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Beth + Nicole | Northern Virginia Wedding Photographer

Monday, July 7, 2014

I was given the incredible honor of photographing Beth & Nicole's wedding! Not only are they beautiful, but they are truly wonderful and sweet people -- and the pleasure was all mine.

Everything about their wedding was FUN! From the instamax guest book, the dancing, the BBQ, the giant jenga, the whiffle ball games, the beach volleyball court, the ice cream truck, and the 150 really awesome guests, this wedding was truly the kind of party that everyone wants to be a part of! Take notes, people. This is how a wedding is done!
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Later in the evening, we walked across the Key Bridge to the DC border to make it legal and capture the sun setting over the Potomac.

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The Shepherd Family Session | Northern Virginia Family Photographer

Thursday, July 3, 2014

There is no more adorable family for me to break my blogging fast with!

The Shepherds are not only a gorgeous and well-coordinated crew, but they are also very dear friends of mine. And I love them. A LOT.

I can't even begin to tell you how sweet and wonderful these people are. Since words can't do them justice, hopefully, these images really show off how amazing they all are.
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2014 Summer in NOVA & DC Bucket List

Friday, June 20, 2014

Every summer, my boys and I make a bucket list of the activities we want to do when the days of summer seem too long or too filled with video games.

We've lived in the VA burbs for the last three years since moving here from Texas. Some things on this list are the typical tourist things we haven't done yet or the touristy things we love and want to do again and again. Some touristy things may be missing altogether because we've been there, done that. Some things are free and some things are pretty pricey. And then there are also items on my list that are just simple things to do around the neighborhood. Maybe you already know about all of these things to do, and maybe you don't! It's not a perfect list, but it's a fun list! And we cannot wait to cross things off!

I've included the links {in pink} to as many of the activities as I could as well as a few links to discount sites for reduced costs! Know of other fun things to do in the area that I've left out?!?! Please add in the comments below!

Feel free to follow me on Instagram HERE as I photograph all of our summer adventures! And now, get out there and ENJOY!

1. Order pizza delivery to the pool

My kids think this is the GREATEST treat! Why?? It's just pizza. But for some reason, pizza at the pool holds way more excitement than regular at-the-house pizza. So, this is always on the list every summer! Also, I don't have to cook so this might be a more than one-time occurrence!

2. Library Reading Program

Almost every local library has some sort of summer reading incentive program from either a list of books to read or a challenge of pages read! And if our library doesn't have something like this, you can always make one up for your kids and take them to the library as your own adventure.

3. Rolling Rewards Free Summer Bowling {Bowl America}

My big kid works hard for his good grades -- and earns free games of bowling for every A and B on his final report card!

4. Georgetown Pirate Ship & Baked and Wired Cupcakes

Take the kids down the Potomac on a Pirate Ship Cruise with giant water guns that departs from the docks in Georgetown. Certifikid deal HERE. After the cruise -- eat the BEST cupcakes in Georgetown. Yes, you heard me. The best cupcakes in Georgetown. I personally recommend the Smurfette.

5. Lion King {or any show} at the Kennedy Center

See the Broadway adaptation of The Lion King from June 17-August 17th without having to hop the train up to NYC!

6. Washington Monument

You can go to the top again! You can go to the top again!! Get tickets in advance for a small fee.

7. Visit the National Zoo or even better, the Snore n' Roar Sleepover at the Zoo

You can CAMP OUT AT THE NATIONAL ZOO!!! Seriously!? How awesome is that!?

8. Visit the Smithsonian Museums or even better, Smithsonian Sleepovers

You can SLEEPOVER IN THE SMITHSONIAN!!! Seriously!? How awesome is that!?

9. The Van Gogh and the Cassatt/Degas Exhibits at the National Gallery of Art

Maybe not everyone's kids will go for this but I loooove the National Gallery of Art. It's just so beautiful. I can usually bribe a decent level of interest with promises of a swing-by trip to Baked & Wired afterwards. ;) If your kids would not be able to handle a visit to an exhibit, but you'd still like to introduce them to the museum, see #10.

10. Stories in Art at the National Gallery of Art

11. White House and/or Capitol Tour

You need to contact your Congressman for tour tickets. Does anyone actually know who their congressman is off-hand? I don't. Luckily, google is always there for me. {Loudoun County is Frank Wolf and Fairfax/Alexandria/Arlington/Falls Church is Jim Moran}

12.  Paddle Boats in the Tidal Basin

We haven't done this yet! This is definitely one of the activities I may need to coerce my husband to come to as well because I do NOT want to paddle all by myself once this kids tire of it after 3 minutes.

13. Sunday Home Games at Nationals Park

After every Sunday home game, kids can run the bases! My kids absolutely go NUTS for this. And if you sign them up for the Jr. Nats Club, they get priority entrance for this which is a major time saver!

14. Minor League Fun with the Potomac Nationals

This is a Minor League team in Woodbridge. This may be more budget (and traffic) friendly!

15. Wolf Trap Concerts on the Lawn

We will be going as a family to the Pixar in Concert event on June 20th but there are lots of other wonderful events on their calendar as well - including one of my favorite children's' musician Dan Zanes on June 24th! I love that you can bring a meal and picnic during the concerts - great for picky eaters. Also, you can DEFINITELY plan a date night here.

16. Take a Cookology Class or Camp

17. Great Country Farms, Bluemont, VA

Pick your own fruits and vegetables, picnic under the trees and then spend the afternoon on the giant jumping pillow (my kids' very favorite thing ever) or petting the animals. Certifikid Deal HERE

18. Picnics at Gravelly Point

Watch as the planes from Reagan National Airport fly right over your head as they take off and land!

19. Alamo Kids Camp

Free movies for kids! AT THE ALAMO! Which is only my favorite movie thither of all time in the history of ever. And it's FREE! My kids love the never-ending popcorn bowl and the cookie milkshakes during their movies. And hit the spray park out front afterwards for some outdoor fun as well.

20. The Family Drive-In Theater

About an hour's drive west of the VA suburbs is an old-fashioned drive-in theater! I googled and googled for one last summer and somehow missed this gem! Certifikid deal HERE

21. Sunflower Picking in Haymarket

Burnside Farms in Haymarket is AWESOME for pick-your-own tulips in the spring -- but did you know the fields grow pick-your-own SUNFLOWERS in July!? Not only would the flowers be lovely on the kitchen table but think of the PICTURES you could take of your kids playing in fields of sunflowers!

22. Monkey Joe's 

Room full of bounce houses? My kids say "yes, please!" Certifikid Deal HERE

23. Rebounderz

Room full of trampolines? My kids say "yes, pretty pretty please!!"

24. Monthly Mini Build at the Lego Store in Tyson's Corner Mall 

Visit the Lego Store on the 1st Tuesday of every month for a free build (next up is July 1st). This is FREE and only lasts as long as supplies. It starts at 5pm but I've seen the line get looooong. So grab some snacks and the iPad and head there early to get in line!

25. Atlantis Waterpark in Centreville

Spend some time at a pool that is WAY cooler than the one in the neighborhood! Certifikid Deal HERE

26. Dulles Air & Space Museum

My kids love this museum. We've been a million times and they're still thrilled to go. They love to watch the planes take off and land from up in the tower (get up there right around a late lunch time and see the big planes from Europe landing!). We also love to run around on the highest tier of walkway. And I've also found that kids can be a bit more free here as there is lots of space here and is less crowded than the DC Smithsonians.

27. DAY TRIP - Monticello Family Friendly Tour

28. DAY TRIP - Carter's Mountain Peaches

29. DAY TRIP - Brunch at Miss Shirley's Cafe and the Baltimore Train Museum

We love, love, love the B&O Train Museum in Baltimore. A 20 minute ride on a train is included with your entrance fee and the children can walk on and touch absolutely everything. Don't forget to plan some time to eat at Miss Shirley's Cafe before or after your visit - grits, fried green tomatoes and the Maryland omelet!! YUM!

30. The Capitol Wheel at the National Harbor

How very 'London' of us here in the Dc Metro area!!! I'm so excited for this!

31. The Winery at Bull Run

I know, I know. This doesn't sound family friendly - but it IS!!! We love it here as it's the closest VA winery to our house -- AND, they separate a space for FAMILIES. So you can have your wine with your hubby and friends while your kids run wild with all the other kids and the young couples from the city don't glare at you for it! Also, bring a picnic!!

32. Barrel Oak Winery

Another family (and DOG!) friendly winery, a little further away - about 30-45 minutes west on 66 in Delaplane.