frederick maryland

Ken + Allie | Dulaneys Overlook Wedding Frederick MD

"It felt very good to have him walking beside her."
Marilynne Robinson

"I feel like we are rather un-quirky. Like, so much so that when we first met, I literally thought 'I feel like heโ€™s the one, but heโ€™s so much like me. Can that work?'  We are both pretty independent people, and we would both say we are introverts." I loved reading these lines when Allison sent over the questionnaire part of the contract. Finding a real "match" not just a complement is special.

Allison's mom, Tracy, was my mom's best friend. They met while they were pregnant with their first children, born about a month apart. Sam in July, me in August. A large hunk of my childhood memories include riddles with Mr. Branchaw, losing at Battleship, playing Sardines and man-hunt in the neighborhood of Waring Station, hearing stories about secret Polish family recipes, getting another pretzel out of the giant pretzel bins, and being blissfully happy (and occasionally sneaky) with the Branchaw family. Once I asked my mom if she had any life advice for me and she said to find a friend like Tracy. "She's put up with a lot from me, and I've had to bite my tongue with her, but more than anything she has been loyal and with me. I know Tracy has my back. I can laugh with her, cry with her, tell her the truth, be told the truth by her, and we usually laugh again. You need friends like this to get through life." Tracy wasn't just this way to my mom... she's been "this friend" to dozens if not hundreds.

Tracy brought us dinner a few nights after Summer was born. It meant very much seeing as mom wasn't there to share this part of my life with me. Tracy showed up; was with me. I remember bringing her dinner with my mom when her babies were born. I also remember how she was on-call to have the Snyder kids when my mom was in labor. 

The wedding of these two similar, introverted, Maine-loving lovers was of gold; the finest quality of sweet joy. Tracy, and John, have spent their lives being faithfully, consistently, and eagerly "there" for their kids, friends, family (and "new friends," too!). Almost all the vendors at the wedding were family friends. The ones who weren't felt like it. Resplendent joy. Decades of friendships coming together to lavish on a pair who would never ask for all this attention. A teary-eyed daddy (who home-brewed all the beer for the wedding) and couldn't have been more proud of his daughter and new husband. Chatter creating an energy throughout the venue. Sniffles and dabs during toasts, uproarious laughter during the jokes, and a packed dance floor all night.

It doesn't get much better than nights like these.

It doesn't get much better than love like this. 

Ken wrote of Allie "She is a dream come true." Thank you for welcoming me into your dream for a few hours. I was filled with "the good stuff" by being able to simply observe the kindness and loyalty stretching back in history and launching into the future that your wedding day was.

You two have "a special something," bigger than yourselves and given to you for your joy. I hope that as the seasons of life bring what they may you'll never forget and always hold close the "not of this earth" happiness you've shared together! Thank you for having me there, it was a gift to me!

ken_allie (182 of 2028).jpg
ken_allie (240 of 2028).jpg
ken_allie (756 of 2028).jpg
ken_allie (373 of 2028).jpg
ken_allie (1097 of 2028).jpg
ken_allie (532 of 2028).jpg

(All these people. They probably don't know it to the extent that it's true... but if you're a part of the Branchaws, I'd go down for you. You all mean quite a lot to me.)

ken_allie (1299 of 2028).jpg
Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 9.22.30 AM.png

Congratulations! What a perfect day, in every sense of the word!

Ps. Speaking of loyal... a HUGE shout-out to my friend, Ally, who came from California to shoot this wedding with me. Ally has made herself available for not just major moments of my life (like coming across the country alone for our wedding even though she didn't know anyone except me and helping host/decorate my little baby shower for Summer) but also taking on the major-parts of my friends' and my family's lives. She's photographed the other two Morris weddings with me, as well as a number of Morris engagement/baby shoots. She traveled to my best friend's wedding in Minnesota with me, helped pull off my friends' proposals (plural!), and sends sweet packages to us and even my friends' little kids in the mail. Heck, this year she HANDMADE FOUR MICKEY MOUSE STOCKINGS FOR US! Thank you for going out of your way to love on me, and anyone I love. So many of the best pictures of this wedding you took. One more "enormous life gift" you've given someone. Grateful for you, friend!

Our Wedding Day | Mr. + Mrs. Morris

"...he'll never let you down. 
that boy's got a heart the size of kentucky, and he loves you.
that's important. take it from someone who knows."
n.s.
Ever since I was a young child, I've loved stories.  The avenue from which I get the story has changed over the years.  I'll go through phases of being a bookworm, a movie junkie, a social bird, a blog slave, a newspaper or comic strip heroine or even imagining and writing my own stories.   As long as I've been able to talk, I've begged my mom to tell me everything about her past.  How was her room decorated?  Who were her friends?  What did she get for Christmas?  What was her favorite meal her made?  Where did she go on vacations?  Why did she go to nursing school?  Who was her first kiss?  What was the most embarrassing situation you found yourself in?  How did dad propose to you?  Again, mom, tell me again.   Read it to me again, mom.  Can I watch it one more time? "Are you sure you want to watch Cinderella again?" Yes.  Cinderella, Cinderella, in the sweetest story ever told.
Photobucket
I never understood the concern "they" had with allowing little girls to watch princess fairy-tales, play with Barbies and enjoy romantic, lovey make believe.  Maybe I'm royally messed up and don't realize it, but fairy tales never gave me a false understanding of bravery, love and life.  They enthralled me.  They made my heart fill up and warm, like apple cider.  I remember wearing my little plastic high-heels, prancing around in a stiff blue dressing, with a ripped wedding veil headband and wagon full of stuffed animals and acting out Cinderella as I watched it.  The stories, the characters and the triumph over evil got me every time.  Even when I was four.   The story brought so much joy to my heart, and it made my mind buzz.  

My enchantment with life has had some significant, um, deepening over the years.  But I've never stopped believing that life was meant to be good, joyous and sweet... even if your life is one where those dearest to you have died, your family abuses and humiliates you, and you have not a single human friend to confide in.   You can remain filled with hope, ever gentle and kind.

And you know what?  There are Prince Charmings.  Through patience, heartache and true loveliness, you really can fall in love, and commit to love someone.  There are men who are relentless - who treat you with grace, honor and will not give up on you.  And when it all seems hopeless, and like it will never work out well, a miracle happens.  And it all ends well, after all.  

I've mentioned my personal and family history with Disney and their stories, and you know that my handsome one pulled off the surprise of a lifetime in FantasyLand in front of the castle.  So what else could we possibly base our wedding off of, other than a real-life storybook fairy tale (which many told us only happens in the movies.)  What started with our first piece of inspiration (the opening credits to Cinderella) ended with the most meaningful, memorable, tender days of our lives.  

Caleb loved the idea right away.  He was the perfect wedding planning partner for me.  He had only two "big" requests: 1)  a chocolate cake with a castle and fireworks and 2) snowcone during cocktail hour.  Other than that, he told me to do whatever I wanted and tell him what I needed him to do.  If I needed help making a decision, he'd help me think through the options.  He jumped right aboard and basically said "I love all your ideas.  I'll help make them happen."  It's a good thing I married him!
Photobucket
our make-shift inspiration board
Photobucket
our make-shift flower inspiration board
Without further ado, our wedding day:
"Leave the sewing to the wom-EN! You go get some trim-MIN! And we'll make a lovely dress for Cinderelley!"
Photobucket
This is a portion of a painting our dear friend Maureen Hartnett painted for us to display at our wedding and to keep forever.  She went above and beyond creating this Mary Blair/Original Disney inspired masterpiece.  I really fight back tears when I step back and look at it.
Real princesses wear gold.  Sparkling gold.
We had to stop doing make-up several times so I could distract my happy tears.  
Bridesmaids jewelry box!  
She painted daisies into the picture as a tribute to my mother (they are her favorite flower), and roses are to honor Caleb's mother (since they are her favorite flower!).  Incredible.
My grandparents wedding invitation (which is framed in our living room) and my grandmother's handkerchief.  My grandmother (Bacca) was at DisneyLand the week it opened, she had a Disney-themed basement for the grandchildren to enjoy and she was with me the first time (and many times after!) I visited DisneyLand.  She was the greatest women I've ever known, aside from her very own daughter, and I missed her dearly on my wedding day.  My grandfather, PaPa, was planning on being at the wedding but last minute he couldn't make the cross-country trip.  He died last week.  These little mementos are more precious than I could express. 
My $700 silk dress!  What started as a size 14 off the rack "eh" dress was transformed into my (and Caleb's) dream gown.  My fabulous friend and seamstress, Joyce, made fairy godmother magic happen.  It was perfect.
Joyce hand-sewed these beads onto the neckline.  Where did I get these beads?  We invested nearly $20 in six Wal-Mart necklaces.  I know, right?
My flowers were done by Jonalee of Simply Flowers.   There is nothing more impressive to me as a bride than to explain a vision and then see just how well that vision was understood.  Jonalee was nothing but professional, affordable and fantastic.  She created bouquets better and more "me" than I could even explain to her.  She outdid herself and I will be referring every bride I know to her.  
Oh. Ha. Random iPhone picture of the bridesmaids gifts!  They fit too well with the "whole wedding" that I couldn't leave this out ;)
Photobucket
A dear friend nailed my hair, and another talented friend did my make-up.  My shoes were from TJ Maxx and my mom made my veil.  Oh, and my earrings were $9 from Charming Charlie's.  It was so fun figuring out how to make a "rich" look without actually spending very much.  
Photobucket
If Disney was the "major" of our wedding, violins were the "minor."  If I could only hear one more sound for the rest of my life, I'd without a moments hesitation choose Caleb playing his violin. 
The plaid painting was made for me by the genius father-of-the-flowers, Seth.  We were inspired by his art when we chose the colors for the wedding.  And the little silhouettes are my dad's mothers, and they also hang in our living room!

Photobucket
I loved how the bridesmaids looks came together.  I was adamant that I did NOT want them to look "like bridesmaids."  They all worked so hard finding gold sequins.  Right now gold sequins are actually  trendy, but six months ago it was SLIM pickings.   Also.  My sister and maid-of-honor could have come right off the red carpet, yes?
(I am so glad I did bright coral nails! It's my favorite.)
I actually have incredibly attractive friends.  (I picked them for their looks, obviously.)
Caleb's groomsmen selection tells so much about him.  I love it.  He has an age-range of 16-55, with a I've-known-him range of 25 years to 8 months.  Caleb is loyal to the bone, and cares for people of every personality type, age and "kind."  I love that about him.  And I love that all these brothers and men call him "friend."
Remember when Caleb said "Whatever you need me to do, I'll do!"?  His biggest and best honey-do our ceremony backdrop.  Made from old deck wood he saved from a job (thank you Bryant and Tiffany!), he spent days on this project.  First he drew a to-scale diagram which we scanned into photoshop.  From there we mix and dumped colors into the right rectangles.  We printed off our pictures and headed to Home Depot to match up all the paint.  Then Caleb cut and assembled four four-foot wide panels (which, when put side by side, is 16 feet wide.)  Next he chalk-lined the wood, primed with white paint, re-chalk-lined the wood, and then hand painted all the colors.  Have I ever mentioned that I love him?  The next big wow-factor of the ceremony were the wreaths my mom and Aunt Pam made out of pins, straw wreaths and leaves pulled off of two fake house-trees.  THANK YOU.
Every single color on these paintings was meticulously researched and chosen.  She used the flowers in my bouquet and googled those flowers and bought/mixed the exact colors those flowers bloom in.  All the animals come in pairs:  the birds, the goats, the bumble bees, the butterflies, the snails.  The garden is filled with weeds to represent the struggle and beauty of married life: it isn't always perfect, but love does defeat all.   Incredible.  Unreal.  Brilliant.  
As Caleb and I were discussing which children should be in the wedding, we struggled to pick just two or three.  So we chose 13 (and honestly could have had more.)  They made the wedding day.  All their excitement, bow-tied-cuteness, and emotions blessed our hearts.  Thank you, mothers, for doing the real hard work of having your little people in the wedding.  We just couldn't have had it any other way.
Aren't these SO impressive?!  Every leaf was hand-placed by my mom or Aunt Pam.  On all ten wreaths.  I'm so spoiled and loved.
We did "things" a little bit different with our schedule.  Since we had a Thursday wedding, and a very tight timeline with our venue, we decided to have cocktail hour before the ceremony.  When guests arrived they were greeted with live Morris violin beauty.  
Food and drinks were out and being served.  The specialty drink of the day was a homemade Cinderella Blonde Ale, made by our wicked cool family friends, The Branchaws.  Guests were encouraged to snack, mingle, take in the decor, and enjoy the entertainment.  
Oh, and Caleb got his snowcone! :) :) :) 
Our nod at Main Street USA in Disney Parks was our traveling singing quartet!  My childhood best friend, Sam (inside left) and I made a deal with each other in highschool:  I'd take pictures for him for free, and he'd sing at my wedding for free.  This year we both got to cash in on our word!  James, Julie's husband, and Kevin, Maureen the painter's husband and Lydia Jane's father, and a heaven-sent friend of Sam's made this troupe complete!  
Guests were also wow-ed with Bill Kerwood's mind-boggling and hilarious magic tricks!  I love how he works:  he gets the whole audience involved and roaring.  I could hear the squeals and laughter from the bridal suite.  
The table-card display was made by my mama.  Wooden dowels, ribbon and paper!  The moment I saw this idea, I knew it was what I wanted to do.  Once the table cards were pulled off, the ribbons remained as decoration.  Win-win!
I bought nearly 12 different fabrics from Spoonflower to make all the napkins for the wedding.  Except I didn't make them.  My mom and cousin, Ashley, did.  The week of the wedding Ashley sewed ALL the napkins and runners by herself.  Where do these people come from?!  And how did I get the honor of being related to them?!
The food was just as colorful as the rest of the wedding.  And man was it tasty!  
This instagram snap from Jamie is a great view of the ceremony setting.  Caleb made the simple wooden "door-way" and we found the gold curtains at Bed, Bath & Beyond.  It tied all my color-scheme ideas together so well.  
Photobucket
Our programs were simple, but combining the powers of our invitation and "bridesmaids books."  I know it might seem silly, but putting the little cut-out picture on the back of the program totally made these for me!
Now Mary Blair starts to get quite personal ;)
Photobucket
I haven't never felt that much feeling in my entire existence.  Those last few minutes are powerful.  I could see Caleb getting lined up and I really was just overcome.  Panting, pacing, "whooooo"-ing, trembling, shaking.  It's an out of body experience.  
Pixar clouds!
Hot smoking siblings.  The processional music was inspired by chick-flicks my dad and I watched together when I was a child.   My dad has always been a sucker for good one-liners and romances that will make you cry.  We've watched so many good movies together over the years, and he is not ashamed of this tender side at all.  The family members and wedding party walked down the aisle to was the Theme from Sabrina by John Williams.  We can quote Sabrina for an hour to each other.  But my favorite line has to be this narration: "Once upon a time...there was a very, very large mansion, almost a castle. And on this very large estate lived a small girl. And life was pleasant there and very, very simple. But, then one day, the girl grew up and went beyond the walls of the grounds and found the world."  Once I graduated highschool, my dad told me I needed my Sabrina moment; I needed to grow up and see the world.  Tears.
The flower girls (and ring bearers!) walked to Somewhere In Time Theme, by John Barry and Roger Williams.  The 1980's movie is a little slow, but it's the first real romance I had ever watched.  My mom was out of town, the rest of the kids were in bed, and dad and I had a special evening together.   I'll never forget it. 
These are my favorite lines from Somewhere In Time: "The man of my dreams has almost faded now. The one I have created in my mind. The sort of man each woman dreams of, in the deepest and most secret reaches of her heart. I can almost see him now before me. What would I say to him if he were really here? 'Forgive me. I have never known this feeling. I have lived without it all my life. Is it any wonder, then, I failed to recognise you? You, who brought it to me for the first time. Is there any way that I can tell you how my life has changed? Any way at all to let you know what sweetness you have given me? There is so much to say. I cannot find the words. Except for these: I love you'. Such would I say to him if he were really here."
Photobucket
The moment was perfect.  The music soared and right on cue dad and I emerged from the curtains.  I've heard it said dozens of times, but it was true: as soon as I saw Caleb, I was completely calm.  Just smooth, clear, still happiness.  All my butterfly-nerves and fast-breathing and racing-heart-beats evaporated into peaceful bliss.  And I only had eyes for him.
Still makes me cry.
Glassy, locked eyes.
After all my years of watching this moment happen, we were finally in it.  It was happening to us.  
(Too excited to pray.)
Our good pal Bill led us in worship to my favorite hymn, How Great Thou Art.  Funny story:  Back before Caleb and I were actually dating, on one of those long long phone calls, I dared Caleb to sing a song on the spot over the phone.  He said he would do it only if I yodeled first.  He was sure that would be the end of that discussion.  I turned on The Lonely Goatherd from Sound of Music, yodeled along to it while Caleb laughed in fear.  Once I was done, it was his turn to sing.  He sweetly sang "How Great Thou Art" to me.  Tears.  And. Ha.  We were too distracted to worship.
We also shared communion as part of our ceremony.  Katie, Anna and Lydia sang a joyful version of "Oh, How He Loves Us," the same song we listened to on the truck-ride where I realized Caleb liked me ;)
I loved saying our vows.  And I remember them very clearly.  One good friend told me to pray before the wedding that God would give me "special memory" of the day.  That He would help it not be a big blur, but that I would be able to reflect on and savor the little details of the day for years to come.  I am so grateful that this did come to pass - I remember the wedding, especially the ceremony, so vividly and clearly.  It was a holy moment. 
Pretty human beings.
Dad and Mama Bear.  And pretty fans.
I love this picture of the first kiss!  See Daniel on the right side with his hand in the air?  The groomsmen all let off air-horns when we kissed :) So great!
And just like after we the proposal, when I *instantly* felt engaged, I instantly felt married.  It felt different.  And better than ever. 
Photobucket
Let me tell you something about a marriage ceremony:  it changes you.  The words you speak, the one you speak to, the depth and weight of why you are saying what you say:  it's truly life-altering.  It doesn't matter how many times you hear someone else say their vows, or how many times you re-read and practice your vows, when you are standing there, before God and man, looking straight into his eyes, a beautiful, heavenly wave comes over you.  The words literally feel heavy.  They ring coming out of your mouth.  And then hearing them said to you?  Experiencing in that moment the richness of the love God has for you through this man?  Realizing that before the earth was formed, God had decided to make us to be together.  That culture, geography, heartache and past would not keep us apart.  That every marriage that led up this very second was also planned by God.  Like the genealogy of Jesus, where nothing could stop the Son of God from being born according to prophesy in Bethlehem, that same God created a family tree, a lineage, a heritage for me and my husband to enter into.  And God did it.  All those sleepless nights, numb mornings, searing pangs of hurt, lonely weeks, bad decisions, and joyful desiring really were used for our good.  The boundary lines have fallen for us in pleasant places; they've been pleasant all along.  At times I wanted my gates to be in other fields, or at times that border seemed like the most painful, disruptive addition to my life.  And, yet, there I stood, hand in hand with my dearest friend, most-trustest companion, silliest lover, and greatest-joy.  God really did it. 
Behr and Caleb have a special bond.  Tears.
Other than Caleb and I, I think Selah-the-pink-bowed-flower-girl was the most excited person at our wedding.  Talk about sharing in our joy!
Man, we can't wait to have our own little crew.  Can I take 100 of these guys, please?  Love them all so dearly.  
Time for eeaaaat!
All of our best ones!

This is my favorite picture of the day :)  
If you've ever been on Storybook Canal in Disneyland, you can't help but fall in love with the miniature landscaping, plants and villages.  That ride is my second favorite Disney ride, and our tables will slightly inspired by the colorful, storybook ride.    There was not a single centerpiece, table setting or table that was exactly the same.  It took a lot of work, but I loved the final result.  So whimsical and fairy-tale!
Photobucket




When I was 18 I nabbed about 20 pieces of milk glass for $30 at an estate sale.  Ever since I've been slowly adding to the collection.  Janet and Mom were the milk glass heroes before the wedding!  I have over 100 pieces now!  Too much!
We entered the reception to "Thank God I'm A Country Boy!"...
... and Caleb and Daniel (of Twins + Violins. Woo Rah!) whipped out their fiddles and started jamming. It was a blast.  Laughter, clapping, foot-stomping.  It was the perfect "Oklahoma" entrance, and so "my boy."
Our first dance was to "Tale as Old as Time" from Beauty and the Beast.  As soon as we started dancing thunder rolled, rain fell on the roof and a breeze sailed through the tent.  It was so romantic.
Aaaand the chocolate cake with castle and fireworks.  Thank you, Nurse Jess.  You made him the happiest man, which made me the happiest woman.  
These little tissue-paper covered mason jars were charming and wonderful.  Again, thank you mom and Aunt Pam! Thank you thank you!  The little details were so special to me.
Photobucket
Line-dancing was some kind of old fashioned fun!
Photobucket

My basketball team... I'll love you all until the day that I die.
Photobucket
Our last dance was one of my favorite moments of the night.  Daniel played "So This Is Love" on his violin while the guests circled the dance floor.  Right away we turned and ran through the sparkler tunnel.  So dreamy.  
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
And it was the sweetest day that was ever lived. 

Enjoy Project | Writing about Home

โ€œi like to see people reunited, 
i like to see people run to each other, 
i like the kissing and the crying, 
i like the impatience, 
the stories that the mouth can't tell fast enough, 
the ears that aren't big enough, 
the eyes that can't take in all of the change, 
i like the hugging, the bringing together, 
the end of missing someone.โ€ 
jonathan safran foer


I present to you, my blog friends, a paragraph or so about my man.  This very moment he is on the final leg of an 18-hour drive.  We've been apart for 492 hours.  Only six more left.  I've missed him so, I'm ready to be Home:

Photobucket
"They" say it's like "coming home."  They are right.  (If, of course, home is as wonderful to you as it is to me.)  When I picture home in my heart, flashes of kitchens, noise, fireplaces, dark nights, dad's screeching shoes (he ALWAYS has his sneakers on), mom working on homework with the little kids (or mom doing homework for the little kids), stories about the day, heating up leftovers, turning on the game or an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, and happiness.  Reels of my home's messes flicker past the screen; I know they're there and I'm okay with them.  I know the comfiest chairs and couches, the best view to the TV, dad's end of day laugh and mom's "I have a great story for you" face.  I know the smells of my house.  I love the smells of my house.  If it's nighttime, and I drive up to my home, I see silhouettes going about their life.  In their home.  When I go in, I'll hear noises of consistency, familiarity and belonging.  My eyes will trace lines of comfort.  My people are here.  My things are here.  My heart is here.  My laundry is here.  Home isn't always glowy and it's never been "perfect", but when you first say the word I think "wonderful." 


Falling in love is like coming home.  Except, instead of entering a wooden structure wrapped in insulation and shingles, you enterโ€ฆ you enterโ€ฆ a soul.  But that's not even quite right.  "They" say that too.  "Soul-mates."  But you do.  You open and unlock and sometimes fiddle with the key to a dreaming, silly, precious, real, person heart, built on a foundation made up of Life Lived Thus Far.  


When you walk inside there isn't an entry way with a floral rug, a plant and frames on the wall.  But there is small talk, eye glances and flirting.  Sitting around a real family room, besides a crispy fireplace with feet on the coffee table is the relationship equivalent of that break-through conversation where the good impressions get kicked off and knocked under the couch and you see a head-turning look into a person.  Your mind is happy and curious.  Content, lazy and sparked.  Wanting to simultaneously sit long and conquer the world.  


Soon the making dinner together, doing dishes and just wandering into the kitchen ensues.  Daily, foodie, easy togetherness.  And before you know it, you're home.  Flopping down into the strength of trust at the end of a long day.  Opening the junk closets with a "whelp. it is what it is" attitudeโ€ฆ knowing you are loved despite your mess.  Longing to just be there.   There with him.   Glints of security, coziness, laughter, easy going, delight, the blessed future, the blessed past, the blessed everything.  


I long to help him be the best man.  I'll get on my knees and scrub, and stand on ladders and drill, fold and fold and fold, and prepare and create and pour out my heart into him.  Calm his worries, spur his tomorrows, re-tell him promises of old, faithful and sure. Often times we don't even consciously know we have fears and secrets.  We don't even know whats up in the attic.  We aren't hiding it, necessarily, but it's been up there for so long we didn't even know it belonged to us anymore.  But then someone starts going through boxes.  Rearranging, pulling out old memories and unzipping your secrets.  They're in.  They know you.  He knows me. I know him. I know how our hands fit.  I know his smells - after work smell, date night smell, car ride smell.   love how he smells. I'm crazy about his strengths.  I know his messes and weaknesses.  Or at least some of them.  I will learn more someday.  And I'll still love him.  I'll love him because I trust him.  I trust that he can open my closet doors, and look under my couches, and see what is hidden and unpleasant, and get down on his hands and knees to help me.  To love me.  He isn't afraid of what I have to offer.  I'm not afraid either.  Perfect love does cast out fear and welcomes you home.

Enjoy People | My Three Sisters

โ€œwhen will you learn that there isn't a word for everything?โ€  
nicole krauss
Photobucket
Katelynn, my bunk bed buddy, my stylist, my dare devil, my "all the world is a song" sister.  She's the girl who loves everyone and everyone loves.  She is a state-champion soccer player, practically straight A student, adorable sense of humor, stunning singer, a whoa-kind-of-beautiful and a little teeny bit "dumb blonde."  But don't worry, it just make her all the more fun.  I love her.  And I'm so proud of her as she finishes up her last year of highschool.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
PhotobucketMy particular inspiration for this shoot was my favorite Grace Kelley photograph. Sigh.
Photobucket
Lauren, my baby baby girl, the bearliest bear, the wittiest, quickest, funniest person in the whole family, lover of snuggles with the prettiest blue eyes this side of the Mississippi.  She is sociable and gregarious, yet extremely sensitive and affectionate.  I love this beautiful and youngest Snyder girl.  To quote her: "Shake it, boo!"
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Shannon, my fierce athlete, who usually scores by implementing a reign of terror regime on the other team; she's fearless.  She's confident, involved.  As my dad likes to say "Must be hard to run the world, huh Shannon?" But she's also incredible with babies, children and animals.  She's responsible, gentle and truly kind.  I love my beautiful Shady.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
While they are only 15 months apart, sometimes they seem closer.  We all agree they don't look alike and that they are complete opposite personalities (not to mention have opposite interests! and giftings!).  At the same time, they are never more right and themselves then when they are enjoying each other.  I love to watch them play.  Take a little look into life with them:
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Feet, feet, feet.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
As different as they look, I love their similar "Snyder" profiles.  They, as well as Katelynn, have that perfect button nose.  Always been a little jealous of it ;)
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Laur.En's.Faaaaaace.  If you ever need someone to cheer you up, send me a line and I'll have Lauren get in touch with you.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Shannon looks so grown up and mature in these.  What a lovely lady she is.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
I've posted these images before, but I am continually inspired by the move "Like Crazy."  I finally got to use that inspiration in a shoot!
Photobucket
Photobucket


Photobucket
I hope you enjoyed the visual story of my sisters today.  Sometimes there aren't words for everything, for every day spent with people you love.  Today there are pictures; pictures of people I deeply love and enjoy.

Dre + Becca {Maryland Maternity Photography}

sail away with me honey
i put my heart in your hands
sail away with me
what will be will be
i wanna hold you now
david gray | sail away

Photobucket

My housemates, landlords, best friends, and just all-around wonderful Kless' wanted to get some pictures taken of these last few weeks (or days?) before we meet Little Man.  Though Dre made quite a mockery of my profession, we managed to have a great time ;)  I love every single member of this little family!  I just can't wait to meet all of them ;)
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
 Dre's mocking laughter.  Followed by Becca's loving correction.  Good job Becs.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket

Up next in the Baby Kless saga is his nursery reveal ;)  And then hopefully pictures of the day he is born!  

The Smart Family {Family Portraits}

he's gonna act like he can't wait to leave
but as he drives out, he'll cry his eyes out
if he's anything like me.
there's worse folks to be like
aw, he'll be alright if he's anything like me

brad paisley | anything like me
Photobucket
It's "family portrait" time of year.
I haven't shot a family since last year.
And I've done me some thinking.
Portrait: A verbal picture or description, especially of a person or people.
A verbal picture.
Description.
Of a person.
Of people.
A description of people.

Sometimes I see very pretty pictures, of very pretty people.  There are family and children photographers who are much more gifted then I am.  They just know what they are doing and nail it.  I've realized, though, that, just like in weddings, you can take lovely photographs that don't tell you a single.darn.thing about the subject.  I've often shot families like I'm shooting for a Gymboree ad.  I know the type of image I'm looking for and I try to make my mini subjects pose and smile and sit the way I think they should.

But, just like no two couples are the same, no two families are the same.
Neil and Jessica are relaxed, happy, opinionated, active, talented and loving in their own way.
Their children (and, man alive, their children's personalities) are striking, funny, dynamic and full of life in unparalleled fashion.  So I would like you to meet them.  I want to describe them to you. 
Enjoy these portraits.

Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
PhotobucketPhotobucket
PhotobucketPhotobucket Photobucket




Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Neil doesn't get told what to do.  He is smart and strong and a man.  But he does not care what other people think about him.  Kind of a "live your life, take care of your business" vibe.   He is committed to his wife, committed to providing for her.  Not because "so-and-so" says that is what you are supposed to do.  Because he knows that's what men do.  Man up, step up and live.  He's one of those dads that changes diapers, ends fights with a single look, chases kids and yells right with them and is connected to his family.

Jessica is very sweet.  She reminds me of friends from California (and not just because she has blonde hair and blue eyes ;) haha).  Chill, kick back, do what you love, love what you do, laugh and enjoy.  She works - don't get me wrong - she works.  But her attitude is so elegant.  I don't think I've ever seen a whiny Facebook status from her.  Lots of happiness, heart and love.  She doesn't complain.  Her children really are some of her best friends. 

These two are so great at shoots. They play with their children, just like they do at home.  They don't fuss with fixing hair while I'm trying to shoot, or constantly calling their kids names.  It's as crazy yet normal, loud yet peaceful to shoot them as it is to sit in their living room.

Nyah is a talkative, colorful, helpful little girl who also is going on 18 ;)  She reminds me of Neil. 
Ryder is a creative kid.  He's usually some kind of creature when I see him.  He obviously looks up to Nyah SO much, but loves to push her buttons.
Kylan has some spunk.  He has places to go, things to do and not being able to walk is really slowing him down, folks.  He's very curious and aware.

This shoot was filled with shrieking, tickling, running, growling, laughing and convincing Nyah it was okay to sit in the grass.
I hope you enjoyed meeting the Smarts.


Benjamin + Jacqueline {Frederick Engagement Shoot}





"i don't like you
but I love you
seems that I'm always
thinking of you"
she + him | really got a hold of me

Photobucket
Her dad told told her "You can't buy a house together until you are engaged."
(seems fair.)
Photobucket
Benjamin brought up dozens of house listings to their shared 500-square-foot studio apartment,
laid them across the floor, paced the room, waiting for his "gris" to come home.
Photobucket
It had been a terrible day at work.
She was emotional.
She was late.
She was sitting in her car venting to a friend for half an hour.
  Benjamin kept peaking out the window.
Come on, Jac, seriously, hurry hurry!
Photobucket
Once she finally came in, she found her steady rock, sitting cross-legged
(an inside joke of theirs: no down on one knee, but down Indian-style)
in a room full of home-listings,
one of which would probably be their own,
with a ring and a question.
Photobucket
She lost it.
Photobucket
Screams and "YES!" and tears and happiness unwrapped themselves from her heart.
They enjoyed their moment and also enjoyed the cozy dinner with Jacqueline's dearest friends and family, that Benjamin had all ready and waiting for her.
Photobucket
When I first started shooting, I was told that these two have special nicknames.
Nicknames they are known for.
Aggy.
And Gris (short for "grisly." Like a grisly bear.)
Gris and Aggy.
Ha-aaaaaawesome!
Photobucket
They told me that they weren't really touch-y-feel-y.
They told me they were both very strong personalities
(she on the high-strung side, he on the quiet side.)
They told me Benjamin didn't smile big,
and that Jacqueline didn't stop talking.
Photobucket
I asked them what they loved about each other.

Jacqueline, standing with one hand on her hip, and the other flipping back and forth,
talking along with her mouth said,
"Ohhh, he's the ying to my yang.  He's the voice of reason. He's dependable and loves me.
He's so steady and calm.  He calms me down.  He's the perfect balance for me."
Photobucket
He shared his thoughts,
"She makes me a better man."

Jac cracked up, and slid her hand down his arm,
"Hahah he's a man of few words!"
She was beaming.
His eyes smiled her direction.
Photobucket
These two met in 2000... and she was still in highschool ;)
There was no way she was gonna date one of "those" older restaurant guys.
(She was a hostess, he was a server.)
But over the years they kept in touch,
and four years ago they started dating.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Between long-distance-where-they-flew-from-Maryland-to-Atlanta-every-weekend-for-a-year,
busy work schedules and commutes,
tiny living quarters,
deep, soul-piercing conversations,
healing and growth,
they fell in love.
Photobucket
And I don't care if they "aren't touch-y feel-y."
I don't care if they are super tough with rock hard exteriors.
Photobucket
You can't hide what they have.
The mutual respect, the love, the care they have for each other shines.
Photobucket
(first blurry pic of the post. love it.)
Photobucket
They don't just love each other,
they are deeply in love.
In their own special way.
Photobucket
(By the way, Benjamin does too smile!)
Photobucket
The feeling that you get when you are with them is that they really know each other.
They know each other's strengths and weaknesses,
and they love each other in spite of it.
And they also understand how rare and precious what they have is.
Photobucket

Photobucket
(second blurry picture of the post! love iiiiiiit too!)
Photobucket
I truly had a blast with them.
And I think they ended up with someone of my most giggly, touchy pictures I've ever taken.
Photobucket
Seriously?! Seriously.
Photobucket
They are a dreaaaam.
Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket
I cannot wait for your wedding and all your BRILLIANT plans :D
It's gonna be fun times!
Photobucket
Much love,
Kristen

Ron + Lauren {Shade Tree and Evergreen Wedding}

and if you saw my Love
you'd love her too.
  i love her.
the beatles | and i love her
Photobucket
The weather forecast for May 15 was rainy, cloudy and scattered thunderstorms.
The weather forecast for May 13, 14 and 16 was also rainy, cloudy and thunder-y.
I know, because I was checking.
Photobucket
I knew Lauren's wedding was going to be at the lovely outdoor venue,
Shade Tree and Evergreen,
and we had been having some REALLY strong rain.
And the predicted forecast was no help.
It wasn't a cloud with a little sun in the corner.
No, it was a cloud with rain and lightning under it.
Please, Lord, help the rain wait.
At least for the ceremony.

Photobucket
By the time I arrived at the wedding to see the bride-to-be
(and past brides Elise, Pami and Other Lauren!)
I had totally forgot about the weather.
I was having too much fun chatting with all the girls,
who are also great friends.
Photobucket
Who are also very tiny.
Photobucket
We laughed about Godspell music, Other-Lauren's clumsiness and Pami's excitement about mimosa's.
Photobucket
Everyone hugged and teared and squealed.
Photobucket
We all forgot about the weather.
Because we were just so happy.
Photobucket
(ps. Lauren carried her grandfather's key on her flowers,
and wore her grandmother's jewelry.
I love details like that.
I also love that I definitely wrote "flowers" instead of "bouquet" because it's too hard to spell.)
Photobucket
Lauren and her bestbestbest friends walked around with me in the cloudy humidity,
genuinely enjoying the day with Lauren.
Photobucket
And while I've always thought Lauren was beautiful,
she - as most brides are - was especially radiant on this day.
She was classic, elegant and oh-so-herself.
Stunning.
Photobucket
Photobucket
In their engagement shoot post,
I mentioned how Bride Lauren is best friends with Other Lauren.
Other Lauren is married to Paul.
Paul is Groom Ron's best friend.
So the married couple were their besties maid of honor and best man.
PHEW.
Photobucket
All day long I found it especially sweet how excited Other Lauren was for her friend.
It was almost like she was getting married herself!
Such a sweet friendship.
Photobucket
I also have to give a big shout-out to the girls for their details!
Y'all are styyyyylin!
Photobucket
Photobucket
I just had to take a few more of the bride.
She was too camera-tasty not to ;)
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Then wedding-witching-hour was upon us.
You know that restless chunk of time?
Pictures are done,
everything is ready,
guests are arriving,
and you just have to waaaaaaait.
Photobucket
And waaaaaaaaaait.
Photobucket
Aaaaaand wait.
(ps. This is Groom Ron with his best man, Paul,
Other Laurens husband.
You following this?
Phew.)
Photobucket
I think that period of time is the longest part of the wedding day for me, too.
But good things in life are worth the wait ;)
Photobucket
And eventually ceremony time always comes.
Photobucket
In the meantime, I got to take lots more detail pictures.
Lauren and Ron had some EXCEPTIONAL details.
Photobucket
(I'm going to eat those baby's with a spoon.)
Photobucket
Classy, classy, classy.
Photobucket
BOOM!
It's gametime!
BOOM!
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
I didn't even realize it until this very moment,
as the music built
(so important to have a good song for your entrance, brides.
Makes a world of difference.)
Ron quivered on the brink of tears,
and Lauren was escorted by her dad,
that the weather was PERfect.
Photobucket
I was ready for some Wizard of Oz storm weather, folks.
Photobucket
And we ended up with Paradise Falls Silk Happiness from Dreams weather.
Photobucket
I got chills, even in the sunny warmth.
What an almost sickeningly perfect wedding.
Photobucket
And what a happy, happy, happy bride.
And blessed, blessed, blessed groom ;)
Photobucket
Though I don't think I'd do it myself,
I have such incredible respect for couples who save their first kiss until they are married.
It's a very honor-filled moment to be able to take that picture.
Their very first.
Ever.
Wow.
Photobucket
Um, hello.
This might be my favorite from the day.
Photobucket
Awwwwwww. They lub each other vury vury much.
Photobucket
Mmmmm,
keeeesing eees niiise.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Lauren ans I were in an little group of girls from church who met monthly,
and I remember the first time she brought up Ron to us.
Photobucket
Photobucket
We sat at Starbucks and this usually very poised, demure woman
talked about Ron like a carefree, bubbly little girl.
I remember being like "Huuuuh..." ;)
Photobucket
At that time Ron had only begun to change her life,
and to turn it upside down with his kindness, care and heart.
But, oh, how fun it was.
Photobucket
Lauren later told me how her mom would rave about Lauren's dad.
"He is such a kind man."
And her mother gave her some wise mom-advice
"Marry someone who is kind to you."
Photobucket
Before I had even heard that story,
I would have described Ron as kind.
Though I only had heard and seen bits of him,
he just seemed so nice.
Unassuming, humble, sweet.
Photobucket
No wonder Lauren fell wildly in love with him.
Photobucket
This Nicholas Sparks quote from The Guardian reminds me of them:
"Oh, he'll never let you down.
That boy's got a heart the size of Kentucky, and he loves you.
That's important.
Take it from someone who knows."
Photobucket
"God forbid, anything ever happened to me,
I don't think he'll be able to go on.
And that guy would risk his life for mine in a heartbeat."
Photobucket
In a world of entertainment,
pomp,
extravegance
and selfishness,
I couldn't help but be so moved by Ron and Lauren's simple, deep love.
Photobucket
They give to each other freely,
the love each other truly
and they have waited for each other patiently.
Photobucket
I could have spent much more time shooting them,
but with the impending storm clouds, we had to scoot.
After all we went from this:
Photobucket
To this:
Photobucket
in a matter of minutes ;)

But it was okay, because guests were ready,
decor was perfect
and it was time to par-tay!
(under the pavilion-covering, of course.
Because it was pouring.)
Photobucket
Photobucket
I don't even need to caption these.
They just speak for themselves.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
(So symbolic.
They met at a wine-tasting.
Loooove.)
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
As the rained poured and poured...
Photobucket
...and poured
(just like the little cloudy forecast said)...
Photobucket
There was a major celebration going on under the safety of the old greenhouse!
Photobucket
It was wonderfully joyful.
Photobucket
I love these two shots of the best friends.
What an awesome story they have!
I love the work of God's hands and the stories from God's mind.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Seriously,
Other Lauren was just the sweetest maid-of-honor of life. Photobucket
Photobucket
Perfect.
(I've used that word a lot in this post...)
Photobucket
Photobucket
Nothing beats ridicuously happy people.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Well, maybe ridicuously in-love people.
But those sorts of people are always ridiculously happy.
Photobucket"Youโ€™re always gonna love me like nobodyโ€™s loved me,
Come rain or come shine.
Happy together, unhappy together,
And wonโ€™t it be fine?

Iโ€™m with you rain or shine,"