National Charity League ~ Pleasanton, CA

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Winston Churchill

Prior to last fall I had never heard of National Charity League.  But when I received a call in August asking if I would be interested in photographing the Pleasanton chapter’s senior class I quickly got an education in this amazing philanthropic organiztion.  All I have to say is, WOW!!  NCL is a mother-daughter group that begins in seventh grade and lasts until the girls graduate their senior year.  The ladies perform countless hours of community service throughout the area.  The class of 2013 volunteered over 3,000 hours during their tenure with NCL.  I was so amazed at how the girls have learned the importance of philanthropy at such a young age.  For many of us it takes years throughout our adulthood, and here they are starting at the tender age of 12.

Sunday I attended their farewell banquet at Castlewood Country Club.  Such a heartfelt and bittersweet event.  Each young lady gave a speech about their favorite philanthropy, favorite memory of working with mom, and what they would have told their seventh grade self about their time in NCL.  It was obvious that many of the girls learned to embrace community service, found joy in helping others, and valued the time spent with their mothers.  How quickly these past six years have passed for them all.

To the NCL class of 2013 I say congratulations and I am so proud of all you have accomplished!  I am honored to have met you and thank you for giving me the opportunity to photograph your senior class.  Your hardwork and dedication has not only improved our community but also served as a shining example selflessness.

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Bailey ~ Senior Portraits ~ Pleasanton, California

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”
Mae West

After all of our chats, emails, and photo session I would say this quote effectively sums up Bailey.  Her mom, Dena joined us for her session.  Dena is so proud of her daughter and I can see why.  Bailey is on the honor roll, a cheerleader, and on the diving team.  Not to mention incredibly sweet, full of personality, and absolutely beautiful.  I adored her.  So easy to talk to and game for anything during our session.  I am in awe of her diving skills.  I was never one to muster up the courage to dive off of the high dive.  Jump yes, dive no.  Suffice to say bravery is another one of awesome personality traits.

Because cheer is such an important part of Bailey’s life we definitely had to incorporate that in some of her portraits.  Dena wanted a photo of Bailey with the valley in the background, a representation of where they both grew up.  This story telling process is why I encourage clients to get involved in the portrait process.  Photographs last a lifetime and should be a reflection of your life, your story.  Photos are important because our lives change and evolve, and they are a snippet of your life, your history.

Bailey, I am so excited for what the future has in store for you.  Congratulations on senior year and your pending graduation.  I have no doubt that your life will be so full of accomplishments and adventures that you will indeed, as Mae West said, “do it right.”

 

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Lacey, Makenna, Austin ~ Family Portraits ~ Livermore, CA

nur·ture:  care for and encourage the growth or development of. 

As I watched Lacey with her two wee ones  I could not help but admire the way she nutured and interacted with them.  Seems only fitting as she is a speech pathologist.  One of those people who just has a way with kids.  I met Lacey through my daughter’s father and we hit it off from the start.  With kids similar in age we have endless parenting stories to share.

Makenna is a chip off the ol’ block too.  A little nurturer with her brother Austin.  It reminded me so much of the way my Maddie is with her brother.  What is it about big sisters?  Little mother hens.  When Makenna wasn’t watching over her brother she was busy cuddling her American Girl doll.  She and I talked about our favorite American Girl dolls, mine being Kit Kittredge and hers of course is Makenna :)!

Austin (“Austie” as Lacey and Makenna affectionately call him) was such a charmer in his tiny cowboy boots.  A total little dude.  Loved it!  Lacey had a vision of them all wearing boots and requested a boots only photo.  Such a great idea!  I was also super excited to use my new rusty red wagon for this session.  He was so patient as Makenna pulled him along, bumping bouncing on the trails.

 

 

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Baby Ethan ~ Newborn Session ~ Sacramento, California

Every child begins the world again.

Henry David Thoreau

 

So true.  What is it about babies?  They are just so magical.  Truly a miracle.  And I just can’t get enough of them!  Love, love, loved meeting Ethan.  All that dark hair and his perfect little face.  Like all of my newborns lately, he was wide awake most of the session.  But he was so patient.  Just chilled and watched the world while I snapped away.  Ethan even took a catnap long enough for us to put his penguin hat on for a few photos.  It was important to Kim that we get some of Ethan with his new little hat on.  A gift from Grandpa who loves penguins.

When we did Kim’s maternity session her husband, Brent had just finished painting the stripes in Ethan’s room.  This was no small fete.  It wanted to make sure I captured a few of him on his changing table with the striped wall behind him.  A way to forever immortalize the striped wall and Brent’s labor of love.  Um, and how awesome is that alphabet poster on the wall above him?  A little souvenir from London, one of their favorite places.

Kim and Brent I am so happy for you, and excited for all the parenting adventures you are about to embark on!  Being a parent is such an amazing journey.  Not always easy, but so worth it.  Looking forward to photographing Ethan’s first year and watching him grow into a little dude!

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Brent, Kim & Cooper ~ Maternity Session ~ Livermore, California

I loved you from the very start… You stole my breath, embraced my heart. Our life together has just begun, You’re part of me, my little one.
 
I met Kim over ten years ago when we worked for Gap.  I can’t even begin to count the laughs we shared working
“over-nighters” merchandising the store, or the games of Six Degrees of Separation of Kevin Bacon we played, or how many grilled cheese sandwiches we had at Buttercup Pantry during those over-nighters.  Even though life led us in different directions I never forgot those memories because it’s  moments like those that make you love your job. Now we are grown up with “real” jobs, husbands, and over-nighters are spent with little ones, not merchandising a store.  It was truly an honor when Kim asked me to photograph her maternity session.  I was touched that she liked my work enough to ask me to photograph such a special time in her life.  And finally a chance to meet her hubby Brent and their dog, Cooper!  We did lots of catching up about how they met, their life in Sacramento, her commuting stories (taking public transportation from Sacramento to the Bay Area provides her with lots of material!), and how her pregnancy was going.  And Cooper?  Oh my gosh what a love!  Something about the soft fur, playful smile and hound dog eyes of a lab melts my heart every time.  He is their first baby and a very important part of their little family.  I love that Kim brought along the mini Adidas.  They were a tribute to Brent who is quite the Adidas fan.  Can’t say I blame him, they are an old school classic.  
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