I had my first product photo shoot last weekend. It was harder than I thought. Here are a few things I learned.

1. I love my whibal card (helps with adjusting white balance).  It's the best $27 piece of plastic I ever received as a Christmas gift.

2. I need to try a live view function next time so I can see the image on my computer screen and check the focus full size.  Zooming in out and on the LCD after every image takes a lot of time.

3. Listening to movies while editing images is the best, even though my posture in my favorite family chair is not the ideal photo editing posture.  Also, Willie is nice to fill in the gaps in the movie story line in case something happens without dialogue.

4. I need a studio.  Our front room had fabric swatches, paper, rocks, my tripod, and lights strewn all over it for a few days.

5. I'm very critical of my images.  I keep having ideas of how I could do it different or better.  Alas, the jewelry has been sent back and the front room cleaned up.

Here is the link to Leslie's website with all of her jewelry.  www.leslielewisdesigns.com

Last year, my friend Betsy invited me to come running with a few of her friends one saturday and that's when I met a great group of runners called Red Fruit FRunners.  I'm actually not sure where the name came from.  I need a FRunners history course since I'm new on the scene.  So depending on the saturday there are at least a few people to about 23 people going on a road or trail run.  Most of the runners are young moms.  These people are athletic, usually training for a marathon or triathlon.  I'm probably the slowest and least motivated and I'm not a slouch by any means.

This Saturday we met at 6:30am and ran the river front trail (along the Colorado river).  It was such a pretty morning and warm compared to our recent cold snap.  It was probably 33 degrees and foggy and the plants along the river smelled great since it had rained the day before.  I think part of why I'm so slow is that I really enjoy the scenery. I think I'm a hiker at heart. I took several pictures and really enjoyed myself. I do need to increase my pace so I can have more people to talk to.  I love running and talking.  The trail was slippery and I'm really glad I didn't fall. It had rained then we had a freeze then it snowed lightly the night before. The only way I could tell I needed to be careful was when I saw slip-marks on the trail.  We went 8 miles and it went great. I didn't get to stop, except to take a few pictures because at the 5 mile mark everyone was already rested and ready to go again by the time I got there so i decided to keep up so I could socialize a bit. I'm really looking forward to the Moab half since it's such a pretty stretch along the river.

AFter not sending out our Christmas cards for many weeks now, I've moved on to Plan B: the blog card.  I love getting Christmas cards and reading about friends and family and looking at pictures, so that made me really want to send out cards this year.  Then a friend game me a coupon for 100 free picture cards.  Nothing was holding me back but actually gathering addresses and sending them out.  Hopefully I'll have better luck this year. Below is our picture and Christmas letter.  If you really want the actual picture, let me know and I'll send you one, I have almost 100 to spare. This picture was taken by one of my favorite photographers, Justin Hackworth, at his studio in Provo.

Dear family and friends,

2009 was a pleasant year that began with a dinner party with our neighbors on New Years Eve, a fire in the fireplace, and guitar picking.  This year we remodeled our bathroom, traveled to Yellowstone and Island Park, Idaho to be with Willie’s family, and enjoyed some lovely camping, hiking, bicycling, and rafting in Colorado, Idaho, and Utah.  Sally and Willie play in a band called the North 17th Street Band, which recorded and mixed its first album, Dirt on the Tires, which will soon be printed.

Willie has enjoyed his work as a lawyer, and he has had great success this year in trial and appellate courts.  He still plays his fiddle nearly every night.  This year Willie raised four hens, two Rhode Island reds (Rosie and Wilma Jean) and two buff orpingtons (Daisy and Buttercup), from day-old chicks to ace egg layers.

Sally led 17 girls from church on a backpacking trip this summer in the West Elk Mountains.  There, she got to practice her newfound love (obsession?) for photography.  She has made great strides in portraiture and documentary photography. Her job at studioCase took her to New York City for a week to be around her colleagues at studioCase, meet with clients and spend time with her brother Travis and his family.  Sally’s zeal for fitness continues and she is working with a trainer and has a new interest in distance running.  In March she will run her first half-marathon in Moab.  

Wyatt (age 5) advanced to yellow belt in karate.  He loves his Montessori preschool, and is preparing for his career as an international spy, inventor, and astronaut. He is such a good boy and so kind to Hank. His current interests are Spy kids 1 and 2 and all spy gear.  Wyatt is starting fiddle lessons.

Hank (age 2) has become a world-class talker.  He had a short hospital stay this fall from an especially bad case of croup.  He enjoyed every minute of the hospital, and asks to go back whenever we drive by.  Hank is so affectionate and cheery.  He has a great imagination and enjoys carrying a feather duster around as his puppy, talking to friends and family on his cell phone and pretending to be the ward chorister every time he hears music.

We hope you had a merry Christmas and happy New Year, and that 2010 will be full of blessings and health.

The DeFords

A few nights ago, while starting to compile a photo book for our family for 2009, I started to make a blog book. AFter tinkering with the layout of the book and reading through old posts and looking at pictures, I felt the call of the blog again. It's my journal for my family and any friends that want to come along for the journey.

I do have a journal. I bought it at the Denver Botanic gardens shortly after Wyatt was born. My mom was by Wyatt's bed side so we could get some fresh air and spend some time away from the hospital. I remember lying on the grass with Willie (too sore to sit after just having a baby), waiting for the doctor to call with results on Wyatt's spinal tap. The call came and the news was good. I bought the journal in the gift shop thinking that I needed to start recording my life.

Well, that was 2004 and the journal still isn't full and whenever I take it out and thumb though it, the message is familiar, if not repetitive. I want to be a better mom. I need more sleep. I want to read my scriptures more. I want to shed a few lbs. I want to hike more. You get the picture. It's a place for me to write down all my shortcomings. Having the highlights of our last two and a half year (with pictures) to put in a book for our family says a lot more than the personal struggles I write about in my own journal. So, I'm back. Posting pictures on facebook kind of became my way to share our experience but I still need to write things down here.

So a little catch up is needed.

We spent Christmas in Omaha and it was so fun.  We talked and ate and shopped and sledded.  The cousins had so much fun playing together.  We had a wonderful snow storm.

More pictures are posted on facebook: Omaha Christmas Pictures

We had a wonderful New Year's Eve with our friends at the X lazy F ranch on the Black Mesa.  It was a five mile ski in but the boys and I hitched a ride on a snow mobile.  We played music, talked, took pictures, ate, laughed and let off fireworks under the full moon.

Here is a link to more new year's picures: New Year's 2009

Today Willie is 33. I thought I'd list some things that Willie loves. These are not listed in any particular order, except for me and the kids first. Please note, this list is not exhaustive. I thought I could list some things he doesn't like but I couldn't really think of any. Oh, he doesn't like big weddings.

What Willie loves:

1. Me, and that goodness for that.
2. Our adorable children
3. playing his fiddle and playing music with other people
4. his cat
5. his chickens
6. books, reading and more reading, and his headlamp he uses to read in bed.
7. candy, his new year's resolution last year was to eat more candy. Mission accomplished.
8. caffeinated beverages (preferably cooled)
9. the great outdoors and anything related to it that doesn't make noise
10. making music mixes for long drives, special occasions, even the months of the year
11. the ocean
12. long walks. He's been know to walk home from work on several occasions (5 miles)
13. trains
14. his iphone
15. Mint chocolate ganache cake (will be served at our house tomorrow evening to celebrate)

Three cheers for Willie. Happy Birthday! I love you.

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