Go Jump in the Lake

We spent an afternoon last week visiting new friends. Ginger and I have known each other through our photography circles for a few years now, and we were so happy to finally meet in person! My "circle of friends" is intentionally very small, and I'm always amazed at how God brings people into my life who just KNOW what my heart needs at any given moment. Ginger is that kind of friend, truly.

Our kids got along beautifully too... and we joked that they were all inspiring each other to be fearless. They splashed in the lake, jumped off the dock and leapt from the deck of their boat that was moored just a few feet off the shore. Ginger's kids taught mine to kayak, and even my little Charlotte was brave enough to try to paddle by herself (with Parker swimming along behind her). They played soccer, ate popsicles, and swung on the tire swing. We had lunch on the back patio and watched boats go by, as we laughed and talked like we'd been best friends for years... serving each other's children, wiping little mouths and drippy chins, refilling juice and pouring more tea. 

And pouring fresh life into one another's hearts while we did so. 

In her son's room, a sign on the wall reads "Go Jump In The Lake". It's the perfect charge for an adventurous little boy. It inspired me too. Ever since that day, I've been thinking... into what "lake" should I just take the leap? How can I be fearless? Which amazing adventure should I choose? (I have a few ideas already.)

Here is my collection of images from our afternoon, and you can see Ginger's beautiful set of favorites HERE.

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And you know what else? I jumped off that dock into the lake too.

I held Lila's hand, we ran and jumped at the same time, and I yelled all the way down.

It felt amazing. Lila was almost as happy as I was.

Go jump in the lake, friends. Those beautiful waters are good for the soul.

Our Greatest Treasure | What I Love About Being a Mama

One of my favorite mamas EVER is on the blog today.  Meet Ruth… and Olivia and Maryn.Stacey Woods, lifestyle newborn photographer "Everything has changed. What used to be important seems just silliness now. My every waking moment is focused on these two precious girls and our family."

Stacey Woods newborn lifestyle photography

Stacey Woods lifestyle family photographer"My mom loves to play the piano; she encouraged all of us (6 siblings) to play an instrument.  Since we have grown up, she has continued to expand her talent through lessons and daily practice and is an amazing pianist.  When she visits, I know I can count on daily serenades and even her own compositions."

Stacey Woods, Lifestyle Photographer

I asked Ruth about her favorite characteristic of each of her girls...  

"Olivia: her beautifully kind spirit. I used to pray when she was still in utero that God would allow her to bring joy to everyone she meets--and she does!"

Stacey Woods childhood photographer

Stacey Woods lifestyle photography

"Maryn: her scream! She is not afraid to let her presence be known. She will need this characteristic as she gets older. :-)"

Stacey Woods, newborn photography

Stacey Woods, baby photographer

"I love seeing moms that are calm in the midst of chaos that children naturally create. They give me hope that I too can not worry or not stress about the little things."

Stacey Woods, lifestyle photography of newborns and siblings

I also asked Ruth to tell me about the most important lesson her own mother ever taught her…. and Ruth's answer made me tear up.  And I dare say that it will make her mama proud to read her words….

"To honor your father and mother. She was an only child (after her twin sister passed away from Leukemia at the age of 5) and she remained a supportive daughter to her mother until my Grannie's recent passing in 2011. Her daily emphasis on the importance of family and the sacrifice that daughters/children can and should make to honor their parents has made a life-long impact on me. Family is our greatest treasure."

Our greatest treasure, indeed.

xoxo, Stacey

What I Love About Being a Mama: Sibling Friendships

Undoubtedly, one of my favorite things about being a mama is when I get to witness how much my kids truly like one another.  Not just "we-love-because-we-have-to", but actual friendship.  Snuggling, tickling, laughing, playing because-they-want-to friendship.  It warms my heart to no end to see these sibling friendships developing and growing.

Stacey Woods photos of sibling friendships

I was folding laundry on Lila's bed yesterday, and Lila climbed into Charlotte's crib to play with her, like she so often does. They just began snuggling under the covers and tickling each other and giggling like little girls do. My heart melted into a puddle when I saw them being so loving toward each other, all on their own.

My camera was in my office, but my iPhone was nearby, so that is what I used here. After all, "the best camera is the one that's with you."  ~Chase Jarvis

I actually texted this photo to my two sisters immediately afterward, because it made me think of them. We're still best friends to this day, even as mamas ourselves.

Parents, never underestimate the importance of fostering real friendship between your children! I'm so very grateful for my sisters... the way we have always helped each other through different stages of life, having all of those inside jokes that no one else thinks is significant, much less funny. How we support each other even if we don't agree, how we can call or text in the middle of the night if we need a listening ear or a bit of advice about a sick baby.  How we've comforted and encouraged one another through breakups and boyfriends, marriages and babies, through life and death and sickness in between, through prosperity and heart-breaking loss, through cross-country moves and changes that cannot be reversed. I am sp grateful for our undying friendship and our unconditional acceptance and support of each other.  I know that my sisters always have my back, even though we are scattered across the country.

Our parents gave us these most wonderful gifts: each other.

It is my intention to guide all three of my children to not only love each other, but to truly like each other now and forever.  To give them what I have with my sisters.  And it's a beautiful thing to witness this unfolding before my eyes.

So what about you?  Are your children also friends? Let's talk!  I'd love to know your tips and ideas on how to develop sibling friendship in the comments below!

I'll go first!  :)  There were three of us girls, but only two bedrooms upstairs. So the two who were arguing the most would have to share a room until we learned to get along. We didn't like it at first, but it worked like a charm.  Mom was pretty brilliant like that.

Now it's your turn!


Today is the first day of my new blog series entitled, "What I Love About Being a Mama".  Stay tuned for the next few weeks as we celebrate mothers all over the world.  I'll be featuring interviews with other mamas, special gifts, and giveaways just for my readers!  Be sure and subscribe so that you don't miss a single post!


I also hope you'll join me this Friday and Saturday, April 11th and 12th, for Mother's Day mini-sessions at Honeymoon Island in Dunedin!  I'd love to melt YOUR Mama-heart into a puddle when you see images of your children loving on each other, and loving on YOU.  Register now by emailing me through this website (contact link above) or by calling me at 727-698-0344.  It would be my honor to celebrate you and your children, even if they're grown up and not-so-little anymore.  They'll always be your babies, after all, right?

xo, Stacey