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Day Trip to Max Patch

*more photos below*

You know how sometimes you're thrown a curveball and it stresses you out and you're disappointed, and then things end up working out even better than you could've hoped? Well that's what happened the day we were scheduled to take family photos with Catrina Earls (who is our favorite family photographer but more on her in a minute). For over a month we'd planned to take our pictures at Craggy Gardens and then the morning of the shoot we had to rearrange our plans because Craggy wasn't open and/or there were some road closures that would make getting there a serious pain in the rear. So Catrina suggested we go to Max Patch and I am SO seriously happy we changed our plans because these photos are everything I could've dreamed for and more.

The drive to Max Patch is an adventure in and of itself. We didn't understand why it would take 90 minutes to drive 38 miles...but then we started up the windy mountain roads and quickly figured it out. The drive and scenery were something out of a storybook or movie! There we were dressed for spring and admiring all the buds and blossoms and bam we'd turn a corner and there would be feet of snow just glistening in the sun! Then when we thought we were in the most remote, isolated part of western NC imaginable we'd come around a bend and see big, beautiful homes and ranches....we even saw horses galloping through a mountain meadow!!! I am NOT kidding, it was so magical and almost surreal...We also saw many a dilapidated barn and a Corvette on cinder blocks but's all part of it!

Right about the time you're like 'yep, we're lost in the middle of nowhere with no cell service' you finally arrive and quickly realize why it's worth the nerve wracking drive. It is a 360 degree view of uninterrupted rolling mountains, with grassy meadows lining the hillside. It's a steep climb up but it's over quick and sooooo totally worth it. Mike strapped Harlow on in the Ergobaby and I toted up our supplies which included clothing, snacks, and a bottle of wine LOL!

And we just sank into the moment, all of us speechless over how amazing the view was. I told Catrina I wanted natural photos of us as we "are," nothing posed or anything that required saying cheese. Her photos just blow me away! They are every bit as dreamy and romantic as I wanted our mountain photo shoot to be, and then some! I mean, running barefoot through a grassy mountain meadow is pretty idyllic, right? Harlow loved exploring, "chatting" with Catrina about her camera, and playing with the doggies of the over hikers. Plus she had her Glammy with her so she was extra extra happy :D

Mike and I wanted to get some photos of just us while we had the chance. (I even packed a shirt and beanie for him to wear because A) I love him in that outfit, and B) I love my husband in a knit hat or backwards baseball cap -- always have!) With what I do for a living, I'm always seeing other couple's engagement or wedding photos and I think to myself 'gosh I wish we had done something like that!' And then I realized just because we're not walking down the aisle doesn't we can't take romantic photos, right?! We always focus so much on Harlow and getting as many pictures of her as we can that it's so easy to forget to include us. Moms and dads need love, too! I LOVE when I find sweet photos of my mom and dad together in the early days of their relationship, and maybe one day Harlow will enjoy looking back on these, too. In the here and now, I love these photos with all my heart because they take me back to that amazing day spent with my family, and they show how truly happy we are together.

I swear, Catrina is the Harlow whisperer. Even during our newborn shoot, she could get our temperamental five-day-old to do whatever she asked (which was basically curl up, smile, and wear this cute tutu and tiara!). I always feel so confident in our shoots with Catrina because I don't have to worry about getting Harlow dialed in, or if we'll get any good pictures because Harlow is all over the place and we're stressed out.

Sometimes I have a hard time letting go and enjoying the process rather than focusing on the end result. I get so mired down trying to remember to pack everything for all three of us and to stay on schedule for Harlow that I often lose sight of what I'm doing it all for in the first place. I felt myself going down that road when Craggy didn't work out but I trust Catrina and knew that wherever we took the photos they'd be magical and wonderful and they are! It's really amazing what all these photos represent to me: family, love, happiness, togetherness, trust, and being present. And above all God's blessings in our lives and in the beauty He surrounds us with here in the Blue Ridge.

Feeling very lucky...thanks for sharing in my happy moment with me! Hope you have a magical, wonderful week!


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