The Abrahamson Cousins

I had the chance to photograph a set of cousins recently. Remember the photos of Miles from a few months back? Well, here he is again (cuter than ever!) with his cousins Amber, James, and Connor. We met at Autumn Hills Park in Oak Park Heights last weekend. Ranging in age from 3rd grade to 7 month old these four kept me on my toes. (You should have heard the ruckus their parents were making trying to get the little ones to look at the camera and smile!) It was great!

 

Charlie

Charlie turned 1 not too long ago and I got to take his pictures to celebrate. He is a man on the move: I think I got a full work out while attempting to capture his adorable smile. Throughout our shoot, I learned that it is not easy to predict where a 1 year old will crawl next. Go figure.

Here's Charlie!

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A behind the scenes look at what went into entertaining Charlie:
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This is the view I saw all too often...
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Nora: Month 5 and 6

My lovely daughter is almost 7 months old, so I figured it was about time to post some new-ish pictures of her. (I've been meaning to do this for the better part of 3 weeks, but with all of the sitting up on our own, solid food eating, toy grabbing, and belly laughing, things have been busy around here.)

I love spending my days with this tiny chick.

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Nora likes headbands. I think baby headbands are about the most adorable thing since sliced bread and I make Nora wear them at every chance I get.
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Hoodlum in pink:
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Stripey tights and sparkly shoes? Yes please.
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Poor Nora had a bit of a cold when I took this picture (hence the slightly red eyes). What a good sport.
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The Browns

If there were an award for the "The People Who Booked a Photo Shoot in the Closest Proximity to my House", the Browns would win it. I headed to their home (which happens to be right next door to mine!) last weekend to take pictures of their lovely family. Hannah and Isaac are home schooled right now which means they were overdue for this year's school pictures and rumor has it that Hannah was still missing her front teeth the last time they had pictures done as a family. I had a blast spending some time photographing them.

Sidenote: It feels a little funny to have no snow in February, but it sure makes outdoor pictures more enjoyable!

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Lucy Renée

Lucy is here! My dear friend Ariel and her hubby Corey recently welcomed this little tiny bundle and she is nothing but perfect. I had the distinct honor of meeting her and photographing her last week.

Ariel was the first friend I made after my family moved to Northfield when I was 5 and we've been friends ever since. I have gazillions of memories growing up with Ariel - from kindergarten on, we have been through every life stage together. I am so excited to enter the new adventure of parenthood right along side her. Who knows, maybe Lucy and Nora will beat our record and be friends since birth!

Congratulations, Ariel and Corey! Lucy couldn't be any more precious!

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Getting your picture taken is a lot of work!
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Miles

After Nora was born I joined a class for new parents at our local hospital. Through the class I met Jen who had Miles only a few days after I had Nora in September. I was lucky enough to photograph Miles and his parents last weekend. He is an adorable little boy and was a great sport to put up with my camera and I for a shoot even though he would have rather been taking a nap. Here's Miles:

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There's the smile we've been waiting for!!
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Announcing Eleanor Margaret Otte!

I am finally getting around to posting some pictures of our dear little Nora Margaret Otte. My goodness...it's amazing how much time a teeny tiny person takes up!

Nora was born on September 12th at 7:05pm. She weighed 9 lbs 3 oz and was 23 inches long. She is absolutely perfect.

Meeting my daughter for the first time was one of the most incredible moments of my life.
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Before Nora's birth, I spent some time reading birth stories posted on blogs by other mom's and I think they are interesting, so in case you're curious, here is a little bit about Nora's birth and my somewhat bumpy road to recovery:

It all began when I went in for my 39 week check up on September 9th. My doctor found that my blood pressure was a tad bit on the high side, so he suggested Brandon and I head to the hospital to induce labor. In a frenzy, Brandon and I rushed home, threw a few more odds and ends into our hospital bag, and off we went. When I got to the hospital the doctors warned me that the induction process could go quickly, or could take a few days. As it turns out, they weren't kidding - it really can take a few days. They tried pretty much every trick in the induction handbook and nothing could make baby Otte get moving. Finally, once they broke my water at about 3:00 Monday afternoon labor started...in full force. Nora made her way into this world within 4 hours. We were thrilled to meet our beautiful baby girl and so happy that she arrived healthfully.

My recovery, however, was a bit more on the rocky side. The day after Nora's birth, I developed a severe headache from the epidural, a side affect that they warned me happens to a small percentage of people. Before leaving the hospital with Nora, they tried something called a blood patch which is typically a pretty effective fix for an epidural headache. After the procedure, my head felt a million times better and we headed home with baby. About 24 hours later, the headache returned. After calling the hospital, they suggested I come back for a second blood patch...typically if the first one doesn't work the second one does the trick without a problem. Again, the headache went away pretty instantly, but then returned the next day.

Knowing something wasn't quite right, I decided to head to the ER. After a CT scan of my head, the doctors found something called a subdural hematoma, or bleeding in my brain. They put me on some heavy duty pain medication and admitted me to the hospital overnight. As you can imagine, being back in the hospital was not where I pictured myself less than a week after baby arrived, but I knew between my parents, grandparents and a couple of uncles Nora was in good hands at home.

While I was in the hospital, the doctors did an MRI of my head to take a closer look at the brain bleed. They determined that the bleed came from the epidural and that the blood would most likely reabsorb on its own after some time. With that positive news, I was able to go home the next day.

Things were going well as I continued to get acquainted with sweet Nora. However, a few days later, the left side of my body went numb. I couldn't believe that something else was going wrong after all of the things we had already been through. We called an ambulance and returned to the ER once again. After some additional tests, they determined that I had experienced a small seizure as a result of the blood on my brain. I was so thankful that the news wasn't more serious and returned home once again with a few more meds to add to my collection.

I am happy to report that I am finally getting better with each passing week. Although this experience has been one of the scariest things I've been through it has shown me how very blessed I am to be surrounded by such supportive people. My husband is incredible - it brings tears to my eyes to think about how lucky I am to have him. Our family is nothing short of amazing...they took loads of time off to be here taking care of Nora and me for the first few weeks after her birth. Our friends and co-workers are wonderful - our refrigerator has been overflowing with meals that people have made for us and I know there has been a giant circle of people praying for us in the past month.

Above all else, beautiful Nora is healthy and happy. I am so thrilled to be her mom.

Whew - that turned into a little longer longer of story than I expected! (I can't believe Nora has been napping long enough for me to write all of that!) Thank you for sending your thoughts and prayers our way as I continue to head down the road of recovery. I have a couple of follow up appointments with doctors coming up in the next few weeks, and we are hopeful that the news will be good and that I'll be back to my old self again one of these days.

Enjoy these pictures of our sweet baby girl. (Thanks, Grandpa Ken, for taking so many of these for us!)


Our first family picture!
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1 day old:
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Love.
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Nora's teeny foot in her grandma's hand.
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Our dining room table was converted to baby central for a short time. In this picture, Henry is wondering what has happened to his once spoiled life as a cat.
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Nora's grandma Dana LOVES headbands. Nora may feel differently about them.
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Nora's grandpa Ken has nicknamed her baby Snora. This picture may explain why:
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My obsession with feet pictures continues:
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Stay tuned for pictures of Nora's nursery and a few pictures of her at 1 month old...

Tour O' Nephews

As of a few days ago, I have not one, but two darling new nephews. Sawyer Stephen was born March 14th and Jonah Brenton was born on February 15th. I am glad that I'm an aunt once again! Brandon and I had a great time visiting and photographing both nephews and their families this week. They are both a-dor-able. I wish we lived less than a state away so we got to see these gentleman more often, but at least we have plenty of pictures to look at!

Welcome to the world, Jonah and Sawyer!

Jonah Brenton:::
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Proud Mama Brini.
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One month old going on 75 year old??
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Auntie Molly!
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Sawyer Stephen:::
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I guess it's hard work being almost 24 hours old.
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Big sister Ella.
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Big sister Abigail.
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Love, love, love, baby profiles.
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These two are stellar big sisters.
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Proud Uncle Brandon.
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Eli

Cute, CUTE, CUTE are about the only words I can think of for this newborn. I was thrilled when I got to take one week old pictures of Eli. He is absolutely adorable...Congratulations on your beautiful baby boy, Jeremy and Katie!!!

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Is that not the most adorable little nose you've ever seen??
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Eli's first smile?
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It's unfortunate for Eli that he looks so cute when he cries as his tears did not result in me stopping the photo shoot. Sorry, Eli!!
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Remember Ryan, my favorite honorary nephew? He's quite a bit bigger now! Ryan in Eli's cousin. And compared to Eli, he looks like a giant. Since when do babies grow so fast?!?
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Ryan: My Favorite Honorary Nephew

I have known my friend Lucia for the majority of my life. We grew up playing card games and watching chick flicks at each other's houses pretty much every weekend. I'm pretty sure we watched That Thing You Do and Return to Me at least 7 million times. Each.

Lucia is like a sister to me. So, when she had a baby in early September, I quickly declared myself as an honorary aunt to little Ryan Kenneth. And a very proud honorary aunt at that.

I happened to have my camera along with me when I visited Lucia and Ryan not too long ago, so we did a little impromptu photo shoot. Lucky for me, I was able to capture a couple of his sweet, sweet smiles.

Ryan is 100% adorable, don't you think?


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LOVE those little teeny, tiny hands.
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Alex

I met Alex and her parents at Centennial Lakes in Edina. It didn't take long for me to realize that Alex is the cutest one year old that I've seen in awhile. What gorgeous blue eyes! I enjoyed soaking in some of the last warm weather of the season with this family.

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To crawl toward the strange lady with the camera, or not to crawl toward the strange lady with the camera.
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And this is how we knew it was time to be done.
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The Millins

Remember Sebastian? I took his senior pictures a little less than a year ago and had the pleasure of photographing the entire family recently. And by entire I mean entire. Even the three dogs Claire, Grace and Oscar made an appearance. The only family member left out was Charlie the cat who didn't want to brave the humid weather and I don't fault him for that.

Thanks for the great afternoon, Millin Family!

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Steffens, Steffens and more Steffens

Not too long ago there was a birthday party for my second cousin. He turned 6. And, let me tell you, this was quite the event. There was family in town from as far away as Nova Scotia to celebrate with little Sage and his family. And I got to take pictures!

You may remember my cousin's family from not just a one but two posts. They are one of my favorite families to photograph.
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And...Kristy is expecting a baby girl to add to her collection of boys.
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I have a feeling these big brothers will take good care of Annika. By the way, Kristy has a really cool blog. I'm a regular reader. Check it out!
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My aunt/uncle/cousins/cousins-in-law/second cousins!
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The Steffen siblings:
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My family!
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My lovely cousin Krista and I. We used to pretend we were sisters. Do you think we could trick anyone?
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Family Shoot

Last summer, I took sibling shots of Sally and Eric before Sally headed to college. The summer before that, I took senior pictures of Sally. Last weekend, I took pictures of Sally, Eric, and their entire extended family at Highland Park in St. Paul. It was fun to meet the rest of the clan and capture some shots with them all. Fun fact: Each nuclear family pictured includes 4 people - a mom, a dad, a son and a daughter. From a photographer's point of view, I was extremely impressed with their symmetry and gender balance.

Here are some shots from the day:

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They're an athletic group!
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These three were reminiscing about a hilarious snowmobile story from their childhood. But...doesn't it kid of look like they're a singing group?
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Adorable.
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Nice, Eric.
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Carter + family

Adorable is about the only word I can think of after taking pictures of Carter. He just turned one recently and is bursting with cuteness. I had a great time taking pictures of him and the his parents. Added bonus for me: there was a gorgeous field nearby with perfect light for some fun fall shots. I love snow, but I'm glad it stayed away long enough to extend fall photos this year.

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I can't blame you for this after the previous shot, Carter!
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