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Hydro Circle with Leon the Sea Lion
Hydro Circle with Leon the Sea Lion

When I was 9 years old, I decided that when I grew up, I was going to be a marine biologist and work with dolphins! Where that idea came from, I have no idea. It was either from a book, or (more likely) watching “The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley: The Case of the Sea World Adventure” at a friend’s house! Don’t judge, the Mary-Kate and Ashley movies were super cool back in the day! From there, my dream evolved and I KNEW I was going to be a dolphin trainer at SeaWorld, and every decision I made from that point had that goal and dream in mind. Jobs, extra-curricular activities, the classes I took in college, even the guys I dated depended to some extent on my dolphin trainer goal!

In 2016, after 20 hard years of work and dedication and focus on that singular goal, my dream became reality! I became a dolphin trainer at SeaWorld! Oh. Em. Gee. Y’all. You can’t even imagine how excited I was, how much screaming and embarrassing dancing I did when I got that phone call! Worth all the funny looks I got, believe me! I was even more excited when, 3 short weeks later, I found out that my husband and I were expecting our first baby! Dreams were coming true left and right. 

After my daughter was born, I discovered all the wonderful parts of being a mommy: those chubby cheeks! Those beautiful eyes that slowly learn how to focus on you! Those widdle bitty baby toes! The first smile! The sleepless nights where it’s you and your baby, frozen in time!

Then my maternity leave ended, and I discovered all the fun parts of being a working mom with an infant: The sleep deprivation that you can’t nap away anymore. Pumping. All. The. Time. Having to leave your sleeping baby at 5:00 IN THE MORNING to go to work defrosting 3,000 pounds of fish. (Okay, that one may be outside the norm for most working moms.) Getting home at 10:00 after the baby goes to bed, and having to get up again 6 hours later, without seeing her, other than for 10 minutes of nursing at 2:00 am. Feeling your heart break every time you leave your helpless infant with strangers, and hearing her cries follow you down the daycare hallway.

My husband had a health scare that required him to stay in the hospital for 4 days. His dad came down and stayed with him in the hospital, and his mom came and stayed with Sadie for those 4 days because I didn’t have any PTO left, thanks to maternity leave.  After that crisis of health, faith, and sanity, we decided it was better for us that we be closer to family. That it would be better for me to have a job that gave me more time with the most important thing in my life – my family. These two people were more important than my lifelong goal. More important than SeaWorld. More.

To quote Flynn Ryder, “You were my new dream.” 

With that in mind, we moved back to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, and I started pursuing my new career dream and goal – photography! I discovered that my experience training animals made me uniquely qualified to handle kids at family sessions! (Mine is awful. Talk about Photographer’s Kid Syndrome!) 

I discovered that posing couples in ways that helped them remember why they fell in love in the first place was my jam! (Do the kids still say “my jam”?)

I’m discovering the joy and love you get to see behind the scenes at weddings! 

I’m falling in love with the tiny, breathtakingly rare moments that you get to share with a bride and groom on their wedding day!  When two harried and stressed people on the most important day of their lives, get to take a private breath together, and draw strength from each other for two dreamlike minutes at their first look. 

I’m falling in love with the crazy adventure that is a photographer’s life, and I’m falling in love with weddings that are such an amazing reminder of the love I share with my own husband! 

I’m falling in love with love all over again…join me, won’t you?

Saying Goodbye to Yoyo the Dolphin
Saying goodbye to Yoyo
Han the Sea Lion Sea World
Saying goodbye to Han – the HANdsomest Sea Lion
Kissing Rescue Dolphin
Kissing Ali Goodbye
Meeting Lewis the Otter – Sadie meeting Wonton the Otter
seaworld trainer promotion day
Promotion Day – officially Trainer Level!
Sea Lion Show
The sweetest little girl telling me I did a great job, and she wanted to be me! Hanging out with Han one last time!
digit the sea lion, sea lion show
Digit with the pretty eyes! Last show with the best crew!
Hugging Sea Lion, Sea Lion and Family
Looking at my past with Moose…and my future with my family!
Saying Goodbye to Digit the Sea Lion
Saying Goodbye to Digit