August-February // A Personal Recap


Hey, it’s me. Showing my face on here again after a little over 6 months?!! Yikes. Remember back when I suggested these personal posts would be showing up monthly? (hah hah) Once August hit, I was buried neck deep in traveling, shooting and editing and spare time was spent — well, I’ll show you how spare time was spent!

August was fair month and we always make it out to Turner County (where I grew up) because their fair is the best around. Cedric was a big fan of the rides this year!!

Dad’s birthday was in September and 5 out of 6 of us kids live here in Sioux Falls, so it makes for an easy party when there’s something to celebrate! We met out at Palisades for a picnic lunch by the river.

Ben and I made it out to the derby and made bets on the winner. I won (and got a back rub).

Street fair + tacos + live music = perfect family date night. Picked up some really cool custom made jewelry, too.

We traveled up to Roosevelt, Minnesota to visit family for a few days and Cedric got his hands dirty helping Grandma Mitton in her (beautiful) garden.

Cedric’s always down for getting on something with wheels! Literally no hesitation. Disclaimer: a little camera trickery made it look like they’re going a lot faster here than they were in real life. 😉

While Ben’s parents flew out for a little getaway to Vermont for their anniversary, we had the pleasure of some extra cousins at our place for around a week or so! Cedric wasn’t mad about all the extra attention.

Wherever Dad puts his shoes, Cedric lines his up right beside his. Wherever he sets his weights or water bottle, Cedric will hastily line his up there as well. If Dad sits on the counter, Cedric sits on the counter.

In September, Michael Lietdke took our family photos for us and this one was our immediate favorite!! We used it for the front of our Christmas card and had a few more inside, polaroid-style (along with some favorite snapshots of the year from the Hills).

Most of my weddings this year were in South Dakota and surrounding states, but my cousin flew me out to Nashville to shoot her beautiful wedding in October and then I drove to Fall Creek Falls for an engagement the next day before heading home!

A few more favorites from our session with Michael!

Cedric turned three on October 20th! Anna (The Cake Lady) put together this awesome racetrack cake and Cedric was a huge fan! He right away drove the cars around the track before realizing he was supposed to blow out the candles. lol It was a full house with both our families there!

No shortage of personality around here…

The light saber brought out another side to David…

Cedric’s birthday haul! We mayyyy have snuck into his room and recycled a stash of older, broken toys and torn books to make room for his new spoils (shhh). I wouldn’t really call myself a minimalist, but I try to keep clutter low.

Some Farmer’s Market finds.

I don’t take enough pictures of him…

Towards the end of the year, especially while Ben was gone for guard weekends, there were a lot of late-night, early morning hustles to keep our workflow efficient while it amped up. We got to work together for almost every single wedding this year, but when he wasn’t around for a wedding in Cedar Rapids, Hannah Sandersfeld stepped in to second shoot! She’s such a good soul.

I got a new nephew this year!! He’s the cutest squish. P.S. — I get asked a lot if we’re planning on having more kids and the answer is YES!! We would be thrilled if 2018 saw those prayers come true… I’m not pregnant yet, but we’ll keep you posted. 🙂

Cedric will be an expert location-scouter soon! We’re constantly exploring around for shoots and testing light together. Here he is on his knees pretending to propose in preparation for a proposal session the following night (the one with the circle arch in case you saw it). I would say yes if he popped the question. Just look at those baby cheeks.

Headed north for Christmas! We stopped to see some good friends along the way.

Bemis Hill was magical on Christmas week. Ben took me sledding on a trail through the woods and it was straight from a storybook!

Ben usually takes the drone out about once a week to get fresh shots and hone his skills. He’s getting so good!!

Back home!! Do you ever wonder what your home smells like to other people?? I feel like every family has their own scent so when we’re away for a while I always look forward to that first brush through the front door when I might gather that split-second, third-person perspective. Coming home always makes us happy!Speaking of homes, my childhood home was sold this year and as a sort of memorial/Christmas gift to my parents and siblings, I had an artist from Memphis draw the acreage. My copy sits on our kitchen counter now and brings me so much joy. Mitchell Dunn did a phenomenally detailed job illustrating and was awesome to work with! If you have a building you want drawn, definitely reach out to him. You can contact him at

One of the house projects we had done this winter was ripping out the old (rotting) porch and replacing it with fresh wood. It looks SO much better now (thanks, Stephen!), but I’m going to save the “After” picture for spring when we’ve got it stained and have our landscaping in!

Just chilling in a Magnolia box facetiming Aunt Jewel! She was gone for a portion of the year in France, so Cedric had lots to show & tell whenever our time zones aligned.

We thought Cedric might have the flu on New Years’ Eve (turned out to be a small bout of food poisoning) so Ben and I kept the holiday close to home! We still dressed up and Ben bought allll of my favorite snacks for two FULL charcuterie boards. We almost felt guilty having everything set up just for us, but it was actually pretty fun! We just played games through the night, enjoyed the goodies, kept the record player going and watched the ball drop in NYC while we cheered from home! The next day we met up with siblings for games and brought heaps of leftovers. 🙂

Late January I had surgery to remove my gallbladder after over 3 years of worsening pain, ER visits and gamuts of testing. So happy to say goodbye to the echocardiograms, stress tests, x-rays, EKGs, heart monitors, ultrasounds, blood work, radioactive scanning, and more!! After discovering the problem was so simple, it’s easy to wish the process hadn’t taken so long to find answers, but in reality, we are both just so immensely thankful to HAVE answers and finally have that season behind us. I always thought I had just dealt with some severe postpartum issues, and while my gallbladder disease was brought on by giving birth, that was the only connection to birth and will never be a postpartum problem again. It only took seven doctors and three years to figure that out! haha. We’re a month post-op now and I’m feeling so GREAT. No pain, no dietary changes or needs noticed yet! The pathology report came back revealing that I would soon have added gallstones to the pain already being experienced, so even more reason to be thankful we got it taken care of.

“Tia” (Aunt Melissa) had a birthday early February and when I asked where I could take her out, she voted we bring Cedric to Chuck E. Cheese’s to celebrate. No wonder he likes her so much. 😉

 Hockey games are a winter-must. 

I think that pretty much brings us up to date!! Maybe seasonal personal posts would be a more practical goal this year? lol That is if you don’t mind the camera being turned on our little family from time to time in-between our usual work! People still read blog posts, right?!! Let me know if these should continue!

Click here if you missed my last personal post!


  1. Lauri says:

    Love getting the updates from your lovely family!

  2. Emily says:

    Yes yes!! Keep these posts coming!! 🙂

  3. ChelsyRenee says:

    Yes yes! Loved this post so much! More please!! =)

  4. Bruce and Linda says:

    So fun seeing this. Definitely keep doing this. Love seeing your family life in a capsule.

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