outdoors

the best day (mother's day)

I can't say that this year Mother's Day was something I was excited about. 

Don't get me wrong, I am so thankful for our two boys. SO thankful! What a great privilege and honor it is to be given children to raise up. God has given us two little gifts that we treasure. But this Mother's Day we were also remembering the two babies that God gave us for a short time. The two that are now in heaven, perfect and whole with Him. They are having the best Mother's Day and I can't wait to see their faces one day. What a great hope it is to think of the day we see our Savior and loved ones!

But there is a sadness that comes with the loss of those little babies. And it hangs onto our hearts, like a tiny little pinecone that is rooted to it's tree. 

cloudland canyon, national park, outdoors, mothers day, www.itstheeveryday.com, story photography

It's hard to rejoice on this day as we also remember the two that are not here. I know that it's getting easier for us as each day passes. Healing is like that. And perhaps next Mother's Day will be a little easier than this one. But for this day, Jonah asked what I'd like to do. Anything special? 

Honestly I wanted to avoid the recognition and ceremony that is the norm for the day. I wanted to be as far from crowds and cheerful wishes from those that meant well, because I wanted to just quietly remember and feel what the day meant. It meant thankfulness for our children. The ones here, the ones in heaven. Thankfulness for this role as a mom. What a heavy, joyful gift it is. And to reflect back on the One that sees our hearts. To spend a little time in worship to Him, our Maker, our Giver of good and perfect gifts. To praise Him for His faithfulness, His relentless pursuit of us, His heart that is for us and with us. I wanted to go somewhere peaceful, and see beauty. 

And so our adventure began. Jonah was thrilled to learn that I wanted to go visit a state park near us (well, within a few hours). A place where we could hike, picnic, and see waterfalls. Going on an adventure felt like the perfect way to spend this day. 

So on Mother's Day, after I was woken up to be led on a search for cards the boys had made and "hidden" for me, I was treated to breakfast and then we packed up and headed out to Cloudland Canyon. Jonah packed us a picnic lunch that we took along with us. It was a great start!
 

cloudland canyon, north georgia, its the everyday, photography, motherhood, mothers day
mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography

After a couple hours we arrived, and the gorgeous weather kept it nice and cool as we hiked. It was beautiful up there in the mountains and our hike took us to one of the first waterfalls. The boys were so great the whole time, hiking right along with us, exploring all the trees, sticks, rocks, caverns and weird bugs along the way. 

mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography
beauty. there is always something beautiful that God has made right in front of us!

beauty. there is always something beautiful that God has made right in front of us!

mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography

We stopped at the first waterfall and dipped our hands in the water, rested on the rocks and admired the vastness, the sound, and the isolated beauty of it. 

mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography, waterfalls
so thankful for these men!

so thankful for these men!

After a break we continued on to the next waterfall. A little more crowded, and set away from us thanks to a bridge. But thanks to my adventurous husband we found another waterfall not far from it that we could literally put our feet in and sit by for lunch. It was something to sit by the roar of water, dip your toes in the frigid cold and eat your lunch, with the sun shining down on you. What a wonderful memory together. 

mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography
mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography
mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography, waterfall, hiking
mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography, waterfall
eating lunch with our toes in the water. what a wonderful memory with the boys!

eating lunch with our toes in the water. what a wonderful memory with the boys!

thankful.

thankful.

After lunch we waded a bit in the water, watched a dog nearby slip and fall from a small overhang into the water (yikes! he was fine!), and hiked a bit around the fall, under a cavern, and as close as we could to the falls. It was neat to explore the rocks, see some weird crustaceans (crawfish maybe?), and feel the dripping water above us from the rocks. We took some shots, and allowed our five year old to man the camera to take one of us. To our surprise he did great! 

mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography, waterfall, adventure
mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography, waterfall

We were blessed with a peaceful, adventurous, amazing afternoon. And on the way home we stopped by a local strawberry farm to pick several pounds of warm, sun-ripened berries and enjoy homemade ice-cream. It was a perfect ending to our day! I am so grateful for the family God has given me. For this role as a mother. For the pain of the past year that has made me appreciate the gifts we have even more. For what God has been speaking into my heart, for how He's made me mother a little different, a little more intentionally, and a little more focused. My heart is changed even more with each child, and I pray it's being shaped and molded to be more like His. We needed a day like this, and I am so very grateful for this, the very best day. Which as it turns out, was Mother's Day after all. 

this life, this adventure together. is there anything greater?

this life, this adventure together. is there anything greater?

wood working

This past Christmas we were able to create a few handmade gifts. There is something really rewarding about investing your time and hands into a special gift for someone. I love using my hands to create art, whether it is through story-telling (photography) or hand-lettering (my etsy shop). And looking back over our busy December (and November for that matter), I guess I found it hard to say "no" to certain projects because I love the process of creating.

Jonah and I are likeminded when it comes to being creative. I met him in college and we ended up majoring in the same creative field. I love knowing we can share ideas and critique each other's projects (when asked, ha!). And this past November, in the middle of my hand-lettering busyness of wrapping up commissioned pieces, Jonah had an idea for a Christmas gift for our parents. Wood pieces have always held our interest and I had my first experiences working with wood this year with a few lettering pieces—some I painted and some I burned. After our experience with reclaimed wood (I blogged about recently) we were fascinated with not only the look of this wood, but the stories behind it. Jonah wanted to create some wood pieces as gifts and use specific wood in them.

The backstory:

My parents live in NY in farm country (far from the city) where barns and quilts are in large supply. Growing up in NY, my mom was skilled in many areas of homemaking, including sewing. She had a special love for quilt patterns and loved to travel to see the handmade quilts of the Amish. My parents also live in an old farmhouse that has a large barn on their property. It's no longer a home to cows like it was years and years ago, but it's pretty and has been kept up through the years. There were old pieces of wood in it (over 100 years old) and, knowing this, we asked my parents if they'd bring some of it up to us when they visited over Christmas. They didn't know we'd be using it for a gift for them!  

Originally when Jonah was going to make this piece for them, we had conceptualized the design of it (with quilt patterns) and planned to use some wood we had on hand. But once we started talking through it, we realized how much more personal and meaningful it would be to use wood from their own property. If ever they were to move, they'd be able to take with them a small part of the home they lived in for so long. 

The second piece he made was also a square wood piece with a quilt pattern on it, but it was for his mom. His parents live southeast of us in Georgia, and for her wood piece we headed to his grandma's house (the house his mom grew up in) and he foraged for wood from the barn on their property (it is falling down). His mom was there and wondered what in the world Jonah was doing with old wood, but we managed to avoid actually answering what we'd use it for! This wood was even prettier because it had some original paint on it, giving it a lovely green color and as it turned out, the wood he pulled from the barn was actually wood that was used on the old porch on the house. Knowing the wood was original to the house she grew up in was definitely a special detail. 

I am always amazed at Jonah's ability to learn a new skill so quickly. It's challenging and rewarding working with wood and perhaps he will grow in this area down the road. We are thankful to learn and grow in the gifting that God has given us and this past year it seemed to be so many different creative areas poured on us, we are excited to see what is next. 

Here are the lovely finished pieces and my hard-working, creative husband. I'm so proud of the beautiful work he created! 

the one for my parents with original barn wood from their property. 

the one for my parents with original barn wood from their property. 

the one for Jonah's mom with wood from the porch of her childhood home (the pieces with the green paint).

the one for Jonah's mom with wood from the porch of her childhood home (the pieces with the green paint).

the dixon family

The Dixon's are a young family with a 3-year old and a 1-year old. I remember well what it was like with those ages (since our own little boys are also two years apart and only slightly older), so I was excited to photograph their story. 

When I met with Rhonda before their session, she said she wanted to remember the simple things of what they do in their everyday life. Some of their favorite things to do together involve chasing daddy in the front yard, dressing up as rapunzel (complete with ace bandage as the "hair"), making all sorts of foods from their play kitchen, playing games together, reading stories, and just slowing down to rock the littles to sleep (almost!).

I love including portraits in a story, so we started our time together outside in their gorgeous back yard. Seriously, look at those fall colors! After portraits, I stepped back and let them step into their everyday. When I shoot I try to let families just live, without much prompting or posing from me, and in the end I feel like their story is colorful, beautiful, and filled with memories unique to them. I just love watching families do their everyday together. I know how quick this season is with children, and I know how quickly we forget some of their favorite things. What a blessing it is to me to be able to document a glimpse of their life. 

Thanks Dixon family for such a great story, and for being such awesome clients! 

Monday's musings

I woke up to the smell of apples and cinnamon baking in the house. In truth they weren't baking but simmering into yummy apple butter, thanks to the dedication of my dear husband! He made it his special project to finish off our apple stash from our recent trip to the orchard.  

This Monday I am so content to be home in our warm, apple-scented home, as the fall weather shows off with crisp air and chilly winds.  

After the unusually slow start to our day (I blame the cool temps for our late rising today!) I finally started feeling productive once the lunch dishes were put away.  

I've been feeling reflective this particular morning as I slowly puttered through my list of to-do's. A very un-Carrie thing to do. I'm not really a list kind of girl.  

But I wanted to share some of my musings.  

Our weekend. 

We had our very first family campout together! It was a perfectly chilly evening for it (temps dropped to 40) but the excitement on the boys faces (well, more so Jonah's!) made every cold moment of the adventure worth it. We decided to leave the camera at home since we would have plenty of other things to keep an eye on, but here are a few iphone snaps from our trip:

Headlamps! 

Headlamps! 

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Camp cocoa is the best. 

Camp cocoa is the best. 

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Cocoa for little hands. I just love our tin cups. 

Cocoa for little hands. I just love our tin cups. 

We enjoyed an early morning hike around the lake. 

We enjoyed an early morning hike around the lake. 

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First time shooting a BB gun for Oliver. 

First time shooting a BB gun for Oliver. 

My boys love to bring me flowers. I will always take whatever offering they give! 

My boys love to bring me flowers. I will always take whatever offering they give! 

I was a soup server for lunch (with our group we camped with). 

I was a soup server for lunch (with our group we camped with). 

Littlest were served first for lunch. Lucky for aleksandr.  

Littlest were served first for lunch. Lucky for aleksandr.  

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My main squeeze. No one I would rather adventure with.  

My main squeeze. No one I would rather adventure with.  

Truly it was a great weekend! I am eager to print a book of our photos.  

 

Scripture:

My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever. (Psalm 73:26) Amen! Isn't this great truth??

 

Readings:

Finally I wanted to share a blog post I have found to be so encouraging. I read this post back when we had miscarried, and today I read it again, and found it be just as encouraging. Walking through suffering is hard, but remembering what His truth is, is so important. I love how transparent the writer is in her own struggle with just being human, just feeling what you need to feel and bringing that to God. To read it, click the link below. I hope it's an encouragement to you too.

Talking myself through suffering

 

Now on to the rest of my Monday, I hear a little boy calling me that has just woken up from his nap. 

Happy Monday friends!