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Julia’s Story

I have been so excited to share this very special girl and session with all of you! Meet the beautiful Miss Julia. You will see what a strong and brave little girl she is as soon as you read her story written by her mom below.

Julia Rose was born August 11, 2014. The moment she arrived and was placed in my arms it was instant love. Her birth was filled with many emotions. So many unknowns were to come about that we were very nervous. Let me tell you a little about her pregnancy.

Julia is my third child. She has an older brother Elijah (5) and an older sister Lydia (3). We found out that we were expecting another girl at our 20 week ultrasound. Her ultrasound went well except they saw some concerning areas on her heart. From our OB we were sent to a maternal fetal medicine doctor. We had many ultrasounds and we also saw pediatric cardiology to investigate her heart condition further. She was very active in utero but they were finally able to see that Julia did indeed have several abnormalities in her heart. She had a VSD, ASD, as well as a PDA. They told us that these issues would need repair anytime between 2-4 months after birth. We were heartbroken. They also told us that these types of heart conditions can be a precursor to a genetic condition. They offered us a few options-an amniocentesis, which we declined, we didn’t want to risk any procedure that she may not tolerate. Our other option was a simple blood draw called the panorama blood screening. It’s a blood sample taken from the mother and they are able to separate blood from the placenta to test the baby for genetic abnormalities. Two weeks later we were contacted by the genetic counselor and told that our baby was “high risk” for Down syndrome. We were confused. How could this be? I am only in my thirties and we never expected this. It was quite a shock to find out that this baby I’m carrying was likely to be born with Down syndrome. Both my husband and I prayed so hard, along with many others for her heart to be healed so she wouldn’t need this surgery at such a young age. We researched and reached out to people with children of Down syndrome. Neither of us knew much about it but we wanted and needed to know everything! I met an amazing support through Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network and its directors Jen and Heather. Mary from Prenatal Partners for Life was also a great resource for us. They are all 3 amazing women/mothers. I’m so thankful for them and the support the organizations provide for families.

Returning back to her birth, I went into labor August 11, 2014 on my own, for the first time ever, and Julia was in a huge hurry to arrive. Just as we got settled in at the hospital she was born. She was big and beautiful! She weighed 8 lbs and 5 oz and had big chubby cheeks and beautiful big eyes. It was love at first sight! Luckily my parents were able to be there shortly after she arrived and they were able to hold her for a few minutes. She started having some breathing trouble (pulmonary hypertension) so she was airlifted to Fargo and stayed 2 weeks in the NICU until her lungs became stronger. I cannot thank my friends and family enough for all the support they gave us watching our other kids so Steven and I could be with our sweet baby girl. The NICU is a sad yet happy place and I will never forget the amazing nurses and doctors that cared for my baby girl while she was there.

Julia struggled to eat well and our goal was just to get to 12 pounds so she could have heart surgery. Her little heart was working so hard. She was on 3 different medications several times a day. She also was very sleepy because her heart was working so hard. We had to set alarm clocks to wake her to eat every three hours. We tried so hard but she weighed exactly 11 pounds on January 9, 2015 when she went in for Heart surgery. Her surgeons were absolutely amazing and we really had faith in them. I should have been a disaster that day, but I had such a sense of peace about everything and she had so many people praying for her that we just felt that God kept us calm through the surgery that was supposed to take 5 hours, but only took 3! Julia remained in the hospital for 2 weeks and was such a trooper. She stole the hearts of every doctor and nurse she saw with her chubby cheeks, big eyes and infectious smile! The repair was a success and in May 2015 she got clearance to see cardiology on a yearly basis!

Julia receives Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy once a week and continues to make huge improvements. Each milestone celebrated is that much sweeter. She continues to amaze us. She is stubborn (like her mommy) but I think it has helped her even if she fights the hard work the therapists do with her.

We have an amazing support system from both family and friends. We are blessed with so many people who have helped us big and small! (you know who you are) Thank you will never be enough for these amazing people in our lives. I’m so thankful that Kristen Purrington of Purrington Photography was kind enough to capture Julia and her siblings for us.

As we approach her First Birthday it’s amazing to look back on all the amazing things she has accomplished already! I can’t wait to see what’s in store next!

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Fun Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn Themed Photo Shoot


My little boy turns 5-years-old today!  I cannot believe how fast the years have flown by!  Every year just keeps getting better and better.  I can’t wait to see what this year holds for us!

Most of you know that I’m a full-time photographer.  That doesn’t leave me very much time and energy to plan my own family shoots, but I was determined to do something really special this year for him.  He is one of the most precious miracles in my life, and I really wanted to do a photo shoot that would capture who he is.  He loves the outdoors and is so curious about everything around him.  He’s adventurous and very energetic.  He loves getting dirty and jumping into lakes.  He’s definitely all boy.

So, the fun theme I decided to go with was…Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn!

I envisioned it all in my head.  We could use a raft, a cute suspender outfit, a straw hat, and even his new baby turtles.  Yeah.  Baby turtles.  I was so excited to make this shoot happen, even in the middle of my busy season.

Thankfully I was able to enlist the help of my husband and my parents.  My dad and hubby put together a raft and made it look as real as they could.  You’re going to love it when you see it in the photos!  My dad also rigged up a fishing pole and fish.  My mom put together the sail.  I put together the outfit.  My parents live on a lake so we were able to do the photos right in their “backyard”.  It was great!  We were in shallow water the entire time so my little guy would be safe.  My hubby was also standing in the water right out of my camera view.

I am so thrilled with how the photos came out!  I love how his joy and curiosity comes out in so many of the images, yet we were also able to capture some somber ones as well.  He was such a dream on the shoot.  He did absolutely everything we asked him to do.  I feel so extremely blessed to be able to call this little boy mine.  God has been so good to our family, and we thank him every day for little Michael.

By the way, he named his turtles Betsy Clifford and Clifford Betsy.  They like to eat mealworms, dragonflies, and fish.

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Bemidji Family Photographer – The Pollocks

One of my favorite family sessions to date.

One of my favorite families to date.

Meet the Pollocks, good friends of mine.  I was so excited when they choose me to take their family pictures!  We used the grandparent’s campground just down from their home for their shoot.  The fall colors were beautiful and so was the weather!

I even got to help Lyndsi (the mom) pick out the outfits.  If you know the Pollocks you know that we had plenty of camo to dig through.  We ended up finding different colors and patterns to coordinate.  We mixed lime green with navy blue with turquoise.  I love how it all went together and made their pictures so unique!

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Family Photographer in Bemidji at Diamond Point Park

Amanda and I talked about the outfits they would wear for their family photos, but I had no idea they would be so cute!  Especially combined with what a cute family they are!  I was so excited with all the photos we were able to capture.  The kids had the cutest most natural smiles.  We took the photos around Diamond Point Park in Bemidji and ended at a location nearby for a couple quick shots with a red barn.  I had so much fun with this sweet family!

 

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Graduation Announcements – Birth Announcements – Christmas Cards

I LOVE to get pictures and announcements in the mail from friends and family.  Many times they send them to share a life changing event or to wish us a Merry Christmas. Either way, I love them.  So much, in fact, that I have kept every single announcement and Christmas card I have ever received!  That’s right!  I have a lot of them!

Because I value the importance of announcements and cards, I have decided to offer them to all my customers.  Each card is custom designed with much thought and attention by me personally.  You pick the photos, and I put together a design to compliment them.  This service is offered exclusively to my clients.  It is such a fun way for them to share their special photos and memories with friends and family.

Below are some of the designs I have put together.  These are printed on a high quality 5″ x 7″ card stock   They are great for graduation announcements, birth announcements and Christmas Cards.  They are the high end option for someone looking to send the “wow” factor.

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These next examples are 4′” x 8″ announcements.  These designs are only one sided and printed on photographic paper.

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Las Vegas Nelson Nevada Ghost Town Shoot – Destination Photographer

From my previous blog post, most of you are aware that I recently traveled to Las Vegas for the WPPI Photography Convention.  It was amazing!  The classes I took, the friendships I made, and the vendors I saw made the experience unforgettable!  One of the most exciting events of the week was going on something they call a “shoot-out” put on by Emma and Josh from Couture Clicks.  The theme was “Runaway Circus” and took place at the Nelson Nevada Ghost Town at El Dorado Canyon which is located about an hour outside of Las Vegas. It was a great chance to meet amazing and friendly photographers and to work side-by-side with them.  I’m so thankful for opportunity. The images below are just a few of the ones I was able to capture of one of the models.  Isn’t she gorgeous?!  I wonder if anyone would be able to guess how old she is.

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Thank you to the following people for making this event possible!

AND THE WINNER IS…

Congratulations, Erin and Dwayne!!!  I am so excited to meet you and take photos of your beautiful family!  What a contest this was!  PLEASE read their submission if you have a chance.  It is one of the most moving and emotional submissions yet!

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“Hi! My name is Erin. I have been married to my husband, Dwayne, for almost 11 years. We have 3 wonderful kids. Sabin 7, Cullen 5, and Camdyn 2. Today, March 13, we found out that Dwayne has an incurable form of pancreatic cancer. It has been a couple of years since our last family photo shoot. We are hoping to have some family pictures done before he is too sick. We want to make so many memories in our time left together.”

Wow!  I was in tears when I read this, and I’m even fighting tears back now!  What a precious family going through something so unimaginable!  I was hoping they would win and decided if for some reason they didn’t I would donate a session to them as a gift.  I was so amazed as other participants in the contest actually started asking people not to vote for themselves, but to vote for Erin and Dwayne.  What a loving thing to do!!!  Thank you, everyone!

As a way of saying thank you to all the contestants for being so awesome, I will be gifting TWO sessions away!  The second session will go to Tanya Goosen, the runner up.  She actually e-mailed me and requested to be taken out of the contest after seeing Dwayne and Erin’s story.  She wrote,  “I couldn’t imagine winning when somebody is going through a much LARGER life change than we are!!!”  Hope you don’t mind me putting that on here, Tanya, but it was such a sweet thing for you to do!

Erin and Dwayne – I am SO excited to meet you and to take pictures of your family!  This is going to be such a special shoot!  You won a $300 session, but I would actually like to give you more if that’s okay.  I can tell you all about it and the really fun ideas I have for you!  I can’t wait to hear about your ideas are too!  You said you want to make many memories in your time left together, and I want to be there to photograph them!

One more thing before I sign off – I’m honored to be able to be a participant of several non-profit organizations that donate sessions to children with illnesses and diseases: NILMDTS, Inspiration Through Art, Tiny Sparrow Foundation.  If you know of anyone that could benefit from one of these photo sessions, please tell them to look up these awesome organizations.  They are a great way to connect families in need with photographers who want to give back.

I know any talent, ability, creativity, knowledge and equipment I have is a result of the Lord’s blessings, and in return I want to bless others.  Thank you, friends!