We feel so thankful that our friends invite us to swim at their lake with them.  Nothing feels better on these hot summer days, and I know that THIS is what they will remember from their childhood summers.  Matt says his best memories are swimming on this lake with his best friend (the boys’ best friends’ dad!) during the summer and now it is their turn…

{I couldn’t decide on color or B&W for some of these so we’re sticking with both!}

The invitation to this lake is a blessing for sure!

Photography friends … As much as I struggle with embracing the light when the sun is high (and the shadows it creates) days like this just have to be documented.  Life doesn’t always happen when the light is lovely and flattering and this was a great reminder of that for me!   If this were my lake, I’d head there again when the light is ‘better’ but it isn’t, so I’ll go with what I’m given.  ;)  Thanks for visiting!  xoxo

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  • Courtney - These photos are absolutely breathtaking! Thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Jolene - Pretty photos! Looks like fun :) ReplyCancel

  • Debbie - What a gift to have a lake like this!! And to build these memories with your boys is an ever greater gift!!ReplyCancel

What a glorious view to start the day with, right??

After breakfast we headed right down to the beach.  And found a coconut.

And a bald eagle.

And my cousin (and her dog) in a kayak, which Charlie did not like one bit.

And neither did my cousin’s dog, so out she came.

But I thought she looked so peaceful out there, that Matt and I snagged the kayak and went out for a ride (a row?) ourselves.  Well, he rowed, I rode.

And this is the view back toward the little chunk of property.  The log cabin is the original building that my great-grandparents built.  The itty bitty grey-blue house (camera left) was my Grammie’s … the camper up there is my parent’s.  :D  And a few of those kiddos on the beach are mine. ;)

It is a little challenging (and risky) to try to turn around in a kayak, but I had to get a shot of my rower.

After we got back, I sat down to an extensive game of Phase 10.  We started out by the water, but then it started raining and we took it under the tents.  And proceeded to play for several hours.  Until my cousin, Kjersten, won. :D

But there were many breaks for photo ops …

And for eating my dad’s homemade Chocolate-Coconut Ice-cream.  It would be mean of me to describe how delicious it was.

But I think that this guy’s face says it all.

His legs got too hot from the fire. ;)

Homemade Ice-cream to Homemade Chili, courtesy of my husband.  Almost as good as the ice-cream. ;)

If you can believe it, one of the highlights of this trip was seeing Ginger plunge into the water after Charlie like it was the most natural thing to do.  Except, she doesn’t DO water.  And she bolted back out obviously wondering what in the heck she just did!  And then ran at full speed around the grass like she was a new woman.  ;)  I laughed ridiculously hard about it.

The evening ended with the kiddos on body boards …

… and Matt and I taking Kaden out for a ride in the kayak (thanks to my mom for taking some photos with my camera for me!).

And my photo taking ended there.  ;)  The next morning (Sunday) we walked the beach, packed up the trailer and said sad goodbyes to everyone.   Matt and I left the boys with my mom and dad for the week that followed and our drive and time together at home may very well have been as peaceful as this last kayak ride looks.   July 3 – 13 will likely be my favorite stretch of the summer! :D

Thank you, as always, for coming along on our vacation with us by visiting my blog!  Have a wonderful weekend!  xoxo

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  • Jennifer B - As always, BEAUTIFUL images! I love the images shot from out on the water. :) What a great experience!ReplyCancel

    • Lacey - :) Thanks, Jennifer! It was unique to be able to take photos out on the water, and a bit nerve-wracking! ;) ReplyCancel

  • shayla vokey - Hi :)
    I was wondering, when you go out on the kayak, do you have your camera in a waterproof case of some type?ReplyCancel

I am sure that one thing that helped make this camping trip to the Beach House even more top-notch than normal is that we all slept fantastically in our tent!  I don’t remember any other trip when I can say that … anywho, we woke up rarin’ to go for the family celebration.  Starting with breakfast…

… and Papa (my dad) got right to work on his clam chowder.  A 4th of July Picnic staple. 

The littles dove right into the wonderful family photo books …

… and my Great-Auntie Shirley dove right into decorating…

Then we got spiffied up for the picnic …

And thanked the Lord for yet another year of blue sky and sunshine on the 4th.

The table was filled …

… and the smell (and smoke) of barbequed salmon filled the air.

Then we all gathered in a circle for some singing, praying, and counting, led my my Great-Uncle Kenny …

We’re all pretty sure it was a picnic/reunion record with 110 people in attendance …

Time to eat…

Then onto more playing and lots of visiting …

Mi familia …

After most of the crowd parted there was just more eating, playing and roasting of random things on the fire.

And then?  The fireworks show.  I really wish I could give everyone a sense of how awesome the fireworks are to be seen at the Beach House.  The property sits on the Hood Canal so there is land all across the water in our view.  People along that view go NUTS with HUGE fire works shows.  But not only that … two of the houses RIGHT next to ours (and several more down the beach) go Professional-Fireworks-Display NUTS … and we get to just sit back and watch.  :D  The extent of our contribution to the show was a lot of oohs and ahhs.  And these fabulous glowing glasses.

And just to give you a sense of how close these are…. I took all of these with my 35mm, NO cropping.  That means no zooming, what-so-ever.  Crazy, huh??

For this one, I just tilted my camera all the way up on my tripod because these were right over our heads …

Year after year, everything about this day amazes me.  The fireworks are ridiculously amazing, but more than that, I’m amazed that this family tradition continues.  That for generations our family has gathered.  That for some, this was their 9th … 30th … 50th … 80th… 4th of July celebrated on this property, overlooking these waters.  Remembering that our country is strong, but the bond of family is stronger.  And that the Lord is strongest and mightiest of all.  It was another one for the books and this is a wonderful tradition that I hope my boys will be bringing their kiddos to, someday.

Thank you for visiting!  More to come tomorrow …. and photography friends,  in case you’re curious, here are the settings for the fireworks shots…  f/16, ISO 200, SS 5 seconds.  I had my camera on a tripod, used the interval timer + timer so that once I’d pressed my shutter there was a 2-second delay before the shots started.  :)  And now that I get to check this off my bucket-list of photos, next year I’ll just sit back and enjoy the show!  

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  • Auntie Dianne - Love the fireworks photos Lacey…gorgeous detail!ReplyCancel

  • Sheri - Thanks Lacey for so generously including your camera settings and tips! I can’t wait for the next opportunity I have to snap firework picts:) All of your pictures are so wonderful to look at!!ReplyCancel

  • Ali - Your fireworks pictures are awesome. I used the tips you posted a couple weeks ago about how to get good fireworks shots and they really helped me out! Thank you!ReplyCancel

Day 1 at the Beach House continued …

…with a little Corn Hole…

… a lot of relaxing …

… rock throwing, fort building and beach combing …

… and then some warming up by the fire …

… playing on the hill as the sun disappeared …

… leaving behind a gorgeous purple sunset and a rainbow …

This year, I learned something about how to thoroughly enjoy our time at the beach.  Don’t object to much.  Wanna play on the beach all day and then swim at 8pm?  Sure.  Wanna ‘nother s’more?  Sure.  Wanna stay up until 10:30 and fall asleep by the fire?  Sure.  Wanna play soccer in the dark?  Okay.  Just embracing the flow of the vacation is so much more fun.


Such a fantastic first day, ending in a warm tent (when does that ever happen when camping on the Puget Sound??), with a little reading and a whole lotta looking forward to the family picnic the next day. :)

More tomorrow! xoxo  Thank you so much for visiting!

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  • Ryan - Yeah… I think we’ll be driving up again next year.ReplyCancel

    • Auntie Judy - Hooray! …bring your mom & dad too!ReplyCancel

    • Lacey - Sweet! We were all definitely missing you guys! It was really nice to have Jason there to represent! :) ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey - These beach pictures are my favorite every year. They’re wonderful!ReplyCancel

  • Kjersten - Yay Ryan!!!! I am holding you to that!!ReplyCancel

Our annual trip to the Hood Canal in Washington for the 4th of July … a trip we look forward to all year long.   This family reunion/celebration has been a family tradition for decades before I was even born and now that my own family is growing up with this tradition it is even more special to me.

I spent most of the week leading up to it, prepping and packing the trailer, so we were able to hit the road pretty early on the 3rd …

With only one stop to McDonalds for lunch, we made really great time and amazed me at how much easier road trips are getting with our boys!  And with the dog having a sedative!

5.5 hours later, we arrived to the sight that never ceases to flood me with memories and nostalgia….

It took about 45 seconds for the ‘hellos’ and ‘we’re here’s’ to happen before they were all down on the beach …

And then the prep for the big 4th of July picnic started with putting up the tents …

Last year, Charlie was just 12 weeks old at the 4th, and this year my aunt had her puppy, Bailey, there!  She came from Charlie’s breeder and since the boys and I had seen this puppy when she was only 5 weeks old it was super fun to see her now!

It was dog central … this is my cousin’s dog, Ginger whom we first met at Christmas.  She forgot how much fun she had had at that time, playing with Charlie.  ;)  Much of our time here was spent watching Charlie try to play Ginger and Bailey, much to their annoyance. :)

This kiddos couldn’t have asked for more… the beach, their cousins, camping, their Grammie.  Heaven.

And fort building.

I’ll stop there … more from Day 1 tomorrow. :)

On this trip I just brought my 35 and 70-200.  Did you notice the difference in these images as I changed lenses??  I’m loving the effect of the 35 more and more, even for outdoor photos when I have lots of space to shoot.  I didn’t see that coming! ;) 



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  • Justyna Butler - Awww….love the puppies shots! My family and I just came back from North Pacific! Love and miss it as much as you do! Would love to share with you my blog post about it…here is the link. Thought you might like it! http://www.justynaebutlerphotography.com/?p=1
    Always a treat to look at your shots! JReplyCancel

  • Robin Long - Lacey, I always love reading your blog. I haven’t been here in a while…I get so busy with work and life…but I sure feel good when I come back to it and read your stories. It makes me stop and live a moment in the story and smile. xoReplyCancel

    • Lacey - Wow, Robin! What a wonderful thing to say! Thank you so much! <3ReplyCancel