Hey! I'm Emily... homebody, amateur philosopher, professional photographer, mama and wife. This is my little world-- a place for me to preserve the little snippets of my life that bring me joy, make me think, or show my creative leanings. I'm so happy you're here. If you get a minute, please introduce yourself in the comments. If you like what you see, you are invited to follow my blog through your RSS Reader. Just click the link at the bottom of the page to add me.
Thank you for being part of my little world... :)

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Thursday, March 31

Featured Photographer: Kara Layfield From Salisbury, Maryland

This week I get to tell you about Kara, one of the warmest, kindest, most supportive members of my photography circle that I know. She is so sincere, that even having never met her, I KNOW she is the "real deal". And hey-- the fact that her images are gorgeous and full of life is only a bonus. 

Meet Kara:

Name: Kara Layfield
Studio Name: Kara Layfield Photography
Location: Salisbury, Maryland
Website/Blog: www.karalayfieldphotography.com

And a chosen favorite photo of hers:


About the image…
1) Why do you love this image?  
I love the feeling I get from looking at this image. It has such a timeless feel and his stare just captivates me. When I brought it up in PS, I knew black and white would be a perfect conversion for this image.

2) What were your settings with this image? 
f/2.0, SS 1/1000, ISO 200

3) What do you love about photography? 
I love how I am constantly learning every day. I love getting lost in the moment, I love the high I get from knowing that I’ve captured something special for my clients. I absolutely love the moment when a client sees their portraits for the very first time. Photography is my passion!

4) What type of photography do you specialize in and why? 
Children & Seniors! I love how kids think and always do their own thing. I love capturing their curiosity and innocence. Seniors totally rock my world. I love to incorporate their interests into a session and let their personality shine. I must admit, when a senior arrives on location with super stylish clothes and accessories…I’m in heaven!
About your life?

5) What are your favorite hobbies and pastimes? 
Other than photography, I love being a Mom! It gives me the most joy and I love spending my free time with my kiddos!

6) Who or what inspires you? 
Life! I am easily inspired by a piece of furniture, an article in a magazine, beautiful textures/patterns and the way a flower pushes up thru the concrete. It’s just those little things that make me take a second look and gets my head spinning with ideas.

7) A good portrait means:
I have done my job right. It means that the client has received exactly what they wanted and more and it means that I have used my skills to the best of my ability. A good portrait is more than looking pretty in a frame, it means that I have captured something so special that it makes you stop and take a second look.

8) Where do you go for design inspiration? 
I love to look thru magazines or online design blogs. Sometimes a song on the radio will lead to a beautiful idea.

9) What are you still learning? 
Everything! I am constantly learning about photography. We are very fortunate to have such vast information available to us at the tip of our fingertips 24/7. If I hear a new term or editing style, off to Google I go.

10) What 3 words describe you/ your style? 
Real, Fun & Relaxed


Kara, LOVE reading your insights and thoughts. Thank you for sharing your talent with me and with others. Love it!
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{Next week, if I am not having a baby, I get to introduce you to the loveliest lady ever, Ms. Holly Olsen of Utah! Come back to check it out!}

Wednesday, March 30

Stitching, Sewing, Playing, Growing: Meaningful Word Banners

If any of you have ever followed Ali Edwards, scrapbooker/designer/web goddess, you know she has a ritual of choosing a word of the year to live by every New Year's Day. It's kinda cool--- a word like "breathe" or "cherish".... something that becomes a mantra and shapes your actions for your 12 months ahead.

I, myself, haven't actually committed to this practice... haha! Funny I'm blogging about it without being one to DO it... But the point is, a LOT of my friends DO try to choose word a year, and really DO focus on it. So when I came across the following sewing project--- originally a "MERRY CHRISTMAS" fabric banner from a fabric store pamphlet-- I KNEW it was a perfect fit to gift some friends with banners that spelled out their word of the year... Words like:

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Cute, right??

I just didn't have the mojo to try a whole "MERRY CHRISTMAS" banner for my home, plus if you remember form the last crafty post, I've been trying to use only scrap fabric I already had, and I didn't have enough Christmas-toned fabrics for a banner like that. But making these shorter words for my friends was a fun way to TRY the project, but not have to commit to too much, time AND fabric-wise.

So, one good friend has her family focusing on the word "SERVE". I love that!

But the other one of these I made is a little less..... deep.

See, my OTHER friend is preggy like me, and has had a ROUGH go of it all nine months. Her first trimester morning sickness turned into EVERY TRIMESTER MORNING SICKNESS. Add to that, she and her hubs have been trying to clean out the corners of their home to get it sellable... and because of those two seemingly unrelated facts about her, it became a joke among friends that her word of the year should be:

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And when I thought about this big, not-so-pretty word in FABRIC, I couldn't stop giggling. So I made it for her. As a joke. As a pick-me-up in her miserable day. And It makes me smile.

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And luckily, she gets my sense of humor, because she actually hung the thing up in her house. Ha! (Thanks, Mel!)

Anyhoo.... Just another random crafty I played with this winter, post-holidays, when trying to only use scrap fabric. 

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I don't have an ACTUAL TUTORIAL for these, but I can give you the basic steps. They're cute, and the possibilities are endless if you have patience to cute and sew letters!

HOW TO SEW FABRIC WORD BANNERS
Materials:
scrap fabric (pieces at least 7"x7" are helpful)
thin batting (but you could use light-colored fleece or felt if you wanted)
coordinating or contrasting thread (depends on your style)
Word Processing program on your computer, and a printer
pinking shears
ribbon or twine for hanging

Step One: 
Go to Microsoft Word or whatever, and type out your word. If you want a clean, straightforward font like mine above, I used ARIAL BLACK for big, chunky thick letters. Change the font size to something between 450-750 pt. font. At this size, your word will print about one letter per sheet of paper. 

Step Two:
Cut out your printed letters and pin them to your fabric. You can use all one fabric, or a mish-mash like I did. You can use the same fabric for front and back, or just go crazy and make every piece of fabric totally different. 

Step Three: 
I like to cut my letters in a stack, all at once, instead of cutting out just the front, then just the back, then just the batting. TOO MUCH WORK! I sandwich the whole thing from the get-go, so that the fabrics are facing out and the batting is in the middle, and pin and cut like that. 

Step Three A:
I used pinking shears to cut out my stack. If you want to have a little more control, you can cut out your letters with regular scissors first, but with a 1/8-1/4" seam added to the edge. Then after your letter is cut out, you can go back and pink that 1/8-1/4" edge off with your pinking shears. 

Step Four:
Once your sandwich is cut, you'll unpin it and take away the pattern paper and take out the batting piece. At this point, you want to trim your batting to be skinnier than the fabric letters. I cut about 1/4" off of all sides of the letter so that you get a skinny version you can then put back between the fabric letters. Now your batting/felt/fleece won't be hanging out the edges if you get sloppy in your sewing!

Step Five:
With your fabric sandwich pinned,  you then sew a straight running stitch (I prefer machine sewing, but you could hand-stitch this, too) around the border of your letter, around 1/4" in from the pinked edge. 

Because the edges are pinked, they won't fray, so you are not doing any inside-out sewing. What you see is what you get, so when you're done sewing, your letter is basically DONE. 

Step Six:
I used embroidery floss on the backs of the letters to create little loops to run my ribbon through. I just stitched a loop in the places where the letter needed to hang from and be supported, and then ran ribbon through them all and VOILA! 

There are probably other better ways to get your letters in a banner form--- you could sew them directly to ribbon, glue them, pin them, whatever...

And if you go back and look at the detail shot of my letter "G", you'll see that the poor letter was NOT hanging well without a little help: I had to stitch a support line to keep the lower half of the G from flopping backwards and messing up the whole thing. A way to prevent weak, wimpy letters from flopping is to either:

A. Cut smaller letters (closer to the 450 pt. font size instead of the 750 pt font size)

B. Iron on some light interfacing to your fabric first

C. Use felt or upholstery type fabric for a sturdier fabric


Anyhoo.... It's not a tutorial, per se.... But it's a start. Go make your own word banners! A kids' name for their room! Your surname for your entryway. Or your word of the year. Heck, go make one that says "MERRY CHRISTMAS", if you have more stamina than I! (Then mail it to me, haha!)

Tuesday, March 29

Andi's Family -Flashback Session From 2010 {St. Louis Family Children's Photographer}

Flashback 2010 session....Since Spring tried to show up and is still sputtering to a start, I thought some green and flowery photos might make us all feel a bit warmer!

This is my good friend Andi's gorgeous family--- two spunky little girls and a great set of parents. I love these guys!

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Can you stand this face? *love!*
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Oh how I love photographing families like andi's.... The kids are fun AND funny, the hubby is sweet and happy to comply with my bossiness, and the mama is foxy and happy... 

Andi, I know it's 72 months late, but thatnks for letting me capture these images for you last season. We're going to have to meet up soon to talk about the summer and babies and such!!

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Monday, March 28

38 Weeks ... Only a Few More of These Pics!

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Just a little bit longer! And BOY am I feeling PREGNANT. For the last several days, I've just felt.... PREGNANT. Turns out, it's because my baby has dropped. And I am such a novice, I didn't realize it til seasoned mamas told me so. Ha! But it makes total sense---before, where I was able to walk around a TON without feeling too tired or BIG, suddenly I can barely walk down one aisle at the grocery store without feeling all this PRESSURE. So tiring! 

So. I have my 38-week appt. tomorrow, and we'll see how things are progressing. *shrug* 

I just keep thinking--- this will likely be TOTALLY different than my Noah experience... And I really have NO idea what is coming. Will my water break? It did with Noah. Will I go early? I did with Noah. Or will I go over my due date and have to induce? Will I wake in the middle of the night with real contractions? I've not experienced that before. With Noah, I had mild sporadic ones, but they didn't solidify into REAL, countable contractions until they pushed Pitocin on me as a remedy for speeding things up. This time, I WANT to wait for the REAL, natural contractions. I WANT to time them. Wait. See. 

But who knows? I have NO clue what is coming.

That's kinda fun. I'm not gonna lie.

And even feeling SUPER pregnant, I am still loving it. I am that woman-- the one who loves being pregnant. So I'm in no rush to end it. All is well.

Saturday, March 26

Stitching, Sewing, Playing, Growing: Zippered Pouches!!

Today, it snowed.

{SOB!}

I know, I know--- it IS still March, and March can throw curve balls like that.... But seriously, last week we had 70+ degree weather. The daffodils are out. The trees are flowering. The birds are back and chirping every morning. SPRING CAME. Ya know??

So to get SNOW, and not a little bit (like 4 inches so far!).... it hurt my CHI. A lot.

*

But it DID remind me that the ONE good thing I love about winter is the time it affords me to get crafty again. And I realized that I never got around to blogging my January crafty blitz. And since today felt like January again, it's a perfect time to recap the stitching, sewing and playing I've been doing all winter (and into this first week of spring.) For this post, I'll just focus on one thing I tried several versions of-- The Zippered Pouch:


So, back in January I was on a spending freeze... so it became a fun month to try and see how I could use my fabric stash and already-purchased supplies. I ended up Googling for "scrap fabric projects" and found lots of ways to get crafty without going out to buy new things. One thing I decided to master was ZIPPERS. Zippered pouches are relatively easy (not counting the zipper, ha!) and are mostly small, so scrap fabric is PERFECT for these things. Also, I LOVE lining pouches with surprise happy fabric, so it felt kinda indulgent to use another good scrap of fabric for the insides:

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The above pouch design was found through Google (my favorite!) and has a GREAT photo-tutorial on Flickr, found here:


I LOVE this one. Easy, clean, and PRETTTTY!

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But I cheated just now... I showed you the SECOND thing I made with a zipper. Let me show you the not-so-amazing FIRST thing I tried with a zipper:

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Now, the photo doesn't look hideous, but MAN.... This was a case of Me vs. the Project, and the project WON. For sure. I have so many flaws tucked away in this pouch. Granted, it was tricky just being a round pouch... But the zipper part really kicked my butt. Ah well. Chalk it up to experience.

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And I won't gift this to anyone so they can see the flaws...I'll just use it to hold my embroidery floss!

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(This tutorial/pattern, by they way, was in a freebie handout from the fabric store... It gave written instructions, but no visuals. I think I need visuals!!)

*

Ah, but enough about zipper failures. Let's move onto another style of zippered pouch. This one was meant to try to duplicate the amazing wristlet my friend Sarah made me in our Christmas swap last year.

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(this one is Sarah's.)

I am still using that wristlet of hers as my main wallet, and I LOVE it. The size is perfect, the strap is the perfect width and length, it's lined and sturdy.... I seriously LOVE it. So I decided to try to make a fresh one for 2011 by myself, by Googling a random wristlet pattern.

And while I LIKE my finished, product, I don't LOVE it:

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I think the appliqued "e" looks sloppy....The overall size of the whole thing is TOO big, yet the strap is too short.... It's just not as intuitive as Sarah's. (So Sarah, if you're reading this, I need YOUR pattern! My Google find wasn't quite it.... Not there yet!)

BUT. The one I made isn't AWFUL. And the tutorial was SUPER good-- nice photos, clean instructions.... So if you wanna give it a go, check out the link here:


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Okay. Last pouch, I promise!  This one is a super cute Box Pouch:

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Raise your hand if you're in love with that polka dot lining??! Me!! Me!!!!!

This one was AMAZINGLY simple, and really looks cute and tricky when you're done. By the time I got to this design, I was feeling pretty great about zippers, and just ROCKED this tutorial:


(Such a well-done tutorial! I LOVE the fabric she chose.)

*

And that has been the extent of my zipper and pouch adventures... All of them used scraps of fabric I already had. Many used interfacing. And I do have to confess: After making two pouches and deciding I could handle the zipper thing, I *shh, don't tell Joe* broke the spending freeze for 32 seconds and bought a stash of cheap zippers on Etsy. I HAD to! And honestly, if YOU need zippers, this Etsy shop is THE place to go. I love all the colors, and the price is right!!


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Anyhoo. I have a few other fun projects I did while on the spending freeze/scrap fabric using quest.... I'll post them in the next few days. But for now, let's all take a moment to glorify the cuteness of zippered pouches, and consider a few of the following links for future projects to try out. I know I'll be giving a few more of these a shot! 

More Zippered Pouches to Try:
Make It Perfect: Zippered Pouch Tutorial (this gal did some CUTE patchwork. *swoon!*)

Sublime Stitching: Zippered Pouch With Reverse Applique (this one uses some embroidery and a fun applique technique)

The Pleated Poppy (this isn't a tutorial, but GENIUS to add a ruffle! I could do that!! Or just buy one of these cute ones. :))
LiaSpace.com: Scrappy Scaly Zippered Pouch (Holy COW this one is intense. I might never have the patience to make one of these, but isn't it COOL?)

Made: Candy Bags (oh, these have some CLEVER embellishments! Yowza! Gonna borrow that vinyl fish idea for sure!)

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Wow. If it wasn't late and I didn't have other work to do, I think I'd be back at my sewing machine right now.... Probably doing a ruffle or some vinyl add-ons. What fun Someday Projects to put on my (massive) list! 
Did I mention I LOVE Google?

Ack!

Okay.... Off I go. I need to edit. It IS my real job, after all--- the photography thing. :)

Tuesday, March 22

37 Weeks: Just a Belly Pic...

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Not much to add.... Lucy's still in there... No signs of imminent birth...Tackling The List... Bought sports bras and pj pants for the hospital today... Finally bought some diapers.... Feeling more pregnant these days: there's DEFINITELY a baby in there. 

All is well-- Don't mind the somber colors of the pic! We're just happy to see the arrival of spring and working to get loose ends tied up and enjoy our last days with just Noah.

What's new with you?

Monday, March 21

Love Crafty Folk, Love Being Crafty!

I just opened the BEST little present this weekend--- It included a few gifties from my friend, Dawn, most notably these:

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These are her incredibly cute, amazingly unique and funky girly hair clips she sells in her Etsy shop, Digadig.  I am so so delighted to have a few for myself now for little Lucy. THANK YOU, DAWN!! (Everyone else, run to that shop and buy a few. She is a seriously talented Crafty Goddess!)

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Meanwhile, we had a chill weekend-- the best part of which was Saturday morning, where Joe put on a Beatles playlist and we all got crafty and artistic at the dining room table together. Joe sewed sock monsters, I stitched up wee little scrap birds for a mobile for Lucy, and Noah got heavily involved in Play Doh escapades.

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(see my scrappies? I love the bits and pieces of crafting...)
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Noah's intense projects.. His Play Doh'ing included ribbon, a "buried cable" flag, and some Korean coins:
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And my little ham---
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Who wanted me to snap a pic of him singing the piano part of a Regina Spektor song. He loves Regina Spektor.
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And that was that... Us being crafty, me honoring the crafty, etc. etc. 

New week, y'all! I have a belly pic to post tomorrow.... And a LONG to do list for the week. Off I run...

Thursday, March 17

Featured Photographer: Anelle Richardson From Ottawa, Canada

Name: Anelle Richardson
Studio Name: Anelle Richardson Photography
Location: Ottawa (and surrounding areas), ONT, Canada
Website: www.anellerichardsonphotography.com
Blog: www.anellerichardsonphotography.com/blog
Facebook: http://www.facebook....155087674518164

Anelle Richardson all time favorite image
So Anelle, tell my readers, why do you love this image?
I love the interaction between these two sisters; I love their laughs and how their fun personalities totally shine through! To me, the opportunity to capture these precious moments, is what I love most about photography.

What were your settings with this image?
ISO 200; SS 1/400; AP f2.8

What do you love about photography?
I love pretty much everything about it! I love getting to meet awesome families; I love playing with the kids and getting to know them; I love seeing the relationship between family members; I love being part of capturing the spirit of childhood.

What type of photography do you specialize in and why?
I find it hard to say what I specialize in. Because in my mind, I would then have to choose only one or two areas of photography. The truth is that I love photographing children, families, babies and newborns (in no specific order)

What are your favorite hobbies and pastimes?
I love photography (obviously); reading (non-fiction and fiction); my husband and kids (obviously not a hobby, but they are really awesome people I enjoy spending time with); and traveling.

Who or what inspires you?
I had to really think about this, because there are so many people who inspire me. I think it would be an injustice to choose any one person. I believe that every single person has something about them that can inspire us, if we take the time to get to know them and learn from them! If I am forced to choose only one person from the past and the present, it has to be Jesus Christ!

Who are some of your favorite singers/bands?
That is an incredibly difficult question to answer. I actually love a bit of everything. Well, if I’m honest, I’ll have to admit that I don’t like jazz! But I also don’t like music on all the time. Maybe because our home full of rambunctious boys is so busy and noisy that I don’t feel the need to add to it!

What is your favorite movie of all time?
Another one of those I can’t pick questions
:) 

What would your ideal day be like?
My ideal day would pretty much be the same way it is now, with the exception that it will start a little later!

If you weren’t a photographer, what other profession would you like to pursue?
I love my life as a photographer, mom and a homeschooler, so I don’t think I would change anything. I am really blessed that I have the opportunity to the things that I love! If I had to choose anything else, I think that I would have maybe liked to have pursued journalism (which is what I studied) as a foreign correspondent.



(next week I am taking a break from the Featured Photographers, but come back the week after --barring a Lucy Arrival-- to learn about Kara Layfield from Salisbury, Maryland!)

Wednesday, March 16

36 Weeks: How Are We In the Final Stretch Already??

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I had my weekly doctor's appointment yesterday. I'm up by 2 pounds, baby still looks great, still plenty of fluid in my belly... 

Since getting gestational diabetes, I have had to go weekly, and it is kind of a nuisance--- I have to be put on the fetal heart monitor for a 30-minute non-stress test every time, and with Noah in tow, it can get a bit frazzling to be strapped to a table and unable to accommodate his neediness. Too, the doc does an ultrasound each time, just a fast one, to check a few things like the fluids and the heartbeat, the position, etc.

As of next week, when the weekly visits would have started anyway, I begin the countdown to actual birth. And that is crazy to me. I want to go into labor naturally, despite having had a C-section with Noah. I want to try for a VBAC, and to really raise my chances of success, I need to avoid induction if at all possible. Therefore, the goal will be to wait it out til the last possible day.... and my doc will let me go over my due date (4.11.11) by 3-4 days, so the countdown begins NOW. 

Things left to do:

~ Pack the hospital bags
~ Assemble the pack n' play for Lucy's bassinet 
~ Buy some newborn and size 1 diapers (I'm a Pampers Swaddlers snob for the first couple of months! Any deals right now?)
~ Finish her quilt (SO close! I found a pro quilter to do the quilting part, and she'll have it back to me quickly so I can bind it. If the baby isn't super early, this will get done! If it doesn't get done, no big deal... It's not like she can appreciate it at 2 days old, right??)

Really, I'm not feeling too worried about the to-do list finally... I'm getting excited, and if she came this week, I'd not feel like she'd jumped the gun and taken away my prep time... That said, I'm happy to keep sleeping in a bit and playing with just Noah and having "me" time just a bit longer. So I'm in no hurry. 

Noah and I are headed to Columbia tonight.... one more spontaneous jaunt to my folks' house for an overnight... Dinner plans with my bessie and her hubs...Some good quality grandparent time for Noah... A fun midweek adventure. 

So on that note, I should probably throw our things in the duffel bag... We have a drive to get to! 

Happy St. Patrick's Day tomorrow--- wear green!! :)

Saturday, March 12

2010 Session Flashback--The P. Family: Twins! {St. Louis Family Baby Photographer}

Another sweet family from my 2010 sessions--- This time, with twins. These cuties were about 9-10 weeks when I finally got my hands on them, so I planned on mostly getting those cute expressive AWAKE shots... But BOTH kiddos slept a teeny bit, and we managed a couple of cute sleepy shots in that window. Always a miracle to me, to manage asleep shots on non-newborns. :)

Check out the little lady of the duo (my favorite shot of the session. I think it's all that pink again...):
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And the pair of them...Both completely their own person, lookwise. See how even their eye color is different??
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Sleepy little lady (You might do a double take: those are black feathers, not her hair!! :) :) :) ):
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And the sleepy little guy:
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And how gorgeous is their mama, so soon after having two babies?
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My favorite shot of the pair of kiddos:
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And lastly, a few family shots, bringing their lucky dad into the mix:
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And that, folks, is just another of the zillion late-2010 sessions I never managed to blog on time... So sad. I blame that random arthritis and Betty-issue from the fall for knocking me so far off my rhythm, photo-session-blogging-wise... 

Ack!

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Anyway...

How's your weekend been?  I have been REVELING in the hints of spring. Our daffodils are blooming!! I saw sunshine!! I felt like mopping the kitchen!! It's amazing!!

:)