The boys had some friends come over to play today and after they got bored of things to do inside, we decided to go and play in the snow.

When their dad arrived to pick them up, he decided to join in the fun:

I wanted to get a couple of action shots of Linkin this time, though I only really got two good ones. Maybe I'll try and photograph him playing in his yard sometime where he has more room to run and jump.

He loves his toys and he really enjoys playing with the kids.

Ready for me to throw it again.

I thought the color selection of the ball would be fun in this photo. I love to hear this ball squeaking as he gnaws on it.

Standing on tip toe for a doggie treat.

I had to get a shot of him laying down. I've never seen a dog lay like this with his back legs out flat against the ground. I think it's hillarious!
Over the holiday season our family attended two different Christmas parties. Here are some of my favorite shots from each.These first few pictures were taken during a white elephant party we attended.

I just love this little girls bright bold eyes and her mischievous glance. It's like she's thinking, "Does mommy know this is my fourth cookie?"

The lighting on this one isn't so great but I love the expressions on mother and sons face.

The following little dudes have the most gorgeous eyes and cute chubby cheeks!

These next pictures were taken at our Church Christmas party.

My daughter made sure I noticed the snowflake confetti sprinkled on the tables. She loved it!

This woman is one I see at church nearly every Sunday and I have always thought she had such a beautiful weathered face. When I walked by her I knew I wanted a picture. She was a bit reluctant but cracked a little smile for me.

I've tried to capture good pictures over the years with what I've had available. And I really believe that you can get good shots with the simplest of cameras; it's the human being behind the camera who has to come up with a good photo composition, after all. Obviously a really nice camera with interchangeable lenses has some fantastic advantages, but don't let that discourage you from learning the basics of photography and trying your hand with what you have.

I wanted to share with you some pics I'm proud of that I took with our 7 year old Kodak Easy Share last December on my sisters wedding day. A little bit of brightening and contrast in photoshop was all these photos needed to really make them pop:

The rain started last night and kept going all day. That's usually how it happens here in Maryland. When the rain comes, it's going to stay a bit. I decided I needed some pictures of the damp, overcast world.

Right now we are dog sitting for some friends. Isn't Linkin the cutest little Maltese?

My kids love to make 'gingerbread' houses every year. This year we started decorating after the sun went down so I was concerned about lighting. We have a chandelier over the table but it's not that bright so I cranked up the ISO on the camera. A little too much I think, as the pictures are fairly grainy. But I do like the natural warm glow of the photos.

Guess what? I don't own a genuine macro lens. So how did I get so close to those marshmallows you ask? A macro filter. I'll post more about it later.

I am particularly fond of the photo above. Maybe it's the composition/angle or the stray, blurry m&m's. Or perhaps it's because my adorable two year old just had to build a tower out of gum drops atop her house. I don't know. But I really like this photo.

Photo Credit: Dave Taylor

The above photograph is one of my all time favorites. It was taken by our good friend Dave Taylor at Christmas time a few years ago when our fourth child was two months old. This photo conveys so much about me and my life. Family is everything to me. My husband is just as good-natured and relaxed as he looks here. He is my other half, my very best friend. We of course, have our tiffs from time to time but he has set a good example to me of talking things through rationally and calmly. I have grown leaps and bounds since being married to him. I fall in love with him over and over again. He sets an incredible example for our children of hard work, self discipline, honesty, patience and acceptance.

We have four children and each of them began life with just as much wonder in their eyes as you see in the eyes of my son above. My goal as their mother has been to maintain that wonder far beyond their childhood years. Wonder is something that I am still filled with. Life is incredible! It is heart wrenching and turbulent but also miraculous and beautiful. The memory of difficult things I have gone through in my life serves to enhance the positive things I experience. Every day I'm alive in mortality is a gift! And I love sharing that gift with my little ones. Motherhood is certainly not easy but I cherish the souls I have been given. They teach me and bring love and laughter to my heart every single day.

I am humbled and amazed by the many beautiful things God has created to please the eye and mind. I've always had a love for animals and insects and the natural world. Camping and hiking is still a favorite activity of mine when we can manage it and butterflies dancing from flower to flower never cease to make me smile. I try to capture the beauty of my surroundings through the lens to share with others. Photography is just one of many creative outlets. I have always been driven to create in new ways. You might say I am a collector of hobbies. I enjoy crocheting, playing the piano, sculpting in polymer clay, wireworking, cake decorating, coding, graphic design, baking, woodworking, reading, writing and genealogical research. Not all done simultaneously of course. I rotate through these things as the mood strikes. I am very good at spontaneity. I am not very good at managing my time.

I have always dreamed of being a published author and maybe sometime I'll get really serious and give that a go. I have hundreds of characters and their conversations running around in my head at any given time. And believe me, that's not the worst of what I've got running around in my head. I have long struggled with Primarily Obsessional Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and for many years had no idea what was going on. It almost led to suicide and has often led to severe anxiety and depression. I can say now, that though I still deal with it and always will, I often feel peace in spite of it because of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am thankful for the love and patience of God and of many good people, without whom I truly believe I would not be alive on earth right now.