And so it starts...

I am very thankful to say that 2015 has started with some family time, some fun time, and some rest time for me.

December felt especially frantic, and I was very much looking forward to some "down time" over the last couple of weeks while Jason and the kids were on holidays. Unfortunately, that didn't really happen. I got the flu bug from Levi and had to have Jason take an extra day off of work to help with the kids, as I couldn't really function. However, as soon as I could move again, it felt like I was pushing through water the rest of the week to accomplish the things that needed to be done--cleaning, cooking for the family, last night of Hanukkah, a family dinner, working on my store, working on patterns, working on a worship service, working, working, working...

I had intended to have my "days off" the following week (the one just past), but life threw a few extra curves at me that precluded that. That's okay--life is like that. But it just meant that by Friday of this week, I was ex.haus.ted. So I very firmly decided that this weekend would be a complete "off" weekend for me, especially as none of us had any responsibilities at church (which is a welcome breather).

Last Saturday, I was asked to photograph a sleigh ride at Mom and Mike's for a group whose other photographer had cancelled at the last minute. I was a little stressed out about it, as I have never taken pictures in a professional capacity before (other than for my pattern photos--and the only one to answer to there is me, so I can just keep snapping and tweaking until I am satisfied). Also, I have had a notoriously difficult time taking photos in SNOW that I was happy with. And thanks to the month of fog that we have experienced in the north, plus a little snow on Christmas Day, the trees were all crusted with an inch-thick layer of hoar frost. It was beautiful. And very, very white.

I was thankful that when I was photographing my "Honey Tree" flip-top mittens, my model--the very accomplished photographer Amanda Monette, for whom I made them--also gave me some tips about photographing in snow. So, for the first time ever, I shot the day almost exclusively in Manual mode and put into practice the tips she shared. Here are some of the results:

Drew's team, ready and waiting

Drew's team again

Drew driving the team

Mike and his team of Belgians

Mike and his girls

Trish and Ariel

Then, on New Year's Day, our family and the Magnussons also got a hayride at the Eastons'. Unfortunately, it was much colder, and the hoar frost had all disappeared during some warmer weather we had earlier in the week. That's okay--the kids hooked up a couple of sleds to the back of the sleigh and had fun riding, piling on top of each other, pushing each other off, and racing to catch up the entire time--they were plenty warm!

There was much less of this...

... than this...

... or this...

... or this!

Good times had by all--especially the adults watching and laughing!

The photographer gets shot!

And since I wasn't the only photographer there, I got to be in front of the lens at least once this time. :-)

Happy January, friends! I hope yours is off to a great start, too! How did you bring in the new year?