April AND May.... combined because of a secret

Well, the secret's out! 

If you haven't seen my Facebook/Instagram posts, I'M PREGNANT!!! 

Our Little Frog (we call it that because we don't know the gender aaaannnd it looks like a frog in the sonogram ^^) is due to join us December 15! The photo was taken right after I told Nick that he was gonna be a dad! Friday, April 13th is supposed to be a bad luck day but I'd say it was a pretty dang good day! I woke up that morning convinced I was pregnant because I had had some tenderness, fatigue, and hunger (every 4 hours.... on the dot) and I was even more convince when I realized Aunt Flo was 2 days late on her arrival. So I took the test (Nick was already off to work) and hurried to get ready. I spent at least 2 hours wandering Target trying to find something good to announce our Little Frog to Nick! I found a set of onesies that were pretty unisex and said, "Let the Adventure Begin" and then decided to make the mugs pictured. Of course I also got the streamer thing and balloons! 

I set up my camera and phone to record two different angles when Nick walked in so I could capture his reaction... But the thing is that he doesn't like surprises and isn't very expressive. So while the video is fun for me to watch, it would probably be a let down for ya'll. He just needs time to process I guess... 

That was really all of our April news! Oh! JK! Some of you might remember that nasty rash I had for 6 weeks and the doctor couldn't figure it out?? Well... we figured it out.... BED BUGS! Barf! I normally wouldn't talk about this but it was SUCH a big part of our lives that it took over them for a bit! I found one one night when I was reading in bed and one crawled past my eye on the pillow! I FLIPPED!! I woke Nick up and we CLEANED as much as we could, found a 24 hr Walmart, bought pillow covers and everything else that we could that was helpful, spent HOURS researching what to do and generally panicked... Needless to say, we only got about 2 hrs of sleep that night. 

The start of our sleeping arrangement for the next month.... 

The start of our sleeping arrangement for the next month.... 

Luckily, management was able to get pest control out there that next morning and verify it and give us instructions on what to do... VACUUM EVERYTHING AS MUCH AS YOU CAN AND THEN RUN WHAT YOU CAN THROUGH THE DRYER FOR 60 MINS. And lucky for us we were headed out of town to San Antonio for a few days so we could essentially ignore the problem for a bit while the professionals handled it. 

San Antonio was a BLAST!! We stayed right on the Riverwalk and hung out around there the whole time. Of course we visited the Alamo which was REALLY weird because it's literally in the middle of the city! Like, Ripley's Believe it or Not museum is RIGHT across the street from it... I was definitely expecting to have to drive out to the country to see it but it was only 2 blocks from our hotel. It was SO gorgeous there though! It was drizzling that morning but it cleared up the rest of the day! 

We had such a blast! Our favorite local restaurant was Açenar (TexMex) but we had some DELICIOUS places! Although, we did go to this German restaurant to humor my dad (he's OBSESSED with all things German) and it was NASTY (the food photo)... but their ceiling was really cool! The restaurant was really cool, it's the oldest in San Antonio and was almost like an Irish Pub but I definitely could've don't without the food (never been a fan of German food). You can tell my hair didn't want to cooperate after the first day because I pulled it back. It was a FRIZZ FEST that no one wanted or needed to see.... 

But our favorite restaurant that we visited was Fogo de Chão (translation: Fire Pit). The meat was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOD!!! Tender, juicy, and FULL of flavor. Hard to beat. 

We saw the light show at the Cathedral of San Fernando but mostly hung out on the Riverwalk. We did a boat tour and stopped to see all of the little signs as we walked it! San Antonio doesn't really feel like it's in the US. It's so tropical and magical that we compared it to Disneyland's Adventure land. And I know all of SA isn't that way but where we were was and it was beautiful! 

Other things that happened in April: I second shot a beautiful wedding with my friend Lexie from Lexie Krug Photography , got in my base burn while walking White Rock Lake with my mama squad, found the giant eyeball with Nick while exploring DT Dallas, and had an afternoon picnic with my love at our beloved White Rock Lake! 

Got to shower Brooke and her twins with lots of loves and lots of laughs!

Got to shower Brooke and her twins with lots of loves and lots of laughs!

May came with a lot of fun things and a lot of battle tactics to fight off the Bed Bugs... We discovered that not only was vacuuming our best friend but that the bugs don't like double sided tape and are smart enough to go around it. **Disclaimer** We did not get bed bugs because we are dirty, messy or anything of the sort. Bed Bugs do not care if your house is clean or dirty, rich or poor, they are wingless vampires that like to nest in a dark, cozy, preferably-fabric place close to where their victims sleep. Nick thinks he picked one up in an Uber on his way home from work one day... so be careful my friends! If you want to learn more about BBs just ask, Nick and I have done SOO much research and talking with professionals that we could literally write a book on it. 

Nick trying to "lure" out the bed bugs one afternoon so we could kill them...

Nick trying to "lure" out the bed bugs one afternoon so we could kill them...

I hit 8 weeks in May and of course had to take a "bump" photo lol.... there's nothing there yet but I could definitely feel my pants getting tighter. I also discovered that my dad randomly has a restaurant for Chicken Fingers-why he never told me, I'll never understand haha. 

I also had my first (and only (so far)) hormonal breakdown. It's actually a pretty funny story. I found this random account on Instagram (click here to see for yourself... You're welcome) that has all these really funny animal memes. They posted this one video that kept getting funnier as you watched it... then I of course started laughing hysterically at EVERY meme that I saw after that until I finally realized that I shouldn't be laughing as hard as I was. I was laughing so hard that tears were STREAMING down my face. And Nick just sat there. Staring at me. As if I was slowly morphing into an escaped convicted murder. And then I started crying. Because I couldn't stop laughing. And then I cried harder because I couldn't stop crying... freaking hormones. 

Nick's cousin Jackie came out from San Francisco to visit us for a weekend! We had so much fun exploring the city, eating amazing food, and binge watching 'Safe' on Netflix (SO good but has a LOT of cussing... you were warned). Of course the only photos I got that weekend were of our last meal together, and binging Netflix lol. I totally forgot to get photos at the DMA, Dealy Plaza, JFK Memorial, Outlets, and everything else that we did. 

Nick's work can be really amazing sometimes! We've got a regular date for working at the pool on Monday's since he doesn't need to be at the office. We figured he could work on his tan as well... 

Memorial Day weekend was a BLAST!! We went with friends out to Possum Kingdom Lake and boated all weekend! I wish I could easily post videos cause Nick has a great wipeout and Justin surfing to Whitney Houston is something that should NOT be missed! So grateful for these amazing friends! 

That weekend was also SUPER hard because my puppers of 13 years died suddenly from a stroke and internal bleeding. Scottie was such an INCREDIBLE dog. He was so well behaved, loving, ands incredibly scared of everything... it was hilarious! It's so hard to be without him now. He was there for half of my life. I know a lot of you know what this feels like! It's a new thing to me because he was the first to go for us. It's SO hard to lose a member of your family like that. RIP Scottie. I love you! 

May ended with me getting some genetic testing done for Baby K (when the results come in we'll have a little reveal party! Watch IG!) and me flying home to visit for a few days! It was surreal walking in the house and only having my puppers Jazz there to greet me! But the rest of that story goes into June so.... CLIFFHANGER!! lolz 

XOXO meli



The Bed Bugs are GONE!!! Pest control cleared us the last Wednesday in May! Only took a MONTH!

Tengberg Maternity Session - Dallas, TX

Brady and Mary Tengberg are not only the most amazing people, but they're also some of my closest friends... AND they have a dog named Moose. 


Meet Moose


The cutest, sweetest lil guy ever!

Nick and I met Brady and Mary our senior year at BYU while Nick was recruiting for a management consulting firm that Brady had summered and signed a return offer for. They generously took us out to dinner to get to know us because that's what you do when you're recruiting for management consulting! As we were leaving the dinner I turned to Nick and said, "I DEFINITELY could be best friends with Mary!" and that was it! We were friends. 

So when Mary asked me to take her maternity photos I quite literally SQUEALED in delight! She wanted to split her session into two parts: homey lifestyle & colorful outdoor.

I had THE most fun at this session! I realized how important it is to have a good dynamic with the people I'm photographing and working with! If I can't have fun then my clients won't have fun and then those happy, candid photos that I love so much won't ever happen because everyone's grumpy, nervous, or uncomfortable. So I'm learning to focus on my interactions with people and create RELATIONSHIPS. Because that's what really matters at the end of the day! If I could have all of my clients be my good friends, then life will be AMAZING! 

XOXO meli

Remember, remember, the month of November... that's how it goes, right??

Hey ya’ll! (I use ya’ll too much! #sorrynotsorry)

Here’s my catch up for November since I know y’all are DYING to know what happened (I CANNOT keep up with allllll the emails overflowing my inbox asking where I’ve been alll month... geeze people, calmaté! #sarcasm). 

The month started off with me discovering my LOVE for running! What’s the catch? Outside. It HAS to be outside. My friend Brooke and I went over to White Rock Lake (seriously the most gorgeous place ever!) and started running the trail. It’s a 10ish mile trail and my goal is to run that twice before my half marathon next year. ANOTHER HALF?? Yes. I figured since last time I didn’t “run” a half (I just DID it) I needed to actually “run” one this time... maaaaybe I’ve caught a little runner’s fever okay??  Anyway, back to running WRL- we ran 3 miles round trip AND discovered MOUNT VERNON is in DALLAS! I’M OBSESSED AND IT’S FOR SALE!! Here’s the link (SOMEONE PLEEEEEAAAAASSSEEE BUY IT FOR ME!!! IT’S A PHENOMENAL INVESTMENT!! ;) )- 

Mount Vernon... DALLAS ed. 

Mount Vernon... DALLAS ed. 

That discovery was followed by the cutest baby shower for my dear friend Mary that was hosted by the amazing Liz! Mary is having a little girl, Georgia (HOW CUTE?!), and the colors were blush and gold #dead. It was so fun to be with so many friends! And to spoil a very deserving mama and her baby was the best!

Our amazing friends had a Friendsgiving that was INCREDIBLE and hosted by the very famous couple Rucas (or Luchel) (Lucas + Rachel). We had 11 couples + 2 toddlers AND 2 new borns there! Quite the crew AND somehow we were all able to fit COMFORTABLY in Luchel’s little apartment. Quite the miracle and soooo much fun! We ate a bajillion DELICIOUS things, watched football, and played Secret Hitler (if you don’t know what that is, you NEED to know). 

But the MAIN EVENT of the month was definitely The 6th Biennial Stoker Family Reunion: Hogwarts Ed. I kicked off the festivities by surprising the CRAP outta my mama!!! Haha it was sooooo funny (I recorded it-she won’t let me post it buuuuttt if you really wanna see it I can arrange that ;) ) Backstory: The first time I came home from college I scared the crap outta my mama because she didn’t know what time I was going to be there and she happened to be in her closet so I took advantage of the opportunity (who wouldn’t??) and yelled, “SURPRISE!” as she walked past... thank the heavens she has a good ticker cause she’d definitely be gone this time around.

Back to main story- Mama Barks had NO idea I was coming in early! My dad said he was at work (lies- he was picking me up from the airport), my brother and sister said they were running to the store (lies- they were ALSO picking me up from the airport). So when we got to the house, my dad and I hid just outside the garage door while my sister tried for 5 FREAKING MINUTES to get my mom into her closet to “help her find her passport for school documentation”. Okaaaaayy... she got suspicious. BUT she thought my siblings were trying to smuggle in a birthday present for her (it was only 2 days before her birthday). So when she came out of her room, BAM! “HAPPEEEEE BIIIRRRRFFFDAAAY MAMAMAMAMAMAMAMA!!!!” Pretty sure her ticker skipped 10 ticks that day! 

Back to the main, main story. So the Tuesday before Thanksgiving we loaded up 2 cars with all the crap they could hold (+ people) and headed down to St. George. Within 1.5 hrs the women folk transformed the vacation home into Hogwarts and within 2.5 hrs people started showing up! Then the real party began! 

It was filled with Football, QUIDDITCH (SOOO much fun and SOOO exhausting!), hiking to see petroglyphs, amazing FOOD, and a massive session of family pictures!! (photographing 44 people and making it look fun, easy, and making THEM look good ain’t easy--- maybe I’ll blog about that!) 

 Nick and I learned one massive thing. We will NOT travel without each other if at all possible. It just kinda sucks being apart when we could be together AND traveling is sooo much better when you’re not alone. 

A week after Thanksgiving we went to the Cowboys game! It was INCREDIBLE!! It was both mine and Nick’s first NFL game and it was soo much fun! We had nosebleed seats but it didn’t matter because you could still see EVERYTHING from the BIGGEST JUMBOTRON IN THE NFL!! That stadium is quite the feat of engineering and soo awe-inspiring. PLUS the Cowboys KILLED the Redskins so it was a great game!

And all through the month I had plugged away at continuing my education! I enrolled in a 19 week course by the INCREDIBLE Katelyn James and it has changed my photo-life! I’ve done several webinars and mini-courses. I started getting Blueprint Certified, AND I started working on documenting my learning and sharing it with all of you (this monthly check in is part of that!). It’s soo important to keep learning, no matter if it’s part of your career, hobbies, or something you’ve just found interest in! Keep going, keep changing! Because as you change you’ll change the world around you, and I don’t know bout you, but I hope my change is positive! 

Well, that’s all for now folks! 

XOXO meli