1700 Miles

Our Spring Break Road Trip 2017

Harrison loooves Thomas the train so much. Owen was never really interested in Thomas and Harrison knows every character by name and can quote the show like crazy. Somehow we found out about Thomas Land, which is fairly new and outside of Boston. We had been talking about going for a while, and it’s closed in the winter so we just kind of forgot about it. Owen’s spring break was coming up, and we were trying to figure out if we were going to go to the beach or just hang out here. The idea of a quick trip to Boston came up, but then we chatted about a few other ideas, and Michael mapped the whole thing out. We had to change our trip dates last minute because of my work + and then an event we wanted to be back for, and Michael was amazing at adjusting the trip and figuring out how to work everything out. I can’t even fathom maps or directions, so I’m so blessed to be married to a living Map. His brain works in math and geometry and all that, and mine just shuts down. I am so thankful for Google Maps which just tells me what to do. I even use the walking directions when I park downtown and need to walk somewhere. SERIOUSLY. I know! When we first moved into our neighborhood, I was so completely lost + scared. I used the one entrance/exit I knew of and didn’t make any other turns. Michael had figured six or more different ways out of the neighborhood by the next day. (We have been here ten years and I now finally can figure my way out in all directions)

This trip was truly such a memory, and I can’t get over just how well the kids did. We covered 1700 miles in the car. We left after Michael got home from work on Thursday the 13th, and drove to Waldorf, Maryland. Since Good Friday was the next day, and we came home Tuesday night, he only had to miss two days of work, which was awesome. Friday morning, we left Waldorf and stopped in Annapolis. We ate breakfast at Chick and Ruth’s Delly, which was so yum. We definitely had to try the crabcakes + corned beef hash. We did have other breakfast foods like bacon and eggs, too. Michael found this spot, and it was such a neat building. They say The Pledge of Allegiance there everyday – 8:30 AM Monday – Friday and 9:30 AM on the weekends. From their website, “It was the site of the original Annapolis City Hotel, from 1788 to 1890. On this site George Washington lived for some time after he retired as Commander in chief.” One thing I loved about this trip was just so much history we got to see and learn about. After breakfast, we walked around Annapolis for a little bit, and then got back on the road.1 annapolis MD 0001P I N this to pinterest1 annapolis MD 0002P I N this to pinterest

Friday was a big day…We did Annapolis that morning, and then drove to NJ for Diggerland, which just opened for the season. We probably spent around 4 hours there and did not do everything at the park. I was really amazed at how they adapted all of the equipment for the kiddos. It was also perfect for both of our kid’s ages. There were some rides only for Harrison’s age and some only for Owen’s (see here for the height requirements) I was looking over their website on Thursday morning and saw the height requirements, and was like AHHH I gotta go measure Harrison. So naturally I went to the closest best spot I know to measure a child – Brusters. HA! Who doesn’t need a dirt sundae when packing for vacation anyway? So, whoever thought of this park is brilliant – what little boy doesn’t love riding in a Garbage truck aka the Greased Beast. It goes up in the air and shakes like it’s throwing the trash out…Owen loved it. I think the Ground Shuttle was my favorite. Owen looooved being about to drive the Backhoe – that was such a cool ride. The barrel train may have been Harrison’s favorite- because, trains, but he also loved driving the Dumper Truck with Michael. Owen and Michael both rode the Spin Dizzy which looked super fun. Michael LOVES all things rollercoasters, and it looks like Owen will be the same way. It was a great park, and it wasn’t too crazy busy as we thought it might be on Good Friday. When we left Diggerland, we stopped by Liberty Park in New Jersery and Owen got a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty, which was on his list of things he wanted to see in NY. Then, we drove 7 hours to Plimoth, outside of Boston, where we stayed for two nights.

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On our way to Plimoth, we stopped at a rest stop. Let me tell you about rest stops in the Northeast. We are missing out here in NC. It’s like a party…think a full food court at a mall. Here in NC, there’s a bathroom and you might get a drink machine. I think people were meeting up and hanging out at the rest stops up north. Have you ever driven 40 to Wilmington? We totally need one of these mega cool rest stops along the way. We got to Plimoth late that night and slept in.3 Thomas Land Edaville 0017P I N this to pinterest

Liberty Park

Saturday was our day for Thomas Land. Woooo hoooo. It wasn’t too far from our hotel, and Harrison was beyond excited. Thomas Land is part of an older bigger park called Edaville. When you get there, you walk through Edaville to get to the back section which is Thomas Land, and the also have Dino Land. You pay one admission and you get access to all three. Dino Land was not open yet (opens in May I think), but we spent 4 1/2 hours just on Thomas Land, so were worn out at that point and didn’t do any of the Edaville rides. You could spend a whole day there if you wanted to ride all the other rides. It looks like Christmas is big there because they have a little Scrooge village. Edaville had also just opened for the season, and the crowds were not bad at all. In fact, at one point, there was a Thomas Show and people were eating lunch and we got to just walk on a ton of rides, and the boys rode by themselves. They had a super cute show at Tidmouth Sheds where Gordon, Emily, Percy, and maybe someone else made a cranberry pie. Cranberries are big in Boston, and Harrison also got a Thomas Land Thomas that had a freight car filled with cranberries. Harrison loved being able to play on Percy – he had a wheel and levers, etc on the back, and it was a huge hit with the kids. The Flynn ride was super cute because Owen could put out the fire + Harrison got to drive. Just like Diggerland, Thomas Land was great for both of their ages – I was surprised at just how much Owen LOVED Thomas Land. Toby’s Tilting Tracks, The Troublesome Trucks Runaway Coaster, Rockin Bulstrode, and Cranky’s Crane Drop were Owen’s favorites, all perfect for his age. Harrison loved riding on Thomas, of course, and riding Winston’s skyline express was also a hit. Tidmouth Sheds was probably his favorite. He got to see the show twice while we were there, and he just loved the talking trains.

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After Thomas Land, we drove out to Cape Cod, and ended up at the Creamery in Hyannis. We had promised the boys ice cream at DiggerLand and so we were finally about to get them some. I had never been to Cape Cod – it’s just so beautiful, and loved seeing all the houses. We drove up to the water – so gorgeous! After eating ice cream (we kinda had dessert first) we asked around for the best spot for seafood and ended up at Baxter’s. They had just opened for the season, so it was quiet. (Plus we were eating early..people started arriving when we were leaving) Oh man, the shrimp was delicious. After dinner, we drove to Plymouth Rock and The National Monument to the Forefathers because I have an ancestor that came over on the Mayflower. Even my dad still has his souvenir from when he was little, and his parents brought him to show him his family history. Owen was all about Plymouth Rock and that was something he really wanted to do on our trip since he had learned so much about the Pilgrims and the Mayflower at school. When we got back to the hotel that night, Michael ran out to Walmart which was across the street for Easter baskets, ha! We had decided not to drag ours around in the car.

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The next morning, we got up and we had a plan for which church we were going to in Boston, which a friend had recommended. We got so turned around with all the tunnels + highways in Boston, that we were going to be just so late after parking. (That’s how confusing Boston is, if Michael makes a wrong turn..just way too many tunnels and turns. He has to love when I try to help him with the GPS…then we are definitely making a wrong turn) I had never heard of the Big Dig – wow. So we found parking in the North End, which was close to Old North Church, where the lantern was hung for Paul Revere. We were late but they still let us in to church. I have not been in many old churches, where a pew has a door and then benches, so you are kind of like in a little room. You can still see the pastor, but the kids had a lot of space to run around in there. Also, the door to our pew was broken, so the usher let us know we were stuck in there, and he would have to get us out. I didn’t feel claustrophobic at that point or anything. And there was a sign in the little pew room explaining who was buried under our pew.

After church, we went to our lunch reservation at Beneventos in Boston’s Little Italy. It was yum + I had their house speciality. The trolley tour was next which was really great, and we got to see a ton of the city. The photos of the buildings were taken from the trolley. (Read about the giant teakettle here) I really loved seeing all the history in Boston. We were signed up for a boat ride, too, but it was just HOT. The trolley was great + we got to see where the Boston Tea Party was, which was something Owen really wanted to see. We rode the trolley back to a stop near our car + then headed for NYC. We had no trouble driving into the city, parked next to our hotel, and were so beat, we fell asleep quickly…Because, the next morning we were waking up at 5AM.

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My husband is a trooper. You know he loves me when he will plan a trip where he drives 1700 miles, sleeps for only 5 hours and heads out at 6AM to Central Park to take photos of the boys. (I’ll share more of these soon. A huge thank you to Little Apple Styles for picking out the boys’ super cute clothes)The city was so quiet at 6 AM but I was shocked at how many people were in Central Park exercising. We took photos for around 15 minutes + then grabbed a taxi back to our hotel. The boys really did not know what to think being in the taxi and seeing all the traffic and tall buildings. Harrison, our lover of all things transportation, was just so quiet + soaking everything in. It is a rare moment for him not to be chatting about something. We changed the boys + checked out of the hotel so that we could hang out in New York. (yes, we were there for less than 24 hours!) The original plan was to stay in NY for two days, but then an event got planned for someone so so special to us that we couldn’t miss, so we headed back a day early. Breakfast started with Pik A Bagel, since bagels are so NY and we’d almost hit our 10,000 steps by breakfast. Times Square was kind of funny…When Harrison was four months old, I went on a trip to NY and took a picture with Spiderman and sent it to my mom. Owen has never forgotten that. (He was 3 1/2 but that’s just how his little brain works…he doesn’t forget ANYTHING! ha!) So one thing Owen wanted to do was go to Times Square and see who might be there. He saw Batman and really wanted a photo with Batman..Well, it was like 9 something in the morning, and Times Square was pretty quiet for Times Square..and all of a sudden, a swarm of “super heroes” or whatever you want to call Olaf, appeared for a photo with Owen. I was crying I was laughing so hard because we really only wanted Batman but no one would leave because of course, they all wanted to make money. Needless to say, to get out of there, Owen got a photo with all of them, and Michael spent all of his cash! ha! The boys really wanted to go to MnM world, and you know Owen wanted to go to the Lego store, which was fun for them to see Rockefeller Center. People were still ice skating even though we were in short sleeves.The boys got me a sweet present at Tiffany + Co, (really so much fun to go there!) and Michael, of course, wanted to stop in Niketown. For lunch, we waited about 35 minutes at Serendipity, so not bad at all, although I think you can make reservations. The boys loooooved the frozen hot chocolate! I’m not sure if he’s always there, but the owner was there signing books, so that’s what Mimi got from me. (Serendipity 3 was the location we went to + where the movie was filmed) We did walk around a ton and got to see so much + the boys loved it. Harrison did get tired at one point + requested Michael carry him, but the boys stayed in great spirits. When we were finally done and at a crazy amount of steps, I was like, let’s just take a taxi back! HA! A taxi is my BFF.

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We drove the two hours to Philly that night to meet up with some friends to eat dinner, which was just so much fun + then we headed two hours to Maryland where we spent the night. The next morning we fought through crazy DC traffic (at 10AM) and barely made it back to NC with 30 minutes to spare before our friends’ event. Needless to say, we crashed that night. And I can’t even believe my husband went to work the next day! I was exhausted and I didn’t even do the driving!

So thankful for this trip, the memories made, and my sweet husband that made it all happen!

A few IPHONE snaps from our trip….

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As Seen in People Magazine, The Bump + Several Blogs Including Lemonade + Lenses | Rebecca Keller

 

 

 

The Raleigh Session

Downtown Raleigh Engagement Photos

I am calling this The Raleigh Session because literally I drug Andre & Kristin all over Raleigh, well downtown Raleigh. In fact, I didn’t even drag them, I made them drive me, because I am so parallel parking challenged. I just simply couldn’t decide on my favorite spot and so I decided we should do them all. Kristin and I met at Pure Barre, and were even chatting about Andre the day of their first date. And now, woo hoo, they’re getting married in August! I seriously wanted to plan out the perfect downtown Raleigh engagement session because, how often do I photograph anyone without kids running around, and we were not going to have to worry about anyone running into the street, or having a meltdown. But I’m sure as we went to yet another spot, Andre was wondering when I was going to run out of places for us to go, and he could finally go eat. They were so patient with me when I had them run into traffic 500 times and stop at every interesting spot.These two are really just so sweet together and as awkward as it is getting in front of a camera, these two managed to have so much fun together + it shows in the images! So thank you to every possible fun spot in downtown Raleigh, we have Kristin + Andre’s engagement photos. Congrats you two!!!!

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As Seen in People Magazine + The Bump | Rebecca Keller | Raleigh Newborn + Family Photographer

Pretty In Pink

Downtown Raleigh Family Newborn Photography 

I first met big sister + her Mama at our Holiday Minis with Santa. I was so excited to find out that she was going to be a big sister! Oh, and her sister was just precious! Those cheeks, that little smile, LOVE! She was bright eyed and awake for the first part of our session and just so content for her sister to hold her. A fun thing about sessions at home – I was able to take some portraits of big sister in her room and in her playroom, so fun! This was such a sweet morning at home capturing these sweet sisters together.

According to Mom…

What was the first thing you thought when you saw your baby for the first time? She’s got so much hair! Then, how much she looked like her sister, Olivia!

What was your favorite part of our session together? Loved being in the comfort of our home and the pictures of us in our environment, particularly Olivia in her bedroom and in her playroom.

How did you prepare the baby for our photoshoot? Not much aside from outfit planning.

How was your experience having your newborn photographed? Were you nervous or worried before? How did it turn out? Was worried about baby and preschooler not cooperating but hey did great, and we got some great smiles. Would have liked to get some more shots with the hubby but we were limited with his time — maybe next time!!

What would be your advice to someone getting newborn photographs taken? Go with the flow

Did you have a sentimental item at our shoot? Not particularly sentimental, but we had that lamb that Olivia loved as a baby.

Do you have other children? How did they react to the baby? Olivia gushes over her sister and adores her. She is constantly asking to hold her or help change her diaper etc

How would you describe your perfect Saturday as a family? Wake up late, brunch, play

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As Seen in People Magazine + The Bump | Rebecca Keller | Raleigh Newborn Photographer

Star of the Show

Cary Apex Newborn Family Portraits

It took an hour but I made it to a newborn session I had this morning in the monsoon. Did anyone else use google maps? It was like, pretty much every road in Raleigh is closed or a nightmare, let’s go this way – way out of the way to your destination. I did see police officers out measuring water on the roads but only one wreck, thank goodness. Hoping that was the last of the rain and it is far gone from here!

This sweet family was a dream to photograph! These sweet girls were full of giggles + smiles and of course, lots of kisses for their new baby brother. And he was just as chill as can be and soaked in all the doting from his sisters. Ok, and now we have to talk about their puppy. We chatted about whether they wanted their puppy in the photos and it was kind of like, yeah that would be great, but if he doesn’t cooperate, that’s ok, which is mostly how it goes at newborn sessions, because a lot of times you’re just too tired to care about mostly everything. This puppy was chill like most of the family and rallied to be the star of the show. So many cute photos! I love when pets can be part of newborn sessions since they are part of the family, too!

And if you’re thinking about a newborn session for late summer/fall, we only have a few spots left! Looking forward to all the babies we get to meet soon!

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As Seen in People Magazine + The Bump | Raleigh Newborn and Maternity Photographer | Rebecca Keller

Another Session With Luna

Baby Portraits Raleigh, NC

As a new driver..I must have been sixteen or seventeen, I got in my car after school one day to drive like three miles down the street. As soon as I got on the road, the skies opened up and the craziest storm came through. It was just horrible. I felt almost like I was in the wizard of Oz and farm animals were going to start flying by soon. It was just that bad. I finally made it safely to my Dad’s store but the main road I had to cross in all of that mess was just scary because I couldn’t see a thing. Ok, so after that whole traumatic day, wind + storms has not been my BFF. Like, I cannot stand the wind storms. And we really barely get anything bad here. (I could not live anywhere with tornado sirens.) So of course, the news has me stressing today + trying not to watch the weather. The wind already has the creepy howl. ugh. Hoping we do not have to huddle in the bathroom tonight + these scary storms stay away. (If it is storming, you will always find me hiding in the bathroom)

So I have to tell you, this family has the sweetest puppy named Luna. She will just steal your heart. I know Garrett is going to love growing up with her + having their own “Henry and Mudge”adventures. (My boys lovvve reading Henry and Mudge, especially Harrison, who has started asking for his own big dog.) This Mama is so creative + crafty and their house is just decorated so amazing! Such a sweet family – loved photographing this sweet baby boy – cannot even believe he is one. I got such a kick out of his sweet little personality!

According to Mom…

What kind of feel were you thinking for your session? real, everyday, silly and fun!

Who are the members of your family and a quick fact about each one.

Luna- our English Lab, she’s 10 years old and the most laid back doggy there is, she’s always been an old soul.
Luke– Dada, Computer geek and outdoor enthusiast…a real Mr. fix-it both technologically and home improvement…ha ha ha!
Patti- Mommy, former elementary educator and antique enthusiast…LOVES a good DIY project!!!!\
Garrett– aka “G” for short, one year old, loves to tell stories with his hands (in baby talk) ha ha ha, also an outdoor enthusiast, and feels that sleep is overrated! ha!

What was the weather like the day of your session? March is always a gamble…ha ha ha… the week before our session we had snow…and our day was luckily 55 and sunny!!!! Thank GOODNESS!

What was the best part of your session? Trying to get Garrett‘s attention was REALLY hard…and trying to get him to smile while looking in the direction of the camera was EVEN harder, so Luke was throwing a soccer ball up and down over Beck’s head…which worked so well, that during our family shots we all had genuine smiles watching Becky trying not to knock herself on the head while throwing the ball up and down, and taking our photos!!!! Too funny!

Tell me about the outfits you wore to the shoot. Garrett wore a teal oxford from Carters that made his strawberry hair color and his blue eyes pop. His jeans wear Cat and Jack from Target. They are great for crawling active little ones. Garrett doesn’t walk by himself yet, but he was wearing baby Tom’s shoes, that are perfect for practicing!
Luke is a t- shirt and jeans kind of guy, so he wore a pail yellow and grey patterned banana republic polo shirt with jeans.
Patti wore a lace top from Anthropology, her favorite worn out jean jacket that she got from her bff years ago, and black jeans.
We wanted to keep our clothing real, casual, and easy, with a hint of Springtime.

What props did you bring and why? we brought a cream blanket for a family “pile on” shot
A crate- for Garrett to sit on or stand up with
A baby photo from our newborn session with Becky, to compare how much he’s grown (we’d like to do this every year!)
A few toys to try to get Garrett‘s attention.

What words of wisdom do you have for other families preparing for a session? Just roll with it…if you are having fun, and being yourself it will show through in the pictures…if you are stressed or trying to get your little one to do/be anyone other than who they are…the pictures won’t be as good. Just laugh and enjoy! They may not smile in every photo, but that’s ok!

What’s your favorite family weekend activities? Taking a walk with the family, letting Garrett show off new skills in his playroom, enjoying the outdoors (weather permitting) Garrett loves to swing!

Were you worried about any parts of the session beforehand? Only about the temp being too cold…we didn’t want to wear big coats or hats for our pictures:)

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Raleigh One Year Baby Photos | As Seen in People Magazine + The Bump | Maternity and Newborn Photographer