This June we took our first vacation as a family of four. Emma had been begging to see the ocean and dolphins. And Justin and I wanted to relax and be low key. Captiva didn’t disappoint any of us! We were blessed to rent to cutest little cottage right on the beach. I say blessed because the weather was record breaking rainfall (we even waited out one storm under a bridge!) and we spent a lot of time indoors. So it was quite wonderful to have such a comfortable place to seek refuge. Despite the rain, we tried to make the most of the time. Around showers we squeezed in a bike ride, shelling, and as much beach time as we could. And of course we soaked in every sunset possible. During the rain, we napped, played games, visited the shell museum, and shopped.

The girls loved swimming and playing the in the sand. It was such a memorable experience watching them experience the ocean for the first time. Emma was so brave in the water and Eleanor rolled around in the sand like she was in heaven. And seeing a pod dolphins swim offshore was pretty much the icing on their cake! Oh and the shells! So many amazing shells. It was addicting for all of us to scour the beach for winners. Every time she found one Eleanor would yell “Winner, winner chicken dinner!” Haha! So funny.

One of the things Emma really wanted to do was go on a “big bike ride”. She’s been practicing on her bike a lot and was excited to test her skills. On one of our dry mornings we rented bikes. The rental agent assumed that Emma wanted to ride a bike attached to mine. No way man! She wanted her own bike so they gave her kids mountain bike. It was very different from her bike at home and she immediately got upset and started crying because she was having trouble getting going. But speaking calm words of encouragement and affirmation to her, she was able to gain control of her emotions and try again. And she did it! We rode down to a lighthouse and beach, probably a total of about 5 miles or so. She killed it! It was awesome to watch her persevere and overcome.

Probably the best thing we did (aside from the beach) was take a boat ride around the island on the Sanibel Thriller. We had to reschedule multiple times due to the rain, but finally on our last day, the sun was out and it was beautiful. I’m so glad we got to experience it. We saw some really cool pods of dolphins, so Emma was truly thrilled. They swam along with the boat and jumped in the wakes. They were amazing! You have to watch both the videos, so many jumping dolphins!

All in all it was wonderful and much needed trip! We hope to go back soon!

Have family photos coming up? Not sure what to wear?

For all the mom’s out there, try a long maxi dress that has some flow and movement with a belted or cinched waist. This is super flattering for almost every figure and makes you look like a million bucks! If you just can’t bear the thought of a maxi, look for midi or shorter options that STILL have some flowy movement and an emphasize waist. If you can’t bear the thought a “flowy” look, then opt for something that is very fitted to your body. What you DON’T want is something without any shape AND is stiff. Also, make sure any dress you choose fits well. Going too big (which I tend to do) won’t flatter you in pictures. Too tight and well, you’ll just be uncomfortable.

Dresses not what you wear all the time?

That’s ok! Your annual family pics should be a special occasion. Dress like they are and you’ll be so glad you did.

I’ll link some cute dresses below. Click the images to shop.

Don’t have a session booked yet? I’ve got mini sessions still available here (or message me about a full session):

This stunning dress is perfect and from Anthropologie.

This cute number is on cleanrance at Gap. Notice, still some flow and a nice waist.

Such as sweet dress from Hazel and Olive. Lovely shape and sleeves too!

Dottie Couture is one of my favorite little shops. A basic tank maxi is so versatile and easily dressed up with a statement necklace and / or jacket!

Rock a stunning designer dress from Rent the Runway!

Okay, okay…I haven’t convinced you to wear a dress yet…What about a skirt? This from Anthropologie is adorable!!! 

One of the things I committed to do this year was invest in my photography learning by taking a workshop. This past weekend I had the opportunity to work with a photographer I really admire in Indy. These are some of the images I took from the photo session at the end of the day. So much fun!
Have you booked your summer or fall family photos yet? Don’t wait! Have a question about dates? Let me know!

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