Baby Douglas

Baby Doug was so great for his session.  I had to keep reminding his mom and dad, 'just so you know it doesn't typically go like this.'  I typically spend a lot of time during newborn sessions just cuddling and swaying newborns, waiting for them to fall into a deep sleep.  Doug was sleepy and ready for his session right when I arrived! A photographer's dream!

I loved getting to know Doug and his family.  His mom and dad made me feel like we had known each other for ages.  I love when I come into a family's home and I immediately feel at home, and that is exactly what happened at this shoot.  Their space was light and bright and made everything simple and enjoyable.  And when a little guy is born with a head of hair that awesome, it needs to be documented!  Katie and I started talking about if the wives tale about heartburn and hair is true.  I have been experiencing a good amount of heartburn lately, so we will see if that means our babe will come out with a full head of hair!

And of course we had to end the session with a few family photographs.  Which means Doug's two pups got a chance in front of the camera! They were so sweet around Doug, and even though they were so excited to finally be included in on the action, they were cautious and calm around their new baby. It was such a peaceful session with so much love, and I am beyond grateful to have captured this exciting time.  Enjoy all of your new baby snuggles, Kilbourn Family! 

Ariana Phyllis

Baby Ariana, we are so glad you are here!  Ariana's mom and dad are in the small group Ted and I are blessed to be a part of at our church.  I remember the day Kaitlin and Nick shared with us they were expecting like it was yesterday.  Our group had gathered for a little evening pool party, and before everyone headed outside they shared they had a joy- a baby on the way! Since I get to see Kaitlin weekly, it was so fun to watch her bump grow throughout the months.  

When we found out we were also expecting I immediately thought about what a blessing it would be to raise our little ones alongside Kaitlin and Nick.  Kaitlin has been so open and honest about mommahood, and I have already texted her with some of my more personal questions.  When can I go back to work? Is this normal? Is Ariana taking a bottle yet?  I am sure by the time our little one arrives Kaitlin is going to be so sick of hearing from me! ;) 

I had such a sweet afternoon hanging out with Kaitlin, Nick and Ariana at their home.  In-home newborn sessions are just the best, as they capture what life looks like at your house right now.  I love being able to use your space to tell your story.  Kaitlin and Nick already seem like parenting pros, and little miss Ariana spent the majority of her session fast asleep.  Ariana, we are so thankful for your life.  We can't wait for you to meet your new baby buddy in July! 

Kang Family

Last time I saw the Kang Family it was just mom and dad anxiously awaiting the arrival of their little guy.  We captured their maternity session at the park, and I had such a great time getting to know these two.  I actually think Esther and Dustin may have been the first people I told I was pregnant (besides Ted!) They were asking me if I had any little ones, and I couldn't contain my excitement to share with them I was expecting.  They were so sweet about it and shared in my joy, since we were still keeping it a secret from family and close friends for a few more weeks.  

Now their little one is here! Esther had the sweetest idea of doing a photo session on Carter's 100th day.  I love that she made the sign that says, 'today we have loved you for 100 days.'  Carter was so great for his session, and can we just talk about those big brown eyes?! What a cutie!  Carter is just learning how to smile, so we had to click fast when we saw those little giggles.  We were pushing him right up to his nap time, so that last image really was his way of announcing he was done! No tears, just some big yawns! 

Thank you so much for welcoming me into your home, Kang Family, and trusting me with capturing these exciting life changes with you.  I hope you enjoy the next 100 days of loving your little guy even more than the first 100! 

Ember Catherine

Teeny, tiny baby Ember! There is just something about those babes that are born extra small that makes my heart melt.  Ember was an angel for her session.  She slept soundly the entire time and just enjoyed being all snuggled up!  I still have to pinch myself when I realize this is my job! I get to snuggle newborn babes when I go to work?! What a dream! 

Ember's mom and dad had the coolest style, so I loved being able to pop into Ember's nursery for a few pictures.  I also love being able to use a family's home for newborn pictures and to really capture a few candid images.  For this session it was being able to use mom and dad's room for those cuddly, candid moments. These are really the pictures you are going to look back at and say, remember when? I love knowing that this family will forever have these pictures of their first few weeks with Ember.  Especially since those first few weeks can be such a blur!

Ember already has three guard dogs, that I think are going to be taking pretty good care of her! It was so sweet to watch the dogs as they walked and moved more gingerly around the baby.  It is like they know this new little person is extra delicate!  They jumped on the bed with their mom and dad, but were careful to sniff gently around Ember and then of course went ahead and gave her a few big kisses! Welcome to the world, sweet baby Ember! 

Third Trimester

This week we welcomed our third trimester with baby Beatty! When we first found out we were expecting a little one the third trimester sounded so far off.  And so real.  I remember thinking, when we get to the third trimester I will make sure we take care of x, y, and z.  And now we really need to take care of that long list of things! 

With that long to-do list aside, we are feeling amazingly calm about welcoming baby into our family.  We have been anticipating this day for so long, and the thought of holding our babe in a few short months is beyond exciting. 

Ted and I made a simple list of things we want to do before we become a family of 3.  I have a feeling the next few months are simply going to fly by, so hopefully writing these down will help keep us accountable! 

1. Pick out baby's name!  We still haven't found names that seem just right.  We have a few front runners, but nothing in stone.  Since we didn't find out if baby is a boy or girl we want to have a few options for both and then make our final decision once we meet our little one. 

2. Go to a Tigers game.  It has always been one of our favorite downtown activities.  When we first started dating we went to a lot of games and we want to make sure we catch one more game- just the two of us. 

3. Finish up the house.  We have been renovating three rooms in our house to prep for baby and they are almost finished! We now have a playroom, a new office space for me, and of course babe's nursery.  

4. Sleep in.  I have always been proud of the fact that I rise early and accomplish so much before the rest of the world wakes.  That has gone down the drain the last month.  When we have the chance to sleep in we take it.  We have had so many more lazy mornings at the Beatty house.  The best part- on lazy mornings Ted almost always makes pancakes and bacon, and baby and I both love that. 

5. Take our last big vacation.  A babymoon, 5 year anniversary celebration, or just a strong desire to explore the world- whatever it is, we are headed to Greece next month.  I personally cannot wait to lounge on the beach and eat all of the gelato and Greek food.  Ted can't wait to explore the ruins and take in all of the history. 

6. Read a few more books.  Seriously, you would think we are running a library over here.  The stack of books on our nightstands keeps growing.  We have been reading everything from more fiction since we know we won't have much time for pleasure reading once baby gets here, plus parenting books, books on sleep schedules, labor and delivery, the list goes on and on.  We both spend a lot of time with little ones, but we both love learning so we are taking in as much information as we can now! 

7. Have our maternity photos taken.  After being on the other side of the camera for so many sweet moms and dads-to-be, it's a little surreal that it's our turn. We are certainly enjoying all of these little milestones and steps along the way. 

8. Socialize! We love having friends over, going out to dinner with family and wandering downtown for appetizers on Friday evenings.  Since we know our schedule will be changing we have been scheduling meals with friends we haven't seen in awhile, planning more date nights, and visiting family.  We want to make sure all of those relationships get the love and attention they deserve now! 

9. Make baby's nursery feel like home.  I am not much of a shopper, so baby's nursery has been bare.  Over the past month we have received so many sweet baby gifts.  I can't wait to assemble the furniture, hang decorations and wash blankets. I have a feeling this room might just become my favorite space in our home. 

10. Enjoy it.  I have been trying to be aware that this time of pregnancy with our first babe is fleeting.  I have been sitting down and enjoying the little kicks and hiccups.  When the baby is on the move Ted and I will stop what we are doing to just marvel at this little miracle. We pray for the baby, dream about what his or her little face will look like, and chat about the way life will change.  It is such a fun time of dreaming and changing, and we never want to take that for granted.

There it is! 10 things we want to do before baby arrives. Anything we missed?! I would love to hear from you mommas if there are a few things we should add! 

Smith Family

Oh goodness, how sweet is this family?! I got to meet these two older siblings last spring, and it was so much fun to reconnect with them and meet the newest addition to their family.  These two are so proud to be big siblings!  

We started off our session with sibling pictures.  After we finished that part of the shoot, mom let the two older siblings know they could head downstairs to play.  I love that these two decided they wanted to stay with baby Lachlan instead. This sweet older sister even went and got her own baby doll and blanket and imitated each pose I did with Lachlan.  These two would get as close as possible to me just to make sure they had a close eye on their baby brother and all of the action.  It was so adorable! 

Lachlan did so great during his pictures and was such a trooper with letting me change his swaddles and having two older siblings hold him and smother him in kisses.  He is going to be a tough one! And can we just talk for a minute about his hair.  You can really see his faux-hawk in the last picture! How cute is that?! Enjoy loving on your newest addition, Smith Family!

Winter Upper Peninsula Road Trip

Ted and I always try to celebrate our birthdays with some kind of getaway or fun new experience.  For Ted's birthday he wanted to take a winter road trip to the Upper Peninsula.  The Upper Peninsula is his favorite place in the world and he never passes up a chance to spend time in the wilderness.  We have been to the Upper Peninsula many times, but being there in the winter was an entirely new experience.  It was so quiet, most of the towns were shut down and we were the only people almost everywhere we went- which is really Ted's perfect vacation!

We started our road trip in Harbor Springs with our friends, David and Rebecca.  We stayed in the prettiest house right on Little Traverse Bay, explored downtown Petoskey and enjoyed the gorgeous sunsets over the lake.  From Harbor Springs Ted and I headed for the bridge.  After hearing about the blue ice in Mackinaw City we made a quick stop to see the phenomena.  It was really beautiful to see the blue ice piled up under the bridge against the blue sky.

From there we headed to Munising where we planned to snowshoe Pictured Rocks.  Unfortunately, we had a little setback and got our car stuck in the snow with no cell phone reception.  After 5 hours of digging we finally got the car out, but we missed our day of snowshoeing- oh goodness it wasn't the most fun at the time, but it sure makes for a good story! We stayed in a cute little yurt that night.  I woke up every night of the trip to look for the Northern Lights, but I never did spot them.  

The next day I surprised Ted with a day of dogsledding.  It was so much fun.  There are a few locations in the Upper Peninsula that offer dogsledding. We spent the day at Husky Haven and I highly recommend it.  We learned how to harness the dogs, run the sled and so much more.  It was so fun to try something new together, and those pups are so happy to be running out in the snow!  From there we ventured off to Marquette and snowshoed at some of our favorite parks.  It is so wild to me to see how different all of those parks look from summer to winter. 

One of the highlights of the trip for me was staying at a fully functioning lighthouse.  The Big Bay Lighthouse in Big Bay is both a functioning lighthouse and a bed and breakfast and is gorgeous.  The couple that runs the lighthouse was so kind and prepared the most delicious breakfast for us.  I loved that we could climb the tower whenever we wanted, and we caught the prettiest sunrise the morning of our stay.  

The trip ended with a stay in Copper Harbor.  There was no-one there and everything was shut down.  We spent the day snowshoeing around the harbor and taking in those beautiful views of the frozen beach.  Copper Harbor is one of my favorite summertime destinations, and seeing it in the winter felt like we were in an entirely different place.  

Theodore, thank you for loving the outdoors more than anyone I know.  And for encouraging me to go on winter adventures, even when I suggested more than once that we just head to the beach and be completely lazy!

Barlage Family

I have been lucky enough to be photographing the Barlage family for a few years now. Last year I was able to meet baby Shea just a weeks after she was born, and now she is a whole year old! I am always amazed by how quickly little ones develop a personality.  In a year Shea has become an independent, strong little lady.  She giggled at her big brother, stole his snacks, and had some pretty incredible dance moves when her momma asked Siri to drop a beat. 

Big brother, Cam, has a personality just as big and kept me laughing the entire shoot.  I remembered from our time together last year, that Cam really loves to be in front of the camera.  I think he has watched Project Runway or something, because he has faces and poses that are totally his own.  And it is so awesome!  We would be trying to get some photographs of just Shea by herself, and we would look over to see Cam slowly sneaking into the background.  He didn't want to be left out of the fun! 

Catching up with this family is always my favorite part of our shoots.  I love the way this mom and dad just laugh together the whole shoot, even when little Shea just wants to be cuddled by mom and all we want her to do it play with dad.  They have a whole lot of love between the four of them and it is so sweet to see.  Thank you for letting me capture these memories with you, Barlage Family! 

Sharing the Baby News

So I thought it would be fun to share with you the story and a few pictures from when I told Ted he was going to be a dad!  I had always imagined I would find out first and then do something super fun and a little bit extravagant to tell Ted.  He is always surprising me, and has planned some big surprises for milestones in our life together- so I wanted to do the same.  

The first weekend of November we photographed a wedding on Saturday night and had a flight to California scheduled for early Sunday morning.  We were flying to LA, driving down the coast and spending 5 days outside of San Diego at a conference for Ted's work.  The weeks leading up to the trip were all a bit hectic, with my busy season just coming to an end.  Once we landed in California we were ready for some rest and relaxation.  On the second day of our trip I woke up and had the sudden realization that I might be pregnant.  In all honesty, I knew right away that I was pregnant- it's so true that your body just knows.  Immediately I knew had to go get a pregnancy test.  I told Ted a small fib about what I needed to buy and had him drop me off at the drugstore, but since we were in downtown San Diego he couldn't find parking and just circled around and didn't come in the store with me.

The next stop on our tour of San Diego for the day was the Hotel del Coronado.  I made a quick stop in the lobby's restroom where I took the test.  I immediately started crying.  I tried to get my composure together so Ted wouldn't suspect anything.  He was actually making a phone call when I walked out of the restroom, so I don't think he had any time to see the look on my face.  After walking through the hotel lobby he suggested we take a stroll on the beach.  I was about to burst! My mind was literally racing as I tried to digest what I had just learned and pretend to be engaged in whatever Ted was talking about as we walked! 

We found a lifeguard station and I told Ted I wanted to setup the self timer to take a picture together.  This is totally normal for us, so he obliged.  I took the picture, then switched it over to video.  Ted and I sat in the sand and I told him I had a surprise for him, and he had to close his eyes.  I handed him the positive pregnancy test and he opened his eyes. To say he was surprised would be an understatement! We cried, he asked a whole bunch of questions, we laughed- it was the best. I didn't plan a huge surprise or moment like I thought I would, but life kind of took care of that for us.  We were in the most beautiful place and the timing was perfect.  

We spent the rest of our trip celebrating.  We had so many different things to chat about from names, to a nursery, to how and when we would share the news with our family and friends. California will always have a special place in my heart now, and I joke with Ted that when our kids are all gone away to college maybe we can afford to stay at the Hotel del Coronado to celebrate. 

Carter- Class of 2018

I love that Carter had his senior pictures taken during the colder months.  It makes the pictures so unique.  We also got crazy lucky with a relatively warm February day that made exploring the city bearable.  Carter was one of those seniors that you just feel spoiled to work with.  He had a ton of personality, made great conversation, and felt totally comfortable in front of the camera.  

I remember about a year ago thinking, I keep seeing this parking garage on Instagram- I just really want to shoot there.  I went to scope it out with a friend, and planned my first session there last spring.  Now it is absolutely one of my favorite places to photograph.  It makes for a simple place to meet with clients, has the coolest view, and there are so many awesome urban backdrops in a short walking distance.  I love that the view can be totally different depending on the time of day and the weather.  We got a moodier look over the city for Carter's session and I absolutely love it. 

Carter has plans to attend college in the fall and is hoping to study communications.  He seems like a total athlete, and hopes to pursue that passion after college with a career in sports broadcasting.  For now he is busy finishing up his basketball season at Royal Oak High School, and enjoying all of the fun that senior year brings.  Enjoy the last few months of your senior year and best of luck with everything in the future, Carter!