I’ll preface by saying this post is photo-heavy, but you wouldn’t be here if you didnt expect that from me right?

We started our vacation this year by spending a couple days in the Hill Country to celebrate the 4th of July–and break up the drive. We visited the Texas White House and spent the evening eating and playing at a little celebration in my hometown. The next day we headed to the coast, and it was a relaxed, hot, sandy few days. We ate simple breakfasts and lunches at the condo or beach, played at the pool or fished during naptime, and went out to dinner most nights. We slept in, and sat on the balcony, and enjoyed going without much of a schedule.

There is so much in this group of pictures that speaks to my heart as a mother…in these is a visual record/encouragement that my kids are ok. That even though I feel I fail them sometimes, I can see here that they are having the kind of childhood I envisioned.  A trip to the beach is not a requirement to having a memorable childhood–don’t hear me say that. But what I can see in these images are that they are experiencing nature, learning about the history of our state, celebrating our country, living a simple summer filled with BBQ and live music and sno-cones, enjoying the sun, relishing the water, dancing after dark, getting sunburned, getting sticky, scraping knees…

And with that, on a personal level, I let go of a lot of my perfectionist desires to document our memories. Yes, I took a bunch of photos–that’s just part of me– but I promised myself I wasn’t going to be dragging around my big camera if it wasn’t convenient or kept me from doing something with my family (enter: my investment in a small mirrorless camera and a waterproof housing. Convenient and worry-proof).

So while I would love to use my nice camera on vacations, I think this was a perfect choice for me. There are photos that were taken with my big camera, but most were with my mirrorless, some with ON-CAMERA flash (gasp), some with the waterproof housing, some with grain, and even a handful of images that are blurry, but that I love. None of the conditions were perfect for perfect photography (heat, sand, salt, etc), but I tried to let go of my need to memorialize everything perfectly, and instead capture it so that I, and my kiddos, could perfectly remember it.

This was a really neat future of the little “museum” at the Texas White House. For preservation purposes, some of LBJ’s phone calls were recorded, and it was super interesting to hear him, as president, having these normal conversations with people. Ian and Benj are listening to him congratulate Coach Royal on Texas’ Cotton Bowl victory.

I can’t remember who took this^^ but it was one of my children and I thought they did pretty well!

 

She is probably going to be thoroughly embarrassed by all the praise I am about to heap on her, but nonetheless:

This mama oozes love for her family out of every bit of her being.

You can see it in every image. It is woven throughout their entire slideshow. The way she looks at her husband, her parents, her eldest child, and her brand new daughter…

It shows in her generous smiles; in the look of contentment she has in her role as mother of two, in the way she still breathes in the smell of her toddler son’s hair.

She is one of the most beautiful women I know inside and out, and I was so, so honored to be there to capture these once in a lifetime moments. Enjoy these images from the birth of Emerson Kate!

 

Oh this mama…

I adore her so much. She is so real, and so strong, and so loving. You may notice that I have a larger-than-average number of photos of this beautiful laboring mother, but only because, well, she was just so beautiful. Baby boy ended up having to be delivered via c-section, but I loved being able to be there as she was laboring to get him down. You can see so much in the first few photos…pain, strength, peace, focus, support.

I just love them all.

Welcome to the world baby Malcolm! You looked so much like your brother on the day you were born, and I am anxious to watch you two become best friends!

How gorgeous is this family?!

They all have such a natural confidence in front of the camera, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t lovvvve going through their images again.  These boys….my goodness they were the sweetest little subjects!! Just wait.

And yes, still sharing fall sessions over here. Hoping to mayyyybe be caught up before the end of the summer??

 

Today when I was picking my daughter up from her summer “camp” at preschool I heard this little, sweet, familiar voice…”Hi Ms. Bree!!”

I knew immediately who it was, because this precious girl somehow remembers me every time I see her. I photograph them once, maybe twice a year, and yet she consistently recognizes me and says hello. Charlotte, you are a doll, and you make me smile every time I see you!

Additionally, this mama was actually the one who referred me to our school, and I couldn’t be more grateful. But, that is only one of the many reasons I adore this family. They are so laid back, so easy to photograph, and comfortable enough with me that they just allow me to follow them around as they interact with one another–which is my favorite thing to do with little ones.

Aren’t they the cutest thing you’ve seen all day?