Meet The Matlocks

I rang the doorbell and waited.  A sweet little face beaming with excitement greeted me.  “She loves having guests!” Meagan said.  Before I could even get my camera out of the bag she was pulling me around room to room, showing me everything!  First was her Christmas tree.  She pointed to her favorite ornaments, showed me her stocking, and nativity scene.  Matlock8

After a quick tour of the inside, we ran to the back yard where Haven very proudly showed me her club house.  Here, inside the club house, dinner was served to mom and dad.  She took their order and was quick to say “dad we don’t have that here!” when he ordered a hotdog.  I saw Havens imagination come alive as she shouted “Monsters are coming!” She sprung into action and mom followed as they took care of them before they could get to the playhouse!  As she closed up “Havies House” and grabbed her umbrella and made a very Mary Poppins like exit, off to the next adventure!

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She quickly ran to the backyard roller coaster.  You can tell that everyone loves this one!  The laughs and giggles as Haven comes down the coaster are contagious!  Mom and dad are smiling big watching their girl have so much fun.  When Haven insists that Meagan take a turn, there is no hesitation.  Matlock10

After we had done all there was to do in the backyard, dad suggests a trip to the duck pond!  “Can we take the golf cart?” Haven asks.  Ty explains they have a golf cart that they spend a lot of time cruising the neighborhood in.  After seeing how much fun they have riding around in that thing, I can see why!

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Once we arrive at the duck pond, Haven can’t wait to throw her duck friends bread.  She is a pro and if I had to guess, I would say she would spend all day at the pond if she could.  When the bread ran out we took the short drive back to the house for some more play time.

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The playroom is packed full of Havens favorite things.  Dolls, stuffed animals, a kitchen set, but what she was most excited to play with- Shopkins!  Her collection was impressive, but watching her play and enjoy her time in the play room was what really stood out.

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I saw Haven’s imagination come alive as she played.  Bob, her imaginary friend came to play too.  She was telling her mom and dad all about Bob  and I loved watching all the expressions as she gave so many details.

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I learned that baking cookies is one of the families favorite things to do together.  Haven is involved in every step of the process.  She helps pour, stir, crack eggs, and I even saw that giving lots of kisses was a secret ingredient that makes their cookies even more special!

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Ty & Meagan both run very successful businesses and are both passionate about their work, but spending a day with them at home, makes it really easy to see how important family is.  They have a beautiful home, full of love in every room.  They want to make the most of every moment they get together which makes those moments so special!

 

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Dear Harvey,

Dear Harvey,

18 months ago you were born.  The months leading up to that day had been filled with uncertainty because we knew you would be born with a cleft lip.  We were told all of the possibilities and knew that we would have to wait until the day you were born to know the extent of this thing that they call a defect.  We don’t see your cleft as a defect though, but instead we see it as an opportunity for you to one day, tell the world what you overcame.  When picking your name, I looked up the meaning before settling on it.  It means “ready for battle” and we know you came into this world ready to be fighter!

We love your curious personality and love for an adventure.  You keep us on our toes with your “go, go, go” speed. If mommy had to pick her top 3 things right now, it would be your snuggles, kisses, & your giggles! You put a smile on all of our faces and you are so adored!  Your big sisters & brother are your biggest fans and I know they always will be!

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I realize when you look back at your pictures, you may wonder why you are always in pajamas.  Well, as a homeschooling family, we end up staying in our PJ’s until lunch…. a lot!  You don’t say a lot of things that we understand but one of our favorites is “where’d it go?”  When someone leaves the room or plays hide-n-seek, you will put your little hands out and ask “where’d it go?”

Harvey8You love to play with firetrucks, of course- just like daddy (and grandpa & uncle!). When you wake up you have to bring your night-night with you.  You are very attached! Getting tickles from mommy is routine because those giggles are contagious!  (photo on the right- credit to big sister Jade!)

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Often times, you have a shadow, following you around and making sure you do exactly what the shadow thinks you should do.  You two jump together, play together, and then at times, you decides that the shadow has made you mad! I try to explain that big sisters are a treasure and she will always have your back, but even though there will be times you don’t love that overbearing shadow, you have to remember how much she loves you!

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Exploring outside is one of your favorite things to do!  You love to dig in the dirt, find rocks, sticks, ride the tractor or even just ride in daddy’s truck.

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I love watching you play and seeing your imagination come alive!  You are very observant and learn quickly how to do things.

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DSC_5028bwThe front porch is where we spend most of our mornings.  You love to blow bubbles, swing, attempt to ride the tricycle, and of course, climb everything you can.  You always have a few bumps and bruises to show how brave but uncoordinated you are!

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Sweet boy, I love to watch grow and learn, but pray you will always be my little boy!

Love,

Mommy

A Sunday with the Marrones

As you drive up the rocky dirt driveway, you already feel welcomed.  The quant rock house that was built around 1935 almost seems to smile when you see it.  Arriving at Essie Lane Farm, named after the original owners, is arriving at a new pace.  One that is set to a different tune then the hurry and rush we are all use to.  Walking in the house you are greeted by smiles and walls that silently speak years of stories.  The original hardwood floors gloriously show the love that pours out in this home.

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Sunday mornings are spent at church for the Marrones.  This particular Sunday, they left early to lead Sunday school and worship so the chores were happening later then normal.  Everyone does their part to keep up with the 120 acre property.  The first stop is to the chicken coop where several of the kids work to gather eggs.

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All of the animals get excited to see them coming and everyone wants a little lovin’!

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Up next, they head up the lane to check on the sheep.  There is one new baby that everyone is excited to see.  The joy of new life instantly puts smiles on everyones faces.

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Laughter fills the air as the family walks towards the next task.  They start going in different directions as Joey & Stacy move into the vineyard and the kids head back down the road to prepare to move cows.

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Entering the vineyard you see how passionate Joey has become about his grapes.  He takes pride in what he has grown.  He examines the grapes and begins to explain the way they taste different during the stages of ripening.  He mends broken vines and of course, shares a few grapes with Stacy.

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After checking on the grapes, they join the kids to start moving the cows to a new pasture.  Moving the cows is always a family event.  Everyone spreads out to help keep the cows on the path to the new pasture.  There were a few moments of uncertainty but after the cows and donkeys were in the new pasture a celebration broke out!  Celebrating the small things is something the Marrones are very good at.  It is obvious that their family takes pride in these everyday jobs on the farm.

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After all the outside chores are done, everyone cleans up and prepares for a relaxing afternoon.  The girls decide to juice some wild muscadine grapes they picked that will eventually be made into jelly. Stacy shows the girls how to pick out the bad ones and pull stems, then prepare them to be juiced.  Her patience and willingness to teach her children is beautiful to watch. There were moments of listening and concentration, that were soon followed by laughter and smiles.

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While the girls were juicing grapes the guys decided to play a game of Clue.  Just before the game started, Uncle Paulie came in.  The Marrones are rarely alone.  They have an open invitation to friends and family so people often stop by.  Their house is usually full of loved ones who join in whatever they are doing.  Marrone6After the juicing wrapped up, Hannah snuck over to the couch to work on a scarf she was crocheting.  Stacy’s servant heart was shinning as she worked to make sure everyone was comfortable.  She is an amazing hostess and makes her home feel cozy and welcoming, from the beautifully decorated walls to serving coffee and snacks.  The record player is often spinning which sets the mood even more.

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One by one the girls started piling on the couch.  Snuggles were followed by tickles, then there was a burst of laughter after over some stinky feet! There is a 9 year difference in Hannah & Chloe, but that doesn’t stop them from being incredible friends and enjoying these little moments together.

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The laid back atmosphere in the house is evident when a game of soccer broke out.  Watching the boys you see a little competitive nature come out but in the end they both want the other to succeed and do well. When the play gets too rough dad calls game over and everyone plops down on the couch as Joey begins to play the guitar.

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When Joey starts playing everyone gets quiet and a peace falls over the room.  The entire family starts singing along and you can feel the families bond deepening.  You know in an instant that years from now, they will still be singing together and telling these stories of the moments they shared.

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After spending a Sunday with the Marrones, one would see an incredible family, full of love for one another, a heart to care for those around them, a passion for growing and caring for nature, & an undeniable love for Jesus.

Hello There!

DSC_2447ccAn Everyday Love is an exciting photography project that I want to tell you all about, but first, I want to explain how I got to this point.  I have been taking pictures for as long as I can remember and my childhood friends will recall all the photo shoots we had before I had any idea what I was doing.  In high school I took photo journalism and loved developing pictures in the dark room.  When I started having children, my photography focus changed to capturing them.  After our 2nd child was born I started slowly dabbling in taking pictures for others and by the time she was 1 I had a busy schedule taking pictures all the time.  For 7 years I took pictures full time, but after having our 4th child, I decided to take a break.  I was somewhat burned out and also wanted to take some time to focus on our family.

So here I am, 9 years after starting Jessica Meinardus Photography, with a new project.  My break gave me time to really think about what I wanted to do.  I knew I would never stop taking pictures but I wasn’t sure if I ever wanted to be doing what I had done before.  I thought a lot about what I really loved to capture.  What pictures left me smiling for days?  When I went through client galleries, which photos were the ones I was most proud of?  It wasn’t the perfectly posed, smiling at the camera photos.  Sure, those were good, but they weren’t the ones that really touched my heart.  My favorites are the ones where I captured a moment.  A laugh, a smile, a look, a hug.  I love the pictures of a curious child playing with blades of grass as if they had discovered a rare find.  I love the shots of a toddler running to mom to grab a hug or a dad helping his son tie his shoe.  I love capturing life.  Real life.  Not posed or prompted.  Not fancy or staged.

Maybe you are a stay at home mom who chases babies, kisses boo boos, changes diapers, and plays in the floor all day.  Have you ever been changing a diaper and when you got done had the most amazing 30 second play session with tickles, kisses, and laughs?  That is what I want to capture.  What about your Saturday morning pancake making with the kids? That smile that spreads across their face when you let them pour the batter onto the griddle.  That is what I want to see on my camera.  Those moments that you never want to forget. The everyday things that mean so much to you. I want to capture memories for you that fill your heart with joy every time you look at them.

This is what An Everyday Love is all about.  Capturing YOUR everyday moments.  I know some of you might be thinking “well, my house isn’t perfect and we don’t do anything special” but that is the joy of this, nothing needs to be perfect and what makes it special is that it is you and your family doing the things you love to do.

In the next few weeks I will be posting example sessions for you to see.  I am only going to be working part time so sessions will be very limited.  If you have questions feel free to email me meinardusphotography@mac.com and we can discuss the details of a session!

I can’t wait to share this new project with you! {and please share it with your friends!}

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