waterfall

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?

apples, apples, apples

Last week we rang in the fall season with a family trip on a big special day, Jonah's birthday. It was a lovely, cooler-than-average-for-Georgia kind of day, perfect for spending outdoors. We headed up north where there are heaps of orchards and pumpkin patches to explore. Our choice was B.J. Reece Orchards, mostly because they had apple-picking open during the weekdays. It's a pretty popular place (especially on weekends) and we LOVED that it was so empty during a weekday. It made the whole experience of picking apples even more pleasant because there weren't any crowds to fight. We were able to take our time and take in the full experience as a family. The boys had a blast picking apples, running down the lanes in the orchard and generally being out in the beautiful sunshine and clean north-Georgia air. Not to mention all the apples you can "sample" as you go. I am not sure we have a photo where Aleksandr isn't munching an apple! 

We ended up picking half a bushel, then headed into the shop to see what other yummy things they had for sale (donuts, cider, and bags upon bags of apples). We were not disappointed with our choice of a dozen apple cider donuts, and ANOTHER half bushel of apples. So that gave us a grand total of one full bushel of apples. In other words that's around 50 lbs. of apples! Why so many? We were going to head out with our half bushel when I noticed they had a "seconds" section. Apples that had been picked but were old, or had been bruised. They were half price, and after looking at a bag (it was clear so we could see the apples), we saw only a couple in it that seemed to be "gently used". 

I have to say that I have been having fun seeing how far these apples will go, and Jonah is having fun keeping a tab on how many different items we can create. Yes, he even has a list to check off. Our tally at this point (a week later): apple chips, applesauce, apple crisp, apple butter, apple hand pies, baked apples, apple muffins, apple juice, and apple filling for pies. 

I have a little less than half a bushel left and we have some of these apple items in the freezer, so I'd say we are whittling away at it successfully! I really have enjoyed the apple peeling dates with Jonah! 

After the orchard we headed up to Amicalola Falls State Park. Jonah and I have been there way back when, on our first anniversary, so it was special to get to head back with our boys. It was the first time they'd seen a real live waterfall, and it is such a beautiful one too. A day filled with outdoor adventure made it a very special birthday celebration!