Bruce, Lacey, & Cory
Bruce, Lacey, & Cory

Lacey & Cory’s story began way back in 2000.  Bruce, Lacey & Cory’s story began last week.

I’ll be honest… I’m not sure which one is my favorite.

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These two have known each other since 6th grade.  They kinda grew up together in San Antonio and dated on and off for about 8 years.

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Shout out to Lacey for throwing herself at Cory in typical 8th grade fashion.

Also, a very special shout out to Marcus for signing Cory’s yearbook with the phrase “Keep pimpin’ dim HOES.”

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Me: “You guys just stand next to each other and Lacey, bring your hand up so we can see the ring.”

I mentioned Bruce earlier.  Bruce is the name that Lacey gave the “blemish” that appeared on her forehead a couple of days before our session.  He has been photoshopped out of history, but this image may be my favorite I have ever taken.  “Give Bruce a kiss.” I said.

Cory didn’t even hesitate.

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Like all cool, hip, young people, these two love to get slightly overpriced, yet delicious beverages at Local Coffee.
(I can’t tell you if it was any good because they did not offer to buy me any.)

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Fun Fact about Lacey.  She has an older sister.
One of the perks of having older siblings is that you can steal photography pose ideas from back when they were engaged.  (Like 150 years ago.)

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Thank you guys for a great session.  The three of you were a blast to hang out with.

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Kayla & David | year one
Kayla & David | year one

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Kayla & David were married at St. Peter & Paul Catholic Church last August.  (With a killer reception at Centaur Arabian Farms in Flint, TX.)  So now that they are total pros at being husband and wife I thought it would be fun to hear form them on what their first year of marriage was like.

1. What do you miss most about the single life?
What I miss most about single life is being able to sprawl out in bed.. That being said, we just bought a king mattress last week…haha.

2. Give us your best cheapo/fun married date idea.
Cheapo fun married date idea: garage saleing and thrift store exploring is one of our favorite pastimes, David is the bargainer and I am the treasure hunter. We always have a good time and laugh with odd things we see at garage sales.

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3. What have you liked most about your first year being married?
The looks on peoples faces when they find out I’m married.. Their reaction is mostly..”aren’t you like 12?!” Haha! It happens, I’ll be really smokin’ when I’m 60 and look 45 ;) but my most favorite part of our first year of marriage is the companionship that you feel with your person. Nothing beats the feeling of someone who has chosen and is still choosing to be yours everyday.

4.What’s been the hardest part about being married?
I would say the hardest part about being married right now is making future decisions such as when should we have kids?, should we buy a house?, should we rent?, where should we go?, which insurance plan is best for us?, what is a mortgage?  (Okay I asked that one)… What we’ve learned so far is don’t try to go it all alone, our parents have been our biggest supports and counselors. We don’t have all the answers and probably never will, but we are up to the adventure of figuring it out!

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5. What have you fought about most and why?
What we fight most about with me is my phone habit. (Guilty).. What we fight most about with David is the he refuses to use the towel rack in our bathroom and will hang his used towel over the bathroom door so the door isn’t able to be shut, and I am not the tallest so it is difficult for me to get it down so I am able to close the bathroom door, also he is a nail picker..eww.

6.  What was the biggest thing you were nervous about? How has it turned out?
The biggest thing I was nervous about was the expectancy to be a “good wife” to cook dinner, have the house spotless, be dressed and picture perfect everyday for my husband and being able to maintain that. The reality is that I am not perfect and David realizes that he also realizes he is not perfect and this isn’t the Stepford Wives. I do however attempt to do these things for him because of course as his wife his happiness is extremely important to me, but also in turn he does things for me and helps around the house and cooks dinner and still calls me beautiful when I could pass for a gremlin. Letting go of that stereotype for me and figuring out what works best for us has really helped our relationship.

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7. What do you wish someone had told you before you were married?
Your wedding will not turn out the way you imagined, things will go wrong: there will be a gathering at the church before your wedding and the floors will be covered is smashed brownies and you’ll walk out to see your dad and uncle on their hands and knees scrubbing the floor, you will get lost on the way to your own reception with no cell phone service, plan on not eating at the reception, your first dance song will get deleted off your iPod, and the forks you got personalized for the big day will go missing, but you can also count on the moments you never imagined happening such as: spontaneous bride and groom karaoke with the band to Don’t Stop Believing, you can count on a spontaneous break-dance dance off with your bridesmaid, husband, and usher so intense the usher will rip his pants (right in the crack..), and you also count on the band playing Miley Cyrus and all the guest on the dance floor surrounding you with a cup in the air and a smile on their face and singing at the top of their lungs, you can count on incredible photo booth pictures because your friends are awesomely weird like that.  oh and so is your photographer ;)) you can count on your bridesmaids and groomsman and family to go above and beyond their call to make your day one to remember, and most importantly you can count on going home with your newly wed spouse to start your life.

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Thank you two for opening up to us.  Kayla you were super sweet to share your struggles.

And David…. come on man, use a towel rack, we are not animals.

PS. If you can’t get enough of these two, check out their super fun hot air balloon engagement session.

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Kallie & Chase | Everything’s Bigger in Texas
Kallie & Chase | Everything’s Bigger in Texas

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Kallie & Chase had an epic, Texas sized wedding at Pecan Springs Ranch in Austin.  If you like cake, or longhorns… you are in for a treat.

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I mean I get it.  It’s your day.  You are excited… but.. “Best Day Ever!”?  You may be setting expectations pretty high for your guests at the sign in table. ;)

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I love a quiet, super sweet First Look with a bit of tearing up.

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Me: “You guys just stand there and act natural.”

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We interrupt this blog post to talk about how much trust goes into hiring a wedding photographer.  I get it.  It’s a big day.  Some might say it’s the “Best Day Ever”.  So when a couple books me to shoot their wedding, there is a HUGE amount of trust involved in me being able to document and tell their story.  That’s why I love it even more when a family contacts me again for their second daughter’s wedding.  I photographed Kallie’s sister, Katie’s, wedding back in 2010.  I love seeing families throughout the years, and the fact that they trust me over and over again is one of the favorite parts of my job.

(In case you are wondering what the record is,  I have a few families tied with 3 weddings.)

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Let’s give it up for Katie & Chance and their super cute little girl.

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And let’s give it up for this little one.  She was a flower girl in Katie’s wedding, and now she is a Jr. Bridesmaid.  I expect to photograph her as a bridesmaid in 2035 and a bride in 2040.

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This is the part of “here comes the bride” where Kallie decided to stop and take off her shoes.

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The unity sand is a perfect depiction of marriage.  It symbolizes that no matter how much planning goes into something… the man can mess it up.

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Let’s all stop and stand to our feet and give a slow clap for The Cake Plate.

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This cake was close to 400lbs.  That’s a lot of cake.

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Kallie and Chase then spent the first 15 minutes of their marriage in the best way possible: handing out ginormous oversized pieces of cake to little children.

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Maybe it was the Best Day Ever.

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Belize 2015
Belize 2015

True story.

I love mission trips.

I love them for 2 simple reasons.

1. By going somewhere and serving, you can impact another life.

2. By going somewhere and serving, you can impact your life.

It’s really that simple. I’ve been on about 7 of these type of trips in the past 3 years and each one reminds me more and more that they are worth taking.

This was a special trip because it was the first time Danielle and Sara joined Jo & I. I knew it would make for a totally different experience and I can’t wait to share these little snippets with you.
(Also, if 100 photos and lots of reading is not your thing, that’s cool. You can skip to the bottom and watch a little movie.)
Let’s start with this photo.

FACT: The 4 of us went to Belize for a week and did not check one bag of luggage. BOOM! #WINNING

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I loved seeing Sara sign her first customs form. I loved filling out 4 of those super annoying bad boys with all types of information and serial numbers. I loved Danielle giving me the stink eye when the first sign through customs was an Ebola warning. I also loved Danielle settling her nerves by reading a little Pride & Prejudice.

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Rule #862 of these types of trips: sleep whenever you can.  (This is Jo’s third trip.  He is a pro.)

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We were serving in a little village called Guinea Grass.  Population 3,000.

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One of the things we were doing was striping a basketball court we helped build last year.

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These girls are college athletes. They tried to jump in the air on “3”. They kinda failed. Take heart all you jumping bridesmaids and groomsmen. It’s harder than it looks.

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It was so great to go back and see so many familiar faces.  It’s crazy that they remembered many of us by name.

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Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner all came from this stove.

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The kids loved all of the crafts, songs, and Bible stories that we would do in the afternoon.

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Sara could usually be found in a crowd of kids.

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This is Dakota.  I love him.  He is tall.  Really tall.  As in… he played college basketball tall.  The crazy great thing about Dakota is anytime there were kids around, you would find him way way down on the floor, connecting with kids.  It was so great to see.

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After VBS, we would do a little basketball camp for the kids.  The skill levels varied greatly.  That was part of the fun.

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The other part of the fun was when it rained, the court could be used as a slip and slide.

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(I told you he was tall.)

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I took these photos within like 20 minutes of each other.  I love them because they look so similar and yet are so different.  Sara would go and seek out a group of girls to play and hang out with.  Danielle would look for just one, and then little by little others would flock to her.

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Reason #462 of why I love these trips: They stretch you.
Ryder ended up leading one of our devotionals. It was his first time doing anything like that and he crushed it. He shared from his heart and his experiences, and it was super open and honest. I loved listening to him and I loved seeing one of his closest friends kinda just ignoring him and stuffing his face with breakfast.

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This is Norman our bus driver for the week.  When he was not driving us around, he was giving impromptu bus driving lessons to one of our team members who was about to come back to the states and have to take her bus driving exam.  Crazy right?

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Reason #5208 of why I love these trips: The unexpected.

Another group had been to this village before us and met this little boy with a medical condition that keeps him from walking. A member of their group was able to find and purchase a walker that would grow with him. They got in touch with our group and had us deliver it. Needless to say, when this little guy started taking his first steps, his face lit up with joy. It was hard to keep shooting because all of the water in my viewfinder.

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On a less emotional note… Remember that girl who learned to drive a bus?  She was going to be without her newfound boyfriend for TWO WHOLE WEEKS!!!!!  (Forever, I know.) Anyway… I thought it would be fun to bring a little cut out so she could share the trip with him. #WINNING

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We also were able to take a little detour to see a Mayan ruin. This lead to us climbing it and making a Mayan face.

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Our last day was spent playing on a nearby island.

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The boat ride we took to the island was not Danielle’s favorite.

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Sara & I tried to snorkel but soon decided to just swim back to the boat and wait for the good stuff.

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Sharks & Stingrays (AKA: The Good Stuff)

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Sara was crazy brave and touched a shark. Danielle was crazy brave and climbed into the water, and then proceeded to climb onto my back and crush my lungs with her death grip.

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We walked up and down the island looking at gift shops and souvenir stores. Jo finally decided on getting a used Sherlock Holmes book. (Of course he did.)

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Towards the end of the week, we got a little video  message from the two boys we left back in the States.

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You know what’s neat?  When people get baptized.

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You know what’s also neat?  When you have your first cappucino and coconut water on the same day.

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Again, I love the sharks, the basketball, the songs, and the boyfriend cut outs.  But the thing that really makes these trips stand out is the faces of these little kids.

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One of my most favorite moments ever happened on this trip. Kids would constantly run up to me and ask me to take their photo. I would, then I would show them, then they would go get more kids. Rinse. Wash. Repeat.

This little dude comes up to me one morning and says… “Can I trade you this mango for a picture?”

Seriously? Uh… yes. Absolutely.
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Like I said at the beginning, I love how these trips stretch you.

I love seeing my quiet homebody son be willing to interact with dozens of kids he’s never met and love on them.

I love seeing my bold, fearless daughter travel to a new country and fit right in like she’s grown up there her whole life.

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These trips help center us.
They help remind us that the world is bigger than our:

home remodel
photography business
iPhone 6
playstation
american girl dolls
10 year plan
5 year plan
1 year plan

They remind us that right now is the time to love others.

Right now is the time to serve and give.

You don’t have to leave the country. But you do have to serve.

Find a place to give back. Plug in. Pour yourself out.

And, in the pouring, and in the giving, you’ll find the strangest thing happens.

You are filled.

Thank you Belize for filling me up.

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Oh, one more thing, here’s the video I promised.

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sarah & caleb | 365 days of marriage!!!
sarah & caleb | 365 days of marriage!!!

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Sarah & Caleb were married 1 year ago on July 4th.  They were kind enough to drop some knowledge on what being a newly wed couple is like.  Read on if you want to make your first year of marriage a bit less bumpy.

What do you miss most about the single life?
Scheduling things on my own time. Having more options to do things I used to when I was single, work out, have a girls weekend, spend the weekend at my parents, or simply to go shopping for “wants” without feeling I have to consult with another’s schedule or consider our budget.

What’s your best cheapo/ fun date idea?
A campout. Could be after a long hike, or driving to a really cool location and setting up tent for the night or simply having a picnic with the tent set up for shade, we even set our tent up on the front porch in record low temperatures and spent the night out there – and just to live on the wild side it was a weeknight! Wherever you set up camp, make sure to stay long enough to star gaze and having a fire with s’mores is a MUST! This date can be done all year round, but my favorite time is during the fall.

What has been the best thing about your first year of marriage?
The best thing about the first year of marriage has been coming home to my best friend every night. Having that person to share frustrations with, get angry at, bounce ideas off of, share joys and encouraging each other through life’s ups and downs. Being married is just another example of God’s love for us.

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What’s been the hardest part about being married?
The hardest part of being married for me has been a lack of “me time”, so very similar to what I miss most about being single. I lived on my own for 5 years, independent and financially stable. I didn’t need anyone to do anything for me. I could pick up and have a weekend with girlfriends at a bed and breakfast in a fun town, or sleep in until 7:30am (yes, that’s late for me!) Being married, is a give and take, and for all the things my husband and daughter add to my life, I’m happy to give up some of my girls weekends and sleeping late occasionally.

What surprised you the most?
It wasn’t so much that I was surprised by it than it was a huge realization. After a particularly difficult discussion (one of our first since being married) we headed to bed and I recall thinking… “He’s not leaving… I need time to process this conversation…he’s not going home…this is his home… Oh my gosh!” When we’re dating we had the luxury of our own homes. When we had discussed something difficult, there was time and space in between the next time we saw each other… Now that we’re married, it’s a little different. Still learning.

What have you fought about most and why?
Expectations I had about being a wife and mother. I have a wonderful example of what that looks like in my mother. I failed to realize that before she became the awesome mother and wife I witnessed while I was growing up and that I know today, she had to go thorough the first few years of marriage as well- figuring out who she was as a Mrs. and as a mother. I fight with myself about not meeting preconceived expectations which I place upon myself, which in turn effects our communication.

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What was the biggest thing you were nervous about? How has it turned out?
A friend of mine just reminded me of one of the things I was nervous about before getting married: making lunches for my husband during the week and planning the week of meals for our family.  It seems so funny now to think about how worried I was, but I wanted to make sure I was taking care of my family and doing a good job of it by the way of cooking meals which I enjoy and keeping a warm, inviting and clean home. My husband and daughter help out so much and even without me asking them to do it. From doing the dishes, to making the beds, vacuuming, helping me cook, washing, drying and folding the clothes, they make being married and family life easy and enjoyable. I feel so blessed!

Do you have any advice for couples who are about to blend a family?
My husband always went on “Dad and daughter dates” before he and I got married. I encouraged them to continue these dates afterwards as well so that they can have one on one time and further their bond without me in the picture.

I am an educator and have seen many of my children from divorced households and the gambit of relationship dynamics pass through my classroom. Remaining positive and complimentary of the child’s parent(s) is essential. Nothing negative should ever be discussed in front of the child/ children.

I read many books about blended families and even books about the specific role in which you are about to take on. Read books about the your children/ stepchildren and the emotions they could experience. (The five Love Languages of Children is also a great book!)

Lastly, the biological parent needs to be sensitive to their spouce’s, the step-parent’s emotions. It is important for the husband and wife to continue to go on dates. The spouse/ stepparent needs to feel validated and a respected part of the family. This can be very tricky. Communication is key and it also requires the spouse (stepparent) to be sensitive and very understanding.

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Happy 1 year of marriage guys.  Thanks for opening up and giving us a little peek into your life.

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