Roadtripin' With My Kiddos - Asheville, NC - January 2018

My sister got engaged over the holidays, and since I've somehow managed to postpone a visit to see her for almost THREE YEARS, I decided now was probably a good time to make good. So I packed up my kids (Daddy had to work) and we all headed to AJ 's house, with a quick pit stop in Savannah, GA along the way. The goal was a horse-drawn-carriage ride, BUT.... a winter storm decided to hit us just as we were getting into town, bringing record low temps and SNOW as far south as the Florida panhandle. So, the entire city of Savannah was shut down and we didn't get our carriage ride (or any dinner)....better luck next time. We DID get to throw a few snowballs though which totally made up for it. We also got to see some mountains, go ice skating on a frozen pond, and spend a day on Unlce Doug's family farm, which for our girl, was literally the best day ever.

The H Family in Downtown Tampa!

I double dog dare you to look through these family photographs without a big ol' smile on your face. You can't do it! Because these guys are just too adorable! I knew this would be a great session before I even arrived. Mom didn't want anything super posy. She just wanted to have some fun with her family and see what we could get. I couldn't have loved it more. I'd say it doesn't get any cuter than this, but they're expecting another baby in a few weeks, so.... <3 <3 <3

Baby Lucy Is One! {St petersburg photographer}

This cutie pie was one of my "baby plan" babies, so I got to photograph her a few times this past year...and oh. my. goodness. Is she not a doll?? This family is about as sweet as they come, and they have an amazing dog named Roy (also my hubby's name), so I feel like we were just meant to be together <3

The S Family! (Tampa Photographer}

This beautiful family wanted me to come photograph them around their South Tampa neighborhood before they packed up all of their belongings and moved out of state. I'm so very glad I got to spend some time with them before they left! Little M is the cutest (and has the very best hair!), and as it turns out, she'll smile anytime you ask her to in exchange for a swedish fish...

The Kielichs Do Hurricane Irma...

There aren't really any words to describe the emotional roller coaster that has been this past week. I was supposed to be on a vacation with my husband. We've been through a decent amount of bullshit recently, so we planned and booked a little getaway....something we haven't done since the kids were born. And then, Irma happened. We obviously weren't leaving our children behind with a category 5 hurricane coming right at us, so we cancelled our trip and started prepping for the worst. I've lived in Florida for 32 years and I've been through my fair share of hurricanes. But Irma....Irma was a whole different bitch entirely. It's hard to describe how it feels to be a mother, a homeowner, a pet owner in a situation like that. When emergency supplies like gas, water, food, plywood, etc are literally GONE by Wednesday for a Sunday evening storm, and for a number of reasons, escaping by car becomes more and more impossible with each passing minute. When you refresh your phone every few minutes for SIX DAYS STRAIGHT tracking a catastrophic storm that may or may not be heading right for you. It was going east, it was going west, it was going straight up the middle of the state, it was going to the changed daily. It was enough to make you mad. We knew everything and we knew nothing at all. And then, it really was coming straight for us. Sooo, we hunkered down. We're fortunate enough to not live in an evacuation zone, so all of our Zone A evacuated family came over, and damn it, we made the most of it! The whole experience was just awful (the hurricane part, not the being together part), but we made it through and we're sooooo glad it's over.

A couple of things I learned while dealing with this nonsense...

1. I'm a legit stress cleaner. I literally have blisters from all the sweeping...
2. I'm a legit stress eater. Seriously, give me all the hurricane snacks.
3. Shooting in (only) artificial light is the bane of my existence.
3. My family pretty much rules.
4. My community pretty much rules. Watching everyone come together, and work together, in our time of need has truly restored my faith in humanity.

We got very, very lucky in the 11th hour. The storm shifted east at the last minute and our community was largely spared with regard to major damage. Just some power outages, some downed trees/street signs, and a few neighbors with minor water and roof damage. I know there are other communities that didn't fare so well and my heart goes out to them. I will think of some way to help once I can get my scattered brain back in order.