infertility | our story

Infertility is no joke, it is rough and difficult and the most emotional thing you can ever experience. Our story thankfully has a happy ending, but for those of you out there that are still going through it my heart goes out to you. If you know anyone that is going through this journey, be extra sensitive and give them all the love you have to spare they need it. Love is a wonderful bandaid in helping patch the holes you gain along this road.

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Our story started about 5 years ago. We had always talked about having a family and kids. I had a ‘life plan’ all figured out. I was going to finish school at the age of 25 and work for a few years, then get pregnant at 27 and have our first kid around 28. Then wait two years and have another. Ending our child years around 31, so we could still travel and see the world when they were grown and moved out. Funny how life never lets your life plan go according to your ideals. I was 25, I had just applied for graduation, we had been married for 5 years. I was starting my job search and had a few good options. I approached my husband with the idea of starting to try and have a baby. I told him that it would most likely take a few months to get all the birth control out of my system and then at least a few more months to get pregnant and then the kid had to bake for 10 months. So we had most likely 18 months or more ahead of us. After laying it out, begging and listing all the pros (which took months) he agreed to start to try. It was now November 2010. I stopped taking the pill. I had gone to my GYN and she had warned me that since I had been on the pill for 5 years, it would take a bit to get out of my system but she could see no reason why I couldn’t have a baby.

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Months passed. It was now October 2011. My sister had just announced that she was pregnant with her first baby, and was due in June. I wanted to die. There is nothing worse than hearing that someone close to you, who knows what you are going through, is pregnant. Now, of course I was excited. A nephew was going to join the family and I got to be an aunt. And no I don’t expect people around me to stop their lives and not have kids, it is just a easier playing field when people are not having kids with you. I took the announcement to heart and had an emotional break. Maybe I wasn’t meant to be a mom, and we weren’t supposed to have kids. Am I not trying hard enough? Is there something wrong with us? The list continued and the emotions ran high for a good deal of time. I contacted my doctor again and she said that she couldn’t look at me for infertility until we had been trying for at least 16 months. That fertility doctors in the area wouldn’t either. We had to wait. Naturally I spent oodles of time on webmd and google (dangerous places for an emotional person) and started to panic about all these things that could be wrong.

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Around this time we started to notice that my husband was starting to struggle a bit with his health. Not hugely, but little changes. He was tired ALL the time. He had started to gain weight in his stomach, despite exercising and eating as best he could. He also seemed to lose all interest in intimacy. Concerned that it was something like his thyroid, I urged him to make an appointment. My sweet love is very anti-doctor, anti-medicine, basically anti anything related to the field. Finally after months of coaxing, and telling him it wasn’t about having a baby I convinced him to visit his doctor. We went to his appointment and told him about his symptoms. After a series of questions and a blood draw later we learned that he had low testosterone. His doctor prescribed him testosterone injections, which were to be given once a week. Grand, the dude that hates medicine is supposed to give himself a shot once a week? Oui. So we started injections.

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We had now reached April of 2012. I could go see my GYN about fertility finally. I made an appointment. She suggested that we do tests that checked for fertility signs, but could be looking for endometriosis. My doctor had suspicions that I had it because I have horribly painful periods that are incredibly heavy – like blow through a extra super tampon in less than an hour heavy. So we started testing. I went through a series of ultrasounds and dye testing to see if I had blockage or extra tissue. It was discovered that I had a large ovarian cyst on my right side, but no other signs of endometriosis or complications. She told me to wait 2 months for the cyst to dissolve, and then to try again. And perhaps have my husband tested, because guys are always easier to test than girls. So we waited the 2 months for it to pass and then tried some more. At this point I had my ovulation cycles down to an art, and could tell you exactly when things were going to happen. We had continued doing shots for my husband and he had started to feel better. I noticed an improvement in his weight and he wasn’t very tired any more. Success!

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In june we welcomed my sweet nephew and it only made me want to try that much harder. We continued to try and still no success. After much debate we decided to take a break for a few months and see if we could just refocus on each other and life. To not allow infertility to be the elephant in the room all the time. So we did.

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We have now reached May of 2013. We took trying slow for the rest of the year, spent time with each other and tried to just be us. We decided to try again. And still no luck. I was talking to a dear friend of mine who suggested we see an internist. That maybe there was a issue with his hormones, other than testosterone that could be causing the issue. So I searched around and found one in our area. We made an appointment, two months out. We had run out of the prescription for shots, and after talking about it decided that we would take a break from them. We waited our two months and it was finally time for our appointment. We went in and were evaluated and after a large blood test, determined that his hormones were out of whack and that the shots weren’t helping. He put him on a diet and added supplements and added clomid in place of the testosterone shots, we were to time the clomid with my cycles. We were told to try for two months and that he promised we would be pregnant. So we started. He was diligent about his diet and the pills, things were going pretty well.. except still no baby. Two months passed. Still nothing. I hadn’t been convinced that changing his diet would ‘cure’ our infertility issue like the doctor had claimed, so I took to researching it myself. I soon found a doctor in Salt Lake City at the Univeristy of Utah who specializes in male hormones. Perfect! I convinced my husband to go, because at this point I didn’t care if we had a baby or not I just wanted him healthy. The kid could come later. So we made an appointment. Again, 2 months out.

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It was now November 2013. We travelled to the doctor and told him about our story and how we just wanted him to be healthy. Having a kid was an added bonus but we just needed to get his health figured out. He asked about the previous treatments and then told us this. Testosterone replacement therapy KILLS your sperm. That is right, kills them. Dead, done for, toast. It tells your body that it doesn’t need to produce its own hormones since you are giving it yourself, and since it is synthetically made it doesn’t trigger sperm production. Holy cow. At this point we hadn’t been on them for about 6 months, so the body was clearing if not cleared of it. He also informed us that the internist while having good intentions, was wrong about the diet. It wouldn’t change the outcome of sperm production. He proceeded to order a few tests and give us a prescription for clomid that instead of cycling with my cycles he was to take every day for the next 2 weeks and then retest. So we left, took the test did the clomid treatment, and retested. Our follow up appointment was a few weeks after that. At the follow up appointment we learned that his sperm count had gone from 1 million to 15.4 million. (The normal male produces around 12 million). Wow!! So he told us to get busy and try. And if by March I wasn’t pregnant to call his female counter part and see her. So we were off.

 

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February of 2014. I find out that I am indeed pregnant, the day before I lose it. A faint double line on a pee test. Then poof, it is gone. I am heart broken, but also feeling hopeful. If I could do it, then maybe I really can be pregnant. Then the crazy body starts. I have a period for 3 months. You heard me, THREE months of bleeding every day. I decide to call the specialist and ask about what to do. She tells me to come see her. So I make an appointment for the end of April. We again learn that my sister is expecting baby number two due in November and my sister-in-law is expecting and due in December. The heartbreak starts all over, many tears are shed. But I have my appointment to look forward to. We go in and meet with the specialist, she does an ultrasound and discovers I have another large cyst on my right side. That this is the reason why I am still bleeding. She prescribes me a medication to stop the bleeding and start a normal cycle again. I also have to come back to have a sonohystagram of my uterus done to make sure I don’t have fibroids.

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Luckily the medication takes and I am back to normal. After my next period I go in for my test, it is May 2014. Everything is great looking and the cyst is shrinking. Phew. So on to the next step. Since we had been trying so long she recommends we do IUI. Intrauterine insemination. I am to wait for my next period, start taking clomid to boost egg release and then come in as soon as I get a positive ovulation test. So we start. She had warned us that it took 3-4 IUI treatments to get a result, so be prepared to do this multiple times. My period comes, I take the pills and pee on a stick twice a day. Finally on a friday I get my smily face, I am ovulating. We call up and make an appointment for the next morning.

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It is June 14th 2014. We travel to the Salt Lake office. My husband goes and does his ‘thing’ and the donation is left. We are told we have to wait 2 hours while they prep the sperm for injection. We go and have a nice breakfast together, talk about how excited we are but not so excited that our hopes will be crushed if it is a negative. We slowly make our way back to the office. We are called back and prepped. The nurse is the sweetest thing and is so gentle with me. We ask her a billion questions and she answers all of them. The procedure starts, it takes about 10 minutes and then I am left there to lay for 20 minutes. We laugh and chat about how today could change our world, and eventually the 20 minutes pass. I get dressed and stop by to thank the nurse. We are given instructions of no medications other than tylenol, for pain. Rest as much as I can the next few days and to wait 2 weeks and take a pregnancy test. If it is positive then call and make an appointment for a viability ultrasound.

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Two weeks is so hard to wait, you just want to pee on that stupid stick. So knowing myself, I didn’t buy any until the day before I took the test. This way there was no temptation in the house. The  morning of the test, my husband leaves to go to an airshow in Salt Lake. I am alone. I take the test. Is there a positive? I think so, but I can’t tell. I hurry to my mom, and ask her to confirm for me. I swear I’m hallucinating. She looks at the test and just smiles and says “Congrats, Mom.” I break down and cry. I decide to wait to tell my husband until he is home. I want to see his reaction. I go out and buy a tiny baby onesie and make him a card. The hours painfully pass. He is finally home and comes right to me to ask. I take him into the other room and hand him the card, and wait. He reaches the point where I tell him he is going to be a dad. He looks shocked and happy all in one. He gives me the sweetest hug and kiss I have had to date and tells me he is so excited. We have the viability ultrasound and pass. We are now 5 months pregnant with a sweet baby boy.

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Our story is a unique one, we did get lucky and have IUI work on the first try. They never did find any issues in either of us as to why we couldn’t have a baby. We were told that sometimes two perfectly healthy people just can’t do it for some reason, and we are in that category. While yes our story is one with a happy ending, and I am very happy that it is, know that not every one has a similar story. Some are still fighting for their sweet bundle. For all of you out there struggling with fertility, know you aren’t alone. Although you feel VERY alone and like you are the only person out there going through it, you aren’t. There are people out there who are more than willing to talk with you and give you a shoulder to cry on, myself included. Don’t give up hope, your bundle is out there waiting for you.

tips | 5 ways to find your ‘golden’ hour

Have you ever heard of the golden hour? I am not talking about twilight with it’s beautiful light, I am talking about your golden hour. The hour(s) that you work the best, where you are the most productive and you know you can get shiz done. That hour. We all have one, and sometimes it is the worst trying to find what works best for you.

I can remember my junior year of college sitting in a class lecture and having the teacher talk about her golden hour. She found that she works the best from 10pm-1am every day, so that was the time she chose to work on things. I remember sitting there and wondering.. uh? what the? I have never had a ‘golden’ time in my life. It is like a struggle to push through those assignments almost every time until I am like 20 minutes into it or I have a plan. What in the h-bomb is she talking about? It wasn’t until later, my senior year and the year after I graduated, that I found my ‘golden’ time.

After analyzing times and really just working through different stretches of time, I found my golden time. I work best in the afternoons, between 2-5pm. I can also do evenings around 9p-12a. So my friends, here are my 5 tips on how to find yours.

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1. Are you a morning person or a night owl? I know you think this is a stupid question, but bear with me. I myself am anti-mornings. Like I am pretty much allergic to them. I wake up grumpy as an unfed black bear, unable to carry on a decent conversation without snapping. This is usually always accompanied by a grumpy attitude towards being up, doing anything and a hair do that rivals Edward Scissorhands custom look. Needless to say the first 2 hours of my day is me waking up, calming the unruly do and attempting to have a conversation without ripping peoples heads off like they are mini stress balls. I myself am a much better night owl. I can stay up for hours working on things, reading or watching shows. So with this in mind, I knew that my happy hour wouldn’t be anywhere near that dreadful time called morning. It would be closer to the afternoon or evening.

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2. Does it take you a while to get into a project? For me I knew this was true, especially when I tackle something that I don’t have a pre-planned game plan for it. My art projects always turn out a million times better when I have an idea in mind and how I want it to be conveyed at the end. The ones I try to throw together look like a 4 year old in preschool attacked it with their Elmer’s glue and dry pasta, rather than a piece that can convey the emotion that I am searching for. (no offense to all you preschoolers, your art is great!) Since I knew that I would need time, I had to make sure to find blocks of time where there were no interruptions and distractions. I would need more than 20 minutes to accomplish something, I would need at least a few hours. Sometimes knowing when you can find that time to be ‘alone’ with yourself, opens up when your best time is. If you are opposite of me and can do amazing things in 15 minutes, I freaking applaud you. I often wish I had that skill, but alas I am lacking.

 

3. If you are in school is there a class that you really love and do amazing in? This was a tell tale sign for me. Not only because I liked the subject matter, but when I got to that class I could really buckle down to work and my peers couldn’t distract me. I found that the class I did the best work in was always right after lunch and around the hour of 2. I could really get into that class, whether it was a lab day or a critique (which I detest) I could really concentrate and have it be a valuable time. Knowing this, I knew that the classes I had then would come easier to me and I could focus my extra efforts elsewhere. I also knew that when I didn’t have school, that time was when I needed to work on getting crap finished.

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4. When are you most productive? It is hard to spot at first, but when you really analyze your work and when you get stuff done there will be a trend. There is always a time of day that works in your favor. I knew when working for a previous employer that if I took my lunch later than everyone else and came back around 1:45 that I did the most amazing work after that. I could tackle huge projects and get ahead on stuff that needed to be finished. After watching myself for a while I noticed that the days I took a later lunch were much more productive and I felt more accomplished. Thus the trend was born.

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5. When are you most alert? I don’t know about you, but I feel like some times of day I straight up have the worst case of ADD known to man. That no matter what I sit down to do, I can’t seem to focus on it. I HAVE to clean that mess up, or that floor I vacuumed yesterday HAS to be done again cause I see a lint fuzzy. Or suddenly I have the urge to pay bills. Uh.. So when looking at times of day and when I was most alert, they were the times I got things done. I had my few hours to wake up and adjust to people, I had eaten at least twice and wouldn’t have a alien egg nesting in my empty stomach growling to be released. I need substance (read sugar) and time. I also work good at night when I catch my never failing second wind. Somehow I can be drop dead exhausted by 8:30pm and then suddenly at 9 I am more alert than a lion stalking her prey.

 

The only sure fire way of finding your golden hour(s) is to try them out. After answering the questions above you probably have a good idea of when that time frame is. Then just work through those hours and watch yourself. You will find it if you are looking for it. For all you morning gems, I applaud you. Maybe after I have this kid my hours will change and I will suddenly be a morning person. Or maybe I will just drug my child so he has to sleep later so mama grizzly gets her dang sleep. I am leaning towards the later, no judgement.

 

 

baking | cinnamon sugar cookies

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So here is the first of what I am sure to be many pinterest picked recipes. I found this one a little while back and decided to make this for family dinner. We get together every other sunday for dinner and we always have dessert, since I am in charge of desserts. I got my recipe from a site called Averie Cooks, you can find her site here.

 

Here we go!

 

Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

1/2 c butter softened

1/2 c granulated sugar

1/3 c brown sugar, packed

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 c flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1/4 tsp salt

 

For Rolling

1/4 c sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

 

*Now this recipe yields 14 cookies. So I doubled the recipe and got 3 dozen out of it.

Mixer

Start in your mixer, add your butter and sugars and beat until creamed. Scrape down the sides and then add your egg and vanilla and beat again on medium-high speed.

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Scrape the sides down again, want to make sure and get all the yummy goodness in there, and add your flour, soda, cream of tartar and salt. Mix until just barely mixed, don’t over mix it will make your cookies hard. *Little known fact I learned, thought I would share, cream of tartar is a leavening agent, so it helps make your cookies ‘puff’ like baking soda does.* Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge for 1 hour (on her site she says you can keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days).

Doughballs

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Get out your cookie sheets and pull out your dough. Roll them into balls, I used a 1″ cookie scoop and then hand rolled them. Roll the dough ball in your cinnamon and sugar mix until all sides are covered. Place on the baking sheet and press the top slightly, helps it spread evenly. Place in the oven and bake for 9 minutes for pillowy soft centered cookies, or up to 11 minutes for firmer cookie. I baked mine for 9, I like soft cookies. After they come out of the oven transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool and set. Then enjoy!

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These taste exactly like Mrs. Fields Cinnamon Sugar cookie, and they were gone within a day. I would highly recommend this pinterest pick!

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family session | simmons family

This family is beyond entertaining. I loved taking time chasing that toddler, and talking about my little ponies and princesses with that sweet girl. I am lucky to have known this family for a while, they are truly one of my favorites. So when they called and asked me to take their family photos again, I couldn’t wait! The last time I took their pictures that sweet little girl was 3, and that little toddler was but just a dream. It was one the most fun afternoons I had!

 

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Thanks Simmons family for letting me spend a awesome afternoon with your family! I was a blast!

 

*I would love to spend time with your family! If you are interested in booking a session shoot me a email at teagan@teaganalex.com!

personal | gender reveal

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There is always something fun and exciting about having a new baby. Since I am a first time mommy, my main concerns are getting it here and getting it here healthy. Ironically I didn’t care what the sex was or about waiting the full 20 weeks for our ultrasound. I am just glad to be pregnant. (I am going to start sharing our fertility story soon) So when the time started to round the corner, our families anxiously asked us if we were going to find out the gender, and if they could have a party to celebrate. I personally was fine waiting until the baby made it here to know what it was, but my sweet husfriend just couldn’t handle the anticipation. So I agreed to find out the sex. I didn’t care if we had a party or not, I figured those who wanted to know would find out eventually. But after some arm twisting and convincing I agreed to it. We however decided to do a backwards reveal.

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Husfriend and I decided that we couldn’t wait until that night with everyone else to know what the baby was. So we opted to find out in the ultrasound. So the party went a little something like this. We knew the gender, so I made the desserts. ONE cupcake was filled with a colored filling and the rest had nothing in them. We would gather our family and friends and on the count of three we would let me bite/rip open the cupcake and reveal to everyone else what our sweet little would be. I tell you what it was really hard to talk to family and not slip in a he/she when chatting about the ultrasound. But we made it through.

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The party started and everyone got to make their guesses on a cute chalkboard, and then wear a clip with their choice on it. Blue bowties or a pink curlie cue. After everyone had guessed we had everyone grab a cupcake and join around the table. We caught the whole thing on film, it was too fun! On the count of three we allowed them to bite/tear/cut/rip to the centers to find out what the baby was. My mom got the lucky cupcake and announced to our family and friends that we will be having a little boy in march.

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Huge thank you to my family for decorating, planning and making that day one I won’t forget. Especially my little sister, who took it upon herself to do this whole shin-dig for me. Love you k.

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Now comes the hard part.. deciding a name for the little fella. Any of you have suggestions??

ten hours in seattle

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I am going to start a new photo series, every time we visit somewhere I am going to document it and label it by the amount of time I was there. So here is the first, Seattle. We often take day trips, they are fun to do we are only gone at most 14 hours and we don’t have to pay for a hotel. Bonus. For my birthday this year we decided a day trip to Seattle was in order. We both wanted to go and have never been so we went for it.

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We always ride public transportation where ever we go, this trip was no different. We rode the subay into downtown. The ride was beautiful and so so green. I love it. We arrived at the city center hub and embarked. We decided to go down to the market first, since it was about 8am. We got there just as the fisherman markets were opening and the floral vendors were unloading their flowers for the day. It was a beautiful sight. We walked around and looked at all the beauties and decided that we would come back later in the day to see the market in full swing.

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Of course we stopped and had a drink at Starbucks, a staple there. I had a hot chocolate, and it was delicious. After our drink we made a game plan to go and see the space needle and visit around the area there and then to make our way back to the market.

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We traveled by monorail to the space needle and arrived just as things were opening. It was a pretty big place and we took a good gander around. They have a music museum, a Dale Chihuly exhibit and a children’s museum there in addition to the space needle. We opted not to walk inside of them or ride to the top of the space needle but to just enjoy the area.

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By the time we walked around most everything there it was getting close to lunch time. We stopped at the food court there that is housed inside the Armory. We went to an amazing pizza place called, Mod Pizza. It was delicious people and you can build whatever you wanted. Amazing stuff. We split a mexican coke and then were on our way.

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Pizza

We took our time and stopped by a few fountains, one of which the hubs got daring to climb down in and touch the center. Crazy person I tell you. Then made our way back to the market.

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The market was a bustling scene now. We made sure and stop by the gum wall, which made me want to puke, could be the prego senses acting up.

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And then made our way around. We saw a few fish throws and met some incredible artists. That place is a neat little mecca of artisans. After spending a few hours there we walked the streets nearby for a few and then headed home.

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Seattle was an amazing little stop and one I know we will be doing again. Thanks for the 10 hours Seattle, it was fun.

 

Where should I go in Seattle the next time I am there?










mini session | peay family

This adorable mom of two asked me to do a mini session with her littles, and I have to say they were a blast to work with. Can we just talk about that little boy’s smile? Oh man, and that girl has a killer personality the best mannered and fun too. I love doing family photos, they are the highlight for me. I get to know people in a way I hadn’t before and spend a good chunk of time with them too. I was lucky to meet this family through another friend and it was really my pleasure to meet and get to know this family.

 

kids Kiss&Family KissFamily Mom&KidsThanks Peay family for letting me spend some time getting to know you!!

 

*I would love to meet and shoot your family! If you are interested in booking a session, email me at teagan@teaganalex.com!

date night ideas

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A while back I wrote this post about date nights. I still love them, and cherish the moments I get to spend with my love. They are so few and far between that date nights are the highlight of the week for me. And with our new bundle coming soon, we have to squeeze in as many as we can. So here are some more ideas of dates you can do!

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. A day at the movies. We have discovered matinee movies, where the crap were we when we younger. These things are great, you can go and pay half price and watch a flick and still have day when you come out. We alternate picking movies when we do go, once every few months, but it is still fun to do.

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. Picnic in the park. We try and get out with our sweet puppy as much as we can, so taking advantage of the park and him getting the place to run. We usually stop by a cheap food joint and get our meal and then trek to the park. It is fun and often under $20.

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. Build a fort. Yes I said a fort. Channel your younger you and just do it, bust out the couch cushions and blankets and make yourself a fancy place. Play a game, eat or watch a movie together in it. Forts are way cooler anyways, just saying.

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. Visit a planetarium. These things are fun to visit and educational too. Not to mention you can lay under the stars with your lover, how romantic is that? They usually don’t cost much to get into and can give you a few hours of entertainment.

 

. Hit up a free concert. Here in Utah we have what is called the ‘Rooftop Series’. It is pretty fun, they get a local artist to come and play and the concert is 100% free. That is right FREE. They happen on the first friday of every month during the summer.

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. Go and fly a kite. Yes seems childish, but it actually is calming and fun. Since there isn’t a ton of movement involved when you get it up in the air it gives you time to talk to each other and just enjoy your company.

 

Lately with our date nights, a big thing we are trying to do is to turn off or put away our cell phones. We have found that we have a way better time when we are less distracted, and guess what the people of instagram and facebook will still be there when you get back on. Amazing. What fun dates do you go on? Anything I should try?

personal | american fork canyon

I am lucky enough to live in Utah, where we get all four seasons (although some seasons often only last a week). Fall is my favorite time of year, I love the changing leaves and the chance to bust out my boots and scarves. Every year we make a point to go on a drive up the canyons here and take photos of the beautiful surroundings, I mean how can you miss those colors?! So we recently ventured up american fork canyon, with pup in tow.

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There is a spot up there called Big Springs, a very pretty place with a river and all sorts of plants growing. We stopped here for a stretch your legs walk and found some amazing plants and beauty. And Jet may have spotted a fish or two.

 

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Can you tell who my little muse is? I sure love this pup and his patience with me while I take a billion photos of him.

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Welcome fall! I am so glad you are here, even if it is just for a few brief weeks.


family session | prentice family

Let me tell you, it is always a pleasure to photograph a family. But it is even better when the family is as amazing as this family is. I was lucky enough to know the mom since junior high, and she really is the most amazing person ever. And not to mention that their daughters are both as stellar as they seem. These girls were SO much fun to work with, and their dad is amazingly lucky to boot. Thank you prentice family for spending your afternoon with me, it was really a pleasure!

familyCouple familyCouple1 familySisters Girls Girls2

 

I would love to photograph your family! If you are interested in a session, shoot me an email at teagan@teaganalex.com!