Our holiday card reflects one of the most spectacular elements of our year and, I think, of our daughters' lives. I recently looked back over a few notes I had scribbled about their developmental milestones. Last December, when Cricket had just turned 3 and Nora was 19 months, we noticed they suddenly transitioned from playing around each other to playing together. They haven't stopped since. They are soulmates, attached at the hip, devastated after I broke the news to them that they are not, in fact, twins. When they are not scratching, pulling hair or tackling (okay, okay, they are doing that a lot of the time), what they bring to each other is the simplest gift: joy.
We wish these things for you over the holidays and the coming year: peace from the stress around you, the love of family and friends and, above all, JOY. (And a regular dose of the great outdoors too.) Happy Holidays, my friends!
Where I grew up, ski team practice was in full swing by this time of the year and the neighborhood ice skating rink was calling to us during every other waking moment. I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss an almost-guaranteed white Christmas or a community that thrives on snow and all the adventures it blows in.
But as unfamiliar as a temperate holiday season still feels after all these years, I really can't complain. What's better than the North Carolina coast in the summer? The North Carolina coast in the fall and winter, when the beaches are deserted, the sand is still warm and the surfing is good.
On our most recent trip, I did Cricket's 4-year photo session on the beach at sunrise. And, since we hadn't taken a family portrait in more than a year, I decided we should give it a go...Let's just say the first attempt wasn't pretty, but I dragged everyone out again later in the afternoon and got a few photos that make us smile.
Above: The girls in their natural state: running circles around us.
Below: The girls and Jeff being bribed into sitting still and smiling by their Papa waving a bag of Skittles behind the camera.
I'm still in disbelief. Cricket just turned 4! Our late fall beach weekend provided the perfect backdrop for her portraits. Since I usually associate the beach with warm weather, I wanted to make sure something about these photos screamed fall. What I didn't account for, and didn't plan for when I pulled her outfit together, was that the photos really should have screamed winter; it was unseasonably cold for North Carolina (30 degrees with biting wind) when we woke up in time to catch sunrise over the water. The brave girl lasted upwards of one minute during our first attempt, but we got some lovely shots just the same.
And with that, we headed inside. Later that afternoon I grabbed my camera and captured a few more moments back to the beach to play. The sun was warm, and I could barely convince Cricket not to strip down and dive into the water.
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.