Finding the Perfect Tree

I love traditions, especially holiday ones that you get to experience year after year — those traditions that leave you feeling incomplete without fulfilling them. My grandparents started this tradition of photographing the whole family with our empty stockings every Christmas Eve, and another photo with full stockings on Christmas morning. My grandpa always operated the camera, fussing with the self-timer and then running over to join us all in the shot. We never questioned it — it was just a thing we did. This will be my first Christmas without my grandpa, and being so far away from California, I definitely have a need for my own traditions this year.

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Now that I have a baby in a different state, I’m trying to start traditional things we can do as a family. We just made our second trip to Country Cove Christmas Tree Farm (last year we had just relocated and I was pregnant). It was really cold! Luckily, there was some complimentary apple cider and hot chocolate to help warm us up.

We found a tree tucked in the back of the farm that belonged in our home.

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It was very quiet and peaceful out in the tree groves, probably because it was such a cold weekend and most people were staying cozy at home.

Some tiny snowflakes started fluttering down on us as we were loading up in the car to leave, making our day an authentic winter experience.

See you next year, new holiday traditions!

Impromptu Photo Shoot with Father & Son

It was one of those things that just sort of happened. My husband decided to match clothes with our son yesterday morning, and by the evening it became a spur-of-the-moment photo shoot.

We’ve had a big empty room sitting unused in the front of our new house — having a baby means buying new furniture is an unnecessary expense and low priority. My sights have been set on other things, such as gradually accumulating the parts for an in-home photo studio. After our son was born, I became employed as a newborn photographer at the hospital, and my passion for photography has been climbing. It is my dream now to have my own family photography business.

So when my flash speedlight arrived at my door yesterday, I got my lights and umbrellas all set up in that unused empty room — a.k.a. — my new home studio. When hubby got home from work, he and the baby were still in their matchy-matchy getup. I was messing around with my camera, taking pictures of them on the couch, and the lighting was terrible.

“Step into my studio,” I told my husband, and that’s when a casual evening turned into a fifteen-minute casual family photo shoot. The dog even stepped into the room, curious about what we were doing, and inserted herself into a couple of photos. The whole thing was spontaneous and fun, and the controlled lighting was so great that the photos maybe required 5-10 minutes of simple edits. I think I may have finally found my calling.

Fun at the Farm

Autumn is my favorite!

The best thing about autumn this year is that it’s Baby’s first autumn… so all of those fun seasonal things that make the fall so great — crisp air, falling leaves, pumpkin spice flavored everything, cozy comfy clothes, hay rides, treats, and everything else I love — I get to experience with the baby for the first time.

He’s still a little young to make memories, but I imagine these fun experiences are shaping his personality. Exploration is good for little ones so that they can start learning about the big wide world out there.

This weekend we visited a place in Middle Tennessee called Walden Farm, and we had so much fun! It is a wonderful place for families and I can’t wait to go back next year and make it an autumn tradition.