I love to travel. If you follow me on social media, this is not a surprise at all. In fact, I am writing this post from an airplane on the way to Carmel, California for a couple SGP travel sessions. I am so excited to be traveling to a new place. I am thrilled to be getting out of the Texas heat for a bit. I cannot wait to photograph sessions in a new place. And I am tickled that my six-year old son is tagging along. We have big plans for this trip. BIG PLANS. In fact my mind is basically racing with all the things I want to do and see with my son. And how I want to make this a super magical experience for him. 

This particular family loves to travel too. I follow them on social media and am always a tad green with envy watching their travel stories unfold. Not to mention the fact that they are annoyingly beautiful and have three of the cutest boys you have ever seen. Oh, and on top of everything else, they are crazy nice. Basically, I totally admire them. 

Traveling with my own kids is hard. And two of mine are significantly older than their children. Traveling with little people is not for the faint of heart. Especially when they are preschool and under. The diapers, the carseats and baby carriers. The nap times and favorite toys. And the need to constantly keep your eyes on them and keep them safe. It takes a lot of patience. It takes a lot of preparation. It takes a lot of wine too:)

Don’t let me fool you into thinking that I have painted this horrible picture of traveling with children. The thing about traveling with kids is how amazing it is. You definitely don’t get any rest. You will absolutely always come home completely exhausted and feel like you have been beat up. It takes everything out of you. But seeing the world through your kids eyes is priceless. No matter how old they are.

I remember thinking that when we took our two oldest children to China four years ago. At the time, they were five and two. The two year old had never even been on an airplane before we hopped on the 17 hour flight to Japan. We were totally crazy. I spent weeks preparing. It was all consuming. I was afraid that they wouldn’t remember it and that the time and effort would be wasted.

Then I realized that the trip was for our family. Not just the kids. Sure, it was amazing to see the world through their eyes. And yes I love to travel and am ready to go anywhere, anytime. But the trip was for us as a whole. Parents enjoying their children in new locations and experiences. Children exploring and asking questions. Learning how to live out of suitcases, try new foods and get out of the habits and structure of home. Traveling as a family is about the memories you are making. The good ones, the bad ones and definitely the hilarious ones. Because traveling with kids provides a lot of entertainment. 

When I need a restful break, I will check in to a hotel and spa alone. Or maybe fly off to an exotic island with my husband. With my kids, we are after adventure and memory making. I aim to fill their buckets up with so many amazing memories that will go with them for the rest of their lives. 

If you are interested in more information about a family session or travel session with me, I would love to chat. You can reach me through the contact link. And make sure to sign up for my newsletter to stay on top of session updates and new travel location announcements.

 

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Photographing this family is always a ton of fun. I adore the kiddos and the parents are pretty fantastic too. I am lucky enough that I generally get to see them a couple times a year.

We had put this session on the calendar a couple months ahead of time before deciding on a location. As the session date approached, mom sends me a text with a picture of this wall and says, “Think we can use this for our session?” I may or may not have squealed out loud. SO much color. SO unique. SO fun. YES, of course we can use it for your session!

The day of the session arrives and I meet them in the parking lot and I see “the wall”. And it is tiny. And so is the parking lot. And the parking lot is actually really busy because it is for a coffee shop. So far, this is not exactly going as I had envisioned in my mind. I wasn’t concerned because I knew we were only planning on spending a few minutes there before heading over to another location for the second half of the session.

Thank goodness mom thought to bring the nanny along. She literally acted as the traffic guard for us. Ha! For real. I would get everyone lined up and start shooting and she would yell, “car”. And we everyone run to move out of the way and let the car pass and then we would do it all over again. It wasn’t exactly calm. But, let me say this, it went pretty perfectly.

I mean, look at these images. The running back and forth provided movement and an action for the kiddos. I am certain, had this wall been located in a big empty parking lot as I had hoped for, the images would not have turned out as well. There would not have been any life in them.

After the cool wall, we headed to another super fun Dallas location to let the kids play and have donuts. This spot was the polar opposite of the last one… No one was around and the kids had tons of space to run. We spent the last 10 minutes (okay, maybe more like 2 minutes) sitting down to eat donuts. I thought that was a pretty rockstar thing for mom to do. Even though they had been asking for donuts the entire time, the kids were only interested in actually eating the sprinkles off and then hoping up to play again:) Typical.

If you are interested in a lifestyle family session with me in the DFW metroplex or beyond, shoot me an email. I would love to hear from you.

This years trip to the beach was the best yet, except for the fact that we thought it would be a good idea to bring our dog with us. Ha! Other than the dog, the wildcard this year was of course, the two-year-old. On last years trip, he was completely obsessed with the water. As in, constantly crawling into the waves and laughing while getting hit in the face with salt water. He was fearless. It was really fun to watch but also a little exhausting.

Knowing that he has developed a healthy fear of things over the past year, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. The afternoon we arrived at the beach, a summer storm had just blown through and it was dreamy out. Slight cloud cover, dark clouds in the distance, cool air. Just dreamy. We took the kids down to the beach, fully clothed, for a bit just to get our fix in before hitting the beach first thing in the morning. The big kids were so excited. They love the beach love that we have a tradition of visiting the same place every year.

We unloaded from the car, put the baby in the sand, and all eyes were on him. What was he going to do??? He was very curious at first. He loved the sand and didn’t seem interested in exploring. He didn’t seem to notice the water at all. Finally, bored with his lack of reaction, the big kids ran toward the water and began to play and look for seashells. The baby looked on as they got closer and closer to the water. He followed. All the way to the waters edge. And then he wasn’t so sure.

You get the picture. He spent the next few days in love with the sand and unsure of the water. It really was kinda nice for my mama heart. I didn’t have to constantly worry about him running into the ocean and drowning. We were able to coax him into the water from time to time to cool off but he wasn’t thrilled with it. And someone had to be holding him. And he would only go into the most shallow area where water was barely touching him.

Until the last 30 minutes on the last day of our trip. And then, all of a sudden, it clicked. And he was walking into the water and sitting in it, playing so peacefully. You better believe I grabbed my camera so fast because it was a moment that I had been waiting for!

What about the big kids? Of course, they had a blast. Fighting was kept to a minimum. They played together nicely. And did well staying up late. My oldest spent a lot of time at the beach with her camera in hand. She is falling more and more in love with the art and I am hoping to get her a nice camera someday soon. It melts my heart that she loves something as much as I do. My middle spent a huge chunk of time looking for seashells. He loves science and nature and looking for shells really feeds that part of his soul. Plus it is a peaceful activity that I think he seeks out sometimes to get a little space from the chaos. I have always loved walking the beach to look for shells so this was a great thing for us to do together every day.

We stayed in a townhouse (thank you VRBO) that has a community pool. This was SUCH a great asset during the middle of the day when it is just too hot to be at the beach with little people. And bonus that the pool was literally right out our front door. Everyday our routine was basically the same, wake up early (because my children have yet to embrace “sleeping in”. ever. especially not on vacation) We would pack the cooler and head to the beach by 8am or so except for the one morning we were there at sunrise having donuts on the beach. Which was amazing. After about 2-3 hours on the beach we would pack up and head back to the condo for a mid-morning break. Kids would rest and watch cartoons while the adults fixed lunch. After lunch the baby would nap (in a closet. for real) and daddy would take the bigs swimming. When the baby woke up, we would meet them at the pool. After a couple hours of swimming we all came in to shower and get dressed. Every night we went out to dinner followed by a sunset walk on the beach. Every day looked the same but they were all a little different and so much fun.

We normally take our annual trip later in the summer but this year we went as soon as school got out. It was an awesome way to kick off summer break but now we are left feeling a little sad that the annual beach trip is already over. I am trying to work on my husband and see if I can sneak in a beach weekend later this fall:)

We have been doing this trip for several years now and there are a few things that I absolutely cannot live without at the beach. I thought I would share them in case anyone needed some suggestions. Without further delay, the things that I am loving right for the beach right now are:

Pacific Breeze Pop Up Tent: Y’all we have had a lot of beach tents over the years. This one is life changing. It opens and closes in seconds. SECONDS. There are no weird poles to work with and you don’t have to twist it in a weird way to get it to fold. You pull a cord. Simple as that. Pull a cord to open it. Pull a cord to fold it. It is glorious. Just ask my husband:)

Stansport Beach Chair: We love these chairs. They fold up small and are easy for both adults and kids to use.

Puddle Jumper: This quite literally saved us. Of course, we constantly keep an eye on our children but with three of them it gets a little crazy at times. We kept this on the baby and it gave us a little extra peace of mind. No, it won’t save your child’s life nor does it give you a free pass to let them out on their own. But it adds a little extra protection and that is always nice.

Dicapac: Wonder how I get DSLR big camera photos in the water? This bad boy is how. It doesn’t seem like much but it is amazing. I have had it for a couple years and have used it in the pool too and I love it.

Go Pro Hero: I have told so many people this but if you have never had a GoPro, they are a blast. Especially at the beach. I suggest renting one before committing to buying but they are a blast. I know they are typically used for video but I actually really love them for still photography in the water too. If you are interested in renting first, I love renting from BorrowLenses.com (this link gets you a code for $20 off your first rental!)

As a bonus, don’t forget to bring a good book. Of course, if you are going with kids you probably won’t get any time alone to read until after they are in bed but one can dream, right? I just finished this book and it is phenomenal. The Nightingale  If you need a good beach read (or anywhere read for that matter), this is it.

Now, for the pictures. There are a ton. So sorry. Ok, not really:)

Ever look at pictures from a vacation and think, “I really wish we had a photographer here with us to capture the fun?”… Just a reminder that I do that! Shoot me an email with where you are going and when and I would love to tag along for a day to capture your family and all the magic and chaos that is travel with kids.

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