A little over a week ago we had family pictures done with Claire of Knoten Photography here in Chicago. We met Claire through Gracie’s daycare- her son attends the same one- and it has been great to make some “family friends” to have playdates with! Claire and her husband have a photography business in addition to their day jobs, and we were so happy to have them come take some photos for us. B and I are both really happy with the finished product…I now have 2 professional sets of images waiting to make it into frames for our house- hello January project. I’m behind the curve on Christmas cards (postcards? happening soon?) but for now, I wanted to share a few of these pictures.
If you are looking for a photographer in Chicago, I highly recommend!
To make it short and sweet, our trip to Sonoma County was fantastic. (Thanks much to the reader who alerted me to the fact that Sonoma is a town and county…turns out we were headed to Healdsburg in Sonoma County). There was good food and friends, breathtaking views, awesome food and delicious wine. We even managed to make our way up to the nearby state park to check out the redwoods.
Please note that that I opted to do zero research before packing so our family of three walked the forest trails in items such as ballet flats, boat shoes, and twee sandals. (Bonus points if you can guess who wore what). I did manage to pack jackets for everyone.
I love wine country. It just smells so wonderful and no matter where you stop the food and drink, no matter how humble, are wonderful. On a whim I grabbed a biscuit in a coffee shop and B and I agreed it was one of the best biscuits either of us had ever tasted- that kind of culinary gem seems to be everywhere in wine country.
We were a little nervous about Gracie and the time change (especially after we botched our attempt the week earlier to transition her to the time change but accidentally pushed her bedtime the wrong way….) but she was a champion. An early rising champion but we made it work. B graciously took two early mornings with her, opting for a scenic walk through historic Healdsburg one morning and a drive among the vineyards another. We rented a huge house on the Russian River with 5 other couples and we were trying to prevent Gracie from turning the whole house into early risers. I definitely recommend riverside accommodations- we saw all sorts of birds and animals and really enjoyed how peaceful it was. One of our group even saw a river otter on our last morning!
Gracie even attended a few (casual) wine tastings where she was perfectly interested in what the adults were doing before finding what she could use to lean on and bounce.
I was tempted to let her tour this dog house but B told me it would be in poor form.
We had such a great time in Sonoma County before heading to Sacramento to visit with my Mom’s family. Gracie got to meet her Great Grandma which was really special for all of us, and B and I got a chance to catch up with Grandma as well as my aunts, uncles and cousins. It is always nice when you can combine a trip to see family and friends. We managed to get the baby to sleep for the majority of both four hour+ flights, and spent the rest of the time entertaining her with Cheerios (duh), toys and people watching.
B and I realized it has been a long time since we took a vacation without an event like a wedding or graduation driving it and we both agreed it was just what we needed before hitting the holidays running. I told B that one of my goals is to have a family vacation every year even if we stick close to home – those are the trips family memories are made of. Next summer we are heading back to Harbor Springs, Michigan and I’m hoping next fall we might be able to make it to Door County, Wisconsin. How about you..any favorite family vacation location? Growing up my Dad’s family had a lot of reunions on St. Simons Island, Georgia and I still think of those days with a smile (and we hope to get Gracie out there soon)!
Now we are homing and I’m realizing I need to finalize our Thanksgiving menu, our Christmas cards, I need to make and freeze cinnamon rolls for the holidays…..
Somewhere deep down I know that after the sleepless nights and toddler tantrums and skinned knees that part of parenting my daughter will be to teach her how to love herself.
Not to tear up a photograph or beg someone to remove a snapshot off of Facebook. To smile for the camera without sucking in or tilting her chin or worrying if she was being captured at a bad angle. To know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that you should never judge a book- or a person- by their cover.
But it is easier said than done because we all at some point fall into the trap of picture deleting, frown inducing, fitting room tears self-loathing.
Sometimes we just need a reminder that even if we are own worst enemy, we have to try and see ourselves the way the world does.
Softer. Gentler. Friendlier. Prettier. Thinner. Stronger. Happier.
One of my very favorite photos of myself. It reflects a person who isn’t perfect but who has found a perfect moment.
And that is what I have to teach Gracie. Reflect the moment and you’ll love what you see.
Somewhere right around
1999 1997 I got my braces off after 6 years of being a metal mouth. To celebrate this occasion I chopped my long hair into a bob (horrible move) and generally speaking thought I was pretty much hot stuff. Obviously on our next trip back to the States (we lived in Germany at the time) it was time to commemorate this wonderful period of adolescence with Glamour Shots.
– My “sexy” feather boa, appropriate at age 14!
– My faux pearl earring they couldn’t be bothered to clip over my real silver earring
– My eyebrows. Oy vey.
– Shortly after this time period I discovered mascara and you will never, ever, see a photo of me without it again
– I’m glad I grew into my nose. Enough said.