They, quite literally, ran into each other a few years ago. They both were out on the town–Bryan with his brother and Caroline with her friends–on a summer evening. “It was a busy night and it was difficult to maneuver through the crowd and the big goof that I am ran into Caroline…or maybe we ran into each other. I forget what I said, but it was enough to get a laugh out of her,” Bryan says.

Caroline fills in that she had been waiting forever at the bar to get drinks and when she finally had them, she “swung around and ran into  tall scruffy man. He smelled amazing and my eyes were level with his pearl snaps. I looked up and noticed his kind blue eyes right away. He said something funny and I laughed.” They exchanged numbers and he soon realized that the number she gave was legit and “we haven’t stopped talking to each other ever since.”

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Shortly after their first run in, they went on their first official date. They spent hours talking and laughing and then, when it was time to leave, they walked to the parking lot together. “[We] stood outside my car,” Caroline says. “And I was perfectly prepared for him to give me a good night kiss. Bryan pulled me close and lightly kissed me on the forehead and that is when I knew he was different, special.”

Thirteen months later, Bryan proposed to her. “I had just gotten through a two-week process of picking out the band and the diamond. I am a very eager person and when I want to get something done, I try to accomplish my goal quickly. So, the day after I pick up the ring I made arrangements to go pick out our Christmas tree together. The whole way there, I made my best effort to be engaged in our conversation and also think through what I was going to say. When we parked the car I made an excuse to get back into the cab of the truck to ‘get my gloves.'”

“Bryan said, ‘Caroline come here.’ I impatiently said, ‘whaaat?’ He pulls me close and said ‘I love you.’ I said, ‘I know! Let’s go!’ and I grab his hand and pull him towards the rows of trees. He swings me back towards him and that’s when I see him lower to one knee. ‘Oh my gosh, it is happening,’ I think to myself,” Caroline says.

“I then called her back to the truck and I just spoke from my heart and told her I love her and that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. I got down on one knee and after the tears and excitement settled down she said yes.”

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It’s always most interesting to me to find out what a couple most loves and respects about the other. Caroline says, “His heart, he is so patient and kind. His ability to forgive his a great reminder for me. You can tell this just by looking into his blue eyes.”

“Her smile and her devotion to not only her work but her love for the children she teaches,” Bryan says. “She has so much passion that it carries through to my life. I would just be a lump on a log if she didn’t push me to be better and I really respect her for doing that for me.”

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It was so quickly evident to me how much Caroline and Bryan love to laugh together and they were so much fun to photograph because they just oozed joy!
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My sweet little Perrin,

You’ve been in our arms for five whole months. It seems unreal. The first few months were a blur and now that things are easier, I made the rookie mistake of thinking time would slow down a little bit. (Hint: it doesn’t.)

There are so many things I’m looking forward to with you, but I’m also treasuring the stage that we are right now. You are sweet and full of smiles—they are big, gummy, open-mouth smiles that take up your whole face. You are such a happy little girl, unless you’re tired or hungry. You love observing the action around you, particularly your big brother, and you wiggle yourself around to get the best views. Perrin_5_Months_EmilyCrall_Photo_0017.jpg

Speaking of wiggling, you are a professional roller now, but only from back to front. As soon as I lay you down, you pull up your little legs and swing them to the side, rolling herself over using all your momentum. Zip, there you go. Unfortunately, even though you’ve rolled from front to back before, you seem to have forgotten so then you get mad that you’re stuck on your stomach. (Although as I’m writing this, I see you on the monitor rolling everywhere in your crib so maybe you do know how, but you just don’t want us to know? I caught you, girl.)

When you were a baby, you refused your pacifier. You’d spit it out immediately. Over the last couple of months though, you’ve become attached in a big way and there are times during the night when we have to go pop it back into your mouth while you’re half-asleep crying. You immediately go back to sleep and, thankfully, so do we. Perrin_5_Months_EmilyCrall_Photo_0018.jpg
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I started feeding you some baby food as a trial a couple of weeks ago and you immediately gobbled it down like you were starving (you’re not as clearly evidenced by your adorable chubby thighs). So now I offer it to you once or twice a day (lunch and/or dinner) and you loveto eat. Girl after my own heart you are.

Summer hit hard and we’ve been struggling through high-90s already in May. I’ve been dressing you in as little as possible to try to keep you cool when we are out. But all that also means that pool season is here and you have the darlingest little bathing suit. Given how much you love to splash in the bath, I’m hoping you’ll also love the pool. I’ve yet to manage our maiden voyage with just me, you, and Henry.

We had your baby dedication at church on May 20th. Henry was most excited that he got to be up on the stage. We chose Zephaniah 3:17 for your dedication verse: “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save. He will rejoice over you with joy. He will calm you in his love. He will rejoice over you with singing.” And I pray that’s true for you throughout your life, Perrin. That you know God’s love in such a sweet way, calming and serenading while also strong and mighty. The juxtaposition of all His greatness in every marrow of your bones.

My darling, I’m so proud to be your mama. To show you the world, to guide you into it and through it. It’s such an overwhelming responsibility, but it’s equally an overwhelming joy. I’m so glad you’re mine.

I love you.

Mama

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(You are sending me so many messages right here, but mostly, “Mom, make him stop.”)
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Loves: your play mat, music & singing, being held upright, sitting in your bumbo, eating food, having people talk to you, cooing, your pacifier 
Wears: 3-6m in clothes, size 2 diapers (size 3 overnight)
Sleeps: 8PM-8AM + 3 naps a day (two long ones and one shorter one in the late afternoon) 
Previously:

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It was the most glorious day for their wedding. The sun was bright and the air was crisp without being cold. Lindsay and her ladies were getting hair and makeup done in the bridal suite at Bella Sala, while the guys relaxed in the reception hall. The waterfall outside splashed water down over the rocks, gurgling along the tiny little stream. At long last, it was their wedding day! And it was perfect.

Bella_Sala_Wedding_EmilyCrall_Photo_1169.jpgGideon surprised Lindsay with his proposal right before their one year anniversary in 2016. “We planned a trip to Des Moines the weekend before our anniversary to celebrate. We made reservations at a fancy Italian restaurant and before that, Gideon wanted to show me Gray’s Lake. He wouldn’t tell me where we were going and it made me so frustrated! It was freezing that night and me eyes were watering, my nose was running, and I wondered why in the heck he’d chosen that night of all nights to show me this lake. I was ruining his special plans by complaining. While we were walking, I realized he wasn’t standing next to me anymore. When I turned around, I saw him down on one knee. He asked me to marry him and I didn’t believe him! It felt so surreal! The bitter cold disappeared and all that I saw was him. Nothing else mattered. We kissed and hugged and then he looked at me and said, ‘So is that a yes?’ I then said yes a thousand times. To think I could have ruined such a beautiful night with my bad attitude.”Bella_Sala_Wedding_EmilyCrall_Photo_1170.jpg
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I asked what their dreams are for the future and Lindsay said, “To always be honest with one another. To always love and care for one another. To enjoy every trip, every milestone together. To have and raise beautiful, healthy, smart children of our own to love for the rest of our lives together.” I love that. I love seeing the special, beautiful bond they share.

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+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
Bridal Gown: Morilee from XOXO Bridal
Maids’ Gowns & Men’s Suits: XOXO Bridal
Venue: Bella Sala

Their first meeting was at The Bluebird Diner back in 2014. They dated for 6 months before she introduced him to her daughter and the connection came easily, mostly because her daughter fell in love with his cat and determined that he was an okay guy because “only good people have pets.”

The part of their story that strikes me the most is the love that grew between Pat and Elise’s daughter: “As Eleanor came over more often [to Pat’s house], she started to get into more stuff. I knew the relationship with Pat was one I wanted to last forever when he researched ways to organize for autism and took pictures of what was in each drawer/pantry in his apartment so she didn’t have to open them all to get what she wanted. Seeing him take as much care as I do to meet my daughter’s needs meant a lot to me.”

Pat and Elise share an easy-going, complimentary love. It is clear to anyone around them that their family, especially Eleanor, is the most important thing to them. They like to laugh and have fun together. Elise described their interests as “I think the big thing is we like to laugh and anything that brings us laughter is something worth doing.” I love that outlook!! They have found their treasure and it has been such an honor to witness it and document it. I asked Elise what she was most looking forward to about the wedding and she summed it up absolutely perfectly: “I look forward to being old and looking through the wedding album and seeing how young we were, how much love we had for each other, and that feeling you get when you realize how much more love you have for your partner now.”

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They requested doing a few quick photos at The Bluebird Diner, where they first met and it was absolutely perfect!
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After that, we headed straight to Iowa River Power Restaurant, where they would have their ceremony and reception dinner. It was the most perfect, glorious Wednesday afternoon!
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Hi peanut,

These days your smiles come easily and your opinions are strong. For the most part, you have become an easy baby, though evenings are still when you get crankiest. You are a good sleeper and you really prefer your room and bed over sleeping on the go, but you don’t always get that luxury with the warm weather and an older brother and playdates and walks to the park.

I have realized that time is going faster with you, my second child. It’s partly because I have less first-mom-syndrome and partly because my focus is split between two kids. You’re reaching milestones before I’ve even had a chance to think about them. With Henry, I was always aware of what would be coming next; soon he’ll roll over, soon he’ll laugh, soon he’ll sit up. With you, I’m so focused on each day that I barely realize time is passing and you’re either doing things already or will be soon. Because, see, you’re already four months old and it feels like I just pulled you up onto my chest in the hospital room.

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Perrin_4_Months_EmilyCrall_Photo_0003.jpgWhen you turned three months old, you could start going to the daycare at the gym rather than coming with me in the carseat and stowing away in the corner while I worked out. It’s been an adjustment and most mornings there, you refuse sleep until about 10 minutes before I pick you up when you finally conk out in someone’s arms. Thankfully, so far you’ve been good about going down for a nap once we get home and getting back on track for the day. I love seeing your resilient little self and am thankful that you’re learning to be flexible.

We finally (finally!) have warm weather after a seemingly endless winter. We’ve been spending our afternoons at the park, on ice cream runs, having playdates, playing outside, and going for walks. Again, I’m thankful that you’re learning to be flexible because the fresh air is so good for all of us.

Your brother adores you. His voice changes to a high-pitched, adorable, baby-gaga voice when he talks to you. And he gives constant updates on your response to him. “Mama, her eyes are open!” Mama, she’s looking around!” “She’s smiling at me, mama!” You are fascinated with him and always look around to see where he’s at. He will be your best protector and I am so excited to see the relationship between the two of you grow.

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Perrin_4_Months_EmilyCrall_Photo_0007.jpgThis next month will undoubtedly continue to bring more changes; you keep growing and discovering and learning new tricks. I love to see your personality shine and I’m so excited to continue to watch you grow. I’m savoring every moment, while also looking forward to new milestones: sitting up, crawling, climbing. I’m just soaking you in.

I am so grateful to have you in our family, Perrin. You bring joy to my heart and I will never be able to describe how much I love you. Some day I hope you will understand when you have children of your own, but for now, you have to trust that the love I have for you is just indescribable. It’s deep and wide and goes farther than you can see. As one of your books say, “You’ll never outgrow it. It stretches itself.”

Oh, my sweet, I love you so.

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Taking these monthly photos is no easy chore and I’m usually sweaty by the time I’m done. I already know from experience with Henry that these photos are priceless and I’ll treasure them always so the effort is worth it. This month, Perrin was waaayyyy more interested in chewing on her hands or making duck faces than she was in smiling. And Henry was trying to do his own photoshoot so that made for some extra fun workaround.
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Weighs: 13 pounds, 1 ounce
Height: 25.25 inches
Loves: your play mat, music & singing, being held upright, having people talk to you, cooing, your pacifier 
Wears: 0-3m in clothes in a few, but going up to 3-6m now, size 2 diapers
Sleeps: 8PM-8AM + 3 naps a day (two long ones and one shorter one in the late afternoon) 
Previously:

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On her handkerchief, she had their names monogrammed as well as their wedding date and “Colossians 3:12-17”, which reads, Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselveswith compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” 

From the very start, their day was filled with such joy and love. Christina & Cam have exuded grace and happiness since I have first seen them together and it has made every interaction with them so much fun.

When we arrived at Price Creek Event Center in Amana, it was quiet and calm. The ladies were still at the salon finishing up hair, but all of Christina’s accessories and her gown were there, just waiting to be photographed. It was the perfect way to get my creative juices flowing for the day. The weekend before had been freezing cold, incredibly windy, and rainy so I was sooo excited to have milder weather, still chilly, but not uncomfortable.

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These flowers were some of my favorite! So springy and pretty, while also not being too “fussy”. They were just perfect.
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There was a grassy area outside of the venue that we used for their first look before we hopped in the car for a short drive over to an area I had scouted out beforehand that I knew would be a dream to photograph them in.
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Their bridal party was such a riot! I loved photographing this crew!
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Look at these handsome guys!
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It was cloudy all day so we didn’t get a true “golden hour”, but I still think the 10 minutes of photos later on in the evening are important. It’s the chance to get away from the noise, the hugging, the congratulations, and just savor a few breaths together, alone.
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+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
Wedding Coordinator: Rachael May
Cake Artist: Stephanie Coons
Catering: PHAT Daddy’s
Hair & Makeup: Thompson & Co
Paper Suite: Minted
Bridal Gown: Brides by Jessa
Maids’ Gowns: Azazie
Suits: Menguin
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