family fun photography

Signs of the Season.


We put our Christmas tree up last weekend and took all the obligatory pictures. I am feeling a bit more festive than I was last year and we dug a little deeper into the ornament totes – ohhing and ahhing and saying, “Do you remember when…” I love looking through the ornaments, especially the ones that I can remember hanging on my Christmas tree when I was a little girl – the angel ornaments have always been my  favorite. Like this one:


Of course the best part for the kids is putting the angel on top of the tree at the end. In theory we take turns each year, but each year the kids argue over who did it last year – which is one of the reasons I’ve gotten into the habit of photographing the topper putting on process (also, it’s adorable and makes my heart strings feel all melty and warm) – sometimes the kids need visual proof that they in fact DID put the topper on last year and that the DO have to take turns. There may have been tears. I’m not proud.


And my favorite part is the bokeh – after I’ve finished dealing with #thestruggle of taking cute pictures of the kids in low lighting and trying to get the tree to look nice and glowy and make kids look in focus and human-like and not just a blur of motion with strange faces attached. Once I get the mother guilt necessity to photograph the fact that my children were present for tree decorating out of the way, I can indulge in the blurry and bright goodness that is bokeh – and then we can all sit back and enjoy the bright lights and festive glow that a lit tree seems to cast in our home. In between yelling at the dog to not eat the tree and the kids to not karate chop each other right next to it.

books link up top ten tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: New To Me Authors

Check out The Broke and The Bookish for more Top Ten lists!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is:

“Top Ten New-To-Us Favorite Authors We Read For The First Time in 2015”

I’ll be honest, this was a tough prompt for me, since I’ve only read 40 books this year and like a half dozen of them were by Marissa Meyer, but I dug through my list of books read this year and here are the new-to-me authors that I noticed and remembered enjoying:


1. Marissa Meyer: It’s kind of hard to believe that I read my first Marissa Meyer book in 2015 but it’s true – I read Cinder in February and I’ve been rabidly obsessed with her books ever since. Have you given into the Lunar Chronicles hype yet?

2. M.R. Carey: I read The Girl With All the Gifts with my book club this year and omg I loved it. It’s not a genre I would typically pick up, but Carey is a masterful writer and her characters really tug on your heart strings.

3. Caroline Starr Rose: She is a writer after my own heart. I read May B and wanted to read it forever. It’s written in poetic form and it actually succeeds at the form and doesn’t get bogged down by the schtick. This is one that I can’t wait for my kids to read.


4. Jenny Han: Where has Jenny Han been all my life? I read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before in nearly one sitting and it’s taking a lot of will power not to just buy every book she’s ever written. Pure fluff but excellent, excellent fluff.

5.  John Allison: I read his graphic novel Giant Days and it ended way too soon! I haven’t read a lot of graphic novels but this one caught my attention right away. I’m still meaning to pick up the second one so I can continue the story.

6. Aimee Carter: I loved The Goddess Test and went on to read allllll the books in the series this year. I think the first book is still my favorite, but I have to commend Carter for re-imagining the Greek gods in a really interesting way.


7. Jennifer E. Smith: The Geography of Me and You was so sweet and so unputdownable. I definitely want to check out the other books she has written, which get a lot of high praise.

8. Chris Colfer: I was surprised and delighted by how good the first book in his series was! I really enjoyed The Wishing Spell and my nine year old son loved it as well. Super talented actors and singers need to stop being amazing at writing and being super sweet human beings because it makes me feel like a slacker.

9. Jason Segel: See previous statement. Jason Segel’s book, Nightmares, was really good also. I like pretty much everything Jason Segel has ever done, this cute middle reader story included. And again, the nine year old was a big fan of this one also.

10. Elizabeth Wein: I’m nearly finished with Code Name Verity, which my book club will be discussing tomorrow (ack!) and I’ve really been enjoying it, even when it occasionally gives me all the feels and makes me go slanty faced. And apparently there is a second book in the series!

What amazing authors have you discovered this year?