Baby Steps

Sometimes there are people who come into your lives and even though they aren’t family they feel like family. This is the case with the Flagler family.

Here is the family dynamics:

  • Michael (dad)
  • Donna (mom)
  • Matt (son)
  • Angie (daughter in law)
  • Marissa (daughter of Matt & Angie)
  • Mel (daughter)
  • David (son in law)

It started when Matt and Angie hired me to take their photos for their weddings in the Bahamas. We hit it off instantly and they treated us like family even though we had just met for the first time.


boat water

They became my Dallas family. During the holidays I would go to their house when I didn’t go to Kansas. They always welcomed me open arms to all the family events.

One day when I was at Matt & Angie’s for a pool party, I asked Angie to try my drink. She said she couldn’t. I blurted out “Are you preggers?” the biggest smile came over her face and sure enough. I couldn’t be more happy because Angie was told she wasn’t able to have a baby.


I got a call from David about doing photos of the engagement to Mel. How amazing is that? The proposal was at a movie theater that Mel thought she was going to see a movie having no idea what she was really going for….

proposal1 proposal2 proposal3 proposal4 proposal5

Of course we did engagement photos:

eng1 eng2 eng3

Next up… Matt & Angie’s maternity photos

maternity2baby bump maternity

I can’t believe a year ago TODAY I was at the hospital waiting for a bundle of joy to arrive.



I was one of the first people to lay eyes on this precious little girl and she won my heart instantly.


grandma dad b&w aunt mel

The text says “Marissa is here 12:38pm, 6 pounds 11 ounces”



A few days later, I went to their house and did a newborn session:

baby feet newborn

Mel and David got hitched earlier this year….

wedding two


The family in order (Angie, Matt (w/Marissa), Mel, David, Donna, Mike)

family family3


Today is Marissa’s birthday. The last time I saw her was September in Dallas when we went to dinner together at a wine bar. I will miss her 1 year birthday party which is Saturday. I was looking back at pictures and here are the photos over the last year.

December 13, 2012


March 2012


April 2012 after Sean’s memorial service



May 2012 Memorial Day

memorial day

July 15th at Taste of Dallas

food fest

After Dark in Kansas City Sept 2012


Yesterday Angie sent me a video of Marissa walking. The last time I saw her she was taking a step and that was it. I have watched this video over and over and can’t help but to giggle every time I see it:

Here are my thoughts on all of that:

Family doesn’t have to mean blood. Here is a family that just 3 years ago we were strangers and now I have been a part of their lives and on some of the biggest days. In those 3 years I have been through a lot also and they are always there for me. I feel so blessed that this family has become so dear to me. My heart is full of gratitude and love because of families who have let me be such an intimate part of their lives. I am forever blessed to have shared in those moments with the Flagler family. Here is a message for Marissa on her birthday:


You turn 1 today and what a year it has been. As I reflect on the day you were born it is hard to believe how much growth has taken place. Since you have been born, watching you grow has brought me pure joy. To me you are a symbol of real happiness. My heart is filled with joy that you are a part of my life.

As I watch the video of you walking up and down the steps I share in the joy of those moments even though I am not there. Thank you for reminding me to take things a step at a time and to be proud of even the smallest accomplishments, even if they are just baby steps.

Happy first birthday little one.

I love you to the moon and back sweet baby Marissa.

(Aunt) Sherese

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