Two Weeks of Winter

These photos are the result of the project I gave myself to use my camera every day for two weeks. I feel like a lot of my blogger and photographer friends are encountering the same problem–our cell phones are so handy and take pretty good pictures, so why carry around a heavy DSLR (not to mention the work it takes to get the perfect shot)?

I miss the years I used my camera every day, sharing the photos even if they weren’t very interesting or important. So for two weeks I made myself pick up my camera. I loved doing this, but I have to admit it was a couple months ago, and I’ve still barely used my camera since.

Here’s a glimpse into my daily life for two weeks in November.

Holidays With Family

I wanted to share just a few photos from my family’s holiday festivities.

This year was the first time since we got married that Joseph and I got to be with family while they celebrated the holidays. For the first few years of our marriage we lived overseas, and once we returned to the states I had a job that didn’t allow for much flexibility. I felt awful having to make our families reconvene weeks after Christmas to celebrate with us, so being with our families during their normal celebrations was wonderful! We spent a few days in the Houston area last week and hosted some of Joseph’s family this past weekend.

First up was my mom’s family gathering. There are so many of us now that my generation has added spouses and children to the mix (one is missing, though–my cousin Payton couldn’t make it).

This is my niece Daphne. She apparently got this headband at the Rennaisance festival several years ago. She told me, “It was very expensive. But worth it.”

My mom made my brothers and sister and I cross stitched stockings when we were young. Each took several years, so our spouses and children didn’t get the same treatment ;) I always loved that mine and my dad’s stockings were the only ones hanging to the left!

My nieces Alena and Avery playing with their bracelet making kit on Christmas morning. Joseph unfortunately came down with a bug that day, and I told the girls they weren’t allowed upstairs while he recuperated. When I went to check on him a few hours later, I found one of those bracelets around his wrist… Avery snuck upstairs and gave it to him.

Four generations on my mother’s side. I was excited to find a photo where everyone had a nice smile, and then I saw Daphne (in purple)… that made me love it anymore. That sassy face is just so Daphne.

Brent and Avery – like father, like daughter.

I keep reading articles about how “selfie” was the word of the year, so I guess it’s appropriate to include this photo of Joseph pretending to take a selfie with a fake fold-out camera.

Two of my three nieces (the third took the photo).

Two photos from my cell phone: Joseph with the soju my parents found for him, and my selfie with my niece Alena.

For fun, here is a photo Alena and I took with my Macbook in five years ago. Breaks my heart how much she’s grown up!

This past Sunday we had Joseph’s family over. There were 15 of us in total–I’ve never had so many people in my house before!

Leonardo is a total ham with visitors and was very happy to have Joseph’s family doting on him 24/7, but he got a good night’s sleep once it was just the three of us again :)

McCoy Holiday Video

I’ve made a short video of my family’s holiday gathering. It was so nice being in Houston with them on Christmas day–that hasn’t happened once since Joseph and I got married!

Going through my Vimeo account I remember how much I love making videos of special occasions. This is the first time I’ve done so with my new DSLR, which is extra exciting. I’m going to try to make a point to take more videos; they capture something special photos can’t.

The video starts out with clips of my parents’ new kitten, Little Bit. No one is going to complain about unnecessary footage of an adorable kitten, are they? Little Bit was nice and relaxed for most of my visit, but she hid away during the main Christmas festivities, which was upsetting to my nephew Lennon.

McCoy Christmas 2013 from Alyssa Young on Vimeo.

Emma, Princess of Cats

This weekend I had the pleasure of meeting the beautiful long-haired Emma. I was warned not to pet her as she is a bit of a grump, but I guess my magical cat whisperer powers took over, and she was purring within minutes!

Doesn’t Emma look like kitty royalty in this big leather chair? I regularly call my own Leonardo the Prince of Cats and think Emma makes a good Princess of Cats. That’s not to say they would ever get along–Leonardo and Emma do not like attention being paid to other cats in their presence.

Unfortunately for Emma, she doesn’t quite rule the roost. Her two cat roommates were hiding, but I did get a couple photos of the family’s two sweet dogs!

Washington DC: Day 2

I figured it’s time for another post about our recent trip to DC. Yesterday Joseph asked, “Did we fly somewhere recently? I feel like we did, but I can’t remember.” He’s already forgetting the trip we took just a couple months ago–further proving my point that I need to take lots of photos of our travels!

Photographing our trips is what began me on the path to becoming serious about photography. I bought a DSLR years ago so I could try to document our time living in Europe. And I’m so glad I did, even if the photos weren’t so great the first few years–I still look through those photos often.

We started the day one of the best ways possible, in my opinion–breakfast of a bagel with lox!

After breakfast we visited Ford’s Theatre and the home across the street where Lincoln died, the Peterson House. The rooms remain as they were when at the time of Lincoln’s death and are very eerie. On the upper levels of the house are a few really well-done exhibits. A large spiral staircase is flanked around this gigantic stack of books written about Lincoln.

As we were walking towards the Mall we were stopped by security. All the locals were annoyed, but we waited around about 10 minutes to see the presidential motorcade driving down Pennsylvania Avenue!

The motorcade interrupted our schedule a bit, so we had to rush through the National Air and Space Museum. It was really exciting, though! I about died when I saw one of Amelia Earhart’s planes and Sally Ride’s uniform.

During school I wrote at least three research essays about Amelia Earhart. We got to choose our topic, and I remember writing two about her in middle school and at least one more in high school. It wasn’t at all laziness on my part–I was just fascinated!

Next up: a tour of the Capitol. We scheduled this tour ahead of time, so we didn’t have to wait in the long lines.

Gorgeous, yeah? After the Capitol tour we went to the Library of Congress, where for the second or third time that day I felt I was going to die of excitement. Special collections heaven!!! I already made a blog post dedicated to it!

Since this post is a bit light, I thought I’d include photos of our hotel. Finding a place to stay wasn’t easy. We were insistent on staying in the city, but prices are so high! We ended up at the Morrison Clark Inn in Chinatown. It was lovely and a quick walk to the subway station. Seriously, after a day there we started thinking how nice it would be to live in the area. Then we looked at real estate prices and changed our minds!

The Morrison Clark Inn is a Victorian mansion built in 1864 and is the only inn in DC listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was charming and reminded me of the equally quaint hotel we stayed in in Paris.

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