This was supposed to be the summer of adventure.

20140705_124855

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?

-3

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.

-1

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.

IMG_0686

Read More...

IMG_0248-3428999328-O

Meet Baby Andrew.

IMG_0260-3428999331-O IMG_0299-3428999514-O

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.

IMG_0315-3428999477-O IMG_0419-3428999658-O IMG_0426-3428999681-O

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.

IMG_0437-3428999747-O IMG_0448-3428999833-O IMG_0457-3428999826-O IMG_0461-3428999885-O

IMG_0464-3428999895-O IMG_0465-3428999948-O IMG_0476-3429000033-O

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

IMG_0504-3429000099-O

Read More...

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.

IMG_9861 IMG_9856 IMG_9863 IMG_9865 IMG_9917

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.

IMG_9868 IMG_9910

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.

IMG_9896 IMG_9964 IMG_9960

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

IMG_9937

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!”

IMG_0018 IMG_9979 IMG_0073 IMG_0029

IMG_0056

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

IMG_0002

IMG_0020 IMG_0039

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.

IMG_0099

IMG_0106

IMG_0114

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

Read More...

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

IMG_9805

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!

IMG_9776

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.

IMG_9598

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!

IMG_9640 IMG_9644 IMG_9648 IMG_9652 IMG_9655 IMG_9657

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…

IMG_9727 IMG_9733

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.

IMG_9749

IMG_9765

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

IMG_9796 IMG_9797 IMG_9798 IMG_9811 IMG_9812 IMG_9813

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.

IMG_9815 IMG_9816 IMG_9817 IMG_9822 IMG_9823This beautiful Cardinal visits me a few times a week no matter where on this great Earth I am. This is the first picture I’ve ever gotten of him though. He likes Cape May a lot too!

IMG_9833 IMG_9840 IMG_9843 IMG_9893 Be back soon with Part 2!

 

Read More...

Hey Jude,

Happy 2nd Birthday. It seems to me that you just arrived in my arms and into our home, but there is evidence of you everywhere. Your name is written on my heart. We’re connected in a space that knows no time or boundaries. I’m so grateful you found me. Here’s your Jude At Two list- it’s everything you need to know about you at two.

IMG_9893

You are Mischievous. Oh my dear how you get into everything. You must touch, explore, throw, and stomp on every object you find. I know, you know, you’re being terrible- but you have this devilish grin that helps you get away with even the most horrible of offenses.

Jude running

-4

You love sports. You call every sport, ball. If we pass a park you shout BALL!BALL! You love to play catch. You love to play soccer. I tell myself that all that throwing will someday pay off once your drafted and you buy me a house on the shore. I want to be very specific- any Victorian in Cape May will do. I deserve it Darling, keeping up with you is a lot like chasing a new puppy around a glass showroom. That’s right kid, buy your Mama a house!

-12

jude in the grass

You are a cuddle bug. You will cuddle any time, any day. You will cuddle anyone who would like a cuddle. You are most likely to cuddle after you wake up and when you’re sick- those are the best cuddles around. Your Dad really takes advantage of this on the weekends! You’ve had this ability to cuddle since you were a newborn- as long as you can hear a heartbeat you are content to stay put.

photo 4

IMG_4557

You are beautiful. You are so beautiful. Big brown eyes, loopy curls on your head, and the sweetest sun kissed cheeks. You’re so adorable that I just know you’ll be a heart breaker someday and it will be 100% my fault because I cuddle you all day long and tell you how cute you are even when you’re being terrible. (see this full list for reference)  Don’t let it go to your head darling, there are millions of beautiful people! Do your best to be a gentleman & scholar- you’ll stand out from all the rest.

-20

You are (sort of) adventurous. I don’t understand your need to make my heart stop 10 times a minute. You love to swim- but you don’t know how. You love to jump- always too high. You love to swing- you’d love it more if I’d let you flip over. Your all adventure and dirt. BUT there is this tiny part of you that is really hesitant to try new things. You’ll get there but you have to warm up to the idea. Once you have the hang of it though, there’s no stopping you.

-10

You are moody. This might just be part of  you being a two year old but, I’m already over it. One second you’re supremely happy and the next you’re uncomfortable and cranky. Check back next year to see if this trait has improved.

IMG_4037

IMG_2958

You have a HUGE sweet tooth. You don’t eat. You could care less about food of any sort but, God knows you LOVE dessert. You will ask for two things every morning: Tommy (Thomas the train) and cake. You say it so sweetly like we give you cake every morning. Cake? Cake? Mama, cake? No. No. Jude, no! You act like if you repeat any one word over and over I’ll somehow forget it’s 7am and feed you cake for breakfast.

IMG_4321

You are relentless. My sweet boy you will stop at NOTHING to get what you want. I don’t know if I give in because you’re cute or because I simply can’t listen to you beg for something any longer. This will serve you well once you’re a man.

IMG_9733

 

You are of the ocean. This is the truth. When we go to the shore you want Daddy to hold you. You lay your head on his shoulder and shout WA-WA! over and over until he stands in the ocean while waves crash all around you both. You will fall asleep just like that. You don’t seem to care that you weigh 35 lbs and Dad’s arm goes numb- but he doesn’t care either. Your soul belongs to the summer and salt water and sea my love. The mere mention of water or a pool will get you up and moving.

IMG_4519

You are a Mama’s boy. This might have made the list last year.  Spoiler Alert: this will make the list every year.

IMG_9677

You are smart. You are not smart in the way Gracen is. You are smart in the way a con-artist is. You are always 2 steps ahead of me. At first I thought it was a fluke- and now I realize that saying yes to one thing to you means that you have a grand(er) plan down the line. I have to really think before I answer some of your request because you always have a plan and it’s usually naughty.

IMG_4031

You are calm. We should have named you Laid Back Jack- because you almost always have your hands behind your head and take big giant exhales. This life is sooo exhausting for you Jude. SOOOOOOO tiring.

-5

You are a ladies man. I don’t want to rush to judgement but, you LOVE women. You flirt. You do all sorts of stupid human tricks to impress older women. You smile, you giggle, you’ll hit your head 100 times on a table if it makes a pretty girl smile. Your ridiculously charming.

kids of summer

You are loyal. You have one main friend and that’s Natalie. Any other little girl you meet you refer to as “Not Nat-Nat.” You don’t care whose feelings you hurt and you aren’t looking to expand your roster of friends..yet. You love your sister, the girls & Devi, Natalie, Papa, Your Uncles, Cheese the Cat, and Cubby the Dog, and that’s about it.  If it’s not one of the above mentioned souls, your uninterested (for now) . This sounds harsh but it’s an awesome trait to have because it’s the quality of those connections that counts- not the quantity. Plus being the little brother to all of your sisters friends will have it’s benefits as you get older.

IMG_6133

You love animals. Every dog you must pet. Every cat you must touch. Every animal at the zoo you must wave hi to.

IMG_5862

You say Hey, which makes me so happy. Everyone says Hey Jude to you- so you keep saying Hey ____ to them. It’s so cute.  I hope you’ll always say Hey ___ because Hey is way cooler than Hi- and it’s your thing.

-3

You’re a complex little soul my boy. You have carved your niche into this family and I wouldn’t want to know life without you. I think our souls have traveled here and there and everywhere together. This list will surely change and grow as you get older- but what will always stay the same is my adoration of the very essence of you.

Jude B&W May 2014

Have the greatest year of your life Jude.

Jude with Chalk May 2014

 

Love, Mama

 

 

Read More...