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July 7, 2020

A few weeks ago, I got to photograph Becky and Chris’ family, and so when Chris’ sister, Laura, and her husband were visiting this past week, we had the perfect reason to get together again for some updated photos of the whole group. Between the first session and this one, Savi turned 3 and, since the two sessions were so close in timing, she remembered me and easily jumped right back into photo mode. Just look at this perfect little smile! The bribes did not have to come out until the last 10 minutes of photos, which is more than I can say for my own kids.

We had the most beautiful evening with gorgeous sun casting long shadows through the trees. It was a typically hot July day and, while the heat doesn’t just magically disappear at night around here, it at least becomes more bearable which made this session perfect.

Also, anyone looking for outfit inspirations for family groupings, take note here. No one matches and everyone coordinates. There are no pattern fights or tone clashes. They get 5/5 stars for wardrobe. 🙂
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June 23, 2020

Annette reached out to me a few weeks ago, wondering if I could photograph their family when her daughter and son-in-law would be back in town. We had planned for a Saturday morning, but the forecast was looking terrible for Saturday so we made a quick call to reschedule to a Thursday evening and it ended up being absolutely perfect.

The Fulton family welcomed me onto their farm and it was so beautiful! Perfect summery light filtering through the trees, a beautiful front porch, classic red barn, and a sandy beach and stocked pond that they put in years ago.

It was so much fun to meet this family! Rick and Annette are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year and Taylor & David are celebrating their 5th anniversary so it was especially great to get photos of the couples together, as well as, of course, variations of all other pairings.

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June 18, 2020

Many years ago, I met Becky at a styled shoot I did (she modeled for us) and now, years later, we got to reconnect! She’s married now and has a daughter who is just a few months older than mine. She and her husband are building a house so we started their session there which was so fun and will hopefully be so special once it is done being built to remember this time of waiting and anticipation. (This first shot is through where the fireplace will be!)

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May 26, 2020

When Henry was just a baby, I posted about some of our favorite children’s books. Perhaps obviously, at that time, we were solidly in board books, but we have always been a family who reads and our book collection has grown and grown and grown over the years. Currently, my kids are 2 and 5 so, while my 2 year old still enjoys some board books, she’s entering the full-on picture book phase. And my 5 year old, now a self-taught and avid reader, is moving into chapter books, but he still loves a good stack of picture books (doesn’t every kid?). So, while this list cannot possibly be complete, I have compiled it based on both of their shared interests at the present time. In other words, these are books that both kids love to read.

For parents and grandparents trying to grow their own home libraries, here are a few tips I’ve learned over the years of collecting:

  1. Hardcover books are more expensive, but they are worth the extra money! Hardcover books get read more because the spine is clearly visible on the bookshelf. Softcover books tend to get hidden in the shelves and most don’t even have a spine so the only way to find out what they are is to pull them out and look at the cover. We always read the hardcover ones first because the spine is what my kids see and read when they are picking out stories from the shelves. They also hold up better in overall use so factor in longevity, especially if you plan on having or have more than one child.
  2. Always check consignment shops for books. They are so cheap (!!) and are usually still in decent to good condition. I know our favorite authors so it’s easy to scan through quickly and see if there are any books that we’d like.
  3. I keep a list of books we love but we don’t own yet on Amazon where it’s super easy to keep tabs on any sales or price shifts.
  4. Books are a great reward/incentive instead of toys. We have plenty of toys, but if I have to choose between the two, I’ll any day spend money on books over toys.
  5. The best way to find your favorite books is to use your library! Books that we keep repeatedly checking out are books that we usually end up buying. We have checked out thousands of books at our local library and we keep finding new favorites every time!
  6. Lastly, pick and read stories to your kids that include a variety of ethnicities and cultures! The best way to start teaching inclusivity and anti-racism to really young kids is with books that show lead characters in a variety of skin colors, clothing and hair styles, and traditions.

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April 27, 2020

This family was so fun to meet this past November. Lincoln had reached out to me on Instagram last fall to see if I would be available to photograph her family over Thanksgiving when they would be visiting from out of state. It ended up working out perfectly with my schedule and we were lucky to be able to use any of the space and buildings on the property that they are renting. It was a really dreary day and fairly chilly out, but everyone brought cheerful attitudes and followed the philosophy that I think every family should adopt: “There are only two days that your mother gets every year…Mother’s Day and photo day. You smile and do whatever she says on those days.”

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April 16, 2020

I shot their wedding on an unusually cold day in October 5 years ago and I got to photograph their family a few years ago (first here and then here) when Jackson was much smaller and Beckham wasn’t born yet. So getting to hang out with this sweet family again was, simply put, a joy. Beckham was at the age of not being shy at all and had plenty of smiles to give and, oh, if I could’ve just held him for hours; he’s the squishiest baby I’ve ever held. Jackson was a little shy, but as long as he was close to his parents and his lion, Taggy, he did just fine.

I met up with this family at Wilson’s Apple Orchard in Iowa City on a beautiful fall afternoon. With little kids, I try to keep sessions fairly simply and really relaxed and I knew Emily and Shamus would appreciate that and love the realness of the interaction photos. As a bonus, we got to end the session with them picking a few apples and then grabbing hot apple turnovers.

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