The Story of Us

The Story of Us

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Blessings

So between trying to catch up on Nutcracker Photos, Gymnastics meetings and Meets on the weekends and last minute Christmas orders..... I actually made it to Christmas. It definitely was a very busy season and it all caught up with me yesterday and today. Made a trip to the Doctor this morning for another sinus infection :( Blah.... I'm feeling pretty miserable today for sure,at least I am not working at the YMCA for these two weeks and I can rest up.
Thursday the 20th was my last day of work there and I was frantically trying to get orders done and everything shipped out by Friday so that they would be delivered by xmas. On Friday the 21st it was my Grandma Blanchards 85th birthday. Mom, Dad and her all drove up for the weekend and we took Grandma out to lunch. I can't even begin to describe how much my Grandma means to me or how much she has impacted my life in a positive way. She is a symbol of strength and faith and I can always go to her with anything and talk through things. In the past 5 or so years we have grown extremely close and she has helped me grow into a woman in many ways. I am so thankful she is as healthy and full of spunk at 85 and I hope it never fades. I don't know what I would do without her in my life supporting me. Happy Birthday Grandma!
So Friday night the rest of my family arrived and I was so excited to see my nieces! It was a wonderful weekend getting to spend so much time with them. So including everyone in the house we had 7 adults and 2 kiddos for 4 days and on Saturday we hosted for our extended family Christmas and my cousins and Aunt and Uncle joined us making 15 adults and 10 kiddies under the age of 6. Oh yeah and 2 dogs! Yup thats right 10 kids! It was really nice to have everyone at our house though. Sunday we had "Christmas in Michigan" where Santa visits MI. and the girls felt like it was Christmas Day here and we woke up and had breakfast and opened gifts/ Then Sunday evening we took the girls to our Christmas Eve service at church. It was a wonderful weekend with family and I am glad everything went smoothly and we spent time together.
Christmas day we went to Ben's parents for breakfast and then Christmas gifts. And back again in the afternoon for Christmas dinner with his extended family.
All in all Christmas this year went really well with both our families. We are very blessed with the love and support we get from our parents and I just felt so Lucky and Grateful for what we have together and our parents and Grandparents. I think this Christmas has been my favorite so far. Even though it was crazy busy right before it was just a wonderful, blessed time.


                                  Grandma with her 10 Great Grand Kids

  Rylie and Ellie


 Our Tree with all the presents!


Ellie opening gifts
 Rylie opening gifts

Dec. 8th

I seriously thought I had blogged after this crazy weekend (Dec. 6- 8) but apparently I didn't, so now I am desperately late on any December posts. Well Thursday December 6th I drove down to Jackson to shoot an evening in the Academy of the Arts dance studio for the Christmas photos of the Nutcracker Production. I usually make a trip down for the shows on most occasions not always the Christmas shows but this year they asked me to take some group shots from the Nutcracker scenes. So I went thinking it would be nice to make a little money off of it right before Christmas and I never expected the turn out of kids and groups I had.It was a lot of work right before Christmas but at the same time it was a pleasant surprise.I hope I am able to do that more often. On Friday I stayed for Rehearsal and then joined my Grandma and Mom for the traditional Hanging of the Greens at SAU. It had been quite a while since I had been back on campus and my Mom was excited to show me her new office and all the renovations they have made to the main building. They had snacks and hot chocolate and shot off fireworks at the end of the night so it was definitely an enjoyable evening and helped me leap into the Holiday season even more.  On Saturday I took Grandma and Mom to lunch and then Grandma and I went to the first showing of the Nutcracker and I shot pictures during the 2 shows on Saturday. It was nice spending time with them the last weekend and this weekend doing holiday things. On Sunday the 8th I went with the Eller side and did a day trip to Frankenmuth. Which is always a fun trip. We went to the Bass Pro over there too which I had never been to that one so it was cool to see. Ben and I picked out a new Christmas ornament for our tree (and one for Reggie) at Bronners. Its becoming a tradition for us.  The next week we were able to decorate our tree with all the ornaments and I do have to say it might be my favorite tree this year. We moved it from behind the couch to in front of it int he corner so that when we are watching tv or sitting on the couch you can see it now and I love just snuggling up on the couch and watching the lights sparkle on it. I love Christmas. I love it more spending it with my hubby and our families.
For all the Pictures from the Nutcracker visit my facebook page here to view them:
Nutcracker Photos



                                   Our Christmas Tree all lit up :)




 Nutcracker Photos







Saturday, December 1, 2012

It's Christmas Time!!

People usually start getting into the Christmas spirit right after Thanksgiving, if not before. I felt I was late on that bandwagon this year. Don't know why, it seriously has been one of the craziest falls ever and so much photography work as long with full time coaching, I think I forgot to mention that the weekend before Thanksgiving we hosted a home gymnastics meet and I took "pictures" for the girls in their team leotards and so I have been working on all those order on top of all the Christmas orders. This coming week I will be in Spring Arbor for studio pictures for the Jackson Dance Company for A Nutcracker Christmas. So needless to say I have been spending any extra time on my computer editing and have fallen behind on everything else. Like wishing it wasn't Christmas yet so I could enjoy it longer and more and spend time getting decorations up and not miss it cuz before I know it, its gone. Well this weekend definitely put me in the mood. Today in fact. This morning Ben and I went and picked our tree. Oh wait, this morning Ben, the dog and I went to pick out our tree. Someone was waaayyyyy too excited about this adventure. Holy Cow. I'd swear we have a kid sometimes and not a dog. Anyways after that my mom and grandma arrived and for the first time ever I got tickets to go see the Singing Christmas Tree. Its Americas Largest and last year it was shown on TV for a Christmas special I think on TLC and this morning we made USA today! How cool is that? I love it when cool things happen in our town and it just makes me love living here even more. The tree was amazing and my mom and grandma both loved it and I am so glad we went. It was way cool. Once we got back home I went on a cleaning and Christmas decorating frenzy!! With some help of course but it is nice to have all the twinkling lights glowing in our home and the sound of thunder outside with everyone all nestled in bed. Its so cozy and loving. How can I not sit here and smile, feeling so blessed at all I have. Wonderful family, great friends, an absolutely amazing husband, the best dog anyone could ask for.... a house all lit up with lights. Tis the season I say, I am so looking forward to Christmas Break and enjoying myself. We are hosting Christmas this year so it makes it extra special knowing I am decorating for more then just Ben and I this year.
Well I am off to go cozy up in my bed while visions of sugarplums dance in my head. Hope everyone is feeling as Merry as I am so far this season. I hope it lasts all month!
Happy December! 



Thanksgiving in Outdoor World

Thanksgiving this year was only a little different than previous years. We weren't sure until a few days before if Ben was going to work or not. He definitely had to work on Black Friday though, which let me just say was not fun for him dealing with all those people. Luckily though he did get Thursday off and we spent the morning together sleeping in and going shopping! I know, weird right that we went shopping on Thursday morning. It was actually a really nice time and it wasn't crowded at all and we got some really good deals. Okay wait, as I am writing this I am thinking Ben went hunting, yup he did cuz I remember him saying he saw too many other people, so yeah I guess it was just me that slept in. Oh wait again, no I didn't I got up and worked on editing pictures all morning. HA! I guess it was too good to be true. Back to the shopping we did do that though and it was fun. Then for the afternoon we went over to his parents for a Eller Thanksgiving with all of his side of the family. I ate way too much but it was relaxing and Ben and I came home and it was so weird just spending an evening at home together. Well actually a morning and evening, alone together. I took  a nice long relaxing bath when I got home and then well it was like 8:00 and we decided to go to bed. No joke. Ben had a really early and extra long day at work and we both were full of food and beat. So yeah we turned in pretty early.
Friday I had 4 shoots. Yup 4. A very long day indeed. It went over pretty well, just exhausting. However I was done by like 5 and I can say it was really nice being home before my husband and making him dinner and just being there when he walks in the door. Usually its the other way around so I always really enjoy the evenings where I am playing the 50's housewife :)
Saturday morning we woke up nice and early to head to Chicago to see my brother and his family. My parents had gone down on Thanksgiving on the train and Ben and I stopped to pick up Grandma and she rode with us to their house. I can't tell you how much I missed my nieces, it had been since July that we saw them and I just love giving them big hugs and hearing them talk and tell me silly stories. Ellie Suzanne is 2 and is usually pretty shy but she was so much more open with us this time and let me tell you that girl loves her Uncle Ben. It was so special to see them together. After a little bit we headed out to Bass Pro to see Santa and do some sale shopping. Well who am I kidding we never pass up a Bass Pro or should I say Ben never would. They have a huge santa land there with games and trains and stations and of course Santa. Ben and I had one of the girls and headed into the mall on our own for awhile and then he rode the carousal with them and shot the toy guns and bows and we all had a lot of fun.  Once back at the house my sister in law made a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner for all of us and then it wasn't long after that I tucked the girls into bed and headed there myself.
The next morning we headed back and stopped at Cabelas on the way home and of course spent a lot more time shopping there where we picked up a meat grinder for the deer meat so Ben doesn't have to go somewhere to do it every time. Now he can process it at home.
A long, exhausting weekend but definitely a fun weekend and I was so glad to spend more time with the girls and family. 




Saturday, November 10, 2012

Weekend in Camo


The first weekend in November had to be the the first weekend or even a day of a weekend we had open in forever. What do we decide to do with our open weekend? Oh well, not like its surprising for a weekend in the fall but Ben wants to hunt. Which I am totally good with since we need the meat in the freezer. Did we get some in there you ask? Yup we did! We actually went down to Jackson all weekend and Ben hunted there. I have been wanting to hook him up with a guy from my church who is an avid hunter and taxidermist and they have met a few times and talked a lot about hunting. So we set it up that he could hunt with him one day and another day on some friends property. He was so excited all day Friday not being able to wait or stop thinking about Saturday morning. He said he saw a couple Saturday morning but nothing close enough but was beyond thrilled when he was shown the pictures of the deer that roam there. Definitely wants to make a trip back and I am glad he had a good time out with my friend. Saturday night and Sunday he went out and he ended up shooting  doe Saturday night at dusk. I got a phone call saying "Come quick, with flashlights" So out Dad and I went with our lights to hunt her down. He was so giddy and excited to just get one to put in the freezer and help us out by feeding us all winter. I've got such a Man :) But it makes me so happy seeing him with that look and big smile on his face. So the weekend was successful and fun, I know he really wanted to bring back a big buck from Jackson but a doe is better then nothing! And that just means if he got one the first time there wouldn't be more to look forward too, so hopefully another trip down will be just as fun.
As for me, I spent the weekend mostly resting, trying to catch up on this Bronchitis and give myself a break. I met up with some friends a few times to have a quick chat which is always nice and helped mom and dad out with some things around the house. I did feel much better after the weekend and I think its what we needed. Or both needed.
This weekend is very exciting for us. Ben has some important stuff going on and I'm siting here praying and wishing he is doing well and its going good. I can't reveal anything yet but hopefully soon we will know more. As for me I am about to get ready for another gymnastics meet with my girls! Having so much fun this year with all of them. I know today will be another great day for them!


P.S. - I forgot to say that everytime Ben snags a deer, Reggie seems to think it is HIS deer. He is either so proud of his dad that he is protective or he just thinks dad got it for him. Last year he sat in front of the buck and growled if anyone came close. This year wasn't growling but oh he was excited!  He at least sat good last year too, but he wouldn't take his eyes off the doe this year.



I didn't realize this before but the pictures were small, but you can click on them in any post and they will open up a lot bigger for better viewing!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Halloween

I love Halloween. Not only because its a fun holiday but because I get the night off of work! I love the Y, I love going in and being with my girls and my heart is filled working with them and sharing in their excitement. Just this week I had a teacher at the school saying how the girls were talking about gymnastics and their coach who helped them accomplish things. That just makes my heart swell knowing and hoping I am making a difference in their lives. So I love my job, but I can say I love having a week night off and being home with my husband too. 
I was hoping for a much needed day of rest with the bronchitis still in full swing I wanted to stay home, rest, edit pictures and just be home to do nothing. Well that went out the window, first thing I went to get tires on the truck which turned into like 2 hours of waiting. Then after some other errands and a huge grocery trip I ended up back at home with bags to be unloaded. Let me just say I went on a pinterest shopping trip. Ben came home to me in a whirlwind in the kitchen making like 5 meals to put in freezer bags for the crockpot. He ended up helping me while our actual dinner was finishing and I love those moments when we are together in the kitchen cooking. Its a love for both of us and I thoroughly enjoy those moments together. So far my cooking crock pot pinterest freezer bag deal came out pretty good. This week we have had 3 meals and I love just pulling a bag out of the freezer and not having to do any work. Its splendid and easy. Two of the meals I thought were pretty good, beef burritos I wasn't a fan. Probably won't be doing that one again, I think I will just stick to tacos and enchiladas. For Halloween dinner I made pulled pork sandwiches, homemade fries and then I made reeses peanut butter cup rice krispies, another pinterest recipe and since Ben's absolute favorite is reeses I thought it would be pretty good which it was. Definitely making those again.
We had quite a few trick or treaters and a fun night of handing out candy to the kiddos. A wonderful night home with my husband and we kept looking at the clock saying :it's so early... what do we do?" which is always good having time to spend together. 
Hope everyone had a great Halloween!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I told you..

Just like I said in my last post, October will be here and gone before I know it. It has. It was the busiest October for photography I have ever had. Every weekend was booked with shoots and then rescheduling of shoots because of rain. First off the weather? What was up with that this month, rainstorms,80 degrees and then back to 40's. It was crazy. Everything was crazy, hectic and busy. It caught up with me. Really caught up with me. It even caught up with Ben, since technically he was the one who got sick first. Then without question, of course I am going to get it. He rarely gets sick so that was a surprise and he had a cough for a few weeks, its still lingering around but me... 10 times worse! I finally went into the doctor after his insistence and lack of sleep every night and we both had had enough after about 2 weeks. So 3 antibiotics and a case of Bronchitis later, its still here. Still lingering around much longer then wanted. Maybe making a trip back to the doctor in a few days if still no sign of getting better.  Ben needs sleep, I need sleep. They say your supposed to rest, well don't give me medicine that keeps me up. No night sleeping, up coughing my guts out, waking my husband and no naps. Not tired enough to sleep but yet physically drained. Makes no sense. This is my first case of Bronchitis and at first I thought it was better then a cold since I didn't have to deal with the runny nose and sinus pressure but wait that has infested itself as well. So now its all of it. The saddest part is knowing its the start of basically my whole winter. Okay thats my sick complaint for the monthlol, back to photography jobs, 2 more weddings later and a bunch of senior shoots and even a baby reveal! I have had a lot of fun shoots this month for sure, I love shooting my seniors and I always en up having a few special ones every year I just wish could stay a senior forever and I could capture them every year in every season. Or wish I was 17 again and we could be best friends and hang out all the time.
As for this weekend though I did have a shoot yesterday and today but this weekends schedule is all about gymnastics. First meets of the season for coaching and I love my girls so much and love watching them accomplish their routines and motivating them to work harder for the next meet. Today I spent all morning and afternoon in Ludington and tomorrow I am over in GR all day. So not the best time to be hit with bronchitis but oh well. The world goes on even if I don't get any rest.
Ben has been out hunting every weekend. No luck so far. Hoping it turns around for him soon. I love how happy he gets every year when he finally gets a deer. Of course I also love having the freezer stocked for months to come and not having to worry about buying meat. Next weekend we are heading to Jackson so he can spend some time hunting down there and I am hoping it will be a very worth while trip for him and he comes back a very happy boy.
On another note about Ben, he is still in the process with the state police. It is a long process and we just keep praying and hoping all the decisions are right and it falls into place exactly how it is meant to be, I have a hard time planning what I want to happen and of course nothing goes as planned and I am learning to be patient and trusting and know that everything happens for a reason and not in our time but Gods time... and on that I will leave to go downstairs and eat dinner with my husband and enjoy spending the evening with him :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

October Weekend

This weekend has been crazy busy. I know its the first weekend in October and for me I feel like October will be gone before its here. My mom and Grandma came up this weekend to spend time and enjoy the fall colors. On Friday we took off and I drove them on a color tour, scenic route over to Grand Rapids, stopping at some orchards and then ending up for lunch in Rockford at Arnies (Grandmas favorite place). They hadn't been over to Rockford in a long time so they loved the shops and eating on the river and just walking around and seeing the dam and the colorful trees over the river. Then we went downtown to Art Prize and walking into some museums and around at the bigger venues and then I took them to one of the old churches to see one of my moms best friends and she had a showing in Art Prize. So we were there for awhile and then drove back to the sunset and met Ben for dinner at handsome Henrys and we split a pizza and soup.
On Saturday I had a wedding over in Grand Rapids for an old co worker of mine at Branns. Long time ago, but it was fun to see some old faces and the wedding was beautiful outside with the fall colors. Can't wait to go through the pictures!
On Sunday we met up with Ben's family and took the annual trip over to the orchard. Its a big farm with cider and doughnuts, pumpkin patch, cow train rides, animals and much more. It was really fun spending the day the kiddos and hanging out. I definitely took pictures of that but haven't had a chance to go through them yet so they will be added later!  By the end of the weekend I was definitely beyond exhausted! For once Ben is actually sick and I know I am coming down with it, so we were both a little tired and worn out. October is going to be crazy, every weekend is booked, its going to fly by and I am sure I will be sick for half of it since I won't get a chance to rest up! Oh well. I am actually looking forward to a not so busy November (except for gymnastics). Bring on the Holidays I say!! My house is all decorated and I love the fall.
Sunday morning I went on my first time deer hunt with Ben. I had only been out once before in the spring but that was for Turkey. Both times we haven't seen anything, maybe I am bad luck!! Hoping he gets a deer or two this season, He has been anxiously awaiting fall and cold weather.
Speaking of Ben for those of you who have been waiting for a word on Ben and the police academy, we are still waiting on more information on acceptance but basically have figured out he won't be in the fall academy. So just waiting to hear if he makes the next one. Keep praying!








October 2nd - 2 Years

For our actual anniversary being on a Tuesday, Ben and I both had to work.  After work we met up at 22 Below. Which we had been wanting to try for a long time but just hadn't got down there and we don't really like going to Grand Haven restaurants during the summer since they are usually really busy. It was really good food and we had a great time just eating out and then when we got home we just sat on the couch hung out and talked a little bit. We decided we weren't going to do any gifts since we did stuff together and spent money on our anniversary trip so we just exchanged cards. However I did walk into my office and found a dozen hot pink roses :)  They are so beautiful and I love smelling them all day long when I am sitting here working.

Love my husband and so thankful for the best 2 years and look forward to forever more!

Angela's Wedding

Sept. 29

The Friday and Saturday before our anniversary I was a bridesmaid in one of my oldest friends wedding. Friday night we had rehearsal and when Ben got out of work he met us at dinner which was at McFadden's downtown GR which was so cool. We had the second floor and it was so cute and Kevin's parents did an awesome job and there was pool tables and an open bar and I was glad got along with a lot of the guys. He really likes Kevin a lot but I was glad that he got along with everyone. Someone noticed out the windows that since it was art prize going on we happened to be there during the night where they let off the lanterns and it was really cool to see them fill the night sky over GR.  We had an awesome time at the rehearsal and the wedding itself was just as fun. The church was breathtaking and Angela was even more gorgeous. It really was a perfect day, blue skies, warm weather and a couple in love. The wedding was flawless, Angela and Kevin were mesmerizing and everyone had so much. She deserves every ounce of happiness she got that day. So excited for her and Kevin and Ben and I look forward to many more double dates and outings. Here are a few "unedited" pictures from the wedding. Can't wait to they are back from their honeymoon in Hawaii and we get to hear about the adventures! Love you Angela and so glad Kevin is perfect for you and you are happy!






2 Year Anniversary

Sept. 20- 23
So I have constantly been thinking about this post and literally have thought about writing it everyday since we actually got back.  We had an awesome time on our second anniversary trip. We did end up going like 9 days early cuz we have had weddings the weekend before and after our actual anniversary which is October 2. So here was our story....
Thursday night the 20th after Ben and I got out of work we headed straight up to Mackinaw City to our hotel. We stayed here every night to make it easy and more relaxing not switching hotels every night. So we got in about midnight and just unloaded and walked around the hotel a little bit and checked out our view from our room balcony. Which was awesome we could see the bridge lit up at night and it was beautiful! ... and a little cold.
First off I have only been to the U.P. briefly one time and didn't go far in and only to a few spots on one day so this was all new for me. 
Friday morning we woke up and ate a big breakfast (we ate at the hotel every morning) and then headed out for our day trip to the U.P.. Let me just say right now the weather wasn't the best the whole weekend but we didn't care. So it was raining our whole ride over the bridge and all the way up to Tahquamenon Falls. The whole time I am glued to the window looking for Moose. I desperately wanted to see one. Actually any wildlife at all!  We get to the falls and its raining pretty hard so Ben and I go into the gift shop and look around for awhile. The rain slowed to a light rain and we thought that would be the best time to go. So we headed down the path towards the falls and by the time we got to the first staircase to head down to the brim of the falls it was raining hard. When we got down and I am ready to take pictures at the brim, its downright pouring. So Ben is holding an umbrella over me while I am trying to take the best pictures I can through the rain. So back up we went, (I had to rest, holy cow all those stairs are exhausting) and back over to the the second set of stairs to walk down to the rivers edge to get some pictures of the falls from the different view of being down and not up. By the time we finished that set and conquered all the stairs, the rain had let up for the most part and we were hungry from all the walking so we ate  right there at the Falls restaurant and brewery. It was about 2 and we didn't want to ruin dinner so we just split some appetizers and of course Ben got a brewery sampler!  After that since the rain had lightened up we went to Oswalds Bear Ranch. Completely awesome! We were a little disappointed that there was a federal law passed that apparently we aren't allowed to pet or hold the bears anymore but we still had a really fun time watching all the bears interact and Ben had so much feeding them apples. He of course had to feed apples to like every bear in every cage and I think we spent more money on apples then we did to visit there haha. However he did get the bears to do some pretty cool stuff for those apples. We would definitely go back there or recommend it to anyone. If you have a soft heart for animals its definitely worth it. Next we drove and took some off the beaten path roads around (my face still glued to the window looking for wildlife) to end up at Sault Saint Marie. Once again we get there and its pouring so we decided to head to dinner first. Which we got an awesome recommendation and ate at a restaurant called Antlers. Which was really incredible. The whole place is covered in Antlers, deer heads, wildlife of every kind and I mean covered. There is no wall space. Just animals. It was really neat and Ben and I basically spent the whole time looking around. Food was great and we saw a rainbow out the window over the straights that I of course had to take a picture of. After dinner we headed down to the locks and sure enough a enormous ship was coming in right at sunset, so we watched that for a little and since it was still raining just headed back towards Mackinaw.  Friday (other then the rain) ended up being so much fun even though it was a lot of driving. The fall colors were starting to turn and we just had a blast being with each other and seeing new things. Once we got back to the hotel we played around in the water park for awhile and relaxed in the hot tub and then headed to bed to rest up for another fun day!
Saturday morning woke up and after breakfast we headed over the bridge again and this time headed East on highway two and wow what a beautiful drive along Lake Michigan. We ended up going to the Zoo and of course when we get there it starts raining lol. But by the end it was clear and it wasn't that big but we did spend awhile there feeding animals. Ben is a sucker when it comes to being able to feed animals so once again we got some feed and hand fed a lot of the animals. On our way back from the zoo we stopped at the deer ranch and decided to check that out too. Basically we should of brought our own apples and carrots for all these animals since Ben ran out of food at the first fence in the deer ranch feeding all the fawns. So we ended up getting more food and spreading it out to all the deer in there. There was a huge 8 point that Ben loved and couldn't stop feeding and petting him and thinking it was completely awesome that he was that close to it and at the same time secretly wanting to kill it. Definitely got some great pictures there too. After some scenic stops along the way back home we went into Mackinaw City and got a late lunch of appetizers and drinks at Oreillys Irish Pub and found out Woodchuck does a limited supply of Pumpkin Cider and I loved it. We really wished they had it in stores. I love trying new ciders. Spent our time walking around Mackinaw City in shops and getting fudge and then ate a big dinner at Dixie's. It was another really fun day with some great memories in there (even more then I shared but gotta leave some for just Ben and I) and that evening we spent some more time in the water park.  They had this monkey bar thing made out of ropes built over the water and I kept trying to do it but couldn't make it pass the first one (it kills your hands) and Ben could do the whole thing and all the little kids kept watching him in awe. They also had some water slides that were fun we did and a lazy river.
Sunday morning we packed up and checked out and took the scenic way to Traverse City, driving through Petoskey and Charlevoix. Once again raining most of the drive so we didn't really want to get out and do shops and stuff in the rain. Just outside of Petoskey though we came across a fish hatchery. Which in the blog post before this I talked about how cool it was visiting the wolf lake one. So we definitely wanted to stop and it was closed but we walked around for awhile and found some really cool ponds and viewing areas to see all the fish. Once we got back the visitors center was open and we gathered more information on all the fish hatcheries in the state and where they were. There was one on our way home from Traverse City so we wanted to make time to stop there. So we headed out and to TC and once there went to a few shops downtown we wanted to get too and then ate at our favorite restaurant there North Peak and we had wild boar pizza and cherry chicken wings. Their food is so delicious! From there we went to the fish ladder downtown and onto the Fish Hatchery at Platte river which was closed but they had this cool self guided tour following fish prints and so we were able to view all the ponds again plus go into the hatchery this time and see the fish too. Just not an actual tour but since we did that at wolf lake we knew what the machines were and plus there were signs to read too. At this one there was a river water filtering system and Ben walked out onto a cat walk thing (which was for workers only) but he wanted to peek in at the contraption filter and he found a turtle that was belly up and stuck in there so he felt really cool that he rescued the turtle :)  
After that we headed back home and it did feel good to be home but we were really sad the weekend was over and yet extremely happy with all that we did and how much fun we had. It was wonderful to just do something together and time reflecting on our two years of marriage and that our love really does grow stronger every day. It has been the most incredible journey and I couldn't ask for a better partner.

I have been so busy with fall photography work so I havent had time to edit our trip pictures yet but here are a few pics just straight from my camera of our trip.


Ben and I at the falls

 At the locks with a boat coming through


 Scenic Pic



Bridge


Ben and his Buck at the Deer Ranch


 Feeding the peacocks at the zoo


Bear Ranch, see his heart? 


Falls

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fishes and Bows

So this weekend I had a wedding down in Coldwater near the Indiana border. I was able to convince Ben (with much bribery) to help me assist this wedding and we could spend the night somewhere and take our time coming back. It was actually a pretty awesome wedding with a laid back country style. Perfect for us. So Ben came and we had fun watching all the line dances going on at the reception. Seriously haven't seen so much lone dancing ever. Wish we had a line dancing bar around here or some place where friends can hang out and do that. It looked like so much fun! So Ben and I stayed down in Battle Creek for the night and somewhere in the area there must of been a hot rod show because our hotel had some really old vintage hot rods which was pretty cool. Although Ben wasn't the happiest when they woke him up in the morning with their roaring engines. Although it did sound pretty sweet. From there we headed over to a small, small town west of Kalamazoo to go to a archery shop. Ben needed a specific part for his bow and so we had to look up a Matthews dealer. We were both very glad I told him to look up shops in Kalamazoo because this shop was really cool and I got to shoot 4 or 5 bows and spend time on the range. I have only shot 1 arrow from 1 bow once. So I was really excited. We wanted to get a feel for if I would enjoy it, if I was decently good and what kind of bow I would want. Which we figured out all those things. I really want one except I can't imagine spending that much on just me for a bow. Ben yeah, but not me. I do have a pretty nasty bruise on my arm from getting slapped by the string on the first shot. Ben got his piece and I got to practice so we were both really happy with that stop.
Right across the street from this archery shop was a state park visitors center with a fish hatchery. We were like thats cool so we decided to swing back in there and check it out. Of course its Sunday and wasn't open but there was some trails and a big pond you could walk out over and check out the fish. Well lets just say there was a TON of fish and they were huge. I mean huge. Some of the lake sturgeon were 8 -10ft long and the pike, trout and steelhead were pretty big as well. I think thats right haha I have a hard time remembering all the names. So anyways there was some fish food feeders and Ben was excited so as he ran back to the car to get some quarters I was walking around and noticed the sign for activities. On the board it said Fish Hatchery tour at 12 noon. I was like sweet and ran up to Ben and told him there was a tour starting in 10 minutes! We were pumped! So we walked back up to the gift shop and sure enough they were opening up and getting ready. So we got to walk around the visitors center and museum part and then go on this fish tour. We learned all about them catching the fish, collecting eggs, harvesting the eggs, raising the fish, feeding the fish and then once they get to 8months to a year they take them back out and stock the rivers and lakes with the raised fish so that it helps keep them plentiful and healthy. When we were there, there was over a millions, yes a million steel head being raised. It was so cool to see all the stages of fish at different months and how they grow and it was just so educational and interesting to learn about the fish and also be thankful and proud of our DNR and the research and help they are doing to keep our fish alive and healthy. At the end of our trip Ben and I were definitely so glad we randomly went in that direction and got to stop there at that time and it was just a perfect morning, we had so much fun. It was such a wonderful day to spend just the two of us with nothing to do just taking our time and spending time together since I feel we rarely get quality time together anymore.
We are both sooo looking forward and ready for our anniversary trip this weekend! Yes this weekend! We are leaving Thursday night after we get out of work and are so pumped. We are headed up north to Mackinaw to stay and take some trips to explore the UP and just spend more time together. We are unsure of what the next few months will bring for us and so we want to take advantage of spending as much quality time together as possible. I will definitely have some stories and pictures to share from this coming weekend!

Labor Day Weekend

I have been meaning to write this blog forever it feels like. I keep telling myself that I will do it today or by the end of today and those todays just keep slipping by. It has been a crazy few weeks since labor day.  Nothing special went on but it was such a relaxing, fun weekend that I just wanted to share that we did nothing. Nothing but beach and relax. It was awesome. Thats unique for us to do nothing on a weekend. Ben had Monday off of work so Sunday and Monday we went to the beach and hung out, rode the sea doo and Ben got to wake board a few times too. Sunday night was the annual Trailer Party at Maranatha which is always fun eating all the food. I remember when we were younger we could change our eating schedules for the weekend to make sure our stomachs were all good for the party so we could take advantage of eating as much as possible! Wish I could still do the same and not have to worry lol. I am sure there was a few other things that I wanted to mention but don't remember now, I need to keep on top of writing so that I don't forget these things! Oh well. The last two weeks have once again been non stop photography work and adding in a new season of Gymnastics, needless to say its been hectic!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Photos, Promotions and More...

This week has been absolutely insane with photo shoots.From Friday the 17th to Friday the 24th I have had 7 shoots. Yup everyday and thats not counting the week before that or the week I have coming up. It has been so busy with Seniors and last minute family's and other spur of the moment shoots. The week before that it had rained a few days so I had to reschedule a few shoots and so it just all stacked up into like two weeks. I am not complaining! Seniors are by far my favorite and mixed in with a few newborns I have really enjoyed shooting pics this summer! It has definitely got a little crazy in the past few weeks but I am not complaining. This is why I love photography and i love coming home from a senior or baby shoot and can't wait to look at the pictures and have to edit a few right then so I can stick them on facebook so everyone can see. I have been debating back and forth for awhile now on wether or not to blog about photo stories like I used to and since so much is done on facebook and clients really love that I have just been posting on there since it is quicker and much easier. But if I have time I will post more on here too. But for now here is the link ot my business page where all the photo activity has been going on... please "thumbs up" and like it for me, I need to get my name out in the Muskegon area and I love getting new likes and knowing that people are looking at my page, it makes it all worth while at the end of crazy days or weeks when someone stops me or lets me know how beautiful they think a picture turned out or how much they love seeing me post even if I don't know it. I really appreciate all the friends and family support.

On another note I got a promotion at work. I now have an official title of the Competitive Team Director for the gymnastics program. My other love besides photography would be gymnastics, whether it be judging for MHSAA or coaching my girls. I can't even think about leaving them now that I have been there for 3 years and have become attached so many. I love being able to share in their triumphs and take them to meets and just helping them grow. I look forward to starting a high school team and being there with the girls for many years to come. Sometimes in Ben and I troubles I think that I should leave and get a better job that pays more, but then I know it won't be as fulfilling and I wont be making impressions on my girls and helping them grow. Sure I hate working late and missing dinner with Ben some nights but I hope that I am making a difference and at the end of the day its worth it.

Okay last paragraph. Yesterday we had so much fun being able to spend time with Ben's niece and nephew and we are thankful they were able to come to the beach and spend time with us.  They had a blast riding with Ben on the sea-doo and hanging out while I sat on the beach blowing my nose. (seriously, again!) My non stop work days have caught up to me again and I am spending today catching up on pictures and resting. Well I haven't really rested yet. I did stalk Ben again today on his job. Thats a different story but sometimes I try and catch him on route at certain places and its fun being secretive since we can't talk to each other :)  Its fun to see him though. Anyways I got side tracked and here are some pictures from the kids at the beach yesterday and also a link to my photography page.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kingsley-Photography/133869738537




First time Campers

Okay so we really aren't first time campers. Ben and I both grew up camping with our families and I have no idea why it has taken us so long to actually go camping together! It's insane really, since we both love it. Well last weekend the opportunity presented itself when we went with some friends for the combined bachelor/bachelorette party. We almost didn't go and I am so glad we did, I think Ben is too. We both had long weeks but I hadn't booked those days knowing it was on the calendar and we needed to get away and do something together and spend some time with friends. So we woke up early Saturday morning and went on a camping shopping spree. Literally. We had nothing so we had to get a lot, but it ended up being perfect since it is the end of the season and we hit a lot of great clearances. Really we didn't buy everything just a few things like a tent, light and some chairs.We had really fun shopping and picking out things together and it was a fun morning. Once we packed up and headed out we got to the site and since we were running late we didn't unpack just changed and headed down to the river to go tubing. It was a tad bit cold but when we floated in the sun it wasn't bad, just glad we did the two hour trip instead of 4!  After that Ben and I got to set up our camp, it was really fun and like I mentioned before we didn't have a lot to do but just spending time together and knowing its an activity we will do for many years to come makes it exciting. We made dinner, well Ben did and then burned himself pretty bad on the grill but it was a wonderful dinner and just relaxing to sit around the campfire with friends and just chill out. Unfortunately I forgot to take like any pictures, I just took one on my phone. We have a few from my waterproof camera of us tubing on the river but I forgot to snap some of our setup. So heres what I got. I am so glad Ben and I finally got a chance to do this and we are already talking about the next time we should go camping! I can't wait!



Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Forgotten

I feel like I had so many stories to write about and now I can't think of them. Oh well. The past two weekends in July we had my brother and kids up which was super fun since we don't get to see my nieces very often. We all had a big summer birthday celebration for all the summer birthdays and spent the weekends on the beach. Nice time for Ben and I just to relax and go down there to hang out.  We have had a few nights out to spend with friends too which has been fun. This past week and now this coming week I am literally booked everyday for pictures for Seniors or Familes so its definitely getting crazier and the rain isn't helping. I have had to re schedule two shoots already and now Monday isn't looking good for weather either so might have to move that day as well. I have been picking up extra hours at the gym too and preparing for the upcoming gymnastics season. Lots going on, oh yeah and basically every night is spent at home watching the Olympics with Ben. We are down to only having like 10 saved on the DVR at once lol which is a ton but we are slowing getting there. I am at least through gymnastics and even though I ended up getting a few spoils from facebook, which is also why I haven't been on there because I didn't want things ruined so I have been trying to stay off the computer as much as possible. Other then that nothing new going on.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Rev it up!

This weekend was Muskegon Bike Time. The second year we have had the awesome experience of having a motorcycle and enjoying the fun. It's literally thousands and thousands and thousands (not exaggerating) of bikers that come from all over the country to enjoy a weekend here in Muskegon. Especially with the No Helmet law in effect this year they anticipated way more than last year, which happened for sure. Although Ben and I were talking and we definitely think last year was way better. The vendors had a better selection and there was more of them to start with, we were hoping to get some new saddlebags this year but couldn't find any. A little disappointed. Although it was still an awesome time. We went down Friday night just for a little bit and walked the strip but left right before 10 to go see Batman (which was awesome by the way) then on Saturday we went down for most of the evening. Once dusk hits and all the lights turn on, bikers turn their black lights on and the sky is painted colors it is definitely a sight to behold. Even if your not into that scene or think its all gritty and vulgar its really not. There were tons of families down there and it they have family activities going on, you have the carnival food and just walking around looking at all the custom bikes is really cool. Its art. Before we had a bike we still went down and walked around, just a really cool experience if your a local and knowing that over 10,000 people come into town just for this weekend, its worth checking out. I broke away from Ben and our friends for a little bit Saturday night and walked around as the light faded with my camera in hand. This may sound strange but it was eerily peaceful. The sky was beautiful, the smells were wonderful between the exhaust and the carnie food, sure there were people everywhere and engines were revving but I loved it, just walking up and down the street all alone taking in everything and looking around for a cool shot and just people observing. I met this adorable French couple when I was taking pictures of Her bike and she came up and flipped on the black lights and started talking to me about the custom paint and handlebar fringe and how her guy painted a quote on there in French and it was the first thing he ever said to her when they met. It was really cool. A great night out with my Husband for his birthday and spent long hours in the night just talking in a corner by the garden with friends and connecting more. It was a great day. Already looking forward to next year. Here are some pics I captured from this years show.