Last week we spent the week in Ohio visiting family and friends. Possibly the prettiest thing about Ohio is its wide open spaces.

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Most of the time my kids don’t mind being photographed, but they HATE being asked to sit together and take a picture.

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I have often thought of changing the name of this blog and website to: Just The Good Stuff. But then I couldn’t post photos like this…

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They recovered nicely. I promise.

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Gracie in the grass ohio B&W

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Gracie in Field B&W

After leaving Cleavland we headed to Columbus to spend some time with more family and friends.

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Columbus has the greatest public pools on Earth. There is no shortage of land and lazy rivers.

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Thank you for having us Ohio! See you soon.

 

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This was supposed to be the summer of adventure.

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I pulled Sunny from school this summer so that we (Saint, Sunny, & I) could spend our time driving around the great state of New Jersey taking a million photographs and capturing our adventures. We were supposed to eat tons of yummy food, discover fields of daisies, and brag to Matt about the day(s) we had. We were supposed to throw caution (and naps) to the wind and whatever happened, I was going to remember this summer as the summer I braved the world armed with just a camera and two little kids. I had a big plan. It wasn’t a great plan mind you, but it was my plan. Sunny and I sat with our Summer In New Jersey magazine and pointed to all the fun we were going to have. You see where I’m going with this, right?

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This summer has been the summer of adventure- though not the kind that I planned. There was a loss, a crossing over, a passing on. There have been some gains in our losses. I’ve been amazed at the maturity of my children. I have been so proud at the way they have handled the traveling ( so much traveling) an the adjustments ( so many adjustments) and the  constant change of scenery (so much change). I’m proud that they’re mine- and prouder still that they’re family takes such pleasure in their presence. I might be the one who has them day in and day out- but so many others pour love into them from a distance. We’re really blessed.

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I’m working on finding the beauty within everything, or anything. That’s not easy, but it is worth it. So here’s to the other kind of adventure. The kind you weren’t expecting. The kind that creeps up on you and takes you by surprise. The kind that forces you to stretch and grow and test your boundaries.

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Meet Baby Andrew.

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This little guy is so full of life and spirit- he almost pushed his way out of the prop basket! The youngest of three beautiful boys, Andrew certainly has a future of super heroes and sword fighting in front of him- but for now he’s just a sweet & tiny newborn.

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These photographs were taken at Andrew’s home, where the light shines in and dances off of his smile. He was fully alert for most of our session- although looking at these pictures now I see he stole moments of peaceful sleep.

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I’m excited to watch as this little man grows up! A special thank you to the Slattery Family for having me.

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And…we’re back.  Where were we? Oh right! Family Vacation Part II, or as I like to call it- Sunshine’s Photo Session.

The Cape May Zoo is literally the coolest zoo I’ve ever visited. The kids loved it- even though it was pouring rain! Sunny called it the rain forest-  very clever.

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This is a very Jersey thing, and I have to say I really don’t get it. Every zoo has these animal cut outs- instead of the actual animal. The local zoo has this awesome train ride where you should technically see zoo animals along the route, but instead there are cut outs of polar bears and elephants. My kids might be confused if they ever see an actual polar bear or buffalo.

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I’m well aware of how overexposed this picture is- but I love it. It’s so where they are right now as a Father & Son.

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Saint also loves jumping in puddles during a storm. He was soaking wet, but oh so happy!

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The final day of our trip we rented bikes and toured Cape May. It was amazing. We stumbled upon the Cape May Lighthouse and that’s wear Sunny and I had a mini photo session. I know someday I’ll look back and think “gosh, she was so little” but right now I see these pics and all I can think is “gosh, she’s so big!”

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That is the magic of photography and video- it captures the now so we can savor it later.

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Luckily the girls were in neighboring Ocean City that weekend- so we spent a day with them at the ocean and the local carnival.  The carnival is part of a much larger boardwalk. It’s all very Jersey and all very cool. I just know in my heart these pictures will be priceless as these girls grow up and attend the boardwalk as teens and later adults.

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I took so many photos and videos- I’ll have to make a Little Love Story and share it with you guys.

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For the longest time we’ve been taking family vacations with our extended family. We love our family, and love vacationing with them, but it became increasingly important to me to take a vacation that was just us.

We had a few rules: 1. Must be within driving distance 2. Must be kid/family friendly 3. Must have both pool and beach access

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We settled on Cape May, New Jersey…the greatest place on Earth. The locals probably don’t say that, but I’m saying that- I want to live there and I plan on retiring there. Everyday I thought of a new way make money with Little Love Stories in Cape May. Sadly, Matt was not as into my plan to leave it all behind and move to the shore- but he’s warming up to it!

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We left on Jude’s birthday so we celebrated the night before with cake and presents. He was SOOOO happy and his sister was sooo happy for him. They were really cute together.

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First stop was the pool. My kids are obsessed with going under water and swimming like little baby fish.

IMG_9626 IMG_9630 IMG_9635Normally my little people love the beach, but if given the option, they prefer the pool. So there we are on a beach vacation with the most amazingly soft sand and bar service and cabanas and… we went once! This was one of those moments where I can’t wait for them to be older so I can hang at the beach and read a book- alone!

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This little two year old is going through a rough patch. It’s all Mama, all of the time. I thought separation anxiety was for 9 month olds- but Jude has other ideas.IMG_9672 IMG_9677I find it very hard to resist this little face…

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IMG_9742  At night our hotel had live music and a bonfire. Sunny was all smiles. Dancing and making new friends while wearing princess pj’s? Not a bad deal.

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I took some time a few mornings to photograph the town. It’s about the cutest place on Earth.

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My sweet friend Courtney ( who moved to NJ and then promptly moved to LA because she and her husband are super fancy) had a new baby named Louisa! Cape May built this cafe and chocolate shop in baby Louisa’s honor.  New Jersey is just kind like that. I’m not sure if LA built Louisa her own place yet- but I can’t say for sure.

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