• Sharon Spall is an on-location, natural light, portrait and lifestyle photographer specializing in families, children, babies, newborns, and maternity.

    Sharon Spall Photography serves Tucson, Oro Valley, Marana, Vail, and Sahuarita, AZ.

    Sessions are also available in the Phoenix metro and surrounding areas, including Tempe, Chandler, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Mesa, Glendale, Peoria, and Surprise.
    Please contact me for details and availability for the Phoenix metro area.

I am both honored and excited to be participating in a special blog circle called Letters to Our Children along with several other incredibly talented photographers.  Each month I will write a letter to my lovely daughter, as I attempt to capture her personality and spirit, while documenting this special and fleeting time of her life.  As time seems to perpetually increase in its speed, I strive to find a way to articulate just how much I love her, and to hopefully make time pause, even if just for a few moments, during these moments of reflection on my sweet girl.

Dear Bella,

It’s hard for me to believe how fast this summer has gone.  Although it’s still going to be pretty hot and miserable here for a few more months, your summer vacation is coming to an end.  Next week you’ll be starting pre-K, your next year of preschool.

You are so excited to go back to preschool.  Last year, we started you at preschool for 3 mornings per week.  We ultimately switched you to 4 mornings because you loved it so much.  We considered going to 5 days, but Mama wasn’t ready for that just yet.  This year, you are moving over to the big kid side of the school, where the Pre-K and Kindergartners go.  Time is moving so quickly.  Your first year of preschool went by so fast.  I hope that time slows down just a little bit more this year.  Because I am so not ready for you to go to kindergarten!  But baby steps.  For now, you are still in preschool, and I hope to relish in my last year with my preschooler as much as possible.

This is such a fun age.  You are so curious.  You want to understand everything.  You want to learn how everything works, and why it is that way.  Although I have loved having you home with me everyday again, I am so excited for you to go back to preschool.  You thrive in school.  You love your friends at school – and your bubbly, sweet personality has given you many friends.  You adored your teachers last year, and I have no doubt that you will love your new teachers as well.  You love listening to stories, practicing writing your letters, drawing pictures, and engaging in all of the fun activities that preschool offers.  You are bright, curious, and inquisitive, and you soak up knowledge like a sponge.

It amazes me to look at you now and see how much you’ve learned, and how you’ve grown and changed since you first started preschool one year ago.  I can’t wait to see what this school year will bring.  It will be a fun and exciting year – Pre-K, gymnastics, and dance classes.  You are such a big girl now!

I love you, my darling girl!

Love,

Your Mama

 
Next up in our blog circle is Jodie of JLB Photography.  Head on over to her website to read her letter this month.

I am thrilled to be participating in a lifestyle photography blog circle entitled Songs of Life along with several other incredibly talented photographers.  For this series, we will be using a different song each month as our inspiration, while capturing everyday moments in our own lives.  We will be taking a lifestyle approach to our photography, as we document our own families living our own lives.  Lifestyle photography attempts to capture real moments, taking more of a documentary approach rather than posed portraits.  I am hoping to incorporate more lifestyle photography within my client sessions, and I am so excited to participate in this monthly project.  This month’s inspiration was the song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” by  Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.  If you would like to listen to the song as you read through the blog circle, click here.

My interpretation of this month’s song is a bit more serious than the upbeat, uplifting mood of this song that I typically feel when I hear it.  My daughter had to have surgery this month to close a hole in her heart that they discovered as a baby.  To close this hole in the past required open heart surgery.  However, now, through the marvels of modern medicine, they are able to use a catheter to go inside through her leg and insert a coil to close the hole.  Although the hole was small and not affecting her now, it would potentially affect her as she grew older.  Because of what we were dealing this month, this song took on a different meaning for me than it has in the past.  I have been feeling incredibly grateful over the past month since we found out that Bella would have to have this procedure.  Grateful for a heart echo tech that took extra time to reexamine a hole that they believed had closed when she was 2 months old, going at different angles to be sure.  Grateful for the marvels of modern medicine that not only allow this to be corrected in the heart of a tiny person who means more to me than anyone in this world, but also allow this to be corrected in a way that is infinitely less invasive than open heart surgery.  Grateful that she has such a minor congenital heart defect, compared to what so many other children and parents have to deal with.  And eternally grateful for the support and love of so, so many friends and family that I couldn’t even begin to list.  It’s been a rough month for my husband, my daughter and me, but we are surrounded by the most incredible people who love our little family and who wanted to do whatever they could to help.  Spoiling my girl with gifts to make this easier on her, offers to bring us food, waiting with us at the hospital during her surgery, or even just listening to me when I needed to talk about it.  What a wonderful world indeed.

Although this was a very small hole in Bella’s heart, and not even currently affecting her, and also an incredibly routine procedure, when it’s your child, and when it deals with her heart, you can’t help but feel nervous and a little scared.  And on top of our own feelings, we have a daughter who deals with anxiety.  The most heart-breaking part of this entire process has been my girl feeling so scared and anxious over the surgery.  We held off telling her for as long as we could, and we kept it as simple and upbeat as possible.  We told her that she would be getting a princess heart, and they had to put a little crown on her heart to make it a princess heart. She was enthralled with the idea that she would have her very own princess heart, just like Cinderella.  However, for about a week leading up to the surgery, she had so many moments where she was so scared and needed reassurance.  Out of all of this, that has by far been the most difficult part of it all.  And yet, we have been surrounded by so much support and love this past month, that I really do have to say to myself, what a wonderful world.

My sweet, brave girl.

Thursday was a rough day.  Incredibly difficult for Bella, and emotional and draining for my husband and me.  But we got through it together, with our family and friends.  And now my girl has a brand new, sparkling princess heart.

We are so lucky though.  This was a pretty simple procedure compared to what so many other children with congenital heart defects have to face.  When your child has to go through any sort of a medical procedure, it is scary and nerve-wracking.  And yet, we knew that the risk for this type of procedure is incredibly low.  And we also knew that at this point in her life, Bella’s small heart defect was not even affecting her.  So many other children are not that lucky.  And in reflecting upon that over the past month, it made the lyrics to this song so much more poignant:

“Someday I’ll wish upon a star, wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where trouble melts like lemon drops
High above the chimney tops, that’s where you’ll find me
Somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds fly
And the dreams that you dare to, oh why, oh why can’t I?”

I hope that doctors are able to continue to find even better treatments for children with congenital heart defects, especially for those children whose conditions are life threatening.   So that their troubles truly can melt away like lemon drops.  That is my wish for them.

Please continue on in the blog circle to read Rachel’s interpretation of our song this month.

  • heather - I’m so glad everything went well! I was thinking of you all.ReplyCancel

  • Lucy Sandeen - Oh, Sharon. This one made me cry (read: bawl like a baby). I just kept imagining Elayna going through this and being afraid…. its so very hard to push your little to do something when they are afraid, and when its something that feels so big… something that means they have to have surgery and be put under… how scary for us as parents as well.
    These photos are beautiful though because now they remind you of how you all got through this. The one of her looking nervous/sad made me lose it…. but then to see that beautiful brave smile. She is a brave princess indeed.
    I am so, so glad that they fixed the issue and that you can all move forward now with your precious girl.ReplyCancel

  • Deb Moll - What a scary experience and touching photos. Here’s to many healthy, happy days ahead!ReplyCancel

  • Lucy Sandeen - Oh, Sharon. This one made me cry (read: bawl like a baby). I just kept imagining Elayna going through this and being afraid…. its so very hard to push your little to do something when they are afraid, and when its something that feels so big… something that means they have to have surgery and be put under… how scary for us as parents as well. The photo of her looking nervous/sad made me lose it…. but then to see that beautiful brave smile. She is a brave princess indeed. I am so, so glad that they fixed the issue and that you can all move forward now with your precious girl.ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca - Ah, tears! These are so touching! The photos are beautiful! Your thoughts are beautiful! Your little girl is beautiful! My heart is full of joy that they were able to fix that precious little angel! <3ReplyCancel

  • Amy - Oh, man. Tears. So glad this adventure in Bella’s (and your) life is past, and now let’s see how that girl grows & uses her Princess heart. Much love, my dear.ReplyCancel

  • Amy Forbes Wells - Oh, man. Tears. So glad this adventure in Bella’s (and your) life is past, and now let’s see how that girl grows & uses her Princess heart. Much love, my dear.ReplyCancel

  • Nicole Streich - I have no words…love you all & glad it’s all going to be alright!ReplyCancel

  • Rachael Ostrowski - Thank you for sharing. What a wonderful little girl you have. What a loving family she has!ReplyCancel

  • Amber - So beautiful, Sharon! I got teary reading about Bella’s operation. I love the idea of a princess heart. Your photos are wonderful!ReplyCancel

  • Songs of Life | Brave » Sharon Spall Photography - […] song has special meaning for me with my girl.  Over one year ago, my daughter had to have a heart procedure to attempt to close a small hole in her heart that she had had since birth.  Thanks to the marvels […]ReplyCancel

I am both honored and excited to be participating in a special blog circle called Letters to Our Children along with several other incredibly talented photographers.  Each month I will write a letter to my lovely daughter, as I attempt to capture her personality and spirit, while documenting this special and fleeting time of her life.  As time seems to perpetually increase in its speed, I strive to find a way to articulate just how much I love her, and to hopefully make time pause, even if just for a few moments, during these moments of reflection on my sweet girl.

Dear Bella,

My tiny dancer.  My sweet little sprite.   This past week was your first week at dance.  Dance camp, to be precise.  6 straight days of dance.  My mama heart was bursting from the sweetness and the pride.  It was a week of all things girly – hair up each morning in a little ballerina bun, pink tights, dance leotards, and sweet tiny ballet shoes and tap shoes (seriously, it’s a good thing that your feet just grew because they didn’t have anything smaller than a 5.5, and even those were a touch big on your itty-bitty feet).  And we both loved every second of it.  Each morning, we would sit at the dining room table and do your hair.  And each morning, you had to run off to go look in the mirror (and proclaim yourself as “adorable!”) as soon as I finished.

I concur.  Definitely adorable.

You had so much fun at dance camp.  You loved the noise that your tap shoes made when you tapped your feet.  You loved gluing your heels down and tapping your toes.

You danced like a little ballerina, pranced around the studio with ribbon, learned all the stretches that ballerinas do, and you loved every second of it.  So much so that I had to sign you up for a second week of dance camp for later this month.  And of course, you’ll have to add dance class to your busy schedule this year.  Preschool, gymnastics, and dance.  I have no idea how I have such a big girl already.  So busy with activities – I learn more about you as you discover new passions that you want to explore.

It’s hard for me to believe sometimes that you are growing up as fast as you are.  I feel like I was just holding you in my arms as a baby, and now you are a little girl exploring new things on your own.  I get a little nostalgic for when you were my tiny baby.  But I love this age of yours so much that it’s hard to get too sad.  My dancer, my sprite, your personality is emerging more and more each day, and I love my front row seat as I watch it all unfold.

I love you my girl!

Love,

Mama

Now, please continue on in the blog circle and read the next letter by Tricia Ebarvia.

  • Kimberly - So very sweet! I’m in a house full of boys so I long for the chance to venture through dance classes. You have captured that so well here.ReplyCancel

  • Tricia E. - Gah, that second B&W image made me gasp, it’s so gorgeous!!! Between your letter and images, I love how you captured your daughter with such beauty.ReplyCancel

  • Jodie Byrne - Oh how sweet! she looks so adorable! tiny dancers are just gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Nicole Streich - <3ReplyCancel

  • sharonspall - Thank you so much!ReplyCancel

  • John Alexander - I love that we get to read these letters!ReplyCancel

  • Betty LaDue - Beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica Downey - Beautifully written and photographed. Using photography to document your own growing family is the best : )ReplyCancel

  • Sharon Richardson Spall - I am so glad that you take the time to read them! 🙂ReplyCancel

I am thrilled to be participating in a lifestyle photography blog circle entitled Songs of Life along with several other incredibly talented photographers.  For this series, we will be using a different song each month as our inspiration, while capturing everyday moments in our own lives.  We will be taking a lifestyle approach to our photography, as we document our own families living our own lives.  Lifestyle photography attempts to capture real moments, taking more of a documentary approach rather than posed portraits.  I am hoping to incorporate more lifestyle photography within my client sessions, and I am so excited to participate in this monthly project.  This month’s inspiration was the song “When You Grow Up” by Priscilla Ahn.  Such a sweet song!  I loved thinking of all the different ways to interpret this song.  If you would like to listen to it as you read through the blog circle, follow this link.  I promise it will make you smile.

When I listen to this song, I think of the wonderment of childhood – the beginning of a life, so fresh and pure, where anything is possible.  Children look at the world and believe that they can do anything when they are grown-up, and I hope that my daughter never loses that confidence in herself and in the world around her.  It brings me so much joy to hear Bella plan and wonder about her life when she is all grown-up.  My mama heart swells with pride at her imagination and hopes for her future.  I know that she can be anyone and anything she wants to be, and it brings me so much happiness to see her grow up little by little, as more and more of her personality shines through.  My girl, she’s already got a strong personality – sweet and nurturing, and also stubborn, willful, funny, and very much type-A.  She likes things just so, and thinks and plans everything carefully.

Isabella loves to talk about what she wants to be when she grows up.  It is always evolving.  For awhile, she wanted to be a teacher like Ms. Catherine, her preschool teacher.  Then she wanted to be a photographer like Mama.  Then it was back to a teacher.  But recently we have been visiting a cardiologist regarding two holes in Bella’s heart that they found when she was a baby.  Both were pretty common, and they expected each to close on their own.  We had a follow-up appointment with her cardiologist, and discovered that one of the holes is still open, and we need to schedule a procedure this summer to close it.  After visiting the cardiologist, Bella has decided that she now wants to be a heart doctor.  She loves to wear her stethoscope around her neck as she listens to her daddy’s heart (or one of her many stuffed animal friends).  She always checks ears and eyes and blood pressure.  As she gives her check-up, in her very quiet voice that she uses when she wants to make sure it’s just her stuffed animal friends who can hear her, she will tell them what’s wrong and gently try to reassure them that everything will be ok.  Such a sweet bedside manner.

Today she wants to be a heart doctor.  Tomorrow, that may change.  Or maybe it won’t.  That is the beauty and the purity of childhood.  The innocence of now, and the excitement of what’s to come.  Dream big, my girl.  For I know that you can do anything that you set your mind and your heart to.

But for now, you have a waiting area full of patients who need a check-up from the doc.

Next, please pay a visit to Marybeth over at Ordinary Spectacular to see her interpretation of “When You Grow Up.”

  • Rachel - Adorable! I think she would make a perfect Dr. someday! Her stuffed animals are lucky to have her taking care of them! 😉 Also sorry to hear about her heart procedure she has to have, but hope all goes well!ReplyCancel

  • Lucy Sandeen - Oh my goodness. She is so precious. I love this series…. and the one of her looking at the camera is gorgeous.ReplyCancel

  • Nicole Streich - Oh my goodness these are so cute! I love that she even has her laptop out for electronic charting!ReplyCancel

  • Christine Sinclair - LOVE the black and white one with her chin in her hand! All of her patients are so lucky to have such an excellent doctor!ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca Lundin - These are fabulous! I love the third black and white one! Such an adorable little doctor!ReplyCancel

  • Betty LaDue - I just love all of them. If she’s a doctor or teacher or anything else, she will be great at it…I will always be so proud..ReplyCancel

  • Amber - She is so cute!! Maybe she will be a doctor some day <3 Good luck with her surgeryReplyCancel

  • Heather - I just love your interpretation! Simply adorable taking care of her stuffed animals. Reminds me of Doc McStuffins!ReplyCancel

I am both honored and excited to be participating in a special blog circle called Letters to Our Children along with several other incredibly talented photographers.  Each month I will write a letter to my lovely daughter, as I attempt to capture her personality and spirit, while documenting this special and fleeting time of her life.  As time seems to perpetually increase in its speed, I strive to find a way to articulate just how much I love her, and to hopefully make time pause, even if just for a few moments, during these moments of reflection on my sweet girl.

 

My Bella,

June is a big month for your daddy, with his birthday and Father’s Day.  So, it seemed fitting to focus this month’s letter on your special relationship with your dada.  You are absolutely a daddy’s girl – from head to toe.  Your daddy is your whole world, and you adore him.

You’ve been this way since birth.  When you were a baby, my friends would talk to me about how they wished their babies would go to their dads just for an hour so they could have a little break.  We kind of had the opposite problem.  Your daddy has always been a calming presence for you.  When you were a baby, if your daddy was home, you longed to be in his arms.   And you weren’t afraid to let us know!  I know that he didn’t mind though.  You have had him wrapped around your little finger since he laid eyes on you.  He adores you as much as you adore him.   I have so many memories of you in your daddy’s arms, curled up on his chest, as you both napped together on the couch.

As you grew older, your bond only strengthened.   You still love to be with your daddy.  You are his little sidekick.  Your eyes light up if he asks you to help him with something.  You gladly go with him on excursions to Home Depot, or the hardware store, or the homebrew shop…   At home, you two have the silliest games that you play together.  Toss-the-pink-ball-high-in-air:  a classic dada game that you’ve been playing in our living room with the vaulted ceilings since you were just toddling around.  Or go-fast-like-Mater (hilariously, it was always go fast like Mater, not like Lightning), which consists of you chasing your dada in circles around the house until you both are about to pass out.  I don’t think it matters what you do, as long as you are by his side.

You, my dear, are a giggle box.  You love to laugh, and we love to hear your adorable little giggle.  It helps that you have a hilarious daddy.  When you are with him, the two of you laugh and giggle constantly.

You are a lot like your daddy in many ways.  You are a thinker.  You wonder.  You want to know what everything is called, and why things are the way they are.  You are curious about how things work.  Your favorite question is “Why?”  Your daddy, our practical, analytical, inventive engineer, likes to say that you “have the knack” (the engineering knack, that is).  Although you are adamant that you want to be a teacher, or, as of yesterday, a heart doctor, I do wonder if maybe your daddy is right, and you might end up as an engineer, just like your dada.

To see you with him makes my heart full of love.  I have loved your daddy for a very long time, but to see him with you, and to see how much he loves you, makes me love him more than I ever imagined was possible.  In your world, your daddy really did hang the moon (your moon friend!), and the stars, and he likely put the sun in the sky as well.  He knows the answer to every question – and my curious girl, you have many of them!  In short, he is the center of your world.  You are a lucky little girl because you have the best daddy on this earth.  And I am equally lucky to be married to him.

I love both of you more than you know!

 

Next in our circle is Holly Strebel of Holly Strebel Photography.   Please head over to her blog to read her sweet letter to her little ones!

  • Letters to our Children | June « nikki v 365 - […] Continue with our blog circle by clicking on Sharon’s blog post here! […]ReplyCancel

  • Tricia E. - Beautiful!!! And I love that you were able to include the challenge, too! 🙂 What beautiful images that capture the love between your loved ones.ReplyCancel

  • Kimberly - So very sweet! I love that she adores him so much.

    Your photos beautifully capture that loving bond too!ReplyCancel

  • Jodie Byrne - These are gorgeous images! Really telling the story of their relationship! how special!ReplyCancel

  • Christine Sinclair - Sharon, These pictures make my heart melt! LOVE them all, and you!ReplyCancel

  • Alena Zurick - Love It!ReplyCancel

  • Betty LaDue - This is beautiful! We are so lucky to have all of you as our family…ReplyCancel

  • Emily Spall - I love these letters! And the pictures!ReplyCancel