photography

Seattle

I spent the weekend in Seattle at the Click Away conference, and like I say every time I visit the west coast - if it wasn't for my kiddos, I'm pretty sure I would have just stayed.  The weather wasn't the best in Seattle (which I hear is pretty typical), but the conference was phenomenal and the people I met were amazing!

I got to see some of my favorites in action, including Meg LoeksAnna Larson and Mae Burke; and heard some amazing speeches from a lot of inspiring artists, like Amanda Jane Jones (woah, right?) Summer Murdock (total fangirl of Summer and I'm pretty sure she might think I'm a stalker...), Jesh De Rox (absolutely phenomenal) and Kellie Bieser (I wanna be her when I grow up). The conference was uplifting not only from a photography perspective, but a personal perspective as well. I have so many ideas and so much inspiration running through my brain and I can't wait to put all of these into action!

Until then...here's a little photo recap of my weekend!

The Ordinary

"Joy comes to us in ordinary moments. We risk missing out when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary." -Brene Brown

I'm taking a photography class with one of my favorite photographers, Ginger Unzueta over at Bloom, and one of the assignments for this week is to capture 10 photos of our day.  It has been a while since I purposefully documented the "ordinary" of our day, so I didn't hesitate to pick up my camera and start snapping away.

If you have never purposefully documented the routine and ins and outs of your day, I couldn't recommend it more. There's something about looking at the "ordinary" through the lens that makes it extraordinary. It's these little moments that I never want to forget....

Weekending

We think that every weekend should have two Saturdays...anyone else agree?

We debated going out of town for the holiday weekend, but decided to just stick around home, explore, rest, relax and just hang together. It was everything we thought it would be and more. And let's be honest - it doesn't take much to convince me to stay at home. 

Having just ONE extra day during the weekend is a total game changer. We hit up the lake, every playground within a five-mile radius, had a campout s'mores party and STILL had time to pick up the house, run some errands and do a little bit of laundry. We're giving this weekend a great big high five. Hope you and yours had an awesome weekend as well! Happy Tuesday! xo

Around Here

Our highs and lows around here...

HIGHS: trips to the best coast (west coast) · Uncle Walker in town for a short visit · outdoor concerts · salted carmel ice cream by the gallon · Roomba · nature walks · oatmeal chocolate chip cookies · new stuffed animals · white walls · family dinners + our nightly animal games · bedtime giggles · tons of "caught being good" at school + star student for my little man · white walls · mad scientists · swimming · lazy weekends at home 

LOWS: chest congestions + sinus pressure that just won't go away · the heat + humidity (enough already, NC) · having to say goodbye to Uncle Walker · back pain for days · burnt cookies · homework, homework, homework · an air conditioner that can't decide if it wants to work or not · blisters

Afternoon Delight

You know you've had one too many picnics when your kids request them on the way home from school. With all of these crazy hot days and the feeling that we actually LIVE on the sun, we've been scrounging for things to do inside in the afternoon! Anyone else ready for fall?  

Floor picnics are our favorite. I know what you're thinking! The FLOOR?? That's why we use a blanket, silly. To cover up all that dirt and dog hair and gross stuff I try to clean up every.single.day. Have I ever mentioned I feel like I clean A LOT? And I bet you couldn't guess that while I'm OCD an love to be organized, I actually really abhor cleaning.  Sorry...my emotions got away with me there...

Anyhow...My two love to spread out a blanket, grab a few books or pick out a game to play while I fix them a little snack. I mean, we all eat snacks after school, so it might as well be on a blanket with fun games, right? And don't forget the fun socks!! Happy socks are our go-to for after school picnics (and handstand competitions, floor races/running, finger puppets and more!

The photo memory game from Pinhole Press gets pulled out at least once a week. There is something so "awwwww" when we flip over the photos and see those cute faces. Not to mention that they grow up so.darn.fast that the photos make them look like babies. 

Everyone gets in on the fun during picnics, even our best furry friend. He's always close by somewhere. Side note - he is SO hairy. And I swear that he and Drew are slowly starting to look alike. Not kidding.

So go grab a blanket and a game and surprise your babies with a floor picnic. They never disappoint and don't cost a dime!

xo

Oregon Part III

If you haven't purchased a ticket to Oregon yet, what are you waiting for? 

We spent the last few days hiking and traveling the Oregon Coast and along the Columbia River to Hood River.  (Here's

Part I

and

Part II

incase you missed them.)

The Oregon Coast Trail was nothing short of breathtaking. It was a little foggy out in the distance, but the views were amazing nonetheless. I'd imagine that a clear day would be mind blowing crazy. There had been some rain the days before, so the trails were pretty muddy and mucky. BUT. In case you were wondering, I wore my tennis shoes! Shocker, right?

From the coast, we hopped in the car and made our way to Hood River stopping by Multnomah Falls for a little detour. I still have no idea how to really say this name, so thank goodness I'm typing this and not telling you. Otherwise, I would be saying "this awesome waterfall"....

Whoa, right?

It was a little misty, but the falls were gorgeous. And so green. It was like being in a rain forest. We hiked to the top of the falls, which is only at about 620 feet high, but so worth it. I made the journey AGAIN in my flip flops, but whatevs...you can't get that close and NOT hike to the top. In my defense though, you could see the waterfall from the parking lot so I just assumed there was no hiking. I was wrong. (And yes - the picture below is looking DOWN from the top!! Yikes!)

After our stop, we hopped back in the car and made our way into Hood River and our PENTHOUSE view. Well, it was our friend's view, but who really cares.

Looking out across the river into Washington State was the best. This view. The penthouse. The sunshine. The people. All of it was the best and we pretty much had to convince ourselves to even leave and find dinner. 

WHEN we go back (not if, because, um...we're already planning our return trip), we will be staying here again. The place was so perfect and I really just want to make a pot of chili, turn on football and call that couch my home. 

So long Oregon. It was amazing. Thanks for being so awesome. We can't wait to come back and visit.

And you made it all the way through my Oregon posts! Yay! So what do you think? Have you ever been to any of these beautiful places?? Are you searching for tickets now?? We sure are! xo

Oregon Part II

Let's do this.

For the second part of our trip (

you can see Part I here

) we ventured north to check out Astoria, Washington and Cannon Beach. I can't even begin to tell you the most spectacular part of this leg because it was all amazing. Our first stop (as pictured above) was the Columbia River where it ran into the Pacific. The Columbia River is something in and of itself to see. You really just can't describe how beautiful it is to see the water with mountains on the other side. Gor-geous.

We stopped in Astoria for lunch at a the Buoy Beer Company and ate with....wait for it... sea-flippin-lions. Yep. Sea Lions. I tried to take one with me, but no such luck. Such a fun lunch place if you're ever passing through!

From Astoria, we traveled back south again to Cannon Beach. I'm not sure if there are any other Goonies fans here ("Hey you guys!!), but going to Cannon Beach was about as exciting as seeing New Kids on the Block when I was in fifth grade. Goonies never say die...  First, you gotta do the truffle shuffle...

Sorry. I'll stop. I'm weird.

The weather was little dreary and misty (which apparently is pretty common), but Cannon Beach was awesome nonetheless. Haystack Rock (pictured above and IN GOONIES) was absolutely amazing. It's just so random sitting there on that wide, long beach. 

The overall town had a very New England feel and I couldn't get enough of the cute cabins, ship lack houses and wooden condos. I picked out our future vacation home already.

We spent our evenings in Cannon Beach either huddled by a bonfire eating our bodyweight in s'mores or riding beach cruisers on the beach and through the town ogling all of the hydrangeas and beautiful flowers. Guess that's what happens to vegetation when it's misty every morning and only 75 during the day. Good to know...I'll pass that on to NC. It could use a little help in the cooling department.

Have you ever tried to ride a bike on the beach? In sand? It's not easy folks. Oh...and I bet you wouldn't believe me if I said I wore flip flops now would you? Best workout ever. 

OMG. What about this photo doesn't just scream Goonies. I can hear Chunk and Sloth right now. Anyone else?

Final photo overload and recap coming tomorrow. And I might even talk about flip flops too... #sorry

Oregon Part I

We're just getting back from our Oregon vacation and I'm gonna warn you now that I like to take pictures so I'm hijacking this blog for the week with plenty of Oregon eye candy. 

We had so much darn fun in Oregon! Have you ever been? If not, stop reading this and go book a trip. Seriously. It is breathtakingly amazing. And don't tell California, but it's my new favorite. Scott and I talked through ALL of the reasons why we should pack up our bags and move and let me tell you, the list is long. We loved every single minute of our vacation and if it weren't for those sweet babies at home, we likely would still be there. 

First up was Portland. 

One word. Amazing.

The city is just fantastic and the people there....ssshesh...just so crazy nice. Everyone we met was the best. From Uber drivers to waiters to random homeless people on the street. Sweet as pie.

Most of our time in Portland was spent walking. I have blisters on my feet as proof just in case you were interested. Portland is a walking city and they really make it so easy to get all of over town. We started our first day with what is called the 4T. Basically it's taking a train, trail, tram and trolley all over town. It took us about 3 or so hours and yep. I wore my flip flops (this will be a common occurrence if you make it all of the way through these posts and I apologize now).

We loved the 4T and apparently it's not really well known amongst tourists. I heard someone tell me it's the "secret walking tour", so if you go, Google it and find out more. It will not disappoint (but flip flops will...).

We stayed in the Westin right downtown and really loved being immersed in the city. We walked all over, ate at lots of yummy places and enjoyed every minute.

Before we went, I asked on Instagram for suggestions for places to go while we were in Portland and I think we hit up every spot that was recommended. Our faves were: Blue Star Doughnuts (hands down better than Voodoo Doughnuts), Imperial (absolutely amazing), Caffe Mingo (cute, quaint, yummy), Portland City Grill (for the view, not so much the food).

Our final stop of the Portland leg of our trip was a visit to BOTH Blue Star and Voodoo Doughnuts for a little doughnut throw down . We bought 22 doughnuts between the four of us. Well, three really because Scott's weird and doesn't like donuts. I questioned our marriage when he said that, btw. I mean. Who doesn't like doughnuts, but whatevs....

Blue Star rocked it. So good. Those two "old fashioned" in the bottom left hand corner?? I ate both of those. Oh...and the blueberry one, and maybe the chocolate one....and that maple bacon, lemon poppy seed....yikes. I'm going to the gym now.

And not to get into a phone love-fest, but I almost exclusively used my iPhone for this trip. I love my big camera something fierce, but that thing is big, bulky and heavy. I wondered if I would regret not lugging it around, but nope. Phone photos rock. The end.

Part II coming tomorrow...stay tuned.

Eye Candy

Apparently glasses are the hottest new accessory in second grade. Anna has been straight up begging for glasses for a good year now, so when the doctor asked her to do the eye exam at her seven year old check up, I saw the twinkle in her eye. She was SO flipping excited to read out those letters and I could have sworn that she was flubbing it just to TRY to get glasses. A full eye exam later (without any tears), and yep, her wish came true. The girl always gets what she wants....sigh...her teenage years are going to be a hot mess.

Anyway. So the shopping for a cute, but fun pair of glasses began! And shopping should ALWAYS be fun and done in your pajamas, so we ordered a free home try-on kit from Jonas Paul Eyewear and counted down the days until our kit arrived! I fell in love with the Jonas Paul Eyewear company not only because I knew we could find an affordable, but stylish pair of glasses for Anna, but because of their steadfast mission to help others.  For every pair of glasses purchased, another child is given the gift of corrective glasses, medical treatments to prevent blindness and needed medications. It was a no-brainer, win-win for us.

Anna didn't waste one single second opening her box of glasses and pretty much picked out which pair she liked the best as soon as she saw them! I still made her try on each one and really see how she liked the look and fit! I mean, how fun is it to try the glasses on as many times at you want, at home?!? 

She was pretty particular about how they sat on the bridge of her nose and how they looked around her eyes. She tried on every pair, chatted herself up in the mirror and analyzed the look of each one! I tell ya...these seven year old gals are something else.

And you bet that we had to grab out the camera and get silly snapping pictures of her in the glasses! Of course the ones I liked the best, she didn't, but oh well... She's super excited to have a fun and stylish pair of glasses and can't wait for the prescription pair to come so she can pop them in her mermaid glasses case (of course it's mermaid) and take them to school to show off!  

So what do you think?? Which pair is your favorite??

Project 52: Catch Up II


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016."
Week 21/52
Anna: Someone can't handle sleepovers
Drew: bubble boy





Week 22/52
Anna: the sun goddess
Drew: so this is how he got that sand crab in his shorts...



Week 23/52
Anna: lazy summer days
Drew: hey look - no shirt again. I feel like this is a common occurrence around here...



Week 24/52
Anna: sweet sunshine & smiles
Drew: bat-boy on a daring mission 



Week 25/52
Anna: GLASSES
Drew: snuggles with his bestie



Week 26/52
Anna: waaaahhhh...strep throat got the best of her
Drew: Star Wars addict. It's bad, y'all



Week 27/52
Anna: telling stories
Drew: water fun because it's too hot to be outside without being wet



Week 28/52
Anna: deep thoughts
Drew: post first-day of kindergarten slumber. zzzzz



Week 29/52
Anna: she'll accessorize with just about anything these days
Drew: "Let me tell you something"...



Week 30/52
Anna: book nerd
Drew: he wants something. probably legos. 

5 Reasons to Document a Day In Your Life

Need a reason to document a day in your life?? I've got FIVE good ones for you today and I bet you will be charging your cameras and cleaning off your memory cards in about 2 seconds flat if you make it all the way to the end of this post! 

If you've been wanting to record a day in the life, now is the time! Ali Edwards' will be completing her second DITL of 2016 this Saturday and I totally encourage you to check it and play along! I've captured and recorded a single day for the past five years along with Ali (and on my own a few times) and the photos and memories are some of my very favorite. But the pictures....oh.my.gosh. They make me cry the ugly cry every.single.time. As much as I would like to think I remember everything, I just don't. Waaahh. I hate it, but it's true. We just can't remember it all, so thank heavens for cameras and notes and the stuff of life.

So here ya go, friends! My five awesome reasons for picking up your camera and being the crazy lady in Target snapping photos as your kids run down the aisles! 

Number one: Life goes so quickly.

Oh man does it ever. You know that saying "the days are long, but the years are short"? So flippin' true. I swear it was just yesterday that my son was in his crib sucking on his 400 pacifiers. I miss those cute little cheeks and chubby fingers and how he always had at least three pacifiers on him at any time. One in the mouth, two in the hand. Sigh. My ovaries kind of hurt now. Ok, sorry, I digress…

But seriously, though. Life is too short. The things that you think you'll remember this year will be soon replaced with memories from next year and the year after and the year after. Taking a moment to record the here and now is incredibly priceless. Just scroll back through your photos on your phone… You'll see what I'm talking about! 

Number two: You can view your world from a different perspective.

Fun fact. At least once a day I yell and scream at my kids under my breath (obviously...I'm not THAT mean). Yep… At least once a day. Spilled milk, skidmarks in underwear, and messes everywhere are enough to make me batty most days. Looking at your life through the lens, however, gives you a new perspective on things. It gives you a minute just sit back, observe, and laugh about these moments that will soon be long gone and long forgotten. I'm not saying that it's any less obnoxious when that second glass of milk spills on the floor, but at least my camera gives me a reason to enjoy that moment and record it!

Number three: You become a part of the picture.

If you're snap happy like me, you are usually behind the camera, not in front of it. I'll be the first one to raise my hand and admit that I don't like being in front of the camera. I feel awkward and weird and ugh... It's just bad y'all.

But… I know that my kids could care less, and down the road these will be photos that we will cherish, so I make a conscious effort to stick my happy face in some photos (and snap pics of my husband too, because he hates the camera maybe more than I do). Most of the shots with me have been taken around these day in the life or week in the life projects. And I'm totally fine with that! These are great opportunities for us to remember to let our hair down, and get crazy with our kids. This is real life, people. Record it!!

Number four: Things stay the same, but different at the same time.

It always surprises me every year I complete this project that many things stayed the same, but with a new life. Anna has been an avid book lover since she was a teeny, tiny, cute, little, skinny baby. Her love for books has never changed. Every year I take part in this project I snap a picture of Anna reading some type of book. I love how that one aspect of our lives has stayed the same, but has evolved in so many different ways. 

This project is a great way to celebrate those little things of life. The things that are the same. The things that make us who we are.

Number five: You create a time capsule of your story.

Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone. Good, bad, ugly, silly… You have a story to tell! So tell it. Grab your camera, snap away, and document the memories of your days. Then do it again the next year! I promise you won't regret it. Ever ever ever. 

Recording your everyday? Sounds a little scary right? I mean, the house isn't clean and there's laundry on the floor! But that's a-ok! That's the beauty of YOUR life and your day! This project can be whatever you want to make it. The most important thing is to tell your story and record those fleeting moments of life. So are you in? Hope so! 

Around Here



Fun fact: having multiple hours of "alone" time isn't really all that bad. I was kind of terrified I wouldn't know what do without my two rug rats, but I'm managing to survive (so far, at least).

Here's a list of all the things I've been able to do ALL. BY. MY. SELF:

1. Take a shower. The dog was there staring at me, but that doesn't count because he hasn't learned how to say "Moooooooom" or ask me to draw pictures on the shower door.
2. Run into and out of a store in less than 10 minutes. I mean...I totally forgot that that was even possible.
3. Drink a cup of coffee without having to reheat it. Say what??
4. Watch the Kardashians for more than .2 seconds, because, let's face it, that show is so not appropriate. Anna would be writing me off and calling me "Kris" in about one minute flat.
5. Edit a whole slew of photos without once being asked to wipe a bottom.
6. Buy only what was on my grocery list. No fruit snacks or oreos for you kiddos. #notsorry
7. Eat ice cream in the middle of the day without having to bend down under the counter or sneak into the pantry with a spoonful. Crazy good times.
8. Leave one room and come back and it looks the S.A.M.E. 
9. Start, finish and put away a million loads of laundry. #highfive
10. Have a phone conversation without anyone asking me to rate their handstands, telling me stories about Jabba the Hut or having a meltdown.

I'm sure I'll be sobbing my eyes out later today after I've done all of the above items and it's only 10am, but for now it's all bliss and roses! Hope your day is awesome and you can finish your coffee without having to reheat it! xo-



Around Here






Today is our last Friday of summer. BOTH of my kids start back school on Monday and it's quite possible I will have a mental breakdown next week. I love year-round school, but the summers always seem to come and go so quickly. I have loved every single minute of our summer (minus a few sicknesses here and there that I could have totally done without....). I love having my babies home and as you can probably tell from our photos, we are total homebodies. I mean, it's pretty bad. All four of us would prefer to stay at home and just hang out than do just about anything else in the world. I hope your summer has been fantastic so far!!  I'm hoping to pop onto this little old blog more now that I will be bored out of my mind...I mean, I will have more free time!!
Happy Friday, friends!




Whoa June





I swear I blinked and June was gone. I have been counting down the days until summer for months and months, and now I can slowly see summer slipping away. Both of my kiddos start school in less than two weeks and this momma heart is already starting to ache. June was fantastic (if you ignore some crazy sickness we all got).  We spent some time at the beach, celebrated my birthday, played with our family at the lake and much, much  more. My kids have spent some good quality time together and I seriously couldn't ask for me. I love to see them together playing, reading or what not. They melt my heart and I sure am going to miss them being around all day when the school year starts. We still have a few more days, so we'll be living it up for sure! I hope your summer has been fantastic so far!! xoxo


Home Is Where the Heart Is

It's so hard to put yourself out there.  And it's so easy to feel like you're the only one who doesn't have it all together...especially with good ole Instagram where gorgeous photos are all over the place. When Gabrielle from Design Mom emailed and asked if she would feature our home on her "Living with Kids" series, I almost said no. I even replied back to her to make sure she had the right person. 

But then I decided that sometimes you have to say yes and take that risk. Sometimes you have to put yourself out there, crazy and all. So I spilled my heart and shared our home. And it was awesome. If you would like to get a peek into our happy home,hop on over to Gabrielle's blog. xoxo

Living for the weekend










We've declared that every weekend should be a three-day weekend. Anyone else agree? 
There's just something about that extra day that makes you feel like you're on top of things, plus some. My house is clean, the laundry is done and I didn't even have the Monday post-weekend blues. I love lazy days where we just sit around do nothing, but really everything. I love being us just being together at home. Home is our happy place and there really is no other place we'd rather be. Hope your weekend was full of love and happiness! xoxo