A new chapter

Emotional, sentimental, sappy post alert….

Today we leave our first home. This little house has been so perfect for us and today we leave it behind and move our family to Roswell, GA. We bought this place 4 years ago and our lives have changed in ways we couldn’t have even dreamed of since that day we moved in. This is a day I never thought would come so soon…and I never imagined we would be moving to GA to buy my grandparents’ old home. When I say this I know all parents will understand… we brought our babies home to this house. Just that alone makes me so sad to leave this place. We built our family in this little house. It makes me sad to know that Davis and Charlie won’t even remember this place and it holds such incredible memories for Dusty and I.

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And so we take this giant leap of faith despite the fear and the sadness that comes along with leaving this place and some of the people that mean the most to us.

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Despite the unknown. Despite knowing that some people think we’re a little bit crazy. Despite the fear. Despite all those things…we take a giant leap of faith to Roswell, GA and we buy my grandparents’ house. It is sure to be a great adventure. 🙂 We can’t wait to build our new life there! Goodbye little house…

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Big Announcement – We’re moving to Roswell, GA!

Hey friends! We have some major news- we’re moving to Roswell, GA! What?! Yes, we’ll be moving this business…again. Here is the story…

You know those crazy hard, life-altering, major decisions that cause you to lose sleep, shed tears and talk endlessly through the pros and cons?? Yeah, this was one of those decisions. One that we didn’t come to easily but something that we feel in our gut is the right decision for our family. Around memorial day we were talking with Leslie’s mom about how the family was about to sell our grandfather’s house in Roswell, GA. (Charlie is named after him). He passed away in November and my mom and aunts have been cleaning the house out for months getting it ready to sell. It wasn’t until they told us it was about to go on the market that the words flew out of my mouth…’I wish we could buy it.’

Wait. What?!

It seemed crazy in so many ways… but mostly crazy in a this is supposed to happen way. It was never our plan. It was never on our radar, yet, there we were in the car at 4am one morning driving there to walk through it and see it and see how we felt as we walked through it. It’s one thing to always love a neighborhood and house that’s meant so much to your family but another thing to actually walk through it and decide if it’s meant to be yours. A resounding yes. I can’t quite describe the feeling of standing in front of my grandparents old house and visualizing our boys running around in the front yard and them actually growing up in this house. I (Leslie) grew up in Alpharetta so it’s very exciting to think about coming back to my hometown. I can just hear my sweet Papa laughing right now– he thinks this is the greatest thing. And it’s such an honor to be able to carry on his traditions and legacy. The house needs some work and we’ve already gotten started with some major updates. It’s going to be so fun to make this place our own!

There’s obviously so much to this story and so many very hard conversations were had with our family and friends here. It’s been rough telling people we’re leaving. It felt like we were doing something wrong to our family and friends but in the end it was a decision we had to make for our little family of four. We’re so excited for this next adventure but we would be lying if we said we weren’t also scared. It’s hard leaving our friends and family here but we know all of those relationships will remain close and we’re not that far away! At the same time, we’ll be closer to some family & friends so that’s very exciting!

So, what does that mean for Leslie & Dusty Photography?

We’ll be moving our photography business again. And while that is a TON of work, we’re really excited for the challenge and for the chance to shift our focus a bit. We’ve been feeling in our hearts for a while that it was time for us to focus a little more on families and newborns and to really limit the number of weddings we’re taking on. Don’t get us wrong…we’ve loved shooting weddings and while we’ll still continue to do them, we’re going to try to grow our newborn and family business. With these two boys at home, it just makes more sense for us to focus on family and baby photography for the time being. We may pick up more weddings in a few years. So…if you live in the Atlanta area we’ll be in your neighborhood and can’t wait to take pictures of your family! Tell your friends!! We will be there just in time for family pictures in the Fall.

Of course, we’ll be back a bunch in September & October for some weddings and family sessions we have booked here in Nashville.

Thank you to all of the wonderful people we’ve worked with in Nashville! There have been so many kind vendors that welcomed us with open arms 4 years ago and referred us. We can’t thank you enough! The photography community here has been amazing and we hope it’s the same in GA. Thank you to all the incredible clients we’ve had the opportunity to serve here & thank you for trusting us to document your celebrations!

We’re closing on our house here on August 10th so we’ll be moving sometime around then. We’ll keep you all posted! We’ll leave you with a picture of our new home…

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Introducing Charlie Morgan Walker!

Happy Friday friends! We have been very busy around here 🙂

Introducing…our new addition Mr. Charlie Morgan Walker:

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Our sweet baby boy arrived on April 2nd at 12:26pm weighing a healthy 8lbs 10oz and 20in long. He is named after two very special men who have left us but would both be so proud to know his name. Charlie was my grandfather who passed away in November and Morgan was my dad’s middle name (and is also mine). We are so in love with this little guy- and still in shock he is a boy! We didn’t find out the gender with both of our boys and it has been so much fun. We all pretty much thought this one was going to be a girl though. Little Charlie is doing great and adjusting well to our loud house with a 3 year old and barking miniature dachshund. 😉 Big Brother Davis is doing fantastic. He mostly ignores Charlie and lives in his own little world full of trains, snacks and playing outside…but when he does pay attention to Charlie is very sweet. He says ‘It’s ok Chaawie’ very sweetly when he cries and loves to tell me to change Charlie’s diaper so he’ll stop crying.

We are just loving this season in our lives- as crazy as it is. This mama is going to need many girls nights with all these boys around 😉

My mom came in town about a week before Charlie was born and we spent the time cleaning, getting the house ready and doing a lot of waiting….and more waiting for his arrival. And when the day came he was here SO quick. It was such a special day with all of our friends and family celebrating. And they were literally celebrating– the weather turned out nice enough that our family and friends set up a tailgate outside the hospital. Haha. 🙂

We’ve spent the past 2 weeks getting settled as a family of 4 and taking many many pictures…as I’m sure you can imagine. We already have so many pictures we need to go through. Here are some of our favorites:

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Happy New Year!

Hey there everyone! We are finally crawling out of our much needed break and so very excited for this brand new year. We have A TON to share with you in the next few weeks. Admittedly, somewhere around June of last year we had to put blog posts on the backburner. We focussed our time and efforts on the fabulous weddings and portraits we were shooting and business related to-dos all while trying our hardest to maintain our family life and not stick our kid in front of the TV all day 😉 Anyone who thinks photographers just show up and take a few pictures is very mistaken! 😉

With that said, we’re going to do some back to back blogging to share some of our work from last year. We’re very excited to finally share the stories and pictures from the amazing people who allowed us into their lives last year. And then…we’ll move on to 2015! We are gearing up for an incredible year around here– shooting one more wedding in a couple of weeks and then a few more family sessions. Around the middle of March we’ll be taking some time off for Baby Walker #2’s arrival and will not be shooting again until May. But then it will all pick back up as we get back into wedding season and many, many family and newborn sessions.

To kick things off, we’re going to share a little of our past few weeks as a family 🙂 We finished editing all of our remaining weddings and family pictures around the beginning of December and promptly declared ourselves to be on Christmas vacation. It was so nice to spend time with family, rest, travel, shop and create some awesome Christmas memories for our little guy. Davis was very into things this year which made it SO much fun!

He really loved helping us decorate the tree this year & was actually very serious about it:

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It was so nice to have all our work done so we could take the time to do fun things like make cookies:

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We traveled to Atlanta to be with Leslie’s family the weekend before Christmas. It was a bittersweet Christmas for us as we just lost our sweet Papa right before Thanksgiving. He was the heart and soul of our family so it made for a very different Christmas party this year, but we all gathered and made sure to continue the tradition he started 66 years ago — it’s called the Grab Box. All the kids take turns pulling little presents out and it’s so much fun. Davis was very serious about it and loved every little thing he got- tons of light up things, coloring books and candy canes. It was hard watching the kids do the grab box there without Papa but I know he was watching us and so happy.

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We came back to Nashville and spent a quiet Christmas at home- our last one as the 3 of us. It was perfect. Made cookies for Santa and watched Davis play with the 1987 trains he got for Christmas 🙂 Totally perfect.

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A small announcement…

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Yup. We’re having ANOTHER baby!! 🙂 Yay! We’re so excited to add another little munchkin to our family. Davis is (hopefully) going to be a great big brother! It’s nice to finally be able to ‘announce’ this very fun news. We can’t lie though- it’s been a rough few weeks for this prego. I definitely didn’t feel this bad with Davis and with so many weddings, sessions and work to get through it’s been a crazy couple of months. We’ve powered through though– with MUCH help from Dusty, our family, coca cola classic (yes, I’m drinking caffeine), Chick-fil-A & unfortunately LOTS of TV for Davis. But we’re doing great now & excited for things to come! We’re feeling very thankful we get to go on this crazy ride all over again. I just keep looking at Davis and thinking about how BIG he is…and just can’t imagine another little newborn in my arms. It’s going to be fun and crazy and amazing.

We’re still not sure yet if we’re finding out the sex of the baby. We didn’t with Davis and it was THE greatest surprise of our lives. We just might do it again. 🙂

Also— it will be business as usual around here until about March of next year through May. Of course as luck would have it– ALL of our wedding inquiries lately have been for March & April. Can someone get married in June? 😉

Thanks for sharing in our excitement!!

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We’re back!!

Hey friends!

WOW. What a trip. There really aren’t words to describe what we just experienced. Do you know how beautiful our country is??!?! California is just unbelievably beautiful in SO many ways. We had such a great trip and we’re quite sad that it’s over but also quite happy to be back home with our sweet boy (we missed him like crazy being gone 10 days!!!). Just wanted to give you a little peek at a few of our pictures. Our cameras nearly exploded from all the pictures we took 😉 We can’t wait to get these printed and have them all over our house! Thank you to our clients for being patient with us while we enjoyed a little break!

It’s been nice having a few months of a little ‘down time’ with a few sessions here and there….mostly maternity & newborns – which has been so fun(!)…but wedding season is upon us. In 3 weeks we’ll shoot our first wedding of the year! We’re very excited for all that we have booked this year. Once the craziness begins… we don’t slow down until November. Should be tons of fun so stayed tuned for a lot more on the blog!

We’ll do a full recap of our trip soon. I’ve had many people ask where we went, what we felt we did right, what we would have changed, must see places, etc. I think we’ll do a full breakdown of that soon! In the mean time…

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California dreamin…

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Hello friends! Can’t believe this day is finally here! Dusty and I are leaving today for the trip of a lifetime! We’re headed to California to celebrate my big 3-0 and our anniversary! We’ve been talking about, dreaming about, planning, researching and just can’t believe this trip is really happening!

Stay tuned for tons of pictures when we get back! In the mean time, if you want to torture yourself by following us on instagram to see all the fun we’re having… join us! You can follow Leslie at @LeslieMWalker.

Cheers!

L&D

Lessons from my dad’s passing

Forgive me for the heavy post but there are some things that must be said… we’ll get back to babies and weddings next week- we promise 🙂

It’s been two weeks since my dad passed away and undoubtedly the longest two weeks of my life. We’re back in Nashville after a week spent in Atlanta. We packed up the car first thing on Friday Sept. 20th after receiving a phone call Thursday night that my dad was in the hosptial with a very bad case of pneumonia. I spoke with the nurse and she explained to me his condition in a 30 minute phone call. I’ll never forget how patient she was as I asked questions. I needed to know everything. She very seriously said ‘Leslie, your dad is very, very ill’ and I knew then that we needed to get to Atlanta as soon as possible.

After everything that has happened, I feel the need to write and write some more. I have so many things I need to say and so many lessons have been learned in such a short period of time.

My dad went into the hospital on Thursday September 19th around 11:00 a.m. and by Saturday night shortly after midnight he was gone.

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In order to somewhat understand what I went through in that week, you’ll need to know a few things…

I am my dad’s only child. During my childhood we certainly had our share of hard times but for the most part from the time I was born until right after I graduated high school our lives were full of great memories. He was at every cheerleading competition to cheer me on and was constantly behind the camera documenting every minute. He was very involved in my life. My love for photography is directly tied to my dad. He documented my every move as a child. I can’t thank him enough for that. When my parents divorced, he did everything he could to create memories with me- took me deep sea fishing, to Washington D.C. and Charleston, whisked me away to New York for a weekend to see a concert. He was spontaneous and loving. When I went off to college, I imagine it was very difficult for him to not have me around to keep him busy. Without going into too much detail, we went through almost 12 years of not having a very close relationship. There were many, many disappointments and a lot of heartache.

 The grief. The guilt.

For those that know me and knew my dad– I won’t sugar coat it to say we had a perfect relationship because it was far from it. We went through some really terrible times together and more recently it was a painful, confusing time. A lot of those feelings are what make it so hard in his passing. He only held Davis twice. Once – a couple of days after he was born and again this past Christmas.

It’s pretty scary to me how easy it was for me to cover all the good memories with the bad ones. Unfortunately in the past couple of years, the hard times overshadowed the good times. Now that I’m focusing on the good times- I’m remembering so many things I had forgotten. What a blessing that is!

God gives us lessons in everything.

I’ve been feeling this overwhelming sense of change in my heart. The past week has taught me to focus on the lessons, the good times, the memories and the love. In the midst of a time when it’s so easy to focus on the hurt, the fear, the guilt, the bad times and the grief… I choose to focus on the opposite. But make no mistake about it…it’s a choice.

It comes in waves. The pain creeps up through my stomach, makes me dizzy and nauseous. And then it subsides and I remember something great…like riding on my dad’s shoulders in Disney World and him teaching me to drive in his Suburban.

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The greatest lesson so far…

Life is too short. How many times have you said this? I know I have. We say it…but do we act on this belief? I know for me, in the past year I’ve been feeling some tugs on my heart to repair things with my dad. And I never got around to it. I let the pain control my heart. And I’m here to tell you- that’s no place to live. We are truly not gauranteed tomorrow. I should have listened to the feelings I had on my heart and I should have acted. I should have swallowed my pride. I have much to learn about forgiveness. And one thing I’m learning, is that even after he’s passed, I’m still working on forgiving him. And I’m also working on the part where I forgive myself. Forgiveness doesn’t happen over night.

I will never get the chance to pick up the phone and call a truce with my dad. I will never get to tell him that I love him. He will never hold Davis again. These are the thoughts my mind can’t quite comprehend right now.

I just know it will take time to heal. I like to think my dad is in heaven and watching me work through these really hard, confusing feelings. Sometimes it feels like he’s saying ‘I know. I know. And it’s ok’

I like to think that every time I am behind the camera documenting someone’s life he’ll be up there so proud that he influenced me in that way. As I spent hours going through pictures last week to display at his memorial service, I was reminded yet again why I take pictures. It is a priceless thing to hold a printed picture of something that happened so long ago. Those memories of my dad and I deep sea fishing — of him holding me on his shoulders at Disney World– are forever written on a photograph that I can hold and touch and look at for the rest of my life. There is nothing better than that.

So Dad, if you can hear me… I love you and I’m sorry.

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Friday Favorite | Our 5 year anniversary!

Happy Friday everyone!

5 years ago today I married the love of my life 🙂 I can’t believe that was 5 years ago. Time has certainly flown by! It’s so fun to look back on that day and think about all that has happened in our lives since the day we got married. A fun 4 years of living in Charleston, a big move to Nashville, buying a house, being pregnant, a baby boy, a business together. Wow. We are so blessed. I just can’t imagine what the next 5 years will be like.

Dusty, thank you for being the most amazing husband. Your support and encouragement the past 5 years led us in a direction I never could have imagined. We run a business together. 🙂

And wow…. I never could have imagined the love I would have for this little boy and how he would change our hearts. Watching you as a dad has made me so incredibly proud and so excited for Davis that he has such a wonderful daddy. I love our little family!

Thank you for everything you do for us, for taking care of us and for making us laugh every single day. I love you!

x0,

Les

 

Now that we’re wedding photographers- it makes it even more incredible for us to look back on these pictures. When I look at these pictures I see a celebration. I see lots of laughter. It makes me so very happy to look at these incredible pictures of our day and remember how that day felt. Celebrating life is obviously at the core of who we are as individuals and as a couple. We are two people who truly celebrate our moments and memories together. My hope for us in the next 5, 10, 50 years is that we always have that attitude. That we instill in our children the ability to stop and smell the roses. As cliche as that sounds, it’s so true.

A look back at our wedding day. Photos by Climie & Co.

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Check out my flip phone 😉 haha!

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Yes, this happened right before we left for pictures. I love my friends. Please look at me in the background running away haha.

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