My Photography

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happenings and gifts

I've been having such a lovely visit home these past two weeks... the four travel days are totally worth the time I'm to spending with my family!

Between stomping in the snow, antiquing and thrifting with my sisters, eating out at restaurants,

taking sister selfies,

doing wintry art projects,

shop shop shopping (which is an activity I'm not particularly fond of, but after many months in Morocco the US stores are such a nice change!), and eating my mom's homemade food, I received a package in the mail enclosing a late wedding gift! Our adorable flower girl's family apparently had never given us one, not that we had noticed, and sent it once they found out I was home for the holidays.

Little Marguerite is the daughter of very good family friends!

These kitchen towels are very high quality and soft and are adorably hand embroidered by said flower girl's mom, and I absolutely love them!! 

They're all wonderful, and I can't wait to use them, but I think this one is my favorite.

They also gifted us this ceramic cicada which is from her dad's region in southern France and which we thought was just too fun.

I also got a late Christmas gift from a sister who was annoyed at my constantly using her waterbottle...

and have continued to add to my turtle collection!!

It's been a good trip so far!!

Monday, December 29, 2014


While en route home last week I realized that the last time I was around snow was in 2010. Arriving in South Dakota I was disappointed to see there wasn't much snow on the ground. I've been hoping for it to snow... wanting to enjoy the silence it envelops the world in, the crunch of it under my boots, and the beauty it lends to the dead, yellowed grass. So when it snowed the other day, and on top of that the sun came out for the first time since I had arrived, I was pretty happy. As soon as I woke up and came downstairs I grabbed my camera and stepped out the front door to take these:

Then the chill got to me so I stepped inside, and continued taking pictures indoors.

It might be cold but it sure is pretty out!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas morning at the Braga-Henebry's

We already had had a bunch of presents under the tree... but Santa still makes a stop at this house despite our lack of little kids!

Sisters in the early morning. We had to do presents earlier than usual because my brother Gus and his fiancée Emily had to drive down to Kansas City to spend the rest of the holiday with her family. 

Present time! We had a first round of gifts from littlest sisters Maria and Tessie. All the gifts were either adorably homemade, or from one of the town's many, amazing antique shops. I took shots of some of the impressive art Maria gave out.

After that, I gave out the gifts Othman and I had ordered for the family from fair trade site Seven Hopes United (having had a good experience when they were one of our wedding registries)... before I knew I was coming! Mom and dad got a serving dish handmade and painted in Mexico,

and each sibling (and one future sibling) got hand painted cups from India that I thought were just lovely.

Othman and I also gifted a book to Emily and Gus that we've benefited from in our relationship.

Gifts from Othman's family in Morocco were next! Maria and Isabel got some cookbooks which they're looking forward to using...

and Tessie got some stationary which she thought was just too cute.

Mom got a beautiful shirt from Marrakech,

and she and dad are enjoying the beautiful coffee table book full of photographs of Morocco,

and the boys are loving the entire KILO of chocolate!

Patrick's gifts to the family were an Apple TV (whose use he had to explain to us of course),

and official World Cup Brazil jerseys for the girls! Also, not pictured, is a stylus and corresponding iPad app for the artists of the family to make spectacular illustrations. More on that in a future post.

Then came Santa's presents, including some great piano music and composition book for the pianists Maria and Isabel, lots of arty things for Tessie and others, and some things made by mom or coming from her travels... because as she explained to us when we were younger (to explain the wrapping paper we helped make with potato stamps), busy busy Santa employs moms as his helpers.

The future-weds got some crocheted pot holders and a door mat made from Gus's old tee-shirts. 

Patrick got a Lonely Planet stickerbook to prepare him for his upcoming (and slightly insane) vacation to Antarctica...

and Tessie fangirled over an ultimate Percy Jackson guide.

Maria rejoiced over a thermos cup that wouldn't get polluted by old coffee taste...

and Emily fell in love with a scarf mom crocheted for her!

I got no less than THREE additions to our turtle collection, including this adorable handfelted one mom got on the streets of Santa Fe,

and Isabel loved the plaid dress Gus and Emily gifted her!

There were many more gifts given and received throughout the morning, but the greatest gift of all was both the joy of giving to our loved ones, and the presence of ALL the siblings at a Christmas for the first time in many years! After coming home from church on Christmas Eve we all sat around our dining table to eat some desserts (and maybe drink some wine and port) before heading to bed. Mom gave a toast to the love between family members and suggested that we all follow with our own toasts. We ended up making two trips around the table toasting to each other, to absent loved ones, to the trials and triumphs of the year past, and to our love for each other which has morphed and changed over the years but has never waned. It truly was a very, very merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Eve in South Dakota

Here's a photo report: Braga-Henebrys etc while piano playing, paper snowflake making, video gaming and after church picture taking!

Christmas candles!

This picture IS their relationship.

My daddy dear!

Mario Kart is serious.

A photogenic selection of the dessert spread we'd come home to...

Last Christmas before their wedding!

Four sisters....

and three brothers!

Basically yep...

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!