Summer Magic | Utah Family Photographer

Is there anything sweeter then a summer evening with new friends in a beautiful mountain valley? Sometimes the choice to get out and live a beautiful life is as simple as putting down your phone, packing up all the towels, & sunscreen, & diapers, & chairs, & toys, & snacks. Okay! It's maybe never simple with three kids, but it is 100% worth it. 

Also worth it is documenting my own family in our own summer magic. It's something that's easy to forget, since I'm also balancing towel & snack duty, but something I never regret. I'm so grateful for friends like Sharstin, her sweet family and the beauty of simple connections. 

There is nothing sweeter then photographing children in the magic wonder of childhood. If you are interested in a similar lifestyle photo session, please contact me here. Let's create your own kind of wonder.

Sante Fe | Travel Guide

It’s my private mountain. God told me if I painted it enough, I could have it.
— Georgia O'Keefe

New Mexico felt like going to church. It felt like another country. It might have been the most beautiful place I've ever seen. The sky is infinity, the desert is ancient, and there's a sacredness to the land. We went in October, after the crowds, and the yellow cottonwoods washed with a red and blue landscape made me wish I was a painter, but my photos will have to do. Sante Fe is a place to linger. To stop at farm stands, wander into art galleries, get lost on a rutted out road, looking for the White Place. I fell in love with adobe in New Mexico, the lines and shadows. How the warmth held into earthen walls, and the shadows held secrets and stories. The buildings are old and the land is older. We wandered through the Sante Fe Farmer's Market, and bought sage bundles, jalapeño bread, watched peppers being roasted, our eyes watering. There were stand after stand of pinto and black beans, spices in jars, peppers hanging from string, fall apples and fresh lavender. 

We wandered up Canyon Road, peeking into art galleries, and feeling a little out of place. I was asked if I was ready to make a purchase on a 5K rug, dyed with crushed beetles picked by hand from cactus. I purchased a small bowl instead. I wasn't asked if I was sure I didn't want two. It was gallery stroll and I was half a second too late, as a gentlemen, lingering in the glow of an open door, dressed in black, wearing a fedora, paused, took a smoke, let it fill the air, then tossed it aside and entered, while a guitarist played just inside the window. We stopped at the tea house at the top, in my eternal quest to get Scott to enjoy tea as much as I do, and then held hands on the walk in the dark, the sky midnight, a sliver of light to the west, the galleries know yellow squares lighting our way. 

We fell in love deeper then I thought possible with Georgia O'Keefe. We visited the White Place, Ghost Ranch, and her home in Abiquiu. We saw her kitchen, her rocks on the windowsill, the bones she collected, her still my heart. We visited her working garden, looked out her windows to the Mesa and Cottonwoods and realized why she came and never went back.

We were seated in a the back room of a Spanish Tapas restaurant. Our server brought us an extra desert, the Columbian musician sang Rocky Mountain High, and patrons got up to dance and sing with him. It was the best dining experience of my life. 

We took the high road to Taos, stopping at abandoned churches, farm stands, and Chimayo, a Spanish mission and pilgrimage site. We had a fight, we made up we explored the grounds, the rosaries hung over every surface, listening to the service, and peaking in to the tiny room where the sacred sand is held, a row of crutches a testament to their healing powers. We stopped at a weaving studio, the rows of hand dyed yard in the yard a calling card. We met the artists, and they hand wrote an invoice. We were lucky enough to be able to visit the Taos Pueblo, right before it closed for the day. It was quiet, the Pueblo casting shadows upon itself, the river crossing through the center, and wooden bridges joining the two. A few other visitors wandered in and out of the church, visiting the few native shops open. The Pueblo is beautiful and stunning, rich in culture and history, still a working community and a tribute to a culture that existed long before America was colonized. 

I have a list of the many wonderful things we saw and visited. I wish we had a little more time to hike, visit the town square and most importantly visit Chaco on the way down or up. We did the drive in two days from SLC, stopping to hike Delicate Arch. If we were to do it again, we'd stop for another night in Durango and visit Mesa Verde. I would love to know your experience with New Mexico and Sante Fe/Taos. It truly felt like a gift to visit. 

Here is an except from The Deseret is Theirs, by Byrd Baylor that we purchased from the gift shop at Ghost Ranch, 

the desert has
its own kind of time
(that doesn't need clocks).
the kind of time
snakes go by
and rains go by
and rocks go by
and Desert People
go by too.

That's why
every desert thing
when the time comes
to celebrate

All together.
It happens.

Cactus blooms
yellow and pink and purple.
The Papagos begin
their ceremonies
to pull down
Every plant joins in.
Even the dry earth
makes a sound of joy
when the rain touches.
Hawks call across the canyons.
Children laugh for nothing.
Coyotes dance in the moonlight.

Where else
Desert People
want to be

Georgia O'Keefe
Ghost Ranch
Georgia O'Keefe Museum
Abiquiu-Book a tour
The White Place-Get directions from the tour

To Eat
La Boca
Modern General
Cafe Pasquals
The Tea House
La Choza

High Road to Taos/Taos
Centinela Tradtional  Arts
Taos Pueblo
Twirl-Toy Store
San Francisco de Asis

Loretto Chapel
Palace of the Governors
Town Square
General wandering
Canyon Road-Art Galleries

Georgia O'Keefe Museum is just off the square

Collected Book Works
Modern General
Sante Fe Farmers Market
Doodlets-Toy store for kids




Motherhood was something I once thought of vaguely. I assumed it would happen, but never dreamt of as a girl. As the oldest of 6, I had dreams of travel, of University, speaking French and studying art. I was slightly dismayed when I fell in love so young, but since I make major life decisions on whims but return the same pair of pants 5 times, I jumped into the Love part, but not the motherhood part. 
When the dreams of motherhood came, they came slowly, hazy around the edges. Questions nestled in deeper and deeper and one day it wasn’t so much a question, but my heart soaring. 
Only not so much. As soon as the soft outlines crystallized, the story of infertility began. What started as a maybe morphed into the fiercest wish & the loneliest of journeys.
When I first held Lucy I was transformed. I never fully trusted in the pregnancy, but my arms knew her, our hearts had already met. I was hers & she was mine. It was the beginning of a million heartbreaking ends, and an infinity of firsts. I imagine armfuls of butterflies. I mourn each one that flies away, but the next one is so beautiful, my breath catches. 
You pack away the newborn clothes; she stops sleeping on your chest, but then she crawls into your lap, and says, “My Mama,” & holds your face. 
Three times a baby was placed in my arms, & Nora was my last. The hardest in all the ways, the one I said goodbye to growing babies with. I never knew that piece of the puzzle would be the hardest. I thought the starting was the one to break my heart, but, it turns out, the stopping is the piece that stays with you. 
I’ve been so lost in motherhood, that I’ve wanted to run, and scream and cry, “Where am I? Who am I?” And yet I yearn for them when they are sleeping and sneak in their rooms to breathe them in. 
I fail every day in my imperfections, but I hold their dreams closest to my heart. 
Motherhood is transcendental. It strips away everything you thought you knew. It humbles you in the deepest of ways. And yet, you become a warrior in your love. You are fiercer, you are gentler. You are deep in it. You now hold a million butterflies in your arms. 
I love you Lucy, Jack & Nora, so, so much.

Photo: Jessica Haderlie Photography