A husband and wife team, Amy & Jordan run a thriving wedding photography business in Scottsdale, Arizona’s luxury market. They’re instructors at the International Academy of Wedding Photographers and the authors of The Quickstart Guide to Your Dream Job.
I still can’t believe God chose me to be Beckett’s mama.
To be completely transparent, I was never sure I was meant to be a mom. I loved my life, my time with Jordan, my career, and I didn’t want any of it to change. I started praying when I was 21 that if God wanted us to have kids, he would place the desire in our hearts when it was time.
Well, that ended up being a prayer I prayed for almost a decade!
I often felt like there was something wrong with me for not wanting kids right away. At times I even felt guilty about it. But I kept trusting that God would make our path clear in his timing, not ours. I don’t regret a single day of our life before kids. It was purposeful and rich and I share that for anyone who might be in that season now. It took a long time before I felt “ready,” and then even after falling in love with Becks while he was still in my belly, I was still anxious about how life would change. I remember crying about how I only had a few weeks left with just Jordan at the end of my third trimester.
But you know what? Ever since he’s been born, I haven’t wanted to go back to my “old life.” Not once.
I wanted to share that because I’m not sure anyone would guess that I ever was apprehensive about motherhood based on what you see on our blog (aka I’m like one big giant mom puddle over here nowadays) and there might be someone out there in the same boat. But coming from someone who never considered herself a “baby person,” this little baby boy has been one of the best things that ever happened to me, and I’m SO unbelievably thankful I get to be his mama.
Happy Mother’s Day to all you mamas out there!
To the ones whose babies don’t fit in their arms anymore.
To the ones who have babies in heaven and to the ones still waiting for their turn.
To the ones who go through more diapers and dry shampoo and cups of coffee (and tears!) than you ever could’ve imagined.
I read in my doctor’s office a plaque that said: “Motherhood, the scariest hood you’ll ever walk though.” I think it’s also the most beautiful
When I was a little girl, my dad would walk hand-in-hand with me to the video store and let me rent My Little Pony on VHS. He took me Beanie Baby hunting at swap meets on the weekends. He’d lay with me on the couch and watch Clarissa Explains It All from start to finish. He knew the names of all my friends in high school (even the ones he’d never met). He even knew the names of visiting choreographers at my dance studio. Until I was an adult, it never occurred to me that he didn’t *also* love ponies and Beanie Babies and Clarissa and dance. But he loved ME. He took an interest in what *I* was interested in. Because of that, I have the best memories with him.
That’s where rocks come in.
In the last few weeks, Becks has become a major rock enthusiast. He collects rocks EVERYWHERE he goes. Our backyard. The park. You name it. Last weekend, he crawled around the patio (and parking lot) at church for an entire HOUR collecting rocks, crawling to strangers, and handing them out. I stayed right by his side pointing out “big” ones and “cool” ones. We now keep Tupperware filled with rocks in our diaper bag that we take in the car and to restaurants and everywhere we go. This weekend we’re planning on filling his Easter eggs with rocks. Jordan found an especially big one at the park this morning for him, and Becks crawled with it in his fist everywhere he went and wouldn’t let it go.
Right now, it’s rocks. Later it could be dinosaurs or baseball or monster trucks. Who knows But we want to start taking an interest in what interests him now, so we can train ourselves to have that life/parenting habit when it’s easy. When it’s rocks.
Even though he probably won’t remember his rock obsession or likely be a professional at rock collection and dissection (ya know, unless he’s a geologist!) we believe that year after year of consistently showing an interest in whatever interests him, will add up. Because he who can be trusted with a little, can be trusted with a lot. And if we want him to share what he loves with us years from now, we have to love what he loves now.
They only lived a few minutes apart, but it took a trip for Europe for them to meet.
Stephanie and Hayden are both from the San Francisco area. They went to the same high school. They sang in the same choir. But Hayden’s a few years older, so they never sang together. Then, one summer, their high school decided to do a European alumni reunion tour. In Paris. The City of Lights. The City of Love. And in Rome, The Eternal City.
As fate would have it, they were on the same tour bus. They were literally a world from home, and just seats apart on a bus. They sang together at iconic locations, like The Cathedral-Notre Dame and The Sistine Chapel. Their parents were there, too. They became best friends on the trip and started plotting how to reunite Stephanie and Hayden again. Stateside. Being from Northern California’s wine country, they had the perfect plan: a family wine tasting in Napa –– and it worked.
Stephanie and Hayden exchanged numbers and started texting back and forth. They dated long distance for four years while she attended the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!). He had graduated from USC and was working full time. They saw each other whenever they could. They never lost touch. They never lost hope that, one day, they’d be together again.
When Stephanie graduated, they both moved to Dallas, but it didn’t take Hayden long to plan a trip back to Napa. For a special occasion. Stephanie thought it was a trip for someone else in the family, so she was totally surprised when he got down on one knee, at the vineyard where they had their first date, and said the four words she’d been waiting to hear, “Will you marry me?” To her added surprise, they weren’t the only ones there. Their parents, still best friends, were watching in the distance. A picture perfect ending to a fairytale love story.
Stephanie and Hayden, we loved your engagement session! We loved every minute of having you two in front of our cameras, and it just made us even more excited for your Four Seasons Scottsdale wedding this winter with Kayla from Some Like It Classic. It’ll be a dream team for a dream couple, and an amazing way to end the year! Here are just a few of our favorite photos from our time together. We hope you love them as much as we do!
One of the coolest parts about being wedding photographers is getting to know and love the couples we photograph, and stay in touch with them long after their wedding. Getting to shoot maternity sessions for our AJ Brides has become a really special part of our job, and we’re always so excited and honored when they choose us to capture such a sweet season in their lives. As you may have seen at last year’s AJ Bride Party if you follow along on Insta Story, our AJ Family is GROWING! With LOTS of AJ Babies!! And we couldn’t love it more. So when Stacy and David reached out to tell us they were expecting their first baby, you know we read that email with the biggest smiles.
Stacy and David’s wedding was the first and last time two things happened: First, we photographed their Four Seasons wedding on Halloween! The only October 31st wedding we’ve ever had! Second, Stacy surprised everyone and WORE A NAVY DRESS. It was such a bold choice that totally paid off!
One of the things we love about Stacy and David is how chill they are. Whatever the opposite of a bridezilla is, that’s what Stacy was! They’re also really clever. Their wedding hashtag is still one of our all-time favorites. If there was a nationwide competition for Best Wedding Hashtag, #TwoRedsWed would be a top contender. No doubt.
So, when Stacy reached out to let us know that they’re expecting their first son in June, we were so excited for them! Because it wasn’t that long ago we found out we were pregnant with our first baby, Beckett, and all the fun things that come with that sweet season of pregnancy.
To illustrate their sense of humor a little bit, during their maternity session, Jordan does what he does whenever someone hasn’t 100% settled on a name for their baby yet: he calls the belly Baby Jordan, and then quickly reminds everyone that it’s a gender neutral name. This time, David had an even better idea. They could combine our names and call their baby not Jordan, or Amy, but JAIME.
We’re all for it.
Stacy and David, we had the best time photographing your beautiful wedding day four years ago, and we feel so truly honored that you hired us again to capture this sweet season in time. Your son is a lucky little boy to have you as his parents. We hope you make good on your promise to use your new hashtag every time you post a picture from this session or of your new little man. We think this one even tops your wedding hashtag (#TwoRedsWed) and that’s really saying something! It’s like the sequel you think can’t possibly be better than the original… but then it is. #TwoRedsBred still has us laughing. Well, well played. Here’s to the next chapter of love and laughter in your story!
Laboring unmedicated was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I knew it was going to be painful, but nothing could’ve prepared me for just how excruciating unmedicated birth was going to be.
In my final days of pregnancy, a sweet friend of mine reminded me that when Jesus described what the pain of separation from God was like, He could’ve chosen anything in the world to compare it to, and He chose child birth. That I was going to get a realistic picture of the pain humans endure when they’re separated from the Creator, but also get to experience the joy that comes from being reunited with Him.
I’ve never felt such immense and unbearable agony in all my life, but the very moment he was in my hands, I’ve never felt such joy. The only way I can describe it is sheer euphoria.
My labor playlist had long since run out (as we were in hour 22) but our birth team told us that right as Beckett was born, the verse from Amazing Grace, “I once was was lost, but now am found,” was playing in the background — completely unplanned. As we pulled him onto my chest, all the anguish vanished. It was immediate. The joy was so overwhelming. My heart felt like it was going to burst. And I felt like I got to experience the unconditional love God has for us in an entirely new way. That realization has been a powerful one I’ve been reminded of again and again this first year as a mom.
Every night, as I put Beckett to bed, I sing “Amazing Grace,” to him, the song he was born to.
I realize tonight will be the last time I get to do that in his first year.
Tomorrow we’ll have a one year old.
It went by in a flash, but I can honestly say it’s been the greatest year of my entire life.
This week especially has been one of tears and reflection and gratitude.
Thank you Lord for this precious gift. For your Amazing Grace. And for your unconditional love that knows no bounds.
Jordan shared his most memorable moments of the first few months of Beckett’s life here.
Eight years ago this spring, we photographed our very first wedding together. At the time, we were full-time elementary school teachers with a dream of becoming full-time photographers.
Fast forward eight years, and hundreds of portrait sessions and weddings later, we’re full-time photographers… and teachers. Again! Except now, our students are online (and over 4ft tall!) Thousands and thousands of amazing people from all over the country and around the world who want to learn photography. Some as a hobby, to take better pictures of their families and friends, life’s big milestones and the everyday moments in-between. Some to make a little extra money doing something they love. Others, like us eight years ago, want to quit their day jobs and make their dreams come true. They want to be professional photographers, too. When we think of all the stories our students have shared with us about the ways our courses have made an impact in their lives, we can’t help but feel so honored that we get to be part of their stories. Of people we’ve never met.
As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, ever since we launched our first online course a few years ago, one of the unexpected blessings has been getting the chance to photograph engagement and anniversary sessions for our students who come to visit us in our hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona. Getting to meet online students in person is SO much fun for us!
This week, Nicole and Carmen flew all the way from Florida to Arizona for an engagement session with us. Nicole is a student in our Shooting & Editing Course and Posing Course — and she sometimes ropes Carmen into shooting with her, too! They’re getting married next year (congrats, guys!) and we were honored to take them to some of our favorite desert spots for their first visit to the Copper State. One of Jordan’s favorite pastimes is being a Desert Tour Guide during sessions, and teaching our clients all about desert plants and animals. He. loves. it.
It was their first time in Arizona, and we loved how much enthusiasm they had to be able to see a cactus up close. Nicole told us it was a dream of hers to have photos with the cacti, so we made sure to get them lots of shots with saguaros!
Nicole and Carmen, you two are the sweetest! We were so honored that you came to Arizona to see us and feel so humbled that we got to freeze this special season in time for you. We hope you had the best time exploring Sedona and the Grand Canyon, and we wish you both nothing but the very best as you enjoy this year of engagement before becoming husband and wife. We hope you love these photos as much as we do! Also, as Amy exclaimed during the session, Nicole, you are a real life Disney princess!!
On Cassandra and Ryan’s very first date, they met up at a nearby resort, walked on the cool grass under the evening stars and listened to live music as they walked side by side. Even though it was their first time spending together, the conversation was easy and time passed quickly. They could’ve talked all night. When Cassandra got home that evening, her mom was still up. Waiting. Hoping. Wanting an update. “How did it go?” she asked. I’m going to marry him, Cassandra replied.
And she. was. right.
What’s not to love? Ryan is a kind, down-to-earth, others-first kind of guy. A throwback of sorts, from a better time. He’s dedicated the past few years to teaching special education and kindergarten. KINDERGARTEN. Ladies, be honest, there are few things more attractive than a man doing that. Cassandra loves kids, too, one of many things that makes them such a great match. She’s a full-time nanny to four, including two toddlers and two teenagers! Which basically makes her a saint.
Over the past few years, Cassandra and Ryan’s parents have become friends. (Which is basically OUR dream… to be best friends with Beckett’s wife’s parents.) So when it was time for Ryan to propose, all four parents were there. Hiding. iPads in hand. Ready for the big moment. (As parents, this is also our dream!)
Due to weather, a phrase we almost never utter in Arizona, we had to cancel Cassandra and Ryan’s first engagement session. AND, BOY, ARE WE SO GLAD WE DID. Because the second time around was Arizona springtime at its finest. Mid-seventies. Slight breeze. Thin veil of clouds in the sky. Foliage in full bloom. If we could order weather, this would be it!
Cassandra and Ryan, your kindness and joyfulness are rare and refreshing. We were already excited for your wedding before our time together, but now we’re disappointed. Because we don’t want to wait a full year to get you back in front of our cameras! Until then, we hope you love these photos as much as we do and keep taking that signature smile everywhere… everywhere you go.
Beckett is ONE! We celebrated his first birthday with a jungle-themed party with close friends and family!
We wondered how Becks was going to react to his very first taste of sugar and how he’d do with a giant group of people singing happy birthday all at once. Turns out… he LOVED IT! He smashed the cake, clapped his hands and even tried to share some of his beloved sugar treasure with us (it was his first time with that magical substance).
We think a first birthday is the only time it’s socially acceptable to leave your own party to take a bath!
It was so fun celebrating with our family and a few close friends, and watching Becks truly enjoy it! He never gets to see all the people he loves in one place, and instead of being overwhelmed like I thought he might be, he was just so excited (and enamored with all the balloons!)
Mom fail: Staying up until midnight the night before DIYing his balloon arch only to discover I should *never* try to DIY. That thing took HOURS!!! Rookie mistake.
Mom win: remembering to lay a tarp over the rug right before this.
Next year, I think he’ll get ONE balloon and a streamer and we’ll call it a day. But I’m so glad we got the chance to celebrate the year (and the little boy who) changed our life for good. I know I’ll look back on these moments and cherish them forever!
It seems like just yesterday that we welcomed Beckett into the world. You can read more about our birth story here and a letter Jordan wrote to me on my first Mother’s Day here.
Here are links to some of our favorite birthday decor pieces:
He fell asleep in my arms just like this last night. Just like when he was a newborn.
Our sweet little guy, Beckett, got his first ever stomach flu, and we were up all night, holding him in our arms each time he threw up, changing out sheets, towels, pajamas, running never ending loads of laundry. Rocking him, singing to him, and letting him sleep on my chest, just like he did as a newborn.
Before becoming a mom I used to think sleepless nights like this with vomit in my hair would be one of the “worst parts” of parenting, but honestly, as I was laying in the dark with him in the middle of the night, I couldn’t help but thank God that He entrusted us to be the ones to take care of our little boy. That he was here and he was ours. It sounds weird but it really is an honor to be the one to absorb all the mess, to tell him it will be okay, to hold and comfort and love him through something he doesn’t understand.
I got a little teary thinking this is what God does for us. He embraces us in our mess. He loves us beyond our own understanding. I feel like my eyes are just open in a whole new way in this season of life. It’s truly not “poor me.” It’s lucky me. Thank you, Lord, for a fresh perspective. For this precious gift. I’m going to hold on to each sweet moment in the middle of the mess as long as I can.