Myleigh,

Happy 2nd Birthday Sweet Girl! I had so much fun at your birthday party last week but I missed seeing you on Sunday for your actual Birthday.  How can it be already a whole year since I wrote your 1st Birthday letter? This year went by so fast, but you’ve changed and grown so much.  You’ve learned so many new things…you count like a pro, and you recognize numbers on sight…at 2!! You’re such a smart girl.  You’ve learned all sorts of new tricks from that silly brother of yours.  You love to count to 3 and be lifted in the air.  You’ve learned to say cheese and scrunch up your nose into a smile for the camera…you’re also starting to learn to dance to music (a girl after my own heart!!) You love to color and draw too! You’re still fiercely independent and you’ve got quite a sweet tooth…you’ll do most anything for chocolate :)

I love you Sweet Girl.  I hope that over the next few years you keep learning and exploring the world around you.  Keep on dancing and laughing. Keep eating that chocolate too.  I hope you know how special you are and how much you are LOVED!! Can’t wait to see you soon and I hope you save some of those sweet moves for the wedding.

Love you Big Girl!

- Aunt Kate

This is a story of the Happiest Baby that Ever Was…seriously! I met up with Mel and her sweet boys 2 weeks ago for Cooper’s 6 month photos. Cooper was a GREAT baby! Seriously…one of those dream model babies. He was all smiles and giggles!  And he has incredible blue eyes.  Heart-throb in the making that is for SURE!  It really made my job a piece of cake :)  That and it was a beautiful 75 degrees outside that day!  Mel – Thanks for sharing the afternoon with me. Your boys are perfect & so very sweet! I had a blast!

We really tried to get a picture of Cooper and his big brother Landon…but Landon wasn’t really having it.  I think this sweet moment between brothers is precious though

I like catching the “everyday moments”. They are real. Tangible. They make me feel something…posed photos don’t do that for me. This is my kind of “brother” photo!

I initially wrote this post a few days ago when it was gorgeous and 70!! But now it’s cold and windy as hell. But that hasn’t dulled my super happy, annoyingly positive outlook on life for the past couple days…so bring on the sunshine and unicorns and rainbows and all other happy things!

It was a good couple of days…I had some time off & I spent it well! Cue checking things off my to do list. And not the to do list that contains things like clean the bathroom, laundry, grocery shop, make dentist appointment. And let me tell you that to do list needs a little TLC. But not this week. This week was about fun things.

Trips to the post office to drop all of these beauties in the mail. And yet another reminder that our wedding is just over 2 months away! I can’t wait for that day :) Also…cue the text messages, phone calls, emails and facebook messages from lots of our friends and family telling us how great our invites were. It makes my heart grow 2 sizes, puts a permanent smile on my face & makes me even more excited that our family & friends will all be gathering in one place very soon (insert my happy squeals here).

Shopping with a friend. Mostly for more shoes I don’t really need and a ridiculous amount of products from Sephora that I will never use to their fullest potential…but that I love.

An impromptu date night in the garage with the hubs-to-be. Totally his idea. We sat in lawn chairs just inside the garage door to protect us from the crazy wind and we just talked. He even went inside to grab me not 1 but 2 coats because I was cold. And we just talked…and talked…and talked.

Shopping & wedding dress fitting with my Mom! I love when she comes to visit! Plus one more thing checked off the wedding to do list.

It was a little sad to see the invites go with all my pretty vintage stamps attached. It was a whole lot of work…and probably not worth it to most people. But I loved them. It fits the theme of the wedding plus it was also fun to match the stamps to the recipients! Take care of my sweet little stamps…or at least love on them a little before you throw away the envelope.

In honor of Valentine’s Day (oh what…that was a whole week ago?) ok then… in honor of love.  Yup that sounds better anyways…who can argue with love?  I thought I’d share some things I’ve been loving lately.

This incredible video! I’m sure I’m on the end of seeing this make the internet rounds but MAN! It Makes me wish that I had learned how to play the flute!

Annie Lebovitz’s book: Annie Lebovitz at Work.  I’ve been loving this book all week. Annie Lebovitz tells the back-story behind some of her most famous photographs.  It’s like you’re in her head while she’s shooting.  She explains why she did what she did and how she did it.  She explains how she set up the shot, which lenses she used. I’m obsessed. Such incredible stories & inspiration galore. I’d say it’s a must-read for photographers!

This t-shirt:  How cute is that! I think I need one.

My new business logo – Sorry totally keeping that one under wraps for a tiny bit longer! But I had to add it to the list because I’m totally crushing on it!

This guy

photo by Maggie Medema Photography

Yup … sorry … I totally went there :)

Go Big or Go Home…yup…might as well call that my new business model.  Not really. But I’m already so in love with this new business I’m building, I just can’t contain my excitement. I love what it means for me…being creative.  I love what it means I’m going to be able to do…capture beautiful moments in people’s lives.  Pressing the pause button and creating beautiful images that tell their life story.  Oh how I love that more than everything else. Even more than cupcakes…and that’s a whole lot.   

My mind keeps spinning with all the possibilities. So. many. possibilities!

So buckle your seat belts friends. The new site, the new name, the new business will all be launching in the beginning of June.  And it feels like the wait may kill me.  So I thought I’d share it with you so that you can wait right along with me.  There are going to be so many fun things on the other side of that opening date.  I’m planning really fun sessions, styled shoots, totally connected & in-love families, beautiful weddings, sweet babies, sassy ladies and lots of other memories in the making.

Shoot me a message if your interested in getting on my calendar for a fun fresh shoot of your own or if you have questions.  Although the new details won’t be revealed juuuust yet. I am booking all types of sessions including weddings & I’d be happy to sneak you the details before the big public reveal.  Things are already starting to fill up pretty quickly (especially my weekends!) So go ahead and grab your spot now & stay tuned for more details (including some information on special “launch party” mini-sessions) as the launch date gets closer!

Confession: I am a HUGE nerd.

I know that news is most likely not real shocking & that’s perfect…I fly my nerd flag proudly.  Part of being such a huge nerd is that I love to read. I really love it. A lot. I almost always am reading something.  I love other people’s beautiful writing but find words often fail me. Once upon a time, I was actually a pretty ok writer. And then I went to college and followed a scientific path and…it may have ruined my inner author. Ok…maybe not really, and maybe I just wasn’t all that great to begin with. But I find that I often can’t find the right combination of words to say exactly what I’m thinking or feeling and damn is that frustrating!! I can almost taste the beautiful phrases that float around my head…but can’t quite convert that to writing in a style that I actually am comfortable with or one that even says exactly what I want it to. 

My inadequacies in writing makes blogging a frustrating experience. It probably wouldn’t be so bad except that I want to write well…I want to be able to convert my thoughts into the perfect paragraphs…I just can’t. So I’ll keep trying, but until then…the photos will speak for me – along with my slightly strange…not quite what I want…but better than nothing writing style.

So I turned to another medium.  Photography.  That saying, you know the one about a photo being worth a million words. I’m gonna rely on that as true. Although I wish my words really could adequately express how I feel about photos. Because this page…this site would be bursting with beautiful, incredible, tear-jerking prose.  Because that’s how photography makes me feel.

This beautiful sample album arrived on my doorstep a few weeks ago…oh how I love a photo album.   Every time I order one it’s like Christmas when I rip that box open. I know what is inside is so much more than just paper. It is memories and heirlooms and everything that I can’t quite express in words.

So things got a little crazy before Christmas and I didn’t get a chance to post the pictures of sweet little Trent from his 3 month old session.  Some of these will likely look familiar from my 2011 FAVES post…but this little man needed his own solo post! After all, he is one of my most photographed clients between his mama’s belly & newborn photos!  We did a super quick session on a terribly cold rainy day.  So we stayed inside and got some family photos & a few solo shots of the little stud.

I love the look on Trent’s face. And I love that photo of Trent & Jess…so sweet!

This next photo is one of my favorites of all time…what a sweet moment!!  Can you imagine how awesome it’ll be for Trent to be able to look back at this photo when he is 20 or 30 or 80 and know exactly how much he was loved!

One thing I LOVE to do each new year is to sit down and sift through all my photos of the previous year. Some years I make them into collages….some years I file them into “Best of 2001, 2006, 2009, etc” computer files.  But this year I decided why don’t I just start sharing them here!  I couldn’t decide if I should include favorites just from photo sessions or favorites that include personal photos…then I decided that was a really stupid thing to worry about…so I’ll share them all.  Here are some of my MOST favorite images from 2011…it was hard to narrow them all down and they certainly are in no particular order.  Buckle your seatbelt and be prepared for an onslaught of exclamation points & a crazy amount of photos!!!!! This post makes me so super happy!

We’ll start with this sweetheart.  I took this photo while I was living in Alabama…which conjures up all sorts of memories. Mmmm BBQ & sunshine & eating pastries on lazy saturday afternoons (outside in the middle  of winter…wearing  a tank top!!!) followed by antique and art shopping…sigh. I really miss that place sometimes! :(

Joel came to visit me in Alabama a lot and it was always so bittersweet…LOVED seeing him…HATED watching his plane fly away without me.  I missed his big, muddy boots when he was gone!

Sweet Girl turned the Big ONE!

Joel & I got Engaged!!!!

The Hotest Engagement Session of all time….but this couple WORKED it anyway!

More Fun Summer Engagement Sessions. For real – these two are so super cute! I can’t wait for their 2012 Jamaica wedding coming up in just a few months!! Better start getting my tan on so I don’t burn up like a lobster!

This next photo for real makes me super happy! Look at how they can rock a serious face!! LOVE it!

My sweet niece + nephew! Love them to the moon & back!!  Fun summer moments with those cuties!!  Bike Rides + Pushing Strollers…love those moments!

Lots of Baby Love in 2011…LOTS of baby love!! (mamas-to-be, babes, and kiddos …. they are so much fun and I LOVE to work with little ones!)

All those sweet pregnant bellies leads to loads of adorable newborn photos…this was hard to narrow down to top favorites!!

Cute kiddos this year too!

Love LOVE LOVE this sweet special moment caught between father & son.  This just makes my heart melt!

Another super cute engagement session … love how much they laugh together :)

Followed by their INCREDIBLE wedding! This was a huge highlight of the year…they were incredible & their wedding was incredible….beautiful venue, beautiful weather & beautiful bride!!  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them!!!!

Another Ah-MAZE-ing couple!  They could work a camera like no other…and they are so SO in LOVE! And I LOVE that!

Thanksgiving with my favorites….and OH how these piano photos rock my socks!

Hot Couples!! These photos are smoking and I LOVE them! Way to rock sexy in a Christmas tree stand in the Shop n’ Save parking lot!

That last photo made me snap a finger and say WORK!! Love it!

Love the LOVE!

What a 2011 it was!!! I am so excited about all the big things planned for 2012; business-wise, creatively and personally! Holy WOW it’s gonna be one hell of a year! Can’t. Wait.

Ok…so I’m a little late….and ok so it’s really been 2&1/2 weeks since Christmas.  But I finally got caught up on work things and was able to sit down and sort through my Christmas pictures so I thought I’d share them here so I’m not the only one oooh-ing and ahhhh-ing over my super cute niece and nephew.  And I’m also SHOCKED at how they’ve grown.  Looking back at photos from last Christmas blows me away! Look how much bigger they are!

There was lots of gift-opening….

Sister finally figured out how to tear into packages…and she was a present-opening machine after that!

There was also magnadoodle-ing

And remote-controlled car driving

And couting….she loves to count! And is shockingly good at it too!

And there was also Hungry Hungry Hippo-ing (P.S. I’m pretty sure Joel was ruthless and didn’t let Landon win)

Christmas was pretty much perfect. We got to spend lots of time with our families, ate way too much food and at least 2 too many sugar cookies (if that’s really possible).  Hope everyone else had an awesome holiday too! 

Last year I joined the bandwagon and picked an “inspirational word” for the year. I picked dream.  And boy, oh boy did that word ever have meaning for me.  I don’t even think at the time I could’ve grasped exactly how big of an impact the word would really have. 2011 was a pretty big year for me. I finished a year-long out-of-state commitment, got engaged, moved back home to the midwest, started planning a wedding, and decided to take a big leap into the world of small businesses. So as 2012 begins, I can’t help to think about what this year will bring…and I’m overwhelmed with the possibilities and with all the amazing new things and experiences that are bound to come with it.  So I decided to pick a new word for 2012.

Grow.

This word really signifies to me personal growth, growing a marriage (!!!), growing a business…all sorts of happy things.  Bring it on 2012! I’m so ready for you.

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