First Christmas in Our New Home | Virginia Lifestyle Photographer

I love Christmas traditions. 

Ever since we had Ava I have worked hard to create special holiday traditions and memories.  We moved this past fall and because of the distance we had to change some of our usual traditions.  This was bittersweet of course. 

We had our trusty elves to bring fun and cheer to our home all the days of December leading up to Christmas.  Ava was worried at first that they may not find our home but I assured her they would have been properly notified by the North Pole address book system ;) 

When Ava was three I created an advent calendar full of activities.  I was a bit sad that some of our usual activities had to change.  We use to go every year to a restaurant on the eastern shore and then go to the lights at Sandy Point.  I did miss our trip to the restaurant but we found a new, much more awesome light show not far from our house. 

With a December wedding I also had to plan more in home activities and easy things to do to keep stress down.  Some of our activities included baking cookies, making ginger bread houses from scratch, see a light show, snowman bowling, make ornaments, a candy cane hunt, cut down a tree, etc.  The idea is to spend as much time as possible together doing festive things.  The kids absolutely love it.  I'll be honest it does take a good deal of planning and determination to pull off.  I try to mix in a few days of simple activities like hot chocolate and watching the polar express because some nights I really just need easy.  Some activities are practical, like cutting down our tree.  It's something we would have to do anyways. 

Here are my two cuties posing at the tree farm...

and here is a little collection of our instagram photos of our year when I'm not so worried about dress fittings, and the last minute details of a wedding I hope to really document our advent fun properly

I truly hope my kids look back on this time and think about how magical and fun it all was.  To me there is only one thing better than that feeling you got as a kid at Christmas time and that's getting to watch your own children experience the magic.  Don't you just LOVE Christmas time!!!

Here are my babies before heading to bed Christmas Eve...this holiday season went so fast.  A little part of me is already anticipating the fun of next year.

A Snowy Christmas Session | Fredericksburg Virginia Photographer

One day while down in my Nan's basement I came across the old sled we use to use.  I knew right away that I wanted to some how incorporate it in my kids Christmas session.  I brought it home and it sat sadly on my front porch awaiting it's moment.

December came and I STILL hadn't been able to do their session.  The rain, oh the rain, it just wouldn't stop.  Then my kids got sick and then, as luck would have it, we got MORE rain.  I was in the midst of preparing for my upcoming wedding and hadn't even thought to get the kids Christmas outfits. It was seeming as if this session was NEVER going to happen.  If it didn't, what in the world would I put on our Christmas card.  Being a photographer I wasn't quite sure I could get away with using last years pictures :/

So one day after picking Ava up for school I noticed our yard wasn't a pond and the sun was actually peaking out as it lowered below the clouds to set.  I begged, pleaded, and bribed my kids to let me please, please, pretty please take their pictures.  Armed with two bags of fake snow and the promise of hot chocolate with whipped cream they agreed to slip into their Christmas outfits from the year before and play along.

Ava's dress luckily fit like a dream, although I hadn't considered that she had long since outgrew the shoes.  So she put on the dress, her coat, and her boots...which really were pretty cute with it.  Poor Hayden has done a lot of growing and his shirt and pants were a bit small.  He still looked as cute as a button to me though :)  I had to let him wear his gray oxfords I had bought for the wedding and I prayed he didn't destroy them.

It was a bit windy and cold but they did AWESOME!!!  I got our Christmas card photo!!!  It was like a dream.

Monasmith Family x 3 | Maryland & Virginia Lifestyle Newborn Photographer

I absolutely love Lifestyle Newborn Sessions.  The emotion and bond that shows through is just amazing.  I love catching all the little moments of the family just taking in the new addition.

Thanksgiving weekend we drove up to PA to meet the newest addition to our family.  Our beautiful niece Reagan.  We got to visit and I was able to work in a session.  I am so excited to watch this little lady grow. 

2014 Christmas Mini's {Pet Addition} | King George Va Photographer

I had a block in my schedule that I didn't fill so I filled in with my siblings pets.  I do the Christmas Mini's at my Mom's and she was dog sitting my brothers chocolate lab.  I also snagged my Sister's cat Darwin and put him in his little costume, which as you can tell he loves :)

I think next year I should offer a day for the furbabies!!!

Christmas Mini's 2014 | Maryland and Virginia Child Photographer

Here is a sneak peak of the Christmas Minis from this year.  I decided to offer these at the last minute.  Next year I really want to offer them outside so I may have to hold them in October before the weather turns. 

Thanks to all the kiddos who came out to play. 

A Christmas Family Mini Session | Charles County Photographer

It is always so fun to get to work with another photographer.  Rikki is a fellow Maryland photographer.  She contacted me in the fall about doing a mini session before the holidays.  The weather had made scheduling in November not so fun.  With a little bit of last minute scheduling we were able to make this happen. 

We met in Indian Head at one of my absolute favorite locations.  It's vast, which requires quite a bit of walking, but it offers so many options for beautiful scenic backdrops. 

Petrides Family | Charles County Lifestyle Family Photographer

I can't believe how fast time flies.  It seems like just yesterday I was taking Coralee's newborn photos.  She wasn't quite feeling the camera at first but that's what's great about lifestyle photography.  I simply backed off and followed her.  I'm so happy with the great little moments I was able to capture between her and her parents. 

 I just love Daddy & Daughter photos don't you?!?!

 Oh that little look just get's me...
 Blowing kisses...

 Hands favorite shot of the day

 and there is that little look again...doesn't it just get you

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