Friday, December 30, 2011

What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?

Saw this posted on Facebook (thanks Mollie!) and just think it's the cutest collaboration!  Who knew they had these amazing voices?!  Love them both!
Again, Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy New Year!

Okay, so it's not quite 2012 yet, but I, along with many, I am sure, am taking advantage of the post-holiday quiet to re-group, and to get into the spirit of ringing in a New Year!  

As I begin to put away our Christmas decorations, for yet another year, I get a little sentimental, a little reflective, about the year coming to a close.  This one was a busy one...with lots of new people in our lives, lots of travel opportunities - to familiar spots and plenty of new territories too! 

We rang in 2011 in the Tetons, one of our favorite, right in our own backyard, places!  We traveled throughout the year, several times, to Oregon, another of our favorite spots; for Allison's graduation from Oregon State University, for Allison & Stephen's beautiful wedding and all of those related festivities, and we spent a lot of time in one of my very favorite places, the Oregon Coast!  We got to go to Alaskaaaa, as part of a great adventure that began this Spring with mine and Ashley's incredible trip to Thailand and Burma!  And finally, we got to spend Thanksgiving with the Ryan family all together...and then enjoyed a nice, quiet Christmas with our beautiful (and pregnant!) daughter, Ashley!  (So looking forward to meeting our grand-daughter in 2012!!!!)

It was an exciting year!  And I am so grateful for all that we have been able to do and see...and all of the wonderful people in our lives.

I don't really "do" resolutions.  I find that as soon as I commit to a New Year's resolution, it becomes my goal, instead of keeping it, to break it, as quickly as possible, so I can let it go and relax!  Instead, I hope that I live my life as a be an authentic, open person.  I hope that I have been true to myself...I hope that I have shown, by my actions and my words, and by my photography too, who I am and what matters most to me.  Time passes by so quickly.  It really does!  Even those days that seem to drag on forever are really just the blink of an eye!  So I hope, in 2012, I can continue to appreciate my life, continue to explore and to be open to new possibilities and new experiences...and that we all treasure every moment we are given and let the people in our lives know how much we cherish them.

To all my friends and family...Happy New Year...I love you!  Thank you for being a part of my life!

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's not just the gorgeous sunsets...

I have always loved the Oregon Coast.  Well, almost any coastline, actually, but the Oregon Coast has been a special place for me since the first time I visited, when I was 12 years old. 
My parents and I, and I got to bring along my friend Lori, drove, the summer of '76, from Michigan to Oregon, camping along the way.  When we arrived at the Oregon Coast, Lori and I got to pitch our tent right on the beach (can't do that anymore in most places) and sleep with the roar of the ocean literally right out our screen door!  It was incredible!  I think we stayed up all night, just watching the waves!  And I was hooked.
The next year our family moved to Eastern Oregon and we visited the coast often, usually ending up near the quaint town of Cannon Beach.  Mike and I spent our first 'vacation' together there, on the coast, in a really sketchy, cheap hotel in Seaside with Mark & Kelly (remember the slanted shower and the broken chair?!)!   Once we were married and had returned to the Northwest, we began a tradition of taking our girls there every summer for a week.  One of our fondest memories is the vacation to Yachats, Oregon where everything seemingly went with the stomach flu, pulling up to our hotel to fire trucks putting out a fire, a flat tire...and one of the best trips ever, just the 4 of us, hanging out at the beach.
So, there is certainly something nostalgic that draws me back to the Oregon the home I grew up in, in a way.  But then there is the obvious...the beauty!  People think of the beach and it is bikinis and sand castles and miles of crowded sandy beaches...and I love that too, sometimes...but the Oregon Coast is different.  It is usually chillier than you expect for "the beach", no matter what time of year...and rugged...and fairly uncrowded, in places...and, well, relentlessly beautiful. 
There is an artist/writer, Mary Anne Radmacher, who resides on the coast who wrote "I come to the sea to breathe"...and I think it's true.  I feel more at ease there than almost anywhere else...something about the constant hum of the ocean...

Anyway, we just returned from a great family Thanksgiving in Prosser, Washington...had a really good time catching up with everyone and just hanging out with a great family...and we had a fun baby shower for Ashley while we were there (only 3 more months to go!)!  Then we headed farther west to the beach for the week...took Mike's parents with us for a few days to enjoy some sunshine, dune-climbing (and, yes, at 74-years young, Mike's dad ran down the dunes with us!), puzzle-making and surfer-watching!  Then, picked up Allison towards the end of the week and, well, we loved the chance to hang out with her. 
So these are a few images I took with my iPhone (thankful for that little gadget in my life!)...on a particularly beautiful evening.

Now it's time to start thinking about Christmas!  Getting the tree up this week, and the house decorated, gifts wrapped, goodies baking...and settling in for a homey holiday! 

Thankful for all the friends and family we have in our lives...and all the blessings we enjoy.