lucy: new life

July 31st, 2011 by sharaleep | 6 Comments »

sweetness abounds.

early on in the session, we must have done something to offend this poor dear because she was not happy.  and just when we had started to lose hope for “contented baby” pictures, we stripped her down.  apparently all she wanted was to be free.

little did i know when i first arrived that this grammy is a mennonite girl.  and she can cook.  and if that still doesn’t make any sense to you, go buy this and thank me later.  all i have to say is: paska.

thank you gorgeous family…you’re one blessed little babe, lucy!

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Posted in baby pictures, families |

us

July 31st, 2011 by sharaleep | 20 Comments »

for those of you who check in here regularly (i do not presume to think there are many, other than my mom…and amber who comments on nearly every post and oh how i love her for it :), you may or may not have noticed that it’s been a little quiet the past couple of weeks.  this does not mean i haven’t been working…quite the opposite.  i’ve been working hard to balance my professional and personal life and haven’t always been that successful (ask the people whose calls i’ve taken several days to return “sorry!”.  oh and you could ask my children too).

the thing is, in the midst of my busiest photography season ever, we decided to move.  this was not a decision that came easily and the process of it once it was made was even harder.  because it wasn’t just a matter of moving from one house into another.  for the past two years, our family has lived in community.  “ don’t we all live in a community” some might say.  yeah, but we don’t all live in a commune,  and as weird as it is to say, that’s kind of what we’ve been a part of.  a group of people who came together with a common mission, living together, sharing our stuff and our lives.  and it was wonderful.  friends became family. we began to challenge each other to live more simply and to honor others and God with the choices we made.  we saw people move in and move out, watched babies grow and big boys go to their first day of school.  we saw people quit jobs and start new ones, saw (so many) dishes broken, had shelves collapse and saw gardens grow.  we got frustrated.  with one another and with ourselves. we laughed and cried and were moody and made fun of one another and played silly games and cooked for each other and avoided each other and cleaned up each other’s messes (sometimes willingly.  sometimes not.).  we saw a wedding (we were all there) and a baby born (we were not all there).  we called ourselves a cult as a joke because we knew people were wondering and hoped that saying it first would diffuse their fears (we think cliff’s mom might still think it’s a cult.  but i’m okay with that).  there was almost always someone around to talk to, to watch a movie or go for a run with.  there was grace in difficult moments and celebration in milestones.  and love.  lots of love.  not always the warm fuzzy kind, but the true kind that perseveres and hopes and doesn’t fail.

so you can see why it was hard to leave.

but here we are, a growing family.  we were just feeling like it was time.  not to pursue a new path but to embrace the place we are in life and run with it.  and just as we were talking through that, an opportunity presented itself: the house my grandpa built.  the perfect amount of space for us inside and an abundance of space out.  and four doors down from my parents (so close i think i can hear my mom dreaming up the next way she’s going to spoil my children:).  and in a sweet little town not far from work and friends and community.

it feels pretty special.

i don’t really have many memories of my grandma and the ones i do were of her when she was sick.  but as i hung my first load of laundry on her line today, i could vividly picture her doing the same.  my grandpa i knew better and all sorts of things about him flooded back as i walked down the driveway and checked out the grapes growing on the vines in the back and heard my dad talk about the number of nails grandpa had used in the kitchen cabinets.

we don’t know how long we will be here, but we’re going to love every minute of it.  and our kids…oh our kids.  so excited.

and we love visitors!  please come by.  we’ve already had a few lovely and unexpected drop-ins.

future engagement shoot location??

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Posted in my family |

ryan & leandra: married

July 29th, 2011 by sharaleep | 4 Comments »

this was my third potentially rainy day wedding of the season and i did my best to fight it.  i thought sunny thoughts.  i wore shorts the day before.  i dreamt sunny dreams. but alas, when i awoke, it was not sunny.  not even close.  so on went my rain boots once again.

but do you think the rain put a damper on any spirits this day?  not a single one.  they were so excited about being married.  so excited.  it could have been snow and i don’t think they would have batted an eye.  and the bridal party was amazing – we trudged around with umbrellas and they never once complained.  and just as we had lost all hope for that bright shiny ball in space, the sky opened up and he shone down.

these two were brilliant walking down the aisle, but very shy when it came to picture time.  still cute, though.  still cute.

and like that, their friends and family dined under clear skies as the sun set over this country town.  wishing you the best of this life, ryan & leandra!

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Posted in weddings |

j&j: engaged

July 17th, 2011 by sharaleep | 7 Comments »

so i’m starting to realize i’m a gusher.  i never thought i was someone who would go on and on about a cute baby or much of anything for that matter, but here i am.  a gusher.  hanging out with these two confirmed it.  thankfully, i had my lovely friend gemma along assisting me, so every five minutes i could turn around and whisper “do you believe how cute this is?” or “oh my word.  could this get any better?”.  so i guess i’m just going to have to embrace it. and i have a feeling i might convert you into one after you see these pictures.  go ahead.  gush away.

josh happens to be a musician (if you haven’t clued into that yet) and has some beautiful music available here.  i may have been lucky enough to have him play at my birthday party this year, so i also know from experience that he sounds great live.  go here to book a show or see where he’s playing.

one last note: this is my assistant gemma.  she is pretty.  and a lifesaver.  and a good light testing subject.

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Posted in engagement pictures |

b-lo: married

July 15th, 2011 by sharaleep | 3 Comments »

there’s something about seeing love, like really seeing love.  it’s big and small and quiet and loud all at the same time.  there’s a peaceful tension, which doesn’t seem to make sense but somehow it just fits.  pretty amazing.  and i get to witness it.  especially on days like this.

this little chapel was amazing.  you know how people usually rush out of the church at the end of the ceremony to get pictures outside? well, we waited anxiously for everyone to leave so we could go back in.

these two are climbers, so someone came up with a last minute idea to keep the rings from getting lost in the hands of two precocious little boys…

and like that, they were off.  another new life begins.

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Posted in weddings |

the teers

July 12th, 2011 by sharaleep | 10 Comments »

for anyone who knows this family, you will know what i mean when i say “the best”.  they are loving and kind and fun and quirky and beautiful (like seriously, how did they all get so beautiful)…the good stuff.

they’ve spent a lot of time in the hospital lately as there was a health scare (which is putting it SO lightly) with “the matriarch” :) (is it okay if i call you that miss j?).  when all seemed to be crumbling, this family united in a way that was so unbelievable and so pure and so not of this world…it was something you don’t see much of these days.  it seems that often in times of crisis, people turn on one another and look for someone to blame, but these good people turned TO jesus and drew together so tightly that there was no force on earth or any other place that could break them.  their faith was increased instead of weakened.  and as they loved God and each other, they saw healing.

so why am i telling you all of this?  well, the family was back in the hospital this week.  but this time it was a celebration.  and i got to be there (i may not have been invited, but that’s what’s so great about this family…they said “come on in”).  they just added a little girl to their brood and their boys were on their way over to meet her for the first time.

and then there are all the gorgeous aunties.  so many gorgeous aunties.

how much do you love how this papa is looking at his baby girl?

i didn’t even plan on blogging this, but i felt like a thank you was in order and this was something small i could do to say it. thank you for the amazing example you have set for me of what it means to believe.  and hope.  and really love.  like really love.  even this mama, who lost 40% of her blood post-labor the night before, says about 5 minutes after i got there…”and how are you?”.  like i said: the best.

Posted in baby pictures, families |

dueck family

July 8th, 2011 by sharaleep | 5 Comments »

sweet.  lovely family, abandoned property, golden light, impeccably dressed children…and mosquitos.  and blackberry bushes.  and drug dealers?  or maybe we just imagined those.  still, it was quite the adventure!  seems it always is when i’m involved :)  thankfully these guys fully went along with my whims and followed where i lead.  made for some pretty pictures, if i do say so myself.

i should clarify.  though kris is a builder and a newly instated realtor(check him out through landmark realty), he did not build, nor did he buy or sell the home above.  just so we’re clear.

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Posted in families |

jim & jody: married

July 5th, 2011 by sharaleep | 3 Comments »

after two rainy days, i was ready for some sun. and God obliged. though i’m pretty sure it was for jody and jim and not me.  i’m okay with that.


we were trying to get his attention and he was clearly distracted.  who else would miss that sweet pose his wife is throwing out?!

thanks for inviting me to be a part of your wedding day.  you two are blessed with so much family and wonderful friends.  a great way to start a life together.

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Posted in weddings |

dave & darla: married (part two)

July 5th, 2011 by sharaleep | 7 Comments »

i know darla’s been holding her breath for the rest of the pictures, so i won’t leave her in suspense any longer.  i had such a hard time narrowing down what to share because there were so many lovely details.  they had a whole team of little elves working behind the scenes too numerous to mention, though i know darla is thankful for every stitch sewn, balloon blown and bag filled.  her vision was simple and grand all at the same time, incorporating her love for all things bird (did i mention their last name is sparrow?) and vintage.  from the little embellishments for friends to use to make their guestbook entry unique to the massive handmade chandelier hanging above the dance floor, nothing was overlooked.  and franklyn’s beaut of a car (a 1949 plymouth special, if you were wondering) was the cherry on top…of darla’s “make your own sundae” bar complete with fresh waffle bowls.  i could go on.  but you just want to see pictures, right?


well that about wraps this baby up…if you didn’t get a look at “part one” (getting ready and the ceremony), take a minute.  it will be well worth your time.  and here is a list of all the amazing vendors who helped add to this gorgeous day:

Darla’s Dress: Action Liquidators altered by seamstress & added to by Darla / Bolero: Bonzie

Groom’s suit jacket & vest by : Modernize Tailor / shoes: Fluevoggs

Earrings: Autumn Equinox

Feather head piece for bride and bridesmaids, chains on bride’s shoulders & men’s feather corsages: Darla (check out her etsy shop!)

Cake: Darla’s dear friend Colleen Currie-Tompke  /  Cake Topper: Dear Jes (great price and fast shipping!)

Flowers: Janel Sweeny did them with flowers from her parents garden

Food: Formaggio Fine Foods / Ice cream: Birchwood Dairy /  Waffle bowls: Billy’s Delight Ice Cream Parlor

And everything else was a local thrift store find or made by dedicated friends and family.

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Posted in event photography, weddings |

darla & dave: married (part one)

July 3rd, 2011 by sharaleep | 6 Comments »

i love darla and dave.  i love how they love each other.  i love how they love their friends and their family.  i love their creativity and how they celebrate life.  i loved so much about their wedding day.

oh yeah.  and did i mention phoenix?  i love how dave and darla love him.

isn’t darla’s dress amazing?  the story of the red fabric is so sweet…dave brought it back from india several years ago and asked his mom to keep it for the girl he would marry, having never even met darla.  years later, they knocked on his parents’ door in the wee hours of the morning to announce their engagement and his mom brought it out for her.  she had it sewn into a dress that she bought off the rack and it became the theme color for their wedding day.

the other thing that was so wonderful about this day was that their guests were just lovely.  i felt a bit like a stalker taking pictures of them from afar, but i couldn’t help it.


and the rest will be reserved for another day!  stay tuned for their beautiful “do it yourself” backyard party (and a detailed vendor list).

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Posted in weddings |

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