I ♥ Faces is having a special extra contest this week with some super fun prizes. The theme of the contest is girlfriends and I just happened to be sitting on this image of some sweethearts in my neighborhood that I snapped back at Thanksgiving. Ahhh, to be young, and silly, and have the time to just hang out on the stoop...

Husbands are many things. I know for a fact however, that mine is so much more than average. He has more patience for my artistic endeavors than anyone I have ever known; he never refuses my request to "try to capture this idea". So there we were, on a little nature walk with our boys, having run into some serious mud down by the San Pedro River. Our choices were to either head back to the car prematurely, or attempt a number of belly silhouettes with the setting sun as our backdrop. Fortunately for me the man a.) listens to directions perfectly and b.) has his own creative vision and c.) is not intimidated by my camera. I just LOVE the shot with the dump truck, The Boy was marginally cooperative, only gracing my belly with his dump truck for about .002 seconds. I guess that soldier trigger finger comes in handy with photography too!

And this last one totally made us laugh out loud, I think my instructions for silhouettes have always been "do something dramatic to create shape!" and well, he certainly does...

Just a few more weeks to go... No nursery set up, no name chosen yet, no hospital bag packed, and now I apparently have no toes. They aren't there anymore. Every time I look down I am greeted by a whole lot of belly. A very funny thing happened this week in yoga, we were finishing the class with a headstand, which I am proud to say I am still quite good at, and the baby in-utero must have really liked the sensation of being right-side up for once, or maybe suddenly found himself with extra room, because he started some serious acrobatics. The room was so quiet, everyone focused on getting up against the wall just right, and then I hear, from the other side of the room mind you, at least 15 feet away: "Oh my God! The baby is moving!!" This of course was followed by everyone, except for me, coming out of the headstand and stopping to watch my belly, my gigantic belly, wiggle and jiggle like a circus show! Too funny! Been thinking about some other silhouettes to try, but until I get one to be successful, flattering, accentuating the right parts and not all the parts, here is a funny shot of my belly button (usually a total inward button), which has "popped".

We are loving texture over at I ♥ Faces this week. I have had this image on the back burner since the wedding of our good swing dancing friends last September. Given the military uniform and the swing dancing history of the couple, I wanted to try to create an image that evoked nostalgia, an old fashioned feel, an antique quality, as though you'd dug the picture out of your Grandma's hope chest. It was such a fleeting moment; bride and groom turning to head down the aisle as husband and wife, the look passing between them is priceless! And the onlookers, what a bonus! (The preacher is actually the groom's father!)


Better than my entry this week would be the incredible capture my very own husband made tonight on our evening walk - Click Here!

It never fails. We get the worst weather when my husband travels. And it isn't just an unexpected rainstorm; we had the wind and ice storm of the century up in Seattle in 2004 right after he flew to Korea. We had tornados touch down on Fort Hood, Texas, when he was in Iraq. Now, the second snowstorm of the season has landed in Fort Huachuca, AZ, while the man "conferenced" at Disney in Orlando without us... (For those of you who think that was cruel, think again - would YOU accompany your husband, while 7 months pregnant, with a 2 and 4 year old, to Disney for just two days, of which he would be in meetings the entire time? I didn't think so.) The Boy woke up early, as in- the sun hadn't risen yet early, and I lay in bed and barely counted to 7 before I heard his excited little voice rise with the word's "Mommy! It Snowed!!" I swear I need to install a nice high hook and eye latch on the doors to keep his enthusiasm indoors until after breakfast if this weather pattern is going to continue. I never dreamed that we would actually see a snowy winter in Arizona, but it's come true two times now, and the husband made it home from the airport just in time to take The Boy out for a romp. Oh, where was Mommy? Mommy doesn't play in the snow? Yeah, Mommy was inside nursing The Baby, who decided that Saturday morning art class was a prime time to explore the adventures of public stomach flu...

Okay, so we all know the old song "make new friends, but keep the old..." Well, sometimes it just isn't that easy- to make the new friends, or to keep up with old friends. Several beautiful, talented, and kind hearted women I have had the privilege to call "friends" here at Huachuca are moving out of the area and on to new assignments (not how I wanted to start my New Year!). I find myself reflecting on how often this happens as a military spouse. So today I've been putting my efforts towards the older friendships, trying to shorten the miles. This week's theme over at I ♥ Faces is "We Are Family", which instantly brought to mind, not images of my own children, but images in my archive from our days in Texas, days when husbands were deployed, and solice was found by planning an afternoon of camera fun with Julie. I took a little walk down memory lane on my external hard drive and found too many shots I may have never noticed. After all, we were single parents and short on editing time. I could only enter one photo in the contest at I ♥ Faces, so I opted instead to post these hidden gems and say "Hey Julie! I know your reading this. When I think of "family" I think of you and yours. These days were diamonds!" (And there were so many more I intended to include in this post, alas, the computer is not cooperating and I'm turning it off.)

This week's theme at I ♥ Faces, the photography blog, is "We Are Family". I immediately thought of all of my redeployment work, the soldier homecomings that are my absolute favorite to photograph:

Head on over and join the fun!

I've undertaken many things in my life that have required an early wake-up time. I rowed crew in college, but seldom felt the early hour was worth it prior to seeing the gorgeous sunrise on the river, a definite love/hate relationship. I cycled my way through several semesters at the University of Arizona, meeting my girlfriend for road rides at 5am to avoid the desert heat and sun, yet another love/hate experience driven by the notion that someone was waiting for me at the corner of Grant and 6th Ave, surely to be disappointed if I didn't show. When my sons were newborns it took a good book on CD to render me cheery for those early morning nursing sessions. In general, I'm really not a morning person. BUT- whenever I book a portrait session, no matter the time, I sleep lightly and jump out of bed with excitement, because my job is maybe the one thing that belongs to only me (all you mothers out there know what it means to share everything, right?!) My phone buzzed with a text message at 5:54am this morning and I nearly giggled in my sleep because I knew I had twins waiting for my lens! Thank you to this beautiful family for entrusting the documentation of such precious little boys to me. Thank you for your patience as the shoot stretched into it's third hour. Thank you for following my every suggestion and instruction as we worked our way through numerous backdrops and poses. Thank you for not freaking out when one boy pee'd on the other, I warned you that newborn photography can be less than glamorous! It was my absolute pleasure to linger over not one, but two precious 7 week old boys, thank you so much for the opportunity and enjoy your sneak peek!

This week I'm busy celebrating the big First Birthday of the website called I Heart Faces along with hundreds of devoted fans who blog and share awesome tips about an insanely fun profession and/or hobby - portrait photography! I have been participating in various photography contests for all of 2009, always agonizing over which photo to enter each week, sometimes competing with over 400 entries for top honors. As an expectant mother of two, anxious to start maternity leave (a.k.a time to photograph my very own homemade newborn baby boy!) I'm starting off the new year on an excellent note, having spent this morning photographing my first set of twins. My entry this week comes from that shoot. To see all of the images from this family's sneak peek, click here:
I ♥ Newborns!

It's now 5:00pm. If you blog at all you know how time consuming it can be. If you have small children in your midst AND you blog, well, you have achieved "Uber Parent" status in my book. The challenge today: I might have 20 minutes alone; my parents have taken the children to the park, my husband is yet home from work, the chicken has 40 minutes still to roast, and my boys were just darling in the most beautiful after-nap light I have seen in awhile. Is it possible to edit, resize, and post in under 20? Start your timers...

It's now 5:16pm. Anything is possible when technology cooperates! The stars must be in alignment, for they seldom wake up from naps in such a good mood, and I seldom roast a chicken for dinner! Stay tuned, I'm photographing my first set of newborn twins this Sunday!! Oh how I LOVE to go to work, how many people can say that?!

I think I am just a contest or two shy of having participated in the I ♥ Faces website since it's conception. Over the past year I have had the privilege of acting as Guest Judge and publishing a mini tutorial about blogging, not to mention all of the amazing "web friends" I have met and been inspired by! My very happiest and heartfelt 1st Birthday wishes go out to Angie and Amy, the creators of the website. Not only have you seen your vision come to life, but you've also seen your "baby" grow exponentially, and that is a huge accomplishment when you are competing with an insane number of websites for people's time and attention. Congratulations! I'm so excited to jump into a second year of I ♥ Faces FUN!

And here are my silly entries for the Logo contest the site is hosting this week. It seems that The Baby and The Boy have already hit puberty- it was Christmas morning and I was thinking to myself "my gosh how the boys are growing so insanely fast!" and then The Baby lifted his shirt to reveal a full chest of hair! I just had to grab a razor and my camera - wink!

I am submitting this photo into the I Heart Faces logo photo contest. By entering, I am granting I Heart Faces LLC permission to consider my photo for use in the marketing and promotion of their website.