Folks, it’s turning out to be one of those weeks. I’m running high on stress and low on time as we unpack and repack between trips, scramble to get to check-ups and await news on an ill family member. Needless to say, I won’t get a chance to pull together a mega-post of the photos I took last week on our wonderful vacation to the Outer Banks before we head out of town again. Instead, I’ll post them in a few installments. (See the second installment here.)
This is the second summer we packed Jeff’s entire family into a giant beach house in Corolla, NC, for a week. Our activities included swimming, digging in the sand, kayaking, surfing, feeding turtles and watching the Olympics. What fun it was to see our girls play (or smile and coo, in Nora’s case) with their older cousins! I have so many memories of the mischief I got into with my cousins when we vacationed together as kids, and I hope the same for Cricket and Nora. It may be a few years before they can actually create long-term memories, but they’ll be well versed in their cousins’ antics by that time!
Above: Isn't there something magical about sand dunes?
Below top left: Jeff and Cricket take a stroll during a rest stop at the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.
Below top right: My niece shows off her beach find: a shark tooth.
Below bottom left: Kites fly at sunset.
Below bottom right: The family watches my brother-in-law kayaking past the breakers.
Below: More magic on the dunes.
As Sunday evening approaches and the weekend slips away, I often feel anything but relaxed. How could a new week be about to begin when so many tasks lay unfinished--or un-started? This weekend I didn't shoot photos, clean the house or create something lovely with the lavender (above) I harvested from the garden weeks ago. But I did manage to head out on a few nice strolls with my family and go on a date with my husband for the first time since Nora arrived, to ones of our favorite restaurants, Zely & Ritz, no less. Really, what could be more important than those little moments we get to spend with our families?
Maybe next week I'll figure out what to do with the lavender...Any suggestions?
Folks, today is my 30th birthday. How can it be? I've never been one to care about age, but somehow 30 feels...significant. Always looking for an excuse to be outdoors, I requested we celebrate over breakfast at a local park with my sister, Meg, and her family. Our morning went something like this:
Cricket and Cousin Iris played and played.
Then they smelled some flowers.
Then we all climbed a big hill (Cricket ran up it, head down, arms pumping) to our picnic table, where Meg served a delicious breakfast of ricotta cheesecake and roasted strawberry buttermilk cake. Yum.
My brother-in-law, Christo, grabbed the camera and took this shot of Nora with her old mom.
Because we met up mid-morning, the golden hour for taking photos was long gone; the sun was blazing. If you've spent any time on my blog or website, you know I love bold colors. But since these photos were a bit stark in the bright light, I decided to run them through a Photoshop action called Heartland by The Pioneer Woman. Have you used actions before? I just added some to my tool box a few months ago and am always looking for opportunities to use them.
The Heartland effect turned out well, but I couldn't resist including a few color shots since Cricket's eyes are so blue. I can't wait to see what color Nora's will be when they finish changing. (Christo also took the photo below of Nora.)
Let my 30s begin!
A few months ago, I developed the urge to plant a vegetable garden in our backyard. I envisioned an idyllic plot of peppers, pumpkins and tomatoes (yes, I know tomatoes are technically a fruit) that Cricket and I would diligently water and weed together. We'd pour through recipes and create delicious baked goods and salads with the bounty we'd harvest with our own hands.
Well, that didn't happen. (Maybe next year?) But we did manage to pick up a tomato plant at Lowe's. It's been growing fast despite the heat wave, thanks to Cricket's new-found obsession with the watering can, which she pronounces "wah-CANE." I now have a watering can obsession because I love to hear her say the word.
Last weekend our first tomato appeared, and I realized it just might be the first tomato I've ever grown. So while the girls napped this afternoon, I snuck out to shoot some photos of the little guy. Even one measly, potted tomato plant can be beautiful in the summer sun. And it smells heavenly, too.
I've been longing for the time and brain power to write an essay about having a newborn in the house again—about the things I had already forgotten and how different the experience is the second time around. But collecting my thoughts into anything coherent, let alone stringing words together to express those thoughts, has seemed impossible lately. So I'm going the list route. In honor of Nora's 2-month birthday this week, here are a few notes I've jotted down since she arrived, along with her 2-month portraits.
Things I had forgotten about having a newborn:
Differences the second time around:
I'm Julia Soplop. I've spent my life documenting the world around me in writing and photography. I believe there is something profound in bearing witness to moments of joy and pain in others’ lives. My husband, three girls and I live outside of Chapel Hill, NC. You can read more about me here.