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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.

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.

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.

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.

In 1992, my parents got the opportunity to work in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. So they packed up us four kids–ranging from 14 years to six weeks old–and took us to Abu Dhabi for two years. I grew from four years old to six during the time we were there. They were a great years. We have a ton of photos which are made even better by what a great photographer my father is! Seriously, aren’t these photos wonderful? I’m excited to share more photos my dad took when I was a kid. First up, adventures with camels on the side of the road. Brian is 10, I’m 14, and Tori is three months old. I love this photo because my mom looks great, and the way it’s framed is so similar to my photography style! We became life-long friends with a family of Canadian expats. The adults were…