So Spring Break starts here on Friday – DAY AFTER TOMORROW – and can I just say that happened FAST?! Maybe it’s the snow flurries that had me feeling like it’s still, oh I don’t know, JANUARY, but apparently it’s not. Ahem. Anyway, if you’re like me, you may be scrambling to figure out what you’re going to do with those crazy children  as a family to make good memories and stay sane. Well, you’re in the right place. My dear friend Lexi has just published an AWESOME book on all the best things to do in Chattanooga, and guys, you gotta get this book. If you live here, it will help you rediscover your city and shake up your routine a bit. If you don’t live here, first of all, I’m sorry for you, and second, it will make you start planning a vacation here.

Anyway, today Lexi has graciously stopped by the blog to suggest some awesome Spring Break appropriate adventures to keep your kids entertained and everyone happy. Without further ado —

3 Spring Break Staycation Ideas

guest post by Alexi Ruth Engesath

Have you ever felt stuck in the flow of life? You wake up, hustle the kids off to school, hustle yourself off to work, pick the kids up from school, do the homework, eat the dinner, hustle the kids off to bed and collapse. Day after day. Life can keep us so busy we forget to make time for fun and adventure as a family. Fortunately, Spring break offers the perfect opportunity for a family staycation, especially if you’re lucky enough to live in Chattanooga.

Start with a guided tour of the Lost Sea Caverns, whose colorful history is scrawled all over its walls. The graffitied cave document its varied visitors, including the Cherokee, Civil War soldiers, moonshiners, and more than a few mischievous teens. Come prepared with a sweater and flashlight. The cave remains a brisk fifty-eight degrees year-round, and while there is low lighting, a flashlight gives a better view of the cave flowers and formations along the path. Follow the wide winding trail to the edge of the water where a glass-bottomed boats cruise the perimeter of the ethereal Lost Sea. Take the adventure to the next level with a Wild Cave Tour. Explore hidden nooks and crannies, and camp out on what was once the dancefloor of a speakeasy. Keep in mind, this is camping at its most primitive. Be prepared to rough it, sleeping on the ground without access to showers. Bring water, wet wipes, sleeping bags, and clothes that can get dirty, but don’t worry about food. Dinner and breakfast are provided by the program. Tickets for the boat tours start at $20 for adults, $11 for kids 5-12 and kids 4 and under can explore for free. The cave tours are a bit extra, and priced by the number in the group.
http://thelostsea.com/

With Chattanooga’s weather wildly flip flopping from beautiful to dreary, planning a day out and about can get difficult. Avoid the inclement weather (not to mention the snakes and bugs) at one of Chattanooga’s indoor climbing gyms. Great for every age and experience level, climbing gyms are a way to try out the sport in a controlled environment with expert help on hand. Learn the proper use of equipment under the watchful eye of a guide, and gain the confidence and skills required to take on the mountains and boulders surrounding Chattanooga. At the downtown location kids can scale the walls of a city, leaping from building to building like spiderman. Day passes start at $16 for adults, and $14 for kids 10 and under, as well as a few additional fees to rent climbing gear.

Looking for something a little less…rugged? For less than the cost of a regular price movie ticket, catch a double feature at the Wilderness Outdoor Movie Theater. The drive-in sits just over the border of Georgia in the middle of nowhere, far from city lights. Get there when the gates open to snag a prime parking spot. Bring along a football, soccer ball or frisbee and let the kids run wild in the fields surrounding the theater. Enjoy a dazzling pre-show as the sun sets behind the mountains and the stars take over the sky. Keep in mind, outside food is not permitted, but the concession stand is stocked with more than the standard popcorn and soda. Grab a funnel cake, snuggle under a blanket, and settle in for an unparalleled movie experience. Tickets are $7, kids 3 and under can enjoy the movie for free.
http://www.wildernesstheater.com/

Spring break is nearly here. It’s the perfect opportunity to get out of the flow of life for a bit. To reconnect as a family and find a little adventure. Whether you explore a wild cave, scale the walls of a climbing gym or snuggle under the stars you’ll be doing it together.

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Emily Lapish is a full-time photographer, wife, mom, and crazy person. She likes long walks through Target while cradling a latte. She is fueled by passion for restoration, grace, and also by obscene amounts of coffee. 

To book a free consultation or inquire about a session, click here.

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Guys – sunshine, the river, a breeze – these are a few of my favorite things. Add in a genuinely kind, lovely, fun-loving family and I’m a happy girl. Enjoy! xo

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Emily Lapish is a full-time photographer, wife, mom, and crazy person. She likes long walks through Target while cradling a latte. She is fueled by passion for restoration, grace, and also by obscene amounts of coffee. 

To book a free consultation or inquire about a session, click here.

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Today’s post is all about one of my FAVORITE parts of my job – birth photography. Whenever I bring this up at parties, I get a lot of weird reactions – LOTS of people have never heard of birth photography and the idea freaks people out. I’m always ready with the answers to the FAQ: “No, I’m not all up in there,” “No, it’s not gross at all,” “It’s about the emotions and the moments” etc. But nothing explains it like hearing straight from someone who has experienced it, so I interviewed one of my recent birth clients to get her side of the story. Enjoy! xo
– What drew you to the idea of having a birth photographer?
“As a first time mom, preparing for my labor was filled with excitement and uncertainty. I felt like I was preparing to meet three people the day of my daughter’s birth–my baby, my husband as a new dad, and myself as a mother. I worried that I’d feel overwhelmed and struggle to remember the details later and I wanted to keep all my memories–my baby’s tiny hands and feet, the look on my husband’s face when he met his daughter, everything. Knowing I would have beautiful images to help me preserve those memories helped me to feel present during my labor and delivery.”
– What were you most hoping to capture during your birth?
“I wanted candid, intimate photos of our first moments together as a family and lots of pictures of my baby’s features and my husband interacting with her. But perhaps most importantly, I wanted my daughter to have a physical reminder of how loved she has been from the day she was born. We gave her all of her birth photos in an album for her first Christmas so she can always come back to them.”
 
– What was your favorite photograph(s) from your birth?
“My favorite picture is one of all three of us–it captures the first time we saw our baby. My husband’s expression is so tender and loving.” 
– What was your reaction to seeing your photographs for the first time?
“My birth experience was such a mixture of joy and fear and grief and excitement, and I think it’s that way for many women. It’s a lot to process, whether your labor and delivery are textbook perfect or not. I was so overwhelmingly blessed to deliver a healthy baby and have minimal complications with my labor, but even so those first few weeks were a blur of mixed emotions and hormones and tears as my body and brain tried to register what had just happened to me, all while learning to care for this tiny, perfect being that was suddenly in my life. Seeing my photos was incredibly centering and helped me to put the intense whirlwind that is giving birth into focus. Reliving the experience through the photographs took me far enough outside myself to appreciate the strength it took to deliver my daughter and the powerful beauty of bringing life into the world. These photos played a pivotal role in helping me digest, embrace and celebrate my birth story. “
– What would you say to other moms who may be on the fence about hiring a birth photographer?
“Do it. I’m not someone who enjoys having my photo taken and I had some doubts about whether or not I would feel comfortable with a camera in the room. Emily was so gentle and unobtrusive (in the best way possible) that I forgot that the camera was there at all. I worried that I’d be too self-conscious to truly capture our reactions but this wasn’t the case at all–each image is real. As someone who is intensely private, the skill of my birth photographer was critical. Emily was the perfect balance of quiet, respectful and good humored. She acted as a support during my labor in addition to capturing beautiful images. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
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Emily Lapish is a full-time photographer, wife, mom, and crazy person. She likes long walks through Target while cradling a latte. She is fueled by passion for restoration, grace, and also by obscene amounts of coffee. 

To book a free consultation or inquire about a session, click here.

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It’s no secret that I love shooting in-home sessions, but when you live in a city as beautiful as Chattanooga (I mean, it’s nickname is The Scenic City for crying out loud), you really can’t go wrong shooting just about anywhere. And bonus points if your clients are a) funloving and b) have an adorable ham for a kiddo.

Enjoy! xo



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Emily Lapish is a lifestyle photographer in Chattanooga, TN specializing in all things family-related. She spends her time fending off wild animals raising three boys with her husband, and enjoys long walks through Target while cradling a latte. 

To book your birth or family session, or to schedule a free consultation, click here

 

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Hey, so if you’re married, or a parent, or in a long term relationship, you may need a reminder to invest in your loved one. I get it – ME TOO.

 

Life is busy and seems to sweep you up in the flow of routines and juggling schedules. This process, however unsexy, is normal and even vital for the functioning of a family, so please don’t beat yourself up about it.


But today, on the day of love, I invite you to take a deep breath, put down your phone, and just look into your partner’s eyes for a few minutes. Be still together. Let go of the to do list and the mental juggling and just breathe together.

Happy Valentine’s Day, from me to you. xoxoxo

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Emily Lapish is a lifestyle photographer in Chattanooga, TN specializing in all things family-related. She spends her time fending off wild animals raising three boys with her husband, and enjoys long walks through Target while cradling a hazelnut latte. 

To book your birth or family session, or to schedule a free consultation, click here

 

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