Who We Are

We are a fun bunch.

A family who loves hard, plays hard and lives loudly. We are adventurous in that we love the open road, traveling to new places and seeing new things. We live in the city but love the mountains. We live in the desert but love places that are greener.

We have three kids who we love more than life itself. They make life fun and an even bigger adventure! People always said that kids would tie us down, and to some extend, having children DO ground you a little bit. BUT, we have found that the opposite has happened. Life truly started once these wonderful little humans joined our lives, and while it's not easy to be parents, we love every aspect that they have changed our lives. They make life exciting, fun and seriously exhausting, but we wouldn't change a single thing. We love adventuring with these three.

Jason and I are photographers and have graciously transitioned out of photographing weddings full time. We still plan to do a very small handful every year, but we are no longer desiring to photograph weddings every single weekend. While we loved the wedding industry, there was something deep inside us that desired more. We desired evenings and weekends WITH our kids. We desired to take photos of OUR family, and to make time to actually see them. To be photographers more so on our terms than on the calendar that weddings provided. To travel when we wanted to and not just for work. It wasn't an easy decision; we walked away from photographing 30+ weddings a year, a "stable" income, clients galore, traveling opportunities, and we created beautiful images that people around the world love.

What we wanted, was to create a life that we were really passionate about, and that is our family. Starting to pave this new path hasn't been easy, but when our kids cheered to hear that we weren't photographing weddings any longer, we knew we were on the right path. 

Sometimes the path less traveled really is worth it. It's scary as all get out, but as soon as we stepped into our new normal, we knew it felt right and we knew this is where we were supposed to be.

So we are journeying a new path with our family. Creating adventure in the daily mundane and in the wildest of opportunities too. Taking this opportunity to remind all of you that you CAN pave a new path if you are unhappy where you are. Or even if you're not unhappy, if it doesn't fit for your family anymore, there CAN be a new way. Life is an adventure. Every single day should be treated as that, and we are taking every opportunity to see it as that. 

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Sun City Resort

We were SO blessed to spend some time in South Africa this last spring.

And by "some time", I mean an ALL EXPENSES PAID trip from the company that we've partnered with to thank us for all our hard work in working with their brand.

Talk about a total dream!

We will be sharing more in pieces as we go about our time there. There is way too much to share in one single post. But today we want to just mention the resort that we stayed at.

Sun City Resort in South Africa was the most supreme destination that we could have ever asked for! We are only sorry we didn't take more photos! The grounds were stunning, the pools were incredible, the food and drinks were amazing AND there were monkey's everywhere!

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We thought that was too cool.

It couldn't have been a more marvelous trip, honestly. If you ever get a chance to go to Sun City Resort in South Africa, you need to go. Not to mention, the movie Blended was filmed there with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore!

How awesome is that??

So make sure to check it out. Not only was it a great place to stay, but we never had to leave. All the excursions were taken care of through the hotel, all of our meals were covered there, shopping was available, the pools, massages, salons and more. It was a total dream and we could only hope and wish to go back someday!

Have you been there? What was your favorite part?

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southafricarhino

In Africa, We Wait

We went to South Africa last March.

I can't even believe that I am still able to type that. It seems surreal that we went, as we have talked about visiting another country our ENTIRE married life. We never had the money, the time, the knowledge. But this last March, we earned an all expenses paid trip with the company that we have partnered with and it was seriously incredible.

Expect lots of stories and photos in the coming months.

While we were there, we went on four different safaris, we rode elephants, and we did a safari on quads. We will never know exactly when we will be back in South Africa, so we wanted to make sure to maximize our time there if we could. 

And BOY did we.

One of the morning safaris, we had a guide who had been a guide there for about eight years. He had studied the animals, spent a lot of time on the land and grew up in South Africa. He took us ALL over that desert and we saw all kinds of animals. It was truly amazing, especially since the animals were all out and active in the morning. 

At about 7:30 am, he raced over to a spot nearby the watering hole. He knew that the elephants come down this certain path EVERY single day around this time in the morning and he knew we would get an amazing view of them walking right along the path in front of us to get water. The only challenge, he told us, is that they're wild animals. So even though they do this every single day, it's not a guarentee. But he knew that if we were just patient enough, it would happen. He parked along the side of the road, turned off the jeep engine and we sat in silence. South African safari silence.

"In Africa, we wait.", he said.

I will never forget it. And we did wait. We sat and listened to the bugs waking up. We whispered to one another. We snapped photos of the scenery. We waited. Everything is slower there, he was right. But what he knew, was that if we waited- truly WAITED- it would be very, very worth it.

Before we knew it, we could hear the elephants coming. And what happened next was truly one of the most magical things I have ever witnessed. 

southafricanelephants

The entire herd of elephants, three little ones included, slowly walked together through the brush, down the path and directly in front of us. One step at a time, quietly in step with one another, for their morning drink. They crossed the road and we sat and watched them bathe, roll in the water, drink, spray each other and it was remarkable.

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southafricanelephants
southafricanelephants

It's amazing what can happen during our waiting. It's incredible what can come OF our waiting. It's not easy to wait. In other parts of the world, they know how to do it. It's part of their daily life. But where we live? It's hard to wait. But when we do, when we truly sit in waiting with the Lord, looking at everything He's placed before us in anticipation of what's to come with our eyes open and ready, we won't miss it. 

He longs to bless us with so much and we can miss it in a hurry. When we wait, we are slowing down and resting our spirit on what God's plan is for us that day.

I will never forget him saying, "In Africa, we wait."

It wasn't an option in that moment. We were fully at his mercy to wait. We could have thrown a fit or gotten mad. We could have questioned him or shaken our fists. But he knew what he was doing and he knew it would be worth it.

The wait may not always seem like it's going to be worth it. But it always is. It ALWAYS IS. When we wait on the Lord, even in the small stuff, you never know what He might bring down your path. And if you're in a hurry, you're going to miss it.

Don't miss it.

Wait on him. Wait for the miracle. Expect the extraordinary in your waiting. Listen for him. watch for him and quiet your heart. 

"In Africa, we wait."

As we wait on the Lord, be encouraged. He sees your miracle coming. All you need to do is be still.

Travel Bug

We spent last summer traveling. All kinds of traveling. Road trips, air trips, day trips, across the country trips, trips to Trader Joe's.

Man, you could get lost in a Trader Joe's.

But we spent the summer of 2017 seeing some pretty amazing parts of the country. And while we both have only left the country once (more on that soon!), we always have a huge desire to travel the US. Last summer we spent time in Utah, California, Seattle, Boston, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and small towns in Northern Arizona. It was an incredible summer.

What an amazing country we have, amiright? It's diverse, beautiful and there is so much to do here.

We spend our days and nights working right now, so hopefully we can travel the country and the globe however we would like. Our itch to take our kids on trips around the country and the world is strong. To take a year off and travel the world, photographing it all and educating our kids during the journey would be the dream.

This summer looks a little bit different, but we are still exploring many parts of Arizona and planning amazing things to do this summer. Camping is a great way to save some money and to still "get away". And although I wouldn't camp in the desert right now, personally, taking a camper up north would absolutely be something we'd consider doing.

But only in a camper because mama doesn't camp in a tent, just saying.

Where is it that you dream about traveling to? Do you have any epic plans this summer? Comment below and let us hear it! We are always looking for new places to visit and explore!

desertairstream
desertairstream
desertairstream

**This amazing camper belongs to a really good friend of ours. If you're interested in the rental rates, please contact us at hello@jayandjess.com and we'll connect you with the owner.