Friday, August 19, 2016

Mersberger Wedding {Sneak Peek}

I am just so darn excited over sharing the sneak peek of Nathan and Caroline's beautiful wedding at The Wheeler House!!

I could really just go on and on about this amazing couple and their families- LOVE them to no end! But I am going to do my best to keep it all in until the full blog post... trust me, it's worth the wait!

For now, here's some of the favorites of the day and more will definitely come soon- Happy Weekend!!!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Welcome Home Baby Emma!

Sometimes people come into your lives and you can clearly see God's hand at work! Kristy and her sweet family are just that. We met at Bunco a little over a year ago and both our daughters began Kindergarten this year- I think we both had watery eyes the day we took them to Kindergarten round up. She invited me to visit and speak about Photography to her MOP's group and we have so much in common- I just adore her :)

So, naturally I was ecstatic when she asked me to schedule newborn photos and not only to meet the newest little princess but to also get to spend some time with her again. It's so hard in certain season's in life to slow down and make time for the people outside your normal routine of family, school and practice. But life is too short not to! Slow down, schedule it... Really- make it happen, you won't regret it.

Our first day together poor little Emma just wasn't feeling up to being away from mommy's swaddling arms so I was very happy just to truly visit and catch up with Kristy. We enjoyed coffee and sharing family stories. I took some of my favorite images of her and Emma! We had a wonderful afternoon together and made a plan for the next morning.

And the next morning little miss Emma totally owned it! She slept through the entire session... and I mean slept... like a rock- through 3 outfit changes!!! I was so incredibly happy that we were able to do everything that Kristy had envisioned- even incorporating her wedding dress for a few of the images.

And, this purple romper! Oh, my gracious!!! The ruffles... the bows.... It was so delicate and fit her perfectly!

Mia kept checking in on us and watching her new little sister. I cannot say how much I totally love seeing older siblings with their new baby brother or sister. The joy in their eyes is so sincere. I truly believe that they are forever changed once they see and hold them for the first time. It may not be quite the same feeling as what mom and dad have, but there's definitely a transformation that takes place in their heart and it's beautiful.

I love the way the last few images turned out with Emma being passed around and absolutely loved-on and adored by her Daddy and big sis, Mia. There's so much love here and I am so thankful to be able to be there to share in it!

Kristy & Luis, thank you so very much for inviting me to be a part of Emma's Welcome Home and I know the Lord has BIG plans for her- His timing is perfect and so is she!!!

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, November 9, 2015

Welcome Home {Baby Presley}

Today’s post is pretty special to me. Mindy and Ben are long time friends and we have a lot of fun history together. From double dates in high school to impromptu family vacations we are two couples that are kindred spirits in marrying our high school sweethearts. Our kids are also pretty close in age and get along extremely well. Though we live in different states now they do not miss a beat when they are able to see each other again.

I was over the moon excited when Mindy told me that they were expecting another baby because I had seen the way Avery and Gage looked at Farrah and knew that a little brother or sister had been on their Christmas list for quite some time. There is something so unique and special about having a wider than usual age gap between children and as a parent I can tell you that it’s wonderful to see that love in our older children’s eyes when they hold their newborn sibling for the first time. It's something that cannot be taught- only felt and like us as parents, their hearts grow a little and there's a new sense of protectiveness and responsibility. 

That was definitely a moment I was looking forward to seeing. Miss Presley decided to come a little early and thankfully I was passing through town and was able to swing by for a quick visit and we made plans to get back together for newborn portraits when I was in town again. 

Oh, there is nothing in the world like holding a newborn baby. It truly is almost indescribable in words but there is something that happens in your heart and somehow life makes a lot more sense, priorities are forever changed and deep imbedded instincts you never knew you possessed come to the surface. It is beautiful.

I couldn't wait to get back to see everyone and was so happy to see everyone again. Hudson was so sad to miss coming again because he loves teeny tiny babies so much. Mindy had just gotten Presley to sleep so the timing was perfect.

Of all my years of newborn sessions, Presley is the only one who slept nearly the whole entire time- she was such a delight. We kept it very simple and incorporated the sweetest blanket that had her name in beautiful pink script repeated over it's surface. So precious.

Aside from making sure we have a beautiful portrait my favorite images of every newborn session are the itsy bitsy details- their little ears, button nose, tiny hands and feet. Ahh, I can never get enough and they will never ever be that small again. I adore the details :)

Avery and Gage were right there nearby for the whole session, helping where they could and watching. When we finished with Presley's session she was still sound asleep and none of us wanted to disturb her. Avery laid down beside her and kissed her- our hearts melted and of course Gage was not going to miss out on any of this sibling bliss. The images with all of them together bring tears to my eyes. 

Ben and Mindy, congratulations on your newest addition. You beautiful family is such a blessing to ours and it was such a pleasure to be able to capture these moments for you all. Mindy, you are so beautiful! xoxo

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Life with Boys: Kalch Family Adventure

There's something special that little boys introduce into our lives. Crazy, silly, smelly, weird and wild somehow become a way of life and as a mom you learn to love it. Though there are times that you pray some of that energy could take a break or better yet- be sent your way. As wives, we even see our husbands in a different light. Their silly antics and boyhood charm come through in shining colors when we see them interact with their son. We fall in love all over again!

To say that I was excited to see Stephanie, Brian and Mister Grayson again would be putting it mildly. I love them like family and wish we could see each other more, so I completely cherish the time that we do have together. Over the years we've learned to have a plan (somewhat) and that plan mostly consists of letting Grayson explore, be wild, silly and capture life as it is. This is pretty much the way I approach all my lifestyle sessions and I love the results that come from it.

To me, there's nothing better than capturing the spontaneous moments we cherish as parents. And I can say without a doubt that our session at Big Talbot Island was absolutely spot on for this wonderful family and their spontaneous little boy!

We ran, jumped, climbed and laughed with Grayson leading the way. Stopping only briefly when something slowed him down long enough to pause for a few pictures with Mom and Dad. It was a great adventure and so much fun seeing it through his eyes.

As parents, this time of awe and discovery can sometimes be so brief. More often than not, it's over way to soon and quicker than we realize. From the dirty toes in the sand, soggy jeans, a million laughs and heart stopping breathes in-between, I hope the memories of our day playing on the driftwood beaches lives forever in Stephanie, Brian and Grayson's minds. What a great day it was to be a good 'ole rough and tumble, wild and crazy, sand slinging adventurous little boy :)

Monday, August 31, 2015

Welcome Home Baby Ryleigh!

A few months ago our pastor shared a series entitled, Be Rich. With the underlining message being that there is so much more to life than wealth described only in monetary standards. It's true of many of our lives if we step back and look at our various blessings, despite the reality and challenges of life that we all face in one shape or another- we can certainly see the richness in our lives. Without a doubt, it is also a feeling that new mothers and fathers know so well but may not exactly be able to put into words. Months spent praying over and in preparation of this sweet, innocent little being who is completely dependent on them for each and every need. The weight and stress of such a responsibility is by no small statement- life changing.

And it is in these moments that new parents realize not only how truly blessed they are but also how strong they are together as a family.

I love watching the love and wonder in the eyes of new parents. Even through the sleepless nights and bewilderment over each and every cry, sigh or whimper- learning the foreign language of their newborn baby. Beginning mostly as a process of elimination of sounds and wiggles until they recognize each and every little coo. Then the peace that can overcome any stress when a sleeping baby snuggles in the folds of your arms. That is beautiful and never ceases to amaze me!

Little Ryleigh was wide eyed and so intrigued with everything around her when we started the session. We all enjoyed her love and little snuggles as she settled in to some of the most adorable wraps and headbands that her mom had for her. I will be honest and say that I would have been happy to hold her for hours, but she's only a teeny tiny newborn once so we did have a little work to do ;)

After lots of snacking, snuggles, walks and the experience rocking of her sweet grandma little Ryleigh was sound asleep. She is simply adorable and so is this precious little family of three!

I am so thankful to all the families that welcome me into their homes to capture this time in their lives. I always leave filled with joy and thankfulness for another sweet newborn welcomed home with so much love. It's inspiring and a cherish every moment!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Perfectly Imperfect

This is the year that I will celebrate 10 years of being a mom. When I look back over that time, I mean really look back- it's been the best years of my life. While on a rare date night a couple months ago, my husband and I were reminiscing about the past and asked each other what we would change and if you could choose a time to go back to what would it be... Surprisingly, we both had very simple things that we would change but after long moments of reflection and weighing each significant timeframe throughout our lives there was not one we would switch out for where we are right now. Sure it's fun to think about being a kid again or how easy and less stressful high school was, or even the newly found freedom and independence that made up most of the college years but it's no equal or greater substitute for where we are now.

Even the hard years of the early diagnosis of Adam's brain tumor, surgery and the physical therapy that he still has to do today were worth slodging through to be where we are at now, together with our family of six! We couldn't even wish away the brain tumor because that was such a pivotal point in our live and immense compounding of fear, loss but ultimately brought us face to face with God and our true dependency on His will for our lives. That humbling realization also opened our hearts and eyes to what really, REALLY mattered in life and our sweet baby Farrah is the embodiment of that joy! So nope, wouldn't even take the brain tumor away.... (well, technically we would definitely take it away if that was the one and only singular thing it changed)

There's something about that type of perspective that makes the everyday stresses of life like traffic, work, money, a messy house, never ending to-do lists and an over-extended schedule melt into the background. Things somehow fall into place when you are forced to surrender your time and energy to what really, REALLY matters.

This outlook has shaped the decisions we make as a family and how we choose to spend our time and money. There are things that we can be patient and save for and create a long term plan to achieve. But there are four very important things that will not wait- those are our children. Everyday is a day longer, another slashed day off the calendar. Our oldest will be ten this year... T-E-N!!!! And our youngest is nearly a year and a half. In that time, you better believe I have learned that time is precious and I do not have the convenience of a pause button on their precious little lives for "until"... Until I am less busy, until we have enough money, until they are potty trained, until they are older, until... on and on and on. The requests for sit down and snuggle with me, color with me, have a tea party, play catch with me will not wait "until"...

These past few years I have made a very conscious effort to manage my time the smartest way possible, knowing that these years when they are small and young will be brief. I do my best to be present and carve out work time to not interfere with their time. Though I am not always successful and some projects demand more constant attention and timelines this is my goal.

It's a constant work in progress but I feel we are finding our stride. I find my most joy in the peaceful moments of watching the kids play together, playing a family game of kickball, impromptu dance parties and sometimes just in the simple everyday life with kids. That everyday life is beautiful!

While this has always been my heart as a mom and a photographer it wasn't until my own wall gallery project (after 3 years in our "new" home) was finally complete that I realized just how powerful the images of those everyday life moments were for our children. The first few days after it was finished I would see the kids pausing when they passed the room and look at the pictures with the biggest smiles on their faces in remembering those moments or seeing themselves, their parents and siblings engaged with each other. There are still times that I do the same thing- it's truly beautiful to look back and I am so incredibly thankful that I or one of my amazingly talented friends took the time to capture it. And for the most part, those images that have become our favorites over the years are not "perfectly posed portraits" they are the in-between clicks that captures the briefest of moments some so wonderfully imperfect leading up to that one singular second.

With that in mind, I have steadily moved towards a more lifestyle approach in my photography style and mission. As a mother who rarely has images of myself with my own children, I put so much value into the precious few I have. And I got over not always looking "perfect" in them a long time ago. My children love me for me and I have seen how they look at an image with me and them together. They do not pick out my flaws or wrinkle their noses. They smile and hug me. Should there really be more to it? I am not going to get any re-dos, the only time I have is now.

The two images above are the ideal example of perfectly imperfect. They were taken by my dear friend, Jennifer who I am sooooo thankful for. Before the session even began it seemed it was doomed for failure- Micheli and Noah fell asleep in the car, woke up hungry. It was fall and pretty chilly out- the 20 mile per hour winds did not help. Cold and miserable, Noah and I were not even in the first few pictures because I was trying my best to calm him down, negotiate bribes for at least a few family photos. Micheli was not really in the mood and huddled into Adam for warmth, snuggling and retreating to find comfort in sucking her thumb from time to time. It's not the typical idea of the perfect image but I LOVE it! Then when we just decided to make the most of it and let the kids be silly, that's the image on the right and it warms my heart every time I see it!

I encourage everyone whether a new parent or very experience. Take as many pictures as you can everyday, but more importantly display them for your children to see. Embrace the imperfectness of life because when they grow that is what you will cherish most. I am still in awe that it took me so long to take my own advice but the impact is not only finally feeling like I have at least accomplished decorating one room in the house but showing our children that they are our greatest treasures and the simplest or most stressful moments together is better than any spent apart.

While every day that passes brings us closer to our purpose in life and not one should be waisted. It is also important to be able to look back with a smile to where you have been. I don't want our children to grow up too fast but I will do my best to show them that they are my biggest success and the most important reason that we work as hard as we do. The see this in our actions, hear it in our words and also see it proudly displayed in our home.

This fall I am venturing into full commitment to lifestyle sessions and I cannot be happier about sharing that same gift with other families. There is an intense beauty in everyday life within a family- it may be messy and a little chaotic but it's true life. Playing peek-a-boo, snuggling in mommy or daddy's lap reading the same book for the hundredth time, sharing a meal, even the temper tantrums, scraped knees, runny noses and pouty lips. It's all beautiful. The next feature on the blog will be the debut of the first lifestyle session that celebrates the cutest one year old, Miss Ellie. Thank you for all being a part of our journey and for letting us be a part of ours!

At Home with Ellie

I can't think of many things more fun than chasing after a one year old- letting them lead the way and completely being present in those moments. Their smiles, laughs and discoveries fill your heart with so much joy it can brim over for days.

Little Miss Ellie is exactly that type of one year old. We played, chased and she even paused here and there to let me capture some of the sweetest images of her. There was absolutely no doubt who was in complete control of her session ;)

Over the years I have fallen in love shooting lifestyle sessions with newborns- in their home, their nurseries and those special moments with their parents and siblings. As far as sessions with older children, this is the first intentional toddler lifestyle session and I am so thankful that Heather shared my vision for simplicity and just letting Ellie be herself.

We started inside and let Ellie take the lead in playing and snuggling in with momma for a story. When she was finished with her books she led us into the living room and there we enjoyed playing with all her favorite toys before heading outside :)

Once her little feet hit the pavement of the driveway she was off and running and only stopped for a few brief moments before taking a wagon ride.

After all was said and done we had only two goals with Ellie's session: 1) Capture her in all her one year old glory and 2) If possible have at lease one image with her and that oh-so-cute bonnet. And I definitely think that we not only reached those goals but exceeded them exponentially. Elli's expression says it all in one of the last images we took from her wagon ride back to the house for some snacks. So much fun!

Ellie enjoyed her snack while momma and I visited and shared reflections on motherhood, temper tantrums and the many blessings, fears, worries and joys children bring. It's a whole new world and I am so thankful for getting to see it through the eyes of this little one year old- Happy One Year, Ellie!