Erica before 8am

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It’s Erica’s house before 8am. Erica & Christina moved here last year for Erica to take a job teaching at U of H. Christina stays home with their daughter, so this morning Erica was getting ready for work and Christina and Quinn were getting ready for a morning at home.

To read what Erica says about her morning, check out her post on the Houston Moms Blog today.

KatieW - What a fun and busy morning!!!May 23, 2015 – 7:36 pm

Lisa Tichané - I love how real and fun this is! And how cool are those PJs 😉May 24, 2015 – 8:04 am

Before 8am {Erica} | Houston Moms Blog - […] see Karen’s perspective from her Before 8am morning with us, check out her blog post here.  And don’t forget to check out the rest of the posts within this amazing series as […]May 26, 2015 – 10:15 pm

Stephanie before 8am

Stephanie’s kids are a little older than most of the kids in the other families I’ve photographed in this series. They are pretty independent, each getting themselves ready for school without much help. Stephanie is awake and hangs out with them chatting as they’re getting themselves ready.

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He is fascinated by the Titanic. AS AM I.
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She watches him walk to the bus stop from the front yard.
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And then almost as soon he’s gone, Stephanie’s daughter wakes up and comes downstairs.
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She is a serious dancer. She dances 5 hours every day after school. And has been doing that since first grade. (She’s now in fourth.)
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Go read what she says about her mornings over on the Houston Moms Blog!

The Nevada desert

I went to WPPI and the only photos I took were in the desert.

WPPI is an annual convention for wedding and portrait photographers that happens in Las Vegas every March. I always share a hotel room with my awesome friend Blonnie, and we always take a lot of pictures of each other.

The photos start with our afternoon trip out to Valley of Fire State Park. Remembering our trip there the year before, when it was actually hot, we brought along food for a picnic and all kinds of snacks that sounded great for warm weather, like watermelon. The year before, I was hiking in a tank top and was sweating.

This year, it was not so warm. In fact it was pretty chilly. We did sit and eat our picnic but we ate fast because the picnic table was shaded and it was too cold to linger. We didn’t even eat the watermelon.

But we took a lot of pictures of each other and a few of the desert. I LOVE THE DESERT. It’s so gorgeous there.

All of the photos here that have me in them are Blonnie’s. I was shooting with the Fuji x100s (such a great travel camera!), and she was shooting with the Nikon Df.

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Our friends Eve and David were with us on this trip.

© Blonnie Brooks 2014 [http://blonnie.com]
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© Blonnie Brooks 2014 [http://blonnie.com]
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This one cracks me up because you can totally see David shoving a sandwich in his mouth in her sunglasses.

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Our rock band photo.

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This one cracks me up, too…the photographer stance.

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And then we drove back to Vegas and took a nap, getting up at about 11:30pm to go to dinner. Dinner lasted until about 1:30am. Then we played some $5 blackjack from a video dealer (it was so weird, but it was cheaper than playing at a table with a live dealer, where the minimums were $15).

And then we went up to our room. I had decided I wasn’t going to go out for the sunrise shoot. I took a shower and got into my PJs—a t-shirt and yoga pants. Then I was having a snack and playing Scramble with Friends—like you do—and suddenly it was 4:30am and David was saying, “It’s time to go,” and I said, “I’m not going,” and Blonnie said, “Yes you are; here we’ll bring your pillow and you can sleep in the car.” LOL So I just put on two sweaters over my PJs and followed her out the door.

I AM SO GLAD I DID.

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What happens when you use a really slow shutter speed accidentally. Happy accident. I like it.

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© Blonnie Brooks 2014 [http://blonnie.com]
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© Blonnie Brooks 2014 [http://blonnie.com]
© Blonnie Brooks 2014 [http://blonnie.com]
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© Blonnie Brooks 2014 [http://blonnie.com]
As we drove past this post I said calmly, “I see a naked woman.” So David stopped the car.

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© Blonnie Brooks 2014 [http://blonnie.com]
© Blonnie Brooks 2014 [http://blonnie.com]
© Blonnie Brooks 2014 [http://blonnie.com]
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Pretty sure David was at this point just ignoring us.

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© Blonnie Brooks 2014 [http://blonnie.com]
© Blonnie Brooks 2014 [http://blonnie.com]
© Blonnie Brooks 2014 [http://blonnie.com]

And then, we went back to the hotel and crashed. We considered going to breakfast first, but that didn’t last long. It was 8am; we went to bed. At 1 I woke up starving so I went out to get food but with only a few hours sleep I felt like it I’d gotten up really early, so I was super confused the rest of the day.

We then went out for sunset to Red Rock State Park that evening.

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Taken out the window as we drove.

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© Blonnie Brooks 2014 [http://blonnie.com]
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© Blonnie Brooks 2014 [http://blonnie.com]
© Blonnie Brooks 2014 [http://blonnie.com]
© Blonnie Brooks 2014 [http://blonnie.com]
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© Blonnie Brooks 2014 [http://blonnie.com]
© Blonnie Brooks 2014 [http://blonnie.com]
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We did not see any tortoises.

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© Blonnie Brooks 2014 [http://blonnie.com]
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I love the desert.

One day in May

I’ve been showing you a lot of other people’s lives lately, so how about I show you some of mine? A day-in-the-life of my own.

Lyle’s up first, and Jeff gets up not long after. He bikes in to work and changes there into his work clothes. I took this photo from the bed, where I was still hitting snooze.

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Lyle and Owen Meany joined me…Owen hoping to snuggle with me and Lyle hoping to get me out of bed.

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I handed off the camera to Lyle for some shots.

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When I got out to the kitchen, Jeff was finishing up his spinach omelet before heading off.

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Lyle and I have been writing notes back and forth on this board. On the chalkboard side, which faces out toward the living room, we write the name of who the message is for (so you know when to go look), and on the back—the whiteboard side—we write our note. The night before I’d told him good luck at Field Day and said I’d see him there. His note to me that morning read, “Mom, You’re coming? Well I hope you see me!”

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It’s a short drive to school, but there’s always traffic at this time of morning.

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Drop-off line. Lyle likes to get there early so usually we don’t have much of a line here. If you get here closer to when school starts, though, the line gets long.

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I went back home and did some work on the computer for a while.

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And then I took a nap. I stayed up waaaay too late the night before.

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Guess who else loves naps?

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Burrito for lunch while I did more work at my desk.

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Went in to get dressed and found these two still sleeping where I’d left them.

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Field Day at school! They had the school’s art car—a van that they spend the year decorating for Houston’s Art Car Parade each year—blasting music. (They won first place in the youth category for the car this year—WOOHOO!)

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Lyle in the potato sack race.

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Lyle’s teacher blasting the kids with water guns.

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Handing out popsicles to the hot but excited kids.

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Lyle with two of his best buddies

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Field Day ended around 2:30, and Lyle and I headed out. On the way to the car we walked past the hot dog stand that the Dads’ Club had set up, and so we got Lyle a hot dog because he was, he said, STARVING.

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Then we went shopping for a birthday gift for a friend.

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And the toy store was near Whole Foods, so I decided to stop in there because they sell the chocolate bars I love.

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Only when we got inside, I discovered they were completely OUT of the kind I like! They had others from the same brand (Theo) but they didn’t have salted dark chocolate or dark chocolate with salted almonds. So I bought a couple other salted dark chocolate bars from other brands. So far I’ve only opened one—it’s okay but not as awesome as Theo. Not all dark chocolate bars are equal, I learned.

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The cats were ready for their afternoon feeding. They always come out to the kitchen as soon as I get home with Lyle.

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I went in to take a shower since I was sweaty and covered in sunscreen.

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Guess who followed me in and entertained me for a bit.

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We all know I like selfies.

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Jeff got home from work and showered, and then we were ready to head out to dinner. Our Friday tradition is to eat dinner out somewhere.

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Jeff working the camera.

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A couple shots out the windshield as I drove. Considering I wasn’t even looking at how they were framed or composed, I really like how these came out.

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Our destination…P.F. Chang’s. Because I love me some lettuce wraps and ma pao tofu.

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And their szechuan bloody mary.

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And that basically ended our day.

To compare, you can take a peek at an ordinary day from almost exactly three years ago.

Sarah Wilkerson - SUCH a fabulous day! I was totally sucked in — thanks for sharing your life here! <3 Gorgeously captured as always.May 4, 2015 – 10:01 pm

Karen - Thank you, Sarah!! 🙂May 5, 2015 – 1:24 pm

Lauren Mitchell - Any day that involves cats, naps, field day and PF Changs sounds good to me 🙂 These are beautiful.May 6, 2015 – 9:21 am

Karen - Thanks, Lauren!May 6, 2015 – 10:29 am

Brittney before 8am

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We shot Brittney’s session on a Saturday morning. Her in-laws were in town from Baton Rouge because Brittney’s youngest son was being baptized the next morning.

So here’s a Saturday morning of breakfast and babies and grandparents.

When I got there, Brittney and her husband were starting to make breakfast, and everyone else was asleep still.

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What happens in Brittney’s house before 8am. Read what she says about her morning over on the Houston Moms Blog today.

Brittney Ford - Love, love, love these Karen! Thank you!!!May 3, 2015 – 1:52 pm