[aaron and kelsey] iowa city | engagement session


Props go to Kelsey for picking the greatest outfits in accordance to the fall weather!  Ah swoon!  We had a tiny little window of opportunity where the leaves were vibrant and still hanging on.  If we would have waited – even a couple days – the leaves had blown away + trees were naked!  We typically have what we call like two or three *lucky winners* (ha) that scored big on fall leaves.  So glad Kelsey and Aaron got the perfect timing – now lets pray their October wedding next year is just as colorful!

Thanks guys for driving up from Dubuque to visit Iowa City (so nice of them, although they kept assuring us its cool, and they came for the burritos) – I still always really appreciate when couples love Iowa City and now more than ever with my baby bump feeling like I am carrying around a whale.  Thanks you two – and especially to Aaron for his childhood pet stories, which made me feel more accepted + less like a crazy cat lady … and Kelsey for being an awesome bridesmaid in a past wedding of ours and just trusting us to do our thing and rock it at her wedding now too!  I love chill, cute, sweet brides like her.  Girls like her remind me of why my job is just so great!

Thanks again you two.  And I leave you with … my favorite photo ever, below (Kelsey giving a kiss) – I really really wish I had a pic of James and I like this, because it would be printed on a huge canvas, decorating our home!

xo – and congrats to K + A!


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pink. and pink. and more pink.


so. much. estrogen.

We are so thrilled to know and see that baby is healthy – pretty cozy – and is indeed a little lady!

James is pumped.  He knows how to handle a little girl…he loves the idea of Mommy reusing everything (because he is already worried that money needs to be stashed for paying for TWO weddings) and – Reese is a snuggle bug.  Mommy – eh not so much.  So he is pretty excited to get double daughter cuddles.


{above} :: Reese wanted to show her belly bump (girlfriend is typically pretty overconfident).

{below} :: a little side by side comparison to encourage well wishes and hopeful thoughts our way that girl #2 has some dark curls + Italian skin like Daddy (because can we really handle three of the exact breed under one roof!?)

Thanks all for hanging on with me while I soccer mom it up over here – back to blogging weddings + sessions + Hawkeyes!

xo – MD


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Reese | BIG SIS cannot contain her excitement for February 2016!


I really fought James on this post – he was ready to shout from the mountains (its got to be like a Lion King/alpha male thing) while I spent a good portion of the first trimester in denial (until I started barfing consistently that is, then it became much more real) – truth is, infertility has humbled me – to my core.  I went into the mindset that a second baby would be pretty dang easy, as Reese was, so when the months went by and the option of an earlier winter baby (as any wedding photographer, who tries for maternity leave around their most seasonal work) passed by, I had a huge dent in my self esteem.  It was a situation I never in a zillion years imagined myself in – and I learned that I spend a nice chunk of time in an arrogant fog – trying to control what not I, but God, has all the control over.  It was a tough lesson that I actually, now, thank the Lord for.

Its flabbergasting to me that I am exposing myself like this, considering I never wanted to even mention the baby on Facebook until it was bundled up in a swaddle in my arms.  I guess I was scared.  For some random hormonal reason, at a baby session this spring I just unloaded on one of our moms + before I knew it, we talked about so much grittiness I think we covered years of topics that we experience with our closest girlfriends.  Thank you, secret mommy friend – your raw words and quick understanding was exactly what I needed that week (and you know who you are – thank you from my heart.)

So that made me realize – the more vulnerable I allowed myself to be, the more lives could be touched.  And while co-teaching Living Free at Life Church, in which the second the word infertility left my mouth – the room literally filled with breaths of relief.  So, now I have promised myself that openness/feelings and all that mush – it sucks (!) but, if it helps someone else, then I have done what God has asked me to do – which, is make me muddle through a rough season (and the dreaded words every mom hates: scar tissue) to use my voice as a tool.  My wish is not for sympathy (because I am abundantly blessed – with or without a baby bump) but for a mommy (or daddy, or grandma) reading this to feel hope, feel comforted – feel that you are NOT alone – and feel that you have more support than you realize.

Lets get back on a more light hearted track (whew) – Reese (I am completely serious) often checks her tummy to see who has the larger (and shocking, its always me!)

She came home from school one day and, with a truly concerned look on her face, said: whoa Mom – you are gigantic!  When I told her I was actually pretty small right now, and that the bump would be getting MUCH larger, she matter of fact replied: but, I doubt thats possible.  Oh, kid – thanks for the confidence crush.


I imagined the confetti shots to be totally epic, and they were anything but.  I even bought two huge frames, with the plan of doing side by side shots of big sis: when we know the sex of the baby the same shot with pink or blue glitter.  However, like I mentioned above – that was me trying to plan things out, and again this was him being sneaky reminding me that I am not in control of his greater plan.

While cutting the bags of glitter open – an extremely chiseled athlete jogged by in track shorts, in which Reese (who has NO volume control) shouted: Mom, why is that man running outside the house in his undies?!  He was a pretty good sport about it – but her attention span went straight to hyper and by the time she chilled out and learned the correct timing for the toss, the sun had disappeared and we were fresh out of confetti.  I still though, laugh when I look at these less than Pinterest-perfect pics.

big-sis-bumpI feel I covered all the ground I needed to in terms of if I will be waddling into your reception or not.  The timing is surprisingly perfect, as far as how far along the bump will be (or have been born) for your wedding dates, and I could not feel more at ease!

Maternity leave and all that business will be posted later on – but know every fall/early winter wedding will be wonderful + manageable – and I have allowed an awesome amount of time to bounce back before spring weddings!  Thanks, all my brides for being so lovely.  And – cheers to new beginnings (engagements, weddings, new babies and past brides becoming mommies!) – how glorious and astounding is the circle of life?!

xo – Missy {and James + Reese (at 2 months shy of 4 yrs. old)

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