Friday, December 31, 2010

Reflections from 2010

When a year comes to an end, I like to reflect back upon it.  2010 was quite the year of contrast for me.  It started out as one of the hardest of my life, and ended as one of the greatest.  Most years are not like that for me.
When the year began I was still not sleeping, had a baby that didn’t sleep, was in the midst of post partum depression, and pretty much felt all around crummy.  Thanks to the help of some drugs and sleep training for the baby, I finally started getting some sleep and feeling better.  It was nice to feel like myself again after feeling so icky for so many months.
I started learning how to use my camera and shoot in manual, and found that I really enjoyed photography even more than I realized.  This led me to starting my business, JessHekman Photography.  I imagined it would slowly grow throughout the rest of the year, and was very pleasantly surprised to have it take off rather quickly.  I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.
I found that I loved having something outside of being a mom.  I stopped teaching when I had Ethan and haven’t done anything outside of the home since.  I’ve loved having something that I can call my own. I enjoy being able to pour my creative energy into it, and provide a bit of extra income.  I love working with people and being able to capture something for them that they can treasure forever. I love that I can still be at home with my kids and work my photography business around them.  I would even venture to say I love photography more than anything else I’ve done.
This year I found a new appreciation for vintage items and antiques. I found that I love going to yard sales and thrift stores and "hunting" for fun and unique items that I can re purpose.  I've refinished furniture, painted, upholstered (just a little), and had fun decorating my home with things that are unique.

Mid way through the year we sold our first home and found our “forever house”.  While it was a lot of work, we are so very happy here and extremely grateful to be in a home we enjoy so much.  What an amazing blessing that we did not foresee when the year began.  In the few months that we've been here we've already created so many memories.  We love to entertain and are enjoying having a space that makes this very easy.
Two months ago I was able to stop taking one of the medications that I had been taking for a year.  This was a big step for me and I finally feel mostly “normal” again.  I remember feeling like I would never be out of that dark place and able to just be “me” again.  I am extremely grateful to finally be there .
I guess this past year is really a great example to God’s faithfulness, as is every year really.  This year just felt like a year of healing for me.  I’m excited for what 2011 will bring, and so very happy to be on a mountaintop instead of a valley as it begins.  I know life goes in cycles, and valleys are a part of it.  I guess the mountaintop just seems all that much sweeter when you’ve come out of a valley.
I don't make resolutions, and I don't really even have any goals for this new year other than to live each day to the fullest and enjoy life. There's lots of things I'd like to accomplish, but right now I'm okay just taking things one day at a time :)

I wish you all a blessed new year, weather you are in a valley or on a mountaintop right now.  May you be able to find the joy in the everyday.

Boxing Day

We continued our tradition of spending Boxing Day with the Flores family.  This was our third year at their house.  We pretty much did what we've done the past two years... eat, laugh, relax, and play Wii Fit.  Being that Boxing Day was on a Sunday this year (a work day for Danny), we didn't go over until after nap time.  The best part of the whole day was that we got all of our kids down for bed at 7:00!  Which meant we got a few hours of adult time. It was wonderful.  The not so wonderful part was when we went home at 11:00, Alayna didn't like being woke up and decided to stay awake until 1:00.  Oh well, it was still worth it :)

Par for the course, we were being silly taking a few pictures outside...

I actually didn't hardly take any pictures of the kids for once.  

Ethan taking a spin on Christian's new big boy bike
Rub a dub dub... four babies in a tub.  I told Alayna this is the ONLY time she will bathe with four boys.

And lastly, an artistic picture of danny's foot, 
covered in his new wool socks,
with Christmas light bokeh in the background :)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Day

The last of our Christmas pictures.
We spent the entire day with Matt's family at his parent's house.
His brother Dan was here from New York, and his sister Annette and her family were down from Sacramento.  Unfortunately poor Annette was struck with the flu on Christmas Day and wasn't able to partake in the festivities.  We had brunch, way too many appetizers, and lots of goodies.  It was actually a very relaxing day.
Cousin Amanda playing with each of the kids

Cousin Olivia and Cousin Ian

Alayna loves to swing at Papa and Grandma's

Alayna is finally big enough to enjoy the rocking horse

Matt took this picture of me

Me and my honey in front of Marlene's tree

Matt's Mama and Dad

Opening gifts at Matt's parent's house

I tried to get a decent picture of our family in front of our own Christmas tree.
  Unfortunately no one else was around, so I tried using the timer. 
This was the best I got.

Our family in front of Marlene's tree

Alayna opening a gift

The three Hekman brothers... Mike, Matt and Dan.

The three Hekman brothers plus brother in law Mark
And that concludes Christmas 2010!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Eve

I took a lot of pictures over this past week.  I won't bore you with tons and tons of them, but here are my favorites from Christmas Eve. 

We spent the day prepping appetizers and hanging out with Matt's sister's family (they were in town visiting).  They offered to help with some yardwork, and we did not turn them down.  We spent a few hours out back enjoying the gorgeous weather while we trimmed bushes, pruned roses and got a little bit of our jungle under control.  We told them they are welcome to come over and do yardwork ANYTIME!  :)

My mom and my brother came over around 4:00
We immediately dug into appetizers and let the kids open some of their gifts.
It was so much fun.
Alayna quickly caught on to the whole present thing after watching her big brother.
Of course Ethan loved all of Alayna's gifts and played with them more than she did.

"CHEERS"!  We enjoyed some almond champagne

 Ethan's favorite gift was the digital camera that my brother got him.
He is so cute with it.
He keeps telling us to "smile nice" at him.
He told me that when he's a big man he is going to be a photographer like me so that we can take pictures together.
Too cute.
I'll have to see what he's been snapping... you know I'll post some of his pictures :)

Photographer Ethan hard at work

I got a cast iron dutch oven from Matt.
I'm very excited as I've wanted one for a while. 
I'll be making some beef stew in it this week.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cookie Decorating

I have TONS of pictures from this past week of Christmas festivities, and the fun hasn't even stopped for us. We're heading over to the Flores casa in a bit to celebrate boxing day, which has become a tradition for us. 

Faithy was kind enough to host a time of cookie decorating at her house for our Mom2Mom group.  We had fun sprinkling, frosting, making messes... and most importantly tasting!

Coloring on butcher paper... Alayna colored and ate crayons

Some of the mama's with their kiddos

Me with each of my crazies :)

Ethan, as always mostly cared about sprinkles.  He continuously sprinkled sprinkles on his cookies, and when no more would stick, he simply licked them up!

can we say "sugar coma"?????

Me and Faithy
The whole gang!  Lots of kiddos :)  Two of them are Faith's neighbor boys.
Ethan wrestling with his buddy Grady... one of the few other kids who will put up with Ethan's antics

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Favorites

Baked good: Spritz cookies (my Grandma Walters recipe)
Alayna was quite happy to sneak cookies while I baked them this year
Song: "Oh Holy Night".... it gives me chills every time

Beverage: none really, I hate egg nog, it makes me gag.... Just give me some good wine at a Christmas party

Tradition: Making a birthday cake for Jesus.  After all, it IS his birthday :)

Lights: white inside and colored outside

Don't you just love Christmas light bokeh like the picture on the top left.... so fun

Opening Gifts: We let our kids open a gift every day during the week before Christmas.  I love stretching out the gifts in this way.  They enjoy the item they open so much more, instead of being overwhelmed all at once by tons of gifts.  They then spend the next day playing with it, and looking forward to the gift they get to open when Matt gets home from work. I know some people might find this odd, but it's fun for us :)  My parents did it with us growing up and I loved it.

Shopping: I really don’t enjoy being out in stores when they are super crowded.  I love shopping; I just prefer to do it while the stores are more empty.  Thus, I’d rather buy gifts early or online.

Homeade gifts:  I like making homeade gifts if it is something really cool and something I am certain the person will use.  I like to think out of the box on these things.  I'm excited about the gifts I made this year... I'll post about them after I give them to the recipients.

Activity: Driving around with our kids looking at Christmas lights is one of our favorite Christmas time actives, especially since it is free and quite thrilling for them.

Christmas cards:  I LOVE that most people send picture cards.  I hang them around a doorway in our house and it's fun to look at them during the Christmas season.  I think this year I'll make a cute little bulletin board and hang it in my laundry room with just the pictures from everyone's cards.  If you're wondering where our Christmas card is this year... it didn't happen.  You know that old saying "the cobblers children never have shoes?"  Well, I didn't think about booking a session for my own family in the midst of my crazy holiday season, and being the picky person I am, I won't send out a picture of my family I don't love :)  Next year I'll be on the ball.... we'll get our pictures done in September, and I'm booking it NOW!  lol.