Amelia is a dear friend of mine in Asheville, and I was excited when she asked if I would take a few photos of her and Nick to memorialize this time in their relationship. Nick had been deployed for the past year, and they were celebrating his return back to the States. What I didn’t expect was for Nick to PROPOSE in the middle of our session! On the way up to Black Balsam, I joked with Nick that today would be a really great time get engaged. You have a photographer here in a beautiful place on a gorgeous summer day…I had no idea that his plan was to actually pop the question. And, Amelia definitely didn’t have a clue.

Needless to say, we were both surprised when he said something in his pocket was bothering him. He quickly pulled out a box, and I started snapping away. We spent the rest of our time laughing about how unexpected the proposal was and how well Nick was able to surprise Amelia.

Amelia + Nick – I’m so happy for you both! I can’t wait to celebrate with you again next fall at your wedding :)

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five years

Five years of marriage has come and gone. I feel like it was just yesterday that we were celebrating our engagement in St. Lucia. Taking our engagement photos in Chicago. Celebrating with all of our nearest and dearest at the home where I was raised (and also where we had our first date). Since then, we’ve travelled around the globe: road tripping across Western Europe, swimming in the Mediterranean in Greece, watching the sunset on ferries in Canada, driving up and down and all around the United States, climbing mountains in this new home city that we love so much…and so many more adventures.

Now, we’re about to embark on another adventure:  parenthood. It’s safe to say that word both terrifies us and excites us. As we get closer and closer to welcoming that sweet baby into the world, the more my emotions run wild. I feel as though I am constantly grieving the past, but yet I’m also incredibly excited to prepare for the future. It will only be just the two of us (well, three, if you include Poa) for a little bit longer, and I’m savoring the days when we can come and go without plan. We can stay up late or wake up early, and it isn’t something we have to analyze. We can travel at the drop of a hat and venture into the wilderness whenever we feel like it. We can eat and drink whatever we like (well, my diet has been restricted over the past six months…). We can have date nights on a whim. There are so many sweet moments that are just you and me.

But, I also know that this new life will bring us depth and growth in our marriage. This baby will challenge us to our limits, but he/she will also teach us even more about love and life. The baby will show us what it’s like to see the world for the first time all over again, cherishing every new encounter and experience. I can’t wait to watch you become a dad. And, find out what it feels like to be a mom.

When I found out I was pregnant, my life flashed before my eyes. I found myself reminiscing constantly, wondering if things will ever be the same again. Of course, they won’t. There will be glimpses of us always, but our family is about to change in the best way. This transitional season has been a wonderful reminder of savoring the present. When things feel right with the world (or, even beautifully mundane) I close my eyes and try to absorb as much goodness as I can.

Mornings on our porch. Poa begging for that last blueberry. The breeze coming over the mountains.
Binge-watching Netflix. Cuddling together on our couch. Snacking on our favorite food.
Walking through our neighborhood at dusk to pick up ice-cream. Poa staring at us the entire way back, begging for his special doggie bowl.
Day trips to the mountains. Cool air after a long, hot summer. The views. Oh, the views.
Poa howling at the smoke alarm that is currently going off as you cook me breakfast.
Laughing about the most ridiculous baby names and whether they are feminine or masculine or neutral.
Laying in bed. Reading late. Having you feel the baby kick in my stomach and wondering outloud who he/she will be.

Brendan, it’s been the best five years. I wouldn’t want to spend my years with anyone else, nor would I trust my heart with another soul. I wouldn’t want to jump into parenthood without you. I love you. Cheers to the next year, and many more to come.

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First and fifth images by Kristen Marie Parker, taken on our fourth anniversary. Second and third images by A Fist Full of Bolts of our engagement + wedding. Fourth image by Jenna Thomas, celebrating our second anniversary. This last image was taken celebrating our fifth. It seemed appropriate that it was windy, wild, and wonderful…just like this new adventure we’re about to embark upon.

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The beauty of Michigan never ceases to amaze me. I felt like we were wandering around the Sahara Desert with the infinite dunes at Silver Lake State Park. Brianna + Josh were troopers as we hiked for miles up and down sand hills. Can’t wait to share more…