Tag Archives: beach

My “Real” Family Pictures

9 Oct

Family photos…the perfect example of a love/ hate relationship.  As any parent knows, the preparation of finding the perfect outfits and trying to get those perfect smiles is a daunting task.  I will admit that I spent years and many frustrating hours always trying to get that “perfect” family photo.  You know the picture I’m talking about.  The one with the perfect kids, flawless smiles, and perfectly patient parents.  Everyone looks so happy and like they are enjoying every second of that wonderfully joyous time in front of the camera.  I mean really?  We all know “that” family doesn’t really exist.  In my experiences, this quest of trying to obtain the perfect and amazing family image, turned me into a 1st class Mom-zilla.  I don’t need to disclose anymore.  Bottom line it was stressful, ugly, and painful.  But hey, I lived by the rule that as long as we get that one perfect photo (even with hours of photo shop) the mission was accomplished.

When looking back at my photo memories of my “perfect” family photo days, all I can think about was what a liar I was.  Really, we looked perfect, but all I could remember was what a nightmare it was to get that one perfect picture.  Oh, the hours of preparation, the tears, and  the tantrums.  Did I mention the hours of photoshop?  Really, WTH?  Anyone who had ever met my kids knew the truth anyway…

So, I decided at that moment that I was done with the perfect family shenanigan and it was time to show the world what we are really about…wild & crazy chaos.  I decided that if I was going to take the time and spend the money on a professional photographer, it needed to be about capturing the real life of my “real” family.  We are not perfect (actually not even close).  Each of my kids have different personalities and unique expressions.  I wanted that to be captured, not some perfect family that doesn’t exist.  I wanted fun and crazy, and it had to reflect who we are and what we are really about.  Since my happy place is being on vacation, I decided that a great time to attempt this new revelation, was while vacationing in Southern California.  My boys grabbed their favorite board shorts of the season, my daughter and I grabbed our favorite sundresses, and my Hubby & I had a glass of wine to start the adventure.  We were relaxed, had minimal bickering between the kids, and were ready to have some fun.  We met up with Eva from Eva Lempert Photography and just asked her to snap away.  We let the kids help pick the poses (including awkward family photo style) and had an absolute blast.  The best part was that we had some great memories, fabulous photos, and I can honestly look back and see who my kids really were in Summer 2012!   Love them!

To check out more of our wild and crazy photo shoot check out Eva Lempert’s blog!

Disclaimer:  Any photos that even slightly resemble that perfect family… we were most likely bribing our children, allowing them to use potty language, they were teasing each other, or we just got lucky.

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

23 Jun

Family vacations for my crew are all about serious adventure, exhausting the kids, and having some new experiences along the way.  I strive every day of vacation to play hard and exhaust my kids physically and mentally.  I aim to stimulate their minds to total exhaustion.  At the end of the day, I hope that they are so tired and overstimulated that they forget to bicker and are forced into a sleep trance by 9 p.m. (which leaves me about 2 hours of quiet adult time to relax).  Flashing back to last summer, we took an adventure to Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.  Hands down, this is the most beautiful place I’ve been so far, absolutely breathtaking.  Really this place had it all…plenty to explore, beautiful beaches, amazing people, and tons of adventure.

Manuel Antonio is one of the most popular National Parks in Costa Rica and thought by many to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.  It sits on the Pacific Ocean, and it is where the jungle meets the sea.  The monkeys and lizards roam freely on the beach, giving an amazing show and entertaining travelers several times a day.  The beaches are great for surfing,  horseback riding was amazing, and the dining was fantastic.  While the kids would vote the playtime on the beach was the highlight, I think I vote the zip lining as my highlight.  I have to admit that seeing my middle schooler (that knows everything) a little frightened was a bit entertaining.  If you’re reading this Son, stop now.  You might not like the next picture.  Overall for family adventures, Manuel Antonio has it all.

The lodging options are endless in the Manuel Antonio area.  There are rustic hostels to elaborate villas.  Since I was traveling family style and watching a budget is always a concern, I found our dream vacation spot right in the middle. After many hours of research and planning, I decided on a private home in the Tulemar Gardens gated community.  Best decision ever.  The waves on their private beach were perfect and the kids loved the boogie boards and sand toys.  There were cocktails served on the sand and the monkeys were always around to entertain you during the day.  The kids were happy (and exhausted at the end of the day) and I was relaxed.

After a full day of fun in the sun, we settled in to our comfortable home to enjoy a dinner on the patio while watching the sun set.  Casa Panorama was truly a perfect spot for a family or group of friends. Whether we were preparing a great meal in the gourmet kitchen or sitting in the hot tub, this was the perfect home away from home.

So, families looking for a big adventure to exhaust your own little monkeys, Manuel Antonio has it all.  There was always somewhere to explore, waves to ride, and monkeys to watch.

WARNING:  I am not a professional videographer.  Actually, I’m a pretty crappy amateur videographer.   So, if you are prone to motion sickness, watch this at your own risk.  At least it will give you a visual of my monkeys being entertained by some real monkeys and amazing scenery of the jungle meeting the sea.

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