Grace // 10 Months Old

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Grace is becoming such a cool little person! It's so hard to comprehend that she is the same baby that we had just 3 months ago. Ever since we sleep trained life has been incredible. She is a sassy pants for sure but she's so happy, curious, fully of energy and so much fun. 

The biggest change recently is being able to make her laugh a lot. Making her laugh is my favorite thing in life currently. I also love seeing Ryan so happy. She's at this awesome stage in life where there really isn't anything bad happening to weigh things down so we are just soaking as much of this in as we can. 

There's lots of of fun GIF animations in here which I really like since this girl is all about moving around constantly :) 

  • She loves Avocados and we are doing big bites now! 
  • We are trying LOTS of new food with her which is both scary and exciting. 
  • She is trying to walk so bad. Once she figured out how to balance, I'm certain she is going to take off running! 
  • She is not going to be a quiet kid. I'm both excited and terrified of this. 
  • She's been laying her head on our shoulders when we pick her up. She only does it for a moment though so I'm pretty sure it's a hug which is crazy! 
  • She has 3.5 teeth! Her two bottom ones are already in and one of her front teeth has popped out with the other one not long behind. 
  • She repeats us now! Oh man this is also one of my most favorite things. I am teaching her lots of monster noises. 
  • She finally looks like me! I found a baby photo of me around this age and its crazy! She has Ryan's square head but her actual face looks just like me as a kid which is really cool and weird for me since I've been so sure she wasn't my child this whole time. 

Grace // 8 Months

We are usually so busy working on other people's memories that we never take the time to give our own family the the quality work we give everyone else. That ends now! 

We rented a studio in Grand Rapids, got Grace her first pretty dress and she had her first proper GAUPERphoto session! It's hard to believe she is ours a lot of the time. When she goes to bed at night I wonder if she even exists when the house is so quiet and life feels similar to how it did before she was born. It's so weird. Then in the morning, with her cutest good morning smile, I'm reminded that it's real for today and how lucky we are that we've all made it this far. 

She just started crawling this past week so that has made life interesting. This girl has been trying to run away from us since the day she was born. She's always been so strong and her legs have been anxiously waiting for her coordination to catch up with their strength. 

She's a little chunky butt with an endless appetite and her normal look is in jammies being covered in food and puke (as seen below). So I figured it was only right to start with who she really is before I got into this super girly stuff of dresses, pink, frillies and bows. Being extra cute is fun for the day but jammies and being gross piggies is our favorite way to live! hahaha

We had so much fun just playing with her for a couple hours, capturing her personality that has started to emerge. Her crooked smile, he dorky laugh, chubby thighs and insane amount of pride she has when she crawls is pretty much the best thing in life. 

Grace did SO GREAT at the shoot but on the way home, the prunes she had for lunch made their great escape with her biggest blowout of her life. Ryan also ran out of wipes in the process. She makes life such an adventure! 

So when we got home she HAD to have a bath since that was new levels of nasty and then the night ended with our typical routine of standing at the tree, taking off the little lady ornament and being the cutest thing ever. We will be keeping our tree up all year round I'm pretty sure because tree time before bed is my favorite part of the day! 

Grace Lynn Gauper // Newborn

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Well, Grace is 6 months old this coming week so I figured it was about time I posted her newborn photos! She was born right at the beginning of wedding season so I've been too busy working on everyone else's photos that I haven't had time to work on our own. I'd like to write a post about my pregnancy and her birth but I'll save that all for another day and focus on my first happy day since having her. 

To make what will be a very long story very short, I ended up having to have a c-section and although everything went well with the surgery, I was an epic mess and everything was so difficult and I wasn't happy at all. Well, that is until we had these photos taken. It was the first time I remember smiling and being happy since having her. I was in awe that Melissa was able to get my crazy baby into these sweet, sleepy poses. I suppose the only downside to her looking so perfect and peaceful is that isn't how I remember her, haha. I remember her screaming and crying since that is what I saw the most of. 

It's crazy to look at these because I see her in them but also they seem like such a stranger. At 6 months I feel like I'm finally getting to know Grace because she's this legit person now. 

I will forever preach it from the mountain tops how important experience is when it comes to photos. Memories are attached to pictures and it's not just about her being insanely cute in this little cat hat, it's about me standing a few feet behind Melissa with my hands up to my face, having it hurt from smiling so big and staring at this little baby be cute for the first time. Her confidence and skill in posing newborns make what I expected to be a stressful thing with Grace crying and us walking away saying "no, it's ok, we know she's crazy, at least we tried" to a truly wonderful, laid back experience where I left being so excited about seeing the pictures. It's the best photography experience we've ever had. It's what I always work so hard to achieve with our clients and to be able to be on the other end of it was really so valuable to me. 

I'll stare at these forever and never forget this happy day.

  • Obviously we are cat people but whoa, that cat hat just kills me! 
  • The flowers in the first photo I actually grabbed the last second when we left home that day. I just pulled them out of a vase in my hallway and ran. I'm sure glad I did, these are the images that are getting printed for my living room since it all matches so well! 
  • The last two images I hope will be really special someday. The little kitten is her very own Duma that I hope she will grow to love someday. The monkey is my best pal Coco that I've had since I was years old. Coco has survived growing up with my older brother so I'm pretty sure he is indestructible and will be around forever. 

// Photography: Melissa Gregerson // 

Welcome to The GAUPER Cottage // Christmas

Welcome to The GAUPER Cottage // Christmas

Then there is this Cottage. This place was just made for Christmas and Winter. Neither of us ever like winter but this place just makes winter beautiful. We have been in this home for a year now and even the rest of the year, because it's a cottage style home, it still has that cozy, peaceful feeling that Christmas always gives me. My stress in the past has been at incredibly unhealthy levels and just a year in this cottage out in the woods has been so healing for me. I feel content, my days are so simple and every time I'm away working, I can't wait to go home. It might sound nuts, but honestly every day feels like a vacation out here. 

The GAUPERS are Back!

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It is our 6 year wedding anniversary this weekend and it felt like the right time to start fresh on this new blog. Our very first post on our original blog was the story of our engagement so this felt right.

Let’s have some story time to catch you up.

So why a new blog? First, the domain for our original blog wasn’t meant to be our professional blog. Our original intention for it was for our photography work traveling but then things just unraveled differently. 

Second, Our work has grown a lot over the past 6 years and we’ve been through a lot so a fresh start feels right. Our work is much more consistent now and since we are essentially starting over, why not clean the slate?

Ryan and I started this business in 2008 when we got married and we started it out of a mutual love for each other, photography, people and creating things. Over the years, we have hit some rough patches. I got quite sick, Ryan struggled with how to deal with his ADD and side effects from medication, we moved way too many times and have just been searching for the right path to take in life.

Along the way, we took other jobs, almost lost each other and learned a lot about how we didn’t want to live our lives. That journey gave us exactly what we needed in deciding on a path. It’s funny how you sometimes have to know what you don’t want to do in order to figure out what you do want to do.

We simply want to go back to doing something that we love, in a way that we love and the rest will sort itself out. When it becomes more about business and money and less about heart and photography it’s no longer enjoyable and the work loses it’s spark. There is a way to balance it all and it starts by following my gut and doing what feels right.

Simply put, if our goal is to create authentic, beautiful photos then we believe very strongly that we need to live an authentic, beautiful life because our life feeds into our work. There is a great amount of trust between client and photographer necessary to create beautiful work and by being relentlessly authentic, it creates space to be comfortable. Ryan and I have always been the type of people that move through the world differently and by committing to making that work for us is the new path we will be taking.

For those of you wondering where we live now since we’ve moved 9 times in 6 years...we live in Muskegon Michigan. We are currently looking for a house to buy around here and will be settling down and hopefully having some baby Gauper’s in the next few years. Ryan’s figured out how to naturally deal with his ADD, I’ve figured out all the foods that make me sick and crazy and we are excited about moving forward in a new, much more simple life together. All we really need is each other, a house and many, many cats. Sometimes simple really is the best way.

So I hope you enjoy taking this new, brighter journey with us.

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NOTE: if your looking for any work we have done from 2008-2013, our original blog is still up and will remain live. It is at www.mudeyes.com I will be posting some of my very favorite past work on this blog along the way as well.

Also, I realize how pathetic it is to have a photo of us on here that is taken with our iphone haha! We just were not able to have our photos taken last year because of a bajillion dollars of dental work that came out of nowhere. So an iphone photo is better than nothing...but we will be having professional photos taken this year for sure. :)