Nine Months

First 9 month collage. I have a collage problem.

Brian is in Boston for the week (Haydn’s Creation with Boston Baroque). For fun Colin and I went out to my brother's this morning. This is his little girl Mallory who is almost nine months. She is sharing many of her cute baby girl clothes and accessories with our upcoming girl, which is very, very nice. She came home with us so my brother could go to a meeting and she has been growling at me. I think she needs a new diaper. Speaking of diapers, while at my brother's Colin needed two diaper changes and I only had one diaper. I borrowed one of Mallory's size two diapers (and Colin wears size five.) My brother said it was like a little diaper thong.

Mallory has great eyes and is very sweet natured.

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This is the old immobile pickup that Colin loves to drive. Great color, no?

Colin is a very conscientious driver. Here he is checking his blind spot.

Sometimes you just need to get away.
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We spent yesterday at Thanksgiving Pointe's Tulip Festival. It ends today and since things have been so cold, there were lots of tulips not even out yet. Here is a best of in case you missed it.

We were out in less than perfect light, as shown here by Colin.

A slightly surreal shot of my niece and me. Nearly 36 weeks pregnant, not that I am counting everyday or anything. I'm getting swollen and the baby has not yet dropped.

Still got more snow this week.

This is how Brian spent a lot of the morning, since he is the more quick-moving parent. Colin was everywhere.

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Brian took over the camera for the fire dancers. He has played more with dragging the shutter and then freezing motion with flash than I have, and I was getting tired. He got some great photos. It was very cool but our friend Malia was complaining that the crowd was really dead.

The Bride did a great hula for her husband. On our way home Brian asked me why I did not do a hula for him at our wedding. I reminded him that I am not Polynesian. The dance was great and the bride just slowly moved closer and closer to the groom.
Brian took this great photo that we call "orange drink". I do really like it.
The bridesmaids wore black dresses and these lovely (although uncomfortable) shoes. Everyone in the wedding party also had beautiful lays of fresh flowers.
I was a little excited to photograph the dancer/singer's body art.

There was very bright light while we were photographing the bride and groom, but we still got some cute photos of them. It was also still a little cold and windy but not too bad in the sun.

The cake was beautiful and had lots of beautiful fresh flowers.

The groom learns to adjust the dress.

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Brian and I photographed a very fun wedding yesterday. I'll probably post a few more photos later because the reception involved fire dancers. If it had been an option for me we definitely would have have fire dancers at our wedding. It was a fun day, and we have tons of photos we are going through to get them on-line for the bride and groom. Congratulations Kathleen and Jon!

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After a beautiful weekend and Monday (it was in the low 80's yesterday) We had more snow today. Poor little plants all covered in snow. Brian has been in Philadelphia for a quick audition. He is on his way home and just called from a Phoenix layover. Sadly, we forgot to send him with the small camera. He sent a photo of the Liberty Bell to my phone.

We are supposed to be back up to 70 degrees on Friday. This is a good thing because we are photographing the wedding of our good friend Malia's sister on the 18th. The wedding involves a luau, so I am excited to shoot it!

Colin's cousin Mallory was here today. He loves her and is really quite sweet. He kept bringing her cars to play with (but then was a little disturbed that they would go in her mouth). In the photo, they are watching Curious George together. I heard him explaining a few little things to her, like shapes and things from his Winnie the Pooh book. He is fairly good with her, but if let to his own devices he wants to rock her more than she likes to be rocked. And he wants to hold her alone and declares "I got you!" We will never be able to turn our backs on him and the new baby.

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Here is the recipe Brian used for the very very tasty bread. It comes from Cook's Illustrated. Brian and I are big Cook's fans (more Brian than me since he does about 95% of our cooking). I won't complain because I benefit from his cooking.* I would do more cooking if Brian would accept beans and lentils as a main dish but he does not. Cook's Illustrated has a great magazine and website ( You can buy on-line access to all of their recipes. It is the same people who do America's Test Kitchen on PBS, and have many great cook books. You cannot go wrong with them so check it out. Also, Brian doubled this recipe with great success so we had two yummy loaves instead of one. (And you will want two!)

Almost No-Knead Bread
An enameled cast-iron Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid yields best results, but the recipe also works in a regular cast-iron Dutch oven or heavy stockpot. (See the related information in "Making Your Dutch Oven Safe for High-Heat Baking" for information on converting Dutch oven handles to work safely in a hot oven, or call Brian for a private tutorial.) Use a mild-flavored lager, such as Budweiser** (mild non-alcoholic lager also works). The bread is best eaten the day it is baked but can be wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in a cool, dry place for up to 2 days.
Makes 1 large round loaf (but doubles well)

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (15 ounces), plus additional for dusting work surface
1/4 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water (7 ounces), at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mild-flavored lager (3 ounces)
1 tablespoon white vinegar

1. Whisk flour, yeast, and salt in large bowl. Add water, beer, and vinegar. Using rubber spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours.
2. Lay 12- by 18-inch sheet of parchment paper inside 10-inch skillet and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead 10 to 15 times. Shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. Transfer dough, seam-side down, to parchment-lined skillet and spray surface of dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with finger, about 2 hours.
3. About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place 6- to 8-quart heavy-bottomed Dutch oven (with lid) on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly flour top of dough and, using razor blade or sharp knife, make one 6-inch-long, 1/2-inch-deep slit along top of dough. Carefully remove pot from oven and remove lid. Pick up dough by lifting parchment overhang and lower into pot (let any excess parchment hang over pot edge). Cover pot and place in oven. Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 210 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.
STEP BY STEP: Almost No-Knead Bread
1. MIX: Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a spatula.
2. REST: Leave the dough to rest for eight to 18 hours.
3. KNEAD: Knead the dough 10 to 15 times and shape it into a ball.
4. LET RISE: Allow the dough to rise for two hours in a parchment paper-lined skillet.
5. BAKE: Place the dough in a preheated Dutch oven and bake it until it's deep brown.
STEP BY STEP: Bread Sling
Transferring dough to a preheated Dutch oven to bake can be tricky. To avoid burnt fingers and help the dough hold its shape, we came up with a novel solution: Let the dough rise in a skillet (its shallow depth makes it better than a bowl) that's been lined with greased parchment paper, then use the paper's edges to pick up the dough and lower it into the Dutch oven. The bread remains on the parchment paper as it bakes.
* I seem to benefit too much from Brian's cooking since when we got married I gained weight and Brian lost weight. My more healthy habits benefited him well, and the not eating beans and lentils and eating more things with cream had the opposite effect on me. We are still getting things figured out but have many more healthy habits than we did when we first married. We still enjoy eating a lot.
**It was somewhat comical to see Brian and I trying to buy beer, which was further complicated by Utah's interesting liquor laws. Brian will probably buy some near beer to keep on hand since the plan is make this bread multiple times a week. We also want to get some King Arthur whole wheat white flour (a great whole wheat flour made from a softer wheat which is milled very finely to yield less dense results than typical whole wheat) to make it a bit more healthy.
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Daily bread

Brian here
This morning I baked some bread. The bread pictured above. I am very excited about this bread. I have always wanted to make crusty rustic loaves, but never knew how. But now I've found an amazing recipe that is crazy easy. It involves about 15 seconds of kneading. The loaves are cooked inside a dutch oven inside a very hot oven. The sealed dutch oven mimics the qualities of professional steam injected ovens. The steam is what makes this incredibly crisp yet chewy crust. The interior soft, a bit dense and a little chewy. The flavor reminds me of our daily visits to the many patisseries in Paris. And did I say how easy it is? I'm seriously going to bake bread several times a week.

Just wanted to share a little close up of the beautiful crust. I love the long glutinous strands around the bubbles. Mmmm....glutinous strands.
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Brian has still been exploring the new ways we have to shoot with the manual lenses. We still have lots of experimenting to do, but it is fun to see what we can do. This discovery will save us more than $1,000 since I thought we had to get a new camera to use these great lenses. Considering we will not have an extra $1,000 for a while, this is a nice discovery.

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