This seems redundant, since I already posted 25 of my favorites on Facebook, but I'm going to post them here anyway. They belong on the blog. I'm so happy with these. We would have never gotten photos like this at Sears or Picture People. I wanted to go to a park because I thought Delaney would be more comfortable, happy and cooperative in a natural setting. I was partially right about that. She was happy in the woods, out in the fresh air, but she still was not happy about having her picture taken. She was very evasive and gave the photographer, Sara, a real challenge.
We had never been to Prince William Forest Park in Triangle, VA -- only looked at the website. Although we'd talked about it a couple times, we'd never gotten around to a recon of the park and good spots for pictures. So, we showed up, I walked into the ranger's station with a map, and came back out with a few things circled on it. I thought a mile would be nothing, but I failed to take into account that it would be a mile to the creek and bridge, and a mile back. With children. With no backpack or wrap. With a photographer who had recently undergone knee surgery. The one thing we had brought was our BOB duallie, and I at least had the presence of mind to ask the ranger about a trail that we could push a stroller on.
We met the photographer in the parking lot, and drove about two miles to the place where we would have to get out and walk. As soon as I pulled Annalise out of her carseat, I realized she had done a big poo. Not the worst she'd ever done (by far!), but it had oozed up the back of her diaper and stained the bottom of her shirt. Not a great start. The walk down to the creek and bridge (areas that we thought would be most picturesque) was the longest mile I'd ever walked. I was so grateful that I hadn't chosen to wear flipflops. It was a long walk because Annalise was fussing the whole way. Our pace was about a standard three-miles an hour, but somewhere along the way, I realized it was going to be a long morning. I felt bad for the photographer, but she was a good sport.
Down at the creek and bridge -- which was not the quaint covered bridge you're picturing, nor the one pictured on the website -- we spent most of our time keeping Delaney out of the creek, and not much time taking pictures. Soon we realized that we should just go back up the trail, get back in our cars, and go back to the picnic area where we'd started. There, we could let Delaney run free. I sent Tim, Sara and Delaney ahead because Annie was hungry. I plopped down on the trail, nursed her, finally changed her poopy diaper, then hoofed it all the way to the end of the trail with her in my arms, dozing. I caught up with them as they reached the end, and I was like, 'Holy cow, I wish we'd planned this excursion a little better. The kids are probably done by now!' But somehow, we ended up getting a lot more good pictures, despite how long we'd been out. And we'd love to come back another time prepared to hike!