Marriage Mondays | #19beforenineteen

A few months ago, I started dating my husband again. Go ahead, reread that. ;-) We somehow managed to forget the importance of being intentional about dating when we had our biggest life changes: graduated college, moved states, lived with Jordan's parents (huge blessing), bought our first home (and fixer upper) and had our sweet Lucas Brent--all within 1.5 years. Um. WHAT. Yeah, honestly, just reading that to myself, I'm like, dang girl--extend some grace. And I have! Life threw a lot at us. So many blessings, yes. Absolutely. But difficulty adjusting? Absolutely. For the first time in the past 2.5 years, life is starting to feel a little more rhythmic. 

And I like it. 

I honestly wish that somebody had just boldly told us when we were engaged, "hey, make it a priority to date your spouse--weekly." 

Weekly. That's bold. 

Because at that point, I don't know that I would've doubted 1) the importance of it and 2) how realistic that was. And I mean that, at the time, I wouldn't have blown off that advice and thought it wasn't possible. Like, many of you are probably reading this and thinking, "oh, but that's quite impossible; you don't know my situation". 

And I don't want to discount that.  I totally want to acknowledge that I don't know your story, BUT I do know the importance dating your spouse is and how it can drastically change your friendship with your spouse, your intimacy and your overall view on life.  Even SAVE your marriage. I do know dates don't have to break the bank and don't always require babysitters--maybe some creativity, organization and intentionality. Maybe asking a friend to swap sitting, asking a family member for help, being creative with in-home dates or bending somewhere in the budget. It actually is possible.

So this is me being that friend and saying: make an effort. 

When we realized how intentional you actually have to be about planning regular date nights, not surprisingly enough, our marriage began to flourish. Life didn't feel as heavy. But what’s been fascinating to me is that, after many conversations with others, I realize we’re not alone. If I’m going out on a limb here, I’d guess that most couples fall into a similar category as us rather than scheduling dates with their spouse. And to be honest, it’s sparked this interest and excitement in me to scream to the mountains, "HEY, date your spouse!!  I have the answer!" That, and we added marriage counseling to the mix, and together combined have been worth every penny and time spent. But that's for another blog post! And it's not that we've been perfect and haven't missed a week yet (our schedules are so varying), but we're figuring out a rhythm for us. And you can too. 

So all of this has led me down a rabbit hole of ideas and creating—one of which I'm wanting to share with you and invite you in on. It's simple. Preplanned. And easy.

19 before nineteen

So if I'm being honest, at some point in our years of dating, actually planning dates became a source of frustration for us. And this probably sounds weird, and it's probably not everybody's frustration, but even before we had our son, we'd start arguing about WHERE to go. We could never pinpoint WHAT we wanted to do, and it would add an unnecessary weight to what should've been fun. Add Luke and fluctuating job schedules, and then it was like, WHEN can we fit this in and WHO can we get to babysit? 

So because actually planning the date was difficult, we decided to create some ideas for us to plan in one sitting, create some preplanned structure and choose from one of those dates whenever we see some overlapping time on our calendars. Hence #19beforenineteen was created.

Jordan and I have filled out this chart in hopes that when a date night is coming up, we DON'T HAVE TO THINK AT ALL about where to go and what to do. It's on there! We've already written down our choices, and we can check them off when we're finished and look back and remember the fun and new things we tried. 

Huge point: THIS IS IN NO WAY A CHECKLIST. 

It should only alleviate the stress of planning dates and encourage intentionality to promote your friendship, intimacy and overall relationship.

So if any of you are game and want to join in, take a second to download, print and fill out this chart. Hang it up somewhere when you're done and start dating your spouse again. Share with a friend of yours and get dates ideas from one another when you fill out your calendars. 

Remember that dating your spouse doesn't always have to mean paying for babysitters or going over your budget to fund them. They can simply mean a Netflix binge after the kids go to bed and phones are silenced in another room. 

So if weekly dates just aren't a thing for you right now, then consider joining Jordan and me in our 19 preplanned dates before 2019, and share some of your creativity with us all by using the hashtag: #19beforenineteen on Instagram. I think it'll be fun. ;-) 

Cheers to the year that you tend to your relationship and marriage--make 2018 a good one!

Milestone Mansion Wedding | Michael & Kaylee

In hopes of not sounding too cliche, everything about the Lawrence wedding was literally a dream. 

A dream. 

From the bride I grew to know and love (her bridals and more bragging here) to every single piece of lovely that was perfectly planned in the ceremony, reception and entryway space--a dream. From the people I had in front of my camera to the vendors I worked side-by-side next to--a dream. 

And then I think about the fact that these memories, these photos, these video clippings from their dream wedding day--these are going to be so magical to look back and remember. They have it. They have such a joyful, incredibly beautiful and special wedding day to look back on and remember as their perfect, dream day when they professed in front of everybody: forever. 

Similar to Kaylee's bridal blog where I explain how Kaylee was not only fun to photograph, because she's beautiful, but she was photograph, because her joyful personality is so refreshing. So peaceful. So fun!

In that same way, I have to explain how the Lawrence wedding was not only fun for me to photograph because of the beautiful florals everywhere you looked, the stunning bridesmaids and color palette that I could just drool over. It was fun for me to photograph and be a part of, because the people who were being celebrated were people who are perfect for one another. 

Kaylee and Michael are undeniably smitten for one another, and seeing the way they react in one another's arms, when they kiss, when they talk about the other one--that is joy. 

Joy was having all of their loved ones smiling as they watch them kiss for the first time as husband and wife.

Joy was having Michael's grandfather pray over them during their ceremony, because he holds a special bond with his grandfather. 

Joy was everything about the relationships and people who were a part of this wedding day, and all of the florals, details and stunning color palette are the beautiful visuals to fill the in-between. 

As beautiful as this wedding will look to you in photographs, it carries a joy so much deeper that makes them even more radiant to me and everyone who knows this couple! Hugs to this sweet pair!! 

Milestone Mansion Bridals | Kaylee

This.

Bride.

Her bridal portraits from her wedding day deserved an exclusive blog, because...you'll clearly see WHY! ;-)

I've never actually done this before, and I contemplated whether or not I should just include them in their wedding blog (sharing TOMORROW!!), but you obviously see what I decided!! 

All the heart eyes! 

I decided her bridal portraits we took on her wedding day should have their own blog, because 1) I'm absolutely in love with them and 2) I'm absolutely in love with this bride! She is totally an ideal #lindsaydavenportbride, and I seriously just become so giddy and filled with joy inside when I think back to her and Michael's wedding day. 

It was a dream! But before I gush about that on the blog tomorrow, I want you to understand the gift of joy that this here beautiful bride possesses. I literally teared up during their ceremony on Saturday when the officiant explained that the joy within Kaylee is a gift from the Lord. 

Because yes. I know everyone who heard this truth believed it. Everyone who knows Kaylee understood exactly what he was saying, because her joy is so peaceful and contagious to be around. This is one of the very reasons I just adored working with her, as I'm sure all of her vendors did!

It makes me so dang happy for Michael that he could find such a joyful soul in his wife. But my goodness, as you begin to scroll, you'll see that she's the total package, inside and out! Kaylee is absolutely stunning, and her off-the-shoulder lace wedding dress and beautiful bouquet with touches of blue sure don't hurt! ;-) 

So while you can just feel the joy popping off these bridals images, get excited for even more on their wedding blog tomorrow! :)

Artesia United Methodist Church Winter Wedding | Cody & Joy

Wintery. Elegant and absolutely, full of joy. 

It was such a treat in many ways to be in my hometown photographing Cody and Joy's wedding. Witnessing loved ones whose fingerprints were all over the wintery decor, the house in which the girls got ready, the bridal bouquets and every little detail imaginable. There was so much love, creativity and joy present in every little tiffany blue jewel that was placed. 

So much so like Cody and Joy's relationship. They dated for years before becoming engaged. I have to imagine there was much thought put into their decision to say "yes" for forever. And this was easy to witness as Joy walked down the aisle toward Cody. His reaction was one I hope Joy never forgets. His immediate reaction to catch tears from his eyes as Joy walked down the aisle with her daddy, glancing a smile at him while they walked together in the church that Joy knew as her home--priceless.

It was easy to witness in the way they looked at each other during portraits.

It was easy to witness in the way they loved their parents, their wedding party and the guests at their wedding by serving each and every one of them communion. 

There were many moments throughout the day that displayed the love and joy that was so very present in their relationship, and it was simply beautiful to experience. 

In addition to these moments, there were details that I just adored. Details like the lace that was on the top of Joy's stunning lace gown was from her mother's dress. Details like the earrings and necklace Joy wore were her mom's and the handkerchief around her bouquet was her grandmothers. So many loved ones came together to make Cody and Joy's wedding planning and executing the wintery, classy dream they had imagined, and at the end of their brunch, they were married, celebrated and Mr. and Mrs. Hendricks! 

I'm still over here like, I can't believe this beautiful girl who I *feel* like I watched grow up in front of me is now a wife--a beautiful, radiant, joyful wife who will be so precious to Cody! Congrats, you two!! 

Flippen Park Bridal Session | Lauren

Okay, this sweet bride. 

Warm, kind, natural beauty, easy-going, in love and intelligent (she's going to NP school y'all!)! 

These are a few of my favorite attributes of this lovely lady. I can remember meeting her for the first time at La Madeleine to hear her love story and share our wedding experience with her. I felt like I had known her forever with her immediate warmth and kind personality. Then when I saw how in love she and Ryan were during their engagement session, I was even more giddy that she was an LDP bride. They truly treated their engagement session as if they were on a date, and I think I was just along to document it! :)

And I have been just so impressed with how she's planned her wedding while being in the middle of advancing her nursing degree to be a Nurse Practitioner. She even finished up her finals the week before her wedding, and I never sensed a hint of worry. Though, I know she's human, and I imagine it wasn't the most fun! ;-) My point is that I love this bride. I'm so impressed by her and so grateful I had the honor to get to know her better and photograph her engagement session, bridals and wedding! 

It was seriously all such a treat! Isn't she so gorgeous!? She's such a natural in front of the camera, and I am still so obsessed with her off-the-shoulder lace wedding own! Ryan knows how lucky of a guy he is!

Winter Milestone Aubrey Wedding | Andrew & Rachel

Warm. Abundance of love. And joyful. 

When I remember Andrew and Rachel's wedding day, I think back to the warmth and excitement that I immediately felt as I walked in. I met Andrew first, and he eagerly greeted me and made sure I had what I needed. And just like Andrew, every encounter I made throughout the rest of the day was similar--so warm, helpful and full of joy! 

Especially when I saw Rachel for the first time! This beautiful bride was full of the best kind of nerves (I mean, she was just hours away from seeing her groom!), as stunning as ever and NEVER (and I mean never) stopped smiling! These are my ideal wedding days that I hope for! 

And when I mean ideal, I mean absolutely meaningful and heartfelt. 

You guys, I don't know if it's just me lately or I have the most perfect couples, but I can't hold back the tears. I'm almost certain you won't be able to either once you scroll to Andrew and Rachel's First Look with each other. Y'all, I was already tearing up before I even went to get Rachel after Andrew was ready in the location we chose. Why? Because I could already tell that Andrew was tearing up from just the thought of seeing his bride just minutes away!

This. 

This is what fuels my tank! Oh! I just love it. Oh, I'm just so happy for them. So naturally, already being buttered up, I felt with these two as Andrew obviously was blown away with his beautiful bride Rachel when she first saw her. And she felt it. I know she felt as beautiful as she looked, because her groom nonverbally and verbally told her! :) 

Excitement and joy like this just automatically makes portraits so much fun and enjoyable immediately following. We used every little last bit of natural light and then proceeded with their ceremony inside after dark. Andrew and Rachel had so many loved ones who were so excited for them, prayed for/with them and celebrated with them the remainder of this night after they became husband and wife. 

It was truly such an honor to watch these two wholeheartedly and excitedly commit their love and lives to one another and before God. Truly! I'm so excited that these two are MARRIED! 

Winter Oak Knoll Ranch Wedding | Ryan & Lauren

Oh, there's just something about winter weddings, s'mores roasting during the reception and deep, rich colors throughout the color scheme! And maaaaybe sweet couples like Ryan and Lauren who make the photographer CRY during their first look! 

The connection and love between these two was something that everybody dreams they have between their husband and wife. What a gift! I'm so grateful these two found one another and were able to celebrate their love at such an incredible venue, lovely day and with their most favorite people. 

The colors of their wedding were absolutely rich and stunning. The details were beautiful as they were special. For example, Lauren's bouquet had lace wrapped around it that was from her mother's wedding gown, and it was the most beautiful touch. As if the light and dark pinks weren't lovely enough, this lace detail really popped! 

Like I mentioned above, my favorite part of the Bachman's day had to be their First Look. Yes, of course First Looks are always so special and emotional, but this one was unique. It was absolutely their time. Nobody else's. And it was absolutely Lauren's time to radiate in her gorgeous gown, and I know Ryan made her feel like the most gorgeous bride to ever walk up to her groom. Seriously, Ryan's reaction, not only in this moment, but over and over throughout their wedding day was priceless. Lauren and Ryan, I hope you remember this! Remember this feeling and memory always, because it is so precious! 

You two were so much fun to photograph and work with, and I'm so happy that you two experienced such a wonderful, FUN, lovely and special day with all of your loved ones! Hugs!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LUKE! | First Birthday Party Pictures

No. 

How?

I just don't get it.

Happy first birthday Luke!!! 

Our Lucas Brent is somehow 1 year old. He's no longer a baby. But yes, he is. Okay, I know there are all you moms out there who are getting this right now, and if you're not, you will someday!  

One second I'm crying and sad and the next I'm giddy and excited. What is it about this first birthday?!

Because Luke's birthday is so close to Christmas, we chose to celebrate it the weekend prior his actual birthday, so you can say we've had a good, long celebration of him this week. His actual birthday is today, December 14th (12-14-16, to be exact!). We had friends and family over for his Polar Express-themed party, and when it was a blast. Everything about it. 

His party started out as a train-themed party until 1) I realized our house would have Christmas decor and 2) I realized how cute the movie Polar Express is. How perfect to merge trains + Christmas?! I thought so! I even got away with buying Christmas decor for the party that's STAYING! Woo hoo! Win win :) 

And just like everything in life (and our fixer upper), Jordan and I had fun tackling together. What that looks like (I tend to wish we're like Chip & Jo) is I come up with the ideas (usually from Pinterest or Jo), and then Jordan executes. I've learned that this really is us. And it started before we got married, only to unfold beautifully in our home as we've renovated it. 

And this past weekend, we did just that: I described a box train that I wanted Jordan to build (original idea from Pinterest), and....he did it! We have THE Polar Express train in our front yard, you guys! And it was a hit! But wait it gets better: I made tickets for the train with little bells on them for the kids, and one boy ran outside yelling, "I have a ticket to the train!!" It made me so happy :) If they weren't old enough to understand that concept, they loved playing with the bells on the train and going in and out! So fun! If only it wasn't one of the more colder Saturdays we've had. 

But it still gets better: not only were Jordan and my fingerprints all over the party, but my parents flew in to help shop, plan and set up, my in-laws brought food, sought out the perfect overalls for his conductor outfit (everyone else in PJs, of course!) and helped tremendously with setup, and our good friends Meg and Sam helped, as well. And what I personally love SO much about this is that the same fingerprints that helped make Luke's first birthday so sweet and special are the SAME fingerprints that helped make our own WEDDING day so special. Both events were very much so DIY, and I personally am just feeling all the sweet and sappy feels over this as I realize it! Taking a second to soak in these blessings. 

SO while we had our DIY train, admission tickets and Christmas decor, we also had pretzel stop lights, wheels and cheese, a toss the coal game, a train of pictures from each month of his first year and a few other fun details. Guys, I just had fun. Fun, fun, fun. 

And so did he. It was fun for me to see him exploring the train, enjoying the little buddies who came and pulling tissue paper out of gifts. It's honestly such a gift to me to see Luke having fun trying or seeing new things. Such a gift. 

So this week has just been overwhelmingly beautiful. 

God really blessed us when He trusted us with this cute, curious, cuddly baby boy. I can't wait to watch his personality continue to unfold! 

His cake smash was so precious! I wasn't going to be surprised if he didn't like being sung to, but he was fine with it! He even tolerated the cake afterward! ;-) He was slow-reacting at first. It was almost like he was waiting for us to say, "noooooo...". BUT we didn't! So once he felt us out, he was all about it, and actually went in face first! "No hands Ma!"

He definitely had a blue nostril the rest of the day until we could have a thorough cleaning! :) 

Here are some memories that I'm so glad I have photographed (and now blogged!). 

Don't forget that in honor of Luke's birthday week, The Capture Course is 25% off, using code "BIRTHDAYBOY"! Yay! 

Davenport Updates | One Year Family Photos with our Lucas Brent

WELL.

It sure has been a while since the blog has seen anything personal other than weddings and engagements! Which have, by the way, been absolutely amazing. And by amazing, I mean, I have left each and every one of them with my cup feeling full. Even if it started out close to empty, I left feeling so rejuvenated and feeling blessed to have met, spent time with and photographed the people who were in front of my camera. The fall season is always our busiest time of year (or close runner up to summers), and it proved to be just that. 

While I really don't pride myself in answering, "good, but busy!" when people ask how I've been, I also know that I was wired to go, go, go and do, do, do. Though, I am still trying to figure out what my own personal convictions are when it comes to self care, serving/working and spending time with my family. Anybody else who has walked through this season of being entrepreneurial mommy is welcome to shed their wisdom and light! ;-) But for now, I'm learning as the seasons change and truly trying to savor the moments and pick the lessons out when I can. 

Sometimes, I do just stop and hope I'm feeling all the feelings when Luke is doing something new or making me so happy that I cry. And it happens a LOT. We say all too much how blessed we are to have Luke and what a sweet boy he is. If I'm not careful, I can almost lie to people and say that he slept through the night from day 1, because that's what life has felt like, looking back on it. BUT. It is a lie! That obviousy didn't happen, and there were many tiring nights. It's just crazy how we don't remember the difficult times, because the sweetest, by far, trumps it. I don't want to forget this season! 

So while our schedules struggle to have any true rhythm with Jordan being a nurse and me a photographer, our little family is trying to figure it out! And while this past season showed us some of the sweetest highs and some sorry lows, we know that with more intentionality mixed with grace, we can continue figure that out for us! 

We know that attempted weekly date nights is sweet for us. We know that addressing conflict is always better than not. We know that family walks can't not result in sweetness. We know that this baby boy brings the most indescribable joy to our lives than we've ever earthly experienced. And we know that regardless of what other truths there are, we are blessed. 

So while mommy, wife, photographer and The Capture Course have taken first seat, my blogging has unfortunately taken the back burner! I most definitely have not forgotten about my Marriage Mondays series, but to honest, I felt convicted that I was spending so much time organizing the marriage posts for my own blog when I was too busy for my own. SO. Yes, I do still have ideas and blogs, but when they'll start up again? I'm being more prayerful! To be announced later! ;-) 

As far as catching up with the blog, I have SO many LOVELY sessions that I cannot WAIT to share with you all soon! We're trying out a new schedule with childcare for Luke after the New Year to establish a little more rhythm and help with my work, so I can try to be 100% mommy in the moment and 100% working; we'll see how helpful that is! 

But what I have been doing these past few months is being mommy to Luke: watching him learn how to walk, imitating new words, being SO silly; Jordan and I have had fun organizing, decluttering and decorating our home more with Christmas lights, another guest room and little odds and ends; I've tried to savor spending sweet time with family, doing some traveling, hosting showers and photographing for friends who have just had babies or are expecting; and I've had to be extra creative with sacrificing sleep and other things so that I can keep up with all of the editing this fall has demanded of me so that couples can have their photos as quickly as I like to edit! Oh, what a season! But I am so thankful for it! 

But you guys, how in the world is our baby boy ONE year old on Thursday?! (12-14-16)

In honor of his birthday week, enjoy 25% OFF The Capture Course through Sunday! 

We celebrated him this past weekend with his Polar Express birthday party, and I'll share more from that later in the week, because it MADE MY HEART SO HAPPY! Seeing him having fun, having so many loved ones coming together and just enjoying the planning and creating process in general. After my parents leave tomorrow, I'm back to work and have two BEAUTIFUL weddings to blog for you all! 

Wishing you all such a merry, bright and warm time with the ones you love right now! 

Below are some precious, precious pictures I'll never forget--our family the week before Luke turned 1 year old. He may have only wanted to be down and walking, but we managed to tickle and cuddle that wiggle worm! I'll remember that Jordan and I had a date night afterward to the Shane & Shane + Phil Wickham concert at DBU, and it was PERFECT. I'll remember that, at the moment, we felt like we had somewhat of a grasp on our fast (don't want to say "busy"), full of adventure life. We laughed that we only had time for Taco Cabana before the concert, ate in the car....but enjoyed us some delicious donuts at a new bakery after! 

Thank you Chandler Grace for these!! 

Downtown Dallas Rooftop Engagement Session | Josh & Kelsey

Wowza.

I don't think I can even count on 1 hand the number of people who commented on stunning this bride was after I posted a sneak peek to Instagram. People who I saw the following week even commented on this rooftop engagement session and how stunning this couple was together!

And, welp. I'm with them all. 

HOW STUNNING! We may have had one of the warmer days of the fall season for their session, but my goodness, it didn't hold them back one bit! Everything from their outfits, the sweet, easy conversation with them and the carefully planned locations--was so ideal. Kelsey had a beautiful vision for her engagement session, and I gladly took over from there! 

I first met Kelsey when she worked with Jordan as an ICU nurse at Methodist, and the first thing I remember about her was how kind she was. We quickly began chatting about Waco, Magnolia and this super cute store she recommended to me, Junque in the Trunk (definitely super cute)! Her warm, kind, welcoming personality would make anybody want to be her friend, and I can't help but think this had to be one of her many good qualities that Josh noticed first! Plus, let's be obvious--she's gorgeous! 

These two met while Josh was a Resident and Kelsey was a nurse, so this medical duo is sure to be a sweet team together for life--they were truly so much fun to have in front of my camera. I can't wait for next October!!