April 4, 2019

Artifact Motherhood | On togetherness

Welcome to Artifact MotherhoodThis is a collaboration of artists from around the world who have come together to share our stories of the joys and struggles in our journeys. Through our writings and photographs, we want to create memories that are more than photographs with dates written on the back. These are the artifacts we are leaving behind for our children and for generations to come.

The last two years have been an adjustment for me. One of you has been in school five days a week, and the other in preschool. I’ve loved seeing your growth socially and in education, but I truly miss you both. I love nothing more than a day with little to do except be with you. I know, totally corny right? You’ll get it someday.

This is why I was excited for spring break – a full nine days of just being together. It was our first official spring break we got to actually take a break from both jobs & school thanks to your dads new job. We planned to visit your grandparents in WA, which would requite a couple day road trip to break up the drive and also add a bit of adventure. We planned the route just a few days before leaving, adding that bit of spontaneous flare both your dad and I love and seem to plan our best trips with. While a plan is good in life, I find that having a strict itinerary can take the fun and spice out of an adventure. Live in the moment a little, my girls.

Day 1 we decided upon a hot spring in the desert the size of a swimming pool. I visited this area a year prior and fell in love, so I knew you two would as well. Despite a near blizzard the night we got there, you guys adored every minute of it (even if one of you had to wear a glove and keep it above water due to stitches just two days prior).

One of the reasons I suggested coming here was it’s vicinity to a lone mountain range in the middle of the southwestern OR desert, The Steens. We drove for an hour and came upon the range almost as if out of nowhere. You both oooh’d and ahhh’d, requesting ‘Lord of the Rings’ music on the trucks MP3 player as we all took in the beauty. I feel such pride when I see you girls stunned by nature as much as I am. I hope you always find peace in it like your dad and I do.

Last year on my solo visit here, I was unable to reach a hiking trail I had read about due to my tiny car, so this year I was excited to try it with you girls. The trail was skinnier and rougher (aka very few had been on it this year) than I had imagined, but it’s views were incredible. We called miss J our ‘powerhouse’ who despite being only 4 years old led the way – with a six pound chihuahua – and never stopped or even complained over the nearly five miles. We came across old mine shafts, caves, and crossed two creek crossings. My sweet oldest, you drew pictures of these sights in your journals afterwards, and on each page you ended it with “it was amazing.” It would be bitter wind one second, then sunny and warm the next. I love seeing the two of you push through physical endeavors, and find the reward in that with both views and the exhilarating rush of challenging your body.

After our hike you girls had a snack and requested to shoot your bow and arrows. We’ve been a Lord of the Rings kick lately, so you are both fairly convinced your a hybrid of elves (who can shoot bows like no other) and hobbits (who are tiny, hungry, kind creatures like you). I brought dresses – because what photographer wouldn’t 😉 – and you both happily agreed to change into them out of our sweaty hiking clothes. It was a magical little evening watching you both practice your archery, and your dad even got behind the camera and captured a few shots of the three of us. Thank you, sweet hubby!

That evening was spent at camp, soaking in a hot spring & having ice cream sandwiches around the fire (the tiny fridge at camp front desk had some, a lovely surprise!). I read the story of ‘Roverandom’ around the bonfire, a story of a dog who gets a spell cast on him to turn tiny by a cranky old Wizard, and all the adventures that arise thereafter. You guys love it. Never stop reading or imagining, you both thrive on the simple pleasures of other worlds made in books and our minds.

The next day was a longer travel day, about 7 hours. We drove through beautiful eastern OR country I had never seen before. The day wasn’t without a few backseat tantrums, but we’d stop when we all needed a little stretch break. One stop in particular we purposefully sprinted up and down hills with the pups to run off some energy, and I just had to capture the two of you having a blast running with the wind. The joy of just letting loose & feeling the wind through your hair never gets old, my loves.

An important part of these rare weeks together that I’ve mentioned before {remember here} is family. We unfortunately don’t live close to either mine or daddies family, so I want to instill in the two of you the importance of seeing them regardless of distance. You girls naturally thought nana’s house was the best and you had a blast playing checkup with grandpa and playing soccer in the back yard. It was also pretty special to show you daddies roots, the places and people he called home once.

Our final two days we split up so we can enjoy shorter drives & quality time outside together before going back to the grind. Your dad and I took out a map the night before leaving and found a little hidden gem about halfway home. When we arrived, you girls spent about an hour in the hammock together while we set up camp, simply giggling and swinging. I took you on a short hike before bed, and we could yell down to daddy who was fly fishing while imagining more Tolkien goodness.

Our final day before the drive home we packed up and spent the morning hiking deep into the canyon. Again, I was blown away by how far those little legs take you. We did indeed stop often for snacks, and have some glorious chocolate at our destination, which helped keep the spirits high. We saw mule deer in the hills, and my sweet youngest you muttered “this is the best day ever!” at one point. My oldest, you simply enjoyed having a dog salon at each stop (flowers in the hair, cute!), practicing your archery, or talking to little sis on the walkie talkies. We got in the truck that afternoon for the 4 hour drive home with sun kissed cheeks & full hearts.

These times away together always leave me so darn full, yet a little sad to get back to the reality of schedules and juggling life. But these getaways also remind me to slow down and enjoy each day, even and especially the busy ones. Living present in the moment need not only happen on vacation, but daily. Thanks to the two of you, and your amazing dad, for helping me remember that.

Please go to Carla Monge, the next artist in our Artifact Motherhood blog circle and continue through all the artists until you get back to me! To learn more about Artifact Motherhood, click here.



  • Abigail Fahey April 5, 2019

    Goodness, that’s the most amazing adventure. captured so beautifully too. The nighttime image of the campfire and the stars blew me away. What an incredible experience to give your girls, its stuff dreams are made of and they will remember for the rest of their lives. Just Awesome!

  • Diana April 5, 2019

    I’m always amazed at the distance you guys are willing to travel for your short or longer breaks. The scenery you come across and share simply blow my mind away, and I feel so connected and happy that you are sharing them with your girls. Beautiful images yet again xxx

  • Min Mohd April 5, 2019

    Really blown away by all the stunning images!! I love reading every single bit of your adventure with your family. Thank you for sharing April xx

  • Hollie Stokes April 5, 2019

    I beamed as I read the part about your girls asking to turn on The Lord of the Rings soundtrack. Could your road trip get anymore magical?. You inspire me to still infuse magic and wonder in my own children’s childhood. The places you took your family sure so remind me of the places I would visit in books. This is such a beautiful legacy to leave your girls. I told my husband this morning, it’s time to plan our next road trip. Beautifully documented, April you never fail to inspire.

  • Lauren April 5, 2019

    What a stunning collection of images! I love looking through this story from start to finish.

  • Ann Bloom April 5, 2019

    Oh how I loved reading this!! I felt I was on the adventure with you! That sounds like such an incredible time, it’s exactly the sort of thing that makes my heart full… Nothing better than being in nature with your loves. Gorgeous images, such beautiful storytelling… Loved them all!

  • Caro April 7, 2019

    Oh my goodness April ! This is a wonderful read, and an absolute delight to the eyes with your photography that is just stunning ! I smiled as I was reading and I could feel and hear the wind, and breathe in the space and the moments of your togetherness. A wonderful, wonderful trip in all sense of the word. Thank you for sharing !!

  • Carla April 10, 2019

    What a beautiful trip April and GORGEOUS images to treasure forever! Your girls will love looking back at these when they’re older! xx

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