A couple weekends ago we got to head up to Rocky Mountain National Park with our friends Brian and Molly. I swear that place could never get old. I think it is literally one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
We have been there a bunch but not as much while it was still snowy. We got to drive around, walk out on to a frozen lake, see hundreds of elk (more than we have ever seen there! They were everywhere!) and ended the day with dinner at a really great lodge. It had been a little bit since we got up in to the mountains and this was a sweet little trip with some really sweet friends. Also it may look sunny in the pictures but it was SO COLD which made it more of a bummer that I forgot my jacket. Lucky for me my father in law had left a Chevy racing jacket in the car which conveniently didn't make it in to too many of the pictures :)
I am currently on a plane headed home to see my family. This trip has been planned for some time but the circumstances have slightly changed. This will be the first time visiting my family for Christmas that my grandma will not be in attendance. My grandma passed away last week. We knew it was coming but I’m not sure you can ever be completely ready. I got the phone call from my dad at 3:30 my time on Wednesday and immediately knew what had happened. She died peacefully and I am really thankful for that.
Its hard to know what to do after getting that kind of news. I’m the only one in my family who wasn’t able to be there in person so you feel a little bit of helplessness. When thinking of the best way to mourn her and celebrate her that day, Nathan and I decided to go to the prettiest place on earth I have ever been: Rocky Mountain National Park. I wrapped myself up in my grandma’s purple sweater that I found in her closet the last time I was home to visit her and went walking through the mountains on a beautiful snow covered trail. We didn’t run in to a single person that day and I got to soak in God’s beauty and talk with Nathan about some sweet memories with my grandma.
When I think of my grandma I think of her Joy. I remember infectious smile, her sweet laugh, her silliness…she was one of the warmest and kindest people I have ever known. Everyone knew her as grandma…my friends, people at places she frequented often, a random kid in the grocery store…seriously everyone. You could not come in to her home without her treating you like family and handing you goodies. She had the warmest hugs that felt like they could take away your problems. If you never got the chance to meet her I promise you, you would’ve loved her. It seems to be slightly more difficult to lose someone you love around holidays but with my grandma I think it is fitting because it is a time of year I already think of her a lot. She shined even brighter during Christmas. She brought all of the family together and made it fun and special and of course had the best cookies you could imagine.
We will all miss her so much but she is definitely not gone. I’m so thankful that I had such an amazing grandma help raise me and raise my mom to be so amazing. My grandma left a legacy here and I see it all the time, especially in my momma.
This shoot was absolutely wonderful in so many ways. It was a beautiful day with a beautiful sunset, we got to spend the evening in Rocky Mountain National Park which is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful places on earth, we saw no fewer than 4 moose (one of them was chasing ducks in the lake), and most importantly, we got to spend the evening with Tom and Marissa.
We briefly knew Tom and Marissa in Florida but they moved shortly after to open their Chiropractic office in North Carolina. When they decided to travel to Colorado for a conference they contacted us and asked us to photograph them as a way to capture their time spent in the Rocky Mountains.
Sometimes after nights like this we almost feel weird letting people pay us. We had so much fun hanging out with this beautiful couple, it honestly felt more like a double date than a job. Tom and Marissa are so encouraging, so driven, so fun, and so in love. We love you guys and hope to see you again soon.
This has been such a crazy year for us. So many changes have occurred. It has been good but also pretty stressful. I have to admit that it was starting to really get to me. Courtney knows how refreshing and refueling simply getting away is for me, and I think she could tell that I needed a break, even just a little one. So for my birthday this year she bought me a one night getaway with her, in a little hut/cabin, in the mountains. I could't have asked for a better gift. It was exactly what I needed. She also bought me a Topo Designs camp hat that I have wanted for awhile. I was a happy camper.
Saturday night we checked in to our little place. It was this awesome little cottage that Courtney booked on AirBNB. It was romantic and so fun. It even had a private outdoor hot tub. After dinner at a little bar and grill in town we spent the rest of the evening relaxing and enjoying our little place.
Sunday we decided we were up for a challenge so we hiked to a place called Chasm lake at the base of Longs Peak. It was beautiful and amazing and the hardest hike I have ever done. One of our goals is to climb Longs but we have a lot of training to do before that. The scenery was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I kept having to remind myself that it was real. It was amazing.
I could't have asked for a better birthday. Thanks for making it special.