Dean: 20 Months

If I wasn’t writing these letters to you, my son, I doubt I’d remember exact details about your development down to every month of your early life. Instead I’d take a guess (my memory clouded by too many years having passed along with a mental block of your toddler meltdowns) at telling you when you slept through the night, got your first tooth, and learned to walk.

What would I look back and remember about the summer before you turned two? Probably the VERBAL EXPLOSION that happened in our house with you! At daycare, you’ve gone through a few recent transitions, one being the nixing your pacifier during the day. There was some gnashing of teeth (all 12 of yours and 32 each of ours) over this loss, but within days of it being gone you went from saying a dozen words to—no exaggeration—75 or more (we tried counting once awhile back and gave up…because every day it’s something new to surprise us, like when we’re at the playground and you point to a wooden tunnel you want me to climb through and say “Mommy tunnel?” and I think HOW COULD YOU POSSIBLY KNOW THAT WORD?!)

You speak a lot now in two- to three-word sentences: You love to say “Sit down Daddy” to your father, who will oblige your toddler bossiness so that you can come crashing down the end of the slide, landing on top of him with a laugh. And, well, this just makes my heart melt like butter every time: You express thanks for everything. I hand you a sippy cup: “Tank uuuuuu“. I put your shoes on your feet. “Tank uuuuu.” I pick you up off the ground. “Tank uuuuuu.” I mean, STOP CHARMING THE PANTS OFF YOUR PARENTS, KIDDO.

010_140601_deangrandpadean  018_140601_deangrandpadean 014_140601_deangrandpadeanThis month you had your FIRST hair cut and while it wasn’t much, just a few snips, it was a milestone moment for your mom and dad. We were so proud of how well you did in the chair! And when you stepped down, free of those tangled curls at the back of your head, it suddenly made us feel as if we had a three-year-old on our hands. 002_140615_deanhaircut 004_140615_deanhaircutSince it’s summer we’re going to spend as much time as we can at the playground, a place that never gets old for you. If a grown-up version of you could travel back in time to see what your parents looked like while they were raising you (younger and with less gray in their hair than now, I’m sure), there’s a good chance Future Dean would find us chasing you here. Either that, or in the dining room, all of us piled on the floor. You, of course, with an infectious case of the giggles. 009_140615_deanhaircut 007_140615_deanhaircut 015_140615_deanhaircut



Brooke & Patrick: Their Wedding Story
Brooke & Patrick: Their Wedding Story

Ten miles of road is all that separated Brooke and Patrick for much of their lives but it wasn't until they were both wearing their Greek letters as undergraduates at Purdue University that their paths eventually crossed.

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Brooke and Patrick: An Indianapolis Wedding at Regions Tower

I’m so excited to finally be sharing with you Brooke and Patrick’s STUNNING June wedding! This post will be heavy on the photos (and tomorrow, you’ll get their sweet-as-can-be love story) but I just have to share that it was a joy for me to get to capture this couple’s day. I owe discovering them to one of my most favorite rock star brides, Lily, and just gotta say, I am SO grateful to clients who refer me to their friends—means the WORLD to me! Now, on to the main event!

What bride doesn’t want to start her day with a mimosa and a gift of pearls from her husband-to-be? brookepatrick_regionstowerindianapolisI thought this was about the cutest thing ever — the gals all got ready at Brooke’s parents’ house in Zionsville and she pointed out to me this frame she’d gifted to her mom and dad that she was looking forward to “completing” with 0ne of my photos. On the incomplete side was the engraving “Today a bride, tomorrow a wife,” and on the other, with a photo of her wearing a bridal gown as a kid, was a saying that read “forever your little girl”. I mean, I think that tells you everything you need to know about what an awesome person Brooke is, doesn’t it? While I was with the gals in Zionsville, April was with the guys downtown at the Regions Tower as they were putting on those suits of theirs and doing their best to stay—and look—cool ;) 038_brookepatrick 073_brookepatrickBrooke and Patrick were married at Second Presbyterian Church and I can’t recall walking into a dressing room for a bride that better suited her wedding day decor! What luck! 082_brookepatrick 087_brookepatrickThese two eagerly agreed to share a First Look with one another before the ceremony, during which I experienced a first in all my years of shooting weddings! I arranged for them to see one another in front of a set of beautiful doors outside the church. These doors? Welllll they might have LOCKED from the inside once you shut them—and on her way out to see Patrick, Brooke caught her veil in the door! I was SO worried, but thankfully everything was fine (both with the veil and our nerves) and in the end, I think it made for a sweet but silly moment I bet they never forget from this day (and a special thanks to my girl April who hustled around to the other side of the church to open the door again from inside—these two agreed to wait until Brooke got free before they saw one another, which I think made it all the sweeter). Also, how CUTE are Brooke’s expressions here?! 100_brookepatrick 102_brookepatrick 108_brookepatrickWhat a GOOD looking wedding party! Brooke’s bridesmaid, Amanda, did all the florals for the big day—she did an AWESOME job, and was so on top of the details. I’d highly recommend her business, Wild Heart Blooms to my prospective Indy area brides! 129_brookepatrick 148_brookepatrick 180_brookepatrick 209_brookepatrickOooh what a beautiful church this was, inside and out! Made for some gorgeous dramatic portraits after they said their “I do”s! 241_brookepatrickIt’s fun to ask my wedding parties for at least one pose where they show off their goofiest moves, and this group did not disappoint! 257_brookepatrickSpeaking of not disappointing, Brooke and Patrick were naturals at having their portraits taken! This first shot below might just be my favorite of the day, but I’ve got so many it’s hard to pick! 317_brookepatrick273_brookepatrick 279_brookepatrick 297_brookepatrick Oh Brooke, you DID land yourself a handsome fella, didn’t you?! (Of course, Patrick, you’ve been pretty lucky in the love department too!)  307_brookepatrick 330_brookepatrick 336_brookepatrickBrooke is a kindergarten teacher and had this cute canvas on display at the reception, filled with her students’ advice for a happy marriage. I loved little Jake’s—”Sleep in the same bed” — HA!359_brookepatrick 345_brookepatrick 387_brookepatrickI had to share a picture of Brooke’s parents, Bill and Beth, who might have been some of the cutest, sweetest parents I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with! (Also, Beth’s dress was STUNNING on her!)394_brookepatrickWe snuck some time out from dinner to take some more relaxed portraits from the rooftop plaza of the Regions Tower. SO glad we did as these were definitely some of my favorite shots of the day!396_brookepatrick 405_brookepatrick 413_brookepatrick 419_brookepatrick 422_brookepatrickAfter that it was a night filled with charming speeches from members of the wedding party, lots of dancing, and who could forget—sparklers! 426_brookepatrick 521_brookepatrick 527_brookepatrick 522_brookepatrick 540_brookepatrickBrooke and Patrick, it was so wonderful getting to spend this most special of days with you! I look forward to sharing more of your wedding story soon!

June 2014 Self-Portrait: Back to the Playground

We’re breezing into July already so I wanted to post June’s self-portrait before fireworks start going off and we celebrate this nation’s birthday. When I looked back at our June, I couldn’t help but think the playground seemed like a great place to set up this shot. It is, after all, where Nick and I have been spending gobs of time with our son so far this summer. Dean is at that great age where the playground is becoming a real destination for him (I love hearing him squeal ‘PWAYGOUND, ‘PWAYGOUND” as we near it) and we enjoy taking him to several near our house so that he can explore the slides, the swings, the tunnels, the monkey bars, all of it—it never gets old to him.

A while back, I read an interesting parenting book that explained how one of the joys of parenting is the way having kids allows us to relive moments of our youth. There was a passage I highlighted at the time and came back to this month, thinking about as I found myself pumping my legs into the air, climbing higher and higher on a swing next to my son, an act I hadn’t done (and admittedly, enjoyed…swings having always been a favorite) since elementary school. And here it is:

“[Kids] also create wormholes in time, transporting their mothers and fathers back to feelings and sensations they haven’t had since they themselves were young. The dirty secret about adulthood is the sameness of it, its tireless adherence to routines and customs and norms. Small children may intensify this sense of repetition and rigidity by virtue of the new routines they establish. But they liberate their parents from their ruts too …

All of us crave liberation from those ruts. More to the point, all of us crave liberation from our adult selves from time to time … And I’m talking about the selves who live too much in their heads rather than their bodies; who are burdened with too much knowledge about how the world works rather than excited by how it could work or should; who are afraid of being judged and not being loved. Most adults do not live in a world of forgiveness and unconditional love. Unless, that is, they have small children … Young children can go a long way toward yanking grown-ups out of their silly preoccupations and cramped little mazes of self-interest—not just relieving their parents of their egos, but helping them aspire to something better.

Hands down, this is what these visits to the playground have been doing for me. Not only by allowing me to relive a piece of my own childhood (remembering the smell of the metal of the monkey bars, the static of a plastic slide on my hair, the way a piece of equipment can encourage forms of imaginary play) but by allowing me to watch again the innocent, beautiful way children approach life. So often as we’ve been playing on the playground with Dean, there will be other children who approach us, often breathless, pushing hair out of their sweaty faces with those smudgy little fingers, to say things like, “What’s your name?” and “Do you know how old I am?” and “I’m-three-and-this-is-my-sister-Emma-and-she’s-two-and-my-name-is-Grace-and-we-love-the-movie-Frozen.” It’s such a joy to be approached by a teeny person, one who greets you without any form of judgment or agenda, and it’s a beautiful reminder that calls to mind an English proverb that’s stuck with me from long ago: “The soul is healed by being with children.” To which I say, indeed.


What I’m Loving Round-up June 2014
What I’m Loving Round-up June 2014

A novel that brilliantly introduces readers to the demanding world of ballet, a movie that's made everybody—including me—in the theater cry, and a singer whose soulful voice is just beginning to blow up on the charts ... here's a peek at a few of the things I was loving this month.

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