Summer break so far

The moment we finished our last day at the homeschool co-op where the boys attend and I teach, my brain slipped into something more comfortable. It shrunk and turned on its back, like a cat stretched out on a warm patio. Done and done.

One might think this means I’ve spent the last two weeks with my feet up, but that’s not been the case. Freelance writing has kept me busy, along with a couple of photo sessions and deep cleaning parts of the house that have been neglected since the holidays.

It won’t be a slow summer, but it will be less busy to a degree. Jeremy is working more, plus he’ll have three soccer camps and a sleep-away church camp to enjoy in June. Jackson has a sports camp and, on account of Jeremy’s outside work, will pick up more chores at home. (We are currently on a waiting list for equine therapy for him. Fingers crossed they call soon!) My non-teaching workload has increased, and Chuck continues to knock it out of the park at work, too.

So that we aren’t all business and no play, we took the boys to the mountains over the weekend to play in the river and also enjoy the sweetest teacher gift I’ve received yet – four passes to ride The Wheel at the Island. I couldn’t believe such a generous gift came my way! (Thanks, girls!)

The view was beautiful from above!

We eventually made our way to the river, where the banks were lush green.

The water was mountain-level cold, which the boys were shocked to discover. They did more wading than swimming, but we still enjoyed the brief retreat anyway.

In other news, we went strawberry picking for the first time ever, and it was with a goal in mind: to recreate the homemade strawberry jelly Chuck’s parents used to make.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a recipe to pull from, so I followed the directions on the back of the Sure-Jell box and crossed my fingers that it would resemble the homemade jelly we remember.

It tastes nearly the same, though it’s not quite as thick as I’d prefer. Still, it’s HANDS DOWN better than anything store-bought. I’d never eat a spoonful of store-bought jam or jelly, but that isn’t the case with this stuff. Come visit and I’ll hand you a spoon.

I’m darn proud.

Finally, here is Salem napping and setting a good example for all of us.

First Snow of 2018

Parts of Tennessee got its first snow of the year last week, but we weren’t that lucky. Yesterday, however, we scored a few inches (yay!) and it’s cold enough today that the accumulation lingered.

Northerners will look at these piddly flakes and roll their eyes, but Southerners have a different experience with winter. Snow is rare and, therefore, magical. It has the power to shut down entire cities with one threat.

This morning it was still spitting, so I grabbed my camera and went for a short walk to visit our neighbors.

I love when they see me coming. My voice and figure are recognizable to them now, so once I’ve called their names, they come to the fence line to greet me and to see if I’ve brought them treats.

He smells apples!

We still do school work on snow days, which is the only way to stay on track. It isn’t without complaint and struggle, but we are always glad to reach the end of the school year and not have to extend our calendar. We can be done when it’s time to be done.

For now, the boys have finished their work (and gnashing of teeth), so they are outside sledding and expelling their energy. The temperatures will be in the 40s by Friday and the upper-50s by the weekend, so this first wash of snow will be short-lived.

By the look of the blog of late, it seems as though all I’ve done in 2018 is read. [That is partly true.] I am swimming in freelance work, so I’ve had to save my words for other things. Co-op classes are back in session, so that’s also taking a bit of my time. Fortunately, I’m keeping the promise I made to myself last year – saying yes to what I want to do and saying no to what I don’t. That is a freedom I dreamt about in my 20s and early 30s. As I approach 40, it’s old hat. It’s the norm. I love it.

Adventure in Iceland – Going home

We were all sad on Friday morning. Though we’d done and seen so much in three full days, we were just starting to get the hang of life in Iceland. We weren’t speaking the language, but the place had gotten comfortable. None of us wanted to leave yet.

Once we were all packed and ready for the airport, Jeremy took a moment to say goodbye to the neighborhood soccer pitch. Oh, the hours he could spend there.

We also said goodbye to the house cat. Since the cold snap ended, much of the snow melted near the coast and it was a comfortable 43 degrees with low humidity.

Unlike our flight to Iceland, which was entirely in the dark, we chased the sun home to the States. It was particularly nice since sunlight meant we could see Greenland.

One of my favorite photos from the whole trip was taken with my phone from the plane. This is UNEDITED. I took it with my cell phone.

Once the sun was dim, the moon showed up. She, too, was glorious.

I’ve spent the last week discerning my overall thoughts of Iceland. When people asked me what it was like, my first inclination is to respond with, “I don’t know,” not because I’ve lost my memory but because I don’t have the vocabulary to describe it. It’s an island made of volcanos and glaciers. It’s hot and cold at the same time. It’s confusing and mysterious. It’s vast and open. It’s impeccably clean and efficient – seriously, even the public restrooms. (As an American, I was embarrassed that we can’t be as considerate.)

People were friendly enough, but not in your face about it. To each, his own seems to be the Icelandic way, and I’m libertarian enough to appreciate it.

But what was it really like? 

Well, I’m not a fan of its tax code on matters of economic principle, but Icelanders seem okay with it. As long as we could grocery shop and make wise choices financially, the priciness of traveling in Iceland wasn’t a bother.

The little churches everywhere? Love.

The language? Gosh. It would take months to get a handle on basic conversation and years of immersion to speak it fluently. Our AirBNB host is British and he said it took him three years to learn Icelandic. For purposes of travel, though, the language wasn’t a barrier because much of the signage was in Icelandic and English, and everyone we encountered spoke English. (Google Translate helped with the rest.)

I can’t say much about Icelandic cuisine because we didn’t patron a true restaurant with Iceland food. Sure, we ate at IKEA twice, but that doesn’t count. Since we were traveling with the boys, we opted out of authentic restaurants  and instead chose to grocery shop and save our money. (That wouldn’t be the case if Chuck and I had gone without the boys. Choosing restaurants to try is a favorite part of our travels together.) That being said, grocery shopping was still an adventure for all four of us, and it’s there where we relied on Google Translate to identify basic items such as coffee creamer and yogurt. For three days worth of breakfast and lunch items, we paid $63. Compare that to ONE MEAL we had our first day in Iceland, which was $101, a poor decision we made in fatigue and hunger.

But these things – food, language, budgeting – are secondary, peripheral matters. The long term affects of our trip to Iceland are rooted in the moments when we watched a geysir explode from the earth, when we slipped into a geothermal bath while our eyelashes collected snowflakes, when we stood in the place where two plate tectonics meet…

Waterfalls and frozen streams and Icelandic horses. 

A lava rock beach on the North Atlantic coastline. 

Five hours of daylight with the longest and most vibrant sunrises and sunsets of your life.

On our drive home from the airport we remarked that it didn’t feel real. Did we really just go to Iceland? I mean, who does that? Who chooses to vacation near the Arctic Circle, on a whim, no less, because we found some cheap airfare and had the days to spare? Who decides to take a chance on an adventure and go to a place where everything seems uncertain?

Well, I guess we do.

 

 

Adventure in Iceland – Day Three

One of the best pieces of advice we got from our AirBNB hosts was to avoid the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa trolling with tourists. It’s likely you’ve seen an ad for it, and it was mentioned in nearly every video we watched and every blog post we read while researching the trip.

However, as our host said, you won’t find Icelanders there. It’s a tourist trap, complete with high prices and required reservations made well in advance. Instead, we were encouraged to find a local place, and that’s exactly what we did. We got up early Thursday morning, before the sunrise, and drove north to Krauma Geothermal Baths.

Boiling water coming from the frozen tundra – Iceland really is the land of fire and ice.

Of course, before we arrived, we warned the boys that they’d need to shower before getting in the baths, and we didn’t mean showering with swimsuits on. Nope. Fully naked. In open showers. Because Europeans don’t care about nudity the way Americans do.

Jeremy wasn’t pleased.

Fortunately, we were the only ones there, minus a couple of Icelandic women who were leaving just as we arrived.

It was… a dream.

There are five baths at varying temperatures, including one cold bath that’s pure glacier water. Everyone except me dipped a toe or leg in that bath and reported that it was pins-and-needles cold.

But the warm baths? Delightful.

This photo is currently the screensaver on my phone:

Though it would’ve been a quicker drive to the Blue Lagoon, Krauma was well worth it and confirms what we always believe about traveling: do what the locals do. 

Another perk of driving north to Krauma was being able to go in a different direction than we’d already gone (south to Reynisfjara Beach and east to Gullfoss).

The weather wasn’t all that clear north of Reykjavik, so I wasn’t sure what we’d find once we got back to the city. Fortunately, again, it was perfect!

Spotted: Church cat

Finally we could see Leif Eiriksson and Hallgrimskirkja in the daylight.

The views from the tower in Hallgrimskirkja were breathtaking. So thankful for a clear(ish) afternoon!

I approve of Iceland’s love for color!

Back on the ground, we walked around a little longer since it wasn’t raining. I think I’d like grass on my roof too, please.

Spotted: Bookstore cat

Next we drove back to our little town of Hafnarfgjordur to visit Pallett, the coffeeshop owned by our AirBNB hosts.

I ordered a Flat White, which was the best Flat White I’d ever had in my life. I wanted a second one, but it was getting late and caffeine-induced insomnia is not my friend in other time zones.

Our final stop on Thursday was a local mall, mainly out of curiosity.

Prices at the LEGO store were significantly higher than in the States. We definitely window-shopped.

We grabbed dinner for the second time at IKEA and headed home to pack. As expected, the trip flew by. Boo.

Next: Friday and going home. 

Adventure in Iceland – Day Two

When we got back in town Tuesday night, after our excursion to Reynisfjara Beach, we went to a local grocery store to buy food for the rest of the week. We had already made a mistake by eating on the fly Tuesday late-morning, jet-lagged and un-researched. This is a huge fail when it comes to visiting Iceland on a budget and we resolved to be better the rest of the week.

(I think I’ll make a separate blog post about traveling to Iceland on a budget, so if you’re interested in that, stay tuned.)

Since we had eggs, toast, cereal, and milk in the house, breakfast was a cinch. Once they boys were dressed and fed, they went outside to the backyard to pet the cats.

The first stop on Wednesday was along the Golden Circle to Thingvellir National Park, which you can see noted on the map below:

Thingvellir is important to Icelandic culture and history, as well as its geological and ecological significance. It is literally where the North American tectonic plate and Eurasian plate meet.

Iceland is notoriously vibrant and green in the summer, and despite the snow, you could still see the beautiful moss growing everywhere.

If you continue on the path you run into Oxararfoss, an up-close magnificent (frozen) waterfall.

One of my favorite photos from the trip – this is my whole heart right here:

I can’t emphasize how clear the water is. I mean, if you want to drink from it, go ahead.

Oxararfoss is right behind us. We walked across frozen water to get to it. I’d love to see it in summertime!

After climbing out of the crevasses, we got back in the car and headed to Strokkur/Geysir. The Golden Circle is a heavy tourist area, so unlike much of our experiences on Tuesday, we were among fellow travelers most of Wednesday.

Imagine boiling water bursting out of the Earth and running down a frozen tundra. That’s Geysir.

This is Strokkur, a reliable hot spring that erupts every four to eight minutes.

Even with steaming hot water erupting from the Earth, there is plenty of frozen bright blue water to be found.

The last place we visited along the Golden Circle was Gullfoss, Iceland’s largest waterfall. Of course, it was mostly frozen so I’d love to return in summer to see it in full color and motion.

Our five hours of daylight were fading fast, so we hoped in the car back to Reykjavik to explore the city at night.

But first, sunset.

Icelanders take their Viking history seriously, so Thor is everywhere. EVERYWHERE.

It was foggy on Wednesday night, so we knew we’d have to come back to Hallgrimskirkja Church the next day and hope for clear skies.

Next: Krauma Geothermal Baths and Reykjavik in the daytime

Adventure in Iceland – Part Two of Day One

Continued from previous post: Adventure in Iceland – Day One

The goal of Tuesday was to get to Reynisfjara Beach near Vik, which National Geographic rated as one of the Top 10 Non-Tropical Beaches to visit on the planet. It’s known for its black sand and lava stacks.

Of course, right before you reach the beach, you pass a church.

We reached the beach during Iceland’s long sunset, so the rocks were glowing bright orange, which washed out the tufts of green moss and grass.

The stacks are impossible to resist. They beg to be climbed.

Tucked away in the highest stacks are hundreds of nests. Supposedly there are puffins as well as seagulls nesting in the crevasses, but I didn’t see any.

The rocks lost their glow as the sun sank behind the horizon, so the rocks when from orange to gray. I absolutely love this photo of Jeremy. I mean, goodness.

Jackson asked to use one of my cameras, so for a moment, I indulged him.

I guess we need proof that I was on the trip too. I took a selfie on this beach, but mainly so I could capture my explorers behind me:

Once the sun fully set, we said farewell to the North Atlantic Ocean and headed back to Hafnarfjordur. The moon was bright in the sky on Tuesday, which was a lovely goodnight to our first full day in Iceland.

Next: Thingvellir, Geysir, and Gullfoss.

Photos of late

It has been a busy season for all the hats I wear. Teaching, writing, photography – these things come in waves. Sometimes they all converge the same week and I wonder what I’ve done to myself.

I don’t advertise for photography outside of this blog and Facebook, mostly because I accomplish photo sessions during free time, so that means I’m not booked solid with one session after another. (Since it’s a hobby and not a career, this is key.) Yet, I still love doing them. I especially enjoy kids because they aren’t self-conscious, they mostly don’t care what they look like, and their smiles are so… pure, especially once I get them laughing. 

Newborns are my favorite, by far. This segment of time is so short and it passes too quickly. A yawn is still novel.

Engagements aren’t bad either, y’all. Particularly in autumn.

That tongue!

And at six months old, when babies can finally respond to your crazy sounds and hand-waving, you occasionally get a good snapshot of a real smile.

Clearly he gets eyelash extensions.

Let me know if you want some photos taken in December. I have a little time.

Jeremy turns 14

Welp, I have a 14-year-old. Not sure how that happened, yet here we are. For his birthday, Jeremy wanted to gather a few friends to go go-carting. His actual birthday was on Friday, but we celebrated on Saturday. The day started with a big breakfast followed by his first soccer game of the season.

First, a little pre-game practice with Foster:

Ethan spent the weekend with us, and since he was born five hours after Jeremy, it was a double-birthday celebration. He really wanted to play soccer too. That kid came out of the womb an athlete.

The game went on and they tied 3-3. This photo characterizes Jeremy so well. The tongue is his expression of concentration and effort:

Once we got Noah, the group was complete, so we headed to the Nascar Speedpark to drop some cash and let the boys wear themselves out. I was the payer, the driver, and the photographer.

They played mini-golf but kept no score and followed no rules.

The game resembled hockey more than golf.

My child was at his happiest – surrounded by friends and being silly.

Noah’s side-eye is my favorite.

We left the park for pizza but returned by sundown for more racing and taking a turn on the rickety fair rides in the back.

Contemplating the Starship 3000…

Yep, they all went in…

As the night wound down, their level of fatigue increased. The park closed at 10 p.m., and we had been there since 4 p.m. How much longer could they go?

By 9:55 we left, but I got them to take one last photo:

Yep, they still had energy. In fact, after I collected devices and went to bed at 1:30 a.m., they stayed up playing hide and seek in a dark house for another hour.

Thanks to everyone who sent well wishes to Jeremy for his birthday. So far, 14 has been great.

Newborn sessions are my favorite

I adore taking photos of newborns. They’re squishy, sleepy, easy to move around and put in cozy positions. I love the all the possibilities of themes and outfits, all the creative editing one can do. The options are endless.

But I also love the simplicity of fingertips, toes, eyelashes, and pouty lips. Those are the things I miss about my boys’ infancies, so ultimately they become the things I want to capture for new moms who want to remember how little their babies used to be.

In a couple of weeks, she won’t sleep this much. She won’t lay this still or be this quiet.

In no time flat, this little one will be sitting up, blabbering, and grabbing small objects to put in her mouth. She will be crawling, then pulling up, and attempting to walk from the couch to the coffee table.

But now, right now, she is this small and this sweet, which is why I needed to capture it.

Last days with Jacob and Owen

Both Great Grandpa and my mother left on Friday, so it was just the six of us for two more days.

We had grand plans for Thursday and Friday, but rain showed up and didn’t leave. That meant no Splash Country and a shorter canoe trip down the Little River.

The canoe fits three comfortably, which is just as well since Jackson was at basketball camp and Owen had no interest.

When I asked Jacob what he wanted to do while in Tennessee, the one request he had, other than eating at the Asian Buffet, was to go canoeing.

While they floated down the river, Owen and I went home to eat lunch and play cards. This was the only one-on-one time I got with Owen, so I treasured it, however brief! Jeremy and Owen are “best cousins” and stick together as a pair almost 100 percent of the time.

I also took the opportunity to snap some headshots for Owen, who’s trying out for a play in his hometown.

He looks so much like his dad in this photo:

When they got home from canoeing, I grabbed Jacob and subjected him to photos too.

Owen loves his big brother 

I drove them to the airport on Sunday and cried as I said goodbye. Jacob teased me – “We’re not even your kids!” – but he doesn’t understand that they are the next best thing to being my kids. I endured his teasing because I know he loves me, that they both had a wonderful time in Tennessee and enjoyed being a part of the Miller Camp for Boys for a week. Their plane landed safely in Chicago and off they went into the care of their grandparents. My sister and brother-in-law flew home a few hours later, so by Sunday night everything was back to normal.

I feel like I’m still recovering from the week – is it an age thing or an introvert thing, or both? Utter exhaustion persisted for a solid three days. Today is the first day I’ve felt semi-normal.

Still, I’m thankful for the time we had and the memories we made, and I think Jacob and Owen feel the same.

 

Swimming at the Townsend Wye

Yesterday we took advantage of beautiful weather and went to the Townsend Wye, a popular swimming hole just inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Jackson was at basketball camp, so Mom and I took Jeremy, Jacob, and Owen for a dip.

The mountain water was chilly, something locals understand but Chicagoans don’t.

There were serious reservations about swimming, particularly on Owen’s part. He spent much of the morning saying he wasn’t going to have fun at the river, that he didn’t want to go, but we reassured him that he WOULD have fun and that it would be worth it.

Once they got used to the temperature, they opened up to the possibility of cliff jumping. Jeremy went first.

Jacob watched others jump in – even dive in – so he stood on the edge until he was mentally ready.

Even Owen jumped! The kid who said he wasn’t going to have fun JUMPED OFF A BOULDER.

Then Jacob started diving.

They swam for an hour or so, until their bodies were sufficiently numb.

Here’s a side view of Jacob diving into the Little River.

Jeremy and Owen swam across the river to a little island to explore and skip rocks.

I am most proud of Owen! He was nervous and in a negative head space about swimming in a cold river, but I swear he had a good time once he went for it!

Despite the temperatures, the water was crystal clear and perfect for swimming.

On our way home we picked up Major from his boarding camp and brought home a very sleepy puppy.

Bouldering at the Miller Camp for Boys

My nephews are here for the week, and since they’re city folk we wanted to make sure they’re in nature as often as possible. On our second day together, we took them to a nearby section of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park to go bouldering and get a 360-degree view of our town.

There was some trepidation, but each boy – mine included – dug deep to find the physical and mental fortitude to crawl in and out of the deepest crevasses.

Owen was particularly nervous about climbing because, as he puts it, “I’m not athletic.”

But he did it! We were all so excited for him!

Jackson went last, and he was as nervous as Owen was.

Great success for all of them!

After bouldering we climbed the path to a lookout tower for one of the most beautiful views of the area.

Not pictured are the two photographers – my mom and me – but that’s par for the course.

A baby, a birthday party, and three graduates

While writing is my deepest passion, I am grateful that photography can be a creative outlet. I am also grateful so many people continue to trust me with their most important people and occasions.

Like the birth of a baby…

Or a three year old’s birthday party…

And when three daughters graduate…

Thank you to my friends and family for trusting me with these moments. 

The flawless faces of beautiful children

I am a lucky girl. When “playing with my camera” takes me to a sprawling property, situated in front of these beautiful faces, I cannot complain.

It’s not hard, really. Engage the kiddos, chat with them, be silly. I’m not scary or overwhelming, so they don’t mind when I require a little of their time. For these siblings in particular, they are used to me and my lens in their faces.

And now, I’m getting to know their friends, which is a treat like none other! When a friend connects you to another friend, it is the dearest compliment.

I sit here with a ton of gratitude, not only because people trust me with their family’s photos, taking up their time and a little bit of their money, but because what started as a hobby (and continues to be a hobby) has turned into a gift I’m able to give others. I love it. My work doesn’t stand against the work of professional photographers whose creativity is their livelihood, but it’s good work. It’s beautiful. It’s honest.

Thank you again.

If you’d like to book a photo session, do let me know.

The Miller family goes to Lambeau

This weekend I crossed something off my Bucket List: A Green Bay Packers game at Lambeau Field.

It all started with keeping the game a secret from the boys for more than two months. When we finally had the big reveal, I was shaking with excitement. Their reaction was nothing short of pure joy.

They had neither a clue nor an inclination that we’d ever take them to a Packers game, much less a Packers game at Lambeau, but when the tickets were given to us so generously by the author whom I worked with, it was the gift of a lifetime.

We drove to Chicago on Friday to spend two nights with my sister and her family, then we woke up painfully early on Sunday morning and drove to Green Bay.

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Just as we entered Brown County, it started snowing. All we needed to make the experience perfect was a win over the Texans.

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The Tundra Line was a crowd pleaser:

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The stadium was everything I hoped it would be.

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Our seats were fantastic and I spent every minute carefully memorizing each detail around me.

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As the announcer said, “It’s a beautiful day for football!” — 30 degrees and snowing!

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Shortly before halftime we slipped upstairs to the rooftop to get the best view of Lambeau:

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After a quick bite we returned to our seats to watch the second half. We were cold, but none of us cared. The final play was perfection:

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I stayed in the stands as long as I could.

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We walked the grounds a bit to visit Vince and Curly before going back to the car. I didn’t want the afternoon to end.

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Finally, we hit up the Barnes &  Noble so I could see the book on a real retail shelf. I owe all of this to the author, Jim. It was the experience of working with him and learning about the team that made me a fan.

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I guess the only thing missing is a meet-and-greet with our local Packer, Randall Cobb.  A girl can dream though.

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Autumn Engagement Session

I love, love, love when people are adventurous. I’ll be photographing this couple’s wedding in November, so when it came to scheduling their engagement session, I asked if they’d be open to a little mountain climbing.

So glad they said yes.

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The De Gracia Family

About a million years ago, I lived in Atlanta and went to middle school. We had just moved from West Germany (a few months before the Berlin Wall came down) and my parents bought a house in a quiet subdivision in Clayton County. It was a lovely lot situated around a small pond that was shared by the neighborhood. Next door lived Nortasha and her family. She and I were in the same grade and rode the school bus together. Despite being neighbors, we ran around in different circles, so we actually didn’t know each other very well.

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Fast forward those million years and we became friends on Facebook. Our kids are the same age. We share similar values and appreciate the same sense of humor. I like things she posts, she likes things I post. We keep an eye on each other in this way.

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For all the reasons Facebook is annoying and intrusive, I can’t foresee leaving this online community. Army brats can’t nail down a hometown. For us, there is no such place. When you move every three years, home is where the Army sends you, and in 1990, the Army sent us to Atlanta, next door to the Graves family.

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We go to Atlanta once or twice a year to visit friends. Some time last fall, Nortasha and I started messaging about family photos. Nothing concrete, just something like, “Hey, next time you’re down this way, let’s figure it out.”

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Of course! There’s no question. This is life coming full circle. Photograph your children? Absolutely. 

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We met at a park Sunday morning. It was chilly, not as warm as it had been all week, but the sun was shining and the sky was a perfect shade of blue. We hugged, made introductions, and got started.

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Nortasha and her husband, Adolfo, are adorable. Lovebirds, sweethearts, the whole nine. All I had to do was click the camera.

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Their children, Gigi and Gabriel, were great sports – teeth chattering, but smiling and doing their best, despite the cool temperatures.

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This photo session was a gift to me, a valuable reminder that paths can cross again, new memories can be made, and people aren’t ever really forgotten.

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Thanks for carving out some time this weekend, De Gracia family. I hope we can do it again.  

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First Snow Day of 2016

It wasn’t a substantial snow, but for East Tennesseans it was a big deal. The neighborhood kiddos got out of school, so once my boys finished a few subjects they were able to spend the rest of the afternoon outside.

Snowball

These photos were taken yesterday just as the snow got started. We scarcely got an inch, but they made the most of it.

Neighborhood crew

You know this guy was happy…

Major in January snow

…especially since his friends came out to play too.

Major and Zeus in the snow

We’re supposed to get more on Friday and Saturday. Fingers crossed!

Hilton Head Photo Dump No. 4

Last batch of Christmas photos, friends. In this first picture, Jackson’s excitement is all about getting a Green Bay Packers hat from his big brother.

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Christmas Eve s’mores!

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I would’ve loved a full moon photo on Christmas Day, but the fog was just too thick. Christmas Eve will have to do.

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Merry Christmas!

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Our Smoky Mountain dog loved the beach.

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Millers versus the Przyluckis in a bocce ball tourney – the North wins!

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So the boys took to playing soccer. It was a draw.

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The short walk back to the house for our final evening:

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Cheers to 2016!

Hilton Head Photo Dump No. 3

Are you tired of Hilton Head pictures yet? Because here’s another photo dump.

We went to Savannah on Christmas Eve to have lunch at The Pirates’ House and browse River Street shops. It’s a nostalgic city for the Treadways since my sister and I were born nearby.

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Some of us shopped, some of us waited.

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The original four:

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Last batch here.