celebrating life

I had just finished shooting this session when I was hit with the terrible news that my grandfather’s heath was failing.  He’s lived 93 fabulous years, so the call was to be expected at some point, but I was still so very sad to lose him.

Going back to New York state on the very next flight for a week was wonderful.  I was happy to have the chance to say good bye.  Happy to be there for my grandma and reconnect with my aunts, uncles and cousins.  It was an amazing week (an amazing gift that my husband gave me by taking off of work & watching the kids), but it was also really hard.  While I have grieved the loss of family members in the past, this was the first time that I was a part of the dying process.  I think I expected something beautiful or miraculous.  Perhaps something that rivals birth?  Instead, I was left feeling conflicted and uncomfortable with the aging process.  And sad because I missed my Grandpa.

Upon my return, I felt that I was walking around in a haze–not really seeing my world in full color.  But as it is for most of us, taking a week off of life had put me very behind.  I had to jump back into being a mom, wife, taxi driver, cook, maid and photographer.  As I sat down to take a look at the photos I had taken over a week prior, I was filled with so much warmth.  These two amazing parents were overflowing with excitement, joy, love and tenderness as they were getting to know their new baby boy.  Those first few weeks as a new family are precious and unlike any other time in your life.

Empathizing with these beautiful parents has completely pulled me out of the fog.  It’s helped me to see life as the very precious gift that it is and reminded me to be grateful for each and every day.  I am so incredibly fortunate to be invited into homes during the most intimate of times, and I hope that I can offer these parents even a portion of the gift that they have given me.

Thank you for sharing your beautiful baby boy with me!  I have so much love for you three.

Peep, age 6

My dearest Peep,

Yes, you still insist that everyone call you, ‘Peep’.  Actually, it has just become your name now.  No one even questions it.  It’s fun for me to imagine you as a teenager and your high school friends calling you Peep.  I no longer feel sad that you have changed your name.  I’ve embraced that you naming yourself is part of who you are.  It’s a symbol of your strength and individuality.  I love that I can see your power even at such a young age and truly hope you never lose it.

You are such a unique little girl–incredibly self-aware, confident and empowered.  I love your enthusiasm for being different and how you gravitate towards what will bring you the most happiness at the moment, not what is popular.  If your usual friends are playing a game that you don’t particularly find fun, you will happily go play a different game with people that you don’t even know.  If your friends say that pink is the best color on earth, you will say, “That’s great that you all like pink, but I love orange because it is the color of a penguin’s beak.”  Currently, you are working on compromising a little bit in order to nurture your friendships.  During a play date, you are learning that sometimes you might have to play something you don’t find quite as fun in order to spend time with that friend, but in general, people are usually drawn to you and your ideas.  Your self-confidence, positive attitude and spunk makes people happy.  It seems to bring you great joy to make people laugh, and you are always going for that laugh with silly jokes, shocking clothes or just plain goofing around.

Thatcher has really latched on to you for this very reason.  You are so good at getting on his level to create fun for him.  The two of you can get so silly and hyper that we have often have to settle you down a bit (for your safety), but I cherish the sound of you guys laughing and giggling.  I need to record it because I know that you won’t play like this forever.  You still love to make believe.  Stuffed animals are often your pets and friends in the elaborate stories you create with friends or even by yourself.  You will even adapt a make-believe game to include Thatcher and accommodate his toddler behaviors.

Another thing I love about you is your strong sense of logic and practicality.  You seem to be very math-minded.  You can compute complicated mathematical problems in your head with ease and have started to really identify with having that strength.  You LOVE the game of chess.  The strategic planning comes so naturally to you!  At the end of last year, you joined the chess club with a bunch of older kids (mostly boys) and WON!  You amaze me.  You are starting to read with more confidence this year.  You are not very motivated to read yet.  Sometimes, I think that you have more of a psychological issue with reading.  Your desire to carve your own niche in the world is so strong that you tend to reject any of the qualities or strengths that you see already being “taken” by Breckin.  I think we just need to find you your own, unique types of books.  Books that YOU love instead of the books that Breckin has outgrown.  Last night we started reading Junie B Jones together and you just didn’t seem to find it as funny as Breckin did when she was younger.  Perhaps we need to try on some different types of books to see if we can find your reading passion.

I feel so blessed to have you as a daughter, and I know that I will continue to learn and grow as an adult by watching you.

Happy Birthday Baby Girl,


a picnic with the paulino’s {San Diego Family Photographer}

When another talented photographer came to me for family photos, I was completely flattered and jumped at the opportunity.  Then, self-doubt crept in as I worried about whether or not I could give them what they wanted.  Would I be good enough to capture the beauty of their family and create art for their home?  Would they would value my style of photography and shooting?

It was difficult, but I had to shake off this insecurity.  I had to remember that the only way for me to shoot well is to be ME.  So I arrived for our session just as I would for any other client and I am SO SO happy with the results!  Fingers crossed that this beautiful family loves them, too.  Thanks for trusting me, Sheryl!

*picnic photos inspired by blue lily photography, among others.

Last Session of the year {San Diego Family Photographer}

I’m not celebrating being done shooting as much as I am celebrating finishing up my busy season with such an awesome family…red boots, bubbles, bears, elephants, climbing fences, dead trees and lollipops.  Could it get any better?

puppies make everyone smile {San Diego Child Photographer}

When I talked to this mama about photographing her son, it came up in conversation that they were going to be getting a puppy very soon.  I immediately spoke up, “If you by any chance have that puppy by the time our shoot comes around, bring her!”  I thought that it would be so sweet to photograph a boy and his new puppy.  It turned out that this sweet mama drove an hour each way to pick up not only one puppy, but TWO!


They literally had no time to even take the dogs into their home before it was time to rush off to meet me.  Here is “B” as he gets to know his new puppies for the very first time.