April and Michael Estes have walked through every phase of life together since they met at age 14 and became high school sweethearts at 17. During nearly 18 years of marriage, their family has grown with the addition of four children: Landon – age 15, Easton – age 12, Marlow – age 10, and Tinley – age 8.
April always knew she wanted to have a large family, so her professional goal was to have a flexible career schedule so she could manage the responsibilities of being a mom. After high school, she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from Kennesaw State University. For a time she worked in Commercial Lending at a local bank and developed an interest in real estate. She acquired her license, then after the birth of her first son, she left the bank to sell real estate.
She has maintained her license for 17 years, but after wanting to capture every moment of her new son on camera, she knew she wanted to pursue her life-long passion for photography. In 2006, she attended photography school and from there opened her business, Reflective Images Photography. April is grateful to God for the opportunity to work in our community and bring joy through her photographs. She uses her eye for creative details and lighting to capture some amazing shots, and has often used her talents on the covers of Our Town.
Michael attended Gordon College after graduation, but always wanted to be a Fireman. He began as a Volunteer Fireman with the Paulding County Fire Department and was hired full-time in 2003. He is now an Engineer with the Cobb County Fire Department. Michael enjoys his duties as a fire fighter and working with his crew, but most of all, he loves helping others in their time of need.
One of the most important things he has learned throughout his career is to bring awareness to mental health issues of suicide since it is something that inundates the fire service. He urges people to reach out and talk with someone if in need, and to seek the resources available.
April comes from a long line of generations raised in Paulding County, and Michael and his family moved here when he was five. It’s because of their families they want to continue this local legacy for their children.
For the past six years, they’ve been planning and building their dream home. So, this fall they finally get to move in and plant their roots. April says, “It’s a place where the kids can roam and play, and [eventually] I can see my grandkids enjoying it many years down the road.”
April and Michael spend most of their free time enjoying the sports and activities their children love to do.
Landon is enrolled in AP classes and loves sports. He plays travel baseball, wrestles and is on the football team. His parents are proud of his academic ambitions, as he aspires to earn a sports or academic scholarship to Vanderbilt.
Easton plays travel baseball and wrestles. He has an adventurous spirit and is a true outdoorsman. He loves hanging out with his friends and having a good time.
Tinley is also a cheerleader and a gymnast. She is “small but mighty” and doesn’t back down. She plays softball and has developed an interest in wrestling and practices with her brothers.
Any time the Estes are together is valuable and always the “best time.” They are a family that loves the Lord and being involved as members of West Ridge Church. They make a point to stop and enjoy nightly, family dinners together, plan movie nights with popcorn and chocolate chip cookies, or have an outdoor family picnic and play games.
Having a large, active family is a blessing and full-time job for April and Michael. It is with the help of their family and friends that they make it work. April says, “It’s a crazy and chaotic life we have built, but it is our story and one I am excited to see unfold.“