Christmas looked a lot different for my family this year. I am originally from Minnesota and have spent 31 Christmas's there, but since my mom died in August, a lot changed. I have a lot of friends and family still in Minnesota but my sister, who I am very close with, lives in Elizabeth, CO, outside Denver, with her family. My sister, who is pregnant and due in February, didn't want to fly 6 months pregnant, with two kids to Minnesota, which I get. Flying with one kid, let alone two and also being very pregnant sounds miserable.
So I had a choice to make.
I could still go to Minnesota and see family. I could stay with my stepdad, who is amazing, along with his kids. I could do the obligatory get together with my dad, who I don't see often and other gatherings that I would enjoy but would drain me. I could go to Minnesota and spend days running around, seeing people and going places, but then wake up Christmas morning without not only my mom but my sister too... Or I could go to Colorado and have a quiet Christmas, with very little obligations.
I chose the quiet option.
Well, as quiet as it gets in a house with a 3 and 1 year old, not to mention two dogs, one being a puppy. Sooo it wasn't really that quiet. But I got to spend lots of quality time with my niece and nephew, who I really don't get to see that much, since we live so far apart.
And I'm very grateful for our Christmas together. I'm not known for being a kid person but I had so much fun hanging with those two. Thank God Harper and Deacon are so cute! That really goes a long way with me.
Making Christmas cookies, watching movies, playing with toys and of course the amazing cirque de soleil Christmas eve show we went to. It was the chill Christmas that I needed.
I got to just take photos for fun and show Harper how to take them, which she loved to do. She even wanted to set her little pink camera down next to mine. It was so cute.
Being in Colorado did inspire me to want to do more work out there. It's such a beautiful landscape, even if you're not in the mountains. The golden fields really called to me. I had to take the pups, Phoebe and Albie, outside to take some photos of them in the yard. The light was so perfect.
While I was there, my sister (taking advantage of the fact that her sister is a photographer) wanted to do some maternity photos for the new baby. I was down, of course. She just wanted a few intimate ones in her bedroom, that were similar to the maternity photos she had done for her other two. The kids, of course, had to jump in for a few of them. Harper can be such a little ham.
But, I know how to take advantage of a situation too, and I told my sister I wanted to do some photos of her family- in the snow and in the mountains.
I was in Colorado... of course I needed to see some mountains. Also, one of my Christmas wishes was to have some snow. In Minnesota, we almost always have snow for the Holidays. But it had been unseasonably warm for December in Denver and it wasn't looking good. On Christmas eve, it did snow just a little but I wanted full white. So that was another benefit of heading into the mountains- they had snow.
Visiting the mountains when you're in Denver isn't as easy as people think. Its a bit of a drive and depending on when you go, lots of traffic. But they thought it was a fun idea too.
So we packed up the car, the kids and drove the 1.5 hour drive to Georgetown, CO.
I had a specific look that I wanted- a flat spot in a valley, surrounded by peaks (and everything covered in snow, obviously). Well, thanks to my brother in law for suggesting the Guanella pass byway, we were able to find the perfect spot...
Except for the fact that the wind was FREEZING. It was so cold, the poor kids were miserable. We were able to take a few shots at this spot but then had to change to a spot with more coverage from the wind.
So yes, it was freezing.
But yes, it was worth it.
Thankfully, it was a little less windy a short drive away. We stopped, had the whole place to ourselves and had a lot of fun. I always try to encourage action and movement into my sessions because I feel like it helps people become more present. They start to focus on the action they are doing, instead of worrying about having their picture taken.
Plus my brother in law hates having his picture taken so playing with the kids really helps him relax... and look less miserable.
Lastly, I wanted to take some photos within Georgetown itself, because of its charm. Such a quant little mountain town. We also explored some of the shops and ate at this eclectic little restaurant, 511 Rose. A wonderful day spent.
I plan to make more and more trips out to Colorado, to see my family but also to set up more sessions and build more of a clientele there. I'm lucky enough that my career allows me to travel to places if I want to and I absolutely want to explore more of Colorado.
This Christmas definitely looked different but sometimes change is necessary. I really thought of it as more of a vacation to relax and unplug than a traditional holiday. My goal was to be as present as possible and make the most out of my time in Colorado. I feel I accomplished both and I'm glad to have these images to remember it.