Camels & Llamas by T.J. Mousetis

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A few weeks ago, on a very cold Saturday morning, we went to a local Alpaca farm for one of their open house days. My sister-in-law Kelsey told us about it, so we met up with them to let the girls, Pearl and June, run around and see the animals.

The entire time we were there June called them "camels" and Pearl called them "Llamas", no matter how hard we all tried to correct them. 😂

One of my favorite moments was when T.J. was trying to keep one of the alpacas in one place so Kelsey could take a selfie with it. It totally didn't work, but was a solid team effort and gave us all a good laugh anyway.

We couldn't believe how tame the alpacas were, and how little they seemed to care that hundreds of people were walking around in their pastures with them. They did pay a little more attention to you when you tried to give them some of their pellet food, but other than that, they literally just walked around and ignored you. (Which made all of us look like a bunch of idiots trying to heard them into one place and take photos with them!)

In typical June fashion, she didn't feel comfortable getting down and walking around until we'd been there about 30 minutes... but by that time we were all freezing and ready to go! T.J. did get to snap a few photos of June and I though, which was nice. 😊

Also, I'd like to point out that I'm sure not I've ever seen Kelsey so happy as she is in the second to last photo below, where she's taking the alpaca for a walk. 😂 Pretty sure her dreams were coming true right then and there.

Visit Eastland Alpaca yourself! Follow them on Facebook

Junie the Unicorn by T.J. Mousetis

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There's something ironic and hysterical about having to bribe your 2.5 year old with candy to put on her Halloween costume... so she can go out and collect even more candy from strangers. 😂 June dressed up as a Unicorn this year (again, thanks to Target), and we got the entire costume on sans wings with little to no tears. Ha ha ha! We weren't kidding when we said we bought it a month in advance so she could warm up to the idea.

June was equally excited about her $2 pumpkin bucket, which she's still carrying around the house to collect all sorts of trinkets, toys, and candy wrappers.

It was a year ago to the day that I posed about June being a Kangaroo for Halloween 2016. Look how little she is in those photos!!! Both her and Clara, her neighborhood BFF, are so small!

They were so excited to see each other this year it was precious. June kept saying "What you wearing?" And Clara would reply "I Poppy." Over, and over, and over... 

My brother Taylor, and his family, joined us for Trick-or-Treating this year in Manheim, since our street is easy to walk around and everyone participates. Pearl fell asleep in the car on the way to our house and was OUT. Like, they couldn't even get her to stand up she was sleeping so hard. 😂 Eventually she woke up and got the hang of things. 

The kids went to about 10 houses or so, and then we were done. It was getting dark so quickly, and quite cold. But June was pummmped up about her candy and all the other kid's costumes. She's still talking about the "scary ones"... 

As always, we're already looking forward to next year--- especailyl cause we'll have a new little lady to dress up in a costume, too!

Family Sessions / Limited Spots Available! by T.J. Mousetis

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I am super excited to tell you guys that I am offering a limited amount of family photo sessions over the next few weeks! Around this time of year, I get so many requests to photograph friends and family for their Christmas cards, that I figured why not make it official and offer it to a few of you as well!?!

Plus: I could have alternately titled this blog post "Sponsor Baby #2's Nursery"... because I have hit the nesting phase hard and am feeling like "I NEED TO PAINT AND RE-DO ALL THE THINGS!" So a little extra cash leading up to the holidays and Baby #2's arrival will be put to great use. I mean, have you seen how cute this mobile is?!?! I need it in my life. 

HERE'S THE DEAL: $300 / 30 Minute Family Session

1. Send me an email -- brookecourtney[at]me.com -- to let me know you'd like one of the session spots, and what you'd like to use it for: family photos with little ones, maternity photos, just you and your Boo and your dogs. Just you... alone.... forever.... I mean, whatever you want! 

2. We will find a date/time that works for both of us. If the weather is beautiful that day, we'll shoot outdoors at one of my favorite locations, of which I have like 15. 😂 If it's a gloomier day, we'll shoot in the all white photo studio at SUPPLY! (Which looks like this!)

3. After photos, you will receive an online gallery of images that are totally yours to use how you see fit. Download them, print them, share them, Instagram them, make Christmas cards, turn them into giant wall murals to embarrass your kids. #youdoyou 

There you have it! Send me an email and we'll get things moving! 🙂 I'll provide you with a list of locations I love, what to wear, and a little advice on how to not be a weirdo in photos. I'm kiddddding, you're all amazing. Hope to hear from you!

Donuts by Brooke Courtney

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Clara, June's neighborhood BFF, turned two last month and had the sweetest little 2nd birthday party in a local park. June picked out a dress for Clara at Target as her gift. 😂 And basically sprinted into the party to give it to her.

On a more important note though, have y'all ever had Duck Donuts? Holy cow... there's nothing like it. Funny, the bacon one and oreo ones are my favorites, and somehow those just happened to end up in my photo. #pregnantbrookelikesdonuts

Our friends also announced the gender of their Baby #2 - arriving December/Jan 2017 for them! It's a BOY! So fun. June and Clara are six months apart, but our next two littles will only be like three weeks apart!

The donut pinata was hysterical. As expected, June didn't want to participate, but once the rush of kids for the candy had slowed down, she jumped in with her bag and filled it up. I can't even handle the photo of her below where she's got her hand to her head and looks overwhelmed by the kids. HAHAHAHAHAH! Junie, this is how I feel at every networking event ever, as an adult.

I mean seriously, look at her. 

It's parties like this one that make me wish my kid(s) had summer birthdays! Someday I'll have to have a 1/2 Birthday Party for June at the end of the summer.

Pool Day with Cousins, 2017 by Brooke Courtney

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With summer coming to an end, it was time for the annual "cousin's day" at our local community pool. I believe the tradition started a few years ago, when my Mom would invite her grand-nieces and nephews to come swimming with her and my Dad for the day. In the last two years, since both my brother and I have had kids, it's morphed into "any family in the area pool day."

I've been trying really hard to take my camera with me more places, and I'm so glad I threw it in June's backpack for this years pool day. The weather was beautiful and I captured some family moments that would have otherwise gone undocumented. I'm sure my cousins, who were falling flat on their faces off the diving board, wish "undocumented" was the case. 

I'm not sure who started the "follow the leader off the diving board" game this year, but it was funnier than ever. Although once my brother got involved, everyone was very hesitate to do his tricks. No worries guys, I remember feeling the same way on the trampoline with him as a kid, and I was even a tumbler/cheerleader!

June and Pearl (her cousin, 10 months younger than her in age) had the time of their lives going up and down, and up and down, and up and down the ramp into the big pool. All while us adults kept saying "Slow down!" "Don't jump! It's slippery!" "Stop running!" You'd think June would have learned her lesson after falling and going under completely... but no.

Again, I'm so glad that I took my camera along for this day. May it be a lesson to me to just take it, even when I don't feel like it!

And might I add that Pearl is totally peeing in this picture below, and I love it with my whole heart. 😂