Last Sunday we had our first family picnic ever. We've had 4 years as parents, and 8 years as a couple to have a picnic, but we never seemed to have the time for it. There was always "something" else to be done- work, shooting, editing, running errands, cleaning the house, grocery shopping.... a picnic was the last thing on my mind.
Fast-forward to 2020, and things are much different now. We aren't able to do any photoshoots, but I'm still blessed to work my full time job (fun fact- I've worked in Healthcare for 20 years, and I've worked from home for nearly 6 years for a prominent medical equipment company). So even though I'm busy working 9 hours a day, thanks to the quarantine, I have much more free time every night and on weekends; time to come up with something fun for my family to do.
One of the things we miss the most during this time of social distancing is eating out. At least once a week, usually by Thursday or Friday when I'm thoroughly exhausted from work and fresh out of ideas for dinner, we'd hop in the car and head to a local restaurant for dinner. Being greeted by familiar faces, catching up with our favorite waitresses, and eating lots of yummy food... those simple moments became a part of our family routine and we miss it...a lot.
And while we can't dine inside of our favorite eateries right now, we certainly can support them by ordering take out. And last weekend I got the idea to finally have a family picnic- takeout style!
One of our favorite spots is Bear's Smokehouse in Hartford, CT. It's a bit of a hike from our house, but the 45 minute drive is totally worth it; the food is THAT good! Bear's, like most places across the country, is closed for dine-in but still offers takeout. We placed an order online and waited outside until it was time to collect. Bear's service was excellent (as always) and they even included utensils and tons of napkins for us. Armed with a blanket and a cooler bag full of bottled water, we were ready for our first official Ross Family Picnic!
We've done a lot of photoshoots in and around Hartford, so we knew there was a quiet, grassy mall between City Hall and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. We set our blanket down not too far from the giant Stegosaurus sculpture and chowed down!
And as always, Sean Anderson served me major side-eye as we ate (he does this in every photograph we've taken together since the day he was born lol)
The sunset was the prefect backdrop to our feast! We've eaten outdoors before of course, but always on a restaurant patio or sidewalk seating. It was so nice to just plop down on a blanket and relax!
Sean Anderson kept his socks on while we ate, but as soon as his french fries were finished he ripped his socks right off. Nothing says happy quite like preschooler's piggies set free!
Granted we didn't have anyone other than ourselves to photograph, but it was nice to use our cameras again! We haven't been able to shoot a portrait session since mid-February, and we can't wait for the quarantine to be over so we can start photographing beautiful families again!
It was such a peaceful evening in the city. No sirens, no loud music, no cars zooming by. For the two and a half hours we were outside, we saw a total of 10 people, all of whom were all wearing masks and practicing social distancing. It's kind of sad that it took a pandemic for us to slow down as a family and enjoy something like a picnic, but we're grateful. If we were still busy caught up in the rat race of life, we would have never made time for such a thing.
One man even shouted out to us as he rode by on his bicycle "Nice to see a family out for a picnic and taking pictures!" He was right.... it was very nice indeed.
Lots of love,