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I was so excited when I got the call to come meet Miss Bobbie Lynn. I haven’t seen her mama & sister for years, but I love keeping up with them online, and I just knew this new little girl would be just as lovely. Alyssa wanted the session to be less “posey sleepy baby”, and more like what it looks like when they’re all just hanging out at home. I can totally make that happen, especially with such a snuggly family, beautiful light, and a curious kitty!

Here are a few stand outs…

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Alyssa, your family is just so beautiful. I’m so happy you’re happy… and can’t wait to see you again in the spring!:)

Welcome to the third Road Trip recap post. This one wraps up the last week of our trip (a little longer than that). Mack might post something for tomorrow’s blog if he feels inspired, but if not, I’m pretty sure 3 blog posts worth of adventure photos will totally work. 😉

We left off yesterday after hiking at Mt. Baker near Bellingham, Washington. Before we left the state, we absolutely HAD to go up and take the kids to the border.

I mean, we weren’t going INTO Canada, but from Peace Arch State Park, they can technically be standing in Canada, so it’s close enough to make them officially international.

What we didn’t count on was getting confused by the lines in traffic, and instead of turning sharply to head to the park, we turned slightly and ended up in the border crossing line, unable to escape. So there we sat for 45 minutes, singing songs and telling the kids about Canada, until we got to the booth and explained that we really had no interested in going INTO Canada, we’re just stupid and trying to turn around.

Aside from the usual questions they ask to make sure we’re not carrying AK-47s and a stash of narcotics, it was no big deal. They actually opened some traffic barriers so we could sneak closer to the front of the line going back into the US, instead of waiting for another hour and a half.

The real funny part was the looks of disbelief on the US Customs agents when we explained why we were trying to get back in. “Do you have passports for the kids?” … “No, do we need them?” Not technically, but if we want to verify the identify of everyone in your party…” “Well, I didn’t actually want to go to Canada, and now I’m just trying to get back to AMERICA, where I live, which is 20 feet away, so if you’d kindly just get out of my way, this 5 year old really has to pee.”

And that’s the story of how our kids spent their first trip to another country.

Let’s move on to some photos now, taken after we got completely and legally back into the United States and needed to run off some stress before the drive to Montana.

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Have I mentioned that I love this little Polaroid? Sure, it’s not super sharp, but I’m not using it for something I’ll deliver to a client… I’m using it for nostalgia. I love having pictures of my little family on an American Road Trip that feels like the same photos my parents have from their childhood. These are going to be SO much fun in our big album.

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Our Bellingham hosts, Sean & Sara, highly recommended that we make our trip to Butte a little longer by avoiding the highway and driving up and through the Cascade Mountain Range. We thought, “Oh, ok, it’ll totally be worth two extra hours”. But that turned into 4.5 extra hours because I had to stop SO OFTEN to take photos. This water… these views. I’m thoroughly obsessed. This area of Washington is now my retirement plan, and I am quite literally putting it on our office dream board of places to shoot a wedding. GIMME.

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Jack heard stories about us drinking out of a rushing mountain stream in Taos this past June when we were hiking, as rain & snow had all the rivers swollen and state signage said it was safe to drink. He said that was his ONE goal from this trip… to be able to drink from a stream. We found this waterfall, and he decided it would do. I love these little weirdos.

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What good is a roadside gorge if you can’t pull over and chunk rocks down into it?

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Leaving Washington and heading into Idaho was completely surreal… honestly, we didn’t even get out of the car in Idaho, so I don’t feel like it’s fair to cross that state off my visiting list.

OH WAIT! No, we totally did stop to go to the bathroom. There. I’ve officially been to Idaho.

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We stayed that night in Butte, Montana, and it wasn’t a long drive to get to Yellowstone the next morning. The kids were so excited to set up camp and spend three solid days exploring our country’s first national park.

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Geysers and hot pools, you guys. Coolest thing EVER.

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On our way back to camp one night, we saw this river on the side of the road, and it looked “get-at-able”. So we went!

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We practice what we call “free range” parenting, in that we love our children and do our best to train and protect them, but we also let them make their own mistakes and go on their own adventures. I was watching Dorothy closely as she played on these rocks, making sure she didn’t get too deep… when a woman pulled her car over and SCREAMED from the road, “OMG! Watch your baby! That river will sweep her away and she’ll drown!!!”

Dorothy looked up at her, then at me with a questioning eyebrow, and I told the good-intentioned stranger, “Thanks! I got it.” She huffed and drove away.

And miracle of miracles, Dorothy managed to survive.

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This is another off-trail hike… actually, come to think of it, we didn’t do any ON TRAIL hiking in Yellowstone. We saw this waterfall from a lookout point, but weren’t satisfied with the view, so we drove back up the road to see if there were any places to leave the car. We found one, and we all scaled the side of the hill to get down to the river. It’s SO nice to be the only people in a magical spot like this!

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Before bed on our second night, we found a swimming hole. It was cold at the banks, but warm near the waterfall where it was being swirled by geyser runoff. The kids swam and swam and swam until I thought they would pass out from happy exhaustion.

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Our last day started with Bison… lots and lots of Bison.

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They’re so weird and loud and ornery… I could have watched them for hours.

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We took a guided fishing trip around the lake, but a cold front with a storm blew in just as our appointment got started. We caught A fish. One. And gave it to another boat that had three people and had only caught two. So whatever, no fresh fish over the campfire, but it was fun!

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The drive from Yellowstone to Denver took us through Grand Teton National Park, and now that’s on my bucket list, too. The more I see of the world, the more I NEED TO SEE of the world!

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The majority of the drive was just flat… but at least it was FAST. We did have to pull over a time or two for cattle driving across the highway…

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But the kids slept right through most of it.

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We got to Denver and were warmly greeted by the DuBois family. This is another online friend I’d never met in person, but Amy was such an absolute doll. We stayed in their basement apartment and got to do laundry and have drinks, and the kids had OTHER kids their ages to play with. It was such a perfect little stop.

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Our last stop of the trip was Hacienda del Sol, in Taos. We fell in love with this beautiful property when we shot Jess & Ashley’s wedding here in June, and we were STOKED that they asked us to come back anytime and trade photography of the B&B for a free stay. The kids loved every second of it, from delicious breakfasts and exploring the downtown shopping, to hiking up mountains and braving river crossings (with the help of our own Gandalf, of course).

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The last day was long… so long. Jack was tired of his sister, sister was tired of missing her bed, I was tired of watching my To Do list grow, and Mack’s butt was tired of the car. But we made it from Taos to home in great time, and settled in on our OWN couches for the first time in three weeks. Mack documented our mileage (shown here with starting mileage the day we left), and one last video diary from the kids.

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And just like that, it was over. A trip we’d been planning for a year, now it’s just a memory. I’m so glad we took so many pictures… not just because it’s fun to share them, but because I know that little stories, tiny moments… those will fade with time. I want to remember as much as possible, and help my kids remember it, too.

I also have to say thank you to you guys… our clients. If it weren’t for your support of McGowan Images, at least one of us would be having to work a “real job” to support our family, and a trip like this would never be possible. We’re not rolling around in dollars, and we live in a very old tiny house… but we can give our kids TIME like this in the summer, and that’s something we’ll never take for granted. Thank you for your patience while I was answering emails on the road, for your understanding while we’re getting caught up on editing, and for your constant encouragement that we take care of ourselves and these kids. I know that not everyone in our industry… even in our DFW market… is blessed to have clients that actually care about them like ours do. We really really really appreciate every single one of you.

And now… time to start Summer 2016. 😉

  • Adria - Gorgeous, gorgeous stuff and such wonderful memories for your family! I’m sad that this series of posts is over! Is it wrong that I’m not-so-secretly hoping you including me in the sure to be epic summer 2016 plans?

    Also, I once let my kiddo open the front door. I knew who it was (pizza delivery), and I was 5 feet away. The delivery dude yelled at me for allowing her to do that, and momma bear came OUT. You let me worry about parenting my own kid, thankyouverymuch. Proud of you for allowing your kids to make their own mistakes and for not letting that meddler meddle.

Welcome back!

We left off yesterday at the end of the Disney portion of our trip… I mean, it’s just a requirement if we’re in Southern California, we can’t help it! And yes… Mack and I totally have to go even if the kids aren’t with us.:)

The next morning, July 24th, we hit the road again and headed for San Francisco!

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Jack has, at one point or another, said every single city we saw was his favorite. But he really soaked up San Francisco.

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That is…. until he fell asleep on his salad plate at Mel’s Diner. 😉

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Having not gotten enough of the Golden Gate Bridge for the kiddos, we drove up into the hills so they could get a better view.

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When we left San Fran, we were still headed north, and the drive was GORGEOUS. We arrived at Humboldt Redwood State Park just in time to get our tent up before it got dark, but we were all excited for our first camping stop of the trip.

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We hiked a lot that next day, thoroughly exploring all the trails we could find anywhere near our campsite. The walk through the forest around the Founders’ Tree was our favorite.

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We told this story on Instagram but I can’t resist telling it again.

Dorothy saw graffiti inside the huge old trees. That kind of thing immediately gives me rage, because WHAT KIND OF PUNK DOES THAT? Ugh. Anyway. Rather than seeing it that way, Dorothy immediately assumed the best, and told us all they were messages from the fairies who protect the forest and have important meetings in these old trees. Near every single scrawled message she could see, she drew a heart in the sand. She said it was to let the fairies know that she had been there, and she’d help keep their secret.

She also told this tree, which had been badly burned but continued to grow, “I am SO proud of you for still growing after that fire. When I’m old, you’ll still be here, and you’ll be good as new.”

So yeah, I basically cried the entire time this magical girl was in the forest.

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Sometimes Jack is such a “tween”… even an early teenager. But other times he’s still just my boy, like when he uses ash to draw warrior designs on his face and pretends to be a forest Indian.

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That evening, we decided to try our luck at finding a swimming hole on Eel River. We knew there WAS one, but the map was unclear… and then a family we passed on the trail said they’d hiked “forever” and never found it, so they were giving up.

I’m glad we pressed forward! While they’re right, we never got to anything that looked like a sanctioned swimming hole, we did find a PERFECT spot to splash & play. Jack immediately started diving off boulders…

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… but it took a little longer to convince Dorothy to brave the cold.

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When she finally got in, I said, “See? It’s not that bad.” And she replied, “Whatever, I’m freezing to death, I just didn’t want to miss swimming!” Fair enough.

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We left the Redwoods early the next morning, because we really wanted to try to get to Portland in time to eat dinner at a restaurant I was excited about. I definitely didn’t help the situation by demanding to pull over so often for pictures, but COME ON!

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Just outside Portland, we made another unplanned stop… this time at the Enchanted Forest.

I have a vivid memory from just before my 4th birthday of visiting this little local theme park with my parents. I distinctly remembered standing in Hansel & Gretel’s witch’s mouth… and not much else. But I remember being thrilled to pieces and loving it. So when I realized we were going to drive right by this place, I just couldn’t help but stop!

I had no idea if it would be super lame, or super crowded, or what… but luckily, it was exactly like when I was a little girl. Which is to say, well, kind of lame. But so beautiful. It’s a homegrown thing, run by one family since the 60s. Because it’s not corporately influenced (and I guess because it’s so small), it’s the kind of place where you can just set your kids free to run around. Rickety stairs without handrails, ridiculously small scary dark stone tunnels to climb through… it feels like being a kid in the early 80s, before everything required helmets and safety waivers.

And thankfully, my kids totally loved it, too.

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I was so excited about dinner in Portland that night… we ate at Gruner, a German restaurant downtown, and it was seriously the best meal I had on the entire trip. I want to go back JUST to eat there again.

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On our way from Portland to Seattle, we made a few stops. At this one, there was a sign that claimed to have a great view of the bridge… but we hiked for a long time and never saw anything. Certainly longer than the mile it claimed.

But as we headed back to the car, Jack said, “I have an idea! I think if we go that direction off the trail, we’ll be able to see it.”

Dorothy had to go to the restroom, so Mack took her back up to the road while Jack and I did a little off-trail exploring. That meant both of us falling down a scree hill, scraping ourselves up terribly, and finding this amazing spot where we could really appreciate the design of this super cool bridge. Worth it.

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We also diverted off the interstate to go up to the crater viewing outpost at Mount St. Helens. To go from such lush forest to the desolation STILL left from 30 years ago by that eruption… it’s really jarring. As beautiful as it is, it’s still pretty crazy to think of the brute power of nature.

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Finally… Seattle! Spending a day at the market was one of the most important things to Mack about this trip, and it did NOT disappoint… we all had such a blast, and found so many goodies!

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We (spent way too much money and) got fresh sliced meats from an Italian Butcher, fresh bread from a bakery, and plum jam from a farm stand. We found a quiet shady place in Discovery Park where we could rest and watch the dogs play.

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Then… well, everyone but Jack fell asleep, and he read comic books & took sleeping pictures of us.:)

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Our next stop was just a couple hours up the road in Bellingham, Washington. There, I got to meet a gorgeous lady who I’ve been internet friends with for about 5 years, and her precious husband & his kids. They took such fantastic care of us, and we can’t wait to go see them again!

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In addition to her company, I was also super grateful that Sarah took us to Mt. Baker to hike, and actually WANTED to take some photos of us! She is a super talented photographer who recently immigrated from Australia, and I was thrilled to have some “better than selfie” photos of us in this gorgeous spot!

We hiked all the way to the summit of Tabletop Rock, and again, I was so proud of the kids. They are just SUCH great little adventurers.

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Jack obtained permission to go ahead of the group when the trail wasn’t too dangerous, so most of my photos from that day are like this…

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Can you find Jack in this one??

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I think that might have been my favorite day of the whole trip… hiking at Mt. Baker will remain one of my coolest adventure memories of all time, and I’m SO thankful that Sarah & Sean opened their house to my crazy crew and really introduced us to how gorgeous that area is. We DEFINITELY plan to come visit again.:)

There’s a little left of our trip… if you’re not tired of vacation pictures yet, come check out the blog tomorrow for the last installment!

  • Ann - Wow – some seriously gorgeous photos here!!

  • Ambo - Love love love. I seriously need to order some art from this entire trip..

  • Adria - You are officially in charge of planning and photographing all future vacations for me.

In case you didn’t know, we’ve been gone a lot lately.

Aside from work trips to both St Petersburg, Florida and Austin, we also spent three weeks in July & August traveling around the Western part of these great United States with our amazing kiddos. I’m making a slide show to show family, an old-school hard-copy album with slide in photos and hand-written notes as an heirloom… and of course, I’m going to blog.

Today, tomorrow, and Thursday, I’ll be posting a run-down of our trip. Of course there will be a ton of “big camera” photos, but we’ll also be sharing polaroids & cell phone snaps… and today, even a couple Disney Memory Maker photos.

It will NOT hurt our feelings if you’re not interested in these blog posts. If you’re just looking at our professional work to decide if you want to hire us… well, these photos aren’t exactly the kind of thing you’re searching for.

But if you want to get to know us, or you already DO know us and want to know more about this incredible trip… well, welcome to Personal Blog Post week here at McG. 😉

Our trip started bright & early on the morning of Saturday, August 18th… much earlier than Mack and I would have liked since we only got a FEW hours of sleep after our Friday the 17th wedding. Hence, our maybe-trying-too-hard smiley faces as we pulled out of the driveway…

McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_01Pretty soon, sleeping was the top priority. I mean, for everyone except Chauffeur Mom. That’s ok with me, though… I love a long drive!McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_02We tried to plan specific outings & stops for EACH of us on this trip… something that would make everyone feel individually important. Our first stop was picked just for Jack. It’s the El Rancho Hotel in Gallup, NM. So many old west stars used to stay there, and he loved getting to find a signed picture of John Wayne on the wall!McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_03Yes, Mack realized the window in our hotel room actually opened, and onto the roof! So of course he pushed the kids out and they got a great view of the city.McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_04McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_05Our first touristy stop was actually unplanned. We were on our way to the Grand Canyon, but we didn’t realize our route would take us right through the Petrified National Forest! Of course we pulled off the main highway and took the scenic route so we could explore… it was so gorgeous!McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_06McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_07McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_08McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_09McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_10McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_11McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_12McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_13McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_14McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_15McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_16McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_17McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_18McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_19Mack might be posting a blog toward the end of the week with a few of his favorite photos of the trip, and his thoughts… I mean, considering I talked him into it. 😉 But he took the photo below of me & the kids, and it’s now one of my new favorite photos of all time.McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_20McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_21We didn’t get to the Grand Canyon with enough time to seriously hike, but we WERE able to walk several miles around the rim. It’s the first time Dorothy has been that it wasn’t freezing cold, and the first time Mack & Jack have really been able to explore, so we had a really great evening. McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_22McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_23McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_24McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_25McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_26McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_27McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_28McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_29McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_30McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_31McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_32McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_33McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_34McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_35McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_36McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_37McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_38

We found good Mexican food that night in Flagstaff, and the kids didn’t care about ANYTHING except the rubber sharks that came in the drinks. Keep your eyes open later in this blog post, and you’ll see another shark appearance.McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_39

Monday, July 19th was actually a pretty chilly morning at the Grand Canyon. Seeing the clouds settle down under us was one of the most gorgeous things ever. Eventually, though… those clouds burned off and it got HOT in the desert, and we had a super sweaty hike.

McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_40McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_41McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_42McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_43McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_44McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_45We decided to hike the Kaibab Trail, which is about a mile down into the canyon… and then a mile back up. The mile down is kind of a piece of cake, but I was VERY impressed that both of our kids beasted through the downhill AND the uphill without needing help!McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_46McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_47McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_48McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_49McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_50McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_51McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_52McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_53McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_54McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_55McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_56McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_57McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_58McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_59

They were both VERY proud of themselves when they reached the top alive. 😉McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_60McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_61McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_62On Tuesday morning, we left Flagstaff and headed to Los Angeles. Everyone was pretty worn out from all the hiking, so the kiddos mostly slept… and I colored, of course.

McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_63We loved getting to see my sister Sam’s new house in Tustin, and she joined the kiddos in making that night’s section of their Road Trip Video Diary.McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_64But Wednesday morning? DISNEY DAY.

We got there at park opening, because of course we did. The handsome lad in the back is Sam’s boyfriend Brennon who joined us, and who is completely precious. We kind of adore him.
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Sam & Brennon both work at Disney, so neither of them feel like they HAVE to do anything when they go play in the park. So we were able to split off a few times and make sure each kid got to enjoy parts of the park separately and have some individual parent attention! Of course, Jack started with the Indiana Jones ride, which I wholeheartedly support because it’s amazing.McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_69Dorothy surprised us by actually being really into the roller coasters on this trip, and she happy-squealed all the way through Big Thunder Mountain!McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_70McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_71McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_72McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_73McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_74After lunch, we actually completely split up for a couple hours. Mack and I had a little miniature Disney Date while Jack & Dorothy were thoroughly spoiled by their Aunt Sam. I was so grateful for a little time with just my honey… and the kids were both pretty stoked to have a little time away from us, I’m sure!McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_75McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_76

We’re not the kind of people that outgrow Disneyland… even if she works there and sees it almost every day, watching the evening parade go by still brings Sam to tears, just like it does for me.

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Disney Day 2 was spent at the California Adventure Park. Because I didn’t go here until I was an adult, I don’t have the same emotional attachment to this part of Disneyland, but every time I go, I learn and love more about it. We had such an amazing day!

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After our photos WITH Chip & Dale, they decided there needed to be more photos of just them. I mean, they’re super handsome fellows, I don’t mind.McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_84McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_85

When Mack & Jack were doing some dude stuff, we girls staked out some of our favorite characters to meet. Dorothy was the first person in line to meet Mr Incredible, ElastiGirl, and Frozone, and they were AMAZING with her. They wanted to hear all about her family and her trip, and Mr. Incredible even wanted to see how fast she could run.

Here’s where I should go ahead and say… if you take your kids to Disney, don’t make the mistake of thinking they have to rush through character interactions. It is NOT just about a smiley picture and moving on. Encourage your kids to TALK. The characters love it, and it’ll make such a more poignant family memory. I have full conversations with every character I meet, even if the kids aren’t even in line with me!

McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_86McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_87Olaf was in a bit of a hidden spot, so we had TONS of time to visit with him. He challenged Dorothy to a jumping contest… which she, of course, won.McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_88McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_89McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_90

This will definitely be a family story for years… hey, remember that time we got to allllmost the end of the Radiator Springs Racers ride in CarsLand, and then it broke down? And how it broke down so competely that eventually they cleared the line and we got walked out of the ride? That was pretty awesome.McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_91Oh yeah… and then they played “Cruisin” when the neon lights lit up Route 66, and my sweetheart asked me to dance.McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_92McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_93McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_94At the end of the night, as always, we had our minds blown with Disney pyrotechnics. I don’t think the special World of Color show they’re doing for the 60th Disney Anniversary is as good as they one they had last year… but still, I cried my face off, and both of the kids were completely enthralled. The Disney story & legacy are so important to our family, and it’s definitely a part of us we’re proud of!

McGowanImages_McG2015RoadTrip_Blog1_95We slept SO hard that night… 18 miles the first Disney day, and 12 miles the second. But on Friday, July 24th, we got up early and headed north to our next destination. San Francisco is where we’ll start tomorrow’s blog! So if this one didn’t completely wear you out, we look forward to sharing more with you tomorrow.:)

  • Bobbileigh - First, I LOVE Jacks shirt on the second Disney day!! I am also glad to hear I am not the only one who is moved to tears by Disney fireworks. I meant to do Grand Canyon when I went to Vegas, but you know too much alcohol stopped that from happening, after these pics it is def back on my list!

  • Vicky - Thanks for sharing your adventures with us! I absolutely love the polaroid of you guys with Mickey!!

  • Adria - People who don’t love your personal blog posts are CRAZY! I love learning more about your sweet family and your adventures, and you can DEFINITELY still see some seriously stunning “big camera” photos! I kept finding more things I needed to comment on! Such beautiful color and perspective. The photo of the El Rancho with the reflection is perfection on a stick! And Jack looking out over the canyon – how handsome is he??? And Dorothy showing off her speed for Mr. Incredible, and the two of you dancing in Radiator Springs? GAH! I want your life!!

  • Ambo - I love love love these blog posts! I’m so glad you guys had a blast! Those family memories will last forever!

  • Taylor - Such a beautiful family! Love ALL of the pictures and love how you told the story through out of each day and what it was like at Disney!! Dorothy and Jack look like they are having the time of their lives!

  • Erica - I know this isn’t news to you, but your family is precious! I love seeing all the fun you have. I think your personal blogs are my favorite! 😀

    Also, Jack’s nerd mashup shirt is amazing! My favorite part of this blog is the picture of Dorothy overlooking the Grand Canyon. I nearly teared up.

    To conclude, you guys are wonderful!

  • Ann - Love this. You are making some fabulous family memories. That is so important. And I love the old-fashioned car trip!!!

Obviously, we shoot most of our engagement sessions with couples who’ve already booked their wedding photographer… us.:)That’s not ALWAYS the case, sometimes we shoot engagements for people who’ve hired someone else, or are getting married far away. All sorts of reasons. But when we get to shoot an engagement session for someone who hasn’t picked a wedding photographer yet, for whatever reason, I always treat it like a personal challenge. Like, “A-HA! Well, prepare to fall in love with me.” What can I say, I’m competitive!

We obviously put the same effort into all our sessions, but man… we don’t always get COMPLETELY lucky with gorgeous weather on an August evening. Presley & Elias were so sweet on each other, the light was completely delicious, and I was bummed this was just a mini session because I could have shot them for three hours.

In 20 minutes, we made some serious magic together, and I’ve got all my fingers & toes crossed that we’ll get to do it again in May. 😉

Check out a couple of my faves!

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I mean, just gaaaaaaah. MAN I have missed shooting couples in love during our summer break. MORE PLEASE!

  • Adria - GAH! How adorable are they??

  • Shauna - These are GORGEOUS. Thank you for capturing the moment, Chelsea! xoxoxo

  • Kelli G. - Gorgeous!! They are the cutest!