Hello friends. I'm so looking forward to Friday!! It's been a hectic week for us here in the Woods household. Charlotte has been sick all week, school was closed Monday for Parker and Lila, we are still getting used to our new routines... so I'm extremely late in contributing to the lifestyle project circle. Oh well. Better late than never, right? Here's to a good night's sleep, some good news at the doctor's office this afternoon, and another cup of coffee for me! ///
I am blessed to be able to join eight extremely talented photographers in our continuing project: What _____ Looks Like. It's a wonderful way for us to deliberately make time to photograph our own families, and not just clients. To become memory-keepers as well as memory-makers.
I'm so grateful to know that years from now, I will be able to flip back through our photo albums and see what it looked like when my kids helped me bake cookies, or what it looked like to have a newborn in the house, or what it looked like when she dressed up in all her princess costumes when she was three.
However, when planning my own lifestyle photo sessions, I try to ask my clients what they want their session to FEEL like, instead. That emotion is what drives the session. So this month, I thought it would be more appropriate to show you, What August Feels Like...
Well, it feels like a whirlwind, to be honest. So much happening, so many places and so many emotions at once. A lot of these photographs were captured with my D700, but quite a few were just taken with my iPhone and Instagram.
We began our August with an overnight, nonstop road trip from central Florida to North Carolina, with three young kids packed tightly among pillows and luggage. Oh my... there are so many "feelings" associated with this one! Actually the kids handled it beautifully, since we left at bedtime and drove straight through the night. They slept through most of it. Chris and I split the driving hours almost in half, thanks to some Red Bull (for him) and sweet tea and chocolate (for me). We felt exhausted, sleepy, anxious, nervous, confident, tired, caffeinated, slap-happy, and relieved to finally arrive the next morning. Thank goodness for a nap, and grandparents, aunts and uncles who were happy to watch our children while we caught up on a little sleep.
Charlotte's first introductions to -- and our reunion with -- some very special family members... elated. Joyful. Grateful. Whole. Complete.
Adventurous. Carefree. Realizing that this entire North Carolina field was his own personal golfing range that evening.
Peaceful. Warm. Content...
Loved, and surrounded by love.
An early first birthday celebration for a tiny girl... denial. How can she be almost a year old?! This isn't possible!! I've prayed for this day, for this "difficult first year" to be over with. And then, when it was actually, truly, really creeping up on me, I pushed it aside and refused to deal with it. Her birthday is not here yet. I'll accept it later, when it's time. And I did... I think.
But this day, her party was so very beautiful and special. It deserves its own post, really, so I won't go into all of it here. But I promise to share it all soon!
We allowed Parker to stay on in North Carolina for a few days to spend some more time with his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Chris's brother's family was heading to Florida to visit us the next week, so they agreed to let Parker fly with them. Driving away and seeing our son standing there in his grandparents' driveway, waving to us all... just about killed me. My heart broke, my throat closed, and I cried hot, silent tears as we passed him by and honked the horn. I could feel Chris looking over at me so pitifully, but I couldn't hold back the tears. My boy and I have a special mother-son bond. Even though I knew that it would only be a few days until we saw Parker again, I still felt like I'd left a part of my heart back there in that driveway. Missing a piece of my family.
Nostalgic. Sentimental. On our road trip, we drove through Charlotte, NC. The city where Chris and I met. "Our" first home. The namesake of our baby girl. I'd taken this exit more times than I could count... and yet it seemed so unfamiliar when we passed by it. Thirteen years is a long time, I guess. And true to our Southern roots, we had to stop in Georgia at a roadside produce stand. Tables laden with freshly-picked peaches, jarred preserves, and bags of soft pecans and hot boiled peanuts. It lifted my spirits a bit seeing Charlotte biting right into that peach! I knew Lila would love hers. She's my best eater.
There was plenty of playtime for the kids this month, and I feel so proud of their imaginations. From trampoline-jumping with cousins, building dojos and rockets and vehicles with legos, to dressing up as Jedi knights to defend little
sisters princesses. And in the case of Charlotte above, I let Lila choose her baby sister's outfit this day.... she picked out a Cinderella costume, of course. That, for me, was yet another lesson in choosing my battles. I did not choose this battle, and the baby wore the Cinderella dress to the grocery store that day.
They don't always play well together, I will be the first to admit... but when they do, it's bliss. They discover that his lego tree house and fort can back right up to her pink lego house and all of the mini-figures can hang out. (That's a pink tutu bathing suit Lila has on -- her favorite. She wears it all the time around the house, and I never want to forget it.)
Parker got a hamster this month. Meet Coral. She's kind of a grumpy thing. She's escaped from her cage two or three times, spends all day tucked into her tunnels, and she bites our fingers every time we get close to her. I think she wants to be owner-free, don't you?
The third week in August was more than emotional. Parker began 3rd grade on Monday, Lila started Pre-K on Tuesday, and Charlotte turned a year old on Wednesday. Every day another kid took a step forward, and it was so bittersweet. My babies are growing up! But on the flip side, it was pretty nice to have a bit of order back to our schedule again, and some much-needed routine to our days. Calm amidst the chaos. Centered. Focused. On track.
And, if I'm being honest, I am really enjoying that block of quiet time alone with my baby girl. Charlotte is pretty amazing.
Now introducing my sweet friend, Deb Schwedhelm | Tampa Child Photographer. Can't wait to see what she photographed this month.