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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...

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

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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. 

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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!



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 photo cred: Austin Day

photo cred: Austin Day


2017 Favorites

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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!!

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Summary of CKP 2017

What a year for Carrie Krupke Photography!!! As I look back on the goals I made a year ago and see what we were able to accomplish in the midst of raising two beautiful children, teaching, and working to become a better photographer, I'm stunned. Here's a fun run-down of 2017:

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I did my best to keep track of all my clients, our shoot locations and details, for all these fun statistics. If I left anyone out, I apologize and please let me know!! I'm so thankful that families from all over the Des Moines Metro area trust me with documenting their families and some traveled from as far as Florida to be in front of my camera. Thank you for traveling all those miles!!!

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But allow me to back up for a moment. In the very beginning of the year, my album designer, Amy Nave and I created a senior magazine that I can give to all my senior inquiries. It breaks down all the information they need to know for how I run senior sessions and what they can expect. I love the professional approach it grants my business, lessens the number of questions sent through email and gives my clients confidence in the process. Another awesome part of this is that Amy created the pages of this magazine with future updates in mind. So, I can add or amend information as my business practices may change, and update photos from more recent sessions.

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In April and December, I had the pleasure to present information on running a business, photography and work-life-balance at two different Career Days for Norwalk Schools, one to HS, one to 9th graders. A friend also asked me to speak to her journalism students in another school district to talk about photography and social media, specifically, this fall. They asked great questions and I really enjoyed sharing information with them! Side bonus: it got my name out to a lot more potential senior clients!

I gifted a senior session to Norwalk's After Prom raffle, a mini family session to a West Des Moines MOPS group auction and a mini family session to our church's Women's Coffeehouse event. I love giving back to the community, broadening my circle of friends and getting my name out to new folks! 

This season was packed to the brim and I'm so excited to share with you in another post some of my favorites from the year. We've done Behind the Scenes 2017 and this By The Numbers post. Stay tuned for 2017 Favorites!! 

Happiest of New Years!



Behind The Scenes : 2017


Behind The Scenes : 2017

What a year it's been for Carrie Krupke Photography, LLC!! I didn't think it was possible to be more sure of the fact that I have the best clients in the world-but this year surpassed yet again! While I didn't have as many weddings this year where a second shooter was secretly getting photos of me at work, I do have a TON of "funnies" on our family sessions that make up for the gap. :) 

I want to start with the Dads of my families. They do a fantastic job helping me, wrangling (bribing) kids and sometimes getting beat on (or getting a workout) in the process. Take a look: 

Not to be outdone, Mamas had their fair share of windy hair days, bribery moments, but always in good fun. And they were 100% ALL IN to make their photos what they wanted, willing to do whatever I asked to make the magic happen. That sometimes meant slobbery kisses, or just getting slobbered on in general, last minute hair touch ups, adjusting clothing and poses and ample silly faces: 

From there, kids had their fair share of silly, flying, sad moments....

And yes, other photographers and their clients got this close to us (on, thankfully, just one occasion):

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And just like Maisie, I thought, "Give the girl her space!"

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We were able to catch some mid sneezes!

Next up: The newborns and maternity sessions. We beat back the bugs, had silly fun and it seemed that on several of the sessions, Mamas would capture me working with their babies on their phones. Thank you for grabbing these moments for me ladies!!

Last up: Wedding day moments! 

Lastly, we always have fun testing our light set up for family photos! 

Ok Ok, here's the real end and wrap up to this post. Fun story: I shot a wedding for my cousin, Ali in 2015 and asked Colby to second shoot with me since both Ali was UNI alum and Colby was UNI's mascot at one point in his collegiate career. At her wedding, Colby leaned over to me and whispered, "Who is that beautiful girl?" He was noticing Ali's little sister, Jenny. I advised him to be good (as if he has another possibility in his personality). Long story short, Colby popped the question to my sweet cousin Jenny just a few days ago and I couldn't be more excited!! This photo is a perfect send-off to 2017 as Colby was a second shooter for me again this year and deployed his drone for a great farewell shot: 


I could not do what I do without incredible clients, outstanding second shooters (Colby & Sarah!) and a supportive husband who lets me do this crazy business that has been such a wild ride this year. 

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for a wonderful 2017!