Here are a couple of our favorite moments from Mexico:
My favorite moment of the trip is sadly not documented with a single picture. Isn’t that the way it goes?? Steve was out on the Sea-doo with some of our kids, when they saw some dolphins. He came back to the shore and traded the kids for me and with me driving we went in search of the same dolphins. To our surprise, we found them and there were far more than Steve originally thought – there was a large school. We rode right into the middle of the school and rode along as they swam beside and underneath us. Each time they jumped out of the water, Steve strained to touch one of them. I’m pretty sure he was calculating how he could jump off the Sea-doo and ride one. We were in awe and knew some of the kids would love the moment as well – we went back to shore, grabbed kids and went back to find the dolphins. The second time was just as impactful as the first time. Magical is the best way to describe the feeling.
In my opinion – the weekend was full of favorite moments. And it’s clear from our kid’s responses, they felt the same way.
Steve’s favorite moment was also the dolphins. His second favorite moment is really a series of moments. Every night, on the balcony, watching the sun go down. It’s not enough to see a pretty 5 minute sunset – no, Steve enjoyed the 1 hour sunset, usually with a kid sitting on his lap having a thought provoking conversation with those around him. It was the best place to be.
Hallie’s favorite moment was out on the Sea-doo sandwiched between her parents – as we marveled at the dolphins together (you can tell that the dolphins had a big impact considering it was the top moment for three of us!). She couldn’t believe her eyes. She squealed each time another one jumped out next to us. When we told her it was time to ride back in so someone else could ride with the dolphins, she was not ready. We could’ve been there all day and she still wouldn’t have been ready. Her second favorite moment was walking the beach collecting treasures.
Hunter’s favorite moment was the ATV rides – a kid’s version with only one gear. He went out for the first time and was really reluctant. They rode just a few yards down the road before he slowed and eventually stopped. He was done. He wanted to go back home. We took that as he didn’t enjoy it. The next morning, he asked to go ride again. I was a little surprised. This time he went equally slow, but went much longer with Steve trailing behind him. He decided he like the ATVs and it became his highlight. Fishing in the ocean came in a close second.
Bennett’s favorite moment was getting his shark tooth necklace. As we walked through the market, he wanted everything his eyes landed on. If it had the Green Bay Packer symbol – he wanted it. Bracelet, ceramic plate, poncho. After he made “100% Sure” he wanted an item, he changed his mind. He was all over the place in his decision. Until he saw Hunter’s shark tooth necklace – then he really made his decision – he had to have a shark tooth necklace.
His second favorite moment was going to church on Sunday. Bennett and his two buddies are in a spanish program at school and they’re learning a lot and they were all so excited to go to Mexico so they could talk spanish. We went to church in a small building with a small congregation with tile floors. When they started speaking, Bennett leaned over to me and asked what language they were speaking! Oddly enough the meeting didn’t consist of words he had learned: numbers, letters, shapes and colors. And still – he said it was one of his favorite moments.
Cannon’s favorite moment was spending time with his little friend. He waited patiently for her to wake up in the morning. He ate breakfast alongside her. He played next to the pool as she swam for hours (he was not about to get in – his hatred for water runs deep!) They scared the seagulls together. They raided the kitchen for snacks at all hours of the day together. They were best buddies and her name still comes up in every prayer he gives!
We feel pretty lucky to have these families as friends and neighbors. 15 kids ages 11 and under can be a little hectic – but they’re the best of friends and it’s fun to watch them grow up together. And trips to the beach are hard to beat.
Last fall Steve and I went to the beach together for the very first time in our 13 years of marriage. After that trip, Steve was convinced the beach was the very best vacation and he was dying to take our kids – who had never been to the beach. When the opportunity came along to go to Mexico with two families that we’re good friends with – Steve didn’t even need to know any details, he was all in.
Mexico is a relatively short drive for us, and yet, it seemed like a world away. It was dark when we initially crossed the border which made me a tad uneasy – I like to see what I’m going into. I wanted the kids to see the difference between the two sides of the border, instead they got a taste the next day when they went into the market.
We stayed at a beach house in a quiet, secluded area. The whole time we were there, we only saw a handful of people on the beach. We had the place to ourselves and we made sure to capitalize on it. The high/low tides were drastic while we were there which gave the kids a large sandy playground to search for shells and treasures and it was really shallow for yards and yards. They were busy for hours out there. The water was chilly, but most of them braved it in the heat of the day.
The setup was ideal because while Briggs or any of the other babies were sleeping, we could sit on the balcony and watch the kids on the beach. They were running up the stairs to jump in the hot tub and rushing back down to dig holes in the sand. Everything was so close. As the tide rolled back in, the kids dug tunnels and trenches and mountains and slowly watch them wash away. And then we’d clean up the beach for the night walk up the stairs and prepare and eat dinner as the sunset. Day after day, it didn’t get old.
All that fun and that was just day one. More pictures to come. And favorite lists from all the kids…
48 weeks and he’s left the country! He slept, he ate, he cried, he crawled through the sand. That is living it up in the baby world. We were nervous to have him sleeping in our room since he hasn’t been sleeping well lately. Luckily, the closet was just large enough to fit a port-a-crib. It was dark, it was quiet and he slept like a champ the whole time we were there. And he’s cutting two upper teeth. Bring on the tacos!
Photography is a very personal journey and everyone tends to have their own style. I have always liked photographing eyes, because the eyes always tell a story. A story of happiness, or exhaustion or even worry. Some eyes are dark and others have an amazing ability to catch and reflect light. To me, there is something captivating and inviting about a close up photo of someone where you see their eyes. Because of this, I’m usually trying to get my subject to look at the camera. But as I continue to study it out, I’m realizing all that I’m missing out on by only photographing eyes. I’m missing some of the details.
An article I read suggested pushing the picture outside the frame of the camera and not showing the whole subject. I believe I’ve done this in the past, but I always make sure the head is in the picture. I’m working on turning that upside down. Sometimes it’s okay to not capture the eyes or the smile. (Although it took everything in me to not pull back and get the smile he was flashing across the yard at Bennett as he prepared to run the football at him!)
This picture shows the details of Hunter as he was playing one afternoon after school. The Puma shoes he wears that were passed down from a cousin. The graphic nike socks that he wears every single day since he got them in his stocking. His black watch that he got last year for Christmas and I’m still surprised he hasn’t lost it. And the football in his hand. I’m starting to wonder if I’d recognize him without him carrying a football. These details tell a story about Hunter, without showing all of him.
I think this way of photography works – obviously it might get old if you consistently don’t show any faces. But there is something about not having a face in the photo to automatically draw attention to. The details might always be there but they’re not always noticed when there’s a handsome face smiling back at you. It’s something to think about as you frame the shot.
We just returned from a 4 day trip to Mexico with friends. Best. Four. Days. Ever.
We’re exhausted. Sun kissed. Grateful. And craving more tacos. And now the reality of cleaning up buckets of sand out of our bags and car seems daunting. Luckily I have hundreds of pictures to comb through to remind me of the good times so I can put off the laundry just a little bit longer.
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