santa is only too happy to grant the wish. Each child goes home with a special gift that was hand picked with their name on it. How does Santa know what they wanted? He really IS magic!

    It is a great time for family. My camera can't catch all of the smiles and happiness. It really is the best time of the year. I look forward to this day all year. The fact that I am dead tired at the end of the day doesn't matter at all when I have mental pictures of these faces.

    Thanks to Sarah for letting me steal 3 pictures from her smugmug account. She is my co-unofficial photographer.

    Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

    Christmas pictures

  • Tuesday, December 8, 2009
  • Toya
  • I love everything about Christmas. From the mess of pulling out the decorations to the busy shopping centers. I love figuring out what will be the best presents for the kids. This year it has been fun watching Booga examine the ornaments on the Christmas tree. He has been pretty good about not pulling every ornament off. He isn't like his cousins who thought all ornaments within reach should be promptly removed. I've even seen him trying to put back the ones he'd removed. I was able to catch a few shots of him near the tree.

    Yesterday I was able to convince the hardest child to take pictures of to actually sit still under the tree. The other two were only too happy to pose for the camera. I was able to get one shot where Taylor wasn't holding Booga in a choke hold. He wasn't interested in posing for the camera. He wanted to play with the camera.

    A friend allowed me to take some family pictures of them. It was quite the experience.

    I had tons of fun with this great family. This photography thing is kinda fun.
    Merry Christmas

    The day Jesus went to fourth grade

  • Thursday, December 3, 2009
  • Toya

  • This is baby Jesus. He belongs in my nativity above the fireplace. So imagine my surprise Tuesday morning when I noticed he was missing. All of the kids were on their way to school and I had just finished a quiet breakfast. As I was taking inventory of the many tasks around the house that needed to be completed by 3:40 when the big yellow bus dropped off my precious angels, my eyes rested on an empty spot on the mantel. Hmmmm, where oh where has my Jesus gone? Well it didn't take long to figure out who the culprit was. For those of you who know my oldest child you know of her love for babies (real or ceramic). I did a quick survey of the room knowing I wouldn't find my Jesus. I decided Sarah would be the perfect person to share this little ditty with. She was quick to remind me that Taylor shouldn't have taken Jesus to public school because He wasn't allowed there. After having a chuckle with Sarah, I called the school. I informed Kelly, the secretary, that I needed her help because my Jesus was missing and I believed he was in fourth grade. This was immediately followed by gasping for air while stifling a laugh. I let her know I was aware he wasn't allowed in public school and I needed him found asap. She said she would go search for my Jesus and would send him home with a note. I told her this would not be necessary because I was coming for my Jesus. I got dressed and headed to the school. On the way I wondered if any miracles had happened at school since 9 am because Jesus was in the house. Once arriving at the school Kelly let me know she searched high and low but was unable to locate my Jesus in the culprits backpack. Unfortunately the culprit was in the middle of a class presentation and could not be questioned about it. Due to the fragility, I wanted Him found before something awful happened. School nurse Janet wonders if Taylor was just trying to start her discipleship early. I left the school with reassurance He would be searched for as soon as possible. When 3:40 arrived, my little culprit got off the big yellow bus only to be met by serious mommy. "Taylor, where is baby Jesus?" A smirk comes across her face. She quickly disappears and reappears with Him safely in her tiny little hand. While she never told me where He was for 7 hours, I knew I had to explain something very important. She needed to know that Jesus needs to live in her heart not her pocket.
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