blog

road trip tips with kids...survival mode

so if you can tell from the above picture, I'm by no means the expert on travel.  but i do have some experience - good and some not so great - that i thought id share my favorite one stop shop for mommies out there headed for the highway this summer and also some our favorite car activities that have gotten us through half of our travel so far this summer. i'm currently on a 6 week road trip solo with my three girls (2, 5 & 7 years old), and its an adventure...but we are all better for it.  trying new foods, adapting to crazy daily schedules, finding new activities, and exploring cities to make the most of our days together.  its not easy being without my super involved and helpful husband, but its certainly been bonding time not only with my girls, but with our family and friends we are seeing along the way.

for the road tripping families out there this summer, my first recommendation is hit up the Dollar Store.  you are in and out for under $30.  first thing on your list there: a trashcan. no matter if you are in a minivan (me) or a fabulous suv, kids are messy, gross, and eat constantly - (why did we have them again??) - and a trashcan is your first essential to a road trip.  second, a great recommendation by my dear friend (thank you amy!), a plastic caddy - these have handles at the top, a drink holder built in and a side to put snacks, or lunch in....and when they are finished eating, you can fill it with a new activity... bringing me to #3.  ACTIVITIES.  the Dollar Tree has awesome activities that will most likely at some point get strewn among the car, but cost $1, so you can clear the floors and trash them all at the end and not think another second about it.  from figurines, to puzzles, play doh, art activities, to tea sets - my kids are always thrilled to have a new shiny object to play with.  and lastly no brainer but - snacks, snacks, and snacks.  maybe a big lollipop or two :)

and then there are the family games - our favorite is road bingo - you can get the cards at any toy store or amazon.   another fun idea that my genius friend came up with (christie & emily I'm looking at you!), the jelly bean taste test.  get different flavors of each jelly bean, kids close their eyes and get to taste one and guess the flavor.  books on cd are awesome and you can check them out at your local library or get cute disney ones at target too which my girls love.  alphabet game, name things you see outside in alphabetic order or just grocery items, and the always class i spy game.  lastly, one of our FAVORITE new things is to the WOW in the world podcast - its produced by NPR and is chock full of science and learning in a very fun format for kids.  my girls look forward to them every week.  just download them all before you leave town and if you've got bluetooth, you'll be in business for several hours of entertainment.

happy trails friends, and good luck out there.  safe travels with your littles.  i LOVE seeing all your adventures through instagram! below are a few from our recent adventures....xoxo

a cultivated family life

this session all started with a dad.  and a mom who had no pictures with her daughters.  john called before mothers day, his wife wanted pictures of their family....documenting the spaces the live in, the girls at play, and life at home as the fuller family. and boy was it fun.  they live in the  cozy and historic whitland area of nashville, and their home is full of color. vibrance. books. vintage pieces. amazing artwork. and a cultivated family life.  its all around them.  every nook and cranny filled with love. and you know what's amazing?  whitney (mom) never apologized when i walked in the door for the toys, the corners with kid artwork spread out, the casual living room setup with puzzles, library, games, and more that fills their girls daily lives with curiosity and wonder. im guilty of it, the constant need to apologize. when people walk in my home and dolls and artwork and evidence of kids is right under their noses, immediately apologizing for the mess and my life with kids. whitney was a reminder to me to stop doing that. life with kids SHOULD be messy.  should be fun.  should be colorful.  before we know it, the mess will be gone, kids grow up, and we'll miss the colorful family life with little ones.  

i don't take the fact that you moms invite me into your homes, your private family moments and spaces. thank you for trusting me to see the life you've cultivated for you family and document those spaces in ways your kids will treasure for the next generation.  and then in this preview with whitney yesterday, a tear or two shed when she held prints in her hands with herself and her precious girls.  a pinch me moment that she shared with me and i'll never forget. 

#documentyourdays #mommiesinthemoment

foster the fun

i was SO honored when rory asked me to capture her family.  she wanted FUN, real photos of her little clan and so we picked a park close to our neighborhood.  an iconic park in nashville, but one where they could spread their wings, literally in some cases and be playful in a gorgeous sunset park evening.  i try not to play favorites, and loved each little foster's personalities, but evie stole my heart and the show pretty quickly.  she LOVED the camera, and i loved her for it.  she also reminded me SO much of my little middle child, tate.  beats to her own drum.  

this family is the epitome of natural...free...kind....and loving and glad i was able to capture these memories.

thanks to rory for trusting me.  xoxo

emmeline & co

when emily called about a session, just a few days after i closed out my fall shoots, we had a little chat about exactly what she was looking for.  i whole heartily admitted to her that i was in need a break.  after over 70 family sessions this fall and a gorgeous wedding in belle meade, my creative inspiration tank was running on fumes.  she got it right away.  we postponed a few days to a weekend slot, and i got a solid 5 days off to catchup on a few work items (hello, accounting...) and be with my family.

by saturday, refreshed,  i was eager to meet another new family and since we'd chatted by phone about our plan for the morning, it was a breeze.  it doesn't always happen, but talking by phone or in person about expectations for a family session is really important.  i want to know your goals, and i want to meet them.  i also want you to know it will be fun, easy and casual with trust and a little free will.  

the steffens were open, willing to share and love, and i was so thrilled to be the fly on the wall for and hour with this family.  another "pinch me" session in the books.  thankful for each and every one of you that lets me in your home and lives.  

xoxoxo

boys on the farm

when a mom has a particular spot in mind for our shoot, im all for it. i love a mom with vision and rachel had it for this years holiday shoot.  but she let me have free reign of the gorgeous piece of farm property south of nashville.  we sought out spots of incredible light and shadows, and the boys were the perfect subjects with all the scenic backdrops of foothills, equestrian fields and striking architecture.  rachel has an thoughtful eye for design but more importantly she's an incredibly patient, playful and kind mom.  the boys made our afternoon on the farm their own brotherly adventure and i loved being there to capture the joy.  and i might have snuck in a couple of mom too...

saturday at pontotoc

when i think of a sanctuary, i think of a place of peace. nature. privacy. loved ones.  pontotoc.

this place is one that hosts heart and history.  I've been lucky enough to visit my friend there a few times now and each time i drive the winding road up to the main home, i get a euphoric feeling. when bonnie mentioned they were spending the weekend there and "is it ok if we have our session out at the farm?" - and all my dreams for fall came true.  good friends and adorable kiddos. throw in some horses, primitive barns, and a john deere four wheeler to tour the property?  yes please.  with miriam in overalls and a bright squirrel sweater, and oakes decked out in stripes (my favorite) and ready to run - we had a truly free and easy morning. im thankful beyond words my dear friend has entrusted me in capturing memories at her parents home of her beautiful family.

enjoy pontotoc... and the cross family in their sanctuary.   

baby annie afton

i had the pleasure of meeting little baby annie afton at 1 week and 1 day old.  she is perfect in every way down to her little button nose.  thankfully she was resilient through us waking her up, moving her around and lots of big sister kisses and little pats.  this family just moved back into their precious bungalow in sylvan park after a short move to memphis.  although moms want the house to be perfect, they never are right?  and the benefit for me of a newly moved in family is all the boxes aren't unpacked and there's less to move around and typically freshly painted walls.  white sheets and bedding - perfect!  annie afton's warm and cozy nursery nook was my favorite spot - paige (mom) has a really impressive eye for design and soon is opening  booth of cultivated pieces.  

thank you paige for inviting me into your previous family moments.  loved meeting you all!

xoxo