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Earlier this summer, we celebrated the anxious anticipation of the birth of these twins. And then a few weeks ago, I finally got to meet these girls! Any parent of multiples can tell you that raising newborn twins can be quite challenging and when you’re trying to do that while raising a toddler, things can seem pretty crazy at times. But this mommy and daddy were made for the job and they just took everything in stride, which made my job to document their lives with twins + a toddler all that much more fun. #1 bit of advice to anyone juggling life with twins is to maintain your sense of humor, as in exhibit A below:

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We really did have to laugh because just as we would get all three kiddos calm and happy and picture ready, inevitably one would need something else. And it was perfectly okay for all of us to take plenty of snack breaks during the photo session ;-).

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Oh, look at that perfect little newborn swirl. Sigh…

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The two images of dad up there were snapped in quick succession. I didn’t realize I had gotten both of his PERFECT expressions until after I got home and flipped through the images. His face says it all, lol!

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Oh, bless their pupster, who just wanted to be in every.single.picture. we took! Loved it!

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We were finally able to convince big sister to be in on some of the family photos and truly, she was just as sweet as she could be to her baby sisters. It’s a lot to ask of any new sibling to accept a new baby into their home and she’s working through that times TWO. I saw mom and dad do an amazing job of making sure she was getting plenty of love and affection in spite of us oooohing and ahhhing over the babies and that is pretty spectacular. But personally, my fav big sister picture came at the very beginning of our session HERE.

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And wow…how any newborn mommy can look this radiant–let alone a newborn mommy with twins–is beyond me.

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I do love that we were able to give mommy some quiet snuggle time with just the babies.

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I also love how each parent somehow got a clone ;-).

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Everyone in this family of FIVE gets gold stars for doing a fantastic job throughout their photo session for sure!

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So, a few years ago, I happened to experience on of my most favorite photo shoots of all time with this beautiful young lady and a butterfly ;-). I could not get over the fates at work when, as I was planning a spur of the moment trip to Denver, her mommy contacted me to let me know they were in Colorado and could we work out a new photo session because they now had a baby boy! Turns out that she is just as sassa-frassy as she’s always been.

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It also turns out that baby boy is just as adorable as his big sister!

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I was very excited to get to work at this crazy colorful spot in downtown Denver…loved it’s modern look with jagged lines and cool shapes. But it wasn’t without it’s challenges. Quite literally after I had taken but a single image, it started to rain on us :-(. We ducked under the cover of various overhangs, hoping it would pass. Eventually, the rain did let up…for a while.

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Fortunately, this family doesn’t take long at all to warm up to the camera, so we were able to work quickly and still get amazing interactions with everyone in a short time. So, I wasn’t terribly worried when we saw the clouds rolling in again.

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My favorite part of the session comes in the following series of images. Little guy is just learning to walk and he actually took a few steps on his own while I was luckily snapping away!

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The looks on their faces says it all! He was so proud of himself and his sister was just as happy for him! It was precious! And sure enough, just as we finished those last couple of images, the storm *really* hit…it was like a Texas storm! Crazy lightning and a torrential downpour that wouldn’t let up! I was so happy we were able to squeeze in some amazing images with them before the storm sent us scattering to our cars ;-).

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For one reason or another, we kept having to reschedule his newborn photo session. I actually think it worked out for the better because he was absolutely amazing during his shoot…so incredibly expressive and turning his head and following me with the camera, smiling and cooing and completely wrapping all of us around his cute little baby pinky. His big brother even let us take a few pics with him in between his busy schedule of watching the trucks on TV and playing with his blocks ;-). These boys are both so handsome! Well done! Another fav HERE.

[All images in this post by the amazing Jody Mack Photography in Charleston, SC. Thank you, Jody!!!!]

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Oh wait. *I* said that. Seriously, WHAT was I thinking?!

NOTE: There’s a long-winded post following, but as part of my Pinkle Toes 10 Year celebration, I want to invite all of my friends and clients to join me in the 5th Annual Fight Like a Girl 5K on October 16th, 2016. I have team (Pinkle Toes Photography) AND from now through 9/14, you can get $5 off your registration. If you join my team, I don’t think you need to use the offer code, but if it asks for one, try EARLYBIRD. I would be more than honored if you and even your family would come run or walk this race with me. I know it’s a short window for that discount code, but it’s my hope that you’ll just impulse sign up with me and you won’t have time to talk yourself out of it. If you’ve never done one before, what a great time to start! I promise I’m going to be taking it easy, by the way, as this run is fresh off the heels of the Brooklyn Half Marathon the week before ;-).

Mkay, now for the post (oh, if you’re looking to update your running playlist, I’ve shared mine below!)…

So I’ve been talking off and on here about some big changes that I’ve made in my life over the last 1.5 years (barre and yoga) and I will admit to you on here I made those changes with the hopes of NOT having to run. But as I progressed in barre, I realized I was still missing something and once again inspired by my friend Leah, I decided to try to take up running. I guess that was Feb/March of 2015? I used to (half-heartedly) run cross country track in high school so I thought this would not be a problem for me. I guess I forgot how LONG ago that was, because just starting out trying to go one mile was a HUGE challenge for me. I was totally crushed to realize how difficult this was going to be for me.

After the first week or so of trying to run 1-2 miles a couple of days, I was pretty much done. But blast it if my friend Kate didn’t somehow convince me that it would be a wonderful idea for me to sign up to run a flippin’ HALF MARATHON (3M in January of this year). I really don’t remember what she said to sway me, but I did and *then* I used peer pressure to convince some other pals AND my sister (who has just done AMAZING things with her running) and even my 60-year-old super woman MOTHER to run it with me.

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But this post is not about the half marathon. And it’s not about how wonderful running is because honestly this summer, it hasn’t been very wonderful for me *at all*. Instead, this post is about a few of the lessons running (or trying to run) has taught me over the course of 19 months:

  1. Know your limits and work up to your miles gradually. I really didn’t think I would have to “learn” to run…human beings all know how to run, right? It’s like walking, but faster. Duh. And my super Type A (read: competitive) personality simply would not let this go and so I tried to push myself too far and too fast resulting in…
  2. Injuries (they suck). So, on day one, I went out and bought the cutest running shoes I could find. Turns out, they weren’t actually designed for running, nor were they the correct size (too small), and I wound up with a stress fracture almost immediately. I did what everyone says NOT to do on an injury and tried to simply “run through” the pain and sure enough, that just made the stress fracture take even longer to heal. I went through two other pairs of shoes before I finally found ones that worked for me, but unfortunately, because I continued to push myself much too hard, thinking I needed to make up for lost time, I spent literally month after month (up until just this summer) painfully injured in one way or another. Which leads me to…
  3. Foam rolling saves lives! Okay, maybe not literally, but close enough to me. Honestly, foam rolling looked pretty stupid to me and I didn’t see how that was supposed to be helpful with injury prevention until I (yet again) broke rule #1 and jumped from 8 miles to 12 miles with nothing in-between and completely messed up my IT band on both sides. Folks, I wouldn’t wish that kind of pain on my worst enemies. And it takes *forever* to heal. I ended up having to run my very first half marathon knowing that at any moment, that pain was going to come back, and sure enough, around mile 7-8, it pretty much brought me to my knees. I truly didn’t think I would be able to finish that race. I truly don’t know how I did. I truly wish that I hadn’t because it wasn’t until probably 4 months after where I could run even 2 miles pain-free. I finally broke down and bought a foam roller and let me tell you that it is my best friend and I spend time with it religiously. Also let me tell you that it was NO picnic when I first started foam rolling. It was incredibly painful and only just now after using it at least once a day (about 5 min.) consistently for 8 months do I not feel pain that makes tears well in my eyes. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? But it truly is worth it. I was pretty much convinced that my very short running career was totally over and I would never be able to run without pain, but I’ll have you know, I did a 10K Sunday and I was totally pain free!
  4. You will PR quickly and frequently when you first start and that feels amazing…until you stop PRing. Some of you may have read about my recent blah runs on my Instagram feed (here and here). I was really tempted to not post those things because I don’t like to be negative and whiney and really, who wants to show their dirty laundry online? But let’s keep it real: I’ve put in hundreds of miles on my feet and not every run is going to be exhilarating. A fast run isn’t necessarily a successful run. A challenging run isn’t necessarily a failed run. And something else–and this is not meant to be discouraging in any way–but it never gets easier. The first 3 miles of any run are always super tough to me and that was tough for me to accept at first…I thought after doing this for a few months, I would just leap through all of my runs like a graceful gazelle. Sadly, that is not so, lol. This week, I’m pretty sure I reached the peak of running geek-dom when I started listening to running podcasts *while* running, but it’s been a wonderful, refreshing change and very so inspiring to hear that ALL runners, no matter how long they’ve been running or how far they’ve run, have had the same ups and downs as I’ve experienced. Knowing this encourages me to seek new motivations to run even after I’ve met certain goals. And to be kinder to myself, leading to
  5. After each run, take time to be grateful in your running and to yourself. As shallow as it sounds, I started out running merely to lose weight, but now, I’m *this* close to just getting rid of the scale in our house because being skinny just doesn’t mean that much to me any more. I want to be strong. I want to be healthy. I want to be happy. I want to be challenged. I want to be persistent. I want to win all the things. I want to fail and be forced to learn from those mistakes and try again. I want to properly appreciate this ability I have to run at this point in my life and I plan to take advantage of it as long as I am physically able. We end barre class by thanking our bodies and yoga with thanking ourselves and one another, so why shouldn’t we do the same when running? A new habit I am incorporating into each of my runs is to spend at least a couple of minutes at the end on these thoughts:
    1. This run is done and I’m glad I did it!
    2. I’m grateful for the opportunity to run. It is a privilege.
    3. Thanks to my body for working so hard and to my mind for supporting the journey.

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And there you go, my thoughts on my running journey thus far. These may not apply to everyone, but I wanted to share them just in case it might be the push needed to inspire someone to keep moving even when they feel frustrated (“Forward is forward,” right, Kate?). Feel free to share any words of wisdom you have in the comments or if you can relate to anything I’ve written here, let me know! If you want to follow along with my ups and downs, visit #runpinklerun on Instagram.

I’m starting to get more excited about my next half marathon in Brooklyn in October! It’s so out of character for me to go out of town *just* for that, but I am so blessed to get to see and run it with my friend and inspiration, Lena! Oh, while I’m on that topic, I know I already mentioned a few people who have been super inspiring to me and there are a few more that come to mind: Regan, Pete, Laura G., Minnette (or should I say, Marathon Manet?), Elicia, Melonie & Zeke, and oh, my word, so many more that I just know I’m leaving out. They honestly may not even know how much they affected me, but they have and I just want to say thank you!

Again, I would LOVE to get to run the FLAG 5K with you next month, so please, please, please consider signing up. I was drawn to this particular race because of Lindsay’s story — melanoma devastated our family and the families of several other people I know. I very much appreciate what the H.O.P.E fund does for the families of cancer patients.

And finally, some of my favorite running songs! Be warned that I tend to get a bit angry while running (sometimes, you just have to) so many of these are NSFK!!! Any more I should add to this list?

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I have been honored enough to follow your journey as a family through so many of the greatest joys and even the toughest times. It made my heart swell with happiness to get to see the fruition of your years of planning and saving and imagining to turn your home into the home of your dreams. You did an incredible job and you deserve ALL the time in the world to bask in the wonderful feel of it all. Enjoy these years as you continue to raise your kids there, relive the countless memories you made for them in this space when they one day move away, and–in the very distant future–create precious new memories while snuggling with your grandchildren on that couch. Welcome home. Again.

(Fav mother-son moment HERE).

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There is so much I want to say about this family photo session we did during their trip to Austin, but I also want to get these sneak peeks up ASAP. So here’s what you should know:

  1. There was SO much laughter the entire time. I don’t think I could take a serious picture even if I tried and that is totally wonderful.
  2. I LOVED how he used his mommy as his armrest…a habit I don’t think he even realized he was doing most of the time. I know it won’t be long before my own sons are taller than me and I hope at least one of them develops this habit.
  3. I didn’t want the session to end. But eventually, it did get too hot and too sunny to continue, so we all went out to breakfast together instead and I will never forget that.
  4. I love Angela’s hair…gah! The color! Interesting to note, I actually met her years ago when she came to a Pinkle Toes Photography Workshop here in Austin. She came all the way from Roatan which blew me away (and what a GORGEOUS place that is!). Now she’s a photographer in Colorado…check her out.
  5. I also loved her daughter’s new look that she got just for their visit to Austin! See us playing below and also don’t miss another version HERE.
  6. And finally, I love that I got to use that wall I’ve had my eye on for a while now. I mean, it just was the PERFECT place to end our session. So. Much. Fun.

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And finally, this might be what I loved most about this session: these two! I’m so glad their mama found this little sign because it couldn’t have been more perfect. It is quite clear that they are indeed best of friends and that they look out for each other. And they are incredibly lucky to have this kind of relationship. Good work, mama!

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A little while back, I had the pleasure of spending a few days (technically, it may have only been 24 hrs) with an amazing photographer, good friend, and past workshop attendee, Sabrina Gebhardt Photography in Fort Worth. As part of our adventures together, we photographed another amazing photographer, good friend, and past workshop attendee, Lauren in Dallas. As excited as I was to explore downtown Dallas, I’m not going to lie…the heat almost did me in completely! I live in Texas, but I just wasn’t prepared for the way the heat radiated up through the streets and sidewalks. We were super duper lucky to find a cool little building to duck into for a few minutes 😉 and believe me, we were ALL grateful for a little bit of ice cold AC. Lauren’s kiddos did amazingly well considering it was the end of the day and so hot outside and I loved being able to incorporate the city into their family pictures this time. THIS one made me laugh ;-).

I also really loved having Sabrina there with me. She and I were saying how invaluable a second shooter would be at family sessions. This is common practice in wedding photography, but I can definitely see a need for it here, too. It was so cool to see all of the different perspectives she was able to get, even though we were both photographing the same people in the same location. One HERE and one HERE for example.

Here’s Sabrina in action:
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So fun to get to go back and relive that whirlwind mentoring time with Sabrina and Lauren’s photoshoot in downtown Dallas! We had a wonderful time and I truly loved talking shop with Sabrina and watching her grow her photography business!

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Let me tell you that it was such a joy to get to edit this senior portrait session while the rain poured down outside my office! This young lady is about to start her final year in high school and I can’t think of a better way to kick things off than by celebrating what makes her…*her*. I’ve had the honor of working with both her big sister AND her big brother in years past, and it really amazed me that we were still able to make this session unique. Her smile is radiant and her self-confidence and genuine compassion really shined through. Just an incredible end cap to the senior photo session series in their family and I can’t wait to hear about her adventures as she leaves the nest next year!

Oh, loved this quick snap with her parents below and her eyes HERE and the colors (in spite of the dark) HERE.www.pinkletoes.com

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When it comes to lifestyle family photo sessions, the person who schedules the session is technically my boss. But if that photo session happens to involve an adorable, precocious two-year-old, it is pretty much a given that she becomes the boss…of all of us. And so it was when we got together in downtown Austin a few weeks ago. It was super early in the morning (to escape the heat) and it took her a little bit to decide if she liked me okay or not, but it wasn’t long before she was leading the way, eager to explore everywhere and beckoning us to follow along. This family dynamic was something really special and it is clear that she is the center of their universe and everyone is completely okay with that. So many laughs that morning and sweet, sweet moments sprinkled throughout!

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Oh! Mom’s shoes were SPOT ON!!!! If I could walk in those, I would totally own a pair myself 😉www.pinkletoes.com

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And her ring matched her shoes???? How amazing is that?!
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We thought we would try to play a game that she loved, but she had other ideas. These expressions crack me up!urban-austin-south-congress-family-lifestyle-photography-014

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Sister. Brother. Best. Friends. I really hope one day my boys will get along with their sister just like these two. Their relationship is so special!www.pinkletoes.com

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www.pinkletoes.comYup! Pretty much sums it up. I really enjoyed all of the personality that really came through in these images. I laughed to myself several times when editing this proof set. THIS one made me smile really big, though.

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She couldn’t have done any better at her newborn session if we had planned it that way. She was amazing and smiley and oh that hair and just the right amount of baby chub! I think this may be why I’m equally drawn to newborn photo sessions when babies are a little bit older as to when they are just a few days old. So many favs, too…like the one with her hand by dad’s face? The way her mommy is looking at her in all of the pics? And also, this perfectly adorable yawn.