The month of June is quite possibly the most beautiful month for a wedding... that is unless you live in Arizona, and then you must pray that your wedding doesn't coincide with the arrival of monsoon season. But then again, it is good luck if it rains on your wedding day, right?! On Friday evening I had the privilege of assisting a very talented friend of mine, Pauline Fredericks. She has had this wedding in the books for months and I was more than excited to collaborate with her on the day (and soak in her vast knowledge of the wedding photography genre!) We were spared the downpour and we were blessed with amazing cloud coverage for wonderful portraits! I can't express how amazing it is to work with someone who really knows her business, thank you to Pauline for letting me tag along and learn the tricks of a very complicated craft! Now, one must understand that a second shooter goes where she is told and interprets what she sees. With that said, I sadly did not get any alone time with the groom's side of the events. However, there was plenty to capture and I'm excited to share a handful of my favorites:

This morning I had the exciting opportunity to photograph gorgeous twin boys, for the second time! This beautiful family invited me into their home when these little guys were only a few weeks old, that chilly January morning was peaceful, sleepy, warm and cozy, precious. (For a peek at how tiny they were CLICK HERE) Today however, was a whole new world. In a mere 6 months we've discovered yummy fingers, delicious toes, Daddy's nose, and about a thousand other things that make us pout, giggle, and frown. It was just amazing to watch the little personalities grab hold of every heart in the room. It was a bittersweet morning for me as this family is moving, as Army life often makes us, on Tuesday! They will relocate and make a new home amidst old friends in a familiar town far from here. I am always thankful for the amazing souls God brings into my life, if only for a short time, these were GOOD times! Best of luck to your amazing family!

My boys were in an exceptionally good mood this morning. Maybe it was the marching band that was playing right outside the house for a special event at the museum across the street. Maybe it was the lovely cool breeze floating through the open sliding window. Whatever the reason, I suggested they sit and hold The Bundle for a picture of all the brothers together and they actually did it! So now I have my side by side comparison; the brown hair and brown eyes of my husband, the blond hair and green eyes are mine, and then there is the auburn haired, blue eyed baby in the middle, who must possess every recessive gene from generations passed. How I love watching them grow and change....

Impossible! I heart faces wants us to choose a baby picture this week... Hmmmm. Well, I have three sons, so there are four and a half years of personal favorites to choose from. And Photos By Karyn is going on year number three of capturing life's most precious moments for other people, so Lord knows I have my favorites there too. So, in the end, I decided to choose the picture that started it all. I took this picture of my middle son, when he was just ten weeks old, with I Heart Faces contributor Julie Rivera's camera no less! I know what you are thinking: can we get some butter for all those rolls?! When I took this picture I finally realized what I wanted to do with my life, I shot my first paid session the same week.

If you haven't made I Heart Faces a favorite on your blog list, it's time! Head on over by following the link below:

I craved Thai food all of the time while I was pregnant with The Bundle, I can't believe it never occurred to me to make it myself! I've mastered a handful of Asian dishes to keep me on speaking terms with my in-laws, and to sweet talk my husband into buying me more camera gear, so figuring out Pad Thai is by no means the most difficult of recipes. It just takes a little preparation. My husband declared that it was "authentic and if you open up a little stall on post you'd make serious bank!" Though I'm not quitting photography to open my own Thai Shack, here it is:

1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup "fish sauce" found in any Asian market
2 TBSP Tamarind Pulp or 1/4 cup water and 1 1/2 TBSP Tamarind Soup Base Powder, also abundant in any Asian Market
1TBSP lime juice

1lb boneless chicken thighs
1 (12oz) package of rice noodles (I found mine fresh in the refrigerator section of the Asian Market, had Pho recipes on the package). They should have a flat appearance similar to a fettuccine noodle.

1/3 cup of sesame or peanut oil
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
4 eggs
1 package firm tofu
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 1/2 TBSP white sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups finely chopped peanuts
1 1/2 tsp ground dried oriental radish (or 2 TBSP diced pickled radish, which adds a nice texture to the dish)
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives (optional)
1 tsp Paprika (you can add additional red pepper spices for a hotter dish)
2 cups fresh bean sprouts, rinsed
1 lime, cut into wedges

Prepare the following ingredients before you begin cooking:
-Chop 4-5 boneless chicken thighs into bite sized pieces
-Mince your garlic
-Beat the 4 eggs in a bowl
-Take the tofu out of it's packaging, wrap in three layers of paper towel or a cheese cloth, place underneath a heavy wooden cutting board for about 5 minutes, this drains excess water from the tofu. Dice the tofu into chunks.
-In a food processor, grind the peanuts until they are small but not dust. Add the 1 1/2 TBSP sugar and 1 1/2 tsp salt to the peanuts and mix together.
-Boil water in a small saucepan, take off of heat, add the fresh bean sprouts and cover, let stand 2 minutes and drain.

1. Begin by combining the first four ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer and stir until the sugar dissolves, then remove from the heat. This is your "Pad Thai Sauce".
2. In a wok or very large pan with high sides, heat the oil and garlic for one minute, add the chicken, cooking thoroughly.
3. In the meantime, heat a medium pot of water over high heat in which to cook your rice noodles.
4. Leaving the oil in the wok, remove the chicken and place in the saucepan with the Pad Thai sauce for later.
5. Add to the oil the beaten eggs and scramble the eggs until cooked, they will look a little weird from the oil but that is okay. Next add the tofu to the eggs and fold to combine to avoid smashing the tofu. Sprinkle with about 1 TBSP soy sauce.
6. Turn off the heat under your wok momentarily.
7. If you bought fresh rice noodles, you are going to dip them in your boiling water and stir just long enough to break them apart from each other. Literally less than 5 seconds, transfer to a colander, rinse with cool water and drain and place directly into the egg mixture. If you leave them sitting in the sink they will stick to each other. If you bought dried rice noodles, follow package directions for cooking, rinse and add immediately to rice mixture.
8. Assemble all ingredients into the wok: chicken and Pad Thai sauce, noodles, sprouts, peanuts, chives, paprika etc. Turn the heat back on to medium, stir well to combine and heat through.
Serve garnished with lime and/or cucumbers.

He smiles when you change his diaper, hey, I guess I would too. He smiles when he knows his next meal is on it's way. He smiles when you smile at him. He smiles when he is awake, he smiles when he is asleep. He's starting to laugh and my God, it is so funny! He laughs when one of his big brother's gets into trouble. He is 11 weeks old.

What better way to come off maternity leave than with the I Heart Faces Bisbee Photo Walk?! 27 Arizonans gathered this morning for a 92 degree, 2 hour stroll through the charming streets of Bisbee, AZ. Strolling with us were a handful of extremely patient models who did everything we suggested, and then some! One of our models came in a stunning 1800's period dress; ever worn a corset in the desert?! And another model graciously slide atop an old Chevy that was so hot you probably could have fried an egg on the hood! Her mother is going to kill me! (But her father stood right next to me snapping away with his DSLR...)
I'd like to send out a huge THANK YOU to my co-leader Pauline Fredericks. Pauline came to my rescue when the walk became larger than I had anticipated, and with her knowledge and years of experience we all learned a great deal this morning about diffusing and bouncing light. Thank you so much for all of your encouragement! Thank you also to our models and extra hands; the morning was a huge success and more fun than I imagined possible because of your willingness to play along!
The next photo walk, I think we all agreed over lunch, should take place in the fall or winter, when the temps are more user friendly. And, the walk needs to last twice as long, there just wasn't enough time to do everything we were dreaming up! Here are my favorites from the morning, a mere fraction of all the great work that exploded from all the energy surrounding me:

My jersey number in youth soccer was 3. I won two state championships in highschool basketball wearing the number 30, and I shot, you guessed it, three pointers. This year I gave birth to my third child, my third baby boy. It is also the third year of business for Photos By Karyn. Today is June 3rd, my 30th birthday! Hello thirties! I'm not scared of you, I'm rather excited that you are finally here. Reflecting this week has been fun, and most of you won't read this whole list. But what I have learned about myself is: I have most often done exactly what I wanted to do at the time I wanted to do it. And I can continue to do everything I want to do from here on out, in fact, I should aim higher than ever before. I went to the gym tonight to finish my twenties good and strong, a final sprint if you will. I noticed during the warm down that my souls are worn... Tomorrow I think I might go treat myself to a new pair of Nikes to remind myself to "Just Do It", all of it.

1. I was born to very loving parents
2. Sang one of the lead roles in my 6th Grade musical, as the baker’s wife, Into the Woods.
3. Won back to back state championships in High school Girls Basketball ‘97, ’98
4. Fueled by the enthusiasm of 200 crazed fans, hoisted by two very strong lesbians, I slipped a hand painted fan letter into the bathroom window of the tour bus belonging to The Indigo Girls. I’m still waiting for a reply…
5. Punted on the Thames River, England, summer of 1996.
6. Graduated from High school in the top 10% of my class
7. One year in Ringsted Denmark as a Rotary Exchange Student
8. Attended one day of instruction at the Royal Danish Military Academy (West Point Equivalent), an all male academy; aside from PT, one of the most memorable days of my life!
9. Celebrated my 19th birthday in Paris, France, at the Monte Cristo on the Champs De Elyse
10. Attended a Rochester Redwings Baseball game with MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews, and MSNBC Executive Producer Phil Griffin. Politely requested they did not smoke cigars in my Honda Civic and declined their offer for drinks in the hotel…
11. Graduated from RIT with a degree in Photography
12. Won a silver medal in the Philadelphia Dad Vail Regatta, collegiate rowing
13. Colliding with a Buick pick-up truck while riding my Cannondale in Tucson, AZ, resulting in two broken wrists, multiple other wounds, and a brand new bike torn to shreds.
14. Worked alongside world renowned photographer Richard Avedon, at the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ.
15. Graduated from the University of Arizona with a BFA in printmaking and photography
16. Trained for and completed the Tempe Sprint Triathlon, AZ.
17. Married the love of my life, Yukio, in 2003 after a whirlwind courtship consisting primarily of swing dancing.
18. Lived overseas in South Korea for three years
19. Dove into a school of jellyfish while snorkeling in Borrocay, Philippines, OUCH! This remains the most gorgeous island I have ever set foot on.
20. Viewed the sweeping rice paddies of Japan through the windows of the bullet train, the fastest passenger train on earth; met my husband’s family and visited the family homestead during 9 days travel in Japan.
21. Hiked two different sections of the Great Wall of China, 2004 & 2005
22. Walked in the Lotus Lantern Festival Parade through central Seoul, South Korea 2005
23. Gave birth to baby boy #1, in a Korean hospital with NO medication; said baby boy also gave me my first and only helicopter ride over the bridges of Seoul at sunset while only 27 weeks pregnant.
24. I ran the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler in Washington DC, finishing in just under 2 hours, unknowingly 5 weeks pregnant with The Baby.
25. Gave birth to baby boy #2, in a Texas hospital with medication that did nothing
26. Survived 15 months as a single mother, supporting my soldier husband during his deployment to Baghdad, Iraq.
27. Started my own photography business in 2007, Photos By Karyn
28. Gave birth to baby boy #3, in an Arizona hospital, with an amazing epidural, and slept through 5 hours of labor
29. Traveling to places others can only dream about: Canada, Mexico, Germany, England, France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, South Korea, Japan, China, and Borrocay in The Philippines.
30. Hot Air Ballooning over Austin, Texas, with dear friend Julie Rivera.

MY NEXT 30 YEARS (in no particular order):
1. Travel through Italy and eat a real pizza
2. Take my family on a Disney Cruise; I hear they are a lot of fun…
3. Ride the Rails, and explore the fjords in Alaska
4. Stroll the streets and beaches of Perth, Australia
5. Start a non-for profit organization benefitting military children, photographing friendships during PCS.
6. Learn how to REALLY sail
7. Own a fabulous home by the water, any water.
8. Plant an award worthy garden at said home.
9. Raise a pair of Airedale Terriers
10. When the kids are old enough, get back into attending regular swing dance exchanges, master the Balboa.
11. Travel: Italy, Greece, Scotland, Ireland, Checzh Republic, Northern Japan, Turks and Caicos, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji.
12. Act in a city theatre production
13. Publish my children’s book
14. Publish a photography book
15. Worry less about bears, mountain lions, and snakes.
16. White water raft down the Grand Canyon or an equivalent
17. Grow Photos By Karyn into a full time business by 2020.
18. Live overseas again: Hawaii, Italy, Germany, Belgium, or Japan
19. More Hot Air Ballooning; over tulip fields, autumn leaves, vineyards in Tuscany, The Rhine Valley
20. Vacation at a working dude ranch when the boys are old enough to go on a trail ride.
21. Return to Denmark to visit my host families, and spend some time on the beach, which I never really got to do while living there.
22. Teach myself how to really cook, more than lasagna and tacos.
23. Get married again, to the same man, in a church.
24. Own a Bed and Breakfast Inn on the coast.
25. Learn how to surf
26. Take my husband to a Michigan Football game.
27. Downhill ski in the Italian Alps
28. Roller-skate more
29. Host an exchange student
30. Take a dip in the hot springs of Iceland

The Grand Adventure continues... Following our big train excursion we drove the very quick 34 miles from Williams to Flagstaff. A quaint college town chalk full of delicious eateries and delightful looking shops (none of which we dared visit, think "bull in china shop" with three kids in tow), Flagstaff is a blissful escape from the desert heat at 7,000 feet elevation. For the next two nights we rested in an adorable "Comfi Cottage". Though we never personally met our hostess, owner Pat had our little abode warm and ready for us when we rolled into town after dinner at 8:30pm. A pack and play was all ready for The Bundle, twin beds were made up for the boys, the fridge was stocked with bacon, eggs, milk, juice, english muffins, pancake mix, and syrup, and there were even stuffed animals tucked into the rocking chairs. The little stuffed black lab puppy stole The Baby's heart right away and for the rest of the weekend we were a family of five, with a dog. Vacation takes on another meaning when you can actually put your kiddos to bed and still stay up to enjoy the evening with your husband instead of sitting in the hotel bathroom with a book while your kids sleep in the one room you share... I would highly recommend Comfi Cottages to any parent who wants some quality alone time with their spouse and a relaxing place to let the kids wrestle about without concern for neighbors.
Sunday morning was day number two of photographic disappointments for me. Day number one having been the Grand Canyon at high noon. Day two took us to the Arboretum in Flagstaff. Lured by multiple magazine listings for wildflower displays and a bug zoo, when we arrived, there were neither. The wildflowers bloom in July due to the higher elevation and the Bug Zoo died two years ago. The tree maze hidden in the woods more than made up for both however. We also discovered a rotating succulent planter in the greenhouse that had a caleidescope attachment (See photos below.)

Sunday night, after a failed attempt to tour Route 66 through Flagstaff (thinking there would be a number of funky old barn sized roosters or something similar worth a picture or two, but no, there wasn't), which lasted all of 2 minutes and 30 seconds, we treated the boys to shakes and fries at The Galaxy Cafe. We were totally bummed to find out that had we gone there for dinner on Saturday night, we had driven right past it actually, we would have been treated to swing dancing with the NAU swing dancing club. I had a banana split, a wonderfully cold and sinfully delicious triple banana split, for my dinner, to console my aching dancer's heart. My children ate two of my cherries before I got a chance to document my sundae, grrr...