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smith christmas card 2012.

Here I am still catching up on posts, please bear with me.  Once Greg and I started a family, I knew I wanted to start doing family portraits for our Christmas card every year. And the last 3 years, I’ve managed to accomplish it no matter how crazy hard it can be photographing wee ones on a chilly fall day.  But it’s always been worth it in the end.  I love seeing us all happy, in love, and growing as a family — it’s something I love sharing with family and friends.  I’m hoping to get into the habit of turning each one into a Christmas ornament — a fun way to cherish these moments for years to come.

2012’s family portrait came from the 6 months old film we did for the boys.  This is one of my most favorite family photos yet with our two new babies being priceless additions to the Smith Family.  I couldn’t decide on if I liked the color version or black + white version better for our Christmas card, but ended up going with color since there were fun splashes of red and green.

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And just for kicks, here’s a runner up to the above picture.  I love the expressions on all three children — jovial Rohan, pure joy; darling Dhara, my dear girl always ready to laugh; and swashbuckling Kieran, with the face of those early century children you find in old black + white photos at antique stores, plus he looks like he’s totally up to something mischievous.  : )

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[christmas cards from 2011, 2010]

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5 years!

As November rolled around, a part of me swore we were only married 4 years.  But then I would repeatedly count the years on my fingers and come up with the number five.  No way.  Although my mind can’t wrap itself around the idea, based on repeated counts, we have surely been married 5 years.  Wow.  Four didn’t seem so old, but five is definitely old.  : )

Five years, three kids later, I look at the man I married and I am so happy I waited, persevered, and saw the miracle that is Greg and I.  It’s what brings a smile to my heart when I see our children, or when we have to face something difficult, or better yet, when I gaze over a crowded room and see his face.  I’m glad it’s him.

I’m thankful to Jesus for His goodness in our lives these past five years.  “Lord, You alone are my portion and my cup; You make my lot secure.  The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.”  Psalm 16:5-8

For our five year anniversary we stayed a night in Lancaster, PA.  We started off the evening at a lovely restaurant, stayed the night downtown in a quaint room overlooking the city (thanks to Greg’s parents!), and spent the following day antiquing in the antique’s capital of the United States and hitting Central Market for a Mennonite cookbook!  (Greg knows me all too well.)  We walked away with some lovely loot to refinish and restore. Here’s to good times ahead with my love.

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smith twins: 8 months old.

8months15As the months pass it’s so amazing to learn how different our little guys are from each other.  They are completely different in every way.  And it’s their differences that we love about each one.  It’s becoming more and more fun to have twins. Yes, there are still lots of hard days — but just having them here with us outweighs any sort of bad.  As parents of twins, Greg and I feel so blessed that we have so much help at my parents house.  Of course we would get through it if we lived on our own, but having the help and family around really takes the stress off our shoulders.  Everyone here loves taking care of them, so once in a while Greg and I can even sneak out for an evening together.

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Rohan is becoming a little less smiley and watches more.  Yes he still has that beautiful smile, but it comes out a little less.  I think he’s realizing that he doesn’t know new faces, and prefers the faces he sees everyday.  Rohan loves to be carried.  He’s not very mobile at the moment — only being able to roll — he watches Kieran zip here and there on all fours.  Sometimes he attempts to get up on all fours, only to sway forward and backward — a little timid to move forward. He started shaking his head for “no” — it’s really adorable to see, (but not for long, right??).  He also says “mama” and “dada”, but if I ask him to say “mama” he shakes his head “no.”  It’s become a fun little game between him and I.  Rohan is a solid baby.  Solid cheeks, solid thighs, solid little feet.

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Kieran is so funny.  He is a ball of energy, that’s for sure!  He’s rolling, crawls fast like lightening, and pulls himself up to a standing position.  Sometimes he even attempts to crawl up on kid chairs.  He’s a daredevil.  When he falls he gets right back up — unless he bonks his head real hard which happens alot these days.  The boy needs a helmet! He’s very cheery, and is quick to smile.  He loves to give kisses, the only problem is that he has enough slobber for two babies.  It’s funny to listen to him talk because he has so much to say.  Lots of syllables, sounds and slurs.  Compared to all my babies, he’s significantly lighter in weight.  Weird, since it seems like I usually have the rolly polly ones.

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smith twins: 7 months old.

I’m so behind on posts!  So let me begin my catch-up with the twins turning 7 months old. I missed their regular monthly shoot, so I decided to make it up with my beloved Instagram photos.  I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, I love Instagram. I’m currently in the process of making our family photo book for 2012 capturing an almost day by day Instgram photo — so excited about this!

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Rohan: sits up with help.  rolls over onto tummy, but then can’t roll back, so let’s out a big wail for help.  can say “umma” (“kiss” in my language) multiple times. smiles all the time.  bottom two teeth crowned.  camera ham.  loves baby food. calm + gentle.

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Kieran: crawls.  sits.  says “mama” and “dada.”  bottom two teeth crowned.  so energetic/always moving.  loves real people food.  loves to be where the action is. resilient.

mykella + joshua.

I had the wonderful opportunity to photograph the wedding of a special friend.  Mykella and I met in Chi Alpha 8 years ago.  At the time, Greg and I (not married) were Chi Alpha leaders at the University of Maryland after graduation, and Mykella was a student.  As a student, she was super smart, had a gorgeous smile, was shy, sweet, and chock full of creative ideas.  Not to mention, she had an entrepreneurial streak — the girl started a stationary company in college!  And I have the stylish cards to prove it!

Fast forward 8 years, Mykella introduces Greg and I to her fiance, Joshua — a gentleman, jovial, gregarious and just a godly guy who comes from an amazing family.  I was especially touched by Joshua’s Jamaican grandfather who gave a touching and bold speech about the power of family and togetherness.  Greg and I were also touched by Mykella and Joshua’s decision to have a super simple wedding.  They spent all their savings on a beautiful turn of the century home, instead of a grand wedding.  I’m truly proud of them for their wise decision.  I wish I had done the same! 😉

Mykella + Josh, you are an extraordinary couple!  Many blessings as you live this life together for God and His glory!  Your testimony is powerful, and your love is so evident.  Congratulations!  Here are some of my favorites from their special day!  Special thanks to my second photographer/hubby who gives me the confidence I need to grow as a photographer.  I love shooting with him, and I look forward to the many more photo opportunities we get to capture special moments together!

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the martin family, take 2.

I was so happy when high school friend, Lina, messaged me to do another family session and document the baptism of her third bambino, or I should say bambina. That’s right. The first time I photographed the Martin’s, we welcomed Brian + Lina’s second baby boy, Joey.  Now two years later, they are blessed with three! Their newest edition, Baby Rita, is oh so tiny with the most delicate and beautiful features.  Lina’s boys are a hoot, and are as cute as can be!  Boys will be boys! Makes me wonder what my own boys will be like in a couple years.

It was wonderful to catch up with her again.  I have to add that I’m really proud of Lina and all her crunchy ways. : )  The girl is a lactation consultant and doula!  She recently started her own business called F&P Breastfeeding Services.  Lina, you are awesome!  If you were local, I would have SO consulted with you! : )  There was such a feeling of de ja vu as I photographed this beautiful family for the second time and the baptism of their sweet baby girl.  Congrats Brian + Lina!

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the boys are holding hands despite their desire NOT to!

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smith twins: 6 months old.

I did something a little different for the boys’ 6 month update.  You may remember Dhara’s 10 month film.  I thought it would be lovely to do a little family film in similar fashion.  I’m so excited about this one — Josh filmed it, but he wasn’t sure if he got enough footage.  I wasn’t sure either, but I love a good film challenge!  After sitting down and going through each clip, I found bits and pieces that I loved, and reacquainted myself with Final Cut Pro.

The final product contains all the necessary pieces that really make for a successful Smith Family film: my husband sporting his fall beard and a lumberjack shirt, our comfy cozy leather chair that reminds us of a baseball glove, a beeeeautiful fall afternoon, and a baby, or two.  Enjoy : )

smith twins: 5 months old.

I’m still a whole month behind on these little guys’ monthly photo shoots.  They just turned 6 months old — but these 5 month photos have got to be posted!  My lovies are getting to be big boys!  I can’t believe I have two sons!  Two rolly polly bundles of goodness who are completely different in every way possible.  At times they don’t even feel like twins because they are so different.  Rather, it’s like we’re caring for two babies who could have been born to us consecutively instead of at the same time.  This month it was all about the boys recognizing familiar people, smiling a whole lot, laughing out loud, grabbing things, and lots of baby talk.  Oh, and their hair has finally started to come in, so say goodbye to my baldy boys.

Rohan is definitely the bigger one of the two, but both boys are above average and have the chunky thighs to prove it!  This month they both began rolling.  Rohan was the first to roll due to his heavier weight.  He easily can roll from his back to his tummy, but not the other way around.  When he gets tired of being on his tummy, he sets his forehead down on his arm and cries like there’s no tomorrow — it’s hilarious to see, but of course we quickly scoop him up for a hug and lots of kisses! Rohan is not at all afraid of strangers — he’ll give anyone that huge handsome grin.

Kieran is our mover, shaker and thinker.  While he couldn’t roll as fast as Rohan initially, he can roll from his back to his tummy, and can roll back to his back, and quick too!  He can also scoot from one place to the other.  Kieran is very loving.  I love the way he tenderly holds my face and gives me wet slobbery kisses. Kieran is more apprehensive when it comes to new people — he will stare you down like no other.  But not to worry, he has beautiful, twinkly, almond shaped eyes that make you forget why he’s staring you down.

instagram book.

My mother-in-law celebrated a birthday this past week, and in honor of her birthday I created my first ever online photo book for her because she’s the queen of photo books! She’s made so many over the years and always does a beautiful job telling stories through her books, so we thought this would be an appropriate gift for her.  : )

As I’ve mentioned before, I LOVE Instagram.  And my love for it grew tenfold when I learned of Blurb’s Instagram photo books!  You are basically able to upload all your Instagram photos from your phone to a photo book with the simple click of a button — I thought it was a totally fabulous idea, because I honestly don’t have hours and hours to spend on creating a book layout.  And I love Blurb for how professional and mainstream their books look, so I had to give it a go.

I saw this person’s Instagram book on Pintrest, and how they added handwritten captions to each photo — I love this idea because it really personalizes the book creating it into a journal of sorts.  My hope is that at the end of each year I can create a photo book that captures our entire year through the eyes of my phone + Instagram.  It would definitely be a real representation of everyday life — because I don’t have the time to run for a camera everytime something beautiful happens — and quite honestly, that’s often!

“kookaburra tree. summer 2012.” I decided to title this book + all future books after the silly folk songs we sing to our kids  

smith twins: 4 months old.

It’s neat how much your love can grow in a mere month!  We totally are in love with these little guys.  Their personalities have blossomed in such a short time. This update should have been posted sooner, but I thought better late than never. It’s so fun to watch these two grow together.  Every morning around 6 AM they wake me up with their chatter.  They start off in the crib together the night before, but by morning, one is usually in our bed.  So once they awake at 6 in the morning, I bring both into our bed, position them so they are facing each other, and then wait expectantly.  It usually takes them about 10 seconds to notice one another, but when they do it’s all smiles and coos and baby jabber for the next 15 – 20 minutes. They touch each other’s face and really communicate with one another with their “ahhh’s” and “ohhhhs”– it’s the sweetest thing!

Oh Rohan, Rohan Rohan… Your smiles never cease.  They are forever constant. One meaning of your name is “healing/medicine” — and it reminds me of the verse, Psalms 17:22, “A merry heart doeth good like medicine…”  This verse is so very appropriate for you.  I can see you delighting our hearts with your pleasant sun shine eyes and great big smile for as long as we live.  May God use you to heal hearts, and bring joy to people’s lives.

Kieran, you are so light on your toes, energetic and so full of life.  You are so precious, and so charming.  You love looking at the world around you.  Your name means “shining light”, and it reminds me of Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”  Your presence cannot be hidden because you make yourself known.  For fun, you love listening to the sound of your own squeals, and I love it too. We love all the chirps, coos, and baby words that come out of that adorable mouth.

these basket photos make me crack up because kieran is sitting on rohan’s lap. my two dear little boys! eeeee…love it!