Fall is here! The beginning of our busiest season for our personal and work lives has arrived. As a new chapter of the year starts, the Lord reminds me again that He is doing a new thing.
We continued Pre-K homeschooling, which is a very lax, go-with-the-flow type of “schooling” because, well COVID has our schedules up in the air a lot. School, I use that term loosely, has been the only constant thing Ethan does each day with Daddy or Tori. Last month there was a focus on butterflies. We ordered a habitat and caterpillars from Amazon (didn’t know you could buy live caterpillars online!) and talked about metamorphosis. The actual process of the butterfly emerging from the chrysalides was my least favorite part. Not going to lie, it was gross, BUT, the important thing was that he learned about new life and saw nature happen right in front of his eyes!
With Ethan and Selah sharing a room, mornings have become more fun for them. I wake up to the sounds of giggling every single morning because Ethan keeps finding new ways to climb into Selah’s crib and play with her until I come in.
This month, Selah finally showed an interest in books, so I took advantage of double the snuggles and reading to them together.
Speaking of reading… look at this cutie moment I caught of Tori and Ethan.
I got to open up my circle a little by adding Lauranne into the mix! She hasn’t seen anyone since March so we had a little dinner date, caught up, dreamed together, and inspired each other with life updates (more of her inspiring me).
6a breakfast dates continued with Tori and more often than not, we were met with little ones competing for our attention. They never wake up that early UNLESS we’re having breakfast together. It’s like they have a radar for that. Regardless, the quality time tank was filled.
My most special work project this month was a surprise baby reveal! My friend surprised her husband with a special message to let him know they were adding to their family! He actually saw me photographing them from afar and didn’t recognize me with my mask, hat and sunglasses, so as she was trying to tell him she was pregnant, he kept mentioning that a strange woman was photographing them, lol. My friend grabbed him by the hands and said “You’re going to be a dad” and he immediately LOST IT. (so many happy tears behind my sunglasses)
In one week, I traveled to Alys Beach, California, and St Augustine for work. It was as crazy as it sounds, but still so worth it for the beautiful imagery that followed. First was our Anniversary Shoot editorial in the 30A.
Ashley and I have been dying to travel to Alys and Rosemary Beach for years, so we planned an editorial around it. The first night we stayed in the condo, had some wine, made a charcuterie board, and talked for hours. It felt so nice to have a girl’s sleepover and spend so much time talking through losses, disappointments, and dreams in the last season.
I love scouting for shooting locations, but this was my favorite time ever. Every corner we turned felt like we found another treasure of a little spot. EVERY SINGLE CORNER. Alys Beach is like the Greece of Florida.
The day of the shoot, we quickly lost a lot of light, because a tropical storm was headed our way (cool, cool), regardless, this real-life couple (who hasn’t taken pictures since their wedding 6 years ago) brought the heat. F I R E . (*shoutout to Mike’s shoes with the tassels that stole the show. Another special shoutout to that bomb white jumpsuit from Lulu’s that Dani fit like a glove. Also, last but not least, a round of applause to our florist Moonstruck Florist for this PERFECT bouquet that matched Mike’s velvet jacket from Friar Tux)
Our last day in Alys Beach, we sat in a courtyard brought our own breakfast and people watched. This was probably one of my favorite memories. We watched a dramatic scene take place, as a local resident was causing a town disturbance. Ashley and I started making our own narratives of the scene as we snacked on avocado toast. Afterwards, we rode bikes for hours around 30A. So worth it!
Some things we learned on our trip:
- The towns of 30A are tiny. Between the two, Rosemary has more to do compared to Alys, visually Alys is my favorite.
- There are many different levels of bougie.
- Bike rentals are worth it, but apply sunscreen before biking. You’ll forget how long you’ve been out and leave with tan lines that are not cute.
- Everyone’s front “yard” intersects with the bike trails and walkways you can get lost in. Spend time wandering around.
- Make a reservation (well in advance) to Caliza Restaurant.
- Stay outside of Alys Beach to save on costs. The prices for lodging are significantly lower away from the beach and minutes away from all of the beauty of Alys.
- Amavida has the best coffee.
On our way home, we stopped by Tallahassee for some branding portraits for Caroline at Moonstruck Florals. BRANDING PHOTOS ARE MY FAVORITE. Isn’t she the cutest!?!
Soon after the trip, I had one day at home before I got on a plane for another editorial in Santa Ynez, California at a bucket list venue, Kestrel Park. Janna Brown Design Company orchestrated the most beautiful wedding editorial packed with those California golden hills, the lushest and romantic florals, and a real couple that are literally models. This image alone made the shoot worth flying across the country. Goodness.
Besides the beautiful imagery that designer, Janna Brown orchestrated… I got to meet one of my favorite photographers, Jen Huang! I was sitting in the lawn near this cute woman with her cute hat, chatting it up about pumping at weddings. I had no idea it was her until another attendee mentioned her name. THE JEN HUANG. The same one I’ve bought educational materials from. The same one I’ve followed for YEARS. The highlight of my 48 hours in California.
I got home and left for St. Augustine the following day for Kristen and Matt’s wedding day! Look at Kim and I matching with our jumpsuits and masks! Also peep at my littles having the time of their lives with Daddy while Mommy is at work!
Here are a few film scans from the day.
It was a thrilling week for sure, and I did enjoy my alone time as I traveled, but I really missed my family. I felt my heart drop when Ethan asked if he could go with me to work. Thankfully, I didn’t miss Selah walking. She took her first steps in August, but was full on walking right before I left for California.
I returned and made up for all of the extra snuggles I missed out on.
My parents and in-laws came into town and stayed with us! It was one big sleepover at my house. We haven’t seen our families for so long, so it was really special to see them all TOGETHER. Plus, it’s extra special because our parents have become each other’s quarantine crews. They hang out together while they are home. It’s a gift to see how our families have become friends. A highlight from their visit was installing Ethan’s new swing and all of us taking a turn on it!
I don’t get much alone time with my mom, in fact, the only alone time I got with her was a quick 1-hour work break to grab boba tea and quickly circle around Target (it can be done). I took a day off with her and the kids and it was everything my heart needed. I didn’t care that there was a tantrum or two in between our conversations, I had quality time with my mom just by BEING with her. Such a filling day after traveling for a week straight.
- BBQ. Setting up the table outside where we could feel the cool autumn air.
- Family movie night. I got to snuggle with my mom and my boy on the couch as we ate popcorn and watched Spirit.
- Lunchtime breaks together. I LOVED working beside her in my office! We often took our lunch breaks together which was such fun!
Ethan and I snuck away for a Starbucks date!
We got to celebrate Tia Ashley’s birthday Hawaiian style. They couldn’t travel to Hawaii this year, so we brought Hawaii to our backroom with tropical kabobs, all of the bright and bold party store decor, and even Dole Whips!
Perfect hangout before baby Benjamin was born a few days later! He made his GRAND entrance into the world at the end of last month. We had to wait a week to meet him because he spent some time in the NICU, but the wait was well worth it! So sweet to see an answer to many, many prayers.
The Lord is so sweet to remind us of new life happening all around us. Whether it is through a butterfly’s metamorphosis, a work project that breaths passion in my soul, a new swing that adds joy to a child, or literally a new child being born… He is doing a NEW THING.
“Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.“