Balcerovich/Merritt Family Session

“Time spent with family, is worth every second.”

This family is near and dear to my heart!

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I have known Kim since high school, which means I have known her family for quite some time! Jim and Connie got married when we were seniors and they are super cute together! Jim is such a jokester, and always lightens the mood! I could never be upset around him because he would always say something funny and it would immediately make me laugh. As long as I have known Kim, Jim has always treated me like a daughter! Unlike Jim, I have only recently gotten to know Connie as well. She has seen my kiddos grow up occasionally at different events. She is so kind and loving…Jim is a lucky man!

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Travis is Connie’s brother and is extremely nice! He made some super fun facial expressions and has the heart of a child. He is truly one in a million.


This cute little family has done lots of moving and is on their way back to Okinawa for another year. After that we will see where the military sends them next!


Kim and Jonny started dating when we were in highs school, and have now been together for 13 years! I have had the privilege to not only see them grow as a couple, but to see their little family grow as well!

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Grace is just adorable and has so much sass. She was awesome at helping me pick locations, when I would ask, and when I asked her what she wanted to do she always had the answer! She was like my little assistant. I might have to hire her to go on shoots with me!


This is one of my favorite pictures of the shoot! Grace was hiding her face, and counting in the background when I asked Jonny to kiss Kim… Grace is so adorable! Normally I will stage this but this was all Grace…it worked out perfectly, don’t you think?

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Grace loves her grandpa so much…its a shame they don’t more fun together!


Grace and her mama! Kim is so involved with Grace. Since she runs her own business and is a stay at home mom, it allows her to do some really awesome things with her. Grace is always experiencing new things and spends lots of time with her mama!


Jonny and Grace have such a great relationship and he loves her so much…Im worried for when she starts having crushes!!! Watch out…this military dad won’t put up with any heart breaks for his little girl!


Thank you for allowing me to capture these moments and interactions between your beautiful family…so happy you all are doing so well… keep loving and enjoying life!

Balcerovich-Merritt Family 2018 (107 of 123)Thank you to everyone who took the time out of their day to read about this family, who keeps it together through everything…just like you! Have a great day!






Family, First Birthday, twins

Happy 1st B-Day Sawyer and Raylan

“Double the giggles, double the grins, double the trouble, when you’re blessed with twins”

Twin are in deed lots of trouble. They get into mischief, they push each others buttons, but they also challenge each other. Twins are truly amazing. They know just how to love each other and are best friends.


I met Sara when a mutual friend reached out to me and informed me that Sara and Ronnie had just had their twins (boy/girl) at 29 weeks and 6 days. That was the exact time my kiddos came into the world…and at the same hospital no less. I reached out to Sara and scheduled a time to go see her, even though I hadn’t met her yet. Having a child that early let alone two is scary…no matter how healthy they might be. I stayed for about an hour and told them my kids’ story and what may or may not be in their future. Every child and circumstance is different.


Sawyer has had some issues with reflux, which is hard for Babros because it can result in either a lot of spitting up or a lot of pain, and in dashers case it is both. Did you know that Bananas have a lot of acid in them? I would have never known that! She is getting better day by day though. Raylan had issues with back strength for crawling but with therapy he overcame that obstacle! He is not as interested in solid food yet which will come with time. Despite the obstacles, these little ones overcame in the NICU they are so trough and are thriving!! 

Miss Sawyer was one of the happiest little girls in the world the day of the shoot. She would smile almost every time I talked to her. She got tired towards the end but just got super lovey and quiet. She was a little sassy for not even one. I can only imagine how that sass will get her in trouble when she gets older 😉 lol. Sara told me that she calls Sawyer soy sauce because she can be salty…cutest thing ever!!!

Mr. Raylan was a little harder to get to cooperate. He is a lot like my son, in that they are not happy if they are tired or hungry! You could tell that he was having a hard day, but despite the tears and sad faces the pictures still caught his little personality. You can see his tear filled eyes in some of the pictures and it just breaks your heart. Yes kids cry, but he was not happy that I wanted to take pictures of him! He is so handsome though don’t you think?

I have loved watching them grow and strive despite the difficulties they have had to endure over the past year! A lot of people don’t ever experience the NICU but it is a place that can be sad and lonely if you let it consume you. If you focus on the positives and small steps your children are making than you get through it much easier. This is, of course, easier said then done. The staff at St. Francis is phenomenal though, and they continue to love and care for premie babies…some of the same nurses that took care of my boy/girl 29 and 6 day twins are the same nurses that took care of Sara’s boy/girl 29 and 6 day twins. What a small world!


Ronnie got a job in Texas so we made time before they left to get some birthday and family pictures. We had the shoot scheduled at Rock Ledge Ranch and at one point we walked over to the field for some more pictures of just the kids and there were sheep in the field grazing, it was so cool! You can barely make them out in the background…I wish we could have gotten closer but I was not about to scare them OR the babies!


Look at that face! O.M.G. What a cutie patootie!


Thank you Sara and Ronnie for allowing me to capture these pictures…your children are truly amazing and I can see how much love you both have for them. They will only continue to grow and thrive in the environment you have provided them. You should be very proud of the parents you have become.


Happy 1st Birthday to Sawyer and Raylan! I only pray you continue to grow strong and become loving, compassionate kids.

Thank you as always for taking the time out of your busy day to read more about this amazing family and where life is taking them!

Love Always,


Anniversary, Family, Personal, Wedding

The Truth about Marriage…

The TRUTH about marriage:

You know the magazines you got as a kid and you would have to spot the differences between two pictures? Let’s take you back a little bit…What differences do you see between the picture on the left and the picture on the right below?

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The majority of people would obviously see that the hair is not exactly the same, the colors are different, they look like they would be carded in the left picture and maybe not so much in the right. There may be some grey in the guy’s hair, and the picture on the right is obviously better;) lol jk but the real differences are not what you can see but what is on the inside of this couples’ relationship. I look at these pictures side by side, and on the left I see two young kids, naive enough to think that marriage is about being happy all the time and sunshine and rainbows. That the breakfast in bed and flowers every day will continue during the whole marriage. The things that happen while dating, and even engaged will eventually fade and be replaced with fighting and compromising.  If you can learn how to get through the trials then those things will be replaced with that look he gives you when you do something silly or the times he actually puts his clothes in the hamper (this is a rarity ladies) but these small things down the road are still the same love, just in a different form. (The picture above on the left is from the day we got married and the one on the right is from today…10 years later.)

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Caleb and I have been married for 10 years today and our relationship now is a thousand times different than it was July 26, 2008. We were both 22 and both thought we knew what we were getting into. We were getting married because we thought we couldn’t live without each other but in fact that is not the case. I’m not saying that I wish I would have married someone else, it’s actually the complete opposite. I don’t think anyone would have put up with the crap I tried to pull the first few years of our marriage and visa versa. We both had insecurities, and instead of seeking help from each other, we would go to our friends or family for advice. It wasn’t until I realized that he needed to be my person that our marriage started to thrive instead of barely survive.

Caleb IS my person, the person I want to come home and talk to about things because he is a realist but also a dreamer. He makes me a better person and I want to be that for not only myself but for him, and now our kids. Having our kids only made us closer. Our marriage has seen ups and downs and if it weren’t for both of our stubbornness and our willingness to change and grow together, we wouldn’t have lasted. I used to go straight to my girlfriends or my mom when I needed advice and even thought I valued their opinions, Caleb’s is the one that I value the most. His opinion means the most to me, HE means the most to me. I went into my marriage thinking this was true, but soon came to the realization I was still running to my mom and my friends with my problems instead of this amazing and loving husband I had vowed to share everything with.

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After ten years of marriage, here are just a few things to think about as you start or continue yours.

    1. Always communicate and constantly ask questions. This one is a big one. They say communication is key, and this is nothing short of being correct. When Caleb and I put aside our fear and our pride and discussed what was upsetting us without letting it eat away at us could we properly fight. Now, our fights last a totally of maybe ten minutes because as soon as something creeps up that had upset me or made me think something; I confront him with it…not with accusations or passive aggressiveness but with love and compassion. If you can’t give your significant other the benefit of the doubt, it is hard for them to return that favor.
    2. Don’t only communicate but learn to listen. Listen and try to understand each other’s feelings. You both grew up differently and respond to things differently. You will not be an effective listener until you can predict how they are going to respond to a certain situation, given their background.
    3. Never stop dating each other. Ugh, we hear this all the time and it is so true. Continue to ask questions and be interested in your spouse. Do things your spouse doesn’t like to do…like sort the socks she has piled up from the last month that she continually refuses to sort 😉 lol yeah that is me! Or pick up the laundry he has laying directly by the hamper even though you know it would have only taken him a little longer to put it in there. Let the little things go and learn to live their imperfections. This is when you can truly love someone for who they are and NOT who you want them to be
    4. Pick your timing wisely and don’t push your significant other’s buttons on purpose. This sounds pretty easy but when a conversation becomes heated, you get defensive and upset and can let your temper take over and you say things you can’t take back. Ask yourself: Is this really the most constructive setting for my partner to hear what I need to say?

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Caleb, I could not imagine my life without you and you are truly the love of my life. Our children are growing up to be compassionate, respectful, loving and hard-working because of the role model you are. I strive to be a better person because you constantly tell me how amazing I am when I am not confident enough to see it myself. You push me to be a better me and I would not be the person I am without you! I cannot wait to spend the rest of our lives continuing to grow together and make the lives we only dreamed of when we were first married.

penn 10 yr anniversary (7 of 8)                    10 years after we got married at the Shove Chapel, the place that started it all!

Love Always,



Shaw Family Portraits

“Kids are such great imitators, so give them something great to imitate”

This quote resonates with me when I think of Brian and Aasta Shaw. I was lucky enough to have a session with this gorgeous family at Garden of the Gods this past Sunday. Aasta knew she wanted to have pictures there and I was totally on board! Garden of the Gods is nothing short of gorgeous and when you add a beautiful family to that you get perfection 🙂

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Brian and Aasta are pros at getting their kids, 5 under the age of 5, together and wrangled up. Aasta and Brian both go to the gym often with all the kids in tow, and do it while looking fantastic! When I first had my twins you were lucky to see me with my hair down and not up in a messy bun, but Aasta does that and more with her twins and her three older kids. CRAZY!!! She is a true inspiration. shaw family 2018 (34 of 89)

Dakari is 5 years old and is the oldest of the kids. He started the session very shy and quiet but once I took him by himself, his little personality shined through. He is so sweet and very soft spoken. This little boy is so intelligent, empathetic, passionate, and a little bit of a perfectionist (which is never a bad thing).

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Kalani is wild and free, a leader, spirited and independent. At times it was hard to get him to look at the camera but when he did, wow! His little smile could brighten up the saddest of people. His curly hair is absolutely awesome and I hope it stays like that forever. At one point, he fell and scraped his knee a bit but after the tears subsided I got some pictures by the fence that are some of my favorite!

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Atreo was in THE BEST MOOD and was all about helping with the twins. He is so loving, and when Brian would give him a chance to love or hold them, his eyes lit up like a kid at Christmas, and he jumped at the opportunity. Atreo is so nurturing, caring and thoughtful. You could tell by the way he wanted to help with his baby brother and sister. He was so curious, energetic, and listened so well when I told him to look at the camera. His little personality just came out in every picture I took!

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These twins are some of the cutest I have ever seen. Allyanna (Ally) is inquisitive, quiet, perceptive, smart, and sweet. Berrick (Bear) is outgoing, talkative, social, and happy go lucky. They both have such different personalities and I could not help but want to snuggle them both. They hardly fussed at all and when they did, Brian and Aasta could calm them down in a matter of seconds. With having twins, after three boys, you can imagine the stress and anxiety that parents can have, but Brian and Aasta handle it like champs. (Just for reference I do NOT call myself a baby photographer and newborns are not my specialty…I have a girl I refer to for that because it is a hard job, but I had to get at least one with just the two of them)

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This is what love looks like. Take notes 🙂

Daddy loves his twinkies!

A mom and her babies!

Brian and Aasta both show amazing amounts of patience, and love to not only each other but their kids. I could think of nothing better to teach your kids than how to love each other unconditionally. Good job Brian and Aasta for starting to raise such sweet and loving children.

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P.S. Thanks so much to my amazing assistant, Paige McCarthy, who helped hold babies and carry all the things! Couldn’t have done it without you. Although, she probably didn’t mind the baby snuggles!

Thanks for taking the time to read about hit family and stay tuned for more!

Love Always,


Engagement, Family, Wedding

Emily + Matt July 4th, 2018

“Love, Laughter and Happily Ever After”

What better day to have a wedding than July 4th? Matt and Emily are two of the most genuine people you will ever meet. They both are very transparent and very loving to everyone around them. Even during her wedding, one of the most stressful days of your life, Emily was loving and was looking out for everyone around her. The mom in her came out and even though this day was about her, she made sure everyone around her was good also. The ceremony was held at the Garden of the Gods Resort…talk about gorgeous. This resort is a top destination wedding venue and the pictures don’t do it justice. The scenery is breathtaking…which is why so many people have their weddings there. What is better than beautiful scenery? A beautiful bride to accompany it.  Emily was nothing short of breath-taking. Her dress was made by her mom, Debbie, and was stunning. The detail that went into it was amazing. If you didn’t know, you would have thought the dress was bought at a boutique and that they had paid some hefty money for it. A lot of the details at the wedding; the flower headpieces, the basket, the pillow holding the rings, the dresses, etc… all had some special meaning or were put together by Emily, Debbie and Elizabeth, Emily’s Sister.

Keilahna, The Maid of honor, is Emily’s youngest and is 13 years old. I had met her once before but when I saw her at the resort she looked a little tried…come to find out in all the hustle and bustle she hadn’t eaten yet. YIKES!!! Emily ordered a platter of food and some champagne (not for the younger girls of course) and when it came into the room, Keilahna lit up like a Christmas tree! She was so funny and full of life. You could see through all her expressions and reactions that she was so excited for this day, not only for her mom, but to have another loving father in her life. Matt is nothing short of amazing. He cares deeply for Emily and her family. When Matt caught the first glimpse of Emily, I know his world was in slow motion. His emotions overtook him and I was nervous he had stopped breathing at the site of his new bride. There is something about the way a husband looks at his bride for the first time in her dress, and it was nothing short of inspirational.

CONVERSE!!! What better way to walk down the aisle than in style and not have your heels dig into the grass?!? When I saw the Converse I knew it was going to be a great wedding. I have numerous pairs of my own and I wished I would have worn mine. They all had hints of the teal/blue and were awesome with the dresses and brought everyone’s personality to life.

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This lovely couple, Emily’s parents, were celebrating their 36th wedding anniversary on July 4th so Matt and Emily had a special table and cake for them at their reception. The way that Dave looked at Debbie was inspirational and it was so neat to see the two of them interact after so many years of being together. Congratulations to both the happy couples!

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Thank you or taking the time to read about this amazing wedding and congratulations to Matt and Emily on your wedding. You two will have a beautiful life together.

Love Always,



Maxson Family Session

“Family is where life begins, and Love never ends”

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This family has been a Godsend to our family. Chris and Heather actually used Caleb as their realtor last year and little did we know how amazing we would get along!


Heather is a LuLaRoe consultant and an amazing one at that! She earned herself a cruise last year and is on her way to do that again this year! Heather is an amazing LuLaRoe consultant but not because she is focused on sales. She is one of the most service oriented business owners I have ever met! She takes care of her customers and loads them up with extra swag! She is amazing at remembering names and styles along with sizes and what you already have! She is a true inspiration and a phenomenal entrepreneur! Chris is in the Army and is stationed on Fort Carson. He is an apache pilot, which is sooooo cool! He is actually getting ready to deploy in just a few weeks. 😦 He is a fantastic dad and provides for his family! They were made for each other and have grown so much together! They have been together for over ten years and I can’t imagine how hard deployment is for them. Thanks Chris for your continued service to our country! You are a true hero!maxson family 2018 (2 of 55)

Bryce is just about the cutest 6-year-old ever! He is going to be a little stud when he is older. He is full of love, life and energy. He and my son, Deklan, get along so well and it’s so much fun to see how they interact as boys.

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Mamas make a difference in a boys life…you can tell how much he loves her in these pictures!

Holly and my daughter, Makenna, get along so well also. It always breaks my heart when we leave from a lunch date because Holly is so upset (to the point of tears) that Makenna is leaving! Pulls at your heart strings huh? Holly is very confident and inquisitive little girl and knows what she wants! These are amazing qualities to have as a little girl! She knows how to stand up for herself and is very compassionate at the same time. What a sweetheart.

A mother and her daughter…such a sweet bond!

How cute are they together??

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Like any siblings, they have there disagreements but they are the perfect pair!

The photoshoot could not have gone any better! The weather was absolutely perfect! Rock Ledge Ranch is just gorgeous, which you probably know because it is always swarming with photographers. It was magic hour which also helps the ambiance of the pictures. It’s my favorite time to shoot! maxson family 2018 (1 of 55)

I am truly blessed to know people like the Maxsons! Thank you for letting me capture your beautiful family! 

Thanks for your time…see you next time!


Love Always,MPennPhoto_Logo




Walz Family Portrait Session

“Love is the greatest gift that one generation can leave to another” -Richard Garnett

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The Walz family knows exactly what this quote is all about! This family was so sweet and very patient with me last Friday! We met at Tommy David Park…if you have not been there, GO! It is tucked back behind some trees and the entrance is kind of hidden! Which meant that we met in different places LOL! Pat gave me a call and told me they were at the location. I looked around and didn’t see them so I asked, “Where are you?” She told me she was at a barn…which was a block east of where the park was…so they strolled on over to where I was and I was glad we chose this park because the barn was crazy busy with a birthday party and we would have not gotten the awesome shots that we did. The wind gave us some troubles. All the ladies were troopers with the wind, I snapped shots between breezes and we got some amazing shots of everyone! This family was so much fun to shoot with!



Meet Pat and Ray who are one year shy of being married 50 years!!! Ray and Pat have two sons, Clint and Chad, and their family just keeps growing with two daughter in laws, two beautiful granddaughters and two grand-dogs! What a sweet couple and so loving, to not only each other, but to everyone they meet! I have know Pat for years…she and I sing in Sweet Adelines together and boy is she talented! Her husband Ray went along with the flow amazingly and took direction very well! I guess that is what happens after you have been married for almost 50 years 😉


This family is Clint, Kara, Mia and Audrey. They live in Wisconsin and have a chocolate lab named Lucy who could not make the trek with them this time. The girls are twins which I was so excited about because I have twins! Kara and I swapped stories about all the things we hear on a daily basis. Like “Are they identical?”, “Wow, twins…I always wanted twins”, “That must make it nice since they always have someone to play with”, “I totally know how having twins is because my kids ares so close in age” and so on. We had some great laughs!


Clint and Kara have been married for over 15 years and you can see how much fun they still have together. I hope when our kids are 12…Caleb and I still like each other that much!


Mia and Audrey, as I said, are twins, and are 12 years old, 13 in September! They are so different but both were extremely shy at the start. Look at how cute they are together though. They are both very musically inclined and have taken piano for years. Mia (left) played Cello and this past year played the French Horn (like her Grandma). Audrey (right) played Viola and Flute (like her mom and grandma on mom’s side) and is continuing piano lessons as well! These girls are quite the duo!

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Audrey has a kind and gentle heart and it quite empathetic towards others. She shows great perseverance and determination when she wants to meet her goals. Audrey does everything with her whole heart. You can see and feel her emotion come through when she is doing the things she loves; reading, playing music, acting and dancing.

Audrey describes herself as being positive, humorous, respectful, responsible and sometimes lazy.

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Mia has a joyful and competitive spirit. She thrives off of activity and positivity. When she is competing, you can see her drive, determination and dedication come through! Mia inspires those around her to play hard and live life out loud!

Mia describes herself as being energetic, athletic, positive and happy.

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These two lovebirds are Chad and Suzanne and they have been married for 2 years. They have a gorgeous German Shepard, Winnie Copper, who was not up for picture taking that day, but I do hope I get to meet him soon!


These girls love their mama!


Brothers and some photo bombers??


I loved posing these 4 because they just snuggled right up to their grandparents and I didn’t have to tell them to do much! So much laughter and fun in this family!


I am truly astonished at how much love families have for each other and the different dynamics between them! This was one of the easier and most fun shoots! Thank you Pat and Ray for allowing me to capture your family pictures and personalities! You all made it a breeze 😉

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Thanks so much for taking the time to read about this awesome family…stay tuned for the next blog!


Love Always,

Mandy Penn Photography