The moment I met Shayla, I knew I liked her and hoped we would be friends.

We taught next door to each other for one year at the middle school we both used to work at. My fourth year, and her first at this school after moving to Colorado. I taught band, she taught choir (even though band was her primary area). I enjoyed working and collaborating with Shayla and we got to know one another throughout the school year on a more personal level as well. When she told me she was pregnant, I was SO excited for her! Our kids would only be one year apart in age!

Fast forward to the spring when her little guy was due... Covid happened. We both ended up leaving our positions at the end of the year and didn't get to see each other in person for months. But thankfully we reconnected through some get togethers and one year later we were going to the zoo pretty much weekly with our sweet little people (my daughter still asks for Dante whenever we go to the zoo :) ).

I was so honored and excited when Shayla asked me to do Dante's first birthday photos! These also ended up being family photos... and extended family photos as Shayla and her husband, Josh, had family visiting from the south for Dante's birthday. Dante sure wasn't all about photos at first, but he warmed up after some playtime on the playground with mommy, daddy, and other family members.

Keeping him next to his big pile of fake presents was a challenge, because toddler. Haha! But with a lot of hard work from mommy and daddy we got some great shots, and even some smiles to show off his brand new teeth! I made a point to capture some candid moments of this precious family as well. It's important to me to showcase what a family is really like when their focus is not on the camera!

Having Shayla's extended family present was such a treat. The love the had for their nephew/grandson was apparent, as was their love for each other. This family is full of humor, love, and joy, and they were infectious! I laughed so much during this session! It was amusing to myself, Shayla, and Josh how their southern relatives felt so cold on a glorious 50-fegree afternoon in April. *laugh*

Dante is so treasured by his mommy and daddy. They had the cutest inside joke about calling him "John". *laugh* We got some images of this little speed demon in action with his parents looking on proudly - like we could have contained him anyway!

And I always try to get shots of mom and dad. The children so often get the spotlight - and that is understandable because they constantly grow and change to the disbelief of our adoring hearts - but it is so important to remember where they came from, to keep kindling the flame of love that brought them forth. Shayla and Josh adore each other. They are each other's perfect match in every way and seeing their love through mz camera lens made my heart feel so full!

When Shayla told me they were moving back to the south, my heart broke even though I was excited for the opportunities waiting there for them. Our zoo visits came to an end, and my fellow french fry lover and musician began her next chapter of life far away. We keep in touch as much as busy toddler lives allow - but we sure miss them!

What's your child's next milestone? Let's capture your own memories to cherish for generations to come.

Let's connect and plan your next session today! It is truly a pleasure for me to celebrate all that you and your family are through images that will be treasured keepsakes for all time!