babies

Byron, IL In-home Newborn Photographer | Craig, Elizabeth, Annabelle, & Evaleen

Byron, IL In-home Newborn Photographer

YOU GUYYYYYYYYYSSSSS!!! I’m happy to introduce to you all the newest member of our family: MY NIECE EVALEEN!!! She was born back in October and is such a little sweetheart!! Here are some of my favorites from ner in-home newborn shoot!

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Rock Cut State Park, Rockford, IL Family Photographer | Chris, Karissa, Bennett, & Family

Rock Cut State Park, Rockford, IL Family Photographer

Look who’s back! I’ve photographed Chris and Karissa EVERY YEAR since 2014! (In case you need proof: Engagement 2014, Wedding 2015, Family 2016, Family 2017, and now this year, which I don’t have to link because here you are) It always gives me the feels when a client trusts me enough to have me document their lives year in and year out. Also I just CAN’T BELIEVE how big Bennett has gotten since I saw him last year…he’s practically a grown up! Especially compared to that 2016 family session when he was just a wee little babe!!

We ended up at Chris and Karissa’s house for the last part of our shoot, but we started at Rock Cut State Park, which is where I photographed Chris and Karissa’s engagement pictures, and where we did their family photos last year. It was fun for me while editing this set to go back and compare these to last year’s shoot. It felt like all we did was replace Bennett with a bigger version of himself, haha! It’d be kind of fun to do this every year and make it into a flip book when he graduates high school. I’m thinking of the swinging photos in particular. What d’ya think Karissa?!?! ;) ;) ;)

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DeKalb, IL Maternity Photographer | Derek & Samantha

DeKalb, IL Maternity Photographer

The last time I photographed Derek and Sam was right before they got married allllll the way back in 2012! That was SIX YEARS AGO. (insert shocked face emoji here) Back in October, we met at the same place where we took their engagement photos to photograph some maternity pictures!! Eeeek!! It was so good to see them again and to chat about all things pregnancy and I’m so excited for them to enter this new amazing stage of their lives!!

This shoot was interesting for me creatively because we planned the session for the early morning, which comes with a type of light that I don’t get to shoot in that often. It was fun to play with the light at a different angle in a location that I shoot in frequently (and 95% of the time I shoot there it’s in the evening) and to embrace some of the harsher light that comes with a quickly rising sun. In previous years I’d be all about running to the shade in a situation like this, and while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, I really felt like challenging myself to step outside of my photographic comfort zone and see what I could get with the full sun for some of the images. I’m really pleased with the result!

Getting back to the main reason we’re here, here are some of my favorites from my time with Derek & Sam, who I just know are going to make great parents!!

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Lincoln Park and North Ave Beach, Chicago, IL Maternity Photographer | Jaden & Cassandra

Lincoln Park and North Ave Beach, Chicago, IL Maternity Photographer

When I last photographed Jaden and Cassandra back in April 2017, they were just getting ready to embark upon fostering to adopt and had traveled to Chicago from Missouri to celebrate the life change with a photo session (which you can check out HERE!). Earlier this year they finally began to foster, and within a few short whirlwind weeks they were caring for a two babies AND a teenager. They hadn’t even adjusted to their new chaotic life when they were faced with an unexpected surprise…Cassandra was PREGNANT!!! WHAT?!?!? While they’re still caring for the teen, they've taken a step back from fostering in general until they get settled after their baby boy is born in January, but then they plan to continue on with their original plan of fostering.

I’m beyond honored that they drove up to Chicago once again to have me photograph their maternity pictures! I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them and was inspired, encouraged, and blessed by their story of obedience to God and of His faithfulness to them. I’m so excited for these two and know they’re going to be amazing parents!! <3

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Palos Heights, IL Lifestyle Newborn Photographer | Josh, Julia, Elliot, Ethan, & Finley

Palos Heights, IL Lifestyle Newborn Photographer

I know I sound like a broken record, but I just LOVE in-home photo sessions!! It’s amazing the level of comfort that comes with being in your own place and having everything you need right there…especially when you’ve just had a baby!! And I have to say that when you have other young kids in the home as well, it’s also a big help for them! They have so much that they’re adjusting to with having a new little one in the house without having to stand in a stuffy studio and slap on some “perfect” smiles for a stranger. Perhaps one of the things I love most about the in-home shoots is that I’m photographing a family in the actual space in which they do life. The pictures I take there will hopefully hold added significance as everyone gets older because the location itself is so intimately filled with memory upon memory. I could keep going, but I’m gonna step off my soapbox and introduce you all to sweet Finley!!

Finely is such a darling little man and is absolutely adored by his two older brothers. He’s also a typical third child in that he slept through all the yelling, jumping, poking, and laughing his brothers subjected him to (praying that continues for you Josh and Julia!! Not the poking and stuff, but the sleeping. ;) ). And can we please just stop a minute to talk about his adorable little face?!?! UGH!! I can’t even look at him without melting!! He’s just so darn cute!! Even my own three kids were awing over him and this entire family while I edited these!

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Big congrats to this family!! I hope you’re adjusting well to being a family of FIVE!! Blessings!

Rockford, IL Newborn & Family Photography | John, Jackie, Dylan, & Lucille

Rockford, IL Newborn & Family Photographer

I just photographed this family back in the Fall, and it was great to see them again as they welcomed darling Lucille into their family on May 17 (which is a pretty darn good day to be born, if I do say so myself!  ;) ). Lucille was just 8 days old when I photographed her, and she was such a content little babe!! 

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Isn't Jackie absolutely radiant for just having a baby?!?!? AND they were moving literally the day after our shoot! Talk about a supermomma!!

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Dylan cracks me up. He was all about these pictures, as you can see. 

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I also photographed John & Jackie's wedding. I love being able to follow these family from their very beginnings!!

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To John & Jackie, congrats again!! You're great parents and it was so good to see you again! <3

Sugar Grove, IL Family Photography | Brandon, Amber, Ava, & Ella

Sugar Grove, IL Family Photographer

About a year and half ago, I posted a blog about our good friends Brandon and Amber and their 5 year struggle to have a baby, which led to them adopting their daughter Ava as a newborn. Well, about 5 months after I posted that blog, we found out that Amber was expecting!! Sweet Ella was born December 19, 2017, about two weeks after Ava's 2nd birthday. I'm so happy for these guys and in awe of God's redemption of what was once thought to be impossible. <3

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Rock Cut State Park Family Photography | Joe, Kelley, & Alice

Rock Cut State Park, Rockford, IL Family Photographer

YOU GUYYYYYYYYYYSSSSSSS!!!!!!! I am SO excited to share these images with you all!!! This couple is very near and dear to my heart because Joe & Kelley's wedding was the VERY FIRST WEDDING I EVER PHOTOGRAPHED!!!!! They took a chance on me when I was wet behind the ears and I will be forever grateful!

So that was 7 1/2 years ago (!!!!), and now these two have a sweet little babe, Alice, who is absolutely darling and the obvious joy of their lives. It was so great to reconnect with these guys and photograph them in this new stage of life!!!  

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Bloomington-Normal, IL Family Photographer | Scott, Sharon, & Charles

After photographing their engagement session in 2014, their wedding in 2015, and baby Charles last year, you know I was super excited to see this group again!! It was so good to catch up with Scott & Sharon, and Mr. Charles has changed sin the last year from being containable on a blanket to being a curious explorer of the big wide world. When I used to work at a daycare waaaaaay back in another life, this was one of my favorite ages to work with. Toddlers are so full of wonder and excitement over the everyday things we take for granted, and it's so fun to observe them taking it all in! They always remind me to slow down and appreciate what I consider to be mundane. Maybe "slow down" isn't the right phrase (can I get an "amen!" toddler moms?!?), but they at least help me look at things with fresh eyes. ;) 

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Sycamore, IL Family Photography | Pete, Holly, & Benjamin

Sycamore, IL Family Photography

I just photographed this bunch at Matt & Anna's wedding in July (Pete is Anna's brother, Holly was her matron of honor, and if you check out the post, you'll see a shot of Benjamin in a sweet tux onsie!), so it was great to see them again and get to know them a bit more. Benjamin is already a little heart-breaker (hello, huge blue eyes!!), and I was dying over all of his cute expressions!! 

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Cantigny Family Photography | Chad, Stephanie, & Beatrice

Cantigny Family Photography.

I know I've said this before, but one of the best things about being a wedding and family photographer is having the opportunity to follow a couple over the years and take part in so many of their important and exciting milestones. Chad and Stephanie are one of those couples!! I just checked, and I photographed their engagement back in December 2012, and then their wedding in September 2013! WHAT?!?!? Wasn't it just last year?!? I seriously don't understand time. 

Well, it was time to photograph these two again, and this time they brought their stinkin' adorable wee one, Beatrice, who just turned one!! It was so much fun wandering around the Cantigny grounds with this sweet family!!

 

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Thanks for spending the morning with me you guys!! Blessings, and until next time!!

Sycamore, IL Newborn Photography | David, Michelle, Leah, Addy, Eliza, & Anna

Sycamore, IL Newborn Photography.

Sweet little Anna was born at the beginning of February and, you guys, she is such a little doll!! Just wait until you see her cheeks! The temptation to squish them was almost too much to handle, but I dug deep and restrained myself (mostly because my hands were cold). ;) Those of you with baby fever may want to use extra caution while looking through the rest of this post because, seriously. Doll baby. 

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That little babe is already so cared for by her 3 older sisters!!! 

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I know I talk about this every time I post a session like this, so excuse me for beating a dead horse, but I just can't get enough of in-home sessions!!! The day of this family's shoot happened to be one of the colder days we've had here in IL this winter, and who wants to go outside in the cold with a 2-week-old?!?!? When I was photographing Anna by herself, Leah, Addy, & Eliza went off and played with their toys. AND everyone is more comfortable in their own home. Win-win-win!! I could come up with a few more great reasons for an in-home session, but I don't want to take the focus off of how STINKIN' CUTE THESE GUYS ARE. 

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One last soapbox moment and then I'm done. I love squishy posed baby pictures, and I have some of my own kids framed in my house. I follow photographers who do that type of newborn photography so well and I have so much respect for them. BUT. The images I love most of my kids as little newborns will always be the ones that show them as they were naturally. How they held their hand a certain way when the slept or how they stretched. The little things that change so quickly because babies change so quickly. Those are the images that really speak to my heart and are the images I aim to capture for my clients. I mean, this session was just two weeks ago and I'm sure Anna already looks different!

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David & Michelle, congrats again on your sweet little darling and thanks for welcoming me into your home!!! Blessings!!

Sugar Grove, IL Family Photographer | Brandon, Amber, & Ava

Sugar Grove, IL Family Photography.

It's hard to find the words to express just how much these two mean to Seth and I. We've know Brandon and Amber for around 10 years and they are two of our closest friends. We've walked through so much life with them. We've taken trips with them, had countless late nights talking and playing games, laughed until we couldn't breathe...they're our people! But there's been some pretty tough stuff, too. Around 6 years ago they started trying to have kids, and 6 years ago on Christmas Amber had her first miscarriage. Obviously, Christmas since then has been a difficult time of year for them. After years of trying and one more miscarriage, B&A made the decision to start the adoption process. Through a whirlwind of crazy, God-ordained details, within about two months, Brandon and Amber were holding their daughter Ava in their arms. Ava was born December 7, 2015, just a few weeks before the 5-year anniversary of Amber's first miscarriage. Ava means life, and what a beautiful, sweet miracle of a life she is! I wish I could go into more detail about just how amazing Brandon and Amber's story is and all the ways in which God worked to bring about this adoption, but there's so much I'd end up leaving out because there was so much that happened. These two need to write a book because this short account doesn't do their incredible story justice! They've been a wonderful example of what it looks like to have unwavering faith in God, and anyone who knows them knows what a privilege it is to be friends with them! So, it's with great joy that I share these images with you all. Happy Birthday, Ava!! You are such a blessing and we love you!!

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Belvidere, IL Family Photography | Chris, Karissa, Bennett, and family

Belvidere, IL Family Photography

You guys know how much I love extended family sessions! It's such a special thing to have multiple generations of a family in one photo and to be able to document the legacy of two people. This family is extra special because I photographed Chris and Karissa's wedding in June 2015, but now that family has grown by one! Mr. Bennett joined the family in June and he is just as sweet as can be!! 

Aside from family pictures with Bennet, one of the reasons for our shoot was because Karissa's parents are selling their home, Karissa's childhood home, so she wanted to have some images of the whole family in front of the house before it sells. 

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Bennett was enamored by the leaves rustling in the wind on the tree behind me...nothing could break his stare, haha!

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We headed over to Belvidere Park for the second part of our shoot. Fall was really showing off with its beautiful colors and amazing light. 

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Grandpa is the best at getting Bennett to laugh!

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Wanna hear something crazy? Last week I posted Scott & Sharon's family pictures and shared about how I photographed their engagement session in October 2014, wedding May 2015, and now family pictures with their little one in October 2016. Well, I just checked dates on Chris and Karissa: Engagement session October 11, 2014, Wedding June 13, 2015, and this shoot was October 23, 2016!! Serious deja vu over here people!! So good!!

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Thank you so much to this entire group! It was so good to see you all again! Thank you so much for trusting me with your memories!! <3

Bloomington, IL Family Photographer | Scott, Sharon, & Charles

Bloomington, IL Family Photography.

I'm soooooooo stinkin' excited to share this session with you guys!!! I photographed Scott and Sharon's wedding back in May of 2015, and it was SO good to see them again AND to meet their sweet little man, Charles!!!! It truly is a special thing to be able to photograph families as they grow! It might sound weird, but when I photograph someone's wedding, and then have the privilege to photograph them as they grow their family, I kind of feel like a distant Auntie. Like, I was there for Sharon and Scott's wedding, now I get to meet their little guy and squish his cute little cheeks, maybe next year I'll get to chase him around while I try to photograph him, and when he's 18 I'll embarrass him by talking about how I knew him when he was thiiiiiiiiiiiis big and all he wanted to do was eat a leaf!! Good ol' Auntie Chrissy!! 

That was weird and random. ANYWAYS. Pictures!! :D

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Isn't Charles such a charmer?!?!

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Ollie was slaying it. 

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Random Fact: I photographed this session on October 15, 2016. I photographed S&S's engagement session October 25, 2014. HOW CRAZY IS THAT?!?! (And yes I looked it up because I'm cool like that.) So much has changed in two years!!

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That drool. <3

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DeKalb, IL Newborn Photographer | Matt, Erin, & Decker

DeKalb, IL In-home Newborn Photography.

I don't think I've mentioned lately just how much I love in-home family sessions, but I really really do! It's much more cozy and comfy for my clients, and I love being able to document what their every day life looks like. Or, in the case of newborns, what every day life now is. ;) 

I photographed Erin and Matt's maternity pictures back at the end of July (those are some of my faves I've ever taken, btw!), and it was so wonderful to be able to meet fresh little Decker! I was in dire need of a baby fix since my youngest just turned two in August (*sigh*), so snuggling him was definitely a highlight of September! 

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Oh those little lips!!! After having 3 little babies of my own and seeing how fast this stage goes, I treasure these little detail images. <3 <3 <3 

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I normally insist on using natural light when I'm in someone's home, but when grandma makes an AMAZING quilt for her little grandson, you turn the dang lights on and photograph that bad boy. I mean, MY GOODNESS, what a piece of art!! 

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Decker was the most chill babe I've ever photographed!

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Seriously! He's just hanging out, enjoying life on the outside. 

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This one's for the ladies. ;)

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He looks so happy in momma's arms!

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Miss Jade joined the fun for a few full family portraits. 

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Now, I know what I said about shooting in my client's homes, buuuuuuuut it was so nice out and there was a field across the street and I juuuuuuust couldn't help myself. ;) And you know it's Fall when you can shoot outside at 1pm in full sun and it's actually looks pretty dang good! 

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Congratulations Matt and Erin!!! Decker is such a sweet little man!!!! Blessings!

Happy Birthday Abby!!

That title is a little misleading, considering Abby's 4th birthday was actually at the beginning of May (on Mother's Day!). DOH! Once wedding season hits I get swamped with editing, but I still wanted to get something up here for her because I loved the process of putting together Lucas's b-day post back in February. Better late than never, right? ;)

Abby is passionate, funny, and smart. She loves all things pink and sparkly, but doesn't shy away from playing in the mud (she actually prefers to play outside barefoot, even in the cold, which is a constant battle with mom and dad, haha.). Her love languages are physical touch, words of affirmation, and Cheetos. She's always had a good grasp on language and constantly shortens words creatively. For instance, when she was two, she had two pink blankets that she adored. They started out as her "pink blankets", then became her "blanks", "pinks", and "pinkeries" interchangeably. She was the first to start calling me "mom" instead of "mommy", not because she knew she could call me mom, but because she was shortening mommy. She cracks me up all the time with her creativity and silliness! Happy (late) Birthday, Girly Girl!!

Happy Birthday Lucas!!!

I can't believe it, but my little guy is SIX YEARS OLD. What in the actual what? It's hard to believe that I've been a mom for six years! Seth and I have now reached the point in our marriage where we've had kids for longer than we haven't. It's a strange thing that has me feeling all kinds of old, but also so, SO thankful. Lucas is one of the sweetest, most kind-hearted kids I've ever known and it's such a privilege to be his momma!

Coincidentally, I just got caught up on editing the last two years worth of personal pictures. It's never happened that I've been current with my own family pictures, so I'm pretty excited about this (and maybe I want to brag a bit!)!  I thought it would be fun to post my favorite pictures of Lucas since his birth. Another special thing is that Lucas was born in February of 2010, and I shot my first wedding in June 2010, so I feel like this is not only Lucas' life journey in pictures, but the journey of my photography. Now let me warn you, it's a LOT of pictures. But ya'll can handle it, right?!?! :D