Carrollton, TX Photographer // Reality // A Personal Post // Hills 2017 in Review

TWO THOUSAND SEVENTEEN

What an incredible year! 2017 has come and gone, even though it feels like it JUST started! It was another year full of adventure, excitement, travel, and time with friends, family, our pups, and our sweet girl. 

Even if no one else reads this post or finds it interesting, I love having a record of our favorite moments each year. Here's last year's post if you are interested. Happy New Year to all of our friends, family, and fabulous clients!


#bearfood2017

The summer of 2017 took us north through Wyoming, Montana, and Canada to four incredible National Parks - Yellowstone NP, Grand Teton NP, Glacier NP, and Banff NP.  I wrote a whole post about our trip last summer. You can read more about our adventures on this blog post if you're interested! It was hard to top last year's trip west (#bearfood2016) to Grand Canyon NP, Zion NP, Yosemite NP, and Sequoia/Kings Canyon NP, but somehow these parks surpassed all of our expectations. There are some amazing places to visit in this country. We're hoping to travel through all of Utah's National Parks this summer for #bearfood2018!


Our girl

I can't believe how much this girl has changed in one year. She's 11 now and has a great heart and a good head on her shoulders. I've also decided she's skipping the awkward middle school phase entirely. She's pure beauty from the inside out.  


my mountain(biking) man

Bry never ceases to amaze me. Once he sets his mind to something, he just goes for it. His main goal for 2017 was to improve his mountain biking skills and he definitely met that goal. He biked through the 105 degree summer temps and 30 degree winter temps. I'm so impressed by his commitment to meet his goals no matter how difficult they may seem. One of his dreams is to bike through Colorado and Utah in 2019 along the San Juan Hut System.


The pups

These two are just as cuddly and sweet as ever. Although Kota has attempted to eat through our house on several occasions, it's just impossible to deny that sweet face the hugs and kisses she longs for. Kota will be two in May and Lucy turned six a few weeks ago.


hamilton

One of my goals this year was to see the musical Hamilton in Chicago. We purchased tickets on Jan. 1st and we saw the show mid-February. If you've seen this Broadway show, you know there's nothing else like it and there's a reason it has and is crushing box office records. New life goal: See Hamilton again. And again. And again.


friends and fam

We love the people we get to do life with. They are all so special to us. We lost many loved ones in 2016. In 2017, we lost my Uncle Tom - a helicopter pilot in Vietnam who received the Bronze Star and was twice awarded the Air Medal during his service in Vietnam. We will miss him greatly. Our family will never be the same without him. 


We're goin' places...

We feel so blessed to be able to travel as much as we do each year and we do not take it for granted. Some of our trips this year (besides #bearfood2017) included our fifth annual trip to Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas, Bry's solo snowshoeing trip through Medicine Bow in Wyoming, hammocking anywhere and everywhere, Big Bend National Park, and Bry's backpacking "guys trip" in Oklahoma.

Love to you all! Merry Christmas and Happy 2018!

Brian and Julie


 
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Carrollton, TX Photographer // Reality // A Personal Post // Hills 2016 in Review

What. A. Year.

Good gracious. 2017 may be tryin' to sneak up on us like a creepy ex-boyfriend, but I'm taking a minute to look back at 2016 and the only words I have for it are...BUH BYE. Don't get me wrong, there were some great things that happened this year - ten visits with our Little Lady, my sweet nephew being born a day before my birthday, our ten year anniversary trip, tons of camping trips in #thehillsmobile, and bringing home our sweet Dakota Bear in July. 

But, there were hard times, too.

We lost six family members this year. Yes, six. Within a five month span. With each passing came great heartache and loss. We mourn for those closest to these family members and will never forget their memory. I don't know who all these smart people are who are working on curing cancer, but they need to WORK. FASTER.

We awoke on the first day of 2016 at our campsite with C on her first day camping. That's a trip I won't quickly forget. A few days later, baby A was born. I highly recommend nephews. They're kind of the best.

We are forever grateful to C's grandma for sharing her with us every month. I do not take for granted how rare our relationship is and I never will. C is 10 now, going on 35. The pre-teen years are in full force and we're bracing ourselves for the teenage years. BLESS.

We celebrated our TEN year anniversary in May. We each got ring tattoos to celebrate this milestone. Marriage isn't always easy, but it's always worth it. I love this man I get to do life next to.

Our one-year anniversary dinner took place at Dakota's in downtown Dallas, so it only seemed fitting that we spent our tenth anniversary there as well. Ironically, Bry's anniversary present to me was a new PUPPY who we happened to name Dakota as well! More on her later...

We left Dallas in the rearview mirror on the first day of summer. Bry finished his job as a Principal on a Friday and we were in the car Saturday morning, #thehillsmobile packed tight. After planning this trip for ten months, we were ready to make it happen! Our two-week #bearfood2016 adventure took us to Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, Zion National Park in Utah, Yosemite National Park in California, and Kings Canyon/Sequoia National Parks in California. It still doesn't feel like real life when I look back through these photos.

We hiked countless miles, explored secret corners of the parks, hiked the famous Narrows in Zion, crossed off bucket list items, and met some great people along the way. It was a DREAM.

We're already planning #bearfood2017 which will take us north to Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Glacier, and Banff. Let's hope #thehillsmobile can make it through customs in Canada! 

We met our sweet, 8-week-old Dakota on July 2nd in Arkansas. She was literally the sweetest puppy. For FOUR whole days. Then life changed. The first few months of puppy life were RUFF. Pun intended. She tested every bone in our body and was nothing like her *perfect* older sister, but we held on to the tiniest string of faith that she'd turn a corner soon. Praise the Lord, she did! She has turned into a precious little pup, for the most part. She has her moments. :)

We had a "welcome home" party for Kota at the end of July. She loved meeting new friends and playing for hours! She and Lucy Lou are just inseparable and they fight just like real sisters, but they make up and cuddle later. Our little adventure pups are a full-time job for us over here!

Here's to hoping 2017 has fewer goodbyes and more hellos, hugs, and blessings.

Love to you all! Merry Christmas,

Brian and Julie


 
 

Carrollton, TX Photographer // Reality // A Personal Post // A Celebration of Life

My sweet Aunt Georgia passed away last week at the young age of 59 years old. After battling cancer for more than two years, she finally lost her battle on November 28, 2016. Anyone who knows her will attest to how incredible of a woman she truly was. She was full of joy, risk-taking, love, and HOPE. She was, and is, the truest example of real love and light. We'll miss her terribly, but we are grateful for the time we spent with this beautiful soul. Love you, Georgia.

Georgia was honored yesterday at her "Life Celebration" at Gruene Estates in New Braunfels, TX. Surrounded by hundreds of her closest friends and family, stories were told, songs were sung, and laughs were shared in her memory. It was a beautiful way to say goodbye to an incredible wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, and friend. 


 
 

CARROLLTON, TX PHOTOGRAPHER // Reality // A Personal Post // Merry Christmas 2014

I'm pretty sure I got my love for antiques from my momma. I'm not as big as a collector of them as she is, mainly because our house isn't decorated that way, but I love visiting my parents' house because they are ridden with gorgeous, timeless pieces that have been passed down in our family, or pieces my mom has gathered over the years.

I've been looking for the perfect monogrammed necklace for a good year or two, and when I saw this piece in my mom's shop, I knew this was it. It's an antique piece of jewelry from 1932 and a jeweler down the street in downtown New Braunfels was willing to monogram it for me. I could not be happier with how it turned out! These photos were taken in my mother's home, which could pass as a fine gift and antique shop on its own. Merry Christmas to me! 

Reality // A Personal Post // An afternoon at sea...

We took our Little Lady out on the canoe today for the first time. She had been begging us to go on the "ship," as she calls it for several weeks, ever since we told her we'd bought a canoe. Brian was a genius this morning when he decided to give her canoeing lessons on the bar stools. These came in handy when we were on the water and he didn't have time to explain the technique she should use. 

As usual, there were many squeals, grunts, and giggles coming from the back of the boat. I think it's safe to say that this was her favorite part of our visit by far.

Also...we may or may not have killed a raccoon while we were out. I saw the nasty thing swimming in the water, then it disappeared, and then right when we came upon the spot where he was swimming, we heard (and felt) a loud thud from underneath the canoe! GROSS!!!