Visiting Grandma in Phoenix

As I told you the other day …. in mid-February we stopped by Zack and Jamie’s new house in San Diego on our way to Phoenix.

Why the spur of the moment trip to Phoenix?

My grandmother has just been diagnosed with brain cancer so we decided to come visit her.

Her diagnosis and symptoms and treatment is a post all on its own.

For now, I’ll just tell you we got to my parents’ house late Saturday night, went right to bed, and spent all of Sunday just lounging around the house with my grandmother and other family members that came by.

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Because of the brain cancer and related symptoms, grandma doesn’t want to do a ton beyond just watch TV, but there was a Suns game on that Sunday! I don’t really watch TV at all, but I haven’t seen a Suns game in … years??

It’s amazing that I can know literally nothing about the team or who is on it, but I still can love watching a game and cheering them on!

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My grandma has 4 sons (+ associated grandkids, nieces/nephews, etc) that live in the Phoenix area, and a BUNCH of them came over at one point or another during the day on Sunday.

My aunt Dorina brought food.

She cooks as a hobby, more or less, and she spent DAYS making tomato sauce from scratch and building this ENORMOUS lasagna.

This was one of 2 she made – her and my uncle had a whole ‘nother one at home.

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(Dorina brought fresh bread from the bakery where she works and homemade roasted peppers and broccoli soup too)

My grandma’s dog Walter has been staying with one of my other uncles …. and he brought the pup over to see Grandma!

Grandma lived alone with Walter for several years before this diagnosis … they’re best friends, obviously :)  She was so happy to see that sweet dog!

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My uncle Tim brought over a couple of his own dogs too …. :)

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Later in the evening my cousin Matthew and his girlfriend (and her dog) came by …. Fortunately, because without Matthew who knows if we would have been able to eat all that lasagna!

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We only stayed for the day and left early early early Monday morning … but we got to hang out with my sweet grandma so it was totally worth it.

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Christmas with the Schuberts (Tuesday)

Christmas Day!!

I’m so glad we did our Christmas at home – our first year in this house and our first year with the girls. I mean. Cats. I love my cats. What?

We had a slow morning…. My parents left around noon to drive back home, so before then we just relaxed.

Both Andrew and I actually went back to bed for little naps at various times throughout the morning. Christmas nap!

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We had plans to go over to Andrew’s parents’ house in the afternoon – and a Schubert family tradition is Mexican food on Christmas day!

I contributed my (fantastic) chicken enchilada dish, so spent the later Christmas morning putting together enchiladas…

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We headed over the the Schuberts’ house across town in the early afternoon – timed about the time that Joe and Kaitlin came up.

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NEPHEW!!! Joey’s first Christmas!

love him.

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Such a cutie…

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We ALSO did no-gifts-just-stocking-stuffers with Andrew’s family. Except for Joey, of course.

We just slowly opened gifts throughout the afternoon, played with Joey, ate Mexican food.

SUPER relaxing.

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Kaitlin and Joe made Andrew this clock using one of the records he put out – it’s currently hanging in our guest room.

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Lazy Christmas.

LOVED it.

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Family craft day

New Schubert family tradition: girls-only craft day around the holidays

(yes, these photos are from December. So?)

On a Saturday morning in mid-December I took my computer over to Andy and Julie’s to work while Julie, Kaitlin, Aunt Susie and Amanda crafted ….

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They made these felt-flower wreaths in lovely reds and whites:

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Nice relaxing way to spend a Saturday – except for the fact that I was doing computer work the whole time.

But, you know.

Next year.

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Joey – almost 7 months old

Here is a post full of gratuitous photos of our nephew. 2nd week of December – he was almost 7 months old.

Joe and Kaitlin stopped by the house on a Saturday afternoon …. Joey got to show us his new teeth and pet the kitties (since their cat isn’t really up for that kind of baby interaction).

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He scoots toward iPhones (good training) and had *kind of* started to “walk” with a lot of help.

And he gets this “OMG this is so exciting!” look on his face when he “walks”

Cutie.

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Upstairs to the carpeted floor to show us how he can crawl (backwards only)

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And then a quick little photoshoot in front of my chalkboard wall:

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That was the same night we got all dressed up to go to Andrew’s work holiday party … soo … family photo!

The girls love when we do this :)

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You can see more photos of Joey’s little photo shoot here

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Hann Thanksgiving Friday

SO as I said we went to Phoenix for Thanksgiving weekend.

Just as with every visit to Phoenix, we have to make plans to see about 95 different groups of people. Thursday we did Thanksgiving dinner with my mom’s extended family. Friday we did Thanksgiving dinner with my dad’s extended family.

Luckily it was at my parents’ house (where we were staying) so I had plenty of time to sleep in and relax before people started arriving.

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My dad drove up to Prescott to pick up G’ma Irish and Walter….

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My cousins Jeremiah and Amber made bacon-wrapped green beans. YUM.

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Jeremiah and Amber just had their first baby in August – Bryson. Which means my Uncle Tod (the youngest of the 5 boys) is the first one to become a grandpa! He’s super cute.

So’s Bryson :)

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But I think Bryson had a hard time with so many people. He spent most of his time being snuggled by mom and dad.

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Later that night we watched the tail end of the Phoenix Suns game.

Even though I have no idea who is on the team, and haven’t watched a game in years and only follow enough to know their not very good …. I still love them.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Thanksgiving in Phoenix

….. aaaaand…. here we go!

Waaaay back to November 2012 – Thanksgiving.

As you probably know, we were *just* in Phoenix 2 weeks prior for Miranda’s wedding, and then a couple months before that for Kim’s baby shower.

So I’m not totally sure why we decided to come out for Thanksgiving.

Either way – because I worked late Wednesday night (got home at midnight), we didn’t leave town until Thursday morning. 6a or so. Which means that with the time difference we got to Phoenix about 2p, maybe.

Thanksgiving dinner was being held at my aunt’s house on the Westside, so at least we didn’t have *as* far to go than if we were going to my parents’ house.

Thanksgiving weekend in Phoenix is usually gorgeous.

This year we all ate outside in my aunt’s backyard … LOVELY.

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in fact, Andrew took a bit of a nap in the sun while we were waiting for the final dinner preparations to be finished.

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Grandma Jaye made the gravy. From scratch. And tried to teach her daughter (who is plenty old enough to know and still uninterested).

G’ma Jaye is a rockstar :)

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The turkey was so juicy it started spilling over the cutting board while Chuck was carving it! So Steve rescued him with some well-timed syringes. Hilarious!

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After dinner, some football (that I slept through) and Apples to Apples (Uncle Pat won more than anyone)

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Andrew and I drove Grandma Jaye home – she is just the cutest – and then finally crawled into bed at my parents’ after a long, full day.

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TCS Gift Guide

Andrew and I don’t really buy each other gifts. We haven’t done Christmas for each other in years. We did 30th birthday gifts, but no birthdays for awhile.

That doesn’t mean we don’t think about gifts for other people!

Here are just a few ideas for holiday gifts for your loved ones…

(note: Because I don’t really go shopping all that often, this gift guide may seem a little limited. But every item on here is awesome)

For the new home owners:

Custom rubber stamp with the new address 

I like these from AnnMarie Loves Paper. I’ve put off getting Andrew and I something like this since we were moving every year. But now that we’ll be staying put for awhile I think it could be fun.

Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Loveby John and Sherry Petersik

The Petersiks have a very popular home DIY blog that I’ve been following for awhile. They’re much braver than I, but I imagine this book has some fantastic ideas in it.

Cookbooks:

I love to cook … and I love looking through my cookbooks for something new to try.

Sprouted Kitchen: The Sprouted Kitchen is a popular food blog that focuses on whole foods. Every single recipe on that site looks amazing, so I’m sure the cookbook is as well. It’s actually a husband-wife project – he shooting the photos, she writing the recipes. ” Sara Forte is a food-loving, wellness-craving veggie enthusiast who relishes sharing a wholesome meal with friends and family. The Sprouted Kitchen features 100 of her most mouthwatering recipes. Richly illustrated by her photographer husband, Hugh Forte, this bright, vivid book celebrates the simple beauty of seasonal foods with original recipes—plus a few favorites from her popular Sprouted Kitchen food blog tossed in for good measure. The collection features tasty snacks on the go like Granola Protein Bars, gluten-free brunch options like Cornmeal Cakes with Cherry Compote, dinner party dishes like Seared Scallops on Black Quinoa with Pomegranate Gastrique, “meaty” vegetarian meals like Beer Bean– and Cotija-Stuffed Poblanos, and sweet treats like Cocoa Hazelnut Cupcakes. From breakfast to dinner, snack time to happy hour, The Sprouted Kitchen will help you sneak a bit of delicious indulgence in among the vegetables.”

Smitten Kitchen: Also a popular blog. I’ve made several of her recipes and they are fantastic. “Deb Perelman loves to cook. She isn’t a chef or a restaurant owner—she’s never even waitressed. Cooking in her tiny Manhattan kitchen was, at least at first, for special occasions—and, too often, an unnecessarily daunting venture. Deb found herself overwhelmed by the number of recipes available to her. Have you ever searched for the perfect birthday cake on Google? You’ll get more than three million results. Where do you start? What if you pick a recipe that’s downright bad?

So Deb founded her award-winning blog, Smitten Kitchen, on the premise that cooking should be a pleasure, and that the results of your labor can—and should—be delicious . . .  every time. Deb is a firm believer that there are no bad cooks, just bad recipes. She has dedicated herself to creating and finding the best of the best and adapting the recipes for the everyday cook.”

The Dutch Oven Cookbook: I believe my mother gave me this for my birthday … and it is now so well-loved I have essentially memorized a couple of the recipes. One of my favorite things is to make a big pot of soup or chili or similar and have it for several days, and this cookbook has a lot of great options. (P.S. The tagline is THE BEST “Recipes for the best pot in your kitchen” …. none of the recipes call for marijuana though, which was surprising.

For the tech geek:

iTunes gift card: Always

For apps or movies or songs. SO many ways to use this.

Cell phone lenses: Looks like so much fun!

Buy the Photojojo Phone Lens Series at the Photojojo Store! The Fisheye, Telephoto, Wide Angle and Macro Lenses are like pro-lenses for your phone! Especially for that friend that is interested in photography, or is addicted to Instagram, I would imagine this kind of toy would get a lot of use.

Castegram: Create an iPhone case out of your Instagram photos via Castegram (there is also an app for iPhone). What a fun idea!

What are some of your gift ideas this year?

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Joey discovers the mirror baby!

These photos are from the beginning of October …. Which means Joey was almost 5 months old….

He and Katie were hanging out at Andy and Julie’s, so of course we went over to visit. And see the little munchkin.

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He had just started ‘sitting up’ …. like a tripod, resting forward on his hands.

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He had also just recently discovered his best friend that lives in the mirror. Laughing and carrying on at his reflection …. SO cute!

Until, of course, Andrew laughed his crazy loud cackle and that frightened Joey enough to be distracted :)

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What a cutie :)

The rest of the day, Andrew and I just hung out at home, getting work done around the house and on the computer, snuggling with the kitties and marathoning Walking Dead season 2

Khaleesi LOVES to lay on her back, often with her legs spread. Crazy cat.

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Schubert family birthday dinner

We have a little pile of birthdays to celebrate at the end of June/beginning of July … Julie’s, Jenae’s and Andrew’s.

On the Sunday that Liz came into town, Julie planned on having everyone over for dinner.

Andrew had already warned Liz that we have kittens (“I LOVE kittens!,” she said), and asked if it was OK if she came with us to visit our baby nephew (“I LOVE babies!”)…. So when we told her we had a family dinner to go to, it was no surprise that she said “I LOVE family dinners!”

Liz is so low-key and easy :)

Andrew’s cousin Edmund came into town this day too! He brought Camille out to stay with Julie and Kaitlin throughout the week. Edmund couldn’t stay though.

It was just a low-key evening at the Schuberts’ …. so much so that I didn’t even take out my “big” camera!

Note: These are all taken with my iPhone. The first 2 pics are square because I took them with Instagram. If you’re on there, you can follow my photos @amytschubert …. most of them are of the kittens, of course.

Andrew opened a couple birthday gifts from family – all gift cards so he could get tools and things we need for the house :)

As I type this Andrew is starting about a month off from his ‘day job’ (I’m so jealous), so these gift cards will come in handy!

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breakfast with the Schuberts

Now that we have a darling nephew, I feel like we’ve been seeing Kaitlin and Joe a lot more!

A week or so ago, Katie made plans to come up to SCV so we met her and Julie and Gma for breakfast at our local little Greenhouse Cafe (where we went for my birthday).

Joey was … 5 or 6 weeks old at this point. SO MUCH BIGGER than when we had seen him on Memorial Day. Definitely out of the newborn stage.

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He slept almost all through breakfast …

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After breakfast, Andrew went to work, but the other 3(+Joey) came over to see the kitties!

Julie had met them their first day with us – but Katie and Grandma were seeing them for the first time!

They’re already a lot bigger :)

Julie tried to hold them both at the same time but they were having none of that !!

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Squirmies.

It’s nice that they’re not at all shy (yet). … They both sniffed all around at the new people and baby car seat and all, making friends with Grandma as you can see :)

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Gah! Look at this little cutie … I love her BIG eyes !

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Katie fed Joey while they were there, then I got to hold him!

For all of 30 seconds, before he spit up on the shirt I was going to wear to work.

So I had to hand him off to grandma so I could change so I could leave on time.

He wasn’t phased by it at all :)

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We never get to see Joey enough!

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Memorial Day

Monday morning Memorial Day!

The first Memorial Day in 4 years that I haven’t worked – previous years I volunteered to work for the overtime pay because I assumed Andrew would be working. And then he never did.

SO this year I elected to just take the day ….

We got up Monday morning and Andrew went right to work on changing the oil in my car …. because he is a crazy person.

And I love him for it.

My dad’s brother Ted and his family (Kristi, Spencer and Lucas) all live a few blocks away from our new house and they came over for breakfast on Monday morning!

God bless my parents for doing the necessary grocery shopping AND cooking for this crew!

It’s always fun to visit with the ‘other Hanns’ …. geeking out about the new Les Miserables movie with my uncle, for example… Talking about the idiocy of English professors with Spencer.

Finally, the Hanns left around 1p, and my parents left to drive back to AZ not long after that ….

So for the first time in 3 days our house was empty – but it only lasted a few hours as Angela stopped by for a bit and then more friends came over that night.

But in those few hours, what do you think we did? That’s right! ANDREW WENT BACK TO WORK ON THE HOUSE.

Maniac.

We really need to reseed the front lawn (we need to be all landscaped by mid-August for our HOA), and part of that project involves getting rid of ALL THIS gravel.

And there is a ton! …. more or less literally. I actually have no idea how much it is, but nearest the street the patch of gravel is about 6 feet wide and about 6″ deep

So, you know. A lot of rocks.

We’re going to end up keeping *some* of it for other projects, but the bulk of it we just need to haul away … (another post about that to come)

(Andrew is planning on building screens for all the windows, but in the meantime, this side window works perfectly for his outside-music-listening)

And finally, as a cap to our LONG weekend ….. Monday night Andrew invited over some friends for a record-listening-party.

Andrew’s record company (post to come) is putting out the LP of Justin’s band …. so we got the test lacquer the week prior and Andrew just needed Justin to OK it before we had all the actual records printed.

So, we had over Justin (photo below – Andrew has known since high school, and I’ve known since  1999 or 2000 or so), our friend Marie (who I’ve known since junior high and Andrew has known since high school)…. Jenae, Wallace, Jihae, Fernando and Jessica ….

Andrew grilled burgers, got some beers, and we listened to Justin’s band ….

I got them to finish the Marie Callendar’s pie from the night before, and the deviled eggs that Ted and Kristi brought over that morning.

And Andrew broke out the NES for some Mario Bros games!

We finally got to bed around 130a or so ….

I woke up Tuesday morning still exhausted and physically sore …. and I spent the rest of last week just relaxing …. because apparently I am OLD!

But we had such a great long Memorial Day weekend!

What did you do for Memorial Day?

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Memorial Weekend – Sunday

The Sunday of Memorial Day weekend our house was full of people.

We KNEW that the house would be full of people, and yet Andrew insisted on working around the house that morning. He BUILT a window screen (post to come). And my parents and I kept telling him to RELAX. He’s just not good at it…..

So, the day was full of people …

Andrew was home, for one. My parents were staying with us, for two and three ….

Andrew’s cousin Lisa and her son Darren were on their way out of town and stopped by to see the house.

Kaitlin and Joe were on our side of town with Joey and stopped by so Lisa could meet the baby (and obviously so we could take more photos of him!).

And this was all around 1 or 2 in the afternoon ….

Joey was a little fussy because he was getting hungry …. But Andrew didn’t take it personally…

I love that he looked right into the camera lens. Eventually he will get shy or embarrassed by having his photo taken, but for now I can still get him!

This is our ‘Muppet face’ …. Weird that Joey didn’t make the same face back to us ….

instead he made this face

After the LaRiccias left, it was time to start prepping more food for more people ….

a BIG pot of turkey black bean chili, green salad, french bread and watermelon – summer summer summer

All day we weren’t sure if it would be 7 people or 11 people…. so there was a lot of food made.

And Julie brought us some Marie Callendar’s pies for dessert …

Another full day ….

After Andrew’s family left, we watched some more Downton Abbey and went to bed….

We had another full day planned for Monday!

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Memorial weekend: Saturday

Our Memorial weekend was SO FULL….

So full I feel like I needed to take the rest of last week off to recover

I must be getting old.

My parents got into town late Friday night, and then early Saturday morning Andrew had to go to work …

My only plans for Saturday were to go grocery shopping for the weekend. Super low-key.

So Saturday morning, Andrew went to work and the other 3 of us kind of just lazed around the house. I gave my parents the full house tour since this was their first time seeing it, coffee, showers, a little interneting, a friend came by to borrow one of my lenses and we chatted a bit ….

And then I guess my dad got antsy because he kept asking me what he could do…. I showed him our FULL to do list hoping to put him off, but instead he just picked a small task and set to work….

There is a LOT of work to do around our house – it was vacant for a year – so my dad occupied himself with weeding the front yard patches that need it and digging these whatever-they-are stalks out of the back.

While he was doing that, my mom started cleaning…. even though I told her to stop!

He thought about tackling another project that would just be too much work to do with the tools we currently have in the house…

Thanks dad!

In between bouts of yard work, though, …. He kept sneaking up to Andrew’s office to “borrow” CDs to put on his iTunes….

while my mom got started cleaning one window …. and proceeded to clean all the windows downstairs….

Once you see the dirt, you can’t UNSEE it!

And what was I doing during all of this?

Taking photos, of course.

Oh, and prepping food.

We had plans to have a bunch of people over for dinner on Sunday night, so I wash/dried/prepped 2 heads of lettuce and made some other food preparations…

Once it started to get dark, they both finally came inside ….

For the rest of Saturday night, we got Stonefire Grill takeout dinner, watched 3 or 4 episodes of the first season of Downton Abbey (so good) and Andrew finally got home about 9p or so….

I was already tired after Saturday, and we still had 2 more days of a 3 day weekend to go!

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Kaitlin’s baby shower #3

One final baby shower for Kaitlin … close enough to her due date that the shower host had a mild panic attack when Kaitlin called her the day before!

This shower was put on by Joe’s godmother … Aunt Mary. She went ALL OUT … It was AMAZING and so gorgeous and at a restaurant so she didn’t even have to worry about food …

The shower was both feminine and still for a baby boy :

And because it was at a restaurant, Joe and some of the other guys came too and spent the afternoon watching sports on the patio or the bar or somewhere else …

Katie, with Aunt Mary (on the right) and her friend who helped plan the shower…

Last one for awhile!

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Kaitlin’s maternity photos

Andrew and I are going to have a nephew in just a few weeks! As in less-than-4 weeks! Hopefully.

Easter Sunday, Joe and Kaitlin came out to Santa Clarita early in the afternoon and we did some fun couple-maternity photos.

Little Joey is going to be so spoiled :)

Note: Katie also did some more intimate maternity photos with our friend Maggie Keegan Gross. You can check out a peek of that session here at Maggie’s blog

(Joe did this himself :) Such a goofball!  I wouldn’t ask anyone to pose like that)

Can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait!!!

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