Baptism Photography, Oquirrh Mountain Temple

This adorable little lady, London, lives next door to me and has an exciting event coming up in October... She will be baptized as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!

London's mom, Rebecca, is one of the most generous people I know.  She never hesitates to lend a helping hand or a listening ear.  London is following in her footsteps and is always so polite to me and kind to my children (she sure knows how to spoil Josie May).  She is excited for her baptism and promised her mom, as we were driving to the temple, that she wouldn't do a flip in the font on the big day.

London has a love for all things girlie, sparkly, and glamourous.  She seems to always be frolicking around with a big smile on her face.  She loves to dance and hang upside-down on the swings.  She has an endless supply of hair bows, bracelets, and fluffy dresses, which she often happily passes down to Josie.  She is such a great girl.  I am lucky to have her as a neighbor and The Church is blessed to have her as a new member!

One-Year-Old Baby Photography and Cake Smash!

I am loving the September weather we are getting in Utah. The leaves are barely starting to turn and we still have lots of green grass.

Do you remember the post about the Romney Family?  We did a family shoot at their cabin and then an old-fashioned shoot of just the kids.

This cute little guy just turned one and his sweet mama, my friend, asked for some pictures of him to remember how he is at this age.  I also couldn't help but take a few of the scenery.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Kristin wasn't planning on being in any shots, but I thought this one was cute of her helping him sit straight on the chair.  She is such a good mom to her three boys.

And now, some of the SMASH!

Happy Birthday, Zachy!

$1 Dog Wash

If you need your dog washed in my neighborhood, I guess all you have to do is walk outside and offer $1 for whoever will do the job.  You will get lots of helpers... lots of boys and maybe even one little girl who aren't afraid of that wet dog smell.

Just watch out for the wet dog shake!

Utah County Family Photography, The Clark Family

Sometimes people dread getting family pictures taken.  Sometimes, especially the men in the family, have to be dragged with their heels in the ground.

One of my favorite things about this session was the message I received following it: 

"Thanks for taking our pictures today! It was one of the most painless sessions I've ever been in."

I love when I get feedback like this.  I often find the people who are not so excited about posing for a camera end up relaxing and maybe even having some fun by the end of the session.  

This large family group was great!  We took the pictures at a park, so when families were waiting for their turn with me, they could play on the grass and run around.  The adults, kids, and even the dog were all really good sports.

Springville Museum of Art Family Photography

This family wanted a change-up from outdoor photography and requested having their pictures taken in the Springville Museum of Art.  I grew up in Mapleton and went to Springville Middle, Junior, and High Schools, so I will take any chance I can get to return to Art City!

I hadn't been in the Museum for years.  I know I took a tour for an art class I took in middle school and also attended a wedding reception there once, but I was kind of blown away going there now.  It was bigger than I had remembered and the painting and sculptures were impressive!  Maybe I just appreciate it more than I did when I was 12.  It would be a nice place to take the time to walk through with more time than I had tonight.

I don't do indoor photography as much, except for wedding receptions here and there, so it was a good chance to put my flash to use.

My Guide and A Light

Last week I was able to go out with this handsome guy to celebrate being married to him for nine years.

Ten years ago, when we started dating, I was just a baby.  I would say he robbed-the-cradle, but he was kind of a baby himself.  I was barely 18, just a few months out of high school, and he was 22, one year off of his mission.

We got married one year later, when I was 19 and he was 23.

Now there are some challenges about getting married when you are so young, for example:

  • One or more of the individuals (specifically... me) may have been coddled their entire lives and struggle with knowing how to do laundry, remembering to wipe the crumbs off of the counter after using the toaster, or making a decent meal for dinner.  
  • One or more of the individuals (specifically... me) may technically still be a teenager who is dramatic, egocentric, and overly-sensitive at times. 
  • One or more of the individuals (specifically... me) may not be in the habit yet of checking the mail, remembering to pay bills, or calling to make appointments.
(Sorry about all of that, Honey!  But you know I have gotten a lot better!)

It used to offend me when people would gasp when I tell them how young I was when I got married.  I would hear phrases like, "You don't even know who you are at age 19!" or "Think of all of the fun you missed out on!"

True, I didn't know who I was, but honestly, I am 28 now and I still don't have it all figured out (I hope I never believe I have it all figured out... how boring would that be?).  Plus, who says the fun has to stop when you get married?

(These are all out of order, but range from 2005-2014)

Taylor and I have both grown and learned so much about ourselves in the past 9 years.  We were raised very differently, and we have each brought our best knowledge and attributes to the table to teach each other. We have both changed from how we were when we met, but the change has happened together and in the same direction. We have become stronger and more intertwined with each other.  We definitely still have our disagreements, and we both have A LOT of room to grow, but generally, our views, goals, and interests in life merge.

*Just a side note for my daughter, Josie (so these words don't come back to bite me in 17 years) I am not necessarily advising anyone to get married at 19, all I am saying is that when you get married, you kind of have to be a child at heart - humble enough to listen to and learn from the other person.

Two strong words come to my mind when I think of my husband: GUIDE and LIGHT.  He truly is these two things to me.  The best place I can think to be is anywhere with him, whether that be on our couch watching a show, at a beach in Cancun, on a bench at church, or a in a car full of crying kids.  He is the person I want there when I am happy, or when I am sad.  He knows me so well.  He has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of me, and despite all of that, he sticks with me and has my back.  I am so blessed because of him challenging me and standing by me.

Besides trying to teach me how to swing a golf club, grill a hamburger to perfection,  or hook up the printer to the computer, he teaches me so much about the Gospel.  One of the gifts Taylor has is his unwavering faith.  So many times I find myself doubting and questioning simple concepts and he is there, to patiently and non-judgmentally explain things to me or help me along.  I can think of twice this happened to me just last week.

On Monday night I was reading some of my old journals.  Difficult memories were brought up, and I couldn't stop thinking about something that was very upsetting to me about my past.  I mean EXREMELY upsetting to me.  I was losing sleep over it and guilt crept all over me.  I felt like I needed to talk to someone about it, Taylor, my mom, maybe my sister.  But I just couldn't do it.  I knew thought there was nothing anyone could say that would make me feel better.  Finally, about in tears, I started explaining it to Taylor.  He cut me off because he knew what I was about to say, and within about three firm sentences, he had completely lifted that load.  He put all of my doubts and fears to rest.  He said just the right thing I didn't know I needed to hear.  I felt better immediately.

The other time wasn't quite so dramatic, but a good example of the day-to-day things he might teach me.  On our anniversary date, we were at a restaurant, eating outside in the most beautiful weather, surrounded by strangers.  We were talking about the Lasik that Taylor recently had done.  It was such a simple surgery, but it completely fixed Taylor's poor vision in a matter of a few hours.

We talked about how it was a miracle with modern-day medicine.  I laughed at him about how terrible his sight was before, and that if he had lived in Jesus' time, when there wasn't glasses, contacts, or Lasik, he would have been considered one of the blind.  Picturing the DVD he brought home with the video of his simple surgery, I chuckled, "So do you think when Jesus was healing the blind, all he was doing was reshaping people's corneas?"

Taylor took it more seriously and said, "One day science and religion are going to merge.  It will all make sense."  He explained to me about a meeting he attended with his mission president speaking.  The President started by telling an elder to close the door.  The Elder immediately stood up and closed the door.  The President may have needed the door closed, but more importantly he was teaching a lesson.  He explained that just as that elder followed his command without question, so does everything, down to the smallest cell or atom, follow Christ.  He created them.

 "31 For by the power of my Spirit created I them; yea, all things both spiritual and temporal—
 32 First spiritual, secondly temporal, which is the beginning of my work; and again, first temporal, and secondly spiritual, which is the last of my work—"
They know that their Master has their best interest in mind.  They follow Him without question, whether that heals the sick, moves mountains, or any other myriad of miracles He could perform.  

Sometimes the world gets to me, and things like this sound crazy.  As he was talking to me, I listened, but I also kind of prayed in my head, Is this true?  Is what he is saying to me actual truth?  I looked at all of the people surrounding us in this busy restaurant, I looked at all of the cars buzzing around on the roads and in the parking lot, I looked over at the sky and the mountains.  In that moment I knew it was true.  I knew without a doubt that it was true.  I felt something stronger than the normal commotion of the world.  I felt a quiet assurance.  I felt the Holy Ghost tell me it was true.  

These are just some of the reasons I call Taylor my guide and a light in my life.  He helps me see clearly.  He helps show me the way.

Marriage can be tough, really tough.  It needs lots of nurture and polishing.  The effort shouldn't stop the day you get married.  Whenever we get into a weird rut or feel disconnected to each other, it means that one or both have some growing to do (but remember, you only have control of yourself).  There are ups and there are downs.  When it is down I remember our commitments and hang on for the ride because with effort, it has always come back up.  

I know nine years of marriage may not seem like a lot to others, and I know that some may still think I am absolutely crazy for getting married at such a young age.  Maybe I was!  But I have the feeling that as long as Taylor and I both keep our focus in the right direction, and are willing to continually change and grow together and for the better, we will be happily married for eternity.

Thanks for the nine great years, Hun!