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I am trying to become more spontaneous in my photography, to capture more candid shots and less posed smiles. I think the secret is to just to keep clicking. When my daughter was an infant, I took pictures of her constantly. But now I find myself lazier with the camera, or maybe it is just because we are busy doing other things. I am grateful for this project because it challenges me to capture these moments, reflect on them, and remember the little moments of our day.

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I’ll be honest with you. Moving to sunny Arizona from the East coast isn’t as easy as it may seem. The landscape is so vastly different from anything that seems familiar, and living in Phoenix, I constantly I ask myself, where are all the trees? Moving out here made me realize how indelible our environments can be to our spirits. Growing up, I never thought much about the creeks and the woods near my house, and I used to long for the big open sky like I now have out West. Little did I know that my childhood landscape would haunt me, as I search out water, trees, and, yes, even winter. I still struggle with embracing the Phoenix landscape, but I did fall in love with Arizona 4000 feet above sea level. The mountains, the pine forests, the big, big sky. Our little family lived up north, in the middle of nowhere, for almost two years. That landscape haunts me, too, where there’s nothing but you and the rolling hills and the sky. No cacti, no highways, nothing between you and the land.
We travelled back up north to Prescott this weekend for a day hike in the pine forests. Both my husband and I remarked at how different the landscape was from where we were currently living, like visiting another state, another region of a huge country. We had dinner at a local pub afterwards and saw a sign in the bar area that had the word “Phoenix” on it. I remember thinking, gee, how coincidental that they have a sign of the city I used to live in. My husband thought the same, and we both laughed at how wonderfully displaced and far away we felt from home, even though we were only 2 hours away.

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The hardest part about this week’s photo was choosing the right one to post. As any mom of a toddler knows, they are always on the move, oftentimes two or three steps ahead of us with their energy. So my photos capture movement, spirit, energy. They are candid, not posed, of a little girl exploring nature and the world around her.

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You’re either doing it, or you’re not doing it. Last year, I resolved to participate in The 52 Project, but did not follow through, and I think to myself, “How hard can it be to take one photo once a week of my child?” This year, I will devote my blog to this project, and use it as a platform to remind myself of the resolutions I’d like to live by in 2014.

Mindfulness, simplicity, creativity, optimism, gratitude.

Last year felt like a year of false starts, a blog that went into hibernation, a job opportunity that did not steal my heart, two babies that did not want to be born. But there were plentiful blessings, too: a new home, publications that were accepted, date nights with my husband, and the chance to stay at home with my daughter.

In 2014, I’m going to follow my heart unapologetically and challenge myself with my passions: writing, school, photography, blogging, family. You’re either doing it or you’re not. And when you do it, you might surprise yourself with what happens.

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My little one is growing from baby to toddler, so we have just finished decorating her big-girl room. It’s her favorite place to play in. We are still in diapers, but our diaper table is transitioning into a toy shelf for all her stuffies. A few small DIY projects here too. I spray-painted an old magazine rack I picked up at a local thrift shop. I love how the color turned out. I also replaced the drawer pulls on the Ikea dresser with ones I found at Anthropologie for a steal. My very own Ikea-hack. I’d like to add some curtains at some point, but for now it’s a perfect haven for my little girl.

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I’ve been away from this blog forever! To be honest, I barely have any photographs to share from the last 3 months. We have been busy packing up our old house and moving into a brand, spanking new one, but the good news is I’ve had loads of fun decorating our new home and hope to share it on my blog in the next few months. Right now we are on summer holidays in British Columbia, Canada, from whence my husband hails. We have been splitting our time between lounging at the lake and visiting downtown Vancouver. Here’s a few Instagram snapshots of our summer at the lake.

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The first photo was taken in October when Miss Em just started walking and the second was this May.

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This past weekend, the family headed into Prescott, which is one of the loveliest small towns I’ve ever been to. We hiked trails over at Lynx Lake and then had dinner at the Prescott Brewing Compmay, which has some of the best beers in Arizona. We topped off the day with frozen yogurt, where I snapped these pics.

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Taken at The gardens of the Parker Palm Springs.

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