Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas 2012

Greetings, people of the Interwebs! It's been so long since I've blogged I'm actually having to relearn how to use Blogger--it's changed so much in the past year. Hopefully I can figure this thing out enough to create my sixth blog post of the last 365 days!

Although I obviously completely failed to chronicle the adventures our life in 2012, I did want to share our annual Christmas letter, which will at least give everyone a tiny snapshot of what has filled up our year. I've missed keeping a blog--not so much the writing itself, but having a journal of our life to look back on. I'd really love to restart the habit in 2013, but I'm not going to set any lofty goals. These days my brain is so scattered from wearing so many different hats--I can't focus from one minute to the next. Sitting down to put ideas on digital paper seems overwhelming to the point of impossible. But who knows what the year will bring? Maybe I'll be able to simplify a bit and focus enough to write from time to time. Either way, please enjoy our Christmas letter from 2012! 

December 16, 2012

Dearest family and friends,                                                                             

I hope this letter finds you all healthy, happy and more prepared for the holiday than I am! As usual, I'm starting our Christmas letter weeks after receiving our first holiday greeting in the mail. I can only hope that this is at least reaching you by the 24th
We've had a good 2012 and managed to survive both of our 40th birthdays, which turned out to be lots of fun and relatively painless. We took a lovely vacation to Florida to celebrate our friends Mike and Tiffany's wedding in April, went to Tulsa in June for another wedding reception, and made a very quick trip to Nashville in early November to see a special Old 97's show. We enjoyed visits from my brother, my dad and his wife, and other out of town guests. We loved seeing our Jayhawk basketball team make it to the national title game and spent Saturdays this fall cheering on a losing KU football team that was on the cusp of decency. 
Our pups are both doing well—we celebrated Hope's 12th b-day in August, even though we've come to realize she's probably closer to 13 or 14. Since a Coonhound's life expectancy is only 12-13 years, we are super thankful that she's still with us. She's a little arthritic and has a bum shoulder that she limps on occasionally, but most of the time she is FULL of goofiness and jumps around with far more exuberance than her little brother. Fresco turned 6 in September and is still the most loving and cuddly boy you'll ever meet! 
Chad's year has been relatively devoid of major change—he continues to enjoy his job at Westar and continues to play lots of golf! He just returned from his annual golf trip to Florida with his friend Dante, where he played 36-46 holes of golf every day. A minor knee surgery this summer didn't even slow down his obsession! He also continues to serve on the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce board, and just last week he finished up his term on the Lawrence Sustainability Advisory Board. While he's thankful to be done with that commitment, he's exchanging that “extra-curricular” leadership role with a much bigger one at church starting in January. He'll be leading our set-up and tear-down teams at EastLake—handling all the scheduling and being at church from 6:30 until almost 1 each Sunday. Although I know he'll want me to take this part out of the letter, I'm super proud of him and amazed by his willingness to work 6 days a week!
Things at our church are obviously good, and we're very thankful to be part of a church where growth and life change continue to happen. Although I've stepped down from volunteering on our kids team regularly, I took over leading our prayer team in March and have been so blessed to serve our church family in this way. My other volunteer passion, the food pantry at Heartland Community Health Center, also expanded significantly in January of this year when I became the volunteer coordinator there. I now spend 15-20 hours a week shopping, stocking, sorting, scheduling and serving the people who come in for assistance. I also try to be in Topeka one day a week to hang out with my mom (she moved back there this summer), and I continue to do lots of portrait sessions for friends just as a hobby. I would love to someday start a photography business, but that will have to happen later since right now I just don't have the time! 
We hope that your 2012 has been filled with an abundance of blessings and happiness. May you enjoy peace, joy, the company of loved ones and lots of relaxation this holiday season!

With love,
Kim (and Chad)

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. --Isaiah 9:6

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Jayhawk Wannabe

In honor of today's awesome Jayhawk comeback against Iowa State, I wanted to share this fantastic version of the Rock Chalk chant that can be found on "Page 2" of

How cute is that little guy?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Graphic Geekiness

Today was a day of deChristmasification (or whatever) at the Luce household, because I finally got the tree and other holiday decorations taken down and put away. Now before you start judging me, let me just say that a) the tradition in my family was to leave the tree up past the New Year because it was so festive and pretty, b) with a live tree it's much easier to wait until the tree totally dries out before taking it down, c) I'm not the only person who takes their tree down this late because the city is still picking trees up tomorrow, and d) I like how our house looks all decorated for Christmas. So there--I like keeping my tree up longer than most people!

Anyway, while I was dedecorating the house I thought it made sense to change the blog up as well so that it was no longer sporting a Christmas theme. I spent a few minutes making a new wintery banner since it's finally feeling like winter here--we actually have a tiny dusting of snow on the ground. I changed up all the colors and the fonts as well, because Blogger now has a billion fonts to choose from, which I love. I could sit there and look through fonts forever. I love fonts!

While I've gotten fairly quick at creating new headers for my blog (partially because I know I can just change them whenever I want to, so I don't fret over the details), my graphic design skills haven't evolved so far that I'm this successful with my other design endeavors. Yesterday I spent the entire morning trying to create a logo for my friends at Crossroads Dog Rescue, since they're having a contest for a new logo on Facebook and have asked for submissions from their supporters. Starting next week they will have their Facebook friends vote for a favorite, so I wanted to submit an entry just for fun! Although my end results are never very professional, I have fun playing around with making graphics and it's definitely good Photoshop practice. Here's what I came up with for them!

Truthfully, I kind of hope mine doesn't get chosen--only because I want them to have tons more logos from way more professional people than me to choose from!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Laughing Babies

Can I just share that I think one of the funniest sounds in the entire world is a baby laughing? Today my friend Tish posted this video on Facebook of a baby that might be the cutest baby ever born. I mean seriously, if babies were all this cute and stayed this cute then I would definitely have one. I watched about four different videos her parents had posted, and I think this might be my favorite:

There is just nothing better than laughing babies! Watching this one video lead to a 30 minute voyage around YouTube in which I saw at least 10 other laughing babies. For me, laughing babies is like an addiction--once I start watching them I can't stop!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

QR Code

This seriously has to be the nerdiest thing I've ever blogged about, but this afternoon Chad and I went and did some grocery shopping, and for the first time we used the Hy-Vee grocery store smartphone app. It was actually pretty cool, because it allowed us to see what was on sale, add it to our grocery list, and then even find the item in the store. I discovered the app just a few days ago from a QR code (like the one at right) at the check-out register that directed you to the free download. I would totally recommend it if you shop at Hy-Vee and haven't downloaded it already.

As Chad and I were discussing the app and where I found it, we couldn't remember what QR codes were actually called. We looked it up on Wikipedia when we got back home and learned that QR stands for Quick Response code. Our Google search also turned up a website where you could generate your own QR codes, an idea that hadn't ever even crossed my mind. I mean you see those codes everywhere, but I guess I was thinking that it was some sort of costly or complicated process to have one created. In reality, it took about 3 seconds to create one and test it out. I'm totally using one if I ever actually create a photography business and have business cards. You can make your own on this website, and you can scan it with a free app like ScanLife. If you have ScanLife, you should check out my QR code above!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The Year in Pictures 2011

After a bit of a production delay, I'm excited to finally present the third annual Year in Pictures slideshow! I intended to share this on January 1 as I've done in the past, but a desire to spend time with my hubby on his days off (and my deranged attempt at perfection) kept the project going for a couple of extra days. Last night I was up entirely too late trying to finish it, primarily because I kept going back and tweaking and changing the tiniest little things. I'm a complete nut job sometimes.

There are definitely pictures included that will seem a little random, but let me just tell you my rule for choosing them. Every day that I picked up either my DSLR or my point-and-shoot, I had to include one picture from that day. It might have been from an event I was asked to photograph, a portrait session or a vacation. It might have been something I intended to blog about or a moment I just wanted to preserve. While we all know my standards for "picture worthy" aren't exactly high, at the time that I grabbed my camera, I truly thought there was something that needed capturing! Hopefully most of the time you'll agree, but please be advised that this is 7.5 minutes of your life that you will never get back.

Also, in the interest of full disclosure, there were a couple of times this year that a) I didn't take pictures because someone else already was, or b) someone else had their camera more handy, or c) I actually forgot my camera (which I know is hard to believe). In those few cases, I used a picture taken by someone else from that particular day. I think there are three pictures included that didn't come from one of my cameras, so thanks to Beth, Mel and Sarah for sharing their shots!

Please note that I spent several hours picking and adjusting the music for this video, so if there is no sound by the time you get to it, please leave me a comment and let me know. YouTube is in the habit of disabling the audio of any copyrighted material, no matter how insignificant the use!