Viewing entries in

Mid-Year Update


Mid-Year Update

This blog has laid dormant for quite awhile and thank you for your patience with that (if you are a regular attender over in these here parts) as we work to balance my full time teaching position and my photography business while also being the Mom I want to be for my children!

What a year! Last school year was probably the most difficult of my career with things that happened outside of my teaching and were beyond my control. Teaching that year felt like my constant Friend (in addition to the Lord), and the one thing I could count on to go well because I was in control of that one item in my life. Fast forward to this year and teaching Photography at NHS, revamping the curriculum from scratch, being on the CTE (Career & Technical Ed), Music & Tech department teams for all three parts of my job (Photography, Band Lessons & Communications Coordinator)—it was awesome & fun! It was also a challenge to keep track of where I’d laid things down (being in two different classrooms), fully focus on the student I was teaching (because I’d be emailed Communications items to get done in a short turn-around), and have undistracted time at home (I’d inevitably not get everything done that I’d wanted to at school). It was a challenge I embraced because of the amazing staff I got to work with on projects, curriculum, and the camaraderie was so wonderful. I will be eternally grateful for their friendship and the way they wholeheartedly welcomed me to the table without question and saw me as an authority in my craft. Their confidence instilled confidence in myself that I hadn’t been gifted in….well, quite awhile.

Gerard had a pretty hum-dinger of a year as well! He was honored to conduct the state-wide honor choir called Opus for the 9th grade level in November (photo below):

I’ve listened to a bunch of different podcasts while working on projects and one podcast I’ve stumbled upon is Work & Play with Nancy Rey and she talks about how she built her photography business, has had three children and now, she’s closing the doors on her photography studio after an 11 year run. She discussed the different seasons a business has (Spring, Summer, Fall & Winter) and what each of those looks like. Spring is the hustle of learning and getting business and clients and planting seeds. Summer is watching things grow-systems you have in place and getting the business to grow. Fall is where you reap all that you’ve sown—the harvest. Winter is where you close up shop, to be brief. After listening to it with Gerard, I truly think this business of mine is in the Fall season—I’m truly harvesting all the hard work I’ve put in the last 10 years to grow this business to the point where I’m qualified to teach at the high school level. I have loved working with the high school aged students and getting a second chance to interact with some amazing band kids in my classroom too. I love serving my school district with my imagery and capturing all that it means to #BeAWarrior. (photos below include Kindergarten Open House, first day of school, having my dad as our photography class guest speaker, photographing graduation and Laidy’s last day of Kindergarten! The banner photo for this post is after the high school band concert with a few students that have been my biggest cheerleaders through the years who are all graduating!)

But I also ferociously LOVE the families who have been with me from the beginning. The fact that I’m heading out tonight to photograph the eldest son of the first family to ever pay me for my photography services is mind boggling to me. This child now stands inches taller than me and is ready to take on the world! I’ve photographed this family and their grandparents for wedding anniversaries, family reunions, I’ve seen them through the death of their grandma and now transitioning grandpa into an assisted living facility. I have so many more stories I could share of the families that I’ve been blessed to be a part of during our shoots together, but this post is already lengthy!

(Photos below include: Loch watching Laid'y’s music program, his first dentist appointment, Laidy’s last night of soccer with a great friend, having fun at grad parties, Laidy attending the Middle School’s musical-Aladdin, & Loch’s last day in the 2s classroom (today!)). Laidy rocked Kindergarten (not without some rough days emotionally, but she did great. And Loch has toddled along with the rest of us, enjoying the events and watching Laidy on stage. :)

At times, I feel like I’ve been trying to gather everything that the combine is tossing my way in this harvest season, to the point where I’m sure some soy beans or ears of corn have fallen to the wayside. I’m trying to take full advantage of all the harvest that is been blessing our family in the last school year and I’m excited for this summer (literal, not figurative) season of photographing families, seniors (& 1 very special wedding!).

Cheers to the next 3 months of shooting!!



Merry Christmas from the Krupkes : 2018


Merry Christmas from the Krupkes : 2018

2018 was definitely not what we expected it to be, nor was it calm! On New Year’s Day 2018 we discovered that we were unexpectedly expecting another child! To say we were in shock is an understatement as we’ve never conceived without fertility drug assistance. Gerard’s sister, Mimi, popped the question that got us searching Zillow, “So, are you going to move?”

In summary, what followed was anything but calm: prepping our house for sale while battling respiratory flu, 17 showings in a 20 day span, having one house fall through at the inspection phase, receiving two offers on our home & nailing down a contract on the home we wanted to move into. All in the midst of show choir/solo contest season, hospitalizing Ella for the gastrointestinal stress & eventually miscarrying for a 3rd time. I’ve heard that moving can bring about mixed emotions & packing up our home of 10 years was very mixed. Throughout the past 9 months, we’ve done a few cosmetic projects & 1219 Parkhill Dr. is steadily feeling more like our’s.

12 hours after we signed for our home, Gerard left for Florida with ~100 choir students to Disney World while I unpacked boxes for the kids to play in. We could not have gotten through this season of our lives without the help of a 30-person moving crew from our church in addition to more friends who continued helping me while Gerard was away. Aside from Facebook posts, this is the best way I can publicly say “Thank You!” February through April was one of those times in our life where we had to “faith” our way through. If not for the Gospel and our friends & counselors pointing us to it, I’m not sure where we’d be. It still surprised me (Carrie), even having experienced two losses before, that pain & joy can coexist & be true in the same moment. Our good God is sovereign in both the pain & the joy. What a gracious God we have who gives us sources of joy to soften the pain! Joy is proof that He doesn’t withdraw from us in  difficult times.

The spring season found us pushing through the dark, applying the Gospel to our lives in new & fresh ways while enjoying soccer (Laidy) for the first time Lochlyn running the field to cheer her on. We also became part of the ICubs “Knothole Gang” season ticket holders for their Sunday home games which built in a Daddy-Daughter or Mommy-Daughter Date with Laidy while the other parent napped with Loch at home. May was a month of celebrations as Laidy turned 5 & “graduated” from pre-school. We combined our Annual Krupke Memorial BarBQ with a birthday party for Laidy. We were blessed to have all 4 grandparents in attendance (thanks Moms and Dads!) and it felt like our new home was  more our’s. The shadow of loss bringing us to this home was a little lighter.

The summer season was full of photo shoots (Carrie), home projects (Gerard & Laidy) & a consistent routine at pre-school (Loch) whenever we weren’t traveling. We took our first ever Krupke Family RoadTrip: 12 days included Mt. Rushmore, Badlands, time in Salt Lake with Carrie’s sister’s family, Moab & Arches Nat’l Park, Denver, & the Omaha Zoo. Thanks be to God for Moana, Charlotte’s Web, & Cars 1. I’m fairly certain we can attribute Lochlyn’s rapid vocabulary growth to being able to quote from these movies & sing along to their soundtracks. Laidy is, for now, following in her parents’ footsteps in the teaching department. Holy smokes, can the girl teach Lochlyn well and read to him for a long stretch of time!

The bulk of summer was spent with family, be it the Brogla Bash in Nashville with Gerard’s family, or time with my parents in New Providence. We also had the joy of celebrating our 11th anniversary by attending Hamilton when it came to Des Moines! It seemed as though July was the month of the Hamilton musical because I (Carrie) had the fun of conducting ‘My Shot’ at Norwalk Middle School’s annual summer band camp (complete with students rapping while the band accompanied them). It was a wonderful feeling to be on the podium with my parents in the audience & hear Lochlyn saying, “Mommy’s up ‘dere!”. Lochlyn also learned how to cheer for Daddy while on the frisbee field. Gerard definitely noticed signs of aging, but as he put it, “Play smarter, not harder”! He ran his way through the season as a “senior” player with a side order of ice packs & Ibuprofen.

We braced ourselves for Kindergarten in August by adjusting to life without an afternoon nap, writing various Bible verses in our devotional journal, & reading anything Laidy could get her hands on. Because our calendar year had started the way it did, & our 2017-2018 school year had been one of the most difficult of our careers (Gerard has entered his 14th year and I my 12th year teaching), I found myself bracing for the unexpected for this school year. We mapped out our fall season with scheduling, meal & lesson planning (Carrie’s now teaching a digital photography course at NHS in addition to band lessons at NMS), and fall soccer (Laidy). I decided to go on what I call a “School Year Sabbatical” from Carrie Krupke Photography, knowing I’d be building the NHS photography course curriculum from the ground, up. The creative freedom was all at once daunting & invigorating to build lesson plans & brainstorm with mentor teachers (another public “Thank You!”!). If last school year was the roughest of our careers & I was only part time, then what could we expect being full time?

Thankfully, it’s looked really good!! As difficult as it was to place my photography business on hold until summer 2019, we know it was the right decision for the sake of health & family as we knew that this fall would be very busy for Gerard. We would need our weekends (& evenings) free from photo work so Carrie could be the Parent-On-Duty(POD). Gerard was asked to conduct the Opus 9th Grade Honor Choir: for those of you reading this not from Iowa, this choir is made up of the top 180 ninth graders in the state. It’s such a high-falutin’ event that Gerard rented a tux with tails!! This was quite an honor & a career highlight for him being his 20th conducting of an honor choir event. The night of the concert went really well as Laidy sat with me & Grandpa (Gerard’s Dad) through the 2 hour concert knowing that Daddy would be conducting at the end of it (9th grade was the last to perform). In addition to the honor of conducting Opus, this was a Madrigal year at NHS for Gerard amidst the regular show choir rehearsals. The free weekends we had afforded us opportunities to watch the Williams Century Farm be harvested from the front seat of a combine (Loch was in silent awe the entire time!), visit with Carrie’s parents in New Providence & Gerard’s high school best friends in Kansas City as simple “get-aways” & enjoy watching Laidy walk down the aisle as a flower girl for Colby (former NHS student) & Jenny (a Webeler cousin of Carrie’s). In the midst of Gerard’s busy season, Lochlyn learned the sentence, “Daddy’s at work.” quite well & Laidy took it in stride while we started her in a tap/ballet class that she is enjoying. She has also tested into her school’s Gifted & Talented program for reading.

Our 2018 calendar year is wrapping up well, save one trip to the ER for Loch to get 5 stitches in his forehead. This kind of event revealed his character even more to us: brave yet silly, kind and gentle. He freely gives kisses, hugs & his dimpled smile charms. Not needing a haircut until well after his second birthday, Loch not only shares his Daddy’s “toe head” status as a child, but also enjoys just about anything that has wheels or flies. We’ve greatly enjoyed how he analyzes the way things work (future engineer?) & that he is initiating conversations about Jesus & prayer. Laidy has initiated conversations in the last week regarding divorce & how God puts babies in a mommy’s tummy--we are open to advice on how to answer these insightful questions!

There were many very challenging parts of 2018, but there were also immense joys & successes. No matter what 2019 brings, we know that God is with us, for us and is a good, good, God. We hope your expectations & hopes for 2019 involve a relationship with Him as we celebrate the birth of His Son in this season.

Merry Christmas & Happiest of New Years,

The Krupkes

PS Below, please enjoy the different drafts of our official hard-copy-Christmas card options:

Photo cred: Austin Day


Road Warriors


Road Warriors

We made it and lived to tell the tale!! Our marriage is stronger, we still love our children (and they still love each other!) and we made some great memories, saw new places and caught some great photos along the way. A lot of my friends have been asking how we did it, what we packed, how the kids did with so much time in the car etc, so I figured a blog post could address all that (and more!) So here you go! 

Our Purpose: When I travel for the purposes of traveling (not with the sole intention to see family), I want to see new places or try new things. So we set our sights on Mt. Rushmore and Arches Nat'l Parks with a few stops in between to break up the drive. 

Our Packing List: We packed 5 days worth of clothes for a 10 day trip knowing we could do laundry at my sister's half way through. Additional things included: 

-two swim suits for the kids each (in case one wasn't dry for the next swim escapade)

-swim shoes and sneakers for each family member, sunscreen

-a small cooler of ice with jelly, butter, 1/2 gal. of milk, cheese sticks and fruit. We had another "pantry bag" of bread, peanut butter, granola and Clif Kids bars (chewy kind for less mess in the car seats), goldfish, pouches for picky-eater Loch, Lara bars (for Mommy), two small cookie trays and plastic ware. The cookie trays worked great at rest stops for a clean surface to make sandwiches and to eat from! They can also be used to manipulate magnets in the car ride!! :) and water bottles-lots of water and lots of wipes & diapers. :)

-a backpack of surprises from Dollar General ($50 total) with activity books, sticker books, crayons, beach ball to blow up, glow sticks (for night car dance party fun) and other fun things for Laidy & Loch to enjoy as we made different rest stops. Laidy is at a great stage of being able to read to herself and Loch, follow directions in activity books and Loch loves to doodle/color and roll toy cars up and down his legs. But, obviously, pack what your Littles are interested in. :) We always prefaced a surprise with, "Close your eyes and hold out your hands!" 


-pack n' play for Loch, sleeping bag for Laidy (in our recent move, we couldn't find the fold away cot for Laidy, but she was content with her birthday gift of a sleeping bag!) 

-back pack to carry Loch (if our hike in Arches necessitated it and we borrowed from a friend)

-umbrella stroller (both kids used this to rest their legs on walks to the park in Salt Lake (SLC) and the Omaha Zoo)

-golf umbrella (helpful on a drizzly day at Omaha Zoo!)

-my big camera bag that can serve as a diaper bag as well and held my reading materials, Laidy's Write the Word Journal , and my Kindle with other books I wanted to go through, including this awesome one Sacred Rest. After our recent season of difficulties, I knew I needed REST from this trip! This bag also held my D810 Nikon camera body with my 24-70mm, my 70-200mm and my 50mm lenses. 

-ipad with downloaded movies and PBS episodes. We have bucket seats in our RAV4 so we stick the ipad between the front seats, plug it into our AUX for surround sound and it works great for the kids to watch! 

-podcast episodes downloaded for Mommy & Daddy. We greatly enjoyed listening to: 

  • Only You Forever-marriage podcast with secular research with ties to how that research confirm Biblical truths. And we appreciated their sense of humor. :) 
  • What You Missed in History Class-self explanatory
  • Lexicon Valley (Gerard)-gives a fun background to our speech and history of words. 
  • RadioLab-all kinds of different stories under the sun, like how Poison Control Centers began.
  • Freakonomics (Gerard)
  • Dave Ramsay Financial Peace-If you want a kick in the pants to your budget, this is it!
  • God-Centered Mom (Carrie)-great encouragement for a Mama's heart.

So, that gives you the skeleton of this adventure, here is the day-to-day play by play: 

Monday June 11th: leave at 8:00pm after I finished up a senior session, leave for Sioux Falls to help break up the ride to Mt. Rushmore. We drove through CRAZY rain (thankful for that stuff they put on our windshield when we had the car checked over prior to leaving), were in awe of an incredible sunset, and were very thankful for an 80mph speed limit. (I have the occasional lead foot....) Arrived in Sioux Falls at 11:30pm to a hotel room without the beds made yet, so we scored another one down the hall. Took the kids a little bit to fall back asleep, but we made it work with Loch sleeping on Gerard's chest most of the night. 


Tuesday June 12th: drive to Keystone, SD. Lunch at a rest stop, nap in the car and explore the Black Hills/Badlands a bit. Gerard played Defense against Loch's schemes to jump off the pathway to a certain death and I challenged myself to a "scary Mommy" moment by taking Laidy to a ledge where we had to walk on a skinny ravine together. She did great obeying and I held her hand in a vice grip. What a view!!

Wednesday June 13th: We started our morning early at Mt. Rushmore (the kids slept better in their designated places, and were still up early). Thankful to get to Rushmore before the big rush of tourists (see what I did there?), took the Presidential Trail that led us to look up Washington's nose and headed back into town for Bear Country (a drive-through zoo, if you will), lunch and nap. After nap, we did a helicopter ride for a different view altogether! Check one off my Bucket List and Loch was enthralled!

Thursday June 14th: drive 10 hours to Salt Lake City (SLC)-ugh, this day was ROUGH. 10 hours of driving and 12 on the road total. I was in worse shape than the kids with a strong headache that had me in the fetal position, burrowed under our windshield protector to shield me from the sun, holding my head in a vice grip. Blame it on elevation and lack of sleep combination perhaps? I wouldn't wish that on anyone. Except maybe my college music theory professor....

Friday June 15th: fun with cousins!! An easy walk to the park with just our two while the others were in school for the day. When they got home, it was a lot of good play and Happy Birthday singing to Papapa. We started our laundry and rested otherwise.

Saturday June 16th: cousins have fun "kid cars" and we drove them to the park for all 6 to play this morning. Came home for naps, church at The Rock (one of our sister churches that my sister's family attends) with an awesome Father's Day message, Chik Fil A for dinner and good adult conversation with my sister when she got home from her 12 hour shift at the hospital. This was my only regret of the trip: that Katie had to work each day we were there-we just couldn't find a better time for our family to do the trip, so we soaked in the time we had! 

Sunday June 17th: more park play, came home to pack up, had lunch and drove 3.5hrs to Moab, UT for Arches Nat'l Park. To stretch our legs, we walked up and down the main street thoroughfare, had a ribs dinner from a food truck, found gelato for Laidy & Mommy, and ice cream & a souvenir shirt for Daddy. 

Monday June 18th: got up and to Arches Nat'l Park by 8:30am and the line of cars for entry was LONG. They open at 8:00, I just couldn't drag my butt any faster after a week of interrupted sleeps. Another "fun scary" moment for me was to climb the rocks from one arch to the back of it for a different photographic perspective. It wasn't really scary, except when the wind picked up and I had to hug the rock side for good measure. Walking around the Windows Section with the kids was enough to get them worn out and my exercise in lifting for the day was sealed with a piggy back ride for Laidy. The umbrella stroller wouldn't have worked here for all the steps up and down, so Loch was on Gerard's shoulders and Laidy on my back for the last stretch to the car. We learned at Mt. Rushmore to give a fellow tourist a cell phone to take a group shot as when I handed them my camera, Rushmore was in focus but we were not. (whomp whomp) So, all our family group photos the rest of the trip are phone camera quality.

We drove back into Moab for lunch (Mommy loved the Peace Tree Cafe!) then hit the road for nap time and got to Littleton, CO to stay with Luther College friends of Gerard's. They have two boys that stair step our kids in age and it worked out beautifully for them to play and allow us adult conversation time too! (On the way, we got to dip our fingers in the CO River!)


Tuesday June 19th: drove to a park in Littleton to play with our friends, had lunch at Merle's Restaurant in Old Towne Littleton (yum!) and headed back to their house for nap time. After nap was more play in their neighborhood with scooters (again, anything with wheels was a win for Loch) and yummy dinner at their home. Our hostess is a food/photography blogger and the meal was beautiful-I didn't want to touch it for concern of ruining the shot! lol :) And my photos certainly don't do it justice. I was in avocado Heaven. Her husband is the head of a charter school that just earned National recognition so our educator hats were on and we had great conversations!

Wednesday June 20th: drive to Lincoln, NE. This was a stretched out 6 hours, thankfully, we weren't facing the sun any longer and actually got showered on a bit. When planning your trip, may I recommend that your longer stretches go on the front end of your time rather than the last days in your car? I can't imagine doing the 10 hour stretch to SLC at the end! So glad this was only 6! We got to Lincoln but our hotel room was clearly inhabited by a smoker prior to our arrival, so we got ushered into a new room. (We didn't have the best of luck with smooth hotel stays and we started to get a chuckle out of it!) 

Thursday June 21st: drive 1hr to Omaha for the zoo by 9:30am. They open at 9:00, but with rain showers in the forecast, it wasn't crowded at all. And each time we headed into an indoor spot (gorillas, aquarium, elephant barn, giraffe barn, etc) we'd walk out and see that it had rained. We also timed our stay in Omaha during the collegiate baseball World Series so our 3:00pm hotel check-in became a 2 hour wait in the parking lot until our room was ready. For our inconvenience, they gave us half off our stay!! Score!  We ended our evening with dinner from Best Bison (yum!) with a great college friend of mine who lives in Omaha now and recommended Best Bison to us. 

Mommy: "Laidy, what was your favorite part of the Zoo?"

Laidy: "Seeing gorilla and elephant poop."

[Awesome. All that work and walking for poop to be the]

Friday June 22nd: we took our time waking up (or at least, Daddy let Mommy take her time as he does every morning). Gerard took the kids down to breakfast and brought me mine. I ate while he readied the kids for the pool and we had the facilities to ourselves. We enjoyed pool time, took showers, packed up and hit the 2.5hr drive home feeling pretty breezy but tired. Gerard & I switched drivers half way and somehow Laidy stayed up the entire time whereas Loch was out halfway through his first bite of granola bar. We made it home at 3:00pm, I went to pick up Ella from the kennel while Gerard took the kids to the grocery store. We rendez-voused at home with a Casey's Pizza for dinner and started Night Night routine at 6:30pm. Tears and cries ensued from 7:15-8:00, but we persevered and all was quiet around 8:30pm. And laundry began...

Some stats for you: 

  • 2,709 miles logged
  • 3-number of times we watched Charlotte's Web
  • 6-number of times we watched Moana
  • countless-Daniel Tiger episodes
  • 3-hotel blunders
  • at least 5-wrong turns (non-catastrophic)
  • $50-of surprises for the kids' entertainment in the car and there were some that we didn't get to!
  • 2-hours I got with my sister between "home from work" and necessary bed time
  • 5-quarts of oil we put in the RAV--MOUNTAIN DRIVING!
  • 9,500+ft-elevation driving from Moab to Littleton
  • 0-good hair days
  • 0-days with make up on
  • 3-days passed until I realized I had been wearing the same pair of underwear. #whoops #takingcareoflittles
  • 0-nights of uninterrupted sleep (Loch can officially climb out of the pack n play with ease.)
  • priceless memories made with cousins and as a family to make it all worth it! 

If I were to do it all again, I would've worn jean shorts to Arches, remembered to pack my own underwear and pjs, and perhaps broken up the drive from Keystone to SLC. I'm so pumped that the kids did well (in many cases, better than I!) I wish there had been healthier eating options in Keystone as by the time we got to SLC, my stomach craved whole foods deeply and I felt really gross. But man oh man, for a 2,700 mile trip with a 5 yr old and an almost 2yr old....Gerard and I were high-5-ing our way out of Omaha pretty pleased. He's already talking about next summer's ideas for "where to" next. So, if you have any recommendations, feel free to pass them our way! 





Processing All Of It


Processing All Of It

I hinted at it a few times through social media, not fully ready to admit what all we've been through since the start of 2018...

Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 8.04.21 AM.png

And while I probably haven't processed all of it fully, Gerard's post on Sunday let some more details out. 

Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 8.06.46 AM.png

A Facebook post can't fully encapsulate all we've been through either so that's what this blog post will hopefully cover. And I learned yesterday that it's actually Infertility Awareness Week-how ironic! So here's a calendar "break down" of how our 2018 has panned out thus far: 

New Year's Day: pregnancy test result reveals we are expecting a child for the first time without fertility drug assistance. (Holy cow!? That can happen?!) Happy New Year to US! I started taking all measures as in past pregnancies: eating extra protein, extra folic acid, prenatal vitamin, prescribed progesterone, baby aspirin-all taken daily. 

Jan. 2nd-we started scrolling through Zillow to see if there was anything in Norwalk within our price range that was better than what we were currently living in. There actually were two!! 

We contacted our friend and amazing realtor, Jason, and had him do a consultation on our home and line up some showings of those two houses we'd like to see. One of them was taken off the market because the owners decided not to move. We viewed the second one and I loved it. It was my dream layout, within walking distance of work, a park, community pool, the library and the grocery store. We put in an offer and it was rejected without a counter. (Bummer)

January 12th-I had some cramping at work and then spotting, so I left work and got in for an ultrasound assuming I was miscarrying. Ultrasound showed a gestational sac and yolk sac, but no Baby. I started grieving and contacting family. Since it was a Friday, we were told I had to wait the weekend and see what happened, do bloodwork on Monday to see if hormone levels went up or down and we'd do another ultrasound the following Friday. 

January 13th-While Gerard had a show choir competition, a friend and I readied the house for listing photos, I came down with respiratory flu/fever, called in more friends to help watch the kids while I rested and stayed away from everyone. The next day, another friend helped Gerard move furniture out of the house to clear the clutter and I finished up photos to send to our realtor. House went on the market on Monday, Jan. 15th. 


That same Monday, the 15th, bloodwork showed an increase in HCG-the pregnancy hormone-and I had no further cramping or spotting. We put in an offer on another home and got that accepted and got to the inspection phase. The inspector told us outright, "If you were my children, I'd cry if you bought this house because you will always have water in your basement." He looked at me and said, "This is usually when the wife starts to cry." I was completely calm as I thought to myself, "Buddy, I have bigger fish to fry here-I need to know if I have another heartbeat inside of me or not. I can go without a new house." We left the contract on House #3 and an ultrasound on Jan. 19th showed a heartbeat. Holy crap, I'm still pregnant! Grieving paused and Hope started to grow. 

Between Jan. 15th and Feb. 4th, we had 17 showings and 2 offers on our house. Our dog, Ella, was hospitalized in our Vet's ICU twice from the stress of the showings with bloody diarrhea, bloody vomit-symptoms of pancreatitis and gastroenteritis. She was put on 4 different medications and a limited diet. I had ultrasound appointments weekly to check on Baby and we continued to see a heartbeat.  Hope grew along with the size of Baby #5. 

After we knew we'd successfully sold our home and what equity we had to work with, we went back to House #2 that was my dream layout and made a better offer that resulted in a counter and we accepted. Jason likened the selling/buying of a home to a football game. Thus far, we'd had a good first half. I kept thinking in my mind, "We have TWO MORE QUARTERS TO GO?! What's left?!"

Oh, there was so much left. 

February 8th, after the flurry of 5 showings on Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 4th), I slowed down enough to realize, I'd been kinda crampy all week. I was so swept up in packing, taking care of Laidy, Loch and Ella with her meds, that I chalked it up to fatigue and lifting/packing boxes. I called in for a triple check of an ultrasound and kinda laughed it off to the on-call nurse over the phone. I even told Gerard I was calm and at peace to go to the appointment alone. The second I saw the screen during the ultrasound, I knew I no longer saw a flicker of Baby's heartbeat. I was facing the worst news by myself. The tech went and got the doctor and I sat in the exam room. In the quiet. In the dark. Alone. Thinking, "I'm the only one who knows this right now. How do I tell Gerard? How do I tell others?" There were no tears. Just quiet thoughts.

The doctor came into the room and forwarded me on to my OB's office-he'd called them to let them know I'd be on my way over and they'd work to squeeze me into their Friday afternoon. (Side note: NEVER AGAIN will I schedule an ultrasound on a Friday.) I thanked him, asked the tech for the pictures of Baby and headed to the car. I called Gerard, told him we'd lost the Baby, that I was headed over to my OB's office and apologized that I had to tell him this news over the phone, "I'm sorry you have to tell me over the phone." Was his reply. And then, "Do you want me there?" 

Gerard admits it wasn't the best choice of words and what he meant was, "Where are you?" I headed to my OB's office up the street and checked in at the front desk. I let them know I would be outside the front door making a few phone calls and to come get me when they were ready for me. I called my parents and spoke to my Dad. "Oh Baby, I'm so sorry." was his choked reply. Then my tears started. I left my sister a choked up and stutter-filled voice mail since I knew she was at work tending to patients of her own. I texted work colleagues who knew I was pregnant and Bible Study family. (Another side note: I think if we're ever pregnant again, we're not telling a single soul for quite awhile. In our excitement, we told FAR too many people. Taking that many folks on a roller coaster that ends in disaster isn't pleasant.) 

My OB is the best OB in the world. There were hugs, tears, questions to remind me of surgery processes and recovery. I had Large Group Contest the next morning-I was slated to run the Jazz Center at our school and we were forecasted to get a snow storm. I texted friends and family again to pray that the snow storm would cancel the contest. 

We got a compromise-a late start to the contest due to icy road conditions caused half our jazz entrants to cancel. It would be a light day with just 4 jazz bands to come through our doors. I needed to be there from 9:00-2:30pm. I made it through by the skin of my teeth, smiling at directors as they came in, working with students to help run the day smoothly, during the lunch break, I sat in our school's gym alone (sometimes in the dark because they are motion-sensored lights) as I readied my Solo Contest ballots because I knew I'd be missing school the following week. I texted Gerard to let him know the miscarrying process was ramping up and that we'd need to go to the ER to meet my OB when I got home from the contest. This would be enacting our Plan B, Plan A had been to do surgery on Monday, but my body made it clear I wouldn't make it that long. Gerard lined up a babysitter, prepped dinner for the kids. 

I got home with a sigh of relief, greeted our wonderful friend who watched Laidy & Loch and had brought them all sorts of puzzles and new coloring books to busy themselves. I changed clothes and we headed out the door. Checking into the ER felt like an out of body experience as I told the front desk nurse what was happening. They got me into triage, took my information and got me into a room as soon as they were able. My OB wrapped up her own daughter's birthday party and met me in the ER. I was prepped for surgery, signed paperwork for Baby to be sent to Hamilton's Funeral Home after its trip to the Pathology Lab for testing. The past two times this has happened to us came flooding back to my memory. 

It's still hard for me to grapple and accept the fact that my medical history looks so messed up and now details THREE "missed abortions" as the medical community refers to miscarriages. I didn't cry in the ER until I laid down on the OR table-"Not again, Lord! Why am I here again?!" My OB put her hand under the white blanket covering me to stroke my arm and hold my hand as the anesthesia took hold. 

I woke up from surgery well-they'd honored my request for no fentanyl and no Tylenol with codeine. With our first miscarriage and D&C, fentanyl and codeine took away my appetite, made me irritable and nauseous, further complicating my recovery. Miscarriage #2 and now, #3 had a much more smooth recovery and I could focus on the emotional side of recovery instead of combating negative side effects physically. We made it home in time to tuck Laidy into bed and I snuggled with her until she drifted off to sleep. As I held her in my arms, I remembered the 18 months it took for us to get her, the one month of clomid, seeing her heartbeat at 8 weeks gestation, the tech telling us she had a "beautiful heart" at 20 weeks, the induction of labor, the difficult recovery, how perfect of a baby she was to sleep through the night at 12 weeks. My mind drifted to the two miscarriages we had while trying for a sibling for her. The timid joy I felt when we found out about Lochlyn's existence, the fear, the reservations that come with a pregnancy after miscarriage, finding out Loch was a boy and the OB appointments that we joyfully had Laidy find his heartbeat with our doctor assisting, the smooth induction of labor, the textbook perfect recovery, how exhausting of a baby he was eating twice a night for the first year of his life. 

"How many more times are we going to go through this, Lord?" I fell asleep asking that night. The answer is inaudible to us right now.

As we were in the moving process, people would come up to us and congratulate me and I'd hesitate for a moment to wait to hear what they were congratulating me for. The week we were moving, I was supposed to be announcing a pregnancy. I didn't know that people congratulated you on a new home-call me socially awkward, I guess. Also, the week we were moving, our Old Orchard house got a new roof-twice. There was a roofing snafu/miscommunication and our roofer needed to re-do his work. This put Ella in ICU again, so she stayed there for close to a week while we loaded the u-haul and got the new house set up for Life. 

I miscarried/had surgery Feb. 10th. Recovered the following week in the midst of Parent-Teacher Conferences, Show Choir Show Case final home show extra practices for Gerard and a Show Choir Contest on Feb. 18th, accompanying 70 of my students for Solo Contest on March 3rd, and packing our home into boxes and tubs. 

Moving Day found our front yard looking like this: 


Roofers finishing up on top, their van in our driveway with a dumpster and a U-Haul backed up to our front yard to load our Life into. I put our wedding china and our framed marriage certificate into my SUV with cleaning supplies and headed over to our new home. While there, I met our carpet cleaners, cleaned the bathrooms and started in on the kitchen so we could serve lunch to our friends helping us. And my body kindly let me know that it was back to working cyclical order, not skipping a beat since the surgery.  Awesome. At least one thing was functioning as it should in this human shell. 

We moved successfully and incredibly smoothly on March 8th with the help of no fewer than 30 of our dearest and available friends. We spent that night in our new home, knowing our Old Orchard home was completely empty, another kind of shell. 

Laidy & Loch seemingly, didn't skip a beat either. They slept through the night beautifully, had breakfast and we headed over the next morning to say our final farewells to Old Orchard: 

We dropped the kids off at school, continued the work of unpacking, miscellaneous errands, and signed official paperwork at 4:00pm on March 9th. Brought the kids home, a friend brought us dinner and helped me with odds and ends around the house. We went to bed among mountains of boxes and tubs. Gerard left the following morning at 4am for the High School's Choir trip to Florida-3 coach busses full of choir students heading for DisneyWorld for close to a week. Another friend came the night of March 9th and spent the night to help me make the transition from.....well, everything, to being in a new house with kids and no husband. lol :) A few more friends came on the 10th to help bring boxes in from the garage, unload books, kitchen items, the china, we even got some things on the walls! The main focus of mine was to get the kids' rooms set up so that it seemed the most normal for them-consistency and routine. 

Throughout Spring Break, while Gerard was gone, I thought I'd have more time to process.....well, everything. Not only had we said goodbye to a home that had begun our marriage, welcomed our two babies, mourned the loss of three others which, in itself is a huge transition I'm told. But we did this transition in the most demanding time of our school year with Solo Contest/Large Group for me and Show Choir Competition season for Gerard. But wait, there's more! We did all of that while pregnant and then.....not pregnant. Each of these three items are doozies and deserve their own space, if you will. To have them all collide in the short span of 9 weeks has stretched my capacities in ways I didn't think physically or emotionally possible. 

Additionally, in the midst of all of that, I've been in conversations with my superintendent about what my teaching/Comm. Coordinator job will look like next fall. Yes, there was even more going on under the surface of all of this. Finally, as contracts came out, I could discuss that yes, I will be a full time teacher and Communications Coordinator for Norwalk Schools. Half of my day will be in the band room teaching lessons as I have for the past 10 years, a class period will be devoted to Digital Photography, another period for planning/prep and the remainder of my day will be Communications duties for the school district as a whole. That will be another post for another day as it will dramatically change how things run with Carrie Krupke Photography. 

So, yes. It's been a lot to handle these last couple months. There are some relationships that need mending and hearts that need tending to with compassion. There are a few more boxes/tubs to unpack (literally, and probably figuratively) but it's a process that will be ongoing. You don't fully arrive at being done grieving a baby, much less two, much less now three. But, I can say that the Miscarriage Memorial Service that Hamilton's offered to us and a dozen other families this past weekend was incredibly helpful in that process and journey of recovering & grieving. 

Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 7.01.21 PM.png

I've said it before and I will say it again: if our story can serve as an encouragement to others as they are trying to grow their families, I hope it is a help and a comfort and I'm completely open to sharing more with you if you have questions. Each miscarriage I've experienced has its own emotions to unpack: I have two beautiful and healthy children that I enjoy so deeply it hurts. It's different to experience miscarriage knowing that your body has carried other children to full term. My body can function "as it should" (I hate the word "should" by the way), there just happens to have been three other times where the chromosomes didn't line up the way they should. (There's that blasted word again.) 

It's a comfort to know we aren't alone. 1 in 8 couples will struggle to grow their families. 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. Even if all necessary parts are present in a uterus to create a child (egg, sperm, healthy uterus), it happens just 20% of the time. It's still very surreal to me that this 5th pregnancy of mine happened without needles, testing and fertility drugs. It was a "spontaneous pregnancy" as my OB called it and she was very encouraged by that positive change in my medical history. I have now experienced spontaneous and fertility drug induced pregnancies, good (Loch) and difficult (Laidy) recoveries from delivery, an unsuccessful and a successful ECV (turning attempt) for Lochlyn, good nursing (Loch) and challenging nursing (Laidy), so when I feel like I've experienced it all, there are still millions of individually unique stories for each pregnancy, for each woman of how they have brought their child into the world or lost a pregnancy. Each grief is different, each celebration is different and has its own background behind it. 

Will we have more children? I don't know-that answer is up to the Lord. Maybe two children for us is His definition of a "quiver full". For now, I will hold my miracle babies tight, bless them, pray over them, love on them as best I know how and thank God for letting me be a mom. Their Mama. What a miracle, what a blessing, what an incredible honor, privilege and joy to have carried them, delivered them and LIVE with them!



untitled (68 of 85).jpg
photo cred: Austin Day

photo cred: Austin Day


2017 Favorites

1 Comment

2017 Favorites

What a year! We pushed the limits of light: in-house light, bright light without shade, ice hockey rink light, auditorium and jazz club light with off-camera flash, bouncing light off reflectors, the list goes on and on... We challenged locations too: bedrooms, living rooms, studios, jazz clubs, inside the capitol, in water, in a RIVER. We celebrated new jobs, new babies, new homes, answers to health issues and healthy marriages. 

These sessions represent victories in getting a stubborn child to smile (finally!), a child relaxing on her Mama's shoulder for comfort after a tough day, scheduling snafus, forgetting of camera gear to a session (that was me! ugh), getting off-camera flash to work, getting huge props borrowed and lined up for a session, getting a newborn to lay "just so" for the right shot, working the sunlight so that it was "just right". Challenges answered by victories that made me a better photographer, businesswoman and person. 

I truly have the best clients on earth and I'm so thankful for the year that 2017 was for my business! This one's for you!!

1 Comment