Grammy + Papa {65th Wedding Anniversary}

My grandparents are celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary today! Happy Anniversary Grammy and Papa! This is such an amazing milestone for them and I wanted to do something to honor that accomplishment. I mean, to be honest, there aren’t too many couples who reach that anymore! I’ve been dreaming and scheming about doing this little project for such a long time. I wanted to truly celebrate them, honor them, and recognize them for their achievement.

I knew their wedding anniversary was approaching so I came up with the idea of staying with them for a few days, following them around, and document their lives through photography. Since they are 87 and 89, respectively, they were a bit timid at first with the whole idea. Grammy said they come from a time “when affection was only showed behind doors.” My whole concept was to stay behind the scenes, so to speak, and just capture their everyday lives in the truest form. I wanted to capture the little details in their lives that we typically overlook: sitting and reading the paper, watching TV, preparing dinner, washing the dishes together (Grammy would wash and Papa would dry/put away!), Papa napping in his chair, Grammy’s famous quilts, detailed shots of their home, and our breakfast date at Perkins (they go to Perkins every Thursday and share the same meal)!

I want this post to be something that my Dad, Mom, Brothers, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and my Sons can remember them by. We can look back at these images and reminisce about all the memories we made while visiting them in their adorable little home. I want to be able to remember the way their home was decorated, the smell of Grammy’s fresh baked bread lingering through the house, the eerie silence after Papa mutes the television during commercials, Grammy’s collection of thimbles, and the sound of Papa flipping through his newspaper. These memories are ones I’ll hold on to for the rest of my life.

So here’s to you, Grammy and Papa. Thank you for being such amazing role models in my life. You are both so caring, loving, funny, and just all around beautiful people. 65 years of marriage is an amazing accomplishment and I can only hope one day I will reach that milestone with my husband too. You’re such a wonderful example of true, unconditional, beautiful love. xoxoxo

Howard Sigurdson and Doris Bartness were married on this day, April 16th, 1950. A few short years later, they built their home on Johnson Street and have lived there ever since. Together, they have 3 children, 9 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.


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Meet Grammy + Papa

How did you meet?

G: Bible School

P: Hartland Free Shows

While we were eating at Perkins, I had asked Grammy and Papa how they first met each other. Grammy was 14 at the time when her brother, Donny, had told her one of his friends had a crush on her. Little did she know, Donny was saying the exact same thing to Papa. He went behind each of their backs, scheming to get them together! His plan eventually worked because a little while later, Grammy and Papa went on a date to the movies! They were together for 7 years before Papa asked, “should we get married?” They tied the knot on April 16, 1950.


What do you admire about each other?

G: I love his honesty.

P: She is smart and hardworking.


What is the single most memorable moment of your marriage/life?

G: Attending my first prom with Sig.

P: The day I came home for good from the Army.


What are you most thankful for in your life?

G: I’m thankful for healthy children and for all of our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I’m so thankful to be able to see as many as we can. We have been blessed in so many ways. I truly believe God had his Angels looking out for us keeping us from any major harm!

P: Good health and good family.


What are you favorite things to do?

G: Sewing, computer, baking with yeast, cooking and we both love to go to Perkins for Breakfast!

P: Driving and sight-seeing around Albert Lea.


What is something you’re looking forward to?

G: I want to have 70 years of marriage and be able to see my family grow every year as we welcome new in-laws and grandchildren!

P: The same (Papa is very quiet, can you tell?)

What’s one piece of advice you have for couples?

G: “Forgive and Forget”

P: “Look at all of the good things

Are you interested in having your parents or grandparents captured? Contact me for details!

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April 16, 2015 - 4:12 pm

Adrien - What a treasure! I don’t even know your Grammy and Papa and this nearly brought me to tears. Every family should document their loved ones this way—these photos are heirlooms!

April 16, 2015 - 4:34 pm - Awww thank you!! This was such a fun little project for me to do! I’m so glad I could do this for my family.. especially my Dad! =)

April 16, 2015 - 6:30 pm

Diane - Thanks for this beautiful gift Kelly! It will be a family treasure for years to come. You captured the story of Grammy and Papa so well. And thanks for the peek into the china cabinet…haha I never knew those things were in there!

April 16, 2015 - 10:51 pm

Darcy - what a treasure! I loved the pictures!!

April 18, 2015 - 3:22 pm

Norma Smith - You have truly created a special memory for all of your family Kelly! You did such a great job. I actually have been thinking of contacting you. I’m planning on having a birthday party for Henry on June 14th. He will be celebrating his 65th birthday. Wondering if you would have that afternoon available. Planning on having our kids here along with Henry’s sisters and my 2 sisters. It would be great to have some pictures taken. I would appreciate you getting back to me. I can be reached on my cell 937-4677 during the day. Evenings 743-3212. If I’m unable to answer your call, please leave a message and I will get back to you as soon as possible. I’ve been volunteering at Headstart Mon-Thur. mornings. So I get to see your son, Owen on those days! Hope to hear from you soon.

April 20, 2015 - 9:07 pm

Sheryl - Very Nice!! Great Pictures! I love their answers to your questions and I sure hope Doris’ wish comes true (about the 70 years of marriage!)

Fear is a Liar


I want to talk about fear.

Fear is an illusion.. It’s false evidence appearing real. Fear is a story that we tell ourselves over and over, keeping us from achieving our dreams. We all have fear in our lives. It’s a natural human instinct to be afraid and you know what? It’s okay to have fear. What’s not okay is when you let fear get in the way of living.

I’ve had this dream all my life to own and run a photography business. I believe I received my very first camera on my third birthday and ever since then I’ve never been without one. I was always known by my friends to be “the one with the camera” taking pictures at all our field trips, school dances and sporting events. I never thought about doing photography full-time until I shot my first wedding in 2008 when my oldest brother, Brett, got married. After the day was over, I was absolutely hooked. I loved every minute of capturing their day. I just knew that I had to do photography for the rest of my life.

Ever since then, I kept telling myself this was the year to achieve my dreams and go full-time, but yet it still hasn’t happened. Something keeps holding me back from doing what I truly want to do and I’ve finally realized that it’s fear. It’s the fear of not being accepted, not being good enough, not being liked, not being perfect, not accomplishing my dream and just flat out failing. I’m currently participating in the first ever Jenna Kutcher course and in our first week we talked all about fear. One of the major quotes we keep saying over and over is, “two things can not occupy the same space at the same time.” It may be a famous physics quote, but it directly relates to fear as well. If you focus so much on the fear of doing something, you’re never going to be able to focus on the actual act of achieving your dreams. I’ve been focusing so much on the fear of actually starting my business, that I haven’t allowed myself to focus on the actual act of taking my business full-time. What an eye-opener!

I received a fabulous book from my mom at Christmas entitled, “What I Know For Sure,” by Oprah Winfrey. It’s one of those books that gives you inspiration, motivation and guidance. At the time, I really didn’t think it would help me in any way, but I thought I’d give it a chance. Boy, was I wrong. As I started reading I came to a part where she tells a story about passing a billboard.  It read, “he who dies with the most toys is still dead.” Basically, if you’re someone who has come close to death you can attest that at the end of your life you’re not going to be thinking about all that extra time you spent working, but rather you’ll be thinking about all those “if only” questions.

“Who could I have become if I had finally done the things I always wanted to do?”

Oprah says it best, “the gift of deciding to face your mortality without turning away or flinching is the gift of recognizing that because you will die, you must live now. Whether you flounder or flourish is in your hands– you are the single biggest influence in your life. Your journey begins with a choice to get up, step out, and live fully.” After reading that passage, I closed the book, set it on the table, and really thought about her message. It made me realize that I don’t want to have any of those “if only” questions.. I want to live my life fully and do the things I’m truly passionate about. That same night, I told my husband about my dream of being a full time-time photographer within the next year. I was a bit afraid to tell him (I thought he’d think I was crazy!), but he was 100%, fully supportive of my decision! Ever since then, I’ve been taking classes, doing workshops, mentor sessions, reading and researching all that I can to truly make Kelly Grace Photography the best business that it can be.

Fear is a liar. Fear is false evidence appearing real. I’m ready to go after my dreams and face this fear of mine head on. What do I have to lose? I realized that I keep waiting for the right time to go full-time. If I keep waiting for perfect I’m truly going to be waiting forever. There is never a perfect time to pursue your dreams and go after what you want.

“Your journey begins with a choice to get up, step out, and live fully.”

 Here’s to getting up, stepping out and living fully. Are you with me? What’s stopping you from achieving your dreams?

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April 14, 2015 - 10:11 am

Jenna Kutcher - YES. Amen, you are amazing. Way to go, girl! So pumped for you and so happy you are in my first course. Let’s make waves!

April 14, 2015 - 10:15 pm

Mommy - I think you have a great start with Jenna’s class…she is bringing many aspects out in the open for you. There are many things to think about when you begin or start your own have to not only be prepared to sell your product, you have to be confident and yes fearless…you have to sometimes just go for something…give it your all and be prepared for what may come your way!! What if your father wouldn’t have stepped out of his comfort zone and jumped into buying this dealership in a town we knew nothing about…pretty scary it was. But he was passionate..he loved everything about selling cars and he gave it hia all….it wasn’t easy…we struggled the first five years or so, but he had a passion and a will to make his business flourish! Here we are 35 years later and he still is going strong and loves it everyday…that is what you have to remember…you have to do what you love and it will all come easy! You truly have a skill…an eye that many do not…so follow your dreams…forget the fears and stay strong! Mom and Dad are with you all the way and I’m glad Ben is 100% on board…that will be most important for you!

FREE Engagement Session Offer!

Calling all Brides-to-Be!!

I’m offering a FREE engagement session if you book your 2015 or 2016 wedding with me by Friday, April 17th! Engagement sessions are the perfect way for me to get to know you both; it allows you to get comfortable in front of the camera, and you’ll receive some AMAZING photos of you together! The free engagement session includes: 2 hour session at the location(s) of your choice, fully edited images on an archival DVD, and an online-proofing gallery!

For more information or to book your wedding, please e-mail me at OR through the contact page listed above!

Blog 17

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Jared + Lara {Farmyard Engagement}

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I loved spending my morning with these two love birds! We met at my farmhouse and ditched our winter jackets for their casual winter engagement session! I’ve known Jared since I was a little girl so it was fun for me to catch up with him and get to know his beautiful bride, Lara! We had some fantastic conversations, laughed a lot, and best of all– I got to witness their love for each other first hand! These two are absolutely perfect for each other and it’s easy to see in their images! I am so so so thrilled to be capturing their wedding in July!!

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Logan + Megan {Winter Engagement}

I had the honor of photographing my cousin, Logan, and his BEAUTIFUL fiance (I LOVE that I can FINALLY call her that now), Megan last weekend! We traveled to one of my favorite local spots, the Blue Heron BrewPub, and tasted some yummy craft beers, ate lunch and had some great conversation! After our bellies were filled, we braved the cold and trudged around my country farm home and captured some amazing images!

I first Megan at our family Christmas party a couple years back and I instantly knew she was the one for Logan. I’m not sure if it was in the way he looked at her, or in the way she smiled at him or the way they made each other laugh… there was just something special about their relationship. To put it simply, they are the perfect compliments to each other. These small signs of affection are what made their engagement pictures so beautiful. When together, they were relaxed, silly, and oh-so in love. I’m so grateful that I was able to witness them fall in love over the past few years and capture that love first hand!

I can hardly wait for their upcoming September wedding on Lake Minnetonka!

Cheers to Logan and Megan!

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March 7, 2015 - 12:26 am

Megan - thank you so much for taking these amazing pictures kelly! you are so great to work with :)

March 7, 2015 - 2:27 am

wendy - Megan and Logan: I don’t know how you are going to pick…these pictures are so great. Kelly captured you both perfectly…and so natural looking in many of them. The Brewpub was a perfect place to take a few pics and have a few brew-skis. I liked the pictures out on their property too. The beautiful trees were a perfect backdrop…there were so many pictures I loved….they certainly captured the love you have for each other. Can’t wait for the big day!

March 7, 2015 - 6:08 am

Mitzi Rice - All of the photos turned out great! It’s hard to choose which is the best!

March 7, 2015 - 2:37 pm

Diane - These pictures are awesome Kelly! I can’t wait to see which one(s) Logan and Megan chose!