Thursday, December 31, 2009

The End of 2009

What a year it's been. I don't have anything to complain about, in fact for all of the bad news and the challenges world wide we as a family have been very blessed. We are healthy, work is good, Kirsten is home, Michael is home (again), Bret is happy albeit a little trunky, Kylie is on track to actually graduate from High School (whew), and we are surrounded by people we love and odds are if you are reading this you are one of those people. I have some resolutions to work on for the new year and they mainly involve my own self improvement in hopes of matching my friends, family and neighbors in terms of their/your kindness, compassion, selflessness, and many other qualities that I admire. It was such a beautiful day today I thought a nice photograph to include with this post would be Kirsten, Michael and Kylie jumping for joy because of 2009 and in anticipation of 2010.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

We Love The Snow

_MG_6993, originally uploaded by rtsmithcpa.

It just keeps snowing and snowing here in Manti so the only thing to do is make the most of it. It's been a great week here, we've watched movies, gone sightseeing, braved sub-zero temperatures, been visited by our peeps the Christensens, taken dozens of pictures, replaced the washing machine (not planned), gone to bed late every night, slept in almost every morning, and most of all enjoyed a Christmas week with 5 out of the 6 of us together. Next year when Bret is home it will be 6 of 6. Can't wait!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Yeah, It Works

_MG_6963, originally uploaded by rtsmithcpa.

I spent an hour or so talking Kylie into this and I had to make some concessions for the evening like watching 3 episodes of Glee in a row, singing the "Marines Hymn" at the top of my lungs and having a cup of warm water nearby. Totally worth it!!! Her tongue stuck, hahahaha.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Last Glimpse of Christmas

_MG_6841, originally uploaded by rtsmithcpa.

The week after Christmas is much more relaxed and enjoyable. Football games every night on TV, left over food to snack on and time to enjoy a slower pace here in Manti. It's been getting down to at least -10 each night and the days haven't warmed up much, but the clear sky and bright stars make up for the cold.

_MG_6888, originally uploaded by rtsmithcpa.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Snowball Fight

_MG_6781 copy, originally uploaded by rtsmithcpa.

Everyone went to Walmart, except me and my two friends, so we decided to go outside and kill some time. The cry baby in the middle griped for an hour about snow down his neck.


_MG_6734, originally uploaded by rtsmithcpa.

I have a lot of reasons I look forward to Manti during Christmas week, not the least of which are cold temperatures, fresh snow, clear blue sky with no inversion, and now a new reason. A tractor that can move snow where ever I want it! With a 90' double driveway shoveling by hand is out of the question so I have a good friend here that plows the driveway every storm with his truck. I appreciate it very much and he does an awesome job, there's just a few places he can't get because he can't turn the truck sideways in the driveway. Enter the tractor!!! I can twist and turn any direction I need to on this bad boy and it not only pushes snow like the truck but with the shovel I can scoop and move. Now all I need is a storm to dump 3' of snow so I can really put the Kubota through the paces.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Temple Square

I have a habit of avoiding downtown Salt Lake during Christmastime so my photos of the awesome lights at Temple Square are gettting a little long in the tooth. So what do I do,? Drive downtown on one of the worst nights for travel so far this winter :( It wasn't really my fault because Kylie had her Christmas Concert at the Assembly Hall so while she sang with the choir Marsha and I walked Temple Square so I could update my collection. Marsha lugged my camera equipment backpack so I could swich lenses at will and she didn't gripe once. I'm really glad we made it to Temple Square this year and as the week progresses I'm feeling more and more the way I should have felt all season long. It's beginning to look a lot like .....

Monday, December 21, 2009

Perfection and Reality

I love the little "Richard"s, Olivia, Calvin and Everett, and I try to take advantage of every chance to get a picture of them so when Andrea suggested I drop by for a minute yesterday the door at the church didn't hit me in the butt on the way out. One of the things that makes picture taking fun is all of the outtakes that result in attempting perfection. I don't profess perfection in any pictures I take but the subjects acheive that in their demeanor very often and as I looked through the pictures from yesterday it struck me how many screaming, wiggling, reaching, nose picking, poking, yelling, spit up and otherwise parent-stress-inducing moments I captured versus just few near perfection ones. It's kind of like real life in my mind, so these two pictures I've named "Perfection" and "Reality" in honor of one of my most beloved peeps, Andrea, and her endless patience for all things real.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Final Decorating Details

_MG_6444, originally uploaded by rtsmithcpa.

I like Christmas as a general rule, but I hate decorating. Ok, I hate undecorating worse, but we are exactly one week away from Christmas and I'm pushing myself to get finished (pun intended). I'm looking forward to taking a little time off between Christmas and New Years and maybe I will have a chance to mess around taking pictures with someone other than myself. I've about run out of friends so I'm not sure who I can recruit as victims. Let's see, Kirsten and Michael and Kylie owe me big time so it might not be as hard after all.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Week Before Christmas Jump

_MG_6399, originally uploaded by rtsmithcpa.

Kirsten and her peeps, Becky and Tristan went down to see the lights at Temple Square tonight and they were so excited they wanted to show that joy by jumping. I reluctantly agreed to take their picture. After all it was 10:00 pm and I was comfy and warm in the house. But since they begged me, I pulled on my warm slippers and trudged outside to capture their talent as a digital image, forever burned on my computer. I think they did pretty good!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ward Christmas Party

Friday night was our Ward Christmas party and I'm sure the part I missed was real good. I just do better hiding in a room with Santa and all the kids. I wish I could post all the photos on this blog but that would take a week to upload them all. Instead I will get all of them posted to my flickr page in the next few days so if you're interested you can link to it from here. I had a blast watching how different all of the reactions from the children were. Some couldn't get enough of Santa and other freaked out even getting near to him. The more mature children like Andrea had been a little naughty during the year so some, like Andrea, were reluctant to face Santa, but with a little encouragement they each relented and left Santa their wish list.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Not Enough Help

_MG_6013 copy, originally uploaded by rtsmithcpa.

I never seem to have enough help. Bret is dinking around in Taiwan, Michael is in California, Kirsten is in Logan and Kylie is in her own little high school world. So when it came time to put up Christmas lights in Manti there was only one person to get to help me. Me. At least I put my Christmas lights up this year, unlike dozens of neighbors who seem to think lighting their house for the holiday's is turning on their porch light. Anyway, I survived and the lights look great!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Lights

_MG_5880, originally uploaded by rtsmithcpa.

When we put the lights up Saturday they looked kind of cobbled together. We had some of the grid pattern net lights to put over the bushes but there was no way they were large enough to cover even our smallest bush so we added some strands and tried to make it all match. Not only that but we had to mix polarized plugs with non-polarized and I can tell you from experience that you can only go one direction when you mix the two types. So I figured what the heck, I'm ok being trailer trash and if anyone looks close enough to see my Frankenstein light job, so be it. Then it snowed. Holy cow with the snow covering everything it looks like I spent hours planning and designing the whole thing. I think it's going to be a great Christmas season.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Busy Body

_MG_5554, originally uploaded by rtsmithcpa.

Ok, last night I wanted to get some shots with my new flash/strobe setup with the moon in the background. It's hard to find a night when the moon is in the right place in the sky and there are no clouds to block the view. I looked around for victims starting with anyone in my house and then scrolling through my call list in my cell phone. Everyone was conveniently busy, probably because it was around 18 degrees outside. Without a willing victim to take pictures of I ended up messing around in the church parking lot with the Yukon. At least I'm easy to entertain!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Primary Christmas Ornaments

_MG_5479, originally uploaded by rtsmithcpa.

Marsha has worked like a dog along with her presidency to get these ornaments ready for all of the Primary kids to put on the tree at the church. I think she knocked this one out of the ball park! It took all the hard work of Marsha, Elaine Earl, Summer Adamson, Brenda Sim and Molly Sparks to pull this off. 56 ornaments later they are done! Oh, Don thought he was pretty special since this post features the Adamson family on the ornament and I didn't dare tell him that "A" is simply the first letter when you have things alphabetized. Ahhh, let him think what he wants :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Eye Hurts

I started wearing contacts about 6 months ago and it has been a wonderful experience. I still have to wear readers for anything close, but being able to see without glasses while I watch TV or drive has made me a very happy guy. So happy in fact I saw no need to waste any time without them in. I know, I've heard it for 6 months,"take them out at least once a week or you'll get eye problems". Aw crap, that won't happen to me, besides I use the eye drops every night so the contacts won't dry out. Right .... I think my doctor called it an ulcerated cornea. Yea, it hurts. In fact it hurts so bad I had a chat with myself after putting the prescription drops in my eye and I could actually find my way to the bathroom to look myself in the mirror.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Andrea

I love birthday parties (except mine of course) and we got to celebrate another one this week for Andrea. Kylie went with Wyatt and Andrea to Yellowstone a year ago to watch the little "Richards" while Andrea shot photos of her friend Andi's wedding and we got to meet Andi, her mom and sister. Wyatt and Andrea keep us away from their normal friends so it was nice to meet some finally. By the way Wyatt is way older than Andrea, but she is more mature.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Roslyn's 20something Birthday

I had never been to the Cheesecake Factory so it was a treat to go there with Roslyn and Morgan as kind of a surprise birthday party for Ros. I haven't checked Roslyn's drivers license but I'm putting her at, oh ... maybe 30. That means she was 10 when Morgan was born so I'm not asking questions! After I finished working on these pictures Marsha pointed out that Roslyn and her sister jumped exactly the same. Haha, we couldn't have staged that if we tried. Happy birthday Roslyn, thanks for including us!


_MG_4780, originally uploaded by rtsmithcpa.

Angie used to work for me so when she stopped by to get some tax help I got her outside for a jump picture. It's not nearly as warm as it looks either, so she was a good sport.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


VETERANS DAY, originally uploaded by POONDOG64.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Marines

John A. Lejeune's Birthday Message (1921)

On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of the Continental Congress. Since that date, many thousand men have borne the name Marine. In memory of them, it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the Birthday of our Corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.

The record of our Corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organizations in the world's history. During 90 of the 146 years of its existence, the Marine Corps has been in action against the Nation's foes. From the Battle of Trenton to the Argonne, Marines have won foremost honors in war and in the long era of tranquility at home. Generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres and in every corner of the seven seas [so] that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.

In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our Corps, Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term "Marine" has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.

This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the Corps. With it we also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our Corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the Marines in every age. So long as that spirit continues to flourish, Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the men of our Nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as "Soldiers of the Sea" since the founding of the Corps.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Art of Jump Pictures

Almost by accident I discovered how much fun jumping pictures are. It is nearly impossible to jump for a picture and have a grumpy face. A little over a year ago 2 missionaries serving in our area wanted a picture of them that clearly showed their joy in serving a mission. We decided that a picture of them jumping in the front yard might be worth a thousand words. They agreed and the rest is history, sort of. I quickly discovered that getting a decent picture of someone jumping is easier said than done, at least for someone of my skill level in photography. I have had so much fun taking hundreds of pictures of friends and family jumping I'm afraid this is going to be a long-term project, and hopefully one that continues to improve in terms of my photographic ability. I have learned that many others share my passion for jump pictures and there are many thousands of images on the photo sharing web site Flickr. I have a link to my Flickr page on this blog so check it out if you have time. To all my friends and family who are growing weary of jumping for my camera, ... uh sorry, but I can't kick the habit.