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You know those people who are almost shockingly warm, personable and all-around wonderful? Yeah, those people are Jamie and Ben.

Go ahead and take ALL THE POSITIVE WORDS IN THE WORLD and that just about describes Jamie and Ben.

From our very first meeting over coffee (when they were like, “Oh, let us come to you!” and then WOULDN’T LET ME BUY MY OWN COFFEE AT MY OWN BUSINESS MEETING??) I’ve been floored by their kindness and with every interaction since then have understood more and more how very privileged I am to be the photographer they chose to document their engagement and wedding.

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And then Jamie changed into this adorable lace romper and I just about died.

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When you go into the kids’ room in the morning before the sun is all the way up and brother has climbed into baby sister’s crib.

When cooking waffles as a family means wiping batter off of quicker-than-you-remembered baby hands and was that egg in Beckham’s hair?? How did that even get there . . . ?

Grabbing a dry waffle in your hand so that you can set up paints for your two-year-old to keep him busy. When mom and dad tag team eating because you can’t both really sit down at the same time for very long with two kids this little.

When a bath is required after breakfast because there is food all over just about every inch of that babe’s body.

When daddy makes sure to kiss everyone goodbye before leaving for work.

When you’re finishing your now cold coffee after laying your baby down for a morning nap. When you pull your firstborn into your lap for his first one-on-one momma time for the the day.

It certainly isn’t the easiest or most glamorous of life seasons. But DANGIT if there isn’t so much sweetness in it that it hurts sometime? This is what I’m passionate about capturing. Real family moments. Because as cute as those posed photos of everyone smiling at the camera are (and I mean that, they can be so cute!), what do they actually tell you about that particular season of life in your family? In the short (and yet long?? and absolutely wonderful and yet completely imperfect??) nine months that I’ve been a mom, I’ve been finding myself thinking “Oh, I wish I had a photo from all of us snuggling in bed together early in the morning” because that time is so, so sweet to me. Or “I wish I had a photo of how giggly Juni gets on her changing table when she’s sleepy but still happy before bedtime.” These are the things I’ve found myself wishing I could have documented. So when I think of cute baby bed head and a family trip to the donut store or those towel-wrapped cuddles after bathtime and yeah, even those moments right after time-out when you’re having to lovingly explain why it’s not okay to hit — it’s in all of that that I see a lot of real and sweet moments just waiting to be chronicled.

Keep in mind I’m not proposing this naively. As I write this post as my 9-month-old plays with books she’s ripped the pages out of and climbs over empty print boxes and packaging materials she’s scattered on my office floor. My husband had to get up out of bed to rock her back to sleep three times the night before last. I have a constant underlying fear that she’s going to eat a bobby pin off the floor that’s fallen out of my hair. One day that won’t be what life looks like anymore. And that’s well and good but I don’t want to forget a bit of it.

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When I first pitched Darby the idea of coming to their home before the kids were even awake and documenting a morning in their home without posing or “okay now everyone smile here!” she said:

“I have a small anxiety attack when I think about actually being vulnerable enough to let someone take photos of my home and what an actual morning looks like (which is basically uncoordinated chaos with the babies). I don’t think of us having a lovely, picturesque morning routine. Mostly we look horrible in our mismatched pajamas and the whole house is in shambles. Confessedly, I’m not particularly proud of my home decorating / housekeeping skills as well.  Usually we are tag teaming children and don’t even get to spend time together in the mornings”
I told her that her house was definitely allowed to be more picked up than any given Wednesday and that I’d love for her and Wes to think about their families most favorite type of morning vs a daily-grind-just-gotta-get-out-the-door type of morning. So making waffles together (a Saturday morning favorite activity) it was. I admire Darby and Wes and the way they raise their family, serve each other, love each other and their kids. I admire how go-with-the-flow, honest and open they are. And I just want to say on the Internet that I truly believe y’all are some of the best parents around, scout’s honor. Thank you for inviting me into your home and letting me document a piece of your family life right now.
So there it is. This is how I want to document families now. It doesn’t always have to be a morning routine — it can be an outing to your favorite park, or bedtime routines, a family trip to the Grand Canyon, sky’s the limit as long as it’s an activity in the life of your family that you treasure. It’s not a show. It’s not bribe-your-kids-grit-your-teeth-JUST-ONE-MORE-SMILE-AT-THE-CAMERA-PLEASE. It’s just living your life with the ones you love most and OH HEY Jillian just happens to be there, ISN’T SHE PRETTY!!
Okay I really have to go now because Juniper is bored and crying at my feet and doesn’t care if I have any more to write or not. XOXO!

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These two are so effortlessly awesome and the absolute nicest people to be around and I have been actively looking forward to their three-day August wedding ALL YEAR LONG.

Funny story, I actually first sat down to meet with Misbah and Ali about shooting their wedding two days before my daughter was born (WORTH IT, THOUGH). I can still remember Ali’s aghast face when I told him I was only a few days out from my due date and he genuinely was like, “WE COULD HAVE WAITED TO MEET!!” He was so immediately concerned about me, because he’s just that kind. And Misbah I’ve adored since I photographed her sister’s wedding almost three years back because this girl is PURE SUNSHINE CONCENTRATE.

Nine years of that same kindness and that same sunshine have already been poured into their relationship so it’s no wonder these two had so much to smile about at their Deep Ellum engagement session back in March.

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I love documenting people who feel deeply. It will never ever ever ever get old to me.

Nicole + Taylor held each other close ALL DAY LONG at their Dallas Arboretum wedding in March and as far as I could tell never intend to stop. You two do a dang good job of it too.

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Many thanks to Nicole and Taylor for entrusting their wedding documentation to me.

Thank you also to the talented Jacob Daniels (otherwise known as my little bro) for second shooting with me this day and doing a dang good job.

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