Sky Maternity Session// Newborn // Birth Session

I love maternity sessions, the sweetness in each session.  The longing of each pregnant mama to hold her little one soon.  The tenderness that each partner has for her when she's pregnant.  It's such a beautiful time and even though 9 mths seems like a long time with the morning sickness, and the tired body, it's also such a magical time. The tiny butterfly kicks you get to feel, and the heartbeat you get to hear at the ultrasounds, not feeling bad for eating and eating and eating all the chocolate cake you want (is that just me??) and the changes you get to experience each Trimester.  It's all just a beautiful experience. 

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Mindy Rawlings Family// Extended Family photographer // Utah Family Photographer

I had such a fun time with this family at the Freckle Farm Greenhouse.  I went to school with Mindy Rawlins and she's always been so kind to me.  I love reading her facebook because she's honest and open. It's always so good to see people I went to school with. And her family are all so kind and fun to be around.  Photoshoots in a greenhouse are always a fun idea!

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Stephanie Connor Birth Story//Utah Birth Photographer//Birth Stories

 

They texted me two days earlier to see if I'd be available to photograph their birth story for them.  I had two shoots scheduled already for that day they were having baby but we took the chance anyway that it would work out and I'm so glad we did!

She let me know she was in the hospital at a 4 on January 2nd at 2:30.  I figured I had quite a while to go, so I ate dinner, laid down to get a nap in case, and at 5:30 I texted to see how things were going. They said she had just jumped to a 10.  I jumped up so fast I knocked Vidia off my lap haha.  I ran our the door without letting anyone know where I was going.  Good thing Ashton knew I had a birth to shoot.

I got a text right as I got to the light by the hospital asking how close I was and that the Dr. was going to wait for me to get there.  Dr. Horsley is amazing and I always enjoy being part of a birth story he is in charge of.  He is funny, and always very supportive of the photographer, making sure we get all the great shots. He made sure I got all the needed shots before having her start pushing.  Only a couple pushes and out that sweet baby came.  There was a room full of excited grandmas and grandpas.

Stephanie wasn't feeling too great after and was feeling a little sick.  It was hard for her to hold baby so daddy got a lot of one on one time with the little princess.  Their little boy came in to see his sister and his face broke out into a big grin.  He was so adorable with her and even gave her some little kisses.  

It was so much fun getting to be a part of this day for them.  I never take for granted how amazing it is that these families call me and trust me with such an important day.

Can we just talk about how amazingly beautiful this mama is too!!!??  

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Keesha Family//Utah Family photographer

I grew up with Keesha & her brother AJ in Newton.  My dad and mom took her and her little brother under their wing and loved them and cared for them when Keesha's dad had a heart attack and was in the hospital.  We spent a lot of time together as kids since she lived just two houses down.  She was like a little sister to me.  I love seeing her so happy with her little family.  She was in town for just a short time, and we quickly ran up to the Temple where she wanted to capture some memories with her family before heading home, even in the bright afternoon sun light her little kiddos were perfect. 

Her brother lost his sweet little girl to a tragic accident just a little while ago and my heart hurt for all of them in their pain.  I can't even imagine all they have gone through in their grief. You can read about her story and help here, every little bit helps. 

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Celsey mommy session//Cache Valley Birth Photographer // Birth Stories

I'm late. On most everything lately. You will have to forgive how behind I am.  If you haven't seen your session on my blog yet, it's coming!  We blog every session :) My amazing marketer that helped me get my blog posts out had to move, and starting over with a new marketer is always a change of pace project, making sure they know how I like my posts to look and waiting on me for stories :)  It's busy season around here and we are now playing catch up.  So hang in there with me, I have a lot to share.

This sweet mama and her girls were so sweet to capture photos of.  This mama has a huge heart for her kiddos, and spends her life doing everything to make them have a better life.  It's been so much fun to get to know her. 

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Mattie Maternity Session//Birth Story Photographer//Logan Utah

Mattie is an awesome photographer herself, and I felt so privileged when she asked me to take her birth story and maternity photos for her.  She is such a lovely person inside and out.  She's so kind and so fun to be around.  I love love these photos of her, I love pregnant bellies and the stunning glow of the moms who are ready to have their sweet babies. 

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Sally Family// Logan Canyon // Utah Family Photographer

I love my gal Sal!  She is strong.  She's been through a lot and she just keeps staying a fighter.  She's been supportive of me as a photographer for years.  She is passionate, and she loves her family.  Those girls there are everything to her.  When she talks to me about them she lights up.  They are her life.  And I love these two girls personalities. Fearlessly proud to be themselves, and incredibly beautiful in every way.  I love seeing them grow and change the world.

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Family Reunion Photoshoot //Tony's Grove // Utah Family Photographer

Spring is here with Summer close to follow and it's the BEST TIME to book your Family Reunion photo shoot.  I just heard from a grand daughter of a family I shot for this past summer.  Her sweet grandma booked me, and she and I had talked a lot this past summer setting up the shoot, talking details of what was important to her, printing out some large gorgeous canvases from their shoot, and I just grew to love her so much.  She was so sweet and I remember after the photo shoot she pulled me into her arms and kissed both my cheeks.  Her grand daughter texted that she just passed away.  Not even a year after we did the photos that meant so much to her.  How this touched my heart.  This life goes so swiftly, and recording these memories for the next generation is so incredibly important!  I know they meant so much to her. Don't put it off another year... you never know what the year will bring.  Now is the time to be sure you preserve what is most important in this world...your family. 

I have had the privilege to photograph this family below for the past couple of years and I love them so much!  Every session with them has been so beautiful and such a fun time with an amazing family. 

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Cyna Harris Family

Syna has been my friend for a lot of years now.  I love her spunk.  She is always so fun to spend time with. She's upbeat and funny.  She keeps things in perspective.  She's a talented hair dresser and does the best Eye Lash Extensions. She's also talented with the camera and does beautiful wedding videography.  Meeting all her family was so much fun.  They are so kind and fun to be around.  We had a great time together on our session. 

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Nikki Montgomery Family//Studio Station //Utah Family Photographer

Studio Station is a great little studio for an indoor session when things are not so warm outside!  It made for the perfect spot for this darling families photos.  And let's just stop for a moment and check out how amazingly beautiful this mama is!!  Tia always slays when it comes to making my moms, brides, and commercial clients look smokin!  This family was so much fun, their outfits were on point, and they were sooooo good!  I loved all the natural smiles and interactions they gave me. That little guy cracked me up and melted my heart all at the same time!  Seriously a perfect session!  Thanks for trusting me with your memories!

xo
Shanda

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Don Grove Funeral 2018 // Providence Ut

Everyone at a funeral knows that the person who died wouldn’t want you to be sad for them. Death only seems sad for the living. That’s what I always hear. But I think there is a spark of sadness on the other side for the person who died too. If you believe in a life after death and that they are waiting for you on the other side. I think even though they can be with you in spirit here, they too feel a little sadness for not being here physically for the big things in your life. The first dance with a daughter on her wedding day, a toast with a son, seeing their children graduate, fall in love and have children of their own, seeing their parents grow old together.

Don “butch” Grove was heralded at his funeral. Everyone who got up to speak praised him for his huge heart, for watching out for the little guys, for defending and lifting others up. His sense of humor came through from every story told. His devotion to his wife and children, and his love for his life beamed from every remembrance shared.

They sang country roads at his funeral. And I imagined him singing right along. The smile on his families and extended families faces as they sang along, sharing in joy with him was perfect. But my favorite smile I saw was from his youngest sons face as he sang along.  Touching. Loving.

His Son shared stories about the lessons his father taught in his daily life. Making everyone laugh at the memories, and showing a beautiful glimpse into the man he was as a husband and father.

His daughter danced a beautiful tribute for him to CINDERELLA

"There's a ball at the castle and I've been invited
And I need to practice my dancin'
Oh please, Daddy, please!"
So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh I will dance with Cinderella , I don't want to miss even one song
'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight And she'll be gone”

The love you felt in that room was tangible. Among the laughter and smiles and tears was hope. Hope that there is a new chapter. Hope to be reunited again. Hope for the pain of goodbye to lessen with time. 

Outside along each side of the road was a parade of people, all the way down each side a stretch of the whole road, people holding flags with photos of Don on them. Those from his place of work at conservice had shown up to show love and support to a wonderful man. 

His legacy is sure to live on. 

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Mandy Grove Senior Photos

When I saw on facebook that this sweet girls dad's fight with cancer had come to an end, my heart just broke for her and her family.  I have been photographing this gorgeous dancer for years now, and I have grown to just love her and her mama.  They are good people.  Losing a loved one is hard.  Really hard.  Losing a father or mother or husband is harder.  Especially when you are still so young.  It's really REALLY hard when the week your father dies, you have to put a smile on your face and get on stage and dance, because you have commitments, and you are in a performance.  Watching this girl dance on stage at dress rehearsal last night for Sleeping Beauty made my eyes tear up.  Her strength, elegance, and passion in such a difficult time is amazing.  It takes a strength no one can understand who hasn't lost a parent to get up and get back to "normal" even months after.  To do it within the same week, takes more then you can even imagine. Stay strong pretty lady.  Sending you so much love and peace as you dance on that stage this weekend!  You make your daddy proud.  

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Utah Family Photographer//Sherice Family// Family Photos

Sherice found me on Instagram.  She is an incredible writer and an incredible story teller.  I always enjoy reading what she writes on her blog.  Check it out here: http://smalltownsquirrel.blogspot.com/ She is honest, open, candid, and funny.  She is definitely the kind of person I love to be around. And here is a post she wrote about our shoot together: http://smalltownsquirrel.blogspot.com/2017/07/the-importance-of-family-pictures.html

She asked me to take her families photos because they hadn't had one together in years. She said they had never been photographed professionally!  We met up the canyon in Salt Lake at Storm mountain and had a little hike around.  They kept me laughing.  They are such a hilarious family full of life and fun.  The love and care they have for each other showed in every moment they were together.  I know there are imperfect moments in every family too, but flaws in family is what makes it FAMILY!

Every time I do photos for a family it feels like they become my family for a moment.  And being a part of this family would be so much fun and full of laughs.  Thank you for trusting me with such special parts of your life and memories together. 

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Logan Utah Temple// Rigby Wedding

There is nothing quite as beautiful as a light snow on a wedding day.  I know for most it means cold, and wet hair, but to me it creates magic.  There is something so dreamy about little snow flakes coming down as you exit the Temple as Husband and Wife.  These two weren't phased by it at all.  They smiled, and laughed, and hugged and kissed.  The cold didn't seem to reach them much at all.  To be cliche...they had their love to keep them warm. :)

Emily was absolutely a perfect bride.  Beautiful and sweet as could be.  And he couldn't take his eyes off of her.  They were both surrounded by such wonderful supportive family, and it was a happy occasion.  I am so excited for their journey together. 

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The secret behind Valentines Day

So every Valentine’s Day growing up I would receive flowers and a treat or stuffed animal from a “secret admirer” delivered to me during class from as young as I can remember. This always made my Valentines super special because I was always so worried I wouldn’t receive anything because I was afraid no one liked me.  It made the day so much better for me and I’d spend the rest of the day looking around wondering who my secret admirer was. Was it the cute boy that sat behind me? Or the blonde boy who never looked at me as we passed in the hall? Or the boy everyone considered a dork but I knew he was sweet? It was exciting to try to guess.

Fast forward to my first year of college. (Yes, I received flowers every year even through my Senior Year of high school) and I didn’t get any Valentines. It was a sad year for me. I was talking to my mom about it and about how much it meant to me that someone liked me enough every year to send me a Valentine.

Pause....

The look on her face was so sheepish I about died. “IT WAS YOU!!!!” All those years you let me believe a boy liked me enough to send me a Valentine?? At first I was a little upset, only pacified by the fact that at least some of the years It was someone other then just my moms valentine I was receiving haha. But then... I got to thinking how much it had always meant to me, and how much trouble my mom must have gone through every year to make sure I had a secret valentine. And then I realized how much she must have really cared about me and making sure I felt loved and cared about growing up, because as adults we all know that our parents are the last ones who’s love means much when we are teens and think we know everything.

So there’s my Valentines story haha. Now I have a Valentine who brings me Black tie mousse cake every year and doesn’t judge me when I shove the whole thing in my face. 😁🤓

I know Valentines is not a happy time for everyone, and some people feel really sad about it. I hope you get a Valentine today, but if you don’t, be like my mom and find someone else to give a secret Valentine to, and make their day. You never know who's life is made better by even a small Valentine letting them know they are thought about.  Let them know they matter and they are loved.

No matter how Valentines Day May look for you....

Excuse me while I go stuff my face with chocolate!! And I hope you are doing the same! Happy Valentines Day!

And while we are at it...Book a couples session with me this month for 20% off :)

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Celina Sevilla Senior Photos // Utah Senior Photographer // Class of 2018

It makes me super sad when my dancers I've been photographing for years finally reach senior status and graduate and move away!  Makes me tear up a little everytime. It's crazy to watch these pretty dancers grow up and move on while I'm still here in this little valley.  But it's fun to see what they do with their lives and where they go and the adventures that life takes them on.  It's especially fun when they come back and I get a chance to photograph their weddings, so I usually get to see them again and keep contact, which makes me super happy!  Because each of these dancers definitely hold a special place in my heart. 

Go spread those wings you gorgeous girl! Keep dancing, and live a million dreams!

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KLC Family // Logan Utah Family Photographer

Andrew is a fellow photo friend.  I met him when he was teaching a photo class at USU.  He is funny to be around and keeps things nice and light.  I like that we swap family photo sessions sometimes.  It's always great to have a talented friend in the industry, and when he has a smokin hot wife and adorable children with dimples it's an even bigger plus!  Thanks Andrew for always trusting me with your memories!

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If you can't let it out....

It’s three in the morning and my soul fills stirred, like there is a fire bubbling up inside of me. I take a deep breath and a sob escapes my lips, I put my hand over my mouth and silently cry into my sheets, my body shakes with each silent sob. I pray that my angel dad will wrap his arms around us all and cocoon us in peace. A song he use to sing comes into my mind. I come to the Garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses. And the voice I hear falling on my ear, the son of God discloses, and he walks with me and he talks with me and tells me I am his own, and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.

I hate seeing those I love suffer. I used to see this as a sign of weakness. Crying. A lack of faith. A giving in that the thing I’m sad about can’t be made better. That It wasn’t ok to feel sad and pain because then I’m showing a lack of faith in God’s plan, but I don’t feel that way anymore. In the Bible it says And Jesus wept. He knew all that would transpire, he had an absolute belief in God, he knew those he would bring back to life or create miracles for and still he took the time to mourn with those who mourned and comfort those who needed comfort. Its taken me a long time to know that it’s ok to cry. It’s not a lack of faith that things won’t just be what they are to be. It’s loving, and caring, and standing in a space of caring with those you love. The feeling of sad doesn’t last forever. It makes way for feelings of joy, or anger or a variety of other feelings, but allowing sad is ok too. Allowing yourself to feel, process, and release all emotions is ok.  Difficult emotions are not our enemy, they are a practice in releasing, letting go. When you express these feelings to others for some reason they are uncomfortable with those feelings you express, as I myself have always been. We want to tell them to have more faith or toughen up when others are experiencing feelings of sad or anger or empty. We see it as weak and self pity. We try to fix it.  Rather then just allow it. 

Jennifer Chrisman says “When we fight against emotional pain, we get trapped in it. Difficult emotions become destructive and break down the mind, body, and spirit. Feelings get stuck, frozen in time, and we get stuck in them.

It’s ok to feel those feelings and get them out. Western culture is uncomfortable with this idea of letting emotions out. Let them be uncomfortable. It’s not weakness or a loss of faith that miracles can occur or that all things have order and a plan. It’s standing in a space to say to another... I feel your pain, and I’m here with arms wide open to walk through it with you.

So if you are hurting, in pain, anger, joy, whatever you are feeling, I will stand in that space with you!  I will respect where you are, and support you in going on your journey. You deserve the space to feel what you need to feel.  I support you.