About Me

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I love Jesus. I love my family. I love photography. I love books. I love thinking. Probably in that order. I have a wonderful husband, five beautiful daughters, a house, and a camera. I enjoy spending time talking to my husband, playing with my girls, redecorating my house and shooting things with my camera. In my spare time, I sleep.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Before & After: Our Kitchen Remodel

So, in August 2009 we started remodeling our kitchen.  We "finished" (there are still a few little ends to tie) just before the new year began.  But in all the hub bub of the holidays & having a newborn I just never got around to showing it off.  So I finally decided to clean up my house and take some 'After' photos.    I am soooo happy with how it all turned out!  I just sit in my chair and admire the difference.   Here are the long awaited "Before & After" photos of our house.  To see the remodel "in process"--view the 'Kitchen Remodel' folder on my Smugmug site.  Oh!  And by the way, the 'Before" Pictures were taken at several different times in the years we lived here before the remodel.  (In case you were wondering.)




Before:                                                               After:

Before:                                                                     After:

Before:                                                                  After:



Before:                                                                    After:

Before:                                                                      After:


Isn't it a wonderful improvement?  I just LOVE it!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Memories of attending a country school

A friend of mine is doing a paper for her college class and asked if I would share some memories of attending a rural "country school".  Since I attended a country school from Kindergarten (1985) all the way through 8th grade (1994)  I had a lot I could have shared.  But I just sat down & jotted down a few things for her that came to my mind and I decided to share them with my blog readers as well...

"I have so many fond memories of country school.  I loved being in the same classroom as my best friend who was a year younger than me & with my brother who was two years younger.  I loved the holiday parties with the whole school gathering in one little room to eat sugar cookies.  I loved the Halloween costume parties, the filled up Valentine boxes, & the Christmas gift exchanges. 

Every year the school would put on a Christmas play for our parents & community.  We'd all haul the platform & curtains up from the spider-filled cellar in late November/early December and then spend the next several weeks learning our songs & practicing our parts in the play as elves or reindeer or angels.  The night of the production we would clear our classroom of all the desks & put out benches for our audience, put our costumes on in the little library room behind the "stage" and listen nervously to the benches fill up with the chattering presence of all our friends, family & neighbors.  They would clap & smile as we finished our performance yet again with, "Ho, Ho, Ho, who wouldn't Go".  At this point Santa would come out and sit and hand out bags of candy, peanuts & oranges to all the kids & we would hand out our hand made gifts to our mothers & then mill about drinking red koolaid & eating homemade cookies that the parents on the snack rotation had brought for all to enjoy!  We'd leave happily and exit the little schoolhouse into the cold dark night where we'd find our cars by the light of millions of stars...hoping that perhaps we'd catch a glimpse of Rudolph's nose guiding Santa's sleigh back to the North Pole.

Recess was always a fun part of every school day.  We had three recesses every day.  The first was a structured recess that acted as a substitute for PE. Then for the others we would be free to do what we wanted.  My friends & I had so much fun...part of the beauty of recesses in the country was the ability to enjoy the dirt & grass & flowers rather than being limited to a playground set entirely on blacktop or pavement.  We would put picked grass in folded leaves & call them tacos, pretending we were running an outdoor restaurant.  We would build little structures with rocks & do somersaults down the hill behind the school.  In the winter we would go sledding & build snowmen.   I remember one time we went on a hike with the teacher's aide and when we got back the girls got out of history for the day because we had to spend that hour getting the cockle-burs  untangled from our hair!  Another thing I recall was making up our own games.  Our schoolhouse was structured where the entrances to both the upstairs & the downstairs jutted out from the building so that there was a nook between them.  My friends & I invented our own game utilizing this space which was a mini-soccer type game. 

Going to a small school there was a limited number of families who were in the district & qualify as school board members so a number of the students had parents on the board.  The first Monday of every month was board meeting nights and the school board generally met right after school around 4 o'clock.  My dad was on the board as was my best friend's mom.  We (along with our siblings & the children of the other board members) obviously got to spend this time together as an extra recess time only without adult supervision.  These nights were the most fun of all!  Our imaginations ran wild & we loved (& hated) the boys vs. girls banter & bickering & dirt flinging that would go on during that time.  One time while our parents were in meeting (we were 6 & 7 years old at the time), we saw smoke in the distance and my friend & I pretended we were investigative reporters and we wrote what we refer to as, "The Fire Report"  Which we eagerly showed to our parents when they got out.  We still have a copy of it to this day that her mom saved all these years!

Multi-school events were another thing I look back on fondly from my time in country school.  Science Fairs, Spelling Bees & Track Meets were the highlights of each school year.  When I was in the younger grades, we had our own science fair at the school which the District Superintendent would make a special trip out for but when I got a little older they held a county-wide Science/History fair at Chadron State College for all rural student in 3rd-8th grade which we spent a lot of time prepping for.  I was always a good student so these were really fun for me.  I placed in the top three two different years--Once for my project on butterflies & once for my project about Denmark.  My brother also placed for his project on poisonous plants.  The Math/Spelling bee & track meets were also held at CSC.  I always did well in math but not so well in the spelling.  And not being the athletic type, at track meets I would usually only get a ribbon if there were less than 5 people in a particular event!  I enjoyed the track meets anyway though because I loved spending an entire school day outside and it was fun being at the college instead of at school.
I was in 5th grade when we had a form of sex education at my country school.  All the 4-6th graders (i believe) were given magazine type books.  The girls got one called "Kate's Diary" and the boys got one called "Greg's Diary".  Then the boys went with our teacher, Mr. Z & the girls went with the teacher's aide to talk about it.  There were only 4 of us (girls) and we were so embarrassed!  We took our books out with us at recess & would hide behind the old outhouse and look at the diagrams of our reproductive systems. The boys would come along & try to sneak peaks at our book & would try to embarrass us by showing us pictures from theirs.  I remember thinking the girl in the book was stupid because she "can't wait" to get her period and I thought, "Why would anyone ever get excited about that?"

I had one teacher who would give us our lessons and then he would let us go off and study or do our homework where ever we wanted.  This resulted in wars between the boys and the girls over who got to study in the cleaning closet!  We spent a whole afternoon rearranging the supplies so that three of us could sit in there and read (or talk!) 

Speaking of cleaning supplies...my parents served as the custodians of the school as well.  So not only did I spend five days a week at that school I usually spent an hour or two on the weekend there helping my parents by cleaning the toilets & mopping the wood floors.  I remember one year a couple of students got Hepatitis B and I spent the weekends with a Lysol can spraying all the doorknobs & toilet seats & any surface that came into contact with skin.  I got a warped sense of satisfaction from that job!   By the time I was in my late teens (and out of grade school) the school gave the custodial job over to me.  As a way for me to earn a little extra money, I would drive out to Valley Star and spend my Sunday afternoons scrubbing the building down from top to bottom & emptying the trashes and whatnot."

Friday, March 26, 2010

Thank you, blogger!

"Yay!" to blogger for adding customizable layouts!  Now I can display my photos much larger without compromising the look of my blog!  Thank you blogger for this long needed improvement!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Acacia is 6m old!

There are more at my Smugmug site!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Coffey Anderson Concert

Last Saturday, Coffey Anderson & a regional band called 'Acacia' performed at Chadron State College. I spent the concert taking photos of course!

More at my Smugmug site.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Birthday Poem to my Mom

Dear Mom:

Today is your birthday...
and I love you.  I want to speak your love language so that you really 'hear' it.  I'd love to get you a really heartfelt, perfect gift but as Peter spoke in Acts so say I,  "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you." I have my words & my photos and so I am giving you a poem for your birthday...to show you that you mean a lot to me and that I love you and that I like you.



All moms start out as little girls
With mommies of their own.
Quick to leave those moms behind
But not the seeds they've sown.

A woman's heart is full of seeds
Planted by her mother.
Yet when the fruit is full & ripe
They are harvested by another.

Mom looks at all the mistakes she's made
And she prays the fruit is good.
She wants her girl to realize
She did the best she could.

And that little girl who's all grown up
Longs for Mom to see
That the most fertile seeds she planted there
Have grown into a tree

The tree of goodness, faith & love
Is rooted deep inside her
To choke out all the grass & weeds
That battle to misguide her.

A Mother's love; the Love of Christ
That of sacrifice & care.
A daughter's love; what's to be said?
The two do not compare.

But when daughter becomes mother
Those seeds drop from the tree
And then that love is passed again
Mom's greatest legacy.

-By Gina  3/23/10

Happy Birthday, Mommy!  I love you!  Thanks for giving so much of yourself for me and planting good seeds in me so that I could grow to plant good seeds in my children.  You're special to me.  I hope you hear my heart.