29 December 2010

just another so-and-so.

Listening to: Yellow by Coldplay.
Quote love: "There are as many reasons to travel as there are travelers. For a writer interested in place, the subject can be any dot on a map. One goes to a war zone, one takes a wildflower walk, one experiences a gun at the temple, one trails a foot off a sailboat in aquamarine waters. Only the writing will reveal who traveled the furthest."

I've been spending my far-too-few days of break eating lots of chocolate, dark, thank you very much, spending hours with my aunts and uncles and cousins and second cousins and their little children, drinking coffee that I don't make (not the case at home), and sleeping. Lots and lots of sleep. Yesterday I got the flu from my mother's cousin's son, and spent upward of five hours sleeping, not to mention the twelve hours of sleep I got last night. It was a yucky day, especially since it was our second to last day here, and who wants to spend it on a couch?

My family spent Christmas Eve through Boxing Day up in the mountains. We stayed in a huge gorgeous house that my incredibly talented mom designed. It's absolutely beautiful, and warm. I'm not looking forward to going back to Indiana, where they have a very white Christmas.

During my vacation, I was informed that my family, on my mom's side, are all related to George Harrison, of Beatles fame! How cool is that? And how on earth have I spent my entire life not knowing this? So now I've been listening to the Beatles station on Pandora, and it makes me happy when a George Harrison song comes on, cause you know, I'm related to him.

How was your Christmas? And New Years- are you setting any goals? Thinking of anything that needs to change? Merry Christmas!

17 December 2010

jumpy clap time.

Listening to: Chicago by Sufjan Stevens. so a couple weeks ago I wrote that I was listening to a Sufjan Stevens holiday song. then I felt like a hypocrite because I have never listened to his music. And now? A newly created Pandora station. 
Quote love: "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." Oscar Wilde

So I got home today from the dentist and started doing jumpy claps in the middle of the living room. Why? Because today, I received my copy of Matched. And it is so, so much more gorgeous in person. I have had to pull myself away from it several times today.

Tomorrow morning we head out to Colorado, a two day drive, which means that I cannot read any of my books, both the library ones that I got today and the other ones I got in the mail.

Yesterday I received my free copy of Double Shot from NavPress. Today, we went to the library. I got  Speak, and I'm so excited to read it. I've read so much about it, and I'm glad to finally be reading it. I also go Incarceron and That Summer. Incarceron looks fantastic, and Sarah Dessen is so talented.

What reading do you have for your break? I'd love to know!

14 December 2010

the countdown begins.

Listening to: the Veggie Tales theme song. (don't ask.) 
Quote love: "It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all-in which case, you fail by default." J.K. Rowling

I just finished up my best friend's Christmas gift today. It left me feeling all inspired and Christmasy. I also made the gift tag for her gift (third picture) that I'm quite pleased with.

We've been counting down like crazy: eleven days until Christmas! Three days until we leave until Colorado! I'm so excited about it. My mom's family will all be there, most of whom I haven't seen in a few years.

Last month I won a gift card from I Heart Faces to the Vintage Pearl. The necklace that I wanted, and got, was only about half the amount of the card, so I bought my mom and sister each a pair of earrings. The order got here yesterday and I'm in love with it.

And last but not least, here is my entry for Olivia's Words for Snow contest:

I asked them all the same question: what does snow remind you of? The answers? Radically different.

Snow reminds him of Christmas and winter, the boy with rust tinted hair admitted. He says it is generic, I say there is nothing wrong with that.

She is short and light, with a bright smile. The snow brings images of dark night, the clear star crusted sky, the long shadows stretching across the foot packed snow.

The smallest girl is swallowed by the big yellow chair. Her answer is simple: when Jesus was born. I double-checked her question again. She confirms. Snow shivering from cold gray clouds makes her think of a hot little town in the Middle East and a newborn boy.

The girl with the mismatched socks and sister status said pillows, light and fluffy. She said snow reminds her of clay, soft, buildable and moldable. Hot chocolate and Starbucks holiday cups, topped with mountains of whipped cream.

Then there's the girl who started it all. Tiny marshmallows floating in hot chocolate, she said. Shoveling snow when you're so cold at the beginning and the realization halfway through how warm you’ve become. My favorite, tunnels, a childhood memory, the kind that we all have that makes no sense if you weren't there.

My best friend said Eskimos. And I laughed, because how typical this is of her.

The readers: the new, the old, and the occasional commenters. They said purity, white and glistening. They said fear: avalanche and blizzard. They said glitter, sparkling magical wonderland. They said the quiet, the hush and the peaceful moments when the snow muffles everything, when there’s nowhere to be.

And me? When I think of snow, I think of Christmas lights, sledding for hours with my family, impromptu Starbucks trips with my two best friends and an assortment of sisters, and the first day they bring back the cherry red holiday cups. I think my boots and my old red beret. I think of fellowship, of the family I never see during the rest of the year, of the laughter and the time we spend together.

Let me know what you think!

09 December 2010

creativity never reaches quite this far.

Listening to: Christmas music :)
Quote love: “Christopher Robin had a question to ask first, and he was wondering how to ask it.
"Well," he said at last, "it's a very nice house, and if your own house is blown down, you must go somewhere else, musn't you, Piglet? What would you do, if your house was blown down?"
Before Piglet could think, Pooh answered for him.
"He'd come and live with me," said Pooh, "wouldn't you?"
Piglet squeezed his paw. "Thank you, Pooh," he said, "I should love to."” A. A. Milne

I always have trouble thinking of creative titles that actually, you know, have something to do with the posts. Usually I write an entire post, sit there, write a title, delete it, browse Facebook, write another title, check Google Reader, delete it, and then finally think of something that is related to the post. It's sad, really. 

Speaking of creativity, I have something I need your help with! I'm working on my entry for Olivia's Words for Snow art contest. I was wondering if you could possibly give me two or three (or five or six) things that snow reminds you of. Anything works, I just want to know what comes to mind when you think of or see snow. Leave it in the comments, send me an email, anything works. I can't wait to share the finished piece with you when I've completed it! 

Am I the only one scouring the archives for spring, summer, fall photos? I keep looking for any color that stands out from the white-grey-brown covering the landscape. I'm about ready to pack up my bags and move to Australia, conveniently at the start of summer break. 

Please forgive the weather related complaints. I'll try to shut up about it and stop being so whiny. Also on the list of things to do: respond to comments sooner that a week, stop obsessively checking my stats, and maybe actually take a few new pictures sometime soon. 

I can't wait to see what reminds all you lovely people about snow! Have an amazing weekend!

07 December 2010

a nice blend of quaint and hick.

Listening to: the fire crackling, family conversing, cats purring. 
Quote love: “Saying goodbyes are always hard. You hug a little tighter, smell a little deeper, attempt to commit to feel the person to your memory. You want time to stop, but it can’t and you know it can’t. You know that you have to go on. So you cling on for a moment, and press your lips to their cheek and murmur, ‘I’ll see you when I see you.’”

Today was fabulous. I had an impromptu photography job, an early start on my day, several tasty cups of coffee, and a trip to our cute little town for their annual "Holiday Evening," when all the shops in the town are open, offering samples and whatnot. My brother and I agreed that our town is a nice blend of quaint and hick, and it's true really.

Both of the puppies, Oliver and Amy, went to their new homes tonight. It's hard to be happy about it when one of the little girls is clutching them with tears running down her face, but even so, it's relieving that they won't have to go to a shelter. (Lyrics start playing in my head: when the tears come streaming down your face, cause you lose someone that you can't replace...)

Tomorrow: get up at the crack of dawn to load meat birds into our truck to go to the slaughter house (read: friendly Amish man with low fees). I am SO happy they're leaving. The animals are smelly, ugly, and a huge pain. And then, we get chicken. :) It's a win-win. Also tomorrow, youth group and the weekly trip to Taco Bell.

To leave you with some (paraphrased) Anne of Green Gables wisdom: "Have you ever thought about how we never reach Tomorrow? It's so close but just out of reach. I think that in Tomorrow my father will love me."

Have an amazing "Tomorrow!"

06 December 2010

happy snowy days.

Listening to: Man of a Thousand Faces by Regina Spektor. (I've never listened to her before, but I loved the Call, the closing song in Prince Caspian, so I made a Pandora station!)
Quote love: “I love when the world turns gray. When the headlights glow yellow in the fog like candles and the rain tracks run down the window like subway lines. The rubber tires grind the leaves into a pulp, press them into the concrete like stamps and the wind blows them down the sidewalks like red and yellow sprinkles. And the rivers of rains flow down the streets, pooling into lazy puddles, running towards the sea.”

So it finally snowed. And let me tell you, it is cold. This afternoon the temperature outside was 9 degrees. I'm huddling up inside my room with lots of coffee trying to convince myself that it's still October. Or November, even. The last picture was on the way to the tree farm last week: I figured out how to change my ISO in that picture. Thinking of that still makes me happy.

Those cute little puppies were dropped here last night while we were gone. We almost have homes for them, thankfully. This is the second or third time we're had animals dropped here. There seems to be a pattern developing.

I'm ready for the holidays, especially break. It can't come fast enough! When do you get off school/start Christmas break this year? Sorry for the sporadic posting with few words. I haven't had much to say lately.

03 December 2010

introducing: these people I love.

Listening to: Christmas Eve by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. 
Quote love: “Sometimes I feel like I never wrote anything, I never thought anything.” Sylvia Plath

1) Anna: third child, best friend, freshman in high school.

2+3) Abigail: fifth and last child, primary noise maker, third grade.
4+5) Alia: fourth child, resident artist, sixth grade.
6) Myself: second child, author and photographer of this blog, sophomore in high school.
7) Dad and Mom. (plus Grandma, helping us pick out our Christmas tree.)
8+9) Joseph: oldest child, awesome big brother, junior in high school.

So that's my family! They're pretty amazing.

01 December 2010

the plan of action.

Listening to: I Will Follow You Into the Dark by Death Cab for Cutie. 
Quote love: “You’re my new dream.” from Tangled.

We put up our Christmas tree today; the snow is coming down; I'm loving Christmas lights.

I wanted to tell you what's going to happen with the Paperdoll Blog Party. Basically, it's going to be a bunch of reviews of Paperdoll, plus some fun stuff thrown in. I'm really excited about it. We'll be having some really cool bloggers reviewing the book, as well as a review by Natalie herself. We'll host it over at my shared book blog, so make sure that you aren't looking for the blog party here.

I'm still working on the scheduling part of it; hopefully we can get it up and going before Christmas. I'll be traveling during the holidays, so likely the blog party will begin in early January. It'll be a week long event, with something posted every day. There'll be something special on the first day, reviews the next five days, and something to wind it up on the seventh day. Tell your friends about it! Blog about it! The more people participating the better!

If you have any questions, let me know. If you'd like to contribute a review, please feel free to email it to me. I can't wait!

30 November 2010

smiles all around.

Listening to: Joy to the World by Sufjan Stevens. 
Quote love: “That's the way things come clear. All of a sudden. And then you realize how obvious they've been all along.” Madeleine L'Engle
I have a complete jumble of things that I want to say, and none of them really amount to their own post, so I suppose I'll combine them. 

Thing 1) One of my favorite weekends of the year is over, and I'm ready for Christmas now. I'm not really a holiday person, more of an inbetween person. I like fall and spring, mild, inbetween seasons. I could do with just a few weeks of winter/summer. But. This year is a little different. I'm looking forward to the holidays more than usual. I have a feeling this has something to do with the youngest sister announcing how many days until Christmas everyday. We're planning on putting up our tree tonight as well as the Christmas decorations. I've had my Christmas music playing all week, and now, I'm ready for snow.

Thing 2) Dear followers, I love you all dearly. I'm so thankful for you. However, sometimes it's difficult to find the links to your blogs and whatnot. This makes me sad because I love to connect to you, and that's hard to do when it depends on you commenting here, and my reply back to that. So please leave me your link so I can drop by and get to know you! 

Thing 3) I'm loving the weather around here. Today it's been rainy and wet. I love that. The rain, plus the Book Thief (I'm re-reading it; it's that good.) and a mug of eggnog-coffee makes a perfect day. 

Thing 4) In a few very short weeks (likely after Christmas; I'm still not sure about the timing.) there's going to be a Paperdoll blog party! I'll give more details in my next post. It should be a lot of fun.

Thing 5) How were your weekends? Restful? Crazy shopping? Good family time? I'd love to know! I stayed home for most of my five day weekend, and it was so nice to not have anything to do. Just a few more weeks of school till Christmas break!

22 November 2010

the generic thing to do.

Listening to: Smile by Uncle Kracker. 
Quote love: “I like to think that if my life were a book, I'm in the part that's so good you can't put the book down.”

I'm thankful for my relationship with my parents. I'm thankful that I can sit down and talk about whatever is on my mind with my mom; I'm thankful for every time I kiss my dad goodnight and he tells me I'm beautiful. 

I'm thankful for my siblings. For my older brother, who I can trust with anything. For my younger sister, whose been my best friend for as long as I can remember. I'm thankful for my two youngest sisters, who give the best hugs. 

I'm thankful for my friends. I'm thankful for my youth group, for all the friends that I have there. 

I'm thankful for you followers, you mean a lot to me. I love knowing that someone reads what I write and takes time to talk to me about it.

I'm thankful for Starbucks coffee (Pumpkin spice latte). 

I'm thankful for grey Converse. 

I'm thankful for Darcy, my camera. 

I'm thankful for God, and how much he has blessed me.

I'm thankful for Switchfoot and their music. :) 

I'm thankful for all the opportunities I've had. 

I'm thankful for our fireplace on cold nights. 

I'm thankful for the stars and the rain: that two of the things I love the most are never visible at the same time. 

I'm thankful for laughter and smiles, even though my eyes will be abnormally wrinkly when I get old.

I'm thankful I spent 1/3 of my childhood in Europe. 

I'm thankful for fresh French-pressed coffee (also, alliteration).

I'm thankful for the many wonderful blogs that make me want to copy their content. 

I'm thankful for British adjectives, like brilliant and wicked. Words like that force me to bring out my English accent. 

I'm thankful for fall, that it gives me an excuse to wear boots and wool coats. 

I'm thankful for my creaky old Mac that's about to fall apart. 

I'm thankful for you!

I'm thankful for jeans that are so old they keep the shape of my body when I take them off. 

I'm thankful for school in my pajamas. 

I'm thankful for my library, small as it is. 

I'm thankful for the one pen that makes my handwriting look better than it really is. 

I'm thankful that iTunes offers free music on Tuesdays.

I'm thankful for stunning sunsets. 

I'm thankful for the brilliance of fall.

I'm thankful for my 30 pages of quotes, and how reading them makes me happy. 

I'm thankful for my life. For how much God has blessed me and how much he's doing in my life. And if you got to the end of the list, I'm thankful for you once again.

17 November 2010

grey like fog.

Listening to: Look For Me by Decemberadio.
Quote love:  “November can rock some serious orange. And red and brown and stormy gray. November is the kind of month that starts out flashy-bright and ends with a sleepy winter sky. A definitive beginning. A sweet ending.” Natalie Lloyd, via.

Yesterday, we spent half the day pressing cider at a friend's house. I realized how much I love black and white photography, especially on foggy wet days. It's one of those things that remind me of England and the Netherlands.

15 November 2010


Listening to: Sing it Out by Switchfoot. 
Quote love: "The word pretty is unworthy of everything you will be, and no child of mine will be contained in five letters. You will be pretty intelligent, pretty creative, pretty amazing, but you will never be merely “pretty." Katie Makkai

we roasted coffee beans last week. the coffee was better than the espresso.

I have a few questions. Some of them make me feel stupid asking them.

But. I need to know.

Could someone explain to me why all of the pictures I post look grainy?  Cause that's not how they look in iPhoto or on GIMP. I was scrolling down my blog earlier and realized how bad they looked. Is it just me? Or are they really that noisy?

Also. Does anyone know why I'm having trouble figuring out aperture/shutter speed. (besides, obviously, I haven't been doing this photography thing very long.) Here the problem. Let's say I have Darcy set on aperture priority and the aperture set on, say 4.5. Darcy sets the shutter speed to something like 1/125. The picture turns out fine. I program the same settings into the camera, the only difference being manual priority. The picture is underexposed. I don't get it.

I've been incredibly blessed lately. Sometimes things seem to work out perfectly without any trying. That's how I've been feeling lately. God has been blessing me.