Andy + Malia | South Bend, IN

I met Andy and Malia last year, right after I learned my father-in-law passed away. It was a hard day. And truthfully, I wasn't sure I could document such a happy moment, while being so completely heartbroken. But I'll tell you something ... I truly believe God brought these wonderful people into my life, at exactly the right time, because they instantly took me to another place ... a happy one.

Malia's sister contacted me just a week before these two would say "I Do". Malia had been through quite a bit just weeks prior to her wedding; she underwent many tests, surgery, and multiple hospital stays. And just that week, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Needless to say, this day was a welcomed retreat away from all the uncertainty.

They married at the courthouse in downtown South Bend, surrounded by Andy's parents and many of Andy's co-workers. Malia's family was unable to attend, but they were able to livestream the ceremony via the web. It's quite amazing how technology can bridge the gap! It was a beautiful little ceremony, and happiness filled the room. You could feel the joy all around ...

Andy, Malia and I then walked around downtown South Bend, chatting, snapping photos, and simply enjoying our time together. Not thinking about anything else but these two beginning a long life together. It's amazing how in a single minute, you can be in the very depths of sadness. And then, in an instant, someone can bring you out of it. Even if just for a moment.

Grateful that I was able to meet these two amazing people. Not only were they kind and thoughtful, but they helped me through an incredibly tough day, despite their own, very real, struggles.

Congratulations Andy and Malia. 

Theo turns One! {The Buhrman Family} South Bend, Indiana

We met Rick, Chelsea, and Theo back in January whilst photographing them for a magazine feature about sweet Theo's time at Riley Children's Hospital. You can read more about their session here!

From the moment we met this family, we knew they were special. We are so thankful we got the chance to catch up with them again and capture this momentous occasion! The grace, devotion, and strength Rick and Chelsea find in each other is incredible. Theo has been through so much in his first year of life, but his parents would walk the world for him, and the smile permanently plastered on his cherub cheeks shows that he knows.

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Theo is one! In many cultures, a baby's first birthday is a rite of passage. For the Buhrman family, this birthday is so much more than that. There was a time when tomorrow was not promised for Theo, but this brave little miracle turned days into weeks, weeks into months, and now months into YEARS!

Rick and Chelsea planned a very special get together for their little man. Photos of Theo's first year were proudly on display, and in the dining room sat a beautifully decorated cake and banner!  Some may wonder why the banner reads "Happy Day" rather than "Happy Birthday", but not us. Theo is a true example that every day is a gift, a true reason to celebrate.

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Waiting for him on his high chair tray, Theo had a special birthday cupcake! This was his first taste of cake, and I think it is safe to say he loved it!

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Theo's Aunt and Uncle joined in on the birthday celebration! It is obvious this little boy is so loved, and he loves so much in return. The way Theo looked at his uncle and snuggled into his aunt was absolutely precious!

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We can't reiterate enough how grateful we are to have had the opportunity to capture these special memories for The Buhrman family! It has been our absolute pleasure to watch him grow this year as well as develop a true friendship with Rick and Chelsea.

If you would like to read more about Theo and his journey, Chelsea's blog can be found here! This momma is an inspiration, a true warrior, as well as an incredibly gifted writer.

Happy First Birthday, Theo! You are such a ray of sunshine, truly God's gift to this earth.

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"Sometimes, real superheros live in the hearts of small children fighting big battles." - Unknown

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Luke {Smash the Cake} South Bend, Indiana

"Children hold our hands for awhile, but hold our hearts forever." - Unknown

We met this adorable family at their beautiful home in South Bend a few months ago. The plan was to celebrate little Luke's first birthday with a little cake, and a whole lot of laughs!

Luke and Addison were so adorable! They were so incredibly sweet and kind, and so photogenic!! With their bright eyes and sweet smiles, we couldn't get enough of these two.  

We headed inside where Renea had the cutest setup for little Luke's smash the cake session! With his colorful, spotted bib around his neck, Luke had a blast with his cake! Even though he didn't necessarily "smash the cake", he did enjoy munching on it and even sticking his foot in it and making a big mess! 

Addison eventually jumped in to help him finish his cake, and Luke made sure to not leave anybody out and even gave his momma Renae a bite! 

We had such a blast capturing this special moment for this family and are grateful to give them a wonderful experience to look back on as these two celebrate many more birthdays to come!