7 Years!

Today is Matt and my 7th year anniversary!  So much has happened in the 10 years we’ve know each other.  We met in Indiana the year after I graduated from college.  He was working for a racing team and I was living at my parents house substitute teaching. We met on Match.com and instantly hit it off.  (This is actually a pretty good story for another post).  We moved in together 2 months after knowing each other.  Our black lab Jake was a year old when I met Matt and year after we met got our pound puppy Oliver.   We got tired of renting after a year so Matt bought a house.  A couple months later, Matt’s race team went under and he got a job in Michigan and I stayed in Indiana.  He was in Michigan for an entire winter and it was terrible.  So much snow which kept him from being able to visit Indiana a few times and the house he was living in burned down (gas leak in the middle of the night).  He barely got out in his boxers and boots he had by the door.  Shortly after he got a job in North Carolina working for another race team.  He proposed that spring and I followed him out there at the end of the summer.

We lived in North Carolina for 7 years.  We bought our second house on 7 wooded acres.  I had several different teaching jobs including Kindergarten, 3rd grade and ESL.  I kept my photography business going and had so many amazing clients.  We brought home both of our babies to that house, celebrated several birthdays and Christmas’.  Right after Sawyer was born, Matt had a job interview in California and we packed up our entire house in about two weeks and headed west.  And here we are…living in a tiny apartment loving California.  Matt loves his job and I love staying at home with the boys and growing my photography business.

I couldn’t be happier with the life we have built together and so glad we found each other.  I’m so appreciative that Matt has now taken me out of my comfort zone twice to experience life on both coasts.  I recently unearthed the wedding slideshow my dad made for us so I wanted to share some gems from the past.

And here is one of our more recent photos.  I love the little family and life we have created for ourselves and wouldn’t change a thing!

Website Launch and About Me

My bestie from high school and college has been doing my website for me since I started my business back in 2011.  We’ve had a few new websites relaunch over the years and this one is definitely the best yet!  Please take a look around and let me know what you think!

I’ve been working on a lot of professional development lately and perfecting my craft.  Moving to California and quitting my teaching job has given me the time and creative space to do a lot more with my business.  While doing all this I’ve been reflecting a lot on my journey.  It actually started on a rock in front of a waterfall sitting next to my dad. He always had a knack for photography and was teaching me how to take photos of the waterfall.  After that he let me borrow (have) one of his cameras.  I took two photography classes in high school where I learned how to use the dark room and set up one up in my high school boyfriend’s basement.  Once in college, I pursued a teaching degree, but the photography bug never went away.  I was on my dorms art’s council as the photography coordinator, taught other students how to use the darkroom and hosted photography shows in our little coffee shop.  I also worked for a company taking pictures at graduations and worked in the photography lab printing pictures and learning how to edit.  The summer after my first year of teaching I had a couple weddings on the books and decided to start my business.  I contacted my friend and that summer Silverleaf Photography was born.  The following year my business took off.  A year later I moved to North Carolina with my fiance, (now husband) started my business back up and continued to teach.  The year my first son, Sebastian was born, I had 15 weddings + portraits and engagement shoots along with teaching full time and being a first time mom. By the end of the year I knew something had to give, I couldn’t continue to do all three so I scaled back my business.  Fast forward to having our second baby, Sawyer, Matt got a new job so I quit my teaching job and we made our big move to California.  All of which happened within a month of each other.  Now here we are.  I’m waking up early and working during nap times. It’s time for the hustle!  My goal is to have a thriving business by the time my boys are in elementary school.  If you are reading this I hope you stick around for the ride and thanks for reading!


In honor of my website launch I wanted to share some photos from a recent shoot of me.  I met a local husband and wife photo team at a beautiful vineyard to swap photo sessions.  Here are the pictures I took of them.  It was so much fun playing the model for a little while!


Ken + Julia

One of my business goals is to network and meet more photographers in the area.  So when Julia asked if someone from our photography group would like to swap photo sessions I jumped at the chance!  It was so much fun photographing fellow photographers and somehow I felt like the pressure was off with them.

Here we have a vineyard on the left (ready to harvest) and and olive tree on the right.  I had never seen an olive tree before, I was pretty excited!  I still sometimes can’t believe we live in such a cool place!

I just love it when my wind machine shows up for my sessions!

I’m thinking this one should definitely go on their photography website…so sweet!

Had to bring my new bike so it could have it’s photo debut!

Isn’t she pretty…the bike and Julia!!

Julia is from Germany, if you knew me in high school you know I had a best friend from Germany named Nina…I definitely have a soft spot for sweet german girls with curly hair!


Etienne + Sarah + Natan + Noa ~ Alameda, California

This family is seriously the cutest little family!  Little Natan was such a ham and was so easy to get great photos of!  I’m obsessed with Sarah’s gorgeous red hair and I’ll never pass up an opportunity to be around sweet little newborns!

Little Natan is just a ball of sweet energy!  He’s so much fun!

We put Noa in a basket with scraps of her mom’s wedding dress.  So special!

Mike + Lillian + Jonathan + Aviva ~ Alameda, California

You may remember this family from Lillian’s maternity session at the beach.  This time I met them at their home for a lifestyle newborn shoot.  Lillian wanted pictures of what they do in their every day lives and that’s exactly what we did.

I was definitely taking notes on their lego organization skills seeing as I am a mom of two boys and we already have about 10 lego sets for our 3 year old.

After a little bit of lego play, they made Challah.  It smelled so good!  

Next it was time for a little bit of work and watering on the outside patio.

And some kisses for little sis.  Jonathan is the best big brother, just the sweetest!

Another scene you see going on in our house a lot, building trains in the living room!

This little doll slept pretty much the entire shoot.  Oh how I love baby lips.

Well hello there bright eyes!

Such a fun day!

Logan + Megan + Bella + Grayson + Brea ~ Alameda, California

I’ve been trying to get this gorgeous family in front of my camera all summer and we finally made it happen early one morning last week.  Sunrise shoot for the win!!  I promise, it’s so worth getting up early (or in Logan’s case staying up late) for a shoot like this!

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Even Brea the dog has a great smile!! Dysert_11  Dysert_12  Dysert_13  Dysert_14

This little beauty look just like her mom!
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And the last one of just Brea, because let’s face it, she was kinda the star of the show!! Dysert_27

Sawyer 9 months

Disclaimer:  This post was written a couple weeks ago and the photo was taken yesterday.  He’s about 9 and a half months now…

Sawyer is just 3 months away from a year old!  These last few months have been flying by like summer usually does.  This month he finally started crawling!  We baby proofed the fire place so he wouldn’t bonk his head, but as of yet he hasn’t really started getting into things.  He actually doesn’t crawl too far away from where ever I am and if I leave the room, he’ll start crawling after me.  Also when we aren’t at home, he’ll stay within a few steps (or crawls) from me.  Hopefully this will continue as he walks because I remember how exhausting constantly chasing after Sebastian was!  At this point Sebastian had said a few words (and hasn’t stopped talking since), but Sawyer has yet to say his first word.  I’m hoping that means he will be a quieter, more reserved kid!  I’m still holding out hope that his first words will be mama, like Sebastian.  He still just continues to be the sweetest little guy albeit cranky.  He learned this month how to throw his head back when he’s upset…made for an interesting plane ride in those small seats on the way home from our trip. We are so in love with our little boy and while I’m excited for him to get bigger, my heart breaks every time we give away things he’s grown out of.  We only have a few months left of him being a baby, and I’m not ready to let babyhood go.  I hope I always remember how chubby his feet are, how soft and kissable his little head is and how his baby giggles just melt my heart.


Stats: 29.5 inches (95th percentile) 20 pounds 8 ounces (70th percentile).

Likes: Still prefers Mommy over pretty much anything else.

Dislikes:  Sawyer had roseola (fever for a couple days and then a rash) this month, and was pretty crabby (even crabbier then usual) for about a week.

Nicknames: We’ve been calling him bubba, and bubs (because, brother).  Also booty?  Like “hi-ya booty”.

Firsts:  Trip to St. Louis and the Lake of the Ozarks.  First total solar eclipse (although he slept right through it).

Milestones: Crawling boy!  He’s also started pulling up on things…mostly on people, but can pull him up to stand at the fireplace and couch.  He looks pretty proud of himself when he gets into a standing position.

Sleep: I’m not really excited to talk about this.  After a few failed attempts of night weaning, I’m starting to think I’ll be up with him every night until he leaves for college.  Why is this so hard this time around???

Sebastian’s reactions to Sawyer:  Sebastian’s finally starting to be able to play with him a little more…I just can’t wait until the two of them can play together for hours!

A look back:

Sebastian 9 months

Paul and Sarah Maternity

We had a pretty epic week last week.  We stayed in a big house on a lake with my in-laws in the middle of Missouri.  We witnessed the amazing total solar eclipse.  I watched Sebastian and his uncles play for hours in the lake.  We spent quality time as a family.  I also got to take pictures of my brother and sister in law and her sweet baby bump. This will be my 3rd niece…I was only hoping a little bit that she would be a boy so I wouldn’t be the only one with the rambunctious boys in the family…but there are still opportunities for boys so I will hold out on that hope!  I’m so lucky to call Matt’s family my own and am so excited about this new little addition coming in October!





Love this one!






The Allex men have the BEST smiles!!


My favorite! So much love for this sweet baby already!

Paul&Sarah11  Paul&Sarah12

Sawyer 8 months


Sawyer is 8 months and is on the cusp of doing so many big things.  He’s trying to figure out crawling, and trying to pull up on things.  Our world is so close to changing yet again once he becomes mobile.  We are in such a sweet spot right now…for the past 2 months, he has been much happier sitting and playing for longer periods of time, but can’t go anywhere/get into things yet.  It’s crazy because every time he’s up on his knees, I get so excited and I encourage him to crawl, then I think, wait, nooo, I don’t want you to crawl, I’m not ready.  Such is parenthood!


Stats:  We will have his check-up next month, so will post stats then!

Likes: Mommy.  He’s definitely a mama’s boy (yay)!  He gets so excited to see me and when he’s in daddy or someone else’s arms, he reaches for me. He also is really starting to notice the dogs and will reach out for them, laugh and smile at them.

Dislikes:  Being sick…at least I dislike him being sick.  He’s had a little cold this week and I hate it.  He’s stuffed up and not sleeping well and it just breaks my heart.  Here’s to hoping it doesn’t last long.

Nicknames: Sebastian has been calling him “hot sauce” recently??  Not sure where that one came from but it’s kinda cute.

Firsts:  First trip to see the Redwoods!  First trip to a famous? beach…Santa Cruz.

Milestones: Sawyer is crawling….backwards.  Haha, no forward progress yet, but he definitely can get around.  I’ll put him on one side of the rug and he’ll end up on the other.  He also got his bottom two teeth this month!  He’s been babbling a lot…saying mamama, dadada, bububu, bababa but hasn’t said an actual word to us yet.

Sleep: Oh sleep.  I have not slept through the night in 8 months.  Sawyer, any day now would be nice!

Sebastian’s reactions to Sawyer:  I came into the living room the other day and Sebastian was reading “Hop on Pop” to Sawyer.  The cutest part of that was that Sebastian got most of the pages right because we’ve read it enough times to him.  I love watching their relationship grow and think Sebastian is going to love when Sawyer starts crawling.

MacMannis Family Baking

I have been wanting to do a baking photo shoot with a family for years.  Once I saw this kitchen at Maisey’s 1 year shoot, I knew this was the family and the kitchen where I was going to finally make this happen.


Who doesn’t love making (and eating) chocolate chip cookies?

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I could tell Gillian cooks with these girls a lot.  They definitely knew what they were doing.  Cooking with Sebastian is one of my favorite things to do too!

I only have a little bit of kitchen envy…okay a lot of kitchen envy.

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Love this sweet little face!Baking7  Baking8  Baking9  Baking10  Baking11  Baking12  Baking13  Baking14  Baking15

It really seems like some of these should be on the cover of Martha Stewart living or Better Homes and Garden…wonder how I can make that happen…
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Lucky girls got to eat cookies before dinner!  They are going to want me to come over all the time!Baking20  Baking21  Baking22

Just love this gorgeous family…let’s start planning the next shoot, k?