Saturday, December 19, 2009

The book!

{Ashley gets creative with telling us how old Neil is - it looks better than thirty-five actual fingers, no?}


For Neil's 35th birthday, I had to get creative. We love living in Austin, but there are times when you want to be able to celebrate milestones with all your loved ones and it just isn't possible. This was one of those occasions, so I thought it would be fun to have friends and family alike help me out by contributing stories or well wishes for Neil's birthday.

I'll be honest, between working on our Christmas mail out this year, the tedious and demanding, yet full-of-fun playscape project and trying to wrangle out this project, all the while desperately trying to be unnoticed and under the radar so as not to ruin the surprise, it got a little complicated. It wasn't until I started putting the stories together with pictures that were sent, or locating and digging out Neil's yearbook to grab some photos that I really started to immerse myself into the project.

It didn't take long - a side benefit to having put together a *lot* of professional wedding books in my short year with Ron Parks while doing photography. In fact, having an idea of how to throw it together allowed me to focus on all the stories and envision the voices behind the stories. I kept grinning while working on it, because even though he had asked for a certain video game for his birthday, I just KNEW the book was going to be the real winner this year.

And it was.

{Again, here we do a set of three and five candles...can't be havin' the
fire department come by because of the bonfire...err, umm...the candlelight from the cake!}
{the cover - I cheated the other day and told him I needed a
recent pic for our Christmas mail out -he TOTALLY fell for it! ;-) }
{some birthday quotes from famous people...to set the tone}
{sorry Kevin, but there is just something about that picture! Still friends?}
{Neil gets a kick out of reading the stories}
{Here are a few stories from Chico, a friend from high school. He just moved back from South Africa and didn't have his yearbooks handy, so I did a little investigative work on my end and found some pics to use in the book.}

**This time of year has been quite hectic, so I apologize for the delay in getting this post up for you all to enjoy. I know many of you who contributed wanted to see the final project. I hope you enjoy it - if you'd like me to photograph and e-mail your specific page, let me know. I'm happy to accommodate. :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Snowman humor

As we continue to work on the playscape, and against the weather, it seemed appropriate to share this with all of you. The days have been either cold, rainy, cold & rainy, snowy, cold and windy, cold, windy & overcast...well, you get the idea. The days we *have* had to work on the playscape have been less than ideal. I just got this e-mail from a friend. It's keeping me in good spirits despite the weather's attempts to slow us down.

Friday, December 4, 2009

SNOW! oh, and the playscape update

{a little snow never stopped Neil from any serious projects}

So...the weather forecast called for snow today - a few days ago, I have to admit I was pretty skeptical. In my all my life as a Texan, I have only seen snow in Austin...well...let's suffice it to say I haven't even fallen off one hand yet. However, with our playscape project delayed due to weather {Sunday, Monday and Tuesday} and waiting on the last of the materials to be delivered {late Wednesday evening}, we figured we better get as much as we could - DONE - yesterday. We were able to get the second swing beam up, leveled, monkey bars in and tightened {sounds like a simple task - it *so* wasn't!} before closing shop yesterday evening.

As it turned out, due to the weather today, Neil got off work early {hey, only in TX can a city be shut down for sprinkles ;)} and headed straight for me to give me a hug and kiss because he missed me so.

Are you buying it?

Yeah. Me either. ;) He started back up on the project and was working on the rungs to climb the monkey bars when the flurries started. I grabbed my camera and got a shot of his work as well as the snow. Who better to tackle a construction project in the snow, then a former Long Fence sales associate who was very familiar with those kinds of conditions??

As an aside, I should mention that the literal 30 seconds I was outside, I could hear *MONSTER* screaming and peals and squeals - we could hear all the noise from the elementary school yard from our house. They must have let all the kids run around outside and lick the snow from the air.

I remember doing that when I was in kinder. Good times.