It’s Derby Time!

The Kentucky Derby has come and gone already this year.  *tear*

I was so lucky to spend the morning with a sorority sister and her family and friends as she married her honey – they headed off to Churchill Downs to celebrate right after.  (By the way, there are a couple sneak peeks on my Facebook page.)  It was a GREAT start to my day, but not long after, I was making whisky meatballs and getting cozy at Martha and Alan’s for their annual Derby party.  And with the weather this wonderful city was blessed with yesterday, I am so happy that I stayed indoors.  ;)

Surrounded by good food, great company and the Derby $2 pot, I had the absolute best time.  It would have been better if I’d won the $2 pot (Inky won all $38) or if my horse had won (what happened, Frac Daddy?), but I honestly wouldn’t have changed anything.  A lot of laughs were shared, a lot of sugar was given to a 2-year-old, and it was a pleasure to be with everyone again this year.  There’s something in the air this time of year (besides the smell of mint, bourbon and horses) and I love it!  Until Kentucky Derby 140…

Chow Wagon Opening Day | Louisville Lifestyle Photographer

My girlfriends and I have a long-standing tradition: The Chow Wagon.  With the Kentucky Derby Festival in full gear, we hit it up the opening day last week.  It happened to be the same day as the hot air balloon glimmer.  *small claps*  But every year we meet on the Waterfront, share a few cold drinks, eat horribly awesome deep-fried food, talk about the latest, relive the best and leave with more good stories for next time.

I’ve been friends with Abby and Kelly for years.  I’m so glad that we keep each other around.  :)

I had my camera stuffed in my purse and threw on my lightest lens: the nifty fifty.  It’s been a while since I’ve used it, but I was hoping for some great backlight images.  Just for fun.

Kelly wanted to try next.  She’s long been obsessed with taking photos, has the most pictures of all of us together, goes through cameras like whoa.  I told her to try to have our bodies block the sun… she said she couldn’t do it… so we helped. :)

Kelly finally got it after a few tries.  It makes me smile.

But the balloons – I love hot air balloons!  With a little over a week before the Kentucky Derby, all things are racing related.  The marathon, the bed races, the steamboat race, but the balloon race is one of my favorites.  So many balloons in the air at once – I actually saw this way off in the sky over downtown Louisville while I made my way to work on Friday.  Once dusk settled, that’s when I wished I had more than the 50mm only because it was too zoomed to capture the whole experience.

But we worked with what we got… had fun with the Wicked balloon… and took advantage of the few seconds heat they put off as they glimmered.  Our annual tradition keeps going strong.

Tomorrow is Derby Day  – the 139th run for the roses.  I’m celebrating local-style with good friends and good food from the comfort of a couch.  But just because I’m not at Churchill Downs doesn’t mean I don’t cheer my horse on as loud as I can.  Go Baby, GO!

Amy - I love these. Especially you blocking the sun. And the Wicked balloon remake. Also, love your sweater. Also your face.

Baby Lucy {newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

Jessica and Jeremy decided to wait until their baby’s birthday to find it was a boy or a girl – and this was complete torture to their family and friends.  Because Baby Gray was taking nothing but sweet time to make an entrance.  It took right around 42 weeks, but the time to go to the hospital finally arrived – and it was a girl.

Lucy Renee.

Sweet, sweet Lucy has the bluest blue eyes, a perfect little round head, ears that are pinned back and constant array of looks of concern.  She’s has grown so fast, from the small, sleepy one-week-old I held for hours.  To a light sleeper who’s more interested in what’s going on around her.  She’s undoubtedly loved by everyone who loves her parents; seeing Jessica and Jeremy with their little one is proof that they’re Lucy’s biggest fans.

I love seeing friends become parents.  Part of the person they were before is slightly altered – a little softer, more gentle.  Luckily, Jessica and Jeremy’s humor is not amiss as they have no problem “Lion King-ing” Lucy and laughing at themselves even though their life has turned upside down into something different.   But in a totally perfect, squishy-baby way that could never be replaced.

Gray Family | Louisville Newborn PhotographerGray Family | Louisville Newborn PhotographerGray Family | Louisville Newborn PhotographerGray Family | Louisville Newborn PhotographerGray Family | Louisville Newborn Photographer

Some small proof of “Lion King-ing” and big laughs.  Jeremy is never short of making someone’s day better with a smile.

Gray Family | Louisville Newborn Photographer

Gray Family | Louisville Newborn Photographer

My absolute favorite one.  How can you not just stare right back at Baby Lucy?  And those crimped lips?  I love them.

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We had to take a few shots of Lucy’s feet.  Since she’s been born, she’s been in a brace to help her little baby hips be nice and strong so when it’s time to crawl, she can take off.  These toes haven’t seen much daylight so it was a must-have.  I was happy to oblige. :)  Love me some Baby Lucy.

Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon - You’ve captured these moments so beautifully. I think yawning Lucy is my fave.

Rachel - Gorgeous!! I always knew that Jeremy would make a great dad. He is just such a kind, funny guy. And that comes through in your photos.

Meredith - I have tears. The beauty. Asleep on her mother…the yawn. Thank you Jeremy, Jessica, Lucy and Brooke. Carl Sandburg said -“A Baby is God’s way of saying the world should go on.” You guys all just became a really nice example of that and it made my day.

Brooke Murphy Photography - […] Baby Lucy came to the shower to hang out.  Love this little girl to […]

Doggin Love No. 2 | Louisville Lifestyle Photographer

Oh BDD.  You brought this on yourself, you silly mutt, you.

We’re not sure why, but the BDD had a hankering to itch a scratch to the point that her fur disappeared.  On her tail.  A big bald spot with broken black fur, with pinkish-gray spotted skin showing through and one single sore that she just couldn’t keep from licking.

We doctored it with peroxide.  We doctored it with Neosporin.  But we kept catching her going to town on her tail over and over again, licking it like a Tootsie Roll Pop.  So we took matter into our own hands and shamed the dog so that her tail wouldn’t lose more fur and the sore could get better.  Shamed for sure.  In the form of a cone.

I’m sorry BDD – I know it’s weird, but so are you.  Sadly, this is how it’s going to shake out for a while.  I still love you though.

Susan - Poor BDD. She looks so sad, but its for her own good.

The Thurmans {family} | Louisville Family Photographer

Almost three years ago, my friend Melanie broke my heart.  At a Derby Party (of all events sacred in this world).  Anyway, Melanie broke the news that she and her husband, Ryan, also a long-time, dear friend of mine, would be moving to Michigan that summer.  I cried.  I didn’t mean to.  The same way I’m not meaning to right now.  But Michigan was just so far away.  And I didn’t like the thought of being that far away from them.

Before they left, they announced they were expecting their first baby.  Mel and Ryan came home often; I loved seeing one of my closest friends experience her first pregnancy and was happy to take maternity photos from them.  My very first session with posing.  And there have been several more since of their family.  They eventually left Michigan for Tennessee – being much closer to home, it made me smile.  Visiting them in Clarksville was on my to do list this year, but the weeks flew by, schedules didn’t work… and then I didn’t have to plan the trip any more.

Because they came home. :)

It’s only been a couple weeks and they’re still in a whirl-wind of getting settled in.  And to top it off, Melanie and Ryan are expecting baby #2.  Knowing that my Mel is living in the same state as me, that I’ll get more face time with her, more hugs, that I’ll be able to visit and play with Allie, that I’ll be to see her with Baby Sadie once she arrives and hold her often… well, it does more than make me smile.  It actually brings me to tears all over again.  And “happiness through tears is my favorite emotion.”

I can’t get over how big Allie’s gotten.  And she’s such a beautiful little girl.  You should hear her laugh – she has the best laugh.

At 36 weeks, Melanie is absolutely radiant.  I cannot get enough of that bump either.  I think over the course of two days, I had my hand on her belly 80% of the time.  Not really.  But if I could have gotten away with it… I might have tried harder.

Allie!  I love ya, little lady!

And to match the previous shoe series we’ve captured for Melanie and Ryan…

And with a brand new pair of knitted bunny slippers to boot.  Big thanks to Martha – Melanie was surprised to receive them that morning!

There’s some kind of peace that comes over you knowing that someone you love isn’t as far away.  With Melanie, Ryan and Allie being back home in Louisville, I know I’m not the only one that feels this way.  You guys were missed by many and I can’t wait to photograph your family more often, especially as the girls grow up together.  xoxo

To meet Baby Sadie with her family, click here.

katie - What an absolutely adorable family. And Allie is gorgeous! The shot of her in the striped dress- love it. Congrats to the family!