A Letter to Maisy: Making Friends

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Dear Maisy,

When you were a baby I started fiercely praying that you would have a best friend and that your friend would be good for you not just for fun but emotionally and spiritually as well.

Growing up I was not so lucky in friendship.  In fact, I didn’t have someone I could call my best friend until I met your daddy.  I’d always longed for that relationship for myself so it seems natural I longed for that for you too.

However, I have not found the same heart’s cry present when I pray for Penny.  I’ve come to realize that even in my prayer life my heart is discerning the difference between my two girls and what you both will need and what you may not get without my prayerful intersession.

Turns out, my prayer for you wasn’t simply out of a fear of friendlessness from my background but from a discerning heart that knows you need a little extra help in the friend-making department for some reason.  I know my sweet girl is amazing, you’re so giving, sweet, thoughtful and compassionate so I don’t know why I feel so compelled to pray for friends for you, but I know now that in the past couple weeks I’ve been close to tears at the obvious love your school friends bestow on you daily.  You’ve been coming home with little gifts and pieces of art from these friends of yours:  Hazel, Tenley, Tabitha, Tina, Grant, and Rory.

Yesterday you were home sick with a stomach bug.  Today when I dropped you off Hazel, Tina, and Tabitha stormed the door and swarmed you with hugs.  I could have cried for thankfulness right there.

I’m so thankful to the Lord for loving us and answering my prayer to give you sweet friends.  I won’t forget this prayer Maisy because you’re only four and have a lifetime of friend-making and friend-keeping to go, but I feel so encouraged in your friendship adventures so far.

I’m even taking it a little more seriously now than before too because I was reminded earlier this week that my three best friends were made in kindergarten and first grade.  You’re just shy of that age so who’s to say some of these friends you’ve made in preschool don’t stand the test of time?  I fully intend to encourage these friendships even if they aren’t in the same elementary school as you.

I love you sweet girl,



Our Countdown to Christmas

Last year I bought our family an advent calendar.  I opted for one with pockets so I could fill them with slips of paper indicating our family activity for the day.  This year the calendar was easily filled as built in events like Maisy’s preschool concert are give-ins.  Some of my favorite things on the calendar are Christmas cookie decorating with friends, Christmas lights drive with cocoa and popcorn, picture in front of the Christmas tree (this year we have our first real tree and I’m so in love), and see The Nutcracker at the Woodstock Opera House.  What I love about my tempered approach this year, is that every day gets to be a little extra special and it encourages me to spend a little extra quality time with my girls.  Yesterday we made our gingerbread house together and I loved watching my girls create as I helped with the frosting.  We munched on candy and really enjoyed ourselves!  Can’t wait to snuggle up in our Christmas PJS with movies several times this month too (our Christmas modified Sunday Sabbath where we spoil ourselves with homemade pizza and a movie after church and naps).

How do you like to celebrate the Christmas season?  What are some of your favorite family traditions and/or things you have planned for the family this year?


Our “picture in front of the Christmas tree” isn’t perfect.  I’m mommed up for the day, sporting a pony tail, jeans and no make up.  Myles was on the verge of a fit due to a rumbly tummy.  And the only place our tree fits in our compact living room is wedged in the corner between the couches.  But it’s us and I know I’ll look back on these annual photos with joy.  My favorite parts of this picture:  I think this is my favorite Maisy smile I’ve captured on camera of her 4-year-old self and I LOVE our real Christmas tree!

A Letter to Myles: 10 Days Old and in the ER


Dear Myles,

On Wednesday, October 24 at about 8pm I arrived at the ER with you.  You had a fever of 101.5 which calls for a mandatory ER visit when babies are under six weeks of age.  So of we went.  I got us checked in, sat down and started crying; the tears were two parts worry, one part sleep deprivation. Another lady in the waiting room asked me your age just as the water works started and I replied, unashamed of my tears, “10 days.”

“Oh honey, he’s going to be in great hands. He’ll be just fine. They are really good at their jobs.”

We get called in before anyone else in the waiting area.  Again, with newborns, they don’t mess around with fevers.  I’m told you will get the full work up: blood drawn, urine taken, and a spinal tap.  I cringe at the thought of all of it, especially a spinal tap, but straighten my back and prepare for the worst of it.

I sat there with you massaging your legs as they pinned your little arm down to get an IV in.  First poke was in the right hand and took but then they lost it.  Second poke in the right inner elbow but was no good. Third poke was to the left hand and took and they secured it.  I hated the way your little arms turned purple so fast with the armband they use to draw blood.  I hated having to listen to you cry and not be able to hold you and nurse you.  I was so disturbed I nearly passed out actually.  I felt my head start spinning so I grabbed for my water bottle and chugged. I must have been pale and desperate-looking because the nurse wisely offered me some juice to pick me back up from my adrenaline plummet.

Next up was the urine sample.  This one done by catheter and was terrible to watch.  I nursed you while she put it in.  You cringed and the look on your face was so disturbed, sad, and mortified all at the same time.  That was worse to watch, but at least I got to hold you and comfort you more.

All I could think after both those two procedures were done and I looked down at your sweet face, was how much I wished I could have taken the whole burden from you:  the IV, the catheter, the spinal tap, all of it.  I realized in a new way in that moment how much Jesus’ heart must heart for me when I’m in pain and suffering and how much more he wants to step in and take the pain away but can’t.

Then the doctor came back in and talked me through the spinal tap.  Myles, I was so scared.  Sure, it’s a procedure with very little risk and is super straight forward, but it’s your spinal cord we’re talking about here.  When the doctor left the room I dissolved into tears again.  The nurse tipped the doctor off about my state and he came back in to reassure me, “I know this is scary.  He’s in very good hands and we will take such good care of him.”  Then he dismissed me from the room to wait in the waiting room. Thankfully the procedure was fast, uncomplicated, and apparently you slept through all of it.

Five and a half hours after our arrival in the ER we were finally walked up to our room.  At 2:30am the nurses finally let us snuggle up for sleep.  We are here for three nights, provided all the labs stay clear, so we’ve got one more to go.  I’m exhausted because, though you can sleep through all the comings and goings of the nurses and other staff, I’m roused for each visitor.  Between your sleep cycle, the routine check in for vitals, the antibiotic regimen, and the necessity to eat and use the restroom, apparently leaves very little time to try and get some rest for myself.

Despite being scared for your life, the lack of sleep, and missing the girls fiercely, I am thankful for being forced to rest these past couple days and heal the rest of the way myself and that it’s showed me just how much I truly love my life at home taking care of our family.  I knew I had the dream, a job I loved that I can do largely from home so I can raise and care for you kids myself, but now I feel this experience will color even the hardest of days with grumpy kids just a little bit lighter.  I so can’t wait to get back home and on my feet to play with you guys at the park, to care for you, to dance with you, and to snuggle all of you in my favorite bear hugs.  I even can’t wait to get back to my daily cleaning, tidying, and cooking responsibilities I want to be home so bad!

I love you so Myles and am so sorry you had to go through all of this.



Maisy’s First Day of P4J

Well, my website’s administration is not functioning but I still want to post my regular photo blog post so to the “blog” I go!  Anyone else have the most frustrating time ever with WordPress.org hosting though?  Can’t get customer service and it breaks often… time for a new service I guess!  Anyways…

Maisy’s first day of 4 year old Kindergarten was Tuesday!  I love that she has this chance to attend school at St. Pauls Lutheran where they start the day with Bible time and yet since they are a P4J school we don’t have to pay for it!  Best of both worlds in my opinion.

This girl thrives off of being around people and loves friends so I’m just so excited she gets to spend every morning with kids and learning.  Can’t believe how big she’s getting though!  I just love her so much.


This site is all about my journeys as a professional photographer in Madison. But first and foremost I am Kaia. Kaia means “Earth” in Norwegian and I live up to that by tree hugging, dog loving, and nature walking.  My first word was “happy,” I still love to jump in puddles, I strive to live simply and self-sustainably, and my favorite color is yellow.  I’m married to a stunningly handsome, ridiculously talented, and intensely loving musician husband. We have two spunky and sweet baby girls (see more of Maisy HERE or Penny HERE), one furry friend (see more of her HERE), and we all live happily ever after in a house on a hill in the land of southern Wisconsin.

I am a photographer bent on capturing the uniqueness in life.  I strive to serve my clients lovingly, creating a series of memories they can cherish forever, and making them my forever friends.  I shoot honest photography – real people, real colors, and real life.

My primary photographic endeavors are weddings, senior portraits, boudoir, newborns, birth, and family photography (especially in the fall).  I offer many gorgeous products ranging from prints, to albums, to wall art products and more, but I particularly love creating my custom designed Coffee Table Albums with my clients.  My work is also featured in Madison Magazine, in publications at the Madison Children’s Museum, Main Street Hub, Tough Mudder Rockford and in every issue of BRAVA Magazine;  I’ve had the privilege of being on the cover several times now!

Do I sound like so much fun and you are so in love with my work?  Next, step/mouse over to my “Contact” tab and let’s get started on some great pictures!

I do the majority of my photography as a Janesville senior portraits photographer, Madison wedding photographer, Janesville wedding photographer, Madison boudoir photographer, and Janesville family photographer and any place that my camera will take me.  I am available for travel worldwide as your destination wedding photographer!

A Letter to Maisy: I Love Your Heart


Dear Maisy,

A couple of days ago you smashed Penny’s finger with a cubby and left her with a nasty gash on her finger.  Malicious intent or not we’re never shy to coach you to think before you act and to not close things on Penny (doors, cubbies and the like).  So as I hold your wailing sister I walk over to you and say “Maisy, look what you did to your sister’s finger.”  You look at the nasty gash and immediately start crying yourself.  That reaction softened my heart to you and I knew in that moment that my lesson would stick, that you’d be thinking twice before closing things on Penny again.

Moments like these can be rough and emotional for everyone involved, but I’m always struck by your teachable and compassionate heart.  You truly have a heart of gold, so caring and naturally gentle.  I pray I’m doing the best job of fostering those qualities in you because they are simply so beautiful.

Your first day of school was yesterday and as I filled out the last of the questionnaire to give to your teacher my heart was left overflowing with pride at you, my beautiful girl.  I love that I can write such wonderful things about you so easily.  I love that you’re a helper, an includer, and so full of compassion.  I love that you love people so much.

With all my heart,