Family shoots are forever! This creative autumn photo session oozes Charlotte love! As we get ready for family time this holiday season, check out this southern mother-sister-daughter trio’s printed and posh photo shoot.
Mother and Sister
Where’s the mom from?
The town of Winnsboro, Fairfield County, South Carolina
Where is your current location?
Dilworth Neighborhood, Charlotte, North Carolina
What is your favorite thing about being a mom?
The best thing about being a mom is the unconditional love and bond developed with your child. Good, bad, or indifferent, we are bonded for life and Kaci thinks I’m the bee’s knees. I miss “my baby”, but with each day, I see glimpses of a better, more aware and capable me in her. I admire her strong independence and unapologetic individuality. She’s my heart walking around on legs and I enjoy spending quality time with her learning more about who she is and what inspires her.
What do you love about raising your children in the South?
There’s a proud heritage that runs deep through my family’s roots. Since I was a young child, I spent each summer in South Carolina with my grandparents. My paternal grandparents, in particular, were very intentional in making sure I understood the sacrifice and legacy I was born into as their first grandchild. My earliest memories were of trips to Ridge Spring, SC to stay at the “home house” and holiday trips jumping from house to house. It was important for me to share that same experience with my own child and for her to be able bond with the generation of women and men who helped shape who I am today. My most treasured memories of growing up Southern are “big meetings” (summer church revival), the sound of my grandmothers, mother, and aunts praying for their families, old Baptist hymns on Sunday mornings led by deacons and trustees, neighborhood lemonade stands and state fairs, riding through the peach tree and cotton fields, hikes through the woods to the fresh water spring, front porch relaxing, catching fireflies with Mason jars, black cowboy rodeos, horseback riding, and being in the kitchen sharing stories while cooking [and tasting] the comfort foods your family has loved throughout the years. There’s a deep love and sacrificial history that comes from my Southern roots and it’s made me stronger…I want that for my child.
What are some of their favorite southern dishes to eat?
Which do they only eat if you make? Food is an integral part of my life. Not only do I love to eat good food—it represents the heart and soul of family to me. I grew up each summer and holidays watching my Grandmama Lyles in the kitchen preparing meals for our family. As a young girl, I can remember being at her house and waking up to the aroma of country sausage, eggs cooked in bacon grease from the cast-iron skillets and buttered grits as it traveled from the kitchen window diagonal from my bedroom window. My uncle and I would race to grab the extra fatback for the greens or the gizzards from the turkey or hen. Between her biscuits, fresh cobblers, and pound cakes…we were one happy family. If you ask Kaci about her favorite dishes, she would tell you about my rosemary and apple pork chops, mashed potatoes, and brussell sprouts with bacon. For desserts, she loves my peach cobbler and apple dumplings.
Why did you choose this location to do the family photo shoot?
Our location, Glencairn Gardens, was actually chosen by Denise. I shared my vision and she took it from there. It was a perfect location due to the versatile scenery; it was also right down the street from our place of worship (Freedom Temple Ministries) which is where we spend a lot of time as well. That small detail added to the sentimental value of the overall experience.
What are your favorite lessons to teach your children?
When I graduated from college, my Aunt Lydia’s gift was a check enclosed with a letter of the most important lessons her father, my paternal Granddaddy, taught her. Some of those lessons were engrained in me growing up with my father and included some of the following thoughts: To thine own self be true—love yourself first and completely, you teach people how to treat you and they will only do what you allow…service is the price we pay for living—to whom much is given, much is also required…pursue education and be able to take care of your financial needs. My life lessons are very transparent in that I [age-appropriately] discuss my experiences (past & present) with a focus on teaching my girls how to make decisions that are best for them and take into consideration those that matter the most to them. I could easily tell them what to do, but my life speaks for itself: find the beauty of balance in life—seek God first and all other things shall be added unto you, mistakes are life’s greatest teacher, and surround yourself with people who make you better. At some point in life [when real adulating kicks-in], your inner circle becomes smaller as your vision gets larger.
What is your favorite southern activity to do with them?
Cooking—we get to explore our creative side and bond. Quite simply…we like to eat AND eat well.
Do you have any favorite restaurants you like to take them?
Along with cooking, eating is one of our favorite past times. In Charlotte, we love The Flying Biscuit, Midnight Diner, Pio Pio, Viva Chicken, and Mama Ricottas. When I’m in Atlanta, I always try to make it to The Beautiful, Pappadeaux’s (I love seafood!) and Paschal’s. When in Nashville, Prince’s Hot Chicken, Ed’s Fish Market, Cock of the Walk, and Monell’s (Germantown) are all “must-eats”. In Charleston, we love the food and atmosphere of Magnolia’s.
What are some of your favorite books you read to them?
I don’t read as much to them now, but we do share favorite book series—Addie: An American Girl Doll, Judy Blume books (i.e, Hello God, It’s Me—Margaret), and The Hunger Games Trilogy (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mocking Jay). My rule typically is you have to read it before you can experience it…from dolls to movies.
Who styled the children for this shoot?
I provided suggestions based on what I was wearing and they took it from there to develop a unique and comfortable look for photo day. It was important that they owned it…and, I get to see if they’re really paying attention to my example day-to-day. First impressions are lasting and teach others how to approach and treat us; respect and modesty are still important when it comes to wardrobe choices. You can be attractive, hip, sexy, professional, whatever is needed—and still be a belle.
What southern values do you hope they inherit as they grow up?
I don’t know that Southern values are any different than any other family values regardless of where you grow up. I do hope that as Kaci becomes an adult, she realizes that family comes first (that could be biological or the people that show love through action). So many times we focus on work that we forget [or neglect] ourselves and the people closest to us. I want her to always remember her roots and pay forward her blessings. I want her to recognize the importance of a strong work ethic and the value of her word. And, I want her to know that her outer belle is just an extension of her inner belle.
What advice did you get from your mother on parenting?
Pray and work your faith, trust Him…take the good in life and leave the bad…there’s life and death in the power of your tongue, so choose to speak life. She was an excellent role model for me in terms of being a woman, mother, and wife. Watching her is daily advice on how to live.
Where did you get some of the clothing items?
Christie: Navy Gingham Shirt and Gray Suede Peep-toe Booties – TJ Maxx; Articles of Society Skinny Jeans – Nordstrom’s Rack; Monogrammed Plaid Blanket Scarf – MarleyLilly; Brown Newsboy Cap – William III, my brother