This year we spent Thanksgiving at my Dad’s in his new home, a beautifully historic 1860 folk farmhouse in a small town on Lake Michigan. I already have plans to turn it into a bed & breakfast, it’s okay, I already told him I’m taking over. He seems fine with it.
Cole got a major surprise when we stepped onto the trolley and he was greeted by Mrs. Claus and she invited him to sit and chat with her while we rode around town a few times. Later we stopped into Santa’s Workshop where Santa was put back by Cole saying his big want this year was a stop sign, lol! Probably hasn’t heard that from a 5 year old before. Cole wants a stop sign for his bedroom, so everyone knows it’s his zone only. A 5 year old needing privacy, what is my life going to be when he’s 13. Please send help! We had a good long conversation with Santa, snapped a Norman Rockwell esk photo and headed back home with good cheer in our hearts and being belted out of our lungs to holiday tunes all the way home.
Every year, since before I was born my parents have taken me to the tree farm. Since we have continued this tradition with our own little family we have fallen in love with the Wisconsin pine & fir trees. This year we decided to try a new farm, one on the way to my Dad’s house that we have been eyeing all year.
The last few years we’ve been creating the space in our lives for our own family sessions. We believe in celebrating each stage of our lives and turning them into tangible heirlooms to treasure forever. I am so happy to know in 30 years, Cole may be sitting around the table with his kids showing them how stinking adorable he was at 5….
Over the weekend Troy & I captured beautiful images at a romantic farm wedding on the banks of the wolf river. This summer has been busy and we were ready for some time to ourselves. We drove along Lake Michigan and the beautiful sand dunes of the Upper Lake Michigan Shore, which could easily be confused with the outback.
We have been wanting to build a playground since we’ve moved in three years ago and this summer we finally did just that. Eight random days, my Dad and I took to building Cole’s Cabin one math problem at a time. Since I can’t commit to actual designs, I like to have a concept in mind and then eye ball it, somehow I’m always more accurate than actual math, lolol.
White walls - having white walls can help in many ways starting with it being a pleasing & clean background in your images. They reflect clean neutral light into the room and onto your skin which is an important element, so we love as much of that as we can get. Let’s be honest not a single person wants puke green walls in their wedding gallery.
Every Winter since the year before I was born, my family has set out to the Tree Farm when the ground is frozen and there's a chill in the air perfect for being warmed up with some hot cocoa. This family tradition started in Missouri at Pea Ridge Forest, it was over an hour away and worth the drive. Our entire family would gather together at the farm on the Sunday after Thanksgiving and we would enjoy shopping at the adorable gift shop and always picking up their personal Pea Ridge Ornament for that specific year. Sip hot cocoa, given out by the same cute old lady every single year since I can remember. Play in the creek our parents wished was frozen, because someone would always fall in. And wandering all over the property searching for that perfect pine tree to call ours. Everyone has their idea of the perfect tree. Mine is short and stout yet perfectly shaped, much like myself (yay, i just busted up laughing at myself there too). Before we left and tied our tree to the top of our toyota we took a photo with Santa and told him what we wished for him to bring us that cold winters eve. On the way back up the hill we said our goodbyes to the reindeer. And we're pretty excited to venture back home to decorate.
We have made it a point to continue this family tradition but of course the way we do, we put a spin on it. Whispering Pines is the perfect place to keep our tradition alive. A trip to sit on Santa's lap, listen to singing reindeer (these are stuffed, but cute & do the trick - please laugh with me of how terrified Cole looks ), the multiple rides on Thomas, James, and Percy. Yeah, I know! Cool right?! They have freaking trains - Thomas & Friends none-the-less, and the most beautiful property full of the most perfect pine & fir trees I've ever seen.
This year we brought Pa pa, since he's Cole's best friend and finds himself still believing in these magical moments of the season. The boys played with left behind pine swords, played hide and seek, and we even caught some decent family photos of us. Andddddd! Cole even was sweet enough to take a few with me. He surprised me with some kisses and that made this Mama very happy!
Who goes on a picnic to the beach during Winter, Am I right?! The answer is us. Yes, we are indeed strange people. No doubt! Point Beach in Two Rivers is one of our favorite spots to visit on the weekends throughout the year. This park is covered in tall pines, boardwalks, sand dunes, beaches, the Rawley Point Lighthouse, millions of; rocks, corral, fossils, and minerals gracing the shoreline, and a campground. We love this place so much that we were out here two weeks in a row; one to play around in the sand before it was too cold, and the second to capture a couple very much in love on their weekend getaway. You can read more about Chelsea x Nate's Point Beach Couples session here.
We planned this afternoon outing around playing in the sand, drinking vegan hot cocoa, and some delicious homemade apple fritters made by my Dad. Ie..also the guy who took the images of all three of us. Troy and I took it upon ourselves to get a mini branding session for ourselves in while Cole and Pa Pa played. I've got to say I'm kind of addicted to flirting with my husband while he takes pictures of me now! I don't think I've ever felt so comfortable in front of the camera.
So without anymore dragging on, here is our little rebel family picnicking on the beach in late November. lol. Let me know in the comments below if you're crazy enough to venture out into the 30º weather to play in the sand? Or what is the craziest thing you've done in the cold weather?
Blake and Kristy have been together for 9 months and got engaged back in October while on a trip to New York City with their families. They love staying in cooking Pinterest recipes together and love making puzzles together. Date night looks like sushi followed by a movie back home with lots of cuddles. Sounds perfect to me!
All Slots are FILLED at this time
For the first time ever we are offering MINI SESSIONS.
Why now, you ask? It's here already. Winter that is, and I was not ready for it for the first time in years. I love cold weather, like really love it. So with that being said. Our Wedding Season has ended for the year and I'm just not done snapping photos of rad people who become our friends.
Who are these for?
Couples in love. Be it your engaged, married, or somewhere in between. We love capturing your story at any stage along the way. My biggest regret in Marriage is not having our photos taken at least once a year of Troy & I.
Single parents! We think your incredibly strong and deserving of a cost break. Let us document you and your littles playing and spending some much desired time together.
Maternity. A great way to get a Winter Maternity session and not have to bare the cold for very long. No one should miss out on baby bump images because it's frigid.
Small families. This includes families with one child who wants some fun images of their family spending time outdoors running and playing and spending some good quality time together.
What to expect: I am a huge lover and promoter of spending quality time with your loved ones, which usually looks like being in nature running around unposed and only slightly directed. We do always sneak in a few portraits to please Grandma and one for Mom's wall. Otherwise, my prompts are low key. We spend your session going through the typical motions of life, as you would when I'm not around. For couples this looks a little different and there's a bit more prompting of loving on each other. Who wouldn't want to spend some time snuggling and kissing on your loved one?
30 minute session with Elle.
10-15 Final Edited Images
Online Gallery (Share, Download, & Order Prints)
High Resolution Downloads with Printing Release
The time slots are as follows:
Saturday Dec 2nd @ 8:00AM / 8:45AM / 2:30PM / 3:15PM
Sunday Dec 3rd @ 8:00AM / 8:45AM
Saturday Dec 9th @ 8:00AM / 8:45AM
Sunday Dec 10th @ 2:30PM / 3:15PM
EMAIL to reserve your spot today! Only a few spots left, our schedule is filling up fast!
Location: We have two locations, our morning and evening spots will be different due to lighting. Both locations are beautiful this time of year. Location will disclosed in our email.
To save your spot we require a $50 retainer. The remaining balance is due at the time of service.
Spots are limited and this is the first time we have ever offered mini sessions. This is a BIG deal for us. Send us an email to brighten our day letting us know your interested and a email will be returned to you within 24 hours giving you all the details and offering of times! We can't wait to capture your love, be it with your significant other, your child, or your little family. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your session today!
Each winter a magical elf named Pinky makes an appearance and causes mischief in our home. This year was the first time we noticed her more than years past. This winter she was up to no good. Swinging from the lights in the dinning room, unrolling toilet paper in our bathrooms, dumping out cotton balls, and starting a snow ball fight with Cole.
Cole's Gigi & Poppy came to visit us and we spent some time picking out the best pumpkins and munching on some apples. Hillside Apple Farm has a great assortment of pumpkins and varieties of pumpkins to choose from. We found out Wisconsin pumpkins are much cheaper than Missouri ones. One pumpkin in Missouri cost the same as all 4 pumpkins we bought here. Win!!! After finding the most unique pumpkins we ventured to Point Beach and walked the shore finding gemstones and playing in the sand.
Family Adventures into the North Woods of the Upper Peninsula is how we like to spend our summer vacations. We traded in trips to Florida beaches and staying at Resorts for cozy cabins deep in the woods and strolls along the lake shore searching for Lake Superior Agates. Life in up north is more relaxed. No more rushing to get every where and do everything first. It's a simpler way of life and we wouldn't have it any other way.
This adventure to Lake Superior we found ourselves at the far east end of the Upper Peninsula near the Canadian border at Sault Ste. Marie. Whitefish Point was a breath of fresh air. We took a quiet stroll along the beach uncovering gemstones, getting our feet wet, and observing the nesting birds. This is where I found my first Lake Superior Agate and she is a beaut, perfectly polished by nature.
Cole loves every second we spend on the beach so when we go on our trips we spend the majority of our time right there enjoying the cool breeze and the soft white sand. But when we leave the comfort of our favorite shoreline we head to some hole in the wall eats and settle into our cozy cabin. Check out our cabin in Part I of our Upper Peninsula Family Adventure and next week on the blog will be our excursion to Tahquamenon Falls in Part III.
Each summer we take a few small trips. Since living in Wisconsin, our trips have been resting along lower Lake Superior on the Upper Peninsula. We can't get enough, obviously.
Dense woods, fresh air, insanely gorgeous waters that wash away all thoughts of ever wanting to go to the ocean again. We love it Up North. The only thing I dislike at all, is the caution we need to take hiking since all the wildlife is a bit bigger and more dangerous than in our old home state of Missouri. Although, I have had a run in with a Mountain Lion climbing once but we'll save that story for another day. Bears, Moose, Wolves, and probably Sasquatch...actually definitely if Sasquatch exists, he's in these woods and he doesn't have to worry one bit about being found because these woods will separate you from your hiking partner five feet away dense.
One of our trips this summer was to Paradise, Michigan. Paradise describes this place perfectly. You will be seeing two more posts from this vacation because there is so much to share. From roaring waterfalls that toss the most pleasant mist upon your face to the calm evening waters on Lake Superior we adored every inch of this area.
Here is a bit of the cozy cabin we called home. It was nestled in the woods on the shore of Lake Superior with Canada in sight. The time we spent at the cabin was relaxing and still. We enjoyed waking up to the sun rise, sitting on the deck, me avoiding mosquitos, watching the ships pass thru the canal, and then at night we watched the sun set, and I even stayed out late to catch a few shots of the full moon and stars above.
I want to preface with. I have the sweetest boy. Plain and simple.
For Cole's 3rd Birthday all he wanted was a Thomas Cake. Now let me also tell you.
I DO NOT BAKE. Like not a lot of people in the World suck more at baking than I do. True story. But......I do know my way around the kitchen and I love creating new recipes and experimenting. So I took the challenge.
I have not baked a cake since becoming plant based when I was pregnant with Cole so I took to Pinterest to find the easiest and least likely for me to screw up cake recipe I could. I stumbled upon one of those recipes we've all heard of, mixing a box cake mix (which most are vegan, woohoo ) and a carbonated beverage. I choose Coconut La Croix. It was easy peasy cute kid squeezy. Iced it, thank goodness I was able to cover my mistakes with icing. Squoze ( no squoze is not really a formal word, please roll with it. I'm from Missouri where we say 44, as FARTY-FAR ).
Overall, my kid was pleased and that's all I could have asked for. Since, I better have delivered...I mean the kid only wanted a Thomas Cake. Thank the stars it came out pretty freaking adorable.
After he enjoyed his Thomas Cake and opened presents he could not wait any longer to pick some cherries from our not quite exactly as ripe as they need to be to pick cherry trees...but who can deny a Birthday Boy. You can follow the rest of Cole's Big Day here to see our cherrylicious trees and Thomas Adventure.
The following weekend we continued his celebration by riding the rails with Thomas himself at our National Train Museum for A Day Out With Thomas. We try to stretch his Birthday as long as we can since they are only this little once and it goes way too quickly.
Even the Winter won't keep us away from the beach. Can you believe this beach? Gemstones line the beach. You can find sand dunes, boardwalks, and even a gorgeous lighthouse. We spend so much time at Point Beach we've thought about purchasing an RV and just being their permanent campground host, not really, but really! lol. Wouldn't that be incredible. They even have a dog beach and host breakfasts during the year. I think the more I write, the more I'm convincing myself this is an awesome idea. Back to our adventure.
We find ourselves combing the beaches for fossils, coral, quartz, unakite, jasper, and so many more that we love finding and letting Cole find each stone in our rock books. We love using nature to teach our little explorer. If you didn't already know we use nature and our life experiences as our classroom and educational resources. We are homeschooling our little learner and he is such a curious boy and a giant sponge. He can never get enough learning and exploring. We love showing him the ropes and watching him grow and develop each day.