It's the big one, Elizabeth! I'm comin' for ya.

Perhaps I’m dating myself by quoting “Sanford and Son”, but it seemed to be such an appropriate title for this post.  Last week I donated 130 books to the county library system, and 37 books to Goodwill.  It was painful and heart wrenching, and I thought it might send me into cardiac arrest. But I knew it needed to be done. I still have a gazillion books scattered around the house in bookcases in various rooms. The donated books were books that had followed us around from home to home over the years, always staying in boxes in the garage. Some were easy to let go of, but others I had to force myself to place into the donation box.  When I asked Doug where I should put the books that would be going away, he told me to put them in the trunk of his car and he would put them in the trash for me.  There was no way I would have been able to part with them knowing they would be in a dump somewhere. 

Books for me are almost like souvenirs, not necessarily from the places I’ve been, but of the person I was or wanted to be, and of the things I was interested in once upon a time. I feel invested in them, and in more than just a financial sense.   A "Literary History of Cambridge” reminds me of a summer spent learning about the history of Cambridge and touring the grounds of the different colleges.  "Scotch and Holy Water" and "The March of Folly" leave me nostalgic remembering a trip to Turkey with dear friends and the long talks we had that taught me so much.  I found it difficult to part with "The Roman Revolution", a book left over from a class I took while we were living in Nebraska.  I was studying civil engineering and geology and pregnant with Anna.  I didn't need the class but wanted to take it because I thought it was interesting.  It brought back memories of mine and Doug's move to Greece in the fall of '99, the drive we made from England through mainland Europe, and our stop in Rome.  I know it may sound silly but books are my vice...okay, and fabric too (I must admit).

There were two reasons I needed to divest myself of these piles of books. One was that I had mentioned to Doug I thought it might be interesting to have a Kindle. Don’t get me wrong. I love libraries, and book stores, and the smell and feel of books. I love the basket of books that sits next to my side of the bed. Travelling with wee ones, however, means the days of carrying 4-5 books in my backpack or purse are no more. Now, diapers, sippy cups, wipes, barbies, toy cars, and crayons have taken the place of my beloved books. Having a Kindle along at a time like that would be most handy. Doug told me if I would clear the books in the garage, he would order a Kindle right away. The other reason was that I took a closer look at myself and began to worry about my tendencies to hold on tightly to things that may just be cluttering my life. While holding on can be an admirable quality (and I come from a long line of holding-on-ers), I caught an episode of "Hoarding: Buried Alive" for the first time the other day. There was a gentleman living in a house stuffed with books, papers, and magazines. It was so bad, he couldn’t use the upstairs of his home at all, and the downstairs was well on its way to being rendered unusable as well. When asked why he chose to keep a newspaper from 25 years ago that had no significant stories in it, he remarked, “I thought it might be good for reference.” It took me aback as the overflowing stack of magazines in a basket in my closet, combined with the huge library of miscellaneous pictures stored on our computer, had all been saved for the exact same reason. I had to save one pile of magazines because there were pictures I wanted to recreate, another pile because of the recipes and entertaining ideas, a third pile had travel ideas galore, a fourth pile for holiday ideas, and none could be totally discarded. Okay, I take that back, occasionally I do go through and discard, ripping out anything of “significance”. One man’s treasures, another man’s junk….right?  So, I decided to jump in and declutter before the urge left me.  I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at how good it felt, as if a weight had been lifted. 

Doug, ever true to his word, ordered a Kindle for me the very next morning and I'm trying not to look back.  I am really enjoying the Kindle and am indulging my book mania by downloading a bunch of the classics for free.  I've always been interested in trying to read the great books curriculum of St. John's college.  The first year is devoted to Greek authors, the second year covers Roman classics as well as works from the medival and Renaissance periods.  The third and fourth years take you through the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.  Now, I can actually start to attempt it as the majority of them seem to be available for free download through amazon.  How cool is that?!  I have to watch myself though as it's so easy to just go on-line and order a book that I'm tempted to buy more than I should.  I've already read the first two books of the "Game of Thrones" series this past week.  I just downloaded the third this morning.  At least, I don't have to worry about what to do with them when I'm finished.  That makes my husband very happy.  Six books from our bookcase on the bottom compared to 6 books in my Kindle in the red case on top.  Not too shabby.

On a sidenote, I may have rid myself of a pile of books but I did purchase a Silhouette to come in and fill up part of the space.  I didn't win one of the bundles from the big Silhouette giveaway this past week, so I decided to take matters into my own hands.  We have a box full of change in the cabinet above the washer and dryer in the laundry room.  We hadn't counted the change in a while, so out of curiosity I sat down and did just that.  $260 later, I ordered my Silhouette and even had some cash left over.  It's amazing how quickly that change adds up.  I'm so excited.  Hopefully, it will be in next week.  I already have my first project planned!!


You may be wonderin'...

So, you may be wondering where I've been and why I haven't been updating as often as I should (cough, cough, grandmothers).  There are about 10 reasons why I've been slacking, as of late.  Reasons #1, #2, and #3 are the three on-line classes I took this semester.  As of Thursday, I am now done with Medical Terminology I and II, as well as Human Anatomy & Physiology I.  Whew!  It feels so good to have those behind me.  The girls have taken to saying that I never have any time for them as I'm always on the computer.  Well, classes done means more free time for mommy and the kiddos.  I sat down yesterday and planned out some fun summer activities.  Hopefully, I can make it up to them.

Reasons #4-10 have something to do with this little fellow...

He is an out of control monkey.  He's figured out the pantry latches.  I caught him trying to drink almond extract.  He's learned to open the fridge.  I found him trying to eat a tablespoon of Starbucks coffee from the freezer.  He's learned to climb on the cabinets and check out the top of the fridge.  My keys were missing an entire day until I found them in a side drawer of the buffet.  The sisters have taught him how to unlock the windows.  I heard him saying, "Hi, Butterfwies!!" the other day and found him standing on the rocking horse in the girls' room peering out the open window (second floor).  Anna taught him how to use deodorant and he's now obsessed with it and keeps finding it no matter where I hide it.  At the same time, he's absolutely adorable and precious.  I've just never experienced this with the girls.  I'm thinking about tying him to my belt loop.


The June Bride

Wedding season is coming. I'm so excited to be second shooting for a wedding next month with the uber-sweet, and incredibly talented Alexandra Frankel. Thinking about next month's nuptials made me start to reminisce about weddings that I photographed (with my dear friend Trish Larsen) or helped photograph (with Alexandra) last year.  It's so exciting to be part of a couple's special day.  Everyone is happy and in love and joy abounds. I so enjoy seeing the special details that each bride makes her own.  No two weddings are ever alike.  You can see the differences in the choice of bridesmaids and their gowns....

"The" dress that every little girl dreams about...

The shoes are always varied...and fun!

The flowers and extra bits that make each wedding unique...

I'm also so happy that we get to be a part of our niece Betsy's wedding next fall.  Betsy has been sharing details and it's going to be amazing.  Our daughter Alaina, who will be giving birth any day now to our first grandchild, a little girl, has mentioned that she and her husband Zach may have a wedding here in the states next spring.  She and Zach met in Germany where they're both stationed with the U.S. Army.  They got married in Denmark and so family wasn't able to attend.  I so hope they do and we can share that special time with them as well. 


Hawaii, Day 6, Part II, Akaka Falls

Ak-ak-ak Falls as Doug and the kids jokingly called it was amazingly amazing. Doug commented that he had been all over the world and that the foliage here was the most lush he had ever seen.
He was sweet enough to chase the boy while I indulged in picture taking.  Did I mention I took around 1500 photos this trip?  Yeah. 

Everywhere you looked there was a flower peeking out.

Jacob even found some "na-nas".
Said "na-nas".

To get to the falls, you have to walk down quite a few stairs.  Definitely worth the trip...

~Another fiddlehead~

I mentioned that there were a lot of stairs going down, which of course meant there were a lot of stairs going back up as well.   Doug's knee had been bothering him but he managed to carry Jacob back up to the car.  When we got home, he had an MRI done and we learned that his ACL is completely torn.  He's so nonchalant about these kinds of things.  Believe me if I had a torn ACL, everyone would be hearing about it...loudly and often.

Hawaii, Day 6, Part I, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Those of you who know me, know that I'm a bit of an "Earth Sciences" fan. So, the main attraction I wanted to visit all week long was the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. I couldn't wait to get there. It was worth the wait...so spectacular, desolate, primordial, and inspiring, all at the same time.

My little picture takers, it must be genetic. 

Baby on the loose...

~Entrance to the the Thurston lava tube~

It was wet and a little muddy inside.  Jacob insisted on walking, got his shoe stuck in some mud, and walked right out of it.  We looked down and he had one super muddy little foot.  We had to backtrack in the dark and find his sandal.  Afterwards, Daddy got him cleaned up while the girls and I took more pictures.
I loved these fiddlehead ferns and couldn't get enough.  I'll try not to subject you to all of my pictures of them but you have to see at least a few.

I couldn't help but think of Jeff Goldblum's line from Jurassic Park when I saw this flower.  "Life always finds a way."

We were unable to drive past this sign and continued on foot to get to the end of the road, which had been covered with lava during an eruption.

The walk turned out to be longer than the girls were expecting it to be.  Anna started falling further and further behind.  It could have had something to do with the fact that this was the last stop and Doug promised them a trip to the gift shop afterwards.

Doug and the kids gave up and headed back for the car but I continued on to the end.
"Road closed".  No kidding!
When you look at the lava from a distance, it appears all black but it is actually beautifully multi-colored when you take a closer look!

~More "life" sprouting from the rock~
~Beautiful sea arch along the trail to the end of the road.~
I loved the patterns in the lava.

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