Nearly every year, I take Christmas portraits of our pets. Sometimes they are pretty or cute, other times they are just funny.
Jessie - We strongly suspect that she is a kelpie, although we've never done genetic testing for her. We adopted her when she was six months old in 2015. She's definitely our smallest dog, but my goodness does she have a lot of attitude. She sleeps in our daughter's room, and they do nearly everything together. She loves to play with tennis balls and lives for tug-of-war.
Loki - He was a rescue in 2020, and about six months old when we saw an ad about him and decided to bring him home. He walked into our house and right into my heart. He's definitely my buddy. He weighs about 90 lbs. and is a mutt through and through. We did do genetic testing on him and he's primarily Australian cattle dog and German shepherd. He's super sweet, and I'm hoping to do obedience training and possibly some agility with him next year.
Natty - This is the baby of the family. She turned a year old in November. We got her at six weeks - probably the youngest puppy I've ever had. It's hard to believe how fast they grow! She's a German shepherd and around 75 pounds. She's super sweet but can be a little timid. That said, she's an amazing guard dog. She and Loki love to play together!
Jasper - He's our angel. We just said goodbye to him on December 10th, and our home isn't the same without him. We found him as a puppy in 2009 running on the side of the road and brought him home. He was such a sweet, mellow guy that loved food, gave true hugs, and was always happy. We were blessed to have him in our lives for 13 1/2 years.
We ended up with some crazy winter weather here in the Texas Big Country. Thankfully, it was nothing like Snowmageddon we experienced last year. Still, we started off with freezing rain yesterday afternoon followed by hours of sleet. That finally turned to snow around 3 this morning and has continued for most of the day. All in all, I think we got around two inches of snow.
Our daughter and the dogs enjoyed going outside and playing, but with the windchill bringing temps down to feel like 2'F, they didn't stay outside long.
The dogs in the pictures above are Natty, our 9-week-old puppy, Loki, who just turned a year old. Then on the bottom we have Jessie, who is seven. And then on the bottom right is Jasper, our senior gentleman. He wasn't overly interested in the snow, and I can't really blame him. Ha!
Below are some of the plants in our yard that are covered in snow and ice. It's all very peaceful and beautiful, but I'm thankful I live in an area of the country that doesn't get a lot of snow often.
All of this snow makes me think of one of my books, I Still Do. In this book, a family gathers to honor a loved one who passed and ends up snowbound together, including Grey and Cora who divorced years ago. It's pretty hard to keep running away from each other when there's nowhere else to go!
If you haven't read I Still Do yet, you can grab a copy from any of your favorite book retailers. If you do, I hope you enjoy it!
What's worse than running into your ex-husband? Becoming snowbound with him and an avalanche of memories you can't escape.
When Cora Wells married her high school sweetheart at nineteen, she thought it was the beginning of a perfect life together. Their divorce two years later shattered her heart. She thought she'd never see him again, until she agrees to go on a crazy trip to honor a loved one and comes face to face with none other than her ex-husband, Grey.
Grey Jackson never could decide which was his biggest mistake--marrying Cora or divorcing her. He thought he'd moved past it all, but unexpectedly seeing Cora brings every emotion back to the surface. He can tell she's keeping something from him, yet how can he expect her to open up to him after he shut himself off from her years ago?
When a crazy winter storm leaves them all snowbound, everything seems to go wrong, and Cora and Grey have no choice but to work together. As tempers flare and old wounds are re-opened, they must face the truth of what happened between them. Will it give them a second chance to rediscover their first love?
My daughter and I recently took a trip to visit my grandma in Arizona. While my daughter had met her in person once before, she was only two and a half years old and didn't really remember. Thankfully, my daughter's spoken to her great grandma over Skype a couple of times, and they write to each other here and there. Don't you just love technology and how it can keep us all connected?
The trip was also a wonderful opportunity for my daughter and I to have an adventure together and do some bonding - something we both enjoyed.
We had fun walking with my grandma, admiring all of the pretty flowers and the orange trees (which smelled heavenly), and just spending time visiting.
It was a huge blessing to watch my daughter as she and her great grandma worked on a puzzle together, went through photo albums and treasures collected through the years, and spent time together. Most importantly, I loved to see the memories they were making.
One day, we went to my auntie's house where I got the chance to visit with her and even reconnected with three of my cousins. My daughter met four of her second cousins. It was such a wonderful day!
The trip went by way too quickly, but I know it's one my daughter (and I) will remember fondly for years and years to come.
Is there a particular trip or vacation that you remember as a child that still brings a smile to your face? I'd love for you to share about it!
Here are some of the pretty flowers we saw, along with an orange tree and a serene fountain. I enjoyed taking photos!
My wonderful husband bought me a number of plants and flowers for Mother's Day this year. Every day this week, my daughter and I have gone outside to admire the blooms and to see what kind of little creatures are calling them home.
I thought I'd share some of my photographs with you all. Enjoy, and thank you for looking!
Copyright 2018 Melanie D. Snitker
We've seen a wide range of weather today. It started out with freezing rain overnight. Then it moved to sleet (at times, fairly large) that lasted several hours. During that time, we also had thunder and lightning. Then, just after lunch, the sleet changed to tiny snow flurries. The snow fell for maybe a half hour and then that was it. We're not supposed to get any more precipitation, although everything will probably stick around until tomorrow afternoon when it gets above freezing.
Meanwhile, it's very pretty outside. I took advantage of this rare winter weather and took some pictures I thought I'd share with you all. Have a blessed day!
I had the opportunity to visit our local zoo a couple of times last week. During one trip, my daughter and I went with the purpose of taking photographs of the animals and their personalities. I got a lot of photos I really like, and thought I'd share a few of them with you. Thanks for looking!
I absolutely love spring! We may not have a lot of flowers in our yard, but in the spring, the plants that grow along our backyard fence come alive. I took my camera out last night just before sunset to try and capture some of that beauty.
Photography is one of my hobbies. I've gone through several DSLR cameras and one thing is for sure: I am definitely a Canon girl! I currently shoot with an EOS Rebel SL1. I originally chose it because it's light and small enough to carry around with me. Previously, the cameras I used were so big and bulky that I found I left them at home instead of taking them places, which meant I missed out on a lot of fun opportunities to actually use it. I have several lenses, but my favorite, hands down, is the 2.8 24mm. Again, it's small and light making it easy to carry with me. But it's also crystal clear and it takes wonderful images in lower light situations.
I've always enjoyed taking portraits of our kids. But I also have a lot of fun taking pictures of our dogs as well. It'd been a while since I'd made a point of doing that. So my daughter and I took advantage of this beautiful fall weather and did a photo session with our dogs. Between a lot of pats, Cheerios, and a dog bone to celebrate the completion of the session, fun was had by all.
This guy here is Jasper. He's seven-years-old, weighs about one hundred pounts, and is a giant teddy bear. His most striking features are those beautiful eyes: One brown and one blue.
Jasper joined our family on Easter in 2009. We were driving home from church on a busy country road and we saw this little puppy trotting along the side of it. It was not uncommon to see animals hit on this road because it was so busy and the shoulder was small. We couldn't stand the idea of a puppy getting hit by a car, much less on Easter. So we stopped. I got out and called to him. He ran over, that tail wagging, and he climbed right into the car. He went home with us and never looked back.
The picture of him in the basket was taken just a week or two after we brought him home. It's hard to imagine he was ever that tiny. If he tried to sit in that basket now, I'm quite certain he'd crush it into tiny pieces. LOL
This pretty girl is Jessie. She hasn't been a member of our family for as long Jasper. We adopted her in January of 2014. We specifically went to one of those adoption days at PetSmart. There were a LOT of dogs there, but Jessie (who was named Violet at the time) was sitting quietly in one of the enclosures. While other dogs were getting petted, no one paid any attention to her. She was obviously sad and didn't seem very hopeful.
We asked about her and found out she was around five-months-old and had already been adopted twice and returned twice. Both times weren't her fault, but the situation the people who adopted her were in. Well, no wonder she wasn't feeling very hopeful. We spent some time with her and before long, all four of us were convinced she was meant to be our dog.
She's three-years-old now and has been a wonderful addition to our family ever since. She's loyal to all of us and she's especially fond of our daughter. The two of them will play for hours in her room, they play outside together, and do just about everything together. Jessie isn't real fond of anyone else outside the family and gets nervous when we leave her at the kennel when we go on vacation. But she's slowly getting better about that. And we're glad she can finally have the forever home she deserves!
I took the kids to a pumpkin patch the other day. There were so many fun pumpkins in all different shapes and sizes, I couldn't help but break out my camera. Here are a few of my favorite shots.
My family went camping this weekend at a state park not far from our house. We went with the intention of staying for two nights. However, after all of the rain we'd gotten in the last few weeks, the number of bugs (including mosquitoes, flies, ants, and spiders) drove us home after camping for only one night.
We had a wonderful time, though! We went to the lake and stayed there for several hours. The kids enjoyed swimming, my husband went fishing and used his kayak. Meanwhile, I had a lot of fun watching all of them and taking a rare opportunity to play with my camera and take some photos.
I shoot with a Canon SL1. I usually rely on my 24mm 2.8 lens. But for this trip, I pulled out my 55-250mm lens for some close-up shots. With the kids in the water, I walked up and down the shore quietly in hopes of catching some photos of the wildlife that might otherwise go unnoticed. It was so much fun!
And, as you can see from the gallery below, there were a lot of frogs. They look large in the pictures, but the largest was approximately two inches long, and most were about an inch. We did see one snake (non-venomous) and I was too busy telling the kids to stay away from that area to take a photo of it. lol
This morning, before leaving the campground, I noticed the drops of dew on a field of grass. With the sun shining through them, it was too beautiful to not go back and take a few pictures.
I hope you enjoy going through the photos. I'm always amazed at God's creativity and beauty in our world!
My family was on vacation the first week of May. We had a great time! We took the kids to the Dallas World Aquarium, spent a few days at Great Wolf Lodge, and later visited our local zoo. I think we're still all trying to get back to normal again after having such a wonderful time together!
I took a lot of pictures of some of the amazing animals we saw. I thought I'd share a few of them with you all. Thanks for looking! :-)
Waiting for the bluebonnets to appear is one of my favorite parts of a Texas spring. There are few things I find more beautiful than an entire field of bluebonnets. We happened to drive past a field like that a week ago and I was so glad my family wanted to stop and take some pictures.
I'm starting to see a few pop up here in our town and every time I see some, it makes me smile. :-)
Here in Texas, we've been getting a taste of spring in the last week or two. The temperatures were in the low 80's several times. The bees are out, some of the flowers are starting to come up, and it has us wondering whether we're getting real spring early, or if we'll get another cold spell before spring will truly be here.
Either way, I've been enjoying every bit of it. It's also inspired me to look back through some of my favorite flower photos I've taken. I thought I'd share some of them with you. Thanks for looking!
It's a gorgeous day so we thought we'd take the family and go walk around the zoo. The sunshine warmed everything up perfectly and nearly all the animals were active. I think it was one of my favorite visits. Seeing all of these beautiful animals always reminds me of what an amazing imagination our God has!
I also got to play around with my fairly new Canon 55-250 lens while we were there. So I thought I'd share some of my favorite images. Enjoy! :-)
Texas has definitely had its range of weather this December. We celebrated Christmas with family on the 23rd. It was in the 70s and we had the air conditioner running. Then temperatures fell the 26th. We had a sleet and rain mix all day yesterday then woke up this morning to 2.5" of snow. It's beautiful! We took the kids out to play in it, came in for some hot chocolate, and made snow ice cream. It's been a great day to stay indoors. This evening, a good deal of the snow has melted. But I'm thankful I captured some of the beauty from our frozen wonderland.