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January 18, 2019

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

It was Memorial Day weekend several years ago. They both happened to go to the same local restaurant to hang out on the outdoor patio and enjoy the spring air. They were each there with their own groups of friends, but, as luck would have it, there were mutual connections in their separate groups and it wasn’t long before they all combined into one big group. Catie & Justin immediately connected after being introduced since they are both teachers and had both decided to take a year off. “Our conversation quickly turned to our love of languages and our love of travel. Fate would make it that both just so happened to be taking a sabbatical from our teaching careers and were going to travel for a year. I was going to California and Catie was going to France. We shared our excitement but also our fears about moving away from home and living somewhere new.” 

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Their first date was about a week later. Since school was out, they were in a unique situation of having an entire summer free before packing and moving away. “Normally that is not ideal circumstances to start dating someone new who will end up being the love of your life,” Justin says. “But it worked out great for us! I knew Catie was the one sometime that first summer. We clicked immediately. I wanted to spend all of my time with her. I had initially planned to move to California in August, but decided to stay and wait until Catie left for France. I wanted to shorten the time we were going to be apart. When I decided to move to California, I didn’t know when I would come back to Iowa. However, I remember late July that summer I decided I was coming back to Iowa when Catie came back.”

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January 2, 2019

FILED IN: Personal

Happy birthday, my darling girl!

When you were placed in my arms, you weighed just over 6 pounds. You retain your nickname of “Peanut” with you weight hovering around 18 pounds while your height is a full 10 inches taller.

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In comparison to your brother, my pregnancy with you was easy. Hardly any sickness. Hardly any acid reflux. I was able to work out the entire way through (most memorably working out the morning of your due date when you still hadn’t appeared). And when you still weren’t here by the new year, we left Henry at your grandparents’ house and went in early in the morning on January 2nd for me to be induced.

Birthing you was, dare I say, also easy. In part because I’d already gone through induction before so I knew what to expect and I knew to get my epidural early this time. So at 10:00 AM when my nurse came in to start pitocin, the anesthesiologist also came in to get my epidural going. I ended up only having about 10 minutes of severe contractions before the epidural was in place and kicked in, which was sheer relief in comparison to what I was anticipating.

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December 31, 2018

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

It was just two weeks after they first met that Austin says he knew Maria was the one. “I knew I loved her after a week. And when she sticks around after that, I knew she wasn’t going anywhere. Every day after that, she has shown me more and more how she’s the best person for me and we are meant to be together.”

As for Maria, she doesn’t pinpoint a date, but says it was a lot of little things that added up. “How he’d pack my lunches and leave little notes insides. How well we agreed on big things like our values and how we would want to raise kids. How well he supported me when I was upset. A big thing for us is how well we communicate; so I think how well we work through disagreements or difficult times in our relationship has made us both very confident that we’ve each found the one.”

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Austin proposed nearly two years to the day after their first date. He was planning on proposing while they were Texas, but Maria had absolutely no clue. He had told her, “I’m not going to do it in Texas” and, because he’s so practical and she figured he’d worry about losing the ring during traveling, she definitely believed him. About that, she was right. “I was a nervous wreck,” Austin says.

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December 2, 2018

FILED IN: Personal

Hi little ladybug.

A year ago, we were in the final countdown to your birth. Things seemed to be moving along easily and I honestly thought you would be a Christmas baby. I remember singing at church for the Christmas program and we joked that I might go into labor on stage and bring new meaning to “live nativity.” But, just like your brother, you were comfy in there and needed a little assistance to motivate you to come out.

And now, in what seems like a snap of the finger, we’ve been holding you in our arms, kissing your chubby cheeks, and tickling your tummy for 11 months. Oh, how we love and adore you.

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You’re a complete daddy’s girl. You love him so much and particularly being held by him. You hear the door to the garage open and instantly speed crawl that direction, jabbering “dadadadada”. (You also jabber “mamamamama”, but I’m definitely second fiddle to your daddy.)

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November 27, 2018

FILED IN: Photography

We scheduled this session months ago, knowing the it would be after the crash of wedding season and closer to Cortney’s due date. So there was no way of knowing what the weather would be like. We’ve had finicky weather all year (brutally hot when it is normally mild and really cold when it’s normally not), but Saturday morning we woke up to the first snow of the season and it was perfect given that Cortney’s due date is Christmas day!

We had a few locations in mind and went around and around on what to choose, but we finally landed on Kent Park. In part because we knew it would be mostly untouched, fresh snow out there, but also because that’s where I photographed their engagement session! It felt special to go back to the same place to photograph them now, just weeks before holding their daughter in their arms. (I also photographed a night session downtown and their wedding day!)

Going along on couples’ journeys from engagement to marriage is always a beautiful honor, but it’s even more amazing to see them beyond that…to now becoming parents! Cortney and Christian, thank you for letting me be part of your story in my own invisible, behind-the-lens way. I am so so so excited for you to welcome your baby girl and see you guys embrace parenthood!

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November 21, 2018

FILED IN: Personal

My darling Henry,

Four years ago, you took your first breath. You were placed in my arms and you just looked at me, not crying, just taking it all in, this strange journey you had just managed from inside to outside. I loved you from the moment I found out you existed, growing inside of me, but in that moment, untethered of me and your own self-existing human, I loved you more than I ever dreamed possible.

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