Our Christmas 2014

Well, it happened and it happened fiercely.

Christmas 2014.

I will remember it as the Christmas I almost didn’t get the tree up.

The Christmas I almost didn’t get the presents wrapped.

The Christmas I thought would be a bit skimpy, but lo and behold, it turned out as plump and magical as always.

We did our traditional Christmas Eve candlelight service with IHOP for dinner after.

© Angelia's Photography 2014

© Angelia's Photography 2014

© Angelia's Photography 2014

As beautiful as it was, I think we should have just stopped there. IHOP ended up being packed. The girls were in absolute distress to be late back to their mom’s.

© Angelia's Photography 2014

It was actually our year for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, but we had traded it to their Mom and just borrowed them Christmas Eve. I thought this might be Bridget’s last “Santa” year and I wanted their Mom to have it. In the end, as happy as I was to have my family together on Christmas Eve, it was just too tense and I felt really bad about the late thing, even though it wasn’t exactly our fault. It still was and…it wasn’t fun. Not for anyone. I did enjoy Averey’s great-grandparents who joined us at IHOP. I do hope that becomes a new tradition.

When Christmas afternoon came, we received the gift of two stress-free happy girls ready for a wonderful Christmas Day.

© Angelia's Photography 2014

© Angelia's Photography 2014

I didn’t mind at all waiting until Christmas Day to open presents. It was nice to have a relaxed time of opening gifts and having some time to enjoy them.

© Angelia's Photography 2014

© Angelia's Photography 2014

Of course, we dressed the dogs up. Of course, we did.

© Angelia's Photography 2014

Bridget’s first gift was the new Kindle we got to replace the one the thieves stole a few months ago. The tag said: To Bridget From: Someone who is sorry.

I doubt they are sorry at all, but it was a nice thought. Maybe, if they knew they took an eight-year-old’s Kindle they would feel sorry. Maybe? Nah.

© Angelia's Photography 2014

Molly got a cool cat shirt. And many, many other things.

© Angelia's Photography 2014

© Angelia's Photography 2014

And then, the big gift they had to open last. The iPod Touch we trekked out on Black Friday to retrieve at a decent price. Oh yes, we did!

© Angelia's Photography 2014

© Angelia's Photography 2014

It was worth it.

The smiles. The enchantment. The surprise. Every second of blood, sweat, and tears worth it.

Okay, maybe there wasn’t any blood or tears, but I sweated to get those presents all wrapped. Phew!

© Angelia's Photography 2014

© Angelia's Photography 2014

The grand baby was more fun, too. Oh, she doesn’t “get” it. But it is still fun to watch her surprise. Next year, I have no doubt, she will most certainly “get” it.

© Angelia's Photography 2014

© Angelia's Photography 2014

One of the gifts was a set of Speed Bumper cars. Those were a big hit and just as I predicted, the big kids (including Jason) liked them just as much as the girls.

© Angelia's Photography 2014
There was another surprise for me. Jason and I had promised not to exchange gifts, but out of the tree, he pulled a little box. Inside the little box, a beautiful set of diamond earrings. Earrings I have wanted a long time. I was surprised, thrilled, and humbled. What an enormously sweet gesture.

So, Christmas 2014 was an amazing day!

And now, the fun really begins….

© Angelia's Photography 2014

A Post Full of Joy

And pretty, pretty yellow lights.

And also…

© 2014 Angelia's Photography

…a very cute baby that I adore.

© 2014 Angelia's Photography

I tried to do Christmas photos on Sunday of all the kids. My step-daughters and grand baby. I got lights set up. I got the flash set up.

But…they spent half the day at church and the rest of the time one of them had a school project. She worked on it allllllll weekend loooong.

The baby was way too quick for me. I’m lucky I got two. Everyone always says….Oh, I can’t wait til they start walking! Um, No…just no…not when you are a photographer.

So maybe, we didn’t get Christmas photos this year. Maybe, we don’t have a card to send out.

But do you know what we do have?

Joy.

© 2014 Angelia's Photography

Heart-felt…full-on…precious JOY.

Wishing you all the joy your heart can hold. This season and always.

Jump over to The Daily Post – Weekly Photo Challenge – Yellow to see more posts about the joyful color yellow.

She Will Be Loved

End of June, we welcome a black and white kitty into our home. Our home of four dogs ranging in size from big to little – rowdy to shy. We have no clue how she will do with the dogs, kids, or even the grand baby. In fact, I am not sure if I will be raising a cat or a cat who thinks she is a dog.

The only thing I know for sure…she will be loved.

© 2014 Angelia's Photography
And she will be photographed.

Evidence clear in this post.

This is the baby kitty mama. A little mama gifted a cute kitty for her eighth birthday present.

© 2014 Angelia's Photography

This is her new housemate, the ever-curious Anna dog.

© 2014 Angelia's Photography

She gives her the welcoming lick and sniff initiation.

© 2014 Angelia's Photography

A sweet greeting of the canine-kind.

© 2014 Angelia's Photography

Mya is not impressed.

© 2014 Angelia's Photography

Cuddled up tight in her new world.

© 2014 Angelia's Photography

She purrs peacefully in the arms of her favorite eight-year-old.

© 2014 Angelia's Photography

And she is most definitely loved.

Maybe too much…

Finding Goodness

The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.
-Dalai Lama

Funny thing happened in the midst of our break-in troubles. I had my notstolen camera and carried it through the house taking photographs. Then, I went out into the yard and looking about I spotted two big pieces of glass towards the back fence.

Someone had to have hauled butt to get from the broken window to the back of the yard. Fleeing so quickly they don’t even notice the big chunks of glass they carried with them.

These clues helped us figure out the robber fled from the house out the backyard. Right behind us is a small section of woods that lead to a main street. Jason heard a “crunching” sound when he was checking out the neighbor’s yard. A sound of someone walking through the brush.

It helped us make sense of things. Someone stayed in the car as lookout. Someone in the house had contact with the lookout. When we pulled up, the lookout had them exit in a hurry. So much of a hurry, they didn’t even go back to the car, but out the woods to a busy street. When the lookout car pealed out. He must have picked them up later.

Explains why we didn’t actually see a body inside or out.

Those pieces of glass pieced a few things together. And when you are trying to make sense of the senseless, anything you can grasp onto can help.

I’m standing there staring at these chunks of glass and I look to the right of them. There I see a gorgeous bloom. So much color, strength, and joy. Our rose-bush is blooming.

I saw that perfect rose as a sign. Fear gripped us. Despair shook us. But still, the beauty shined through. There is goodness when you look for it.

We were blessed by so many things that went right, and not wrong. Our goodness lie in the soil and I could appreciate that even in the midst of our turmoil.

Are you finding your goodness? It is my hope that you do.

© 2014 Angelia's Photography