Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Highlights of 2008

This has been a very eventful year. There are so many things that have happened, both good and bad, that will have an effect on me for a long time. As to not dwell on the bad things, I wanted to write a little about the positive things.

Here are some of my personal highlights of 2008:

In January, we attended the Ranching for Profit School in Colorado Springs, Colorado has led us to Executive Link, which has had a HUGE impact on our business. We started our Executive Link program in February, and met again in July and November in Boise, ID. I can't thank our Executive Link board enough. They are the ones that pushed me into researching the photography business and putting together a business plan.

In July, we took a very fun family vacation to Maui, Hawaii. We went with our friends Clint, Christina, Isaac and Evan. It was completely different than taking a couples only trip, but the kids had such a good time. We are all talking about going again in 2009.

In September, I became an Auntie. I am so glad that Michela is part of our family. Although I do wish she didn't live so far away... Being an Auntie is such an amazing thing!

In December, several great things happened. First, I found out that I won first place in the California Cattlemen's Association Photo Contest in the category of "Rural Life." I love the photo that won, and it was such an amazing honor to be chosen for that. It really made me feel good about my photography skills.

Another wonderful thing that happened was the wedding of Berwyn and Ken. First and foremost, I am so thrilled that they found each other and that their families joined together to form one big happy family. In addition, I felt so honored to be a part of their wonderful day as their photographer. It was my first wedding, but I was thrilled with how the photos turned out. I hope they love them too!

I am also very happy with my decision to officially start my photography business. I look forward to 2009 and starting this venture.

Andy and I agree that this was our best Christmas yet. We were all healthy and we had a wonderful, stress-free season.

I feel extremely blessed to have had such a wonderful 2008. I know that everything happens for a reason even if we don't always understand the reason. I thank God everyday for the life he has given me and all the blessings that I have. Hope you all have a very Happy New Year and a fabulous 2009!!


Yesterday Andy and I headed to Williams to drop off a couple bulls. We intented to go back to Ukiah for dinner and then spend the night. On our way down, we got a great idea to continue on to Walnut Creek instead. It was about an hour and 45 minutes farther and we got to see Mary, Jeff and Michela!!

I just had my point and shoot camera with me, but I still had to take a few pictures anyway.... Isn't she CUTE!

Can you see what her shirt says? Yes, I bought it for her...

We headed home this morning and now are getting ready to head to the Radelfingers in Ferndale for New Years....

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Favorite photos of the year

On one of the photography message boards that I frequent, they do a "Top 5" at the end of the year where everyone can post their favorite five photos for the year. I have a hard time picking just five so I narrowed it down to five of our family or activities, and seven that I did for friends or clients. Here they are....

First our family...






And those I did for others (in no particular order)...








I love taking a look back at all the photos I have taken during the year. Which are your favorites on here?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

It's official....

I am proud to announce that as of January 1, 2009, Sarah Albin Photography will officially be in business. I am a little scared, honestly, but I am also very excited!!!

I want to thank everyone for your support and encouragement over the past year (or more) while I "practiced" being in business and finally came to the decision to do it officially. Besides Andy (I wouldn't be able to move forward without his love and support), I especially want to thank Christina Victorine and Kim Emmons for overwhelming encouragement (and of course their business!) lately. I appreciate it more than you know!!

Here's a copy of my business license...

And one of my business cards...

I have a new website too. Check it out, if you have a chance. Please contact me for more information about pricing and appointment scheduling. Thanks!!

Friday, December 26, 2008


just wow! We had an amazing Christmas! The gifts, of course, were nice, but it was so great to be together with no drama and have everyone be relaxed... I think it could very well be the best Christmas ever!

Pictures are in the next couple posts... warning. there's a lot of them!

Christmas Eve

I took a quick snapshot of the kids in front of our tree before we headed off to Christmas Eve mass...

After mass, we went to Andy's grandma's house for the annual Renner family Christmas Eve gathering. Here's us in front of her tree.... our one family shot for the holidays...

And with Andy's parents...

We had a great dinner followed by lots of gifts... Abigail was VERY excited to get this American Girl doll from Santa. Her name is Katelyn (Kate for short)...

I don't think I have seen J.T. more excited to get this chainsaw.... should I be worried about my walls?

We had a great night! We got home around 10:30 and had to put out cookies and milk for Santa and food for the reindeer. Then it was off to bed....

Christmas Day

Merry Christmas! The kids didn't sleep in as late as I had hoped but it wasn't too bad. They got up at 6:45, which is the earliest they have ever gotten up on Christmas morning (especially considering that they were up until 11 pm the night before...).

They were pretty excited to go out to the living room to see what Santa had brought.... They each got a Leapster and a game to go with it... they played those until my parents arrived at 8:00.

This is how the tree looked before we started....

We all took turns opening gifts so it wasn't a total mad rush. The kids enjoyed it but wanted to stop and play if the gift they opened was a toy...

Abigail bought these doggy biscuits for Shasta since Christmas is also her birthday...

My parents got J.T. this tractor to go on top of our mailbox... a project for father and son to attach!

After gifts and brunch, we took a break in the middle of the day. We hung out and relaxed....

Then Pam and Charlie (Andy's mom and step-dad) came over for gifts and dinner. My parents and Grandpa John also joined us for dinner.

Abigail was so excited to get some more American Girl doll accessories...

I don't really know what is going on here...

The kids helped all the adults open their gifts...

What a day!! Thanks everyone for all the wonderful gifts....

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve!

The food prep is all done... the kids are having a "quiet time" before all the craziness tonight... the outfits are set out... the gifts are wrapped and ready to go... and I am sitting here enjoying a cup of tea while I write this.

I feel very relaxed. I can't ever remember feeling this relaxed on Christmas Eve. I stayed home all day and that probably helped a lot. I gave the kids each a list of the things they needed to clean up or put away. This feels really nice...

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I will get some photos posted as soon as I can.... Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

1st Christmas celebration

We had our first Christmas celebration and gift exchange on Saturday night. We always try to do this a week or two before Christmas with Chet and Karen (Andy's dad and step-mom). It is so nice and relaxing to not be rushed. We had a nice dinner and then did our gift exchange... Every year we give Chet and Karen a photo calendar. They are looking at it here....

This year we also gave them a digital picture frame loaded with pictures from 2007...

J.T. and Chet each got a harmonica. We brought out J.T.'s ukulele from Hawaii so they could all make music together....

I will admit I needed a couple of Advil after the performance but they all had a great time making music...

Party at Heart Bead

On Saturday, I took Abigail to Hannah's birthday party at Heart-Bead in Arcata. It's a bead shop where the girls were able to make a necklace of their own creation. Abigail had a great time....

We went to Bon Boniere for ice cream afterwards. It just so happened that Santa's workshop was a couple stores down so we got to take a picture with all the girls and him!

Monday, December 22, 2008

One of the best gifts

This morning I got one of the best Christmas gifts! I was over at Clint and Christina's this morning for a few minutes.

When I was getting ready to leave, I waved good-bye to Evan. He looked at me, came toddling over as fast as he could, and put his arms up for me to pick him up. Then he gave me a great big hug and buried his face in my shirt. Isn't that the cutest thing EVER!

I don't get to see him as much as I would like, but he is just so darn adorable!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Week of celebration

There's always a lot going on the last week before Christmas vacation. On Thursday evening we had Abigail's 3rd grade winter concert. The photos I took during the concert weren't all that great, but here's a couple I took afterwards.

Nolan and Abigail....

And with her two best girlfriends, Amanda and Emily.

J.T.'s preschool had a visitor on Friday morning. I stayed so I could take photos of Santa with each of the kids. J.T. is quite the character!

We have quite a few things going on this weekend too. Last night the kids stayed overnight with Grandpa Chet and Granny Karen while we went to dinner and the Humboldt State basketball game with Clint and Christina.
I will try to get better about blogging daily this week....

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wow, do I feel old...

Today I was at Target. When I was walking down the aisle in the toy department, one of of the endcaps was this.

Yes, that's right! The 25th anniversary of Cabbage Patch Dolls is here! That makes me feel so old because I got one of the originals the first year they came out. I still have my two, in fact (packed away, though). Anyone else want to admit they still have theirs somewhere?

Monday, December 15, 2008

This weekend

We had a busy weekend! On Friday night, the kids spent the night at my parents' house and went to the lighted holiday parade here in Fortuna. Andy and I went to the Christmas party for the Childrens Center's board and staff.

On Saturday we FINALLY got the Christmas trees (all 3 of them) in the house. We've only had them since the day after Thanksgiving! Then in the afternoon, Abigail had a date with her Grandpa Chet to go see "The Nutcracker." She got dressed up and had a great time! Here's a picture of her in front of her little tree....

and one of her and Grandpa Chet together!

On Saturday night we stayed home, which was relaxing! On Sunday we worked on our trees and did a few things around the house. In the evening we headed to Ferndale for the annual Christmas Lighted Tractor Parade. The Giacomini family (my family) were the grand marshals so the kids got to ride in on one of the floats. I didn't ride so I could try to take pictures, but that didn't work out since it was pouring down rain! Oh well. It was fun anyway.....
Now we are on to another week....

Thursday, December 11, 2008


So this is pretty amazing.... last weekend when I was at the rehearsal for Berwyn and Ken's wedding, I found out something really unbelievable!

I kept looking at Ken's daughter, Brenda (Moore), thinking she looked really familiar. It finally dawned on me that she went to Cal Poly at the same time I did. I finally asked her if she went to Cal Poly and if she was in Sigma Alpha (sorority) and she said yes. She asked what my maiden name was and I told her. Then I said, "but now I am Sarah Albin." She asked if I was Andy's wife. I said yes. She said that Andy was her husband, Ed's, little brother in Alpha Gamma Rho (aka AGR). I was just shocked!

Andy wasn't at the rehearsal but when I went home to pick him up to go to the dinner, I walked in and said, "You are not going to believe this!... Ken's daughter is Brenda Vaca!" I don't think I have ever seen Andy look that shocked.

It was pretty cool seeing Andy and Ed reconnect!

Here's a photo I took of them at dinner after the wedding!

It really is amazing how small a world we live in!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Just for fun...

I got this in an email from my friend Julie. I thought it would be fun to post here....

1. Where is your cell phone? desk
2. Your significant other? Andy
3. Your hair? curly
4. Your mother? working
5. Your father? home
6. Your favorite thing? photography
7. Your dream last night? unsure
8. Your dream/goal? photographer
9. The room you're in? office
10. Your fear? unknown
11. Where do you want to be in 6 years? photographer
12. Where were you last night? Brewery
13. What you're not? unhappy
14. Muffins? blueberry
15. One of your wish list items? vacation
16. Where did you grow up? Loleta
17. The last thing you did? coffee
18. What are you wearing? sweater
19. Your TV? off
20. Your pet? Molly
21. Your computer? slow
22. Your life? happy
23. Your mood? positive
24. Missing someone? yes
25. Your car? truck
26. Something you're not wearing? necklace
27. Favorite store? lots
28. Your summer? hot
29. Your favorite color? brown
30. When is the last time you laughed? today
31. Last time you cried? Saturday
32. Who will/would re-post this? unsure

I challenge other bloggers to repost this too....

A couple more wedding shots

I finally got through all the wedding shots and I found a couple more of my favorites to share...

Since the bride and groom saw each other before the ceremony (so we could do photos) we gave them a few minutes alone together. Isn't this one sweet?

And here they are holding their cake topper at the end of the evening...

What a wonderful day!