happy valentines day!

My ‘studly’ little boy wanted to wish everyone a very Happy Valentines Day!


When I saw The Album Cafe’s free valentines templates, I knew we had to send out some real (ie: snail mail) Valentines to celebrate Colin’s first Valentine’s Day!  Enjoy!

meet colin lee

It was a ‘Black Friday’ we’ll never forget.  After enjoying an enormous Thanksgiving feast, I entered my turkey-induced coma only to be awakened at 2am by contractions.  16 hours later… Colin Lee entered the world!  A happy & healthy baby boy with a rockin’ head of hair!

 He is most certainly loved (well, at least by me & John… Colby Jack is still deciding).  Here is our family of four.  Please excuse my tired eyes… the product of a couple sleepless nights.  Well worth it!

Back in December, we sent out these birth announcements/Christmas cards to introduce Colin to the world…

 I can promise there will be many, many more photos to come!

waiting for baby

[I thought it would be most appropriate to end my own maternity leave by posting a blog post of a maternity session!]

Will & Candice moved to South Bend this summer, just like us.  Will is in Notre Dame’s MBA program with my husband, John.  When we met him at the orientation cookout, he mentioned that his wife was also expecting, due shortly after me, and I couldn’t wait to have a new prego friend!  And then Will told John he should read the book ‘Dude, You’re Gonna Be A Dad’ and I laughed, knowing all four of us were equally clueless about how our lives were about to change.

These maternity photos were taken on Notre Dame’s campus.  It was a fluke warm, sunny day in the middle of November, just days before my own due date.  We walked (I waddled) around my favorite spot on campus- the lakes- taking guesses at the genders of our babies (we both kept it a surprise).

Here are my favorites from the session:

And I just found out (while writing this blog post, crazy enough) that Will & Candice welcomed their new baby boy a few hours ago!  (I was right, it was a boy!)  I can’t wait to meet him!


me on monday: self portrait I month one

Wow, a lot has changed since my last blog post.  The last 2+ months have been simply incredible.  We welcomed a healthy baby boy (much more on that coming soon) and enjoyed the holidays with both of our families (but traveling with a 4 week old baby sure does complicate things!)

Recently a few of my photography friends asked if I’d be interested in participating in a self portrait challenge.  As photographers, we’re much more comfortable behind the camera so the true challenge would be forcing ourselves to be present in a photo.

I started thinking about an appropriate ‘self portrait’ for this month.  I’ve spent nearly the entire month inside with my new little guy, avoiding the single digit temperatures & nasty flu season.  So, to energize myself, I stepped outside ALONE into the peacefully falling snow, tripod in hand, wearing my new favorite hat (a Christmas gift from my sister!)… leaving Baby with Dad for some boy time.

And surprisingly… it was actually kind of fun!  Until one of the neighbors opened her window and asked if I “needed help” (and I realized what it must look like from her angle:  crazy lady outside alone, with a tripod, throwing snow in the air).  Perhaps I do need help.



Go check out my friends’ self portraits and say hello!

Utah Photographer  Rachel Nielsen

Minnesota Wedding Photographer Amber Fischer

State College Photographer Lara Koppmann

Northwest Arkansas Wedding Photographer Krista Campbell

me on monday: second trimester memories

It’s hard to believe my due date is just 2 weeks from today already!  At times these 9 months have flown by… at others, they’ve dragged.  Overall, pregnancy is more work than I had imagined, but there have been some really fun moments along the way.

It’s a little late, but here’s my pregnancy journal with our memories from the second trimester:

pregnancy journal example


Interested in using this pregnancy journal layout? See more easy ways to document your pregnancy plus download a free pregnancy journal [there’s one page for each trimester]!

things i love thursday: maternity must-haves & a giveaway!

It was a busy fall season, but all photo sessions, edits & design work are now complete!  The last of the Christmas cards & albums ship out to happy client homes this week.  And with that starts my maternity leave!

Speaking of maternity, I know a LOT of people expecting right now.  And as I’m nearing the end, I thought it would be fun to share some of my ‘maternity must-haves.’

  • If you’re already expecting… hopefully you find one of these helpful!
  • If you’re not expecting right now… pin this away for ‘someday‘ by clicking the ‘pin it’ button at the bottom of the post!
  • If you’re not planning to ever expect… save as gift ideas for your next pregnant friend!

Speaking of gift ideas… maternity & newborn photo sessions make the BEST gift.  [Hey, this is a photography blog after all…]

And with that… here are my ‘top 10 things that helped me survive pregnancy!’  Scroll all the way down for the giveaway!

top 10 items to survive pregnancy

  1. Be Band:  this was a must have item in the early stages of pregnancy and my very first maternity purchase.  While the elastic waist world of maternity pants is life changing-ly awesome, the expense of buying a whole new wardrobe is overwhelming.  Use these guys to extend the life of your existing wardrobe and ease your way into maternity wear.
  2. Be Maternity Cami:  it’s possible that I wore one of these daily.  The material is comfortable and fits at every stage.  The length is perfect!
  3. Oldnavy.com:  I’m a big online shopper but when it came time to invest in maternity clothes I got scared… how would I know my size if I’ve never done this before?  Old Navy was my go-to for maternity clothes.  The prices are very reasonable and the quality has held up through my entire pregnancy.  I found their sizes to be true to pre-pregnancy so it was easy (package coming every day easy) to shop online. If I had to pick my very favorite item, it’s their prego yoga pants.  [It’s a sad day when your pre-pregnancy yoga pants reach their stretching max… but maybe that only happens to me…]
  4. Baby Bargains:  One of the best tips I received from a friend!  This was a LIFESAVER during registering.  As a clueless, first-time mom & dad, we actually brought this book with us to Target as we registered.  John made fun of me because I wouldn’t add an item to the registry until I had read Baby Bargain’s opinion.  It was like having your best, most knowledgable, mommy friend by your side… holding your hand and offering you a warm beverage. Worth. Every. Penny.  I am not exaggerating when I say this book saved us at least 10 times the $11 cost.
  5. Naked Juice:  I had a rough first trimester.  I worried about nutrition and keeping down enough ‘good foods’ for Baby.  I drank a lot of Naked Juice in those early days to get a few servings of fruit/veggies.
  6. Foam Roller:  This thing is one of my most prized possessions… in life.  Not just in pregnancy.  It’s used in sports therapy to massage muscles and it does incredible things for a sore back.  Keep in mind that I have NO medical background, but I will say that this roller kept me sane at the end of some long, achy days.  A quick roll up/down my back brought relief that was much cheaper and accessible than a pre-natal massage or chiropractic adjustment!
  7. Boppy:  Oh, you overpriced piece of heaven.  As my belly has grown, sleep has become increasingly uncomfortable.  My husband bought me this little wonder.  I even trekked it with me for a road trip across a few states because it made that much of a difference in my life.  While nothing could help me sleep in these final weeks/days, this pillow really helped in my second trimester & beginning of the third.
  8. Majama Easy Bra:  Another helpful tip from an experienced friend.  These are meant for nursing moms, but I’ve been sleeping in them since the early months of pregnancy.  They’re very comfortable and will definitely come in handy once I do start breastfeeding.  Consider it an early investment.
  9. Nursing Bra:  Ok, nursing bras are scary.  They don’t sell sizes in Target that would adequately cover a larger busted girl, once she needs to go up a size or two.  So I had to resort to Amazon.com and blindly purchase a nursing bra online.  This baby is fabulous.  The main perk is that it’s stretchy (s/m/l sizing) so you can buy it before you know what size you’ll be… you know, after the ladies fill… and it’ll grow with you.  I may go so far as to say it’s the most comfortable bra I’ve ever owned.  I’m wearing it right now… because it’s too comfy to sit in a drawer waiting for after baby.
  10. Lush Therapy Bar:  One of the best gifts I received.  I didn’t like the Palmer’s cocoa butter that everyone recommends so this bar was perfect!  A quick rub over the belly soothes itches and helps keep away stretch marks!

And now the exciting part… a ‘Pin It To Win It’ GIVEAWAY!  The winner will receive a FREE Lush Therapy Bar (item #10 above!), shipped anywhere in the United States!  To enter: Pin this article on Pinterest and then leave a comment below letting me know.  A random winner will be chosen Thursday, November 8th at 8pm EST!  Good luck!

F a c e b o o k