Monday, December 31, 2012

A Year In Photos...April 2012

Good afternoon, friends! I can't believe that it's already the last day of December...2012 has been filled with so much! This year I've skated more than ever, done more in 4H, and of course started this blog! I want to thank each and everyone of you who come by and read my posts. I really love writing this blog and I hope that I am able to give some encouragement to to be proud of your individuality and express it!

Time to look at pictures from April 2012! I kept busy in April with passing my first USFSA test (pre-preliminary free skate, pre-preliminary MIF, and preliminary MIF, if you're interested), my skating club's spring show, and of course Easter! Need to catch up? Go here: January, February, and March

Here we are visiting family and friends from Alaska and Missouri...

I just couldn't resist adding this picture of some delicious homemade rolls.... :D

Us on Easter! We had almost every family member from both sides at our house.

Fun conversations with cousins during dinner.

 My cousin, Ena, and I.....

My cousin, Abby, and I making kissy faces....

And then us making another weird face....

Spring skating show! Our Theater On Ice group....

And our group number.....

Tell me honestly, now; is anyone getting tired of the photos?

Hoping you all have a very happy New Year! Enjoy your festivities with friends and families. :)

Thanks for reading! :)

Note: Photos owned by myself.

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Year In Photos.....March 2012

I've been having a very nice couple of days lately. :) Mainly cleaning my room super thoroughly (it needed it so bad!), re-organizing the upstairs bathroom, and today, skating! Truthfully, I've been being rather lazy lately...all that ends on Monday when we start school up again!

We're moving right along to March in our A Year In Photos series! Need to catch up? Go here: January, February. 

Just a quick little note.....I usually do the seasonal tags to whatever season I'm writing the post in, but seeing this has pictures in the springtime, it seemed awkward to post it in Winter. So it will be under both Spring and Winter tags. 

March was super busy! We had County Activities Day for 4H, and I attended National 4H Conference in Washington DC!

This is a picture of Deanna, Me, and Ross in front of the Chevy Chase 4H Conference Center!

I couldn't believe how beautiful some of the buildings were...

Library of Congress.....

The Capitol....

A lovely fan at the Museum of American History.

We made it in time for the cherry blossoms!

Me and my best friend, Deanna, in front of the library of Congress! 

Hope you enjoyed! Be back later with April! 

Thanks for reading! :)

Note: Photos taken by myself and Mr. Lougee.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Year In Photos....February 2012

It's SNOWING! Yay! Of all things, we had a green Christmas this year....which left me rather upset. But now the weather's making it up to us and it is coming down heavily! Can't lie; I'm rather excited. :)

Time for installment two of my A Year In Photos series! Need to catch up? Go here: January.

February was filled with 4H Favorite Foods Festival, and the performances of our play!

After our last performance of State Fair. We have Eileen, Maggie, Lexie, Me, Caleb, AJ, Joe, Turner, and Tessa. 

Caleb and Bailey in the middle of their song.

Dylan and Eileen. Such a funny scene!

Me, Meagan, and Ashley. We were playing ladies who were awaiting the awards for mincemeat. :)

In the middle of the largest musical number....Iowa. Here we have Turner and Caleb doing their heel clicks.

And the bows! Here we have Lexie, Ashley, Me, and Meagan.

Our thank-yous to the music and lights operators! I just love this picture....

Thanks for reading! :)

Note: All pictures taken by Mrs. Jennings.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Year In Photos....January 2012

Happy day-after-Christmas, everyone! I hope everyone had a wonderful day and season, and are moving happily towards 2013. Which brings me to.....

A new post series! With the new year on the way, I thought I'd start a new post series to recap what 2012 was like for me! I'm going to do a series of photos from each month, and probably carry this on throughout January. I hope everyone enjoys!  

January 2012 was packed with skating, state level 4H interviews for National 4H Conference and National 4H Congress, a skating competition, and, of course, rehearsals for State Fair!

One of the moms took publicity shots for the play! Here's the one with me....I don't even remember my hair being that short! To my left is my friend Ashley. 

Lexie, Maggie, and Meaghan...showgirls!

Here's Caleb playing Patt, Bailey playing Margy, and Chris playing Harry.

And here is Caleb with his character's side-kick, played by Mike.

Here is my brother, AJ, (Chief of Police) and his 'daughter', (Violet) played by Eileen.

And State Fair's first family! We have Dylan (playing Wayne), Ashley (playing Mrs. Frake), Turner (playing Mr. Frake), and Bailey, (playing Margy). 

Here we have Tessa (playing Elanor) with Dylan. 

Hope everyone enjoyed! I'll be back later with February's. What do you think: too many pictures? Leave a comment!

Photos taken by Mrs. Jennings.

Thanks for reading! :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Of Birthdays and Winter Time

Have you ever had a day, when things were just right? Where you felt content, cozy, and cared for? Where everything fit easily in place and just made sense? This is one of those days.

Today I turned 16. We had sweet little get together with all my little cousins (except one, who was sick today) and my aunt. After church we came home to a yummy meal of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, and fruit salad. While Mum was finishing preparing it, we older cousins switched between helping out and playing with the little ones. Oatmeal Chocolate Cake with Fudge Frosting followed, and then present time. :)

My grandmother's gift was wrapped in the Barbie birthday bag I've had ever since I was born. She always puts her present in there and I just love seeing that bag every year. From my aunt and little cousins came an adorable card with the sweetest notes inside. On the back they taped a gas card, for when I get my license. :) Then came the figurine from my Mum...the 16th of the 'Growing Up Birthday Girls' porcelain figures. I have all the others, and she's the last of the set. Then came the present I'd been guessing at since the night before; a large rectangular something or other hidden underneath a thick blanket. I pulled back the blanket to see a gorgeous dark stained hope chest. As I lifted the lid, my Dad told me that it was the same one that had been sitting in my parent's bedroom ever since I could remember; just refinished and fixed up to the point that I hadn't even recognized it! The chest is 60 years old; my paternal grandfather originally gave it to my grandmother for an engagement present. I'm so happy that I'll be able to continue it's legacy. Inside Mum and Dad had packed away little treasures; green kitchen mixing bowls and knick knacks for that green kitchen I'm always dreaming about, my paternal grandmother's framed wedding picture, pictures of my baptism this past summer, a yellow tea pot, and 4 crystal dishes Mum found at a thrift store, with the same design as my grandmother's set! I almost cried when I opened it, it was just so beautiful.

Soon the cousins headed home and I did chores at the barn. Just as I had hoped, it was snowing. Just a dusting, but still. I went on a long walk and just marveled at the wintertime. This is definitely my favorite season, everything about it is just so simply and ruggidly beautiful. I'm sitting in my grandmother's apartment now, the snow still falling. The only light is from the fireplace and her Christmas tree. 

Perhaps not many girls think that meatloaf, snow, little cousins, and a wool skirt make the perfect birthday, but it certainly has made my day happy. Every age seems like such a landmark....and then you actually are that age for a year and find out what it really means. I'm looking forward to 16, just like I looked forward to 9, and 12, and 15. 

Hope everyone is staying warm, and enjoying their preparations for the holidays! 

Thanks for reading and Happy Christmas!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Thoughts on Thankfulness: Turning Thoughts Into Actions

Hello Everyone! Now, I had originally planned this to go up several days after my Thoughts On Thankfulness: Counting My Blessings post, but things got in the way and I had to postpone it until now. Even though it definitely is rather Thanksgiving themed, though, I decided to go ahead and publish it as we should really be thankful year round, and not just during the holidays. 

While it's very good (and certainly important) to feel thankful, we must remember that expressing our thanks is a huge part of life. Expressing thanks has many rewards; it can brighten someone's day, encourage acts of kindness in others, and teach us not to take our blessings for granted.

So, how does one go about turning our thankful thoughts into acts of kindness? Here, I've put together a quick list of thoughtful gestures you can use to show the people you love that you care. These are especially sweet as we approach the hectic time of Christmas. :)

1. Give a Surprise.

If you owe a lot to someone, why not surprise them with a sweet gesture or even a small gift? It doesn't have to be anything big....bake their favorite cookies, buy a copy of that new book they've been eyeing, or leave them a sweet note somewhere. Just do something.

2. Write a Thank You Letter.

I know this sounds painfully obvious, but unfortunately many people have gotten out of the habit of writing thank you notes. I know this is something I've been trying to be better at! Don't limit your thank yous just to gifts, either.....always send a note for recommendation letters, to teachers or coaches, and for kind gestures.

3. Help Out.

Pitch in around the house! Don't limit yourself to just your regular chores or the things you're asked to do; fold laundry while watching TV, bring your books up to your room as you walk by, or unload the sink while you're digging for your favorite coffee mug. Honestly, it doesn't take that much time out of your day....just implement it as you move around the house. Your family will certainly notice, and appreciate, the extra help. 

So, those were my thoughts! Do you have any special ways you like to express your thankfulness, or have you been thanked in a special way?

Thanks for reading! :)

"For The Betterment of Her Mind'

"For the betterment of her mind, through extensive reading." Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice

Well, December's here and Christmas is on it's way! Unfortunately we haven't had much time to get the house mum and I were down in Georgia for National 4H Congress (so much fun!) the week after Thanksgiving, then once we got back it was all enjoying a surprise visit from my great aunt and uncle, preparing for a Christmas Ice Show, and doing last minute preparations for our 4H club's craft fair...whew! So, needless to say, not much has been done yet in terms of getting the house all festive. :( Mum and I have made plans for decorating on Saturday, though, which is very exciting! 

Today I wanted to share with you an idea for a reading list....or actually reading challenge, I suppose...that I've been mulling over since early fall. This year for lit class, we've been doing a 1/2 year of Shakespeare. Soon, though, we'll be switching to  creative writing. That will give me lots more free time with my reading (something I'm really excited about!). I don't want to just quit reading classics for the rest of the year,  though. So, I've been putting together a list of books that  I've never read but are still considered by many to be classics. My plan is to read one a month right up until September of 2013. After I read it, I'll do a quick write up post about it, and maybe even start some discussion if anyone else has read it. Speaking of which, if anyone wants to join in and read a couple books, you're more than welcome to! I would love to talk about our different opinions on the writing. :)

This 'reading challenge' is going to be very loose and fun.....the only requirement is that I read one a month. I'll pick the books depending on my mood at the time (and their availability!). Once I start reading, I'm going to allow myself to take as much time as I need on a certain book...some are quite long, after all! :)

Aside from this list, I'm also still going to do a lot of my free reading, so keep your eyes out for additional book posts other than this 'For the Betterment of Her Mind' series. 

So without further ado, here is the list (in no particular order):

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
To Serve Man by Damon Knight
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
A Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

I'm really excited to start this! Technically I'm going to begin in January.....our last lit read is this week, but I'd really like to relax and have fun reading Christmas stories for the rest of December. :) I'm thinking of doing How To Serve Man or Pride and Prejudice first, though...any suggestions? 

If any of you are interested in doing this list with me, please comment! 

Thanks for Reading! All be back soon with lots of pictures from the past couple of days, and hopefully some Christmas stuff! :)