Let’s rewind for a minute back to 2016… Before my photography adventure began.

You know those love stories that you hear and you think ‘that’s crazy’!? This is one of those stories for me!!!! And you want to know the best part?? This little love story was one I got to play a small part in. You see, when my husband and I were living in Texas my sister was serving as Ms. US Ambassador. She spoke often in different states and was able to come speak for my church organization women’s group. A few weeks later one of my friends from church approached me and asked about my sister who had come and spoke. She hadn’t been able to make the event because of sick kids but had heard about it’s success and about Afton. We got to talking and after a few dots connecting we hatched a plot to set my sister up with her brother who was from Idaho. Only problem was, Afton lived in D.C. We figured we could at least give things a little push and see where they led.

As I previously stated, Afton was serving as Ms. US Ambassador and living in DC when Bryan called her for the first time. It was the same day she found out her contract had ended and so she needed to move back to Virginia to find a new project. Because finding a new project was her top priority she didn’t think much on Bryan’s first phone call. Thankfully Bryan wasn’t going to drop things very easily. After a few weeks of talking on the phone,  Afton joked with Bryan that if he would help her refinish a piece of furniture she would make him dinner. He is a very talented carpenter and designer. He flew out two days later. He didn’t help Afton refinish the piece and Afton didn’t make him dinner but they got to know each other and Afton realized quickly she really liked him.

Afton said, “He was a total gentleman the whole weekend, and gave me a kiss on my forehead as he left to fly back home – it was the perfect first kiss!”

Afton flew back to Boise a couple weeks later for a speaking engagement and to everyone’s excitement Bryan asked her to be his girlfriend. She told him she would think about it to tease him but she already knew her answer! His kindness and tenderness made it an easy decision, though, and she told him yes as she left for Utah to be crowned Ms World Ambassador.

After the Utah trip they were able to spend a few days getting to know one another on a ranch in some of the most beautiful mountains there are. Again, he was the perfect gentleman and made it a fun, memorable weekend. A week later they knew they wanted their relationship to last forever so they decided to elope…sort of. Arrangements were quickly made to get married in St George on July 1! When you know, you know, right!? That’s when we all got the call, the exciting news, and the three weeks notice of the event. As elopements go, sometimes people can make it and sometimes people can’t but being together was what was important. Most everyone was able to come which is a feat for both of our large families!

“It was the perfect day to get married with so many of our favorite people around us,” the happy couple recalled.

Since Bryan was 39 and Afton was 34, they decided to start trying for a baby about 6 months later.

As I spoke with Afton about her pregancny adventure she explained, “we were elated to find out in February that we were pregnant, and then had the heart crushing experience of losing twins at 5 and 9 weeks. We heard what were likely some of the second baby’s last heartbeats at our ultrasound; we found out two weeks later it had never grown past the day we had listened to those little flutters. We grieved deeply. I still remember a woman trying to comfort me by saying, “At least you didn’t have to wait a long time to find out you can get pregnant.” My heart screamed, “I have waited 35 years – don’t tell me that’s not a long time!” My mind overrode my emotions and I simply nodded, numbly agreeing with her view of the silver lining and knowing it came from a good place in her heart. We knew we didn’t have a lot of time because of my age, so we kept trying. I found out in June that I was miscarrying the same day I found out I was pregnant. Even though there wasn’t the build up of emotion, our bodies know when we have lost life and my heart hurt again. I started asking friends and family for referrals for good doctors for families struggling with miscarriages, and was directed to Dr. Timothy West. Two months later we found out we were pregnant and I told Bryan that if we lost this one, I would need a long break to heal emotionally and be brave enough to face the loss again. We called Dr. West’s office and he immediately put me on progesterone. I experienced all day sickness until week 14; my sweet husband would leave for work with me lying in bed and return to find me in the same place. It was nerve wracking every time I would feel a pang or a stretch and we held out breath at each ultrasound. Her heartbeat stayed strong and our hope and love for her grew each time she kicked me or poked me with her little elbows. We knew we could still lose her – there are never any guarantees – but we cautiously let ourselves get more and more excited the closer her due date drew near. Labor and delivery took a turn for the worse when she got caught up in the umbilical cord and we went in for an emergency c-section, but she was perfect and completely adored as soon as she arrived.”

This maternity session in February of 2018. Little Carissa joined our family in April and continues to win the hearts of all who meet her! She truly is the little miracle to top of the exciting love story Afton and Bryan share. Stay tuned as little Carissa will be making her debut on the blog in the near future!!


The Journal


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