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I met them a couple of years ago when they were expecting their very first baby. They had planned this lovely “babymoon” in Austin and oh, my goodness, it was like we chatted forever about so many things after we finished our session. I love when you get to feel a connection like that to a family. Naturally, when I saw them again for holiday pics at the end of last year, I was ELATED to learn they were expecting again. She mentioned in passing that they thought it might be twins, so I kinda fell on the floor when it was confirmed a short time later. I mean, can you EVEN believe there are two babies in there???? My favorite maternity portrait HERE. She was positively glowing when I visited them a few weeks ago. I cannot get over how amazing and happy she looks thanks to some inspiring health changes. And it’s been such a wonderful thing to watch them on their journey to parenthood and now into twin parenthood. They are going to do amazingly well and big sister is going to LOVE those sweet babies so much. I cannot wait to meet them and of course hold some twin babes again ;-).

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Beth is a beautiful person with a radiant smile. Her son’s laughter is completely contagious. And her hubby is so incredibly patient while letting us play at our photo sessions. And everyone was beyond patient as we tried to get this photo session actually to happen! Every now and then, I’ll travel to the Houston area and usually, it’s not a big production. But it seems like for this trip, each time I would pack up and get ready to leave, there would be torrential rain and historic flooding. So, about a month after we had actually planned to do this photo shoot, we were able to get together. I’m glad we waited it out because we could not have asked for more amazing weather or more beautiful blue skies!
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Flowers = gorgeous. Mosquitoes = annoying. But everyone is still smiling!

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Ohhhhhh…that one up there through the jasmine? Look at his look…his smize…the protective love he has for his mommy in those eyes and in those hands that still have a trace of baby chub.

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And I was LOVING the colors and patterns here!

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Mr. Man decided he wanted to play hide-and-seek with us. I’m certain you won’t be able to find him…

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Meghan Trainor look-alike, no?

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Favity fav from this session is a tie between that jasmine photo and this one HERE.

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Seriously, he can have anything he wants. Those sparkly eyes! His coy smile! What a charmer!

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[Wordy, but worthy. Back story first, then be sure to scroll down to the bottom to read up on the Pinkle Toes special event at Pure Barre Cedar Park last week!]

It was early Feb 2015 when I nervously walked into my first class at Pure Barre in the hopes of having that same euphoric experience as my dear friend Leah. After 55 minutes in that class (of which I was barely able to do anything), I shakily walked out of that studio, collapsed in my car, barely made it home and pretty much stayed in bed for the next several days. I had nightmares about that class every night. Unfortunately (fortunately?) for me, I had already signed up for a month of classes, so I reluctantly returned. I can’t say that I liked my second or third class much better. But I was determined I was going to stick with it and give it a chance.

Let’s back up a little bit. After enduring very difficult and sad years for my family in 2012 and 2013, I can say now that throughout 2014, I was lost. That’s probably the best way to describe it. I was going through the motions day to day, numb and not in control of my joy. I just didn’t want to or even know how to live life after so much sadness. I felt like a zombie. Certainly, there were many bright spots during 2014–the greatest of which being the birth of my nieces–but I cannot say that I lived that year to the fullest. I was starting to feel very old. I would get out of bed each morning, tired and achy, not sleeping well at night because of the tremendous amount of pain I was in from my back, neck, and shoulders. I guess I did something during a photo shoot once that pulled or twisted my back and the hours at the computer seemed to be making it worse and worse. I was feeling desperate…like my clock had started counting down. I had this silly dream of running a marathon the year I turned 40, but here I was at 36, feeling 50 and thinking it could only get worse from here. I had zero desire to do anything really. I ate everything all the time. I spent a lot of time at my computer or in my bed. I was trying to be all of these things…a mom, a wife, a business woman, a human…but I wasn’t doing any of them very well at all.

I remember on January 1st, 2015 agreeing with my sister that something was going to have to change. She and I both started back on Weight Watchers and I honestly believed that would be enough to change my lifestyle. I was NOT the kind of person who would go to the gym. I was scared of exercise. I knew it would hurt and I knew it would be extra difficult for me because of all of the extra weight I had been carrying around. But when Leah showed up at my house in Jan 2015 for a photography project we were working on together and she was HALF the size she used to be and completely radiant and happy and healthy, I told myself if she could do it, then I could, too.

And with Leah’s gentle encouragement and support, I gave barre a try. I wish I could say that I was instantly in love with it like she was (you can read her story on her blog), but I can say that I DID start to notice changes in my body very soon after recovering from the initial shock and soreness ;0). I need to take a moment to say thank you to one of my most favorite Barre Tenders, Kari. I’m not sure she’ll ever comprehend how much her guidance and patience helped me embrace the shake and stick with barre, even when sometimes, I felt like just leaving in the middle of class ;-). She is an incredible teacher for sure!

After doing barre consistently for a bit over a year now, here are the seemingly small milestones that are a big deal to me:

  1. I can touch my toes. Silly, I know, but I have never been able to touch my toes. Not even in high school. When I first started barre, I could reach to my knees and that was about it. Now, I can touch my toes and somedays, reach even further!
  2. My shoulder pain is all but a distant memory. I finally worked the muscles enough in my back, arms, and chest to release my shoulder blades and that is pretty much like a whole new lease on life for me. For a while, I hate to admit that I was dependent on sleeping medications trying to escape from that constant shoulder pain. I did NOT want that in my life. I am beyond thrilled to have finally moved past that.
  3. I will never forget the first day I held the plank for the full 90 seconds without coming down on my knees!
  4. I’ve always liked my arms/shoulders thanks to the heavy lifting of camera equipment, but now, they are *really* toned.
  5. I lost my love handles! Buh-bye.
  6. I lost my cankles! Buh-bye.
  7. I kinda actually like my backside and legs for the first time…ever. EVER!

Now, just because I’ve reached a few milestones and I’ve gotten better at the barre, it doesn’t mean I still don’t have goals and it definitely doesn’t mean it has gotten any easier by any stretch of the imagination. I happen to be a very goal-oriented person and this journey to a stronger, healthier, happier self is absolutely guided by SMALL, reasonable goals. My next barre goals are:

  1. To be able to do REAL pushups. I’m getting closer, but I’m not there yet.
  2. To get all the way through thigh sprints without a single break (I’m not even close to that yet ;-).
  3. To be more graceful during seated core work ;-).

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And now on to the AMAZING Pinkle Toes-only class we had at Pure Barre Cedar Park!!!! Where do I even begin? It was so overwhelmingly FUN and challenging and beautiful and happy and exhausting all at the same time. I was grinning like a kid in a candy store looking around the studio at all of the eager faces ready to take on a new challenge.

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I was truly amazed that:

  1. Each of these ladies actually took time out of there very busy days to come to class.
  2. Some of them were doing barre for the first time and ROCKED it.
  3. They were still smiling after class (the group pictures prove it).
  4. AND, with their generous donations, helped us contribute $1000 to the Melanoma Research Foundation in memory of my husband’s brother, Jim.

Speechless, really. Even when I got home that afternoon and tried to tell my husband all about it, I kept getting choked up. What a joy to get to to share this passion with so many of my clients and friends AND raise so much money to help battle a disease that scarred our family deeply.

So, THANK YOU Rebecca, owner of Pure Barre Cedar Park, for being so willing to do this with me and teaching our class in a way that was challenging, but still possible for everyone in the room. Thank you for letting us hang out with you in the studio and for your support of the Melanoma Research Foundation. I am proud to call you a friend!

THANK YOU to my sweet client-friend, Gay, for creating those delicious and adorable custom cookies for the event!

THANK YOU to Elizabeth and Jackie from EDJE Activ for donating one of your awesome barre shirts as a door prize!

THANK YOU to Gloriana from Kitchun for the delicious No-Grain-Ola to fortify us after class!

THANK YOU to Katie from Modern Muse Beauty for donating to the door prizes and for being one of my Barre Besties for sure!

THANK YOU to my friends, my seester, and my clients for rising to this challenge and for being so generous with your time and donations. Thanks for letting me honor YOU as we celebrate Pinkle Toes Photography’s 10th Birthday this year!

If you are a past or upcoming Pinkle Toes Client and you missed your chance at the barre with me, don’t despair as I have several more special events coming up around town. The next one is going to be announced on Instagram *very* soon, so you might want to make sure you follow me there.

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In the world of Pinkle Toes, this was everything a family photo session should be: genuine, dynamic, fun, meaningful, vibrant, colorful, quirky, energetic, and full of LOVE. I really feel like they nailed it with their choice of location, style, wardrobe, and the overall feel of their session. What radiant smiles!! You can’t help but to smile along with them. Another favity fav can be found HERE (Pinkle Toes signature blue sky, green grass, and negative space;-).

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austin-kids-boys-childrens-photographer-002Things you should know about this session:

1. These boys got to be 100% themselves. Pretty much everything you see up there are things that *they* invented…including the heart shadow.

2. They kept me on my toes. But that’s good because it allowed me to get creative.

3. They are amazing brothers and get along so incredibly well. Yeah…I may have a bit of envy in wishing my boys loved each other as much as these two do ;-).

Favity fav from their photo shoot HERE.

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These brothers stole my heart when I first met them at my holiday mini sessions last year and I was VERY happy to get to see them again when the wildflowers were in full bloom. They had me cracking up pretty much the entire time. Their smiles are infectious and it’s just not difficult to draw out their personalities on camera at all. I love their energy and their enthusiasm and most of all, their LOVE for one another. It makes my heart happy. THIS image also makes my heart happy.

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1) Tell us a little bit about your family… We are a family of 3 + 3 pups. Our dogs are part of our family! Dad works in Healthcare Sales. Mom worked in Finance until recently and is now at home. Little is in 1st grade and enjoys all sorts of extracurricular activities, including Girl Scouts, gymnastics, horseback riding, soccer and kickball.

2) What made you decide this was the time to do a photo session? Were you marking any special occasion, etc? It’s been about 2 years since our last session. We missed a year because we were moving and renovating a house. So it was time…I hate that we missed a year because we treasure these professional photos so much!

3) Where was your session held and why? In the wildflowers. Because, WILDFLOWERS! We had never had professional photos done in the bluebonnets before and they were fantastic this year, so it worked out perfectly.

 

4) What did you like about your session location? Flowers!

5) What was your favorite part of your session? It was an adventure! We had to hike through some pretty big grass to get to the one patch of yellow flowers. Something none of us will soon forget! I love that Michele is willing to take the risk to get the perfect shot! [Um, I was shaking I was so skeered. The grass was much taller than what I originally thought. I was very impressed that they were game for the adventure!]

6) Was there anything you were nervous or worried about before the session? Well I always worry about whether my daughter will cooperate. But I’m unsure why at this point as Michele always makes it work no matter the mood. My daughter LOVES her, as do we!

7) Any funny stories or interesting happenings during your session? Yes, aforementioned hiking through tall dense grasses. Ha!

8) Any advice to other families before their photo sessions? Try and relax leading up to it(advice to myself included). Michele will take care of everything and your photos will be spectacular! [Thank you, dear!]

9) What made you choose Pinkle Toes Photography? The first time because I was impressed by what I saw on the website. And we keep going back because her work is amazing!

10) What do you hope your kids/family will say years down the road when looking at these images? That we had fun taking them and they are glad we have them to look at and remember our life along the way.

Pinkle’s FAV from this session HERE!

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I never know what to expect when I’m working with a newborn baby + a sibling, but I must say that BOTH of these girls far exceeded our expectations for them at the photo session! I know mommy thinks that her eldest was running around like a crazy person the whole time (and yeah, that may have been true for a few minutes), but honestly, she was a joy and I really loved watching her dote on her baby sister. They are very lucky to have one another.

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See another version of this POV of big sis peeking up HERE. Also love this adorable behind-the-scenes shot by mom HERE.
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It was pretty funny because as usual, the minute we tried to work with the baby by herself, big sis wanted to be part of the action. And we let her. And it was precious!
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I really loved this moment. My daughter sucked her thumb, so I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for thumb-sucking. But I think it’s the contrast between her being the big sister and comforting her baby sister while comforting herself that really drew me to this image above.

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Look at baby sister’s eye contact!!! Priceless!www.pinkletoes.com

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From Mom:

1) Tell us a little bit about your family… We’re a family of four now (I can hardly believe that!) with two little girls and our two crazy rescue pups. We live a pretty simple life here in Austin and spend our days cleaning up messes, tripping over toys, laughing, and wishing for more sleep, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
2) What made you decide this was the time to do a photo session? The arrival of our second daughter, Emily!
3) Where was your session held and why? Our home, because that’s where we spend most of our time and it’s where we’re most comfortable.
4) What did you like about your session location? We didn’t have to load everyone up and go somewhere and we could just be ourselves.
5) What was your favorite part of your session? Watching our oldest daughter, Elisabeth, love on her sister and laugh at Michele talking in a crazy voice behind the camera.
6) Was there anything you were nervous or worried about before the session? I wondered what kind of mood our daughter would be in that day and what on earth I was going to wear, since I’d just given birth a week before.
7) Any funny stories or interesting happenings during your session? Our daughter was running around like a crazy person in the background for half the session.
8) Any advice to other families before their photo sessions? Don’t worry about a thing. Just let Michele take the reigns and work her magic!
9) What made you choose Pinkle Toes Photography? Michele is simply the best at what she does. She photographed the birth of our first daughter a few years earlier and those pictures absolutely mean the world to us.
10) What do you hope your kids/family will say years down the road when looking at these images? I hope they will be grateful that we had the pictures taken and I hope they will see how much our girls mean to us.

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It’s been a while since we’ve had a good batch of bluebonnets *right* in front of the Pinkle Toes Studio, so it was amazing to get to take advantage of this! And, for the first time ever, I found an amazing field of Indian Paintbrush nearby, too! I can’t believe we were able to catch these flowers because shortly after their session, we got that downpour and they all faded away. One of my favs of big sis is HERE. Girl can pull this look off, am I right?

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From Mom:

1) Tell us a little bit about your family… I’ve been married for 9 years and we just moved back to Texas from Minnesota last June. Our daughter is 5 years old and our son is 2 years old.
2) What made you decide this was the time to do a photo session? Were you marking any special occasion, etc? It’s been a year since the kids pictures have been taken and we have always had the cold or snowy pictures; so we really wanted the Spring sunshine and flowers!
3) Where was your session held and why? Outside in the middle of the wildflowers!!!
4) What did you like about your session location? It was beautiful and gave us a bit of the country vibe we were looking for!
5) What was your favorite part of your session? Watching my kids run wild and explore!
6) Was there anything you were nervous or worried about before the session? I was a little worried my son would want me to hold him the entire time…but Michelle worked her magic and he warmed up right away!
7) Any funny stories or interesting happenings during your session? We started out using a wagon for my son to sit in (which he was really excited about), while his big sister pulled him for a ride. Almost immediately the wagon tipped over and the right side of his face was all scratched up! We had avoided having any bumps the entire day and now we had a very obvious one for the entire session! He handled it like a champ though!
8) Any advice to other families before their photo sessions? Make sure you feed the kids first and tell them something that will make it fun. Instead of saying we are having pictures made tell them they will be going on an adventure!
9) What made you choose Pinkle Toes Photography? I heard very positive things from people and really loved the website!
10) What do you hope your kids/family will say years down the road when looking at these images? Look at those magical times you all shared!

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If you’ve ever attended one of my lifestyle photography workshops  or if you’ve ever been a new parent talking to me about when might be the best time for your baby’s newborn session, you may have heard me go on and on about how much I LOVE working with older newborns. And this beauty featured here is a perfect example of the kind of images you can get when baby is around 7-9 weeks old. I love that she was so alert most of the session and was actually making eye contact with her family AND with the camera. And those smiles!!! It’s really fun to get that kind of feedback from a little baby. I was also really struck by how much she looks like her big sister. I just kept seeing her as a newborn over and over again. It was crazy!

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She was really, really, really awesome with her baby sister. I think we were all amazed!www.pinkletoes.com

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See what I mean about the eye-contact and beautiful smiles?

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We snuck away to spend some time with big sis in her big girl room and it was precious to watch her play with her toys. They were having full on conversations. We don’t know what about, but it was pretty deep.

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(Love. That. Book. It’s a classic in our house).

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Ohhhh. those lashes. Those cheeks. Those lips. Sigh. THIS one might be my fav from the bunch.www.pinkletoes.com

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I spy Pinkle toes 😉
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At the very end of the session, as I was ready to leave, mama asked for a pic of her and the hubs together. After we shot the serious image, they surprised me with the high-five, celebrating a hugely successful photo session. Right on! They do make a wonderful team!

austin-marble-falls-newborn-baby-lifestyle-photographer-19From mama:

1) Tell us a little bit about your family… We are a family of four! Scott and I have been married for 7 years and we have Blake Lynn, who will be three in August and we recently welcomed Blair Marie.
We love the current stage our little family is in and spend as much time as possible together.
2) What made you decide this was the time to do a photo session? Were you marking any special occasion, etc? We were celebrating Blair Marie joining our family :)
3) Where was your session held and why? Our home- so much easier with a newborn
4) What did you like about your session location? It’s our favorite place to be
5) What was your favorite part of your session? How cooperative Blake was, she was so happy to show off her baby sister
6) Was there anything you were nervous or worried about before the session? Tantrums! The last session we had was full of tears [but it still turned out pretty nicely ;-)]
7) Any funny stories or interesting happenings during your session? Blake loved the puppet that Michele brought along!
8) Any advice to other families before their photo sessions? Michele is the best, so you are in good hands and no matter what your toddler is like, she will capture absolutely precious memories
9) What made you choose Pinkle Toes Photography? Michele is the best!
10) What do you hope your kids/family will say years down the road when looking at these images? Look how little we/they were