Kids · photography · Travel

Sandy Beaches Sound Pretty Great Right Now

I’m slowly sifting through photos from our trip to France last summer (yeah… months and months ago…) and it’s honestly kind of nice to get to relive those sunny days during this freezing cold snap! Since our snow day last week temperatures plunged into sub-zeros so we’ve been shut in at home, and reliving this trip is helping!

We sadly didn’t get to the beach nearly as much as I would’ve liked this summer — in part because we had some gloomy weather for quite a bit! On one day we set off for a boat ride in the bay and it was lovely, but we were covered up in sweaters and jackets to fend off the cold wind.

But. We had one beach day that was absolute perfection.


It was blazing hot, so coming out of the water didn’t even feel uncomfortable, we had the beach almost entirely to ourselves (minus a few nudists…) and the most perfect, gentle waves, and we spent it with a childhood friend of mine and her two cute kids who are close in age to ours! (You moms out there know how dramatically having other kids around can improve your day and make your life simpler, ha — plus my friend’s parents were with them so we even had babysitters!)


There were even little pools left after the high tide, including the most perfect kiddie pool for the babies. It could not have been a more splendid beach day ❤

(The beach is called Montalivet, it’s a bit north of where we usually went growing up (Arcachon), but it was worth the drive if only to fend off the crowds! This one was a “secret” beach, my friend led us over some dunes and through some trees to get to it. She and her family were camping there for their summer vacation.)


(We’ll just forget the drama in trying to actually get there… ha. Poor Andrew had just flown in the day before, had to drive stick for the first time in a long while in bumper-to-bumper traffic only to realize an hour or so in that the GPS was taking us the wrong way and there was a much better road to take… we made it eventually but it was already afternoon and everybody was a little cranky. Once we got to the beach and stepped into the waves, though, it all melted away.)

Maud and I became good friends when she joined the american section program in 9th grade — she’s 100% French, but she was just that hard of a worker that she managed to get into a bilingual program out of sheer hard work and perseverance. We took the same bus line to school (AB Chemin de Leysotte!) and I have plenty of good memories with her. She was one of those kinds of friends who isn’t afraid to be smart or ambitious or silly, and doesn’t make you feel like you needed to change who you are to fit in. Looking back, I was really lucky to call her a friend at a time of my life when I was pretty easily influenced.

She ended up getting married around the same time I did and we have kids that are close in age, so it was awesome to get together again years later! Her daughter Chiara even brought a sweet little gift for Adelina, a necklace with her name on it that she still cherishes today, even though she has put it in her mouth so often the text is rubbing off… ha. (She’s wearing it in all these photos, of course!) Chiara is older than her but they still became fast friends and loved those waves ❤


Yeah, I’m pretty sure the ocean was a smashing success 😉

My friend’s dad played with the girls a lot, they loved going crazy in the waves and waiting for the last possible minute to jump up. Chiara showed her how it was done and Adelina picked up very quickly: before soon, she was bravely running straight into the waves!


She also learned the meaning of the expression “boire la tasse” (to drink the cup) that day… oops! Ha no worries, she got over it quickly.


The guys even got in a good nap in the shade!


(Don’t look too closely, but there are definitely nudists in the background of some of these photos… ha ha. This beach is near a nudist colony so I guess they tend to spread out to the other beaches… oh well, when in France! Andrew’s special moment of the day was when one fully nude man came up to him to ask him something — the time, I think — ha!)

That water felt so good. It was what you call a “mer d’huile” (oily sea) that day, meaning the waves were very tame, so it was perfect for little girls and really pleasant for us adults too. I’m not the super adventurous body-boarding type, so it was perfect!

That kiddie pool was so fun too, the kids loved it and the water was extra warm from sitting in the sun all day, so it was perfect.


Sadly the only picture I got of my friend and me was a phone shot, but it’s only because we were all having too much fun — and I definitely enjoyed a chance to get out the camera 🙂


I only wish I had handed it off more so I could be in the photos, that’s the challenge with being the “designated photographer.” It’s something I love doing and I got great shots that day, but I wish I were in more (any) of them. I’ve taught Andrew some basics but I need to be better about setting the camera up and then asking him to get me in the photo.

Either way, we had a blast.


Truly, a perfect beach day.


And a great way to kick off the rest of our mini-vacation-within-a-vacation… Switzerland! More to come soon…

Cherish 365 · photography

Peekaboo with Jonas

Our Jonas has loved peekaboo for a good while — at first he would use a pair of pants (usually while I was changing him) and cover his face and remove it and it was the cutest thing ever. Now, he’s getting so good at using his hands, and it’s so sweet how he giggles with delight and anticipation when get a peek between those photos… he’s just the most delightful little boy ❤


And that toothy grin… it just melts me!

Kids · photography

Photos about Love in February

I joined a photography forum this year and I’ve been doing a weekly photo challenge — this week’s theme was, Valentine’s Day obliged, “Love.” So here were a few shots I took along that theme.

Adelina loves… her babies


Doing makeup with her mama… “I’m beautiful, like you!” (I took this as we were preparing for her end-of-year dance recital. She was just glowing with pride ❤ )


And of course, baby Jojo. And he loves her…


But doesn’t always exactly want her affection, ha!


And of course… I sure do love them back ❤

february_Lydia_love_submission (1 of 1)

Holidays · photography

Christmas Is Coming

Hello friends! I couldn’t resist getting some cute pictures of our kids in their Christmas jammies, just because, and I love how they turned out!


I just strung up some lights in Adelina’s room and danced around like a monkey to get a few decent shots… ha. Photographing kids can be so tricky! But I just love these sweet Christmas portraits I got out of it ❤

In fact I ended up printing them out and putting them above our mantel for the season.

We started December out with lots of cheer and fun, and then the last week has been… not as thrilling. Poor Jonas has been dragging a cold for weeks, and it got to a point where he was coughing so much at night we took him to the doctor and he finally got some antibiotics. So he started improving immediately, and I was so glad to give him some relief finally! Then a few days later… he woke up caked in vomit. I prayed it was just food poisoning — he was fine throughout the rest of the day (other than being really tired), and I had been feeling queasy myself and we had both had the same lunch. But then, two days later, his sister woke up vomiting (“is yucky mama!”) and spent the rest of the night throwing up the entire contents of her poor tummy. Luckily it was a quick 24-hour bug, but it explains why she had been complaining of not feeling well for several days… (“je me sens pas bien…” — I thought she was just trying to get hot chocolates and special treatment, poor girl!) So anyway, I’m praying we’re out of the woods now, especially because her Christmas dance concert is this weekend and she’s been so excited about it for months!

Seriously though… winter is rough with little people. I swear I’m never taking them out in public again, ugh! I try so hard to give them vitamins, get them good sleep, wash hands, etc (although clearly I’m going to need to start carrying around hand sanitizer…) and we got to church or the library and all my efforts are destroyed. Blah!

That being said, in the meantime, I’ve had so many extra opportunities to snuggle these sweet kiddos and baby them a little extra, and I’m not complaining about that! The loads and loads of extra laundry though… Pass!


We sure love these two ❤


Home Decor · photography

Fall Mantel & Fall Fun

Before I go full bore into Christmas magic (because in full disclosure, our tree and Christmas decorations were up the day after Thanksgiving — the morning, even!) I wanted to share a little fall warmth too!


There’s the change in the air outdoors, the slanted sun rays in the evening… and autumn is amazing for all that baking and those delicious, hearty soups… (some favorite recipes here) The kids agree!


And of course, I love decorating for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Autumn in general. I’ve always been a Fall kind of girl — revealing summer clothes never really suited me, I much prefer some cute layers and boots and scarves, and all those fun accessories! Not to mention caramel is one of my favorite things in the world — it’s a family inheritance 😉

So now that we finally have a gorgeous mantel in our home, I can decorate it for the seasons!

Hold on, back up: I haven’t even blogged about this yet! My in-laws came in September while my husband was off at Coast Guard recruiter school for three weeks, and they helped me complete a ton of home projects, including that glorious cloffice. The other big one was my father-in-law helped me build a mantel for our fireplace!

It was all brick before, with an unfinished top — so bizarre! — and now it is gorgeous and I just love it. It completely changes the living room. That, and the new coat of wall paint my husband surprised me with while I was in France with the kids (amazing, right?!), and our home is coming along so beautifully ❤

Before, during, and after, all dressed up for Halloween! (And yes, those frames contain pages from a Martha Stewart magazine. Because, why not? And also I was waiting for some prints of our family photos this summer…)

Isn’t it amazing?! I’m so proud of this project — I designed it, then my father-in-law and I got to work and DID it, on our own! I just got tired of waiting on contractors — it’s a small town and hard to get things done around here, hence the frontierswoman spirit of “I’ll just hike up my skirts and do it myself!” Ha! I’m so grateful to my in-laws for their support in all the craziness. This blog tutorial was really helpful in coming up with the concept and details — although mine is slightly different since it had to fit over an existing top of mantel, so the box is snug around the top and sides of all that brick.


The dream team!

Anyway, once Halloween was over I switched it up to more fall glory — and we finally got our photos up!


I love that white pumpkin on the end. (Check out my thanskgiving tablescape over here for more fall decor!) And of course I got some good fall books from the library to read with my daughter and she LOVED the one about fall leaves — especially the raking and jumping in piles part 😉 — so we had to go execute on a gorgeous fall day!


She especially loved that the neighbors had left out little kid-sized rakes, it was a blast for her to help out. I need to find some of our own for next fall!


And this cute kiddo was happy to tag along, of course 🙂


Was there ever a more cheerful baby?! I just love him!

Anyway, that’s a wrap on fall — I feel like we really got a chance to soak in the season.  (It helps we only had one major snowfall before Thanksgiving!) Now, on to Christmas cheer!




I got to shoot my little sister’s engagement photos this past weekend, and it was so much fun. First of all, photographing adults is WAY easier than kids. No question. And second, I made these two college students wake up early on a Saturday morning to take pictures, but I think it was well worth it to get that gorgeous morning light!


It doesn’t hurt that my sister is pretty much gorgeous either — and her fiancé isn’t half bad either 😉


We are all pretty excited for their wedding this summer — but probably not nearly as much as these two love birds!