Facebook Nominations

We’ve all seen the nominations and challenges floating around Facebook…. the “Love Your Spouse” and “Proud to be a Mama”. I was nominated for both multiple times. I welcome any opportunity to share and brag on the souls I get to call mine-all-mine, but couldn’t commit to consistently posting pics and tagging others for consecutive days. So instead, I’m blogging my nomination acceptance! Continue reading

Our Loss of James

Timing. Within hours of going public with our happy baby news we experienced the loss every parent fears. Many may wonder why I would share this or write about it, especially so soon.

I write. I enjoy it and it helps—a form of therapy if you will. I also write to recall our experience, to memorialize our child, to help—mostly me but perhaps others as well. This blog is our story and this is a chapter in that story. Continue reading

Family Winter Session

Fall is the typical time in which families gather to get their annual photo session. The fall colors, the comfortable temperatures, and the timing before the holiday card season favor this timing. While we did do a fall session as we typically do (find here)–colors arrived late so these look more like summer images–Rachel and I also wanted winter snowy photos. We had scheduled and rescheduled this session three times to try to get the right amount of snow on the ground. Little did we know our last date shift would result in a perfect snowy Wisconsin day in February. Valentine’s day no less.

Continue reading

10 Months

Happy Valentine’s Day! I wanted some ‘love day’ images separate from her monthly images so last week I captured some in advance of Valentine’s day. Aunt Laura and Uncle Wayne gifted an adorable outfit. The shirt says “I love you” all over it, the sweater has heart pockets, and the red pants bring it all together. Red is definitely her color.  Continue reading


When they originally asked us to join them in tropical Jamaica for their wedding, I assumed we would not go. I mean, we had a new babe and it was between the holidays and money and time and….and….and. I assumed we won’t go. Cody thought differently. ‘Yes, we’ll go. We need a trip, we’ve never done a big trip before or had our honeymoon.”

Earlier this month, we jetted of to Jamaica to witness Travis and Shannon’s union. Continue reading

2015 Family Photos

Each year the wonderful Rachel Manzke Photography family comes to my place for family photos. Rachel, correct me if I am wrong, but I think we have been doing this for the past 5 years now? Even before I had a “family” of my own, Rachel and her’s would allow me to photograph them and in turn, she took images of me with my dogs and horses. When Cody and I began dating, we had annual “couple” photos. And now, this annual session captures our new little family.

Rachel’s family, Team Giblin, resides in Sun Prairie. They love the convenience of being in a larger town and take advantage of Madison activities. When it comes to our annual photo event, however, Rachel prefers the country backdrops we have to offer. I am grateful they choose our home and make the trip each year.

This year we created a new flow for the session and moved the session to later in the day which also allowed us to enjoy dinner together while the image files downloaded to our respective computers.

Thank you, Rachel. Even though we did not have any fall color this year, we did have a beautiful day and I love these images!

Check out more of Rachel’s work at http://www.rachelmanzke.com/_L3A3749_1 _L3A4175_1 _L3A4131_1 _L3A4065_1 _L3A4032_1  _L3A4002_1_L3A4028_1_L3A4002_2  _L3A3969_1 _L3A3941_1 _L3A3913_1 _L3A3862_1 _L3A3843_1 _L3A3827_1  _L3A3798_1 _L3A3768_1 _L3A3754_1_L3A3818_1

Our Birth Story

Monday, April 13

Contractions began at 2:37 a.m. I woke to go to the bathroom and after returning to bed felt a “tightening.” I wondered if this was a contraction… and decided to record the time just in case. Several minutes later, another. Is this real, is this our birth day? Contractions continued throughout the evening. As they were not overly intense, I tried to rest between them and noted the time when they came. Sleep was attempted but not successfully attained. Cody and I both put messages into work letting them know we would not be in. Around 10 am the contractions weakened and became more sporadic. They continued throughout the day, but did not hinder daily actions. I put in a few hours of work and went for a walk with my mama before heading to my 41 week appointment with our midwife. After an exam, she confirmed I was 1 cm dilated and 100% effaced. Our babe was also in a +1 station, very low in the pelvis. We headed home and prepared to get a good night’s rest knowing that the moment we would welcome our child was soon approaching.

Tuesday, April 14

I fell asleep around 10 pm and woke at 12:38 am to a contraction. Contractions came several minutes apart but felt stronger and more on purpose than those from the previous day. After about an hour I decided to get out of bed and walk around to encourage the contractions to come regularly. Cody sat with me throughout the early morning hours in our living room. Around 4 am I got into the shower and contractions were coming in waves every couple of minutes. We decided it was time to go. I called our photographer, Cody loaded the car, and we were on our way.

6:00 AM (ish)

We checked into the Reedsburg Area Medical Center’s Birth Center. It was important for us to labor at home as long as possible. I did not want to spend hours laboring at the hospital. I was hopeful that when they checked me, I would have made good progress at home. When the nurse informed me that I was 5 cm dilated, I was happy. We were half way there, and contractions were coming regularly and strong. The nurse filled the tub with water and my and baby’s vitals were wonderful. We’d soon be holding our baby!

The tub was a relief. The warm water felt good and “cushioned” me during contractions. Shortly after getting in, my friend/photographer arrived, then my mother.

15D-Pulvermacher066 copyMy focus was on Cody and the contractions. When I would think about my labor during pregnancy, my fear was that I would get scared, that I would tense up and not work with my body. Thinking back about my labor, I can happily say, I didn’t get scared of the contractions, I was in control of my labor, and was well supported by those around me. The contractions were doing the work, preparing my body to deliver our baby. At one point I left the tub to empty my bladder and sat on the toilet for a couple of contractions. After leaving the bathroom, and returning to the labor room, the song that came up on my iPod’s “pregnancy” playlist was Garth Brook’s Mom. I held on to Cody and rocked with him as this song threw me into emotion. The words hit home now more than ever, soon we’d be meeting our baby. Soon, this baby would be meeting their Mom. I wept, I sang. I rocked with my husband, The contractions continued in waves.

15D-Pulvermacher136I got back into the tub and between contractions rested. The playlist continued and I sang along with the songs. Focusing on the lyrics helped relax me and pass time between contractions. Rachel joked that I could sell the playlist. At moments, it almost seems choreographed with songs like Mom, Let Her Go, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and a set of classics from Mozart. Apparently the music moved more than just me and our emotions were felt by all those in the room.

Our audience grew throughout my labor. Cody’s mom arrived. We also granted permission for two student nurses to observe. It was a kindness I wanted to extend based on my reading and research. Many in the OB field never get to 15D-Pulvermacher046witness natural child-birth. Who knows where these nurses will end up, perhaps in a facility that has high rates of intervention-lead births, rather than mother-lead births. I could allow them to see how it could be. Also in the room were my midwife and two nurses. 10 of us fit into that small space, but I was cushioned by the water, focusing only on Cody. It didn’t matter who was there. I never felt crowded or overwhelmed or exposed. And I think it was an experience for those present.

Between contractions, if I wasn’t resting, I was trying to maintain my humor. I asked my midwife at one point to just reach in and pull our baby out. I made conversation with my husband and watched the emotion on his face as he supported me the best he could. I listened to the conversations taking place in the room. I remember looking down and noticed my belly button was no longer stretched, it had returned, and there was a large gap from chest to baby bump. It was fun to witness the changes and realize how awesome our bodies are, how this incredible design of God’s works so perfectly.

Time to Push!

15D-Pulvermacher203At one point my contractions became something more. I recalled reading that your body will tell you when to push. It does! It did! I resisted however. I didn’t want to push if I wasn’t yet fully dilated. With the next contraction, my midwife checked me and pushed back the remaining rim of my cervix. I was given the green light to push on the next contraction. The urge was incredible. It literally lifted me from the tub. With a water birth, it’s important to stay under the water completely, and its also important for my midwife to be able to monitor progress and see everything so they had me turn sideways in the tub, this gave me more leverage to push against the sides. My mother was behind me, my husband and midwife in front. I was supported and I was on the verge of welcoming my child.

Contractions continued, and while they were intense, they were short. I pushed and roared (literally–the low noises escaping me were raw and animalistic) but once the contraction stopped, so did I. I relied on the contractions for strength. Despite the encouragement from those around me to keep pushing, I stopped once the contraction was over.

15D-Pulvermacher051During this entire time, following each contraction the nurse checked the baby’s heart rate with the doppler. In the back of my mind I feared hearing the words “the baby’s heart rate is dropping.” Those words never came. With each check of my babe, the heart rate boomed loud and steady for all to hear. It never once wavered, there was never any distress. The student nurse assisting us made a great statement that filled me with joy. “Listen to that strong heart beat. This baby loves their mama.”

We were so close. My babe was nearly crowning. As we got to this point, some fear did set in. With each push I felt my bottom stretching, knew I was about to tear, and as a result I timidly approached my next contractions. Out loud, in that room full of people, I prayed for strength. I talked to myself, reminding me, that I could do this, that only I could do this.

I knew I was going to tear. I knew I’d have to feel more pain that I had up to this point before it would be over. With the next contraction, I gave more of myself and pushed . My babe’s head emerged as I tore. And the contraction was over. There s/he was, so close to exiting. And we waited, waited for the next contraction, which took several minutes.

9:44 a.m.

15D-Pulvermacher245With the next and final contraction, I pushed our baby out. In a fluid motion, our baby entered the tub into our midwife’s hands. She immediately brought our child to my chest, into my arms. It was surreal. And the pain was gone. Replaced by awe and love and gratitude. I was holding our baby, our healthy, beautiful baby. A baby with a head full of dark hair and stormy blue eyes. A babe that let out a cry the moment it broke the water’s surface. My jaw dropped, the tears rolled, my heart swelled.

I looked at my husband. His look, his reaction was one I wanted to see and witness. Together he and I created this life, 15D-Pulvermacher268together we prepared for the arrival, and together we labored and anticipated. He was happy, proud, emotional, and relieved. He was in the moment with me. In that moment in time, the three of us were the only ones who existed.

My babe was in my arms facing toward me, still connected to the umbilical cord. We did not yet know the gender. My midwife asked if we were ready to find out. I held our babe for a moment longer and remember thinking to myself, “I don’t feel a penis!” I lowered our babe and revealed to the room that we had a daughter. I was so in love. She was absolutely perfect.

15D-Pulvermacher259I turned to Cody and asked him a question I had asked him many times before, “what are we going to do with a girl?” This was our inside joke. …we have decided we are going to raise her to be smart and hate boys!


Cody cut the cord then took our sweet angel to meet her grandmothers.


The staff helped me out of the tub and to the bed. This is when the second phase of labor began for me, though I can adamantly say, I’d take child-birth again and again over the aftermath of our daughter’s birth.

15D-Pulvermacher293In short, my uterus was done. It did its job, it expelled my little girl. But usually, afterwards, it is supposed to keep working, continue contracting to stop the bleeding and shrink down. Mine was tired. So the bleeding would not stop. Getting the bleeding under control was priority 1. A nurse approached me with a needle in her hand and was heading for my arm. I drew back and told her “no!” She looked at me with astonishment. My midwife said, “Lori, we have to. It’s pitocin, we need your uterus to contract.” I begrudgingly permitted and laid my head back thinking how ironic it was that I went through my full labor and birth without medication only to have it administered now. But fine, do what you have to do to me. My baby is out, she is here, and God willing nothing will enter her system.

15D-Pulvermacher318The nurse returned to insert an IV. She prepped my arm, warned me of the impending poke, and stuck me. She missed. Puzzled, she attempted again at a different location along my vein. Strike two. I was shocked. I have good veins, have never been missed. Turns out that the blood loss caused my veins to shrink/collapse making it pretty hard to get the IV in. After the botched attempt, the nurse returned with another needle, this time heading for the other arm.  I again protested, indicating that I already had a shot. My midwife popped up from between my legs and again pleaded to get the shot in me. I thought the IV was for fluids, but turns out the IV was attempted to hook me to a full bag of pitocin. Because they could not get the IV in, a second shot was administered. Guess I’d rather have the two small shots than a full bag dripping into my system.

The bleeding lightened and was under control. Now the focus turned to my tear. I wont’ go into the details on this, but it was a rough one. In most cases women tear to the back, I tore to the front, a “star-shaped” tear my midwife explained. An OB surgeon was brought in to do the repair. The process was awful and painful and two weeks later I am still working to get healed and be able to walk normally.

Connie Elizabeth

15D-Pulvermacher280For my baby girl, it was worth it. What ever had to happen to me is superficial and just a memory of the experience that ushered her into this world. Our sweet Connie Elizabeth arrived weighing 7 pounds, 12 ounces, 20.5 inches long. My mother’s name is Connie, she now has a namesake. Elizabeth is Cody’s maternal grandmother’s name, but we all know her as Betty. I love traditional names, and this is a great way for us to honor some wonderful women in our lives. According to “name meanings,” Connie means strong-willed or wise. Elizabeth means God is satisfaction/oath of God.

I’d say she has a good foundation.

Our labor at the RAMC Birth Center was documented by Rachel Manzke Photography. To have this documentation is nothing short of a gift. Reviewing the images reminds me of the moments and while I recall my experience vividly now, as time passes, the images and videos will provide me with recall and flood me with the emotions we shared that amazing day.

Thank you to the wonderful nursing staff at RAMC who took such wonderful care of us and enabled us to live out our birth plan — a natural water birth. Our baby girl came into this world, lively. She latched right away for feeding and remained alert for hours after birth. Again, it was surreal.

Until you become a mother, you can never truly appreciate the sacrifice other women have made for their families. You also can not comprehend the overwhelming love, joy and pride a new parent has and holds for their child. To my mother, and all the mothers, bravo! You are amazing.

This next chapter of our lives is just beginning. Our sweet angel is two weeks old today and I am already wishing for time to slow down. The cliché that time flies is so true…. she changes each day, growing, strengthening. Everyday she showers me with love and smiles. Every day I am awe of her amazing soul, bonded to mine.

15D-Pulvermacher457My sweet Connie Elizabeth, thank you for the powerful gift of being a mother. You’ll never comprehend how much you consume me or how deep my love for you goes. Not until you welcome your own babe. (Which is many, many, many years from now!)

And thank you, Cody. My constant rock and fan. I’m excited for our new adventures together. Our lil family. What a blessing!

our lil family

Happy Birthday, Dear Cody

Today is Cody’s birthday. And our sweet angel is 11 days new. It’s a day to celebrate and a day to reflect upon our many blessings.



My life has always been a rewarding one, but since spending it with Cody, it’s been truly amazing. He is the greatest partner, friend, and husband I could ask for, a true match for me. He was a tremendous support system for me during the labor and birth of our Baby Connie. Over the past 11 days, he has become a loving and wonderful father. Our little girl is so lucky to have him as her daddy. He’ll love her unconditionally, uncontrollably, and be her constant protector.

our lil family

Today I honor and celebrate my husband, this day that is his. Happy birthday, Cody. Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for your love, for the laughter and fun we share, for this life we are building. Thank you for the most amazing gift of all, our sweet baby girl.

baby connie smiles

39 Week Musings

DW4A3791_1Welcome April, our birth month! Nevermind my husband’s attempt at an April Fool’s joke yesterday… we made it to 39 weeks and are in waiting. My apologies to those who were fooled.

A mix of feelings this week as our big day approaches. Part of me is ready to meet our babe, to learn if we are parents to a son or a daughter, to see what they look like, and to hold them.

Another part of me wants to remain pregnant. I really l-o-v-e my belly. I’m in awe of it and admire it in the mirror daily. It represents every blessing that has come my way in life; every path that lead me to where I am today, a partnership with my dear Cody and our journey together to become parents. I love the movements, especially when they tickle me. I love that my babe is safe and healthy inside me. I love the experience of it all. I’ll miss the belly and movements. I’ll miss the ease of being a parent to only 4-legged creatures. I’ll miss just me and Cody. This is a life-changing event.

And yet another part of me now begins to focus on our impending labor and birth of our child. I’ll admit, a small part of me is a wee bit scared. Not completely, not yet. I fear I will become more scared, and that fear is my enemy. I won’t be relying on medications to aid in my labor or to relieve me of feeling every raw moment of child-birth. I’m going to experience it fully. Am I ready?

I wrote an entire post about my choice to birth naturally, if you are interested, you can read it here: https://bearvale.com/2015/04/01/why-i-am-choosing-a-natural-birth/

DW4A3787_1I know I’ll be just fine. Yes, it will be a pain like no other, but it will also be a joy and reward like no other.

So as our day draws nearer, I ponder when it will be the day. How will labor start? Waking in the middle of the night, during a hike, or as I work? It’s fun to consider this.

I love our babe so much already, yet I know this is a fraction of what my heart is capable of, just an ounce of the flood of emotions that will take me over when I lay eyes on them and hold them for the first time.  Couple that with my excitement to see Cody’s face as he officially becomes a father, as we connect in awe and humble amazement during those initial moments following birth and realize the miracle we have created. How insignificant everything else was before that moment. Our excitement now does not compare to that which we will feel as we relish in our brand new babe and begin making calls (yes, family, you won’t learn of the arrival of our babe via Facebook!) to share our happy news. I look forward to the expansion of my heart, my soul, and my capacity for love, gratitude, and amazement.


Nora is excited to have a babe of her own

39 Week Summary

Due Date: April 9 (a.k.a. NEXT WEEK! or sooner…. or longer….time will tell)

Weight Gain: 29 lbs

Activity: Restrictions are off and resuming normal activity and on-purpose exercise. Hiking daily through the fields with the pups.

Pregnancy “Side-effects”: 

  • Yes to breakouts, minor morning sickness weeks 5 – 9, and frequent trips to the restroom
  • No to everything else: stretch marks, varicose veins, swelling, Braxton Hicks, hypertension, constipation, heartburn, leg cramps, nose bleeds….. etc.
  • And to my surprise, I have not missed or craved beer or wine during this pregnancy, though I have given into other cravings: PB&J sandwhiches, french toast, and chocolate

Feeling: Great! Blood pressure and heart rate are low. I don’t feel uncomfortable or miserable as some warned me I would at this point in my pregnancy. Sure…the lower ligaments in my hips/pelvis feel weaker, the babe continues to push high into my ribs (only on the right side), and I am tired and ready for bed by 9pm. But I am sleeping well, and up and out of bed before my husband each morning. 🙂 I’m grateful for a wonderful pregnancy and that we arrived at 39 weeks without complication.

DW4A3776_1Baby: According to the “baby as a fruit” comparison, baby is the size of a mini watermelon. S/he is positioned low in pelvis. Heart rate has been in the 130s the past few weeks, but at Tuesday’s appointment, was in the 120s. Movements continue to be frequent but became stronger this week. They don’t hurt, but its clear s/he is lobbying for space in there and body parts are more pronounced with the movements, especially the butt, legs and feet.

This Week: 

  • Got a new toy–a Fitbit. It’s fun tracking my steps and elevation during my hikes. Will also help to get me back on track after I heal up a bit.
  • Garden seeds have been planted/started (many thanks to my wonderful mother-in-law). Horticulture season is upon us!
  • Massage and chiropractic treatments! Typically these alternate weeks, but with time becoming short, I have one of each this week.
  • Cody “frost-seeded” the hay fields and pastures. This will add clover to our field, enhancing forage for our herd.
  • Out every day for walks and hikes—loving the weather!

Bear Vale Dreaming Tree 39 Weeks Pregnant–Out for a Hike




Our Wedding Day

Well overdue with sharing our wedding photos, and as a follow up to our wedding video montage, here we are! Photos are below. (Click on an image to open the slide show.)

Our wedding day. It was everything I hoped it would be. We held our ceremony at our home, on nearly the highest point of the farm. This provided an interesting ride via hay wagon for our guests, but once there, you couldn’t beat the view. Choosing to marry at our home was the single best decision we could have made… aside from getting married! It allowed our day to be that much more special and personal, made it truly ours, and will serve as the reminder and foundation of our marriage all our days here.

Our family and friends, our awesome wedding party, all came together to make this a truly unique and memorable event for us. Thank you all for your love and support. I will treasure our wedding day always and the souls that filled it.

We decorated in “country vintage” style with lace, burlap, mason jars, signs, galvanized tubs, and barn wood.  Our family was at the forefront of our ceremony and plans. My eldest brother became ordained to perform our ceremony, parents held our bands, all of the wonderful kids in our life were involved, and I wore Cody’s great grandmother’s brooches in my hair. AND… We married on my mother’s 63rd birthday.

We had a beautiful day! Though it got pretty cold once the sun set, the skies were brilliant blue with big white puffy clouds. Everything was just perfect. We were blessed to have had this day created for us. To be surrounded by our most favorite people. I’m blessed to have had Cody put on my life’s path. To find love with him. To build a life and home with him. And to call him my husband, now and for always. What an amazing gift he is to me.

Thank you for sharing in our joy and viewing our wedding day images. In addition to the tremendous support of our family and friends, our day was also brought together by our vendors. A big thank you to:

Photography by Rachel Manzke Photography

Second photographer: Flutter Photography

Videography by MatKat Productions

Bride’s and Groom’s Rings from Pamela’s Fine Jewelry

Bride’s Dress & Veil and Bridesmaid’s Dresses from Dreams Bridal Boutique

Bouquets created by Viola Gift Shoppe

Ladies hair and makeup by Toni Rae Harris and crew

Food catered by TJ’s Catering

Cake and Cupcakes by Occasional Cupcake

Entertainment by Screaming Scott of Full Tilt DJs

Pews and unity ceremony table from Joy’s Junque 4 Sale

Tent, tables, chairs, linens, and dance floor rented from Tents & Events

Wedding Montage

I am so excited to share our wedding video! Months ago when we were planning our day, I knew I not only wanted wonderful photos, but also a video montage that told our wedding day story and captured moments we couldn’t witness first-hand. I did a call out on Facebook for referrals and became introduced to the dynamic husband-wife team of MatKat Productions.

After reviewing their work samples and meeting with them, I knew they would do a good job for us, but I could not imagine how incredible our video would be or how moved I would become watching it. Their tagline is true–better than you remember. We now have this amazing record of our wedding day, along with so many awesome photos (of which I will post and share soon!), to relive that beautiful and fun day. With our home projects and preparing for the arrival of our babe, it was so nice to stop, grab a seat on the couch, and relive our wedding day together. I was in tears within seconds of hitting play!  Thank you to Matt and Katie of MatKat Productions.

If you are getting married, I HIGHLY recommend this team. The day goes so quickly, you will not regret having it professionally and artistically captured. Hire a videographer! And a great photographer. These are the two areas you should definitely splurge on for your wedding day. An invaluable return on your investment! You can find MatKat here:

 And here is our video!

wedding video

Our Engagement Session

The Engagement Session Photo Post! Nearly three months ago we had our engagement session with Rachel Manzke, and a week before our wedding, I am getting them posted! It’s been a busy summer to say the least. I am very excited to walk down the aisle next week, to the man in which my soul finds peace, happiness, and joy with. He has enriched my world, shown me true love, friendship and partnership. God placed him in my path and lead me right to him, and I am forever grateful.

In true fashion, Cody humored me. I didn’t just want a couples photo session to commemorate our engagement, I wanted a themed, multi-wardrobe, multi-location, prop-infused session. 🙂  Continue reading

We’re Engaged

My Cody, I love him dearly. He is genuine, loyal, real, loving, selfless, honest, and purposeful. He spoils me with thoughtfulness, love, friendship, partnership, laughter, and the promise of tomorrow. He humors me and I so appreciate that he does. And now, after three years together, we are engaged!

The popular question: how did he do it? It’s not a surprise that he proposed, I mean, we’ve talked about it and knew we were moving in this direction. Last year I sold my home and together we moved to Bear Vale Farm. I am overjoyed to become Mrs. Cody Pulvermacher!

I thought he might propose on Valentine’s this year. Not because it is the romantic holiday of our society, but because it was our three-year anniversary, because there was a full moon (big fan!), and because we had planned a quiet evening in, cooking our own elaborate dinner. Rather than jumping onto the commercialized holiday bandwagon, he waited a week. Within about an hour or so, during the late afternoon on Friday, February 21, he managed to call my parents, get their permission and blessing, buy the ring, and propose. No time wasted there!

We had plans to meet friends for dinner that night. As we were ready to walk out the door, Cody noticed my boots had a stain. He inquired and I informed him that it was just a salt ring from our winter season. “Why don’t you wash it off?”

Now, keep in mind this is Cody, Mr. “do I have to do my hair, or can I wear a hat.” Why is he concerned about the appearance of my boots?

He grabbed the wash cloth from the sink, knelt down on one knee, and began washing my boots. Wa-la, stain removed. Before standing, he reached into his coat pocket, grabbed the jewelry store box, popped it open, and popped the question! He thought he was pretty funny, and smooth. No frills, but genuine, real, and purposeful. There in our kitchen I said “yes” and delighted in the symbol of our engagement. The ring is gorgeous! He did good! It has a wonderful vintage feel to it and I love the detail of the band.

He then claimed that I couldn’t wear the ring that night–again we were about to walk out the door to join friends for dinner. Well you can’t give a gal a ring and then say “don’t wear it!” He wanted to be sure our family received the news first before our friends. Well we let our friends know we were going to be running late and we hit the road to make stops. Along the way we made calls to spread our joy to those not close enough for a personal visit. Needless to say we were an hour late for our dinner plans, but were quickly forgiven!

We’ve been engaged for just over a week now. But, we couldn’t just make a post to Facebook proclaiming we are engaged (after all, our sister’s did that for us!). No, no, we needed a photo, or several, that illustrated and helped tell the story (OK, I needed that, Cody humored me). I was already scheduled to do a lifestyle family session with my dear friends. As my friend is also a photographer, I thought how perfect, we can do a photo session exchange! So Cody and I went off to Madison this morning to get some photos! Photos will be a very important component in our story, and this is only the beginning!

We are excited to share this news and so thankful for the love and support of our friends and family. I am looking forward to our September 13, 2014, wedding. We will share our wedding date with my mama, as that is her birthday!

Thank you, dear Cody, for always humoring me, and to Rachel for the great images! Copyright and credit to Rachel Manzke Photography.

For other couples out there, I encourage you to have some FUN with your photos. Add a little flair, personalization, and/or stylization. Whether you are getting engaged, or just updating your portraits, you won’t regret it!

We enjoyed hot cocoa outside on this beautiful Wisconsin winter day….cocoa made by Cody’s Grandma Betty! 🙂


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