Personally, I would have wanted this theme NEXT week, as I have the most adorable costume for The Baby and he needs some more coaxing to get into it. But I dug into my archives from last year for this funny shot of, get this, my Mother In Law! Born and raised in Japan, I was floored when she came to our door last year with such enthusiasm (our first Halloween together). Come to find out, she absolutely LOVES Halloween- and well, we absolutely LOVE HER for it!


Hop on over to I Heart Faces and join the costumed fun!

The next time you are eating pecan pie, throw a handful of chocolate chips on the plate underneath the pie slice, then microwave for 20-30 seconds to warm the pie. It's amazing what your child can teach you, before they are even born...

Autumn in the great state of Arizona is, well, different from my upbringing in the North Eastern United States. I LOVE the smell of damp leaves, the changing colors of maple trees, frequent rains, soccer cleats caked with mud, crisp and cold Halloweens that require the use of long-underwear with one's costume. I love fall so much I will go to great lengths to replicate the experiences for my little Boy and Babe. And so began our journey out to Apple Annie's, a family run farm in Wilcox, Arizona, an hour and a half from our home. We visited this farm in the end of August for our first try at peach picking, an experience that left us sunburned and sweaty and slightly worse for wear. After hearing from dozens of parents at pre-school about how great the pumpkin patch was, we decided to give it another go. We were sure to leave early this morning in attempt to beat the heat,the forecast said low 90's. To our relief, the heat was non-existent; it was extinguished by the 20mph winds tearing across the dust bowl that hosts Apple Annie's! The hay ride was fun and the pumpkins were actually still in the field, just like back east! I just wish the blowing dirt hadn't made it the 100yard dash it turned out to be. The kiddos were smitten with the abundant crop, but soured by the constant dust blowing in their faces, so back to the barn we went, quickly! To my relief, the morning had more in store- an over sized galvanized tub filled with corn in which to crawl, bury, and romp. Mommy got a few minutes of peace among the most beautiful field of sunflowers too. We left with: two happily exhausted children, a half gallon of apple cider, fresh from the press, and a homemade pecan pie (one dessert I never bake myself... the "pumpkin" in-utero insisted we get one!) Not too many pictures from the day, too much dust and the severely blinding Arizona sunshine, but a day well spent. (If you consider going yourself, they do have the largest corn maze the state has to offer. But if you've ever tried to navigate a corn maze with children under age 3 you know exactly why we skipped that part...) Here are my favorites from the day, including a Praying Mantis we found in my mums while we did some afternoon yard work.

It would appear that every half year I am blessed with children who love eachother and willingly show their love for the camera. Dang it! If I had only known that this was the morning, I would have put their Christmas outfits on them and I would be ordering my cards this very moment! In any case, having my husband home from his business trip has afforded me a few extra moments this afternoon to wander down memory lane and revisit some of my absolute favorite images. I thought the age progression of these was pretty fun to see, ENJOY! (The boys are 22 months apart.)

July 2008 (The Baby is about 7 months old)

October 2008 (The Baby is about 11 months old and crawling)

April 2009 (The Baby is about 17 months old, and walking)

October 2009 (The Baby is just shy of 2 years old, and wrestling!)

When the theme of "excited" came up this week over at I Heart Faces, I knew immediately that I would dig into my redeployment archives to find this little sweetheart. She's just waited 15 months, and most recently, 2 hours inside a cold Army tent, in the pouring rain, waiting for her Daddy to arrive home safe from Iraq. It's got some blur from motion, but can you blame her for not holding still? I was shooting at ISO 1250, with a zoom lens at F5, 1/40sec. and probably should have bumped it up to ISO 1600 but got caught in the moment and couldn't stop clicking. I would never wish anyone's soldier away, but God how I love to shoot when they finally come home! To see this family's story, and a glimpse of little Miss Sunshine just moments before this shot, click HERE.

My Entry:

Be sure to join the EXCITEMENT by clicking the link below!

"Karyn, where have you been? We don't see you blogging much, we can't find you on I Heart Faces anymore, what's up?" Well, now you know! Quite a bit is up these days, as in, most of the food I intake. Quite a bit is out these days too, as in, my expanding waistline. I've been spending most of my summer heckling my friend Julie for belly shots of her growing and very expectant tummy, but she seldom cooperates. Now, as my silhouette changes with each week, it's my turn to try to capture and share the journey. With two babies under my belt, screaming "mommy, he won't share!" actually, I have already done the standard "wear the same outfit, stand in the same place, watch my toes disappear, sequence of images." And though I have to admit that they did their job in documenting my growth over 9 months, they are NOT very flattering pictures that I like to share, nor do I spend a lot of time looking back at them. This time around the thought occurred to me that, uh, duh! I'm a photographer, I can do so much better and still document the changes, the earth spinning, "Holy God how did this happen - AGAIN?" changes that I am experiencing. So here is the first attempt, taken on September 16, 2009. Yes, nearly a month ago, so I guess I better set my alarm for that morning sunshine streaming through my bedroom window and get the next shot in the sequence.

We are sprinting through milestones at the Kuniyuki house these days. After weeks of correcting innocent, well meaning citizens, who were complimenting The Baby's curls - "Oh, SHE'S so adorable!", I decided that maybe it was time for the first ever haircut. After all, I have two sons. So off we went to the barbershop, both boys in hand, to "take a little off the top". The Baby watched with great enthusiasm as The Boy hopped happily into the barber's chair and began his trim. But when it came time for The Baby himself to climb in the chair he would hear nothing of it. Snickers arose from onlooking soldiers who insisted that the child would not be getting that haircut after all; how dare they doubt the cunning resourcefulness of an experienced mother! Rule Number 1 of First Haircuts: If you are a photographer and wish to capture the moment, bring someone with you to hold The Baby. I found myself alone, cursing myself for being alone on such a mission, and had to set down the camera. Grrr. Mama took the chair, The Baby, and whipped out a reserve package of Smarties and the scissors were hardly noticeable! The Baby was suddenly a grinning champion of the Barber's chair! So I turn to my audience, which has now grown to 5 adult male soldiers and I ask "who is feeling the Kodak moment?" One willing Sergeant steps up to the plate and confidently grabs the 15lb camera but fails to admit that he hasn't a clue where the viewfinder is, what it's for, or how to focus the damn thing (let's not forget this is a HAIRCUT, so the HEAD of the baby, the BARBER, the SCISSORS, the COMB, are all acceptable in the image...) After he snapped two silly attempts (the two middle images in my collage) I hadn't the heart to ask if anyone else in the room had an ounce of skill with an automatic camera with auto focus, come on people- Canon is doing ALL the work for you! Okay, enough sarcasm from the evil photographer/mom who documents everything. Fortunately, The Baby didn't get scalped, and he got a package of gummies afterward that guarantees he'll get in the chair again and you bet I'll be taking my husband along for that one so I can man the lens! The last two pics were taken later the same day, after some rigorous play, resulting in sweet little sweaty curls, be still me thumping heart. Though we took off 3 inches he could clearly go shorter, but The Baby is transitioning to "boy" much too quickly for now.