I spent a week in Atlanta, GA visiting my sister and brother and their families. We decided very last minute to throw together a photo shoot of my sister's family. The only time they could squeeze it in was the day I was leaving in the morning before her husband went to work and her son went to preschool. It was seriously a miracle it even happened, which makes me smile even more when I look at these photos. So much work and craziness happens to pull these shoots off and I sometimes wish I had a second set of arms and camera gear to capture all the behind the scenes action.
After rescheduling due to rain, it was such a relief to wake up the morning of the Turk family shoot to sun pouring through the windows. Little did I know how freezing cold it can be even when it's sunny! This adorable family of five were all troopers and pulled out their best smiles, despite the bone-chilling wind around West Point Lighthouse. Of course, the promise of treats at the end of the shoot didn't hurt either. Never underestimate the power of donuts!
This was my first partially indoor family photo shoot! Since the Birds recently had a new baby girl added to the family, we thought we'd play it safe and shoot in a spot with indoor and outdoor options. It was a good thing we did, because it was pouring! Even so, we still ventured outside for some nice huddled under the umbrella shots. So grateful to the Bird family for letting me experiment with a new location and totally different style of photography. Brenda is simply amazing and her husband is my second cousin, so I just love having pseudo-family close by in Seattle.
Singing in the rain!
This family. They win the "you're amazing for even showing up to this photo shoot" award. Twins always make things more exciting, but it was also pouring rain that morning and we were scheduled for an outdoor park location. After a few prayers and scouting out a good location, we found a spot where the ground was dry in a small circle for their cute family to stand and pretend like the rain wasn't totally ruining everything. As I look back at these photos, I'm almost upset that you can't even tell it's raining! Almost. It also makes me secretly happy and triumphant. It's just amazing what families and photographers can pull off sometimes. I think all parents who plan and follow through with family photos deserve a gold medal. Period.
Seattle weather has been quite precarious as of late, so to get a rainless Saturday morning for the Davis family photo shoot was reason enough to throw some leaves in the air and shout for joy! With our layers on and crunching leaves beneath our feet, fall was most definitely in the air as we romped around Discovery Park. I've known the Davis family since we first moved to Seattle in 2013 and they are seriously a riot. I loved getting to capture their personalities and the beauty that is their family.
It doesn't get much better than Pike Place Market when it comes to quintessential Seattle photos. The Larsens wanted to capture their experience of raising a family in the city, amidst the hustle and bustle of Seattle. I loved this shoot! Instead of a typically serene nature backdrop with no one in sight, I had the challenge of capturing the essence of their family with people and distractions everywhere. The shoot itself was so authentic and true to the reality of city living. Seattle has so many fun things to offer families, yet we have to learn how to keep each other close and connected in the midst of all the amusements.
Flowers, pigs and sea food, oh my!
A walk down Post Alley
Public Market Center
The Gum Wall
Bubble Gum Contest Anyone?
I met Abby for the first time at our photo shoot, but I knew she had a special story to tell. She had a light in her eyes and a confidence in her demeanor that spoke for her. I wasn't surprised to learn that Abby and her family converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after her mother passed away. She is now valiantly going forth to serve and teach others the gospel that changed her life. She has been called to serve for the next 18 months in the Salt Lake City West Mission in Utah. In the past as a runner, Abby ran races for her mother. As a missionary, she will now serve in honor of her mother's memory and keep her name with her wherever she goes.
Meet Sister Martinez
Utah Salt Lake City West Mission
Called to Serve
Full of light
The Beehive State
His word was in my heart
Treasure up the words of life
The day of the Fiorito family's photo shoot started with torrential downpours. This was not your typical Seattle drizzle, but rain coming down at a slant and crazy wind. Leyla (the mom) and I kept texting back and forth trying to decide if we should reschedule or wait and see what happens. Just an hour before the shoot we decided to go for it. Fortunately, the weather turned in our favor and for about an hour, we had rain free, beautiful skies and dry, happy faces to capture on camera. The stormy clouds created a dramatic backdrop and even skin tones, without ruining anyone's hair or outfits. It was truly the perfect storm.
All together Now
Hooray for Fall!
Liesl has a smile that can light up the world. Her optimism and generous spirit are contagious and people can't help but gravitate to her goodness. I first met Liesl when she was a student of mine in an early morning seminary class at our church. Even at 6AM, she could whip out her smile and questions and keep me on my toes. She will be leaving very soon to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Arequipa, Peru for 18 months, and will continue to share her smile and much more with the good people of that place. It was an honor to capture her energy and eagerness just before embarking on such an incredible adventure of service and love.
O ye that embark
Called to serve
A marvelous work
In his strength I can do all things
Then shall your light break forth
With all your heart
That your joy might be full
My baby is no longer a baby. There is a sense of bitter sweetness in the air and I'm feeling all sorts of nostalgic today. One year ago, Jonah joined our family and filled our hearts with the first real joy we'd felt in a long while. He healed many wounds with his sweet presence and filled in the holes left from past losses. He made life worth living again.
I wanted to celebrate his first birthday, but since he would most likely not remember any of it, I decided to do something different. I still had a party (let's be honest, that part was mostly for me) but I also put together a time capsule for him. I requested letters and pictures from family during his first year of life and plan to give it to him when he turns 18. However, I have to include one of the entries here because it is just so dear and precious to me. My mother wrote Jonah a poem and it sits perfectly with how I feel about the past year.
You came as a gift from heaven above.
God’s way to show us His infinite love.
With tragedy plenty the few years before,
It seemed life had nothing but sadness in store.
Then in the midst of unspeakable pain,
Came a sweet little baby, our love you would gain.
With tiny little hands and feet,
And a head full hair, you were very complete.
You were calm and sweet and so cuddly to hold,
Life seemed a bit better--not feeling so cold.
When we looked in your eyes with your sweet little face,
We could sense you had left a very choice place.
You seemed to tell us through your spirit so pure,
That with our Savior’s love we could surely endure.
As the months passed along through your very first year,
It was easy to see you were so very dear.
Your happy smiles were always there and snuggles took away our cares.
To watch you grow and laugh and play, has brought such joy to every day.
We are so grateful for the gift of life, that brings hope back in times of strife.
Our Father’s plan is so complete, It allows for death, yet also to meet…
New little one’s to love and adore, who win our hearts forever more.
I love you Jonah, you helped save my joy.
Happy 1st Birthday, Grandma Bird
Happy birthday my little man! Your sense of adventure and love of the outdoors comes from me. Your calm and joyful outlook on life comes from your father. You are the perfect blend of the two of us with your own flare for life, people and places. One day I will break down and cut off your soft curls, but today is not that day. I apologize in advance.
A Chinese proverb states that a boy with a wide smile has all four corners of the world open to him. Yours is the widest smile I've ever seen and it ignites my heart and my joy. May the world always be open to you and your smile never narrow.