It was such a busy year! So many milestones, changes, and hustle-bustle… I didn’t share much, I didn’t write much, and I didn’t shoot much. I was too busy experiencing it all. Selling a house, buying a house, Jenny’s graduation from college, moving, Jenny’s wedding, my mom’s 65th birthday, Dominic turned 10, Curtis and I turned 45, Jenny turned 23, Thanksgiving, Christmas… so many wonderful memories. So instead of trying to cram a year’s worth of experiences into one blog post and failing, I will just concentrate on December.

In December, we celebrated Jenny’s 23rd birthday. Jenny’s working with a temp agency at the moment and is liking it so far. My son-in-law just officially accepted a position as a firefighter with the Killeen Fire Department and starts the academy next week.

Happy Birthday, Jenny!

New Braunfels lifestyle birthday photographer

Taylor Swift Tickets!

New Braunfels lifestyle birthday photographer

Make a Wish

New Braunfels lifestyle birthday photographer

Downtown New Braunfels is BEAUTIFUL. They covered the gazebo with strings of white lights, as well as the courthouse. In the center island, there was a huge Christmas tree and many, many lights. Seriously beautiful. My father-in-law, Curt, was here (sadly to attend a family funeral but I talked about that last week) so the whole family piled in the minivan to explore.


New Braunfels downtown street Christmas photographer

Gazebo Lights

New Braunfels downtown street Christmas photographer

The Boys

New Braunfels downtown street Christmas photographer lifestyle

Tree Bokeh

New Braunfels downtown street Christmas photographer

Center Island

New Braunfels downtown street Christmas photographer

So most of my indoor Christmas photos were taken with my iPhone. Curtis’s Nikon D90 was stolen while on a business trip earlier this year and he’s been missing his camera a lot. We’ve been talking for months about what to do, replace it, upgrade it, etc. We decided it would be nice to be able to share lenses and started looking at an entry level full-frame sensor for him. But my D700 is six years old and I’ve had it for quite a while now… so I paid half out of my business account and we gifted each other cameras. I gave him my D700 and bought him a nice zoom lens for it (and got the sensor professionally cleaned). He got me the new D750. So my camera was wrapped and under the tree for a few days.

This was our first Christmas in the new house (and I SWEAR I will share some photos of our new place in the next couple of weeks!) and deciding where to put the Christmas tree was a big decision. I have been slowly redecorating our kitchen and living room to be all golds and creams, so I went with a gold, white, and silver tree this year. I bought a few new ornaments and replaced some old strings of lights. The tree ended up with 1400 lights and 350 ornaments! I’d like to say it was a family effort, but no one seems to like to decorate the tree but me.

The Finished Product (D700)

New Braunfels lifestyle Christmas tree photographer

From the Outside Looking In (D700)

New Braunfels Christmas dog pet Labradoodle tree photographer

We made little gift boxes of goodies with homemade peanut butter cookies and brownies and store-bought candy to hand out to the neighbors.

Neighbor Gifts (iPhone 6+)

New Braunfels Christmas photographerChristmas Eve… the kids put out milk and cookies and we put the presents under the tree. My mom and Rick wrapped everything in gold and white, aren’t the gifts beautiful? We can’t put them under the tree any earlier because Anna can’t handle the anticipation… too many meltdowns. So we always wait until Christmas Eve.

Cookies for Santa (iPhone 6+)

New Braunfels lifestyle Christmas photographer

Christmas Eve (iPhone 6+)

New Braunfels lifestyle Christmas photographer

Christmas Day… well to be honest, it wasn’t great. Dominic had a big moment of disappointment and didn’t handle it gracefully. The entire day was colored by the experience and many tears were shed by myself and my boy. But great lessons were learned and we took it as an opportunity to really teach him about character. We did have a few light-hearted moments and overall I will remember the day with fondness. Anna did wonderfully, no tears, no angst, no meltdowns. She has matured so much and I am very proud of her.

On Saturday, Jenny and Chris came to celebrate with us and I got to try out the video feature on my new camera. I didn’t know it at the time, but there is a glitch with the D750 and the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art lens that prevents it from autofocusing. (I picked up a Sigma dock for the lens and updated the firmware so now it works… so be prepared for lots more video. Yay!) So I had to attempt manual focus, not easy with a small LCD screen on the back to guide me. In addition to seeing me focus in and out endlessly, you get to hear Dominic burp and wave his butt around, see the dogs (we were pet sitting Ollie, our neighbor’s adorable dog), as well as hear Anna say, “Happy Birthday, Poop” right at the end of the video. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas 2014

So that was our December. Filled with gratitude, being present in the moment, enjoying family, praying for those who are struggling with their own hardships, remembering the reason for the season. Merry Christmas, y’all.
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