Winter in Minnesota is long and bleak. I have been taking a lot of snapshots for Project 365 but have been really itching to get out and get some really great shots. Yesterday I tried to get some photos of some interesting patterns in the snow
Then, I figured I would try and get some shots of my poor cancerous dog who no longer even has the energy to walk away when I pull out my camera
Today I made up my mind that I would find something beautiful. I drove around Carver County for an hour looking for something. No luck. So I decide to drive 45 minutes one way to my home town where I know the swans are back in full force on the Mississippi. I managed to get 4 shots of the birds before they flew away and 2 of the river before my hands were literally numb and I had nearly slipped and dropped my camera in the river. Twice.
Then it dawns on me that what I need is color. I cannot deal with the desolate landscape right now. So I decide to go to Target, buy some crayons and set up a really cool shot. I immediately knew what I would do with the shot when I saw it!
We have a Sheltie who is almost 12 years old. He has always been “quirky” to say the least. He’s skittish, jumpy, and not very patient but he is part of our family. I have a true love/hate relationship with Cy. He drives me nuts with his constant barking, but he melts my heart because he love us fiercely.
A couple of months ago we found out that he has a tumor. In all likelihood it is cancerous but we did not think that putting him through multiple surgeries was the right choice. It would be too difficult on him.
Kayla had a difficult time hearing this news. We got him when she was two years old so she does not remember life without him. She and her friends wrote this song about him. It might not be in the best taste, but I know she is thinking about him and will miss him when he’s gone. And it makes me laugh. (Clearly I am not a videographer)
Friday night I went to my hometown to go out with my family. The Friday night outing is a regular event with my sister, my step-brothers and my step-dad. Because I live nearly an hour away I only get to join in a couple of times a year. It always makes me happy to go there and be able to just be myself. I love being with my family. They know everything about me and love me anyway. It is so relaxing for me to not have to worry about what everyone is thinking.
My sister, especially, is very special to me. She helped and supported me through so many things in my younger days. She accepted and loved me when I probably didn’t deserve it. She was my shoulder to cry on and my soft place to land. In the last 18 months her life has been turned upside down and I only hope I have been able to offer her the love that she gave to me. Sara, if you are reading this I nub you!!!
Yesterday we lost a member of our community in a tragic car accident. On his way to work went off the road and hit a tree. I didn’t know him but I knew of him. His wife works at Noah’s school. His nephew is in the same grade as Kayla. His children played hockey and he has coached several teams. I have not been able to stop thinking about him all day. It was a day like any other for them. Getting the kids off to school, probably thinking about the day ahead and going to work. I wonder what happened? Was he reaching for a CD? Checking his Blackberry? Swerving to miss an animal in the road? I don’t know if we’ll ever know. I can’t help but be taken aback by the reality that it can be over that quickly. Everything they knew as a family has been changed without warning. I wonder if he kissed his wife and kids good bye that morning. I wonder if everyone was so caught up in the business of life that they forgot to take the time to say “I love you”.
It is so easy to get consumed by the little things in life that we forget that they are just that: little things. The desire for a bigger house or better car. Worrying about that 10 (or 20 or 50) pounds that you want to lose. Getting irritated with the person who has 12 items in the lane that clearly says “10 Items or Less”. Honking at the car on the road that is going slower than you would like. Being frustrated by the neighbor’s barking dogs. Scolding your children for being too loud or too messy or too anything.
I am humbled by all that I have been given. A couple of days ago I said to someone how thankful I am that Bruce has a job in this economy. I have changed my mind. I am thankful for Bruce, with or without a job. I am thankful for my children–no matter what day it is. I am thankful that we have a house in which to live, two cars that run, and that we don’t worry about putting food on the table. I am thankful that my marriage is stable and my children are happy. I am thankful for this day and all that it represents.
I am thankful for the sunrise:
And the sun
Because each time I see one of them I am reminded that I have been given the gift of another day here with my loved ones.
Kayla loves the Dollar Section at Target. I think she would spend every waking moment there and take one of everything if I allowed it.
A few weeks ago she bought a tiny lavender plant. She came home, planted it, and has tended to it lovingly every day since then. It sits in our kitchen and one tiny seed has sprouted. It’s not much, but it gives me hope that this is not an eternal winter.
Sunday was the second and final day of Kayla’s volleyball tournament. I won’t go into all of the gory details, but we experienced some of the poorest sportsmanship I have ever seen. Well, I will give you one example….because I just cannot let it go.
We were in the semi-finals for our bracket. We had fought hard to get there and beat teams that on paper we should not have beat. We were playing our biggest rival. We lost the first game of the match to them. It wasn’t a complete embarrassment, but it was clear we were outmatched. During the second game we hung tough. My husband overheard a parent on the opposing team say to a friend, “Well, at least they’re giving us a good game this time.” I was appalled by this. We came back to win both the second and third games to take the match and eliminate them from the bracket. It was such an exciting moment…I literally had tears in my eyes for those girls! They won through pure heart, guts, and determination. And the icing on the cake was that Kayla served the match winning point.
Again, volleyball is tough to shoot and I know that these are blurry and some are far from perfect, but I love the emotion conveyed in some of them.
The immediate reaction:
The post-match cheer
Bruce congratulating Kayla on a great game. She really looked good that day!
Today was Day 1 of the annual President’s Day Tournament for volleyball. It involved meeting the team at Caribou Coffee at 6:00am to head out for the hour long drive to the location of round one. I have a love/hate relationship with this tournament. I hate getting up that early. I hate the driving that far. But I love a weekend of volleyball and I love the memories it builds. Today the girls took second place in their pool. They looked good. Kayla served 11 points in a row during one game and had several aces (unreturned serves) and kills (unreturned hits/spikes). I am so very proud of her. She told me on the way home that she really loves the game. And I love watching her play. She has worked so hard and really developed her skills. At 5’3″ with about a 2″ vertical jump she will likely never get a college scholarship, but she adores the game, works hard, and is captain of her team.
As with any 8th grade girl, the most important part of the game is looking good. The girls take turns bringing ribbons to the game to wear in their hair. She saves them and displays them on her bag.
Unless you have a ladder next to the net, volleyball is not very conducive to good pictures, but here’s a snapshot
And here’s how my boys feel about Project 365