The N Family {Middleton, WI Family Photo Session}

Why don't we go ahead and think about warmer days while it is still snowing, in March. Thanks Wisconsin!! I LOVED capturing this family, the boys energy and the love Mom & Dad shared for each other was so much fun. The colors & sun of fall just brought it all together. Thank you Marissa & family for coming out!

Maria & Ben {Wingra Park Couple Session}

You don't need a life milestone for pictures with your spouse! Sometimes you just need to capture the love between the two of you on a whim! That's exactly what this session with Ben & Maria was. I LOVED that we planned this so quickly, had a short 20 min window, and caught the prettiest sunset at a super small but favorite park of mine. They actually did not reveal to me until the end of the session that they were expecting their first little one. Seriously, how adorable is that? The excitement and love for each other was so strong, I'm so glad I met these two!

Prairie Inspired {Photo Session with Ele Story & Thr3e Styling}

All this warm weather reminds me of the long summer evenings and strong heat of the sun. Summer is just around the corner (I hope). Some of you have had some awesome experiences with Brandy of Thr3e Styling last year (yay for a successful launch of this new service & thanks to B for all her hard work!!) Well I'd like to introduce you to her beautiful little ladies. We did a "Little House on the Prairie" inspired shoot and these dresses from Ele Story were the perfect match to these two ladies personalities & overall vibes of the session. Here are just a few of my favorites. Prairie

The S Family {Middleton, WI}

I met this little man when he was just a few weeks old and I have love capturing him change and grow in the past year. I have also loved watching his Mom & Dad grow as parents too! We met up in the fall for his 1 year session at Pheasant Branch and I loved the beautiful end of fall colors it gave us on this warm fall morning. Here are a few of my favorites! madison family photo

Minimalist in the making - {Bathroom Flip}

Ok, so maybe this wasn't the most cluttered room in the house, but we had to start somewhere - and what better low pressure, easy project to start with than the bathroom. I have always longed for a simpler way of life - less things = less cleaning, less stress, less worry. So this year I made a goal to go through room by room and purge. Not just simple things like garbage and old boxes but ALL OF THE THINGS. Things we haven't used in the 2 years we've lived there, things that we've been holding onto from place to place trying to find a use for. Pretty much everything we don't use on a monthly or less basis goes. Anyways, back to the bathroom. I started here because of the obvious small square footage and no windows to deal with but also because since it was the only room we had not painted when we moved in, I was itching for a change.

We built the board & batten on the long wall to give it a little more depth and detail. We are changing all of our trim throughout the house to white, so I knew it would match well. I did do some painting in our laundry room last year, and I chose to paint the cabinets white which I didn't love the look of - perhaps it was my lack of patience or experience with it but I wanted to try something different.

Everything I read pointed me towards General Finishes gel stain - I've used it in the past and loved it's quick drying and deep rich tones. It took 3 coats to cover the entire vanity but it was well worth it! I used Java, which is a deep rich color. It made the existing countertop and white trim really pop with the contrast.

Chris came through big time with the barnwood frame around the existing mirror & hexagon shelves that he made in our previous house, and he even convinced me to splurge on a new light fixture which I loved the idea of finishing it my mounting on a moss covered piece of barn wood (sealed of course)

The main goal was to give it a fresh look & clear the clutter without spending a ton of money. Between the paint and stain, and a few other new finishes like the shower curtain from UO and our light fixture we came out to just under $200 for this flip.

 

Project 365 {January}

No promises, I did try this project 2 years ago and it flopped after the first month.. but I am trying VERY hard to continue capturing our everyday life. It pushes me to look from different angles, to find light where it's hiding, and of course try to capture the personality and expressions of our crazy adventurous two year old. So like I said no promises, but here is our January!

The B Family {Prairie Ridge Park}

Location is important, yes. But sometimes when you have a short window of sun light and a beautiful open prairie in your backyard you kind of have to take advantage. And what says family more than having your pictures taken where you child will I'm sure often play and grow up next to?! I loved this little family and although little man was pretty serious, we managed to get a few smiles out of him. And aren't Mom & Dad just basking in the glow of parenthood?!

The U Family {Gibraltar Rock Family Session}

I am flattered when another photographer (especially ones as talented as Anne) reaches out to book a session. I've only known Anne for a little while now but she has such a beautiful soul and it really really shows through her work and the passion she has for her family and 3, soon to be 4 perfect little babes. We adventured a little on their family farm and then explored Gibraltar Rock. I loved all the little in between moments - it really showed the amazing dynamic this family shares. Here are just a few favorites from the evening! \

The Art of Adventure

A lot of people have told me they admire my ability to get out all the time, with a kid, exploring, adventuring. First of all let me say that I'm flattered. I've never felt more independent than I have since G was born (you would think it would be opposite right?) It isn't always as easy as photos make it seem but there are a few things I've learned over the past 2 1/2 years that have made the whole "adventuring" thing much easier for me & my sidekick. I know things may not always be this way so while it's just the 2 of us I like to take advantage of any opportunity we have to adventure together. So here goes, I hope this helps with your future adventures! 1 - Be less tethered to things. Our adventures aren't always pre-planned, so there are times when I am not 100% prepared for a trip but that's ok. The more I accidentally left the diaper bag behind, the better it felt! I know this is not always an option with small children but my go to is usually a juice bottle, a treat bag, and a few diapers. These go easily in my purse or camera bag and that's it! For long distance trips if I remember to pack an extra pair of pants for G it comes in handy, worst case we've made pit stops at the closest Target for a quick change! You will feel the freedom without things weighing you down.

2 - Don't plan. The more you plan, the higher your expectations of how the day should go will be. Things don't have to be scheduled to the minute. Give yourself a little lead time if you have places to be before and after your adventure but other than that let things happen organically.

3 - Leave your phone in the car. I know, I know we all say it "I want to be more present" or "I hate all of my notifications" "I'm going to take a Facebook break" well here's a simple solution - leave it behind. If it's not there you can't compulsively check it right?! Chances are if you are out exploring in the middle of no where you won't have service anyway so leave it in the car, or at home. Even if it's just for the 15 minute run into Target. It will feel liberating I promise! You don't have to give up Facebook for life to be present.

4 - Don't give up on what you originally set out to do. Kids moods (especially toddlers) change constantly. It's inevitable. So if you get in the car and your child wants to scream because they dropped their toy, and then refuse to put their jacket on, or run through the store instead of sitting in the cart (sound familiar?) or are just having a rough day in general don't give up. Chances are if you ride it out their moods will get better. I know there have been many times when I've thought after our first stop "ugh we should just go home" and then 10 minutes later we are laughing and singing in the car and it turns into the best day ever.

5 - Have fun. This one seems obvious but I had to include it because I feel like as Mothers we are inclined to forget this part of Motherhood. There are so many things that run through our minds on a daily basis, trying to make the best decisions for our babies and our families, cleaning, preparing meals, getting our kids to their various engagements, etc. Don't forget that this part makes it all of the worry and stress worth it. Life is truly not worth living if you don't have fun!

 

The H Family {Indian Lake Fall Session}

These are the moments you will remember forever. The hugs, the cuddles, the goofy faces & tickles. If there’s one thing I can leave you with in our session, these moments are it. I loved the personalities of these three kiddos, these are some of my favorite ages to capture! There's so much curiosity and goofiness and imagination! I absolutely adored this family and the crazy warm weather we got at the end of this fall made for some super pretty moments. Here are just a few of my favorites!

Adventures Together {Madison Children's Museum}

If you haven't been, you need to check out the Children's Museum in Madison. It is full of things to discover, play in, create, etc. Perfect for your pint size cuties! We had great fun showing our friends around and they even got to meet some creatures of the rain forest. (Don't miss the club house on the roof!!!) Thanks for coming with us ladies, here are a few favorites from the day!

The I Family {Pheasant Branch Fall Session}

Dare I say I love morning light?! Albeit this was the perfect warm November day with 2 beautiful little ladies with bright colorful personalities (and dresses) - all that combined with morning light = a pretty great combo. It was so much fun meeting this adorable little family and adventuring. Here are just a few of my favorites from the morning!

Adventures Together {Milwaukee Public Market}

I mentioned in a previous post that 2016 was full of adventures and meeting new, amazing people! Well after mustering up some courage I asked a few photographers I have been admiring so much (especially their beautiful images of their own children) to get together. Ironic that I know more Milwaukee photographers now that I don't live there. Our group grew by a few other lovely people and after much debate we found a date that worked for all of us. Here's a little peek at our morning adventure. It was truly amazing meeting all of these wonderful ladies in person!  

An Invitation to Get Together

We all do it, I am guilty of it for sure. Talking more to someone online than in real life. Don't get me wrong - the internet is a great place to connect with people, to keep up with friends and relatives that are hundreds or thousands of miles away, to meet others who have the same interest but may not always have the time or schedule to get together frequently. It's pretty amazing really. But what I've discovered the last year or so is that if you just put yourself out there - just ask, or plan a date, you will generally get a great response - "LET'S DO IT!" or "I WOULD LOVE THAT!" and then you can breathe a sigh of relief and plan your day together. It's usually as simple as that! 2016 was definitely the year of get togethers for me - I have met SO many photographers both local & a few non (hey Jess!) IN PERSON. What I can tell you is it usually results in a few of the following : A) Amazing conversations. B) Beautiful pictures. C) Great friendships. And most of the time it's all of the above!! So this year I encourage you to put yourself out there. Invite your photographer friend out for lunch, or your best Mom group friend on a play date. I'm sure your results will be amazing!

 

Finding Simplicity {New Beginnings}

A lot of times I question myself as a mother - Am I doing enough? Am I doing too much? Should I be doing something else? What I've discovered in my last 2 years of motherhood is that it's hard for me to sit idle. There's always cleaning to be done, or places to shop, or new adventures to be discovered. So being at home for entire days at a time aren't really at the top of that list. But when we do spend days at home, or long chunks of time I tend to over think it. As an Aunt to my niece I always had these grand days at home packed with games and projects and arts & crafts. With Graycen it's different. I don't always know what to do with a 2 year old. It has really taken me a while to figure out that a SIMPLE project can keep her entertained for long periods of time. I don't need to go out and buy $50 craft boxes or plan several different projects for her to do. One simple project can keep her active and keep me idle long enough to capture her expressions and excitement of "painting Mommy" and that makes both of us happy. So yesterday we did just that. We happened to be at Home Depot so I bought a little clay pot and a new plant for the new year and we painted and planted and we were happy together as a family, at home, with the simplicity of each other and a little paint. This year I plan to do more of that. To slow down, to not over think or question my abilities as a Mother in the day to day. We have thus far raised a pretty happy little girl and I plan to keep it that way!

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Aspen {6 Month Session}

1st Year plans really give me the amazing opportunity to meet families and really get to know them. From baby in belly to a walking, talking 1 year old so much happens in that first year and I am so grateful for those families who have entrusted me to capture that. Thanks to this beautiful family (and sweet little nugget) for coming out on this crazy warm November day!!

Fields of Gold {Photographer Family Session}

Amazing part of this community? Meeting others who are as passionate & honest about their craft as yourself has to be at the top of the list here. It's amazing following someone's work online, but it's even better after you've met and gotten to know them and then continue to follow them as they grow as an artist, mother, wife. Birdie, I truly loved meeting your family, I'm so glad we were able to make this session work - the very last bits of October with your beautiful soul and beautiful boys just made my soul happy. Thanks for coming out!

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