Big Announcement!


Also, if you haven’t, check out when we announced we were pregnant with Lucia.



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The Shumates in Argentina : Buenos Aires

After spending time in Northern Argentina, we returned to Buenos Aires to explore the city often considered the Paris of South America. While this title illustrates a portion of the city’s charm, it fails to capture the unique culture and personality that are easy to fall in love with and hard to forget.

We visited the house of Travis’ all-time favorite singer, Carlos Gardel, and visited the sacred grounds of La Bombonera, the stadium of football giants Boca Juniors. We wandered through the historic neighborhood of San Telmo and the chic barrio of Palermo.

We were inspired as we walked through El Caminito and La Boca, marveling at the beautiful colors in the port neighborhood. Our favorite area was the beautiful Recoleta, with gorgeous Mansard roofs, classic cafes and friendly porteños. We adored our time in Argentina, and we look forward to returning in the near future.
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Travis’ close friend, Pato, and his new wife, Micaela, visited us from Bahía Blanca.
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The Shumates in Argentina : Salta and Jujuy

Check back later this week for Part Two: Buenos Aires.

Travis: I lived in northern Argentina from 2003 through 2005 while serving a mission for our church. While living, working and serving there, I fell in love with the culture and the people. I have always longed to return. Fortunately enough, Jaquilyn shared this dream. We’ve wanted to return for years, and like so many dreams, there were always things that got in the way. Earlier this year, we finally made the decision that nothing would get in our way, and we immediately booked tickets.

We knew we couldn’t go without Lucia. It would have been hard to be without her, and we firmly believe that adventures bring families together. We knew we had to do it simply — backpacks, a stroller and our cameras. Nothing else. Our approach was to experience the culture as a family, not tourists. We stayed in apartments and hotels that had a homelike feeling. We established a few goals of what we wanted to see and do, but left our schedule open and flexible for change.

After traveling a full day, we arrived in Buenos Aires. We ate some empanadas and alfajores (gluten free for Jaquilyn) and went to bed. Early the next day we traveled north to Salta, my favorite city in the world. We spent a few wonderful days in Salta and Purmamarca, Jujuy, before returning to Buenos Aires. We ate lots of beef, met up with several friends, hiked, explored and photographed the area. Salta is known for its beauty (Salta la Linda), colonial architecture, indigenous culture and picturesque location at the foot of the Andes. Its people are friendly and warm, hospitable and engaging. Jaquilyn and Lucia fell in love with the city that I adore, and we look forward to our return.
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Two lifesavers — our Bob stroller and Tom Bihn Aeronaut backpack.
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Jaquilyn: The greatest orange juice of my life.
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The glamorous life of changing diapers.
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This kind señora blessed Lucia.
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Travis: My good friend, Marito, and his lovely wife Marina.
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Travis: My new friends, Eduardo and Luisina, visiting from Buenos Aires. We bonded over our shared love of Boca Juniors (La Mitad Más Uno!)
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We introduced our iPad to Lucia for the first time on our trip — specifically for times when it would help prevent a meltdown (like a two hour car ride without a carseat, an extremely rare commodity in South America.)
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Canon 5D mkii and iPhone.



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Lucia : One Whole Year

My sweet little Lucia,

One year ago today, I held you in my arms for the first time. Everything I imagined it would be dwarfed in comparison. It was the most spiritual experience I’ve ever experienced. I have never felt more love for anyone or anything than I did in that moment for you and for Papa. And those feelings for my little family have only grown with every single day.

Papa got to see you before me, but I could hear you. You had the sweetest cry with VERY strong lungs! From that very first day, you have been so alert and aware. The nurses that took care of us always commented on how alert and bright eyed you were, with such a perfect, sweet face. I couldn’t agree more. Papa and I loved just staring at you for hours while you stared back at us with those bright eyes of yours.

When you were in my tummy, I would have very strong feelings of what your personality would be like. In my mind you were sweet, lovely and sociable. But you were also feisty, determined and stubborn. And oh boy was I right. I wasn’t right about everything, though. We thought for sure you would have dark hair and complexion with of course, brown eyes! And were Papa and I wrong! But I am glad we were. You have the most beautiful greenish-greyish eyes that are so happy and big.
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Lucia, you are my sunshine. This year has been the best year of my entire life. Not all days have been easy, but I am so blessed to have you. You are such a happy, loving, baby. We especially love those big wet kisses you give us, and so many cuddles! You love to tuck your arms and rest your head, which just makes every worry of mine disappear. You love to “read” books with Mama & Papa, or just on your own. You hug Mister Fox, and Rocky the Raccoon so tight and pat their back sides, which really- makes my heart melt into a puddle on the floor.

More than anything, I love watching you learn, and grow. You truly have the sweetest heart and so much love for others. You are so playful and fun to be around. Peek-a-boo and us chasing you around the house are your favorite activities. Your laugh and squeals are infectious. And when Mama has to catch up on some work, you stand at the window next to my desk talking and babbling. You love to sit on the couch and watch the door for Papa to come home, squealing when he comes thru the door. You love to play the keyboard, guitar and trumpet with Papa. Your eyes beam when you see him. See, I am so happy Papa got to see you first, because you are Papa’s girl. You two have the sweetest bond.

I am so grateful I get to spend all my days with you. And when we’re away from you, I miss you so. I miss you when you’re sleeping. You are ours forever and ever. I cannot tell you the joy that brings me. I am your mama. Forever.

Lucia, you made me a mama. I am forever indebted to you. Nothing has given me more joy than to be your mama. And as you learn and grow, I do too. You teach me every day about love, patience, fun, and so much more. Although I am a bit sad you are already one, I am thrilled to watch you grow up into a smart, beautiful young lady. You have so much good in you. I wish I could better express these deep, immovable feelings I have for you, but I know you feel them when I hold you and our hearts are touching.

Happy Birthday, my sweet girl.

Love you, forever and ever,

Mama



Lucia’s Birth Story

I’m not sure why but it has been difficult for me to put into words the birth of my daughter. Probably because I cannot find the right words to express what a beautiful experience this past year was for me. I realize that if I don’t do it now, those feelings and emotions will begin to fade. Our story was not ‘ideal’ however, not unlike many others. Our journey to parenthood started with the loss of a tiny unborn one, and ended with a cesarean section of another.

I always knew I would be a mother. I truly feel like motherhood is my main purpose here on earth. But after having a miscarriage earlier in the year, I started to wonder if I would ever bear my own. It was a very sad time for us, but we experienced many tender mercies and felt so much love for each other as well as those around us. When we found out we were pregnant again, we were so excited and so scared. Every week I continued to have morning sickness was huge and exciting. But I felt as though I was walking on egg shells. We finally made our announcement when I was 19 weeks. This was again, exciting and scary. My doctor warned us about possible miscarriage, preterm labor and a whole slew of other issues I could be facing because of my bicornuate uterus. I stopped all forms of physical activity except for work and photography.

The morning she came was sunny and beautiful. I don’t think there was a cloud in the sky. I remember thinking about the last nine months and how I was truly blessed. God was sending me this child, and she was meant for me. She was ours. I was initially so upset about having to schedule a c-section. I always wanted to go through the “natural” process of giving birth. But she was transverse (sideways breech). I wanted to feel the pain one goes through to birth a child. I carried her for 39 weeks, I wanted to end it with a bang. But the morning I delivered her, I realized how much courage it took to carry a child knowing it will exit your body regardless of how it happens, and you will be forever responsible for this little one.

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Walking down that long hall through the O.R. doors after saying goodbye to Travis while he got scrubbed-in was probably the most terrifying moment in my entire life. I depended on him so much, and needed his eyes to give me that courage I seemed to have misplaced. The nurse walked with me as I cried, holding my waist. She was so sweet and kind, but I just wanted my husband with me. She helped me up onto the operating table and my body just shook uncontrollably. She brought me hot blankets just out of the warmer, but somehow I still shook.

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A few moments later, I heard the familiar sounds of Sigur Ros. Travis made a “birth mix” and they let us play it in the O.R. I was relieved to have some familiarity in that cold, bright, sterile room. But it brought on a wave of emotions I was not prepared for. I was alone with my wonderful nurses, waiting and waiting for what seemed like forever. The anesthesiologist was running late. I waited for 30 minutes. Alone and shaking. My nurse hugged me and gave me words of encouragement.

Finally the anesthesiologist arrived. I tried to not think about the huge needle going into my back. I thought about my sweet baby kicking in my tummy. Three times, in and out of my back, one above the other. Each time was more painful than the last, but my spinal column was too narrow. I could feel it dripping down my back. Then, finally he got the needle in. I imagined being paralized after all of this. What if he messed up? My legs immediately went numb. Everything below my chest. He asked if I could swing my legs up on the table, but I couldn’t. It felt like my feet were stuck in cement.

Moments later, Travis walked in. I could hear them calling him in, I turned to see him behind me and it was then that “Passing Afternoon” by Iron & Wine started to play. We locked eyes and the room felt so full of love, I couldn’t breathe. That was the song we danced to at our wedding, almost 5 years ago. We both knew the significance of this moment. I will never forget it. He held me and hugged me and kissed me. I could feel the tears pooling in my ears. We were finally together, and just moments away from being parents.

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Just minutes later, my wonderful doctor announced, “Alright, we’re about to have a baby!” Excitement filled the room. I could feel tugging and pulling, but nothing else. I could see the excitement in Travis’ eyes as he squeezed my hand. He stood up with camera in hand. It was then, I heard her first cry! I just watched Travis, knowing he was watching our daughter enter the world. I watched him immediately transform into a father. He hollered for joy, and exclaimed her beauty to me. He cried, and I cried. “Hoppipolla” by Sigur Ros was playing, and I cried harder. I am so happy he saw her first. He held her first. That is so special to me. This was the most difficult thing for me to accept, going into our planned c-section. I wanted to hold her and kiss her. But when it actually happened, I was so happy they had that moment together.

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The nurses and doctors asked what her name is, and Travis, with a jubuliant tone, said, “Lucia. Lucia Gabriella!” Everyone in the room said what a beautiful name that was. Matching a beautiful baby. It was what seemed like seconds after her coming out, they had her next to me, skin to skin with our cheeks. She was so warm and soft. I just wanted to stay in that moment, feeling and seeing my beautiful daughter for the first time.

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All this time, it was her inside of me. Every kick, every movement. Every ultrasound we had, I was feeling and seeing her! And now she was here, in my arms. You don’t know the love you could ever have for another until you have a child. I feel like that O.R. was a special, sacred place where our family gained a sweet spirit on that beautiful, sunny day. The bonding that came in the recovery room immediately after they stitched me up was one of the happiest moments of my entire life. I will treasure that memory forever. I had my husband and my daughter with me. My sweet, beautiful family.

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Lucia Gabriella Shumate was born on December 12th, 2011. 7lb. 10oz. 19.5 inches long. It wasn’t until Travis called family that we found out Lucia (Pronounced: Lu-cee-a) was actually my great-grandmother’s name. She always went by Lucille because it was more fashionable in those days. We didn’t tell anyone our daughter’s name until she was born, so that was a sweet surprise! And Gabriella is the name of our precious four-year-old niece that passed away last May. I was 10 weeks pregnant at the time, and we felt her sweet presence throughout the pregnancy. It only seemed natural to name our daughter after her.

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This past year has been a difficult one for our family and loved ones around us, but I know God has a plan for all of us. I know that we are meant to learn something from each experience both good and difficult. We have felt the “angels” around us rooting us on, telling us, it is all worth it. And it is.

I am so in love. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

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Featured : Kinfolk Magazine

We are thrilled to have one of our photographs featured in Volume Two of Kinfolk Magazine. “Kinfolk is a growing community of artists with a shared interest in small gatherings.” The second volume of Kinfolk highlights winter entertaining, illustrating the joy of spending time with family and friends in the colder months of the year. Over 60 artists have contributed essays, paintings and photographs to the magazine, including our photograph of the mountains of Lake Wallowa, Oregon, covered in fog. Support Kinfolk by purchasing a print copy online or downloading the iPad app.
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Lucia at 18 Days

Happy New Year! We’re so excited for this next year and what it holds for us, our business and our little Lucia. It’s amazing to see her grow and change already. I think we’ll keep her!
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Lucia Gabriella

Welcome Lucia Gabriella Shumate to the world! We are in love with our little girl. She is such a sweetheart, and it is so amazing how much joy she has brought to our little family. We’ll tell a little more of her birth story later, but for the time being, here are a few photos!
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My Girls at Seven Months

We don’t take enough pictures of our own lives, especially in this exciting time. To fix this I took Jaquilyn on a mini-photoshoot to document this stage in her pregnancy. She looks so beautiful. I know people always talk about the pregnancy glow, and now I see what they’re talking about.
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The Pacific Northwest

John Muir said that going to the woods is going home, and I couldn’t agree more. One of the best parts about living in the Pacific Northwest is being surrounded by countless forests.
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Fujifilm 400h. Canon AE-1.



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