Brotherhood is so neat to witness. There are days that I need to separate the boys every five minutes, and then there are these days... Every once in awhile, I am blessed with peace and quiet, and then I immediately wonder what they are up to and I go hunting for them. More often than not, they have found a bug, a spider, or a lint ball that they suspect to be a spider. This can occupy them for an hour. Who am I to exterminate a spider that will happily occupy the boys for AN HOUR?! I have to confess that when I read "I ♥ Tooshies Week" had to be "clothed tooshies", I felt challenged. I'm a total sucker for those sweet bare bummed baby photos. But then I was reminded of this image, and how it epitomizes brotherhood, childhood, and those special bonding moments I cherish. Head on over to I ♥ Faces, the photography website, to see how others creatively bypassed the rule of "no naked bums".


As a military family, we have grown accustomed to celebrating holidays far from loved ones, with empty seats at our table and often times a little empty feeling in our hearts. This year we were blessed. It was the first year in our married lives that we had both my husband and his twin brother home from Iraq for the Thanksgiving feast, and not only home, but in one home celebrating together! I have very fond memories of Thanksgiving as a child: a sparkling clean home, my mother's wedding china decorating the table, amazing smells from the kitchen, and a house filled with youthful voices as my three girl cousins and their parents visited from Virginia. Billiard tournaments would last late into the night, as would movie marathons, board games, and then the race downstairs to call "shotgun" on leftover pie for breakfast. I want so badly to recreate these special memories of bonding with my cousins for my own children. We are well on our way to creating Thanksgiving traditions that will be cherished, with four boys under age four and one more baby boy still baking in my "oven", there will be no shortage of chaos and fun. This year we played it quite relaxed, vinyl tablecloth, a candle that never got lit, the special Japanese dishes staying safely packed away in the cupboard. The 7 month old slept through dinner itself. We spent a fair amount of the weekend constructing various Thomas the Train layouts, taking walks outside, reading Curious George, and laughing over the woes of parenthood. When the visitors pulled away I think my husband and I both agreed that the weekend was short lived and passed much too quickly, and we'll continue to be thankful for the moments we were able to share! We wish our most heartfelt Happy Thanksgiving thoughts and prayers to all of our family who could not share our fun this weekend, and to all of the military men and women who serve away from their homes during this special time of year, may God Bless You and keep you in His loving embrace!

I think our mother's will be proud of that bird! I can't believe with so many little helpers under foot we managed not to burn any of the food!

The infamous "Cousin Shot" my Mom is hoping for - youngest is 7 months old, then The Baby turns 2 next week, my nephew will be 3 in January, and The Boy will be 4 in February. Just wait until they learn to work together to create mayhem...

And to think we wondered where the children inherited the "ham it up" gene?!

A quiet moment for The Baby, who I think was overwhelmed much of the weekend by the concept of sharing.

A truthful, honest, family portrait. Can you guess which one is soon to turn 2 years old?!

My sweet nephews, whom I could not wait to photograph!

I was recently blessed with a little nook on Fort Huachuca, a tiny loft about 15 feet x 20 feet, in which to attempt a few mini sessions especially for the Christmas season. I'm no studio gal, haven't set foot in one since my days back at the Rochester Institute of Technology. But where else are you to photograph adorable children in their Holiday finest (usually sleeveless numbers in December!) when the temperature dips below 60, yes, we do get below 60 here in Arizona, wink! Business has been BUSY, and I couldn't wait to share this precious little one to show you just how cute your Christmas card could be this year... if you live on Fort Huachuca, you have until December 7th to get in on this set!

Another week, another contest! One thing I LOVE about I ♥ Faces is that it forces me to try new ideas with my camera. First it was silhouettes and now it's "sun flare", which really only ever happens to me on accident and never in a flattering way. So when I looked ahead to this week's contest category I made a point to attempt a purposeful, well-placed sun flare during all my shoots. I was thrilled to achieve the desired look in several images, and though some people, like my mom, still think it's a mistake I should try to correct, I sincerely hope that everyone else thinks it's as cool looking as I do. I personally love the way that you can practically feel the warm sunshine on your face!

(Side note: this little man is holding his beloved "spiderman" action figure in his hand and I didn't have the heart to photo-shop it out... makes his fingers look a little funny, I know...)

My Entry:

Head over to I ♥ Faces to get a much better idea of how neat this effect can be, there are some uber talented folks participating and you are sure to learn a thing or two!

Autumn, a time of year that will very different to you depending on what part of the world you live in. Raised in Upstate New York, autumn is in my mind a red and orange glazed time of year, chilly, and smelling of wet leaves and mud. So, though a mental challenge for me, I have been finding beauty in the yellows and browns of Southwestern Arizona this year, and with the help of the nearby Huachuca Mts, I've been relishing in some crispy cool days as well. Last week I had the chance to photograph this adorable pair of brothers, a decade apart in age, and the autumn light was just a superb reward! Enjoy loads of other great contest entries over at I ♥ Faces by clicking the link below!

My Entry:

Yesterday with just brimming with moments of perfection. The very cloudy skies would alter between bright and sunny brilliance and dreamlike diffusion. I had the delightful challenge of shooting a one year old baby girl and her very extended family, many of whom had traveled from near and far for a mock 1st Birthday celebration. Our tiniest subject proved that reindeer ears, jingling bracelets, and home baked confections were not to receive her adoration, but rather the kisses and cuddles of multiple sets of Grandparents were her preference for big smiles. Just goes to show that no matter how much you prepare to dazzle your subjects, it pays to just kick back and let the wee one play in her own backyard (doesn't hurt to have a big old box of Apple Cinnamon Cheerios either!). A big Thank You to the many who traveled yesterday to share in the afternoon - enjoy your sneak peek!

Last May I had the opportunity to fly in a Hot Air Balloon for the first time, I say "first time" because this amazing experience will need to be repeated many times in my future. To see more about my big flight click HERE. This weekend is Sierra Vista's Festival Of Color. I arranged a class field trip for my Advanced DSLR students, devoted students who willingly met me at 6:30am, and we were treated to one of the most beautiful autumn mornings imaginable. Here are my favorites from the breaking dawn, including one of The Boy and my DH, this being both boy's first time up in a balloon. The Baby climbed in willingly but when the pilot wisely blew a test run of the fuel system The Baby bailed out to Mama's safe arms rather quickly. "Too Loud!" he exclaimed. My Mother teased that The Baby was wise to Mommy sending lifes most precious items away via balloon... It appears that the wind may cooperate so were now off to the evenings "Balloon Glow".

It's been one heck of a week. Started off with two days of Santa Portraits at a local Holiday Bazaar, which I hope to blog this weekend. Then two full portrait sessions and teaching a Digital Photography class, not to mention one hellish attempt at dressing up my own family for our Christmas card photo taken via timer: I got three shots off, in each shot someone looks good, in no shot does everyone look good. I love PhotoShop. A highlight of my week was spending an evening with Chas, a local Army wife, first time mother, about 8 months pregnant right now. Chas has been taking my photography classes and this week's in-class exercise was "found object silhouettes". We don't observe daylight savings time in Arizona so it is getting dark before class starts. I have been toying with a cowgirl idea for my own silhouette project and we tried it out in the headlights of my car. Certainly, some things needs tweaking- can you imagine doing this in front of a desert sunset?? but here are the results:(And for an added laugh out loud factor, I am only 21 weeks along, Chas' image of me is the first one. Chas is almost 8 months along, and her silhouette is below mine. We look nearly the same size, which someone so kindly pointed out that night. Ha. Ha. Ha.

"A breath of fresh air"... the perfect way to describe the most gorgeous morning in Huachuca Canyon, as well as the perfect description for the family I had the sheer delight of photographing this morning! If I had any apprehensions what so ever about the upcoming addition to our family this spring, making us a family of five, this family encouraged me to believe that just because you add numbers doesn't mean you add chaos. Evelyn, the mother, is the picture of poise and grace as her two oldest children send the baby down the 12 foot high slide (not pictured, but just imagine!) Not once did I hear a single child bicker or demand "that's mine!" This family molded like silly putty to my every request, resulting in some of my favorite shots of all time. I'm going to blame it on pregnancy hormones, but when I got home and uploaded my images and saw the sequence resulting in the very first image of the two boys, I started to cry. They aren't even my children, but capturing this moment forever made my morning all the more worth the effort. Thank you for the crisp cool morning filled with nothing but joy - Enjoy your sneak peek! (And for you photo buffs, I'm trying out some new post-processing, let me know which images are shining for you!)

I am NOT a morning person. Few things will pull me from my nice warm bed before the sun/ or my sons, have risen. I have been known to row before dawn on the Genesee River in New York, I have been known to cycle the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains in Tucson (always to watch the sunrise from a Bruegger's Bagels on Oracle, with coffee in hand.) However, that was long before children and there was always a riding partner or team to whom I was accountable. On Monday morning I found myself driving to the Tucson airport before 5am without my camera; it's dark out and I'm tearfully sending my best friend home to Oregon after an amazing, laughter filled weekend, what could there possibly be to photograph? Uh, DUMMY! The full moon! An Arizona sunrise perhaps? So I witnessed the beauty camera-less and vowed to wake the following morning and drive the 30 miles back to Benson where I saw the following scenes unfold in the early morning light. Granted, the moon set later than expected and I had to be back home so my husband could get to work on time, a highway patrol car watched my every move, and I discovered that I have a startling amount of dust or dirt on my camera sensor, but I think the results were well worth the effort and the two hours of peace and quiet I enjoyed throughout my journey.

I was up at 5:30am this morning to shoot the moon over Benson, AZ, so stay tuned for those pics. Thought about giving Julie a call on my way back but figured she'd be busy getting her little girl off to school. Decided to dig into the archives for this shot, yes, that is a binky on a string heading to "heaven, where the binky fairy is waiting to give your binky to a newborn who really needs it." I officially won "meanest mother on the face of the planet" that day.

But who cares?! Bossom buddy and fellow photo blogger, Julie Rivera, is having her baby! Right now!


Go check out Julie's post, hilarious, the girl actually paused to post a blog before heading out to the hospital this morning! And then go check out all the other fun balloon captures at I Heart Faces. Click on the link below: