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I’m currently getting ready for a trip to San Francisco (!!) for my dear friend Genevieve’s wedding (!!!), and I found my backup memory card with tons of pictures yet to be uploaded!

My parents, sister, and niece came to visit over spring break, and it seems Tori and Avery had fun with my camera while my parents and I were out one day. They took some really wonderful photos! I remember my sister mentioning they played with my camera, and I remember promising I would upload the photos for her, but it completely slipped my mind. It was a nice surprise to find (and a nice distraction from packing and getting the house ready to leave).

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.